Clarke County School District's Music Education Program Receives National Recognition

Staff Report From Athens CEO

Tuesday, October 8th, 2019

The Clarke County School District (CCSD) has been honored with the Best Communities for Music Education designation from The NAMM Foundation for its outstanding commitment to music education. CCSD has received this national recognition for seven consecutive years.

Now in its 20th 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. To qualify, CCSD provided detailed information about funding, graduation requirements, music class participation, instruction time, facilities, and support for the music programs. Responses were verified with school officials and reviewed by The Music Research Institute at the University of Kansas.

“This recognition highlights the common commitment to music education in our schools by CCSD and the Athens-Clarke County community. Our amazing teachers create opportunities for students to grow musical skills and appreciation competencies that are then utilized within our ever-broadening cultural communities,” states Dr. Demond Means, Superintendent.

"Studying music is like learning a whole new language, but without words. It promotes craftsmanship so that students want to create something excellent, rather than mediocre work,” states Mercedes Evans, a 10th-grade student at Clarke Central High School.

This award recognizes that the CCSD is leading the way with learning opportunities as outlined in the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA), the replacement for the No Child Left Behind Act (NCLB). ESSA recommends music and the arts as important elements of a well-rounded education for all children.

“Music education is an integral part of educating the whole child. Learning opportunities in the Fine Arts create spaces for students to apply and connect skills across all content,” states Dan Smith, Curriculum Coordinator of Fine Arts, Health, & Physical Education.

Research into music education continues to demonstrate educational/cognitive and social skill benefits for children who make music. After two years of music education, research found that participants showed more substantial improvements in how the brain processes speech and reading scores. Social benefits include conflict resolution, teamwork skills, and how to give and receive constructive criticism.