by Nicole Reitz
The Phoenix Central School District and the Mexico Academy and Central School District were recognized by the NAMM Foundation as one of the country’s Best Communities for Music Education.
The distinction acknowledges schools and districts across the United States for their commitment to and support for music education.
In all, 373 communities were recognized, including 307 school districts and 66 schools.
New York State dominated the list, accounting for 84 of the 307 award-winning districts in 2013.
Mexico and Phoenix are the only districts in Oswego County to earn the distinction from the NAMM Foundation.
“I’m very proud of the fact that we are one of the best,” said Judy Belfield, Phoenix superintendent of schools.
Participation in the competition set a record this year. Nearly 2,000 schools and school districts competed by filling out detailed surveys for the foundation, which is affiliated with the National Association of Music Merchants.
University of Kansas researchers analyzed information on funding, staffing and commitment to standards and student access to music instruction.
According to NAMM, the increase in survey participation is an indication of growing support from both parents and administrators who see the vital tole that music learning plays in student achievement.
Part of the NAMM Foundation’s mission is to advocate for school-based music education. Numerous studies have demonstrated that learning to play music can boost other academic and social skills, such as math and learning to cooperate in a group.
Many districts across the country have cut music programs as means to deal with tight budgets.