Berkeley, California March 18, 2013 – The NAMM Foundation has recognized Berkeley Unified School District (BUSD) for its outstanding commitment to music education with a Best Communities for Music Education (BCME) designation.
In its 14th year, Best Communities for Music Education honors school districts that have demonstrated exceptional efforts toward maintaining music education as part of the schools’ core curriculum. Berkeley is one of only 10 districts in California named among the 307 districts nation-wide to receive the distinction this year.
This announcement comes at a special time, as BUSD music teachers prepare their students for the annual district-wide Performing Arts Showcase on March 24th, 2013. “I am thrilled to share this recognition with the students, parents, teachers and community music partners in Berkeley,” said Suzanne McCulloch, BUSD Visual and Performing Arts Program Supervisor.
A NAMM-funded Cost of Music Education study found that an average district spends $187 per student per year for a comprehensive K–12 music education program. Suzanne McCulloch indicated that the BUSD actually invests close to $330 per student per year.
As Berkeley Unified finalizes its 2013–2014 budgets, the announcement of this year’s Best Communities for Music Education designation brings attention to the importance of keeping music education part of school’s core education and music’s vital role in student success in school.
“As educators, we recognize the power of arts education to enrich students’ lives and strengthen their learning in other subjects,” stated Co-Superintendent Neil Smith. “This community has always supported the District’s commitment to the arts through Berkeley Schools Excellence Program (BSEP) Measure A 2006, and through our local foundations.”
The BCME designation is part of the NAMM Foundation’s efforts 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.
In order to qualify for the designation districts must answer 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 Institute for Educational Research and Public Service of Lawrence, Kansas, an affiliate of the University of Kansas.