Despite the increasing rigor and detail required for inclusion on the NAMM Foundation’s Best Communities for Music Education list, the Bay Village City School District has once again been so honored for its exemplary music program. The district has been named to the prestigious list each year since 2003. We are among 25 Ohio school districts, and 388 districts in 46 states nationwide, to achieve the designation recognizing an exceptionally high commitment and access to music education.
The designation takes on added significance this year with new research showing strong ties between music education and overall student success. A new body of evidence, released at the start of the school year by Northwestern University brain researcher Dr. Nina Kraus, shows that participation in music education programs helps improve brain function and sparks language development. The Associated Press, The Wall Street Journal and National Public Radio highlighted the new research.
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. This year, districts had to offer examples of how music teachers collaborate lessons and activities with regular classroom teachers. The responses were verified with district officials, and advisory organizations reviewed the data. The survey was developed and administered by The Institute for Educational Research and Public Service, an affiliate of the University of Kansas.
Music instructors at the Bay Village City School District are Darren Allen (Bay High instrumental), Mark Awad (Bay Middle instrumental), Dr. E. James Kotora (Normandy music), Elaine Dwyer (Normandy music), Carrie Engelbrecht (Westerly vocal), Devon Gess (Bay High vocal), Heidi Herczeg (Bay Middle vocal), Jeffrey Schimelpfenig (Westerly strings), and Carrie Singler (Bay High and Bay Middle instrumental).
“Music is truly an integral part of our schools and the Bay Village community,” said Clinton Keener, superintendent of the Bay Village City School District. “Our students, parents and music instructors are passionate about music, and our community members of all ages turn out in droves for our student performances.”
Keener noted that Bay Village just wouldn’t be the same without music provided by the schools. “Our student musicians and vocalists contribute to the quality of life here, whether leading the homecoming parade, the Memorial Day parade or the local merchant’s Boo Village Parade at Halloween. Our jazz bands bring senior citizens and their younger counterparts to their feet during our annual Ballroom Blitz. Our holiday concerts have become cherished traditions that leave our audiences with uplifted spirits. And it’s a joy to watch our spring musical with live music from our Pit Orchestra, rather than taped music,” he said. “We have an exceptionally high percentage of students participating in our music programs, and they add a festive, musical note wherever a sense of celebration is required and wherever community members gather.