Irvine named among ‘Best Communities for Music Education’ by NAMM Foundation

For the second year in a row, IUSD has been named one of the nation’s Best Communities for Music Education by the NAMM Foundation.

The official announcement came Friday, as 376 school districts learned they had received the highly regarded designation for their efforts to provide exceptional music opportunities for students. You can read the news release here.

Now in its 15th year, the Best Communities program evaluates schools and districts based on funding, staffing of highly qualified teachers, commitment to standards and overall access to music instruction. Irvine also received the honor in 2010 and 2013.

“This recognition is further evidence of our district’s commitment to the arts, which has endured despite inadequate funding at the state level,” Sharon Wallin, president of IUSD’s Board of Education, said Friday.

“Our staff, our families and this board have consistently demonstrated support for music education, recognizing its impact on academic achievement, and we are incredibly grateful for the added resources provided by the Irvine Company and the Irvine Public Schools Foundation,” Wallin said. “As a result of the collaboration that occurs in Irvine, music education is alive and well in our community, benefiting thousands of students.”

The basis for the Best Communities awards is the annual NAMM Foundation survey, and this year more than 2,000 schools and districts participated. Each was 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 among the advocacy efforts of the NAMM Foundation, which cites a raft of studies linking music education with higher student achievement.

“These schools and districts make a strong commitment to music education in the core curriculum supporting its essential value to a well-rounded education for every child,” said Mary Luehrsen, NAMM Foundation executive director. “Strong, engaging programs that offer students access to music cannot thrive in a vacuum. The Best Communities designation and the SupportMusic Merit Award bring hard-won visibility to music classes, programs and departments that are keeping music education alive in our schools.”