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County Recognized as Best Community for Music Education

Roanoke County Public Schools has again been recognized as one of the nation’s best communities for music education and one of only five school systems in Virginia.  The County School system has received this distinction in 2002, 2003, 2004, 2006, 2008, 2009, 2010 and again in 2011.

As the economy challenges state and local school budgets to adequately support education, the 172 school districts named by the NAMM Foundation demonstrate an unwavering commitment to provide music education for their students. The NAMM Foundation’s mission is to ensure that all children have access to quality music education programs that encourage lifelong participation in music making.

“We are committed to providing quality arts instruction for our students,” said Roanoke County Public Schools Superintendent Dr. Lorraine Lange.  “We believe the arts are an important part of the learning process,” Lange added.

“Considering how hard communities are fighting to maintain school music programs, earning a designation this year has become more relevant than ever. We are proud to acknowledge these districts and schools and grateful for their commitment to a complete education that includes music,” said Mary Luehrsen, executive director of the NAMM Foundation, which sponsors the program. “Never has the evidence been more compelling: there is a direct correlation between music education and success in other areas of a student’s life. It is therefore crucial to continue funding music and arts education.”

While past designees have reported that making the Best Communities list had a positive effect on their ability to preserve music for their students, Luehrsen cautioned that there is great concern for this year and that local advocacy for music education is important.

“Given that we continue to see some of the deepest education cuts in decades, it’s entirely possible that many of the schools recognized in this year’s list may still lose or diminish their excellent programs,” she said.  “We urge communities to celebrate the designation as a national recognition for their commitment to children – we all just need to do this for kids.”

Each school receiving the “Best Communities” designation scored in the 80th percentile or higher in the survey’s grading process. Participants in the survey answered detailed questions about funding, graduation requirements, music class participation, instruction time, facilities, support for the music program, and other relevant factors in their communities’ music education programs. The responses were verified with district officials and advisory organizations reviewed the data.


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