For the seventh year in a row, the Newark Central School District has been designated as one of 623 Best Communities for Music Education in the United States by the NAMM (National Association of Music Merchants) Foundation.
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 for the Best Communities designation, the NCSD answered detailed questions 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.
“We are fortunate in the Newark Central School District to be able to provide such an amazing musical education to our students,” said Cindy Briggs, K-12 Music Department Leader. “From Pre-K all the way through the senior year, it is an important creative learning outlet for our students. It would not be possible without the support of our District administration, Board of Education, community and colleagues who recognize the value of the arts in education and the difference music makes in students’ lives. The entire NCS Music Department is very grateful for this recognition.”
This award recognizes that NCSD is leading the way with learning opportunities as outlined in the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA). The legislation guides implementation in the states and replaces the No Child Left Behind Act (NCLB) which was often criticized for an overemphasis on testing-while leaving behind subjects such as music. ESSA recommends music and the arts as important elements of a well-rounded education for all children.
Palmyra-Macedon Central School District and Wayne Central School District in Wayne County also received the designation, as did the Honeoye Central School District and Honeoye Falls-Lima Central in Ontario County.
Seven Monroe County school districts _ Brighton Central, East Irondequoit Central, Penfield Central, Pittsford Central, Rush-Henrietta, Webster Central and West Irondequoit _ also received NAMM’s BCME designation.
Research into music education continues to demonstrate educational/cognitive and social skill benefits for children who make music.
Briggs commended the entire music department staff for its great work. The staff and their responsibilities include:
• Robert Humphrey: NHS instrumental music teacher who directs Concert Band, Wind Ensemble, Jazz Band and “Downbeat.” He also directs the Pit Band for the NHS musicals and gives grades 9-12 instrumental lessons.
• Kate Flock: NHS vocal music teacher who directs Mixed Chorus, Concert Choir and Vocal Jazz. She gives grades 9-12 vocal lessons and is the musical director for the NHS musicals.
• Mike Ciranni: NHS television production teacher who also teaches Music In Our Lives, Audio Production and teaches general music at Newark Middle School.
• Rebekah Valerio: NMS instrumental music teacher who directs sixth, seventh and eighth grade band and jazz band and gives grades 6-8 instrumental lessons.
• Lisa Clark: NMS Vocal Music teacher who directs sixth, seventh and eighth grade chorus and teaches grades 6-8 general music.
• Cindy Briggs: Kelley School instrumental music teacher who directs Beginning Band, Continuing Band, Bucket Brigade and gives grades 4-5 instrumental lessons.
• Libby Brozik: Kelley School vocal music teacher who directs third, fourth and fifth grade chorus and teaches grades 3-5 general music.
• Mary Lou Bonnell: Lincoln School general music teacher who also provides K-12 music therapy.
• Lara Larsson: Perkins School general music teacher.
In addition to music instruction provided daily by music staff and many music performances throughout the school year, Briggs highlighted some of the music-related activities the NCSD Music Department is connected with:
• Memorial Day Ceremony
• Veteran’s Day Ceremony
• Eastview Mall holiday performances
• Performances for adjudication at NYSSMA majors
• Participation in junior and senior high-level ensembles at the Hochstein School of Music in downtown Rochester.
• The Rochester Philharmonic Orchestra Holiday performance each December
The ELENBE awards for the Performing Arts that are presented in May
• The Kelley School Veteran’s Day Celebration each November
• Rotary Club performances
• The Newark High School & Newark Middle School musicals each Spring
• The Lincoln School Second Grade Holiday Performance
• The Lincoln School Field Day
• Lincoln School “Farewell Fridays”
• ‘The Young Americans’’ outreach tour and group workshops at NCSD every 2-3 years
• Cabaret Night and Jazz Festival
• Chamber of Commerce performances
• Newark students participating in the RPO Holiday Pops Festival Chorus
• The Rochester International Jazz Festival performance
• Kelley School RPO field trips to the Eastman Theatre
• Representation in All-County
• Representation in Area All-State
• Representation at the state level in Conference All-State
• Representation at the Regional level in All-Eastern
• Participation in local and state sponsored solo festivals
• Evaluation of ensembles at the State level
“We are not surprised, but delighted that Newark Central School District has received NAMM’s Best Communities for Music Education designation for the seventh year in a row. It is a well-deserved honor for everyone in our music department,” Superintendent Matt Cook said. “It is also noteworthy because our talented staff engages hundreds of students, parents and other community members each year who contribute in so many different ways to make our program distinctive and a great success.”