|Release Date: 4/21/2009||
Contact: Angela Tanner, 410-887-4024
Diana L. Spencer, 410-887-4243
TOWSON, MD. (April 21, 2009) - Baltimore County Public Schools has been named again as one of the nation's "Best Communities for Music Education." The 2009 designation was announced on April 16 by the NAMM Foundation, a nonprofit organization dedicated to advancing active participation in music making through scientific research, philanthropic giving, and public service programs from the international music products industry.
Baltimore County Public Schools, which also received this national honor in 2004, 2006, 2007, and 2008, was one of only two Maryland school districts to receive the 2009 designation.
"We excel in music education because of the priority placed on the arts and the level of commitment from a quality staff," said Superintendent Dr. Joe A. Hairston. "We understand the importance of the kindergarten through grade 12 arts program to enrich our students' experiences and improve their academic achievement. Baltimore County will continue to provide innovative and creative opportunities for all students."
According to the NAMM Foundation, research reveals strong correlations between quality music education in school and academic achievement. The foundation says that students actively involved with music programs develop skills needed by the 21st century workforce, including critical thinking, creative problem solving, effective communication and team work.
"The potential of music to help children reach their full development is understood by the school districts represented in this year's survey results," said Mary Luehrsen, executive director, NAMM Foundation. "We celebrate these communities that are committed to providing access to music education programs and bettering the lives of their students."
Baltimore County employs more music teachers than any other Maryland jurisdiction, and students can choose among extensive offerings including courses in electronic music, world music, and Advanced Placement music theory. Students perform throughout the community in choral groups, jazz ensembles, steel bands, orchestras, and marching bands. In addition, partnerships with some of the area's leading arts organizations, such as the Baltimore Opera Company, Young Audiences of Maryland, and Baltimore Symphony Orchestra, allow students to learn from and perform alongside professional musicians.
This year, 124 school districts from 21 states were selected through the 10th annual "Best Communities for Music Education" survey. This year, teachers and school district administrators, representing communities across the country, participated in the Web-based survey. The districts were measured across curricular and programmatic criteria as well as public support of their music programs. Participants in the survey answered detailed questions about funding, graduation requirements, music class participation, instruction time, facilities, support for the music program, and other relevant factors in their communities' music education programs. The responses were verified with district officials, and advisory organizations reviewed the data.
In conducting the annual survey, the NAMM Foundation is joined by advisory organizations in the fields of music and education including, Americans for the Arts, League of American Orchestras, The Mr. Holland's Opus Foundation, The Metropolitan Opera Guild, Music for All, Music Teachers National Association, National Guild of Community Schools of the Arts, National PTA, Yamaha Corporation of America, and VH1 Save The Music Foundation. The survey was conducted by The Institute for Educational Research and Public Service of Lawrence, KS, an affiliate of the University of Kansas.