April 24, 2018
USC named among the Best Communities for Music Education
For the third 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 14 school districts in Allegheny County, 84 in Pennsylvania and 583 from across the country to earn the distinction in 2018.
“The NAMM 2018 Best Community for Music Education award recognizes the outstanding commitment to music and music education that the Upper St. Clair community has demonstrated for years,” Don Pickell, performing arts curriculum leader and band director, said. “Our Music Department is extremely fortunate to have the support of the school district administration, school board and community as we work to deliver an excellent music education to our students.”
According to the NAMM Foundation, 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.
“The Upper St. Clair Music Department is made up of extremely talented, dedicated professional musicians and educators who constantly strive for musical excellence from their students,” Mr. Pickell said. “Teachers and parents in Upper St. Clair go above and beyond to give students the best musical experience possible, through dozens of performances and opportunities throughout the school year.”
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 comprehensive music program that spans all educational levels is central to the student experience at Upper St. Clair,” Dr. Patrick T. O’Toole, superintendent of schools, said. “We have a commitment to offer a robust music program that empowers students to pursue and nurture their passion.”
In its 19th year, the BCME designation is an important part of the NAMM Foundation’s efforts to advocate for school-based music education. In addition to boosting academic achievement, studies have also indicated that music education lays the foundation for individual excellence in group settings, creative problem solving and flexibility in work situations, as well learning how to give and receive constructive criticism to excel.
According to the NAMM Foundation, this award recognizes that Upper St. Clair School District is leading the way with learning opportunities as outlined in the Every Student Succeeds Act. The legislation guides implementation in the states and replaces the No Child Left Behind Act, 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 a well-rounded education for all children.
To qualify for the Best Communities designation, Upper St. Clair officials answered detailed questions about funding, graduation requirements, music class participation, instruction time, facilities, support for the music program and community music-making programs.
Other Allegheny County school districts named 2018 Best Communities for Music Education include: Avonworth, Bethel Park, Clairton City, East Allegheny, Fox Chapel Area, McKeesport Area, Moon Area, Mt. Lebanon, North Allegheny, North Hills, Quaker Valley, Shaler Area and West Allegheny 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.