The RCS District has been honored with the Best Communities for Music Education designation from The NAMM Foundation for its outstanding commitment to music education. Now in its 22nd 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. This marks the fourth year in a row that the district has received this recognition.
"We are so proud to receive this distinction. It truly represents the dedication of the entire RCS community to music education," said K-12 Art and Music Curriculum Content Specialist and High School Choral Director, Michelle McLoughlin. "Included in the 2020-21 school year's application process was a detailed look at how we have overcome the many obstacles presented by the pandemic safety restrictions to still provide quality music opportunities for our students. Being recognized for those efforts is a testament to our incredibly hard working music students and teachers, as well as everyone involved who helped us to keep music alive in our schools."
To qualify for the Best Communities designation, the RCS District 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.
Since the passage by Congress in 2015 of the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) and a stated emphasis on a well-rounded education, many school districts have re-committed to music and arts education programs and found that in this time of a national pandemic, music and arts education provides a valuable way to keep students engaged in school. ESSA provides designated funding for well-rounded educational opportunities through Title IV Part A Student Academic Success and Achievement grants. NAMM Foundation research has revealed that these grants are being widely used by school districts to address instructional gaps in access to music and arts education.