Cranston Public Schools has been honored with the Best Communities for Music Education designation from The NAMM Foundation for its outstanding commitment to music education. Now in its 23rd year, …
Cranston Public Schools has been honored with the Best Communities for Music Education designation from The NAMM Foundation for its outstanding commitment to music education. Now 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. Cranston is the only school district in the state to receive this designation.
To qualify for the Best Communities designation, Cranston Public Schools 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.
“Music education is an important part of Cranston Public Schools,” said Superintendent Jeannine Nota-Masse. “We offer a wide range of opportunities for our students who have an interest in music and our students are often recognized for their musical talents and abilities. It is the result of the hard work and dedication of our music educators at all levels that we are able to have such a robust music program in our school district. Receiving the designation as a Best Community for Music Education only reinforces the value that we place on music in our schools.”
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. During the pandemic, music and arts programs were a vital component to keeping students engaged in school. 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 these grants are being widely used by school districts to address instructional gaps in access to music and arts education.
Music program director Emily Johnson spoke to the importance of music education.
“Music education is so integral to the development of the whole child, it helps with developing a sense of self, and creates a safe community where students learn to grow and work collaboratively,” she said. “I am so proud of the depth and breadth of the offerings that we provide to our students here in Cranston Public Schools, from our kindergarten general music to our high school ensembles. It is such an honor to be recognized at the national level by the NAMM Foundation, not only for the hard work and dedication of our music staff and students but also for the support that we receive from the Cranston community.”
When asked about the impact that music education has had on their lives, several Cranston Public Schools students shared the difference that it has made for them.
“Music education is important to me because it helped me to discover a passion I never knew I had. Being involved with the music program has shaped the person that I have become in a major way," said Cranston High School East senior, Bobby Miller III.
"Music education has been important to me because it teaches me about teamwork,” said Cranston East freshman, Liam DeRosa.” The connection you feel with the other musicians around you, and teaching yourself how to support them both through the music that you play and as friends and colleagues is always very interesting, and it makes music one of the most vital elements of my life."
“Music education is important because it allows me to convey my emotions to anyone and everyone without the need for words,” said Cranston West freshman Amy Zhang.
Research into music education continues to demonstrate 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 and that students who are involved in music are not only more likely to graduate high school, but also to attend college as well. Everyday listening skills are stronger in musically trained children than in 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 processing of sound: 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. Not to mention, social benefits include conflict resolution, teamwork skills and how to give and receive constructive criticism.
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.