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South Colonie Central School District News

South Colonie Earns National Music Honors for Fourth Straight Year

For the fourth consecutive year, the South Colonie Central School District has been honored with the Best Communities for Music Education designation from the NAMM Foundation for its outstanding commitment to music education. South Colonie joins 476 districts across the country in receiving the prestigious award in 2016.

The Best Communities Music Education designation is awarded to districts that demonstrate 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, school districts 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 South Colonie 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 subjects such as music. ESSA recommends music and the arts as important elements of well-rounded education for all children.

“I am extremely proud of the South Colonie Music program,” said Music Department Chairperson Peter Cannistraci. “I am proud of the accomplishments of our students and the dedication of their music teachers. I thank the administration, the parents and the community for their constant support. South Colonie is such a wonderful community, and to receive this designation for the fourth consecutive year really shows how our school district values music education.”

As South Colonie finalizes its 2016-2017 budget, the NAMM Foundation’s Best Communities for Music Education Award and the implementation of the federal ESSA law bring attention to the importance of keeping music education part of the school’s core education for all students. It also highlights music’s vital role in students’ overall success in school.

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 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.

In South Colonie, 50% of students in grades 4-12 participate in a music performing group (band, orchestra, or chorus). South Colonie students have represented their school district at the regional, state, and national level. South Colonie music students regularly earn higher GPA’s and receive more scholarships and awards than their non-music peers.

About The NAMM Foundation:

The NAMM Foundation is a nonprofit supported in part by the National Association of Music Merchants and its approximately 10,300 members around the world. The foundation advances active participation in music making across the lifespan by supporting scientific research, philanthropic giving and public service programs. For more information about the NAMM Foundation, please visit www.nammfoundation.org.