To qualify, Fairfield City Schools responded to a series of detailed questions about funding, graduation requirements, music class participation, instruction time, facilities, and support for its music programs. Responses were verified with school officials and reviewed by The Music Research Institute at the University of Kansas.
“The Fairfield City School District is honored to be recognized as one of the Best Communities for Music Education,” said Billy Smith, Superintendent of Fairfield City Schools. “Our students, staff, parents, and community members understand the importance of providing an outstanding music education program for our students, and the district is very excited to be recognized by the NAMM Foundation for our commitment to music education.”
This award recognizes that Fairfield City Schools 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.
“Music education has been important of Fairfield City Schools from the districts beginning,” said Katie Pennell, Instructional Specialist for Music. “I attended Fairfield High School and participated in every music ensemble my schedule would allow. Fairfield understands that music education is vital to the growth of the whole child. To teach and work in this district is a dream come true.”
Michael Hofstetter, a music student at Fairfield High School, said music education is important “because it allows students to express themselves. Music provides students an opportunity to learn about teamwork, grit, and responsibility. Lessons learned through music can provide tools to succeed in life."
Laurel Myers, also a music student at Fairfield agreed. “Music Education plays a crucial role in shaping the musicians, performers, and leaders of the future,” she said.
“The impact of music education goes beyond the music itself: it builds character, responsibility, drive, and bonds that will last a lifetime,” she added. “The opportunities provided in my own experiences with music education have allowed me to explore my passions, to create a personal experience with music, and most importantly, to share the joy of music with others.”
Research in music education continues to show educational/cognitive and social skill benefits for children who make music. After two years in a music program, researchers found that participants showed more substantial improvements in how the brain processes speech and reading scores than their less-involved peers. Additionally, students involved in music are more likely to graduate high school and attend college. Benefits also include stronger listening skills which are closely tied to the ability to perceive speech in a noisy background, pay attention, and keep sounds in memory.
Later in life, individuals who took music lessons as children show stronger neural processing of sound; young adults and even older adults who have not played an instrument for up to 50 years show enhanced neural processing. Additionally, social benefits include conflict resolution, teamwork skills, and how to give and receive constructive criticism.
The NAMM Foundation supported the 2015 study, “Striking A Chord,” which outlined the overwhelming desire of parents and teachers to have music education opportunities included in school curriculum.
The Fairfield City School District provides a challenging and supportive environment for the education of approximately 10,000 students in preschool through 12th grade. With 11 schools in the city of Fairfield and Fairfield Township, district programs reflect the needs of a diverse population, which ranges from offering academic services that support every learner, to advanced placement and honors courses.
Fairfield’s Fine Arts programs, including visual art, drama, choral, and instrumental can boast of state, regional and national recognition and commendation, regularly participating in and winning highest honors in invitation-only events and competitions.
About The NAMM Foundation
The NAMM Foundation is a nonprofit supported in part by the National Association of Music Merchants and its approximately 10,400 members around the world. The foundation advances active participation in music making across the lifespan by supporting scientific research, philanthropic giving, and public service programs. For more information about the NAMM Foundation, please visit www.nammfoundation.org.
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