TPS earns national recognition for music education program

(Taylor Clark)
Published: Apr. 8, 2021 at 10:25 AM CDT
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TOPEKA, Kan. (WIBW) - Topeka Public Schools has earned national recognition for its music education program.

Topeka Public Schools says it has been honored with the Best Communities for Music Education designation from the NAMM Foundation for its commitment to music education. It said the designation is now in its 22nd year and is awarded to districts that show outstanding achievement in efforts to provide music access and education to every student.

According to TPS, to qualify for the designation, it answered detailed questions about funding, graduation requirements, music class participation, instruction time, facilities, support for the music program and community music-making programs. It said responses were verified with school officials and reviewed by the Music Research Institute at the University of Kansas.

“We believe music education is critical to a student’s success in school. The school board’s support for fine arts and the outstanding music educators have ensured Topeka Public Schools remains a leader in music education,” said Topeka Public Schools Superintendent Dr. Tiffany Anderson.

“The tradition of excellence in music education is evident through the outstanding musical productions, the many partnerships in the fine arts and through national awards that recognize Topeka Public Schools as one of the Best Communities for Music Education. Congratulations to all of our students and music educators who made this award possible,” said TPS Board President Dr. Scott Mickelsen.

TPS said since the passage by Congress in 2015 of the Every Student Succeeds Act and an emphasis on a well-rounded education, many districts have re-committed to music and arts education programs and found that during the COVID-19 pandemic, gives a valuable way to keep students engaged in school. It said ESSA gives designated funding to well-rounded educational opportunities through Title IV Part A Student Academic Success and Achievement grants. It said NAMM Foundation research has shown that the grants are widely used for districts to address instructional gaps in access to music and arts education.

“The designation of ‘Best Communities for Music Education’ will allow the district to thank the Board of Education, community members, parents, and staff for their continued effort in providing the best possible opportunities for our students,”  Topeka Public Schools Consulting Teacher of Fine Arts Chris Reynolds said. “It will not only increase community awareness of music education but also challenge the community in continuing to make music education a whole-group effort.”

According to TPS, research into music education continues to show educational, cognitive and social skill benefits for kids that make music. After two years of music education, it said researchers found that participants showed more improvement in how the brain processes speech and reading scores than their less-involved peers and students that are involved in music are more likely to graduate high school and attend college. Significantly, it said listening skills are closely tied to the ability to perceive speech in a noisy background, pay attention and keep sounds in memory. It also said later in life, those that took music lessons as children show stronger neural processing of sound. It said young adults and even older adults that have not played an instrument for up to 50 years show enhanced neural processing compared to their peers. Not to mention, it said social benefits include conflict resolution, teamwork skills and how to give and get constructive criticism.

For more information about the NAMM Foundation, click HERE.

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