The South Orange - Maplewood School District (SOMSD) has been recognized by a national foundation for having an exceptional music education program, according to a release from the district. SOMSD is one of 307 districts nationwide to receive this honor this year.
The NAMM Foundation honored the district with a Best Communities for Music Education (BCME) designation. In its 14th year, BCME affirms school districts that have demonstrated exceptional efforts toward maintaining music education as part of the schools’ core curriculum, according to a NAMM release.
This is the second time SOMSD has received the honor; the first was in 2009.
"I am so proud to work and live in a district that does not take arts education for granted," said Anthony Mazzocchi, the district's Director of Fine and Performing Arts. "I remember sitting in band as a student here. Since I began music instruction in the 4th grade, it has always been thrilling to be sitting with a group of musicians working on the same piece of music. When you are a musician in school, you are part of a great, powerful, vibrant entity; and you know it."
As SOMSD finalizes its 2013–2014 budgets, the designation brings attention to the importance of keeping music education part of school’s core education and music’s vital role in student success in school, according to the release.
The NAMM-funded Cost of Music Education study found that a comprehensive K–12 music education program cost an average of $187 per student per year in the sample district. This year, nearly 2000 schools and school districts participated in the survey - an increase of 366% from 2012, resulting in a record number of designations.
"SOMSD is dedicated to outstanding arts programming for students from grades kindergarten through twelfth, under the leadership of Tony Mazzocchi," said Superintendent Brian Osborne. "South Orange and Maplewood are known as a mecca for the arts and for artists, and our school district reflects these community held values in the broad array of opportunities we provide students to develop as musicians, artists, actors, and dancers. We are so proud of the high honor bestowed on our music programs this year." He continued, "Congratulations to Tony Mazzocchi, to his amazing staff, and to our talented student musicians for this outstanding achievement."
"The arts are so powerful," said Mazzocchi. "Art and music says things the heart can't say any other way, and in a language everyone speaks around the world. And in SOMSD, we are giving generations of students the opportunity to experience this. We are all very lucky."
To see the complete list of school districts, visit this link.