Photo by Andres Acosta | El Paso Herald Post
The Socorro Independent School District has earned the 2020 Best Communities for Music Education Award from the National Association of Music Merchants (NAMM) Foundation.
“We are extremely proud that our commitment to providing the highest quality music education and the arts is nationally recognized,” said Armando Martinez, SISD director of fine arts. “It certainly is a team effort. I thank our Board of Trustees, administrators, principals for their support, and applaud our music educators for their never-ending work to give our students endless opportunities in band, choir, orchestra, mariachi, and all our music classes.”
This is the fourth consecutive year that Team SISD has earned the prestigious award, which recognizes school districts who provide access to music education to ensure all students receive a well-rounded education.
SISD is the only district in the region to be recognized as a leader in music education with the national award from NAMM.
“In Team SISD, all elementary students are taking a music course, some 50 percent of middle school students are taking a music class, and 30 percent of high school students are enrolled in a musical program,” district officials shared. “In addition, some 60 percent of SISD’s 47,600+ students have experienced music education at their schools.”
The Best Communities for Music Education award recognizes that SISD is leading the way with learning opportunities as outlined in the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA).
ESSA recommends music and the arts as important elements of a well-rounded education for all children. Research into music education continues to demonstrate educational/cognitive and social skill benefits for children who make music.
“Students benefit daily from our outstanding teachers who care and who are truly dedicated to the profession,” said Janet Lynch, SISD instrumental music specialist. “Our music teachers have accomplished many high accolades with their students locally and on the state level, and numerous SISD music students have gone on to achieve greatness in the music profession as professionals.”
After two years of music education, research found that participants showed more substantial improvements in how the brain processes speech and reading scores that their less-involved peers and that students who are involved in music are not only more likely to graduate high school, but also to attend college as well. Everyday listening skills are stronger in musically-trained children than in those without music training.
Significantly, listening skills are closely tied to the ability to: perceive speech in a noisy background, pay attention, and keep sounds in memory. Later in life, individuals who took music lessons as children show stronger neural processing of sound; young adults and even older adults who have not played an instrument for up to 50 years show enhanced neural processing compared to their peers. Not to mention, social benefits include conflict resolution, teamwork skills, and how to give and receive constructive criticism.
A 2015 study supported by The NAMM Foundation, “Striking A Chord,” also outlines the overwhelming desire by teachers and parents for music education opportunities for all children as part of the school curriculum.
Now in its 21st year, the Best Communities for Music Education designation is awarded to districts that demonstrate outstanding achievement in efforts to provide music access and education to all students.
To qualify for the Best Communities designation, SISD answered detailed questions about funding, graduation requirements, music class participation, instruction time, facilities, and support for the music programs. Responses were verified with school officials and reviewed by The Music Research Institute at the University of Kansas.
For more information about the NAMM Foundation, click here.