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Denton ISD Named "Best Community for Music Education" 14th Consecutive Year

BCME 2021

Denton ISD’s Music Education Program Receives National Recognition 14th Consecutive Year

Denton, TX – April 7, 2021 – Denton ISD has been honored with the 2021 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. 2021 marks the 14th consecutive year Denton ISD has received this honor.

To qualify for the Best Communities designation, Denton ISD 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.

“Music education is essential to the development of a well-rounded individual. Throughout this pandemic it has been apparent that music provides essential benefits to social emotional learning for students of all ages. Beyond the literacy and critical thinking skills developed, music connects us to one another, to our community, and to our history and culture," says Denton ISD Director of Fine Arts, Dr. Jackie deMontmollin. "Music and all Fine Arts are essential to well-being. We are grateful to NAMM for recognizing the essential work our music educators engage in every day for the benefit of our students and community.”

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, 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.

Research into music education continues to demonstrate educational/cognitive and social skill benefits for children who make music: After two years of music education, researchers found that participants showed more substantial improvements in how the brain processes speech and reading scores than their less-involved peers and that students who are involved in music are not only more likely to graduate high school, but also to attend college as well. Everyday listening skills are stronger in musically trained children than in those without music training. Significantly, listening skills 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 compared to their peers. Not to mention, social benefits include conflict resolution, teamwork skills, and how to give and receive constructive criticism.

Denton ISD is located about 25 miles north of Dallas and Fort Worth – encompasses 186 square miles and contains all or parts of 18 cities, communities or major developments. Denton ISD serves over 30,000 students in four comprehensive high schools, eight middle schools, 24 elementary schools, two early childhood centers, an alternative high school, an advanced technology complex and other specialized schools and centers. Denton ISD ensures that fine arts plays a vital role in developing students who are prepared for the future. Immersion in the arts is an important element to a well-rounded academic experience. The school district and its communities believe in the importance of educating the "whole child" through comprehensive, high-quality fine arts programs. 100% of Denton ISD's elementary students receive weekly instruction in art and music with approximately 87% of the secondary student population receiving training in one or more fine arts disciplines. The district's student participation in arts instruction (K-12) averages 94%. Fine arts programs in Denton ISD are fortunate to enjoy broad support from the local communities, school district, Denton arts groups, and the local universities.

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.