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Newtown’s Music Education Program Receives ‘Best Communities’ Designation

Published: April 21, 2017

The Newtown Bee

    Newtown has been designated a Best Communities for Music Education by the National Association of Music Merchants (NAMM) Foundation for its outstanding commitment to music education. Roughly four percent of districts across the nation are receiving the award in this year, according to a release from the district.

    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. To qualify for the Best Communities designation, Newtown 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.

    “Having been associated with high performing kindergarten to twelfth grade music programs for decades, our Newtown Public School student opportunity is clearly the bar that nearly all other districts strive to reach as we are blessed with terrific leaders and terrific students. I applaud long and loud the leadership of our director Michelle Hiscavich, her staff, and their talented young adults,” Superintendent of Schools Joseph Erardi V. Erardi, Jr, said in the release.

    This is the ninth time Newtown has received the designation from the NAMM Foundation.

    Nearly 70 percent of all students in prekindergarten to twelfth grade participate in the Newtown Public Schools music program. Curricular offerings follow the national and state standards for music education and include general music, chorus, band, orchestra, percussion ensemble, jazz improvisation, music technology, harmony and composition, and advanced placement music theory. Many of those students also participate in extracurricular ensembles including Jazz Band, Marching Band, Honors Band, Bucket Band, annual musical productions, Chamber Orchestra, Honors Orchestra, Singers, Concert Choir, male and female a cappella groups, New Music Ensemble, Color Guard, Winter Guard, and Winter Drumline. Students also participate in state and regional music festivals and in music- related programs.

    Newtown’s Director of Visual and Performing Arts Michelle Hiscavich said she is “proud to have the hard work and efforts of the music teachers recognized and appreciates that the community recognizes the value of an education in the arts. Arts programs enable children to become well-rounded individuals. In addition to developing the creative side of the brain, children are strengthening their problem-solving and critical thinking skills. The music teachers are dedicated to the providing the best program possible for the children of Newtown and are creative and innovative in their approach. We are working to educate the audiences of tomorrow as well as the next generation of musicians.”

    The NAMM Foundation is a nonprofit and its mission is to advance active participation in lifelong music making by supporting scientific research, philanthropic giving, and public service programs.