For the second year in a row, Upper St. Clair School District was named among the nation’s Best Communities for Music Education by the NAMM Foundation. Upper St. Clair is one of only 11 school districts in Allegheny County, 72 in Pennsylvania and 527 from across the country to earn the distinction in 2017.
“This award demonstrates the strong commitment to music education by the teachers, parents and administration of the Upper St. Clair School District,” Don Pickell, performing arts curriculum leader and band director, said. “The community of Upper St. Clair values music education and the wonderful effect it can have on students, developing their creativity, sensitivity and higher level thinking.”
According to the NAMM Foundation, the Best Communities for Music Education award program recognizes outstanding efforts by teachers, administrators, parents, students and community leaders who have made music education part of the curriculum. Designations are made to districts and schools that demonstrate an exceptionally high commitment and access to music education.
“Upper St. Clair is extremely fortunate to have a dynamic and dedicated music faculty made up of exceptional teachers and musicians who pass on their passion for music to their students,” Mr. Pickell said. “Upper St. Clair offers students an outstanding music program filled with a myriad of opportunities to express their creativity through performance.”
Part of the mission statement of the Upper St. Clair School District is to provide learning experiences that nurture the uniqueness of each child.
“A strong and diverse music program is central to our commitment to educating the whole child,” Dr. Patrick T. O’Toole, superintendent of schools, said. “From our youngest students to our extremely talented and skilled high school musicians, Upper St. Clair’s music program provides opportunities for students to discover and pursue their interests and passion.”
In its 18th year, the BCME designation is an important part of the NAMM Foundation’s efforts to advocate for school-based music education. Numerous studies have demonstrated that learning to play music can boost other academic and social skills.
“Upper St. Clair's Music Program is constantly evolving and working to be the best it can be, through continuing teacher education and new, innovative ways to reach as many students as possible,” Mr. Pickell said.
Other Allegheny County school districts named 2016 Best Communities for Music Education include: Bethel Park, Clairton City, East Allegheny, Fox Chapel Area, McKeesport Area, Moon Area, Mt. Lebanon, North Allegheny, North Hills, and Quaker Valley school districts.
The NAMM Foundation is a nonprofit organization 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