The Irvine Unified School District has once again been named one of the nation’s Best Communities for Music Education by the prestigious NAMM Foundation.
The national recognition program, now in its 14th year, spotlights school districts that have demonstrated “exceptional efforts toward maintaining music education as part of the schools’ core curriculum.” IUSD last earned the honor in 2010, and the district is one of 307 to receive the designation this year.
“This incredible accolade is a testament to this district’s commitment to the arts and its ability to work together to keep music in our classrooms despite budget cuts at the state level,” said Brad Van Patten, IUSD’s coordinator of visual and performing arts.
“Our Board of Education, our staff and our families have been steadfast in their support for music education, and we are tremendously grateful for the additional resources provided by the Irvine Company and the Irvine Public Schools Foundation,” Van Patten said. “As a result of this collaboration, thousands of students head to school each day toting their instruments of choice, and that sight should be a great source of pride for this entire community.”
Nearly 2,000 schools and school districts participated in the most recent NAMM Foundation survey, which served as the basis for the Best Communities awards. Educational organizations were asked specifically about funding, graduation requirements, music class participation, instruction time, facilities, support for the music program and opportunities to make music in the community.
Responses were later verified with school officials and reviewed by The Institute for Educational Research and Public Service, an affiliate of the University of Kansas.
The Best Communities program is considered an extension of the NAMM Foundation’s advocacy efforts for school-based music education, and the foundation is quick to cite studies that link music education with higher student achievement.
“This designation recognizes communities for their commitment to music education and strengthens support for these programs,” said Mary Luehrsen, the NAMM Foundation’s executive director. “Having widely embraced the evidence indicating that music education yields great things in schools and communities, people are increasingly … advocating for school music curricula and championing programs like Best Communities that recognize this commitment to music education.”