By: Alicia Sands Lurry
Atlanta Public Schools (APS) has been honored with the 2016 Best Communities for Music Education designation from the NAMM Foundation for its outstanding commitment to music education. APS joins 476 districts across the country in receiving the prestigious award in 2016.
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.
Districts that have been recognized by the NAMM Foundation are often held up as models for other educators looking to boost their own music education programs. Some of the biggest achievements for APS during the 2015-2016 school year include:
• Over $80,000 awarded in music scholarships to Maynard H. Jackson choral music students
• South Atlanta High School Jazz Band received the Unity Jazz Foundation Award
• Grady High School Philharmonic Orchestra won the Kishi Bashi National Music Contest
• Sutton Middle School’s band and orchestra performed at Carnegie Hall
• Several APS students are represented in the All State Chorus
To qualify for the Best Communities designation, APS 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.
“The fact that Atlanta Public Schools has been designated one of the 400-plus school districts in the United States as a Best Community for Music Education reinforces the decisions made by the Atlanta Board of Education and Dr. Meria Carstarphen to ensure music education is included in all K-12 APS schools,” said Elizabeth Eppes, fine arts coordinator for the district. “This designation provides affirmation that APS is committed to providing music programming and will rally the district community to continue to accept quality and robust music and arts programs in all of our schools.”