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Skaneateles music again earns ‘Best Communities’ honor

For the fourth year in a row, the Skaneateles Central School District has been recognized by the National Association of Music Merchants Foundation (NAMM) for outstanding commitment to music education with a “Best Communities for Music Education” designation.

This year, nearly 2,000 schools across the country participated in a survey that looked at funding, staffing, commitment to standards, music instruction and community/parent support. Out of all the applicants, 376 school districts received this prestigious award.

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 a rich tradition of music here at Skaneateles,” said Humanities Curriculum Coordinator Ella Briand. “It begins in the early grades and grows to a crescendo in high school. The program is vibrant thanks to the dedication of superior teachers, amazing parents and a supportive administration.”

There is overwhelming research tying music education to higher overall student success in school and in life.

In a letter soon to be sent to the homes of high school students, Briand urges parents to help their students make room for chorus, band, orchestra, studio art, ceramics or photography:

“Research shows that exposure to the arts enriches young minds and helps students perform better in all areas. According to the College Board, Profile of College-Bound Seniors National Report for 2006 students of music out-perform their non-art peers on the SAT. In 2006, students with coursework/experience in music performance scored 57 points higher on the verbal portion of the test and 43 points higher on the math portion than students with no coursework or experience in the arts. Students with coursework in music appreciation scored even higher, 62 points higher on the verbal and 41 points higher on the math. In 2005, 100 percent of the winners of the Siemens Westinghouse STEM Competition played a musical instrument — The Midland Chemist (American Chemical Society) Vol. 42. No. 1, Feb. 2005.”

Now in its 15th year, the BCME program requires each school and district to detail funding, staffing, commitment to standards and access to music instruction. Responses are meticulously reviewed by researchers at The Institute for Educational Research and Public Service of Lawrence, Kansas (an affiliate of the University of Kansas) and the NAMM Foundation to calculate the designated districts and awarded schools.

Lori Ruhlman is the public information officer for the Skaneateles Central School District.

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