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PASD'S Music Education Receives Recognition

PASD'S Music Education Receives Recognition
Posted on 05/11/2022
PASD'S Music Education Receives Recognition

Best Band

Port Angeles School District’s Music Education Program Receives National Recognition

Port Angeles, WA– Port Angeles School District (PASD) has been honored with the Best Communities for Music Education designation from The National Association of Music Merchants (NAMM) Foundation for its outstanding commitment to music education. In its 23rd year, 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.

PASD answered detailed questions about funding, graduation requirements, music class participation, instruction time, facilities, support for the music program, and community music-making programs to qualify for the Best Communities designation. Responses were verified with school officials and reviewed by The Music Research Institute at the University of Kansas.

Band Award

“As a music teacher and a parent of music students, I know how amazing the music program in our district is,” said Seaview Teacher Vicki Helwick. “This program would not be as strong as it is without community support, and that is exactly what this award recognizes - our amazing teachers and their programs, as well as the community support, including from the PA Symphony, Sequim City Band, service clubs, and so many others.”

During the pandemic, music and arts programs were vital to keeping students engaged in school. Since the passage of the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) in 2015 and a stated emphasis on a well-rounded education, many school districts have re-committed to music and arts education programs. ESSA provides designated funding for well-rounded educational opportunities through Title IV Part A Student Academic Success and Achievement grants. NAMM Foundation research has revealed that school districts are widely using these grants to address instructional gaps in access to music and arts education. 

Research into music education demonstrates educational/cognitive and social skill benefits for children who make music. After two years of music education, researchers found that participants showed more substantial improvements in how the brain processes speech and reading scores than their less-involved peers. Students involved in music are more likely to graduate high school and attend college. Everyday listening skills are more robust in musically trained children than those without music training. Significantly, listening skills are closely tied to the ability to perceive speech in a noisy background, pay attention, and keep sounds in memory. Later in life, individuals who took music lessons as children show stronger neural sound processing. Young adults and even older adults who have not played an instrument for up to 50 years show enhanced neural processing compared to their peers. Social benefits include conflict resolution, teamwork skills, and how to give and receive constructive criticism.

Port Angles High School Orchestra Director and Arts Dept. Chair Nathan Rødahl shared that “PASD Music students continue to set the standard for academic success, and have done throughout our history. Our Congressman and PAHS graduate, Derek Kilmer, had many peers in school who achieved the same grade point average and participated in many of the same opportunities for advanced learning. Yet he was the only one invited to attend each Ivy League school to which he applied. The difference is he participated as a bass player in our school music program.”

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 worldwide. The foundation advances active music-making participation 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.