Tuesday, April 8, 2014

'One of America's best music communities' for second consecutive year is SD Unified

For the second year in a row, San Diego Unified ranks among nation’s top communities for support of music education, according to a national trade group.
Presenting the prize.
Accepting the award is Board President Kevin Beiser, left, presenter Gary Francisco of Nick Rail Music representing NAMM, and Dr. Karen Childress-Evans, director of San Diego Unified's arts programs.
News Coverage

The National Association of Music Musicians' NAMM Foundation has recognized San Diego Unified for its outstanding commitment to music education with a Best Communities for Music Education designation. San Diego Unified joins 376 districts across the country to receive the prestigious distinction.

In its 15th year, Best Communities for Music Education affirms school districts that have demonstrated exceptional efforts toward maintaining music education as part of the schools’ core curriculum. San Diego Unified was also one of the Best Music Communities in 2013 and 2010.

The Best Communities survey required districts to answer 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 Institute for Educational Research and Public Service of Lawrence, Kansas, an affiliate of the University of Kansas.

"Music education is important for well rounded students," said Kevin Beiser, president of the San Diego Unified Board of Education. "San Diego Unified is committed to keeping music and the arts alive and well for our students."

"People, in general, are usually surprised to hear that music education is alive and well in San Diego Unified,” said Dr. Karen Childress-Evans, San Diego Unified Director of Visual and Performing Arts. “We still have a long way to go before all students receive equal access to quality music instruction at every grade level, but this award is a powerful indicator of the Superintendent’s, Board of Education’s and community partners’ dedication to making that dream a reality.”

As San Diego Unified finalizes its 2014–2015 budgets, the announcement of this year’s Best Communities for Music Education designation brings attention to the importance of keeping music education part of school’s core education and music’s vital role in student success in school.

The Best Communities for Music Education program plays an important part of the NAMM Foundation’s efforts to make music education part of the core curriculum assuring that the benefits of music making are available to every child. Numerous studies have demonstrated that learning to play music can boost academic and social skills, lower disciplinary action and keep kids in schools.

San Diego Unified serves more than 120,000 students in pre-school through grade 12 and is the second largest district in California. The student population is extremely diverse, representing more than 15 ethnic groups and more than 60 languages and dialects. The district boasts instrumental music instruction for students in 100% of its 119 elementary schools and all but 3 district secondary sites offer music instruction from a variety of courses including band, orchestra, choir, guitar, jazz ensembles, music theory, piano, composition and more.

The NAMM Foundation is a nonprofit organization supported in part by the National Association of Music Merchants and its nearly 9,000 members around the world 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, please visit www.nammfoundation.org.

To get involved in San Diego Unified's music programs or to find out more about San Diego Unified's Visual and Performing Arts programs, contact Childress-Evans at kchildressevans@sandi.net.