As schools and districts in Orange County regain their rhythm with the return of in-person learning and the easing of pandemic protocols, the National Association of Music Merchants (NAMM) Foundation has released its list of the Best Communities for Music Education, including six Orange County school districts.
Along with the Anaheim Elementary School District and the Anaheim Union High School District, the Capistrano, Garden Grove, Irvine and Santa Ana unified school districts all made the Best Communities list for 2022.
“Music educators, administrators, and communities truly rallied to support and sustain music education through a period of intense change and adaptation,” shared Mary Luehrsen, executive director of The NAMM Foundation. “These districts and schools persevered in serving their students and communities and assured that music education was part of curriculum offerings. We applaud the commitment and efforts of all music educators, school administrators, and community members in providing students the opportunity to explore their creativity through music.”
Now in its 23rd year, the 2022 Best Communities for Music Education program has recognized 738 school districts and 80 schools across 44 states for the outstanding efforts by teachers, administrators, parents, students, and community leaders and their support for music education as part of a well-rounded education for all children.
“Garden Grove Unified School District has a long history of prioritizing our music programs because we know they provide truly important benefits for students,” said GGUSD Board of Education Trustee Dina Nguyen. “Our visual and performing arts teachers are extraordinary and we are grateful for all they do to provide enriching experiences for our students and their families.”
This year’s awards program was designed to celebrate schools and districts adapting, innovating and persevering in the face of change. Researchers at The Music Research Institute at the University of Kansas, in conjunction with The NAMM Foundation, created a new way for districts and schools to address the inroads and setbacks impacted by the pandemic, as well as goals for equity and access to music education for all students and national standards for music education in a short, qualitative survey.
“The 2022 Best Communities for Music Education is an opportunity to celebrate music programs and honors the resilience and dedication to keeping music as part of a well-rounded education as we all adapt to a new educational landscape,” said Christopher Johnson of the Music Research Institute at the University of Kansas. “If there was one common theme to be taken from all submissions, it’s that schools and districts found ways to sustain music education and student engagement in even the most challenging of circumstances.”
In addition, 80 individual schools across the nation are being awarded the SupportMusic Merit Award (SMMA), which recognizes support for school-based music education programs. They include Ethel Dwyer Middle School in Huntington Beach, Fountain Valley Yamaha Music Academy, Moonlight Music Academy in Brea, St. Norbert Catholic School in Orange and Yamaha Music Academy of Fullerton.
Since its inception, more than 2,000 schools and districts have submitted a survey for evaluation. To learn more about the Best Communities for Music Education program or the NAMM Foundation, visit www.nammfoundation.org.