Oak Hill Union Local Schools has been honored with the Best Communities for Music Education designation from the NAMM Foundation for its outstanding commitment to music education. Oak Hill joins 527 districts across the country in receiving the prestigious award in 2017. This is the second consecutive year Oak Hill has been recognized for demonstrating outstanding achievement in efforts to provide music access and education to all students.
Districts that have been recognized by the NAMM Foundation are often held up as models for other educators looking to boost their own music education programs.
To qualify for the Best Communities designation, Oak Hill Schools answered detailed questions about funding, graduation requirements, music class participation, instruction time, facilities, support for the music program, and community music-making programs. Responses were verified with school officials and reviewed by The Music Research Institute at the University of Kansas.
This award recognizes that Oak Hill Schools is leading the way with learning opportunities as outlined in the new federal education legislation, the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA). The legislation, signed into law in December 2015, replaces No Child Left Behind Act (NCLB), which was often criticized for an overemphasis on testing—while leaving behind subject such as music. ESSA recommends music and the arts as important elements of well-rounded education for all children.
Community music programs have been drawing increased attention because of a landmark study by Northwestern University brain scientists. These researchers found new links between students in community music programs and academic success in subjects such as reading. Beyond the Northwestern study, other reports indicate that learning to play music can boost academic and social skills, such as processing math and learning to cooperate in group settings.
A 2015 study, “Striking A Chord” supported by the NAMM Foundation, also outlines the overwhelming desire by teachers and parents for music education opportunities for all children as part of the school curriculum.