Jefferson Township has been honored with the Best Communities for Music Education designation for its outstanding commitment to music education for the fourth consecutive year.

The Best Communities for Music Education designation is awarded by the NAMM Foundation to districts that demonstrate outstanding achievement in efforts to provide music access and education to all students. To qualify for the designation, Jefferson Township Public Schools answered detailed questions about funding, graduation requirements, music class participation, instruction time, facilities, support for the music program, and community music-making programs. Responses were verified with school officials and reviewed by the Music Research Institute at the University of Kansas.

“The value and importance of music education in grades K-12 is an essential component to our district’s vision,” said Derek Sica, supervisor of World Languages, ESL, and Music in Jefferson. “This award highlights our district’s demonstrated commitment to a quality music education program.”

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The award recognizes that Jefferson Township is leading the way with learning opportunities as outlined in the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA). The legislation guides implementation in the states and replaces the No Child Left Behind Act, which was sometimes criticized for an overemphasis on testing while leaving behind subjects such as music, Sica told The Jefferson Chronicle. ESSA recommends music and the arts as important elements of a well-rounded education for all children, he said.

Research continues to demonstrate educational/cognitive and social skill benefits for children who make music, Sica noted. In a series of landmark studies by scientists and researchers at Northwestern University, he reported, a link was found between students in community music programs and life-long academic success, including higher high school graduation rates and college attendance. Sica said that another Northwestern University study discovered that the benefits of early exposure to music education improves how the brain processes and assimilates sounds, a trait that lasts well into adulthood.

Sica added that other studies have indicated that music education lays the foundation for individual excellence in group settings, creative problem solving, and flexibility in work situations, as well as learning how to give and receive constructive criticism to excel.

A 2015 study supported by the NAMM Foundation, “Striking A Chord,” outlines the overwhelming desire by teachers and parents for music education opportunities for all children as part of the school curriculum.

About the NAMM Foundation

The NAMM Foundation is a nonprofit supported in part by the National Association of Music Merchants and its approximately 10,300 members around the world. The foundation advances active participation in music making across the lifespan by supporting scientific research, philanthropic giving, and public service programs. For more information about the NAMM Foundation, visit www.nammfoundation.org.

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