Weekly roundup: Five OC districts awarded for music education programs; Anaheim Elementary students return to campus; and more

Five Orange County school districts this week were named among the 2021 Best Communities for Music Education by the NAMM Foundation.

Anaheim Elementary, Anaheim Union High, Capistrano Unified, Garden Grove Unified and Irvine Unified were among the 19 districts in California — and only four percent of districts nationwide — to receive this prestigious honor for their commitment to music and education.

The award came as no surprise to districts like Irvine Unified, which for the ninth consecutive year has received this prestigious honor.

In a press release, Irvine Unified Director of Arts Education Brad Van Patten said the honor was particularly special given this unprecedented year.

“We continue to be inspired by the ingenuity of our teachers and the resilience of our kids,” said Patten. “IUSD has made an unwavering commitment to arts and music education. We believe they are an essential part of preparing students for college and career and we are proud to offer robust programming for all of our students.”

Garden Grove Unified was recognized for the third consecutive year.

“This is an exceptional accomplishment that reflects the hard work and dedication of our visual and performing arts teachers,” said Dina Nguyen, GGUSD Board of Education trustee. “Even with the challenges brought on by the pandemic, our teachers rose to the occasion to continue providing our students with an exceptional arts education.”

Now in its 22nd year, the NAMM (National Association of Music Merchants) Foundation Best Communities for Music Education award is given to districts that demonstrate outstanding achievement in efforts to provide music access and education to all students. It recognizes communities for the outstanding efforts of teachers, administrators, parents, students and community leaders for making music part of a well-rounded education.

To qualify for the designation, districts met criteria around music education funding, graduation requirements, music class participation, instruction time, facilities, support for the music program and community music-making programs.

A full list of winners can be found on the NAMM Foundation website.

And here are some of the other top stories we’re following this week:

  • And, the Capistrano Unified School District recently announced that middle and high school students later this month can return to campus four days a week for the remainder of the school year.
  • Los Angeles Unified students who will attend in-person classes for the first time since March 2020 must get a baseline COVID-19 test before returning next week and they must take follow-up tests each week after.
  • And, during a media briefing on Thursday morning, Orange County Health Officer Dr. Clayton Chau reiterated that vaccines cannot be mandated nor does the county plan to force COVID-19 vaccinations on children or turn schools into mass vaccination centers.

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