Newtown Among ‘Best Communities For Music Education'

 Newtown and the Newtown Public Schools have, for the fifth time and fourth year in a row, been awarded the “Best Communities for Music Education 2013” distinction along with other communities by the National Association of Music Merchants (NAMM) Foundation.

Of the more than 14,000 school districts in the nation, 307 were awarded the honor this year.

According to NAMM, the Best Communities designation recognizes collaborative, from-the-ground-up efforts of teachers, administrators, students, and parents who continually work to keep comprehensive music education as an integral part of the core curriculum.

“There is overwhelming research tying music education to higher overall student success in school and in life,” NAMM Foundation Executive Director Mary Luehrsen said. “This designation recognizes communities for their commitment to music education and strengthens support for these programs. Having widely embraced the evidence indicating that music education yields great things in schools and communities, people are increasingly affirmative, advocating for school music curricula, and championing programs like Best Communities that recognize this commitment to music education.”

To earn the distinction, NAMM requires each school and district to detail funding, staging, commitment to standards, and access to music instruction, according to NAMM.

“The designation reveals the elements of music programs so educators, administrators, teachers, and students can see what they have, what they need, what they have accomplished, and what work needs to be done to strengthen their music education now and for the future,” Ms Luehrsen said.

The NAMM Foundation is a nonprofit organization with the mission of advancing active participation in music making across the lifespan by supporting scientific research, philanthropic giving, and public service programs from the international music products industry. For more information about the NAMM Foundation, visit www.nammfoundation.org.

In addition to earning the Best Communities for Music Education distinction, the Music Department also earned other honors and awards recently.

 Newtown High School music teacher Chris Lee was the recipient of the Yale Distinguished Music Educator Award and will be attending the 2013 Symposium on Music in Schools.

“He was selected from a pool of nearly 300 nominations representing 45 states. This year’s honorees were selected by our panel of music professionals for their outstanding accomplishments and vision as public school music teachers,” said Michael Yaffe, director of the Yale Symposium on Music in Schools and associate dean of the Yale School of Music.

Sandy Hook Elementary School music teacher Maryrose Kristopik, Middle Gate Elementary School music teacher Tina Jones and Newtown’s Director of Music Michelle Hiscavich have been nominated for the Grammy’s Music Educator Award, a new award established by the Grammy Foundation and The Recording Academy to bring attention to the importance of music education and the critical work of music teachers across the United States, according to the Grammy Foundation.

One winner and nine finalists will be selected for the Grammy’s Music Educator Award each year to be recognized for their remarkable impact. The winner will be flown to Los Angeles to accept the award and attend the Grammy Awards, plus receive a $10,000 honorarium, according to the foundation.

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