Milpitas named a Best Community for Music for the third time.
Milpitas, CA. (March 24, 2016) – Milpitas Unified School District has been honored with the Best Communities for Music Education designation from the NAMM Foundation for its outstanding commitment to music education. Milpitas Unified joins 476 districts across the country in receiving the prestigious award in 2016.
The Best Communities Music Education designation is awarded to districts that demonstrate outstanding achievement in efforts to provide music access and education to all students.
Districts that have been recognized by the NAMM Foundation are often held up as models for other educators looking to boost their own music education programs.
To qualify for the Best Communities designation, Milpitas Unified 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.
This award recognizes that Milpitas Unified is leading the way with learning opportunities as outlined in the new federal education legislation, the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA). The legislation, signed into law in December 2015, replaces No Child Left Behind Act (NCLB), which was often criticized for an overemphasis on testing—while leaving behind subject such as music. ESSA recommends music and the arts as important elements of well-rounded education for all children.
“I work with an incredible group of music teachers who set high standards for their students, and help students achieve at very high levels. Our large and growing student enrollment in music is a testament to the work of these teachers and of the support music education has received from the district, community, school board and administrators, " said Chris Kaldy, District Music Lead. “Each year a growing number of our students are also being recognized for outstanding individual achievement, and are being accepted into the California All-State Honor Bands and Orchestras as well as Youth Orchestras, Drum Corps, and top colleges throughout the United States.”
As Milpitas Unified finalizes its 2016-2017 budget, the NAMM Foundation’s Best Communities for Music Education Award and the implementation of the federal ESSA law bring attention to the importance of keeping music education part of the school’s core education for all students. It also highlights music’s vital role in students’ overall success in school.
Community music programs have been drawing increased attention because of a landmark study by Northwestern University brain scientists. These researchers found new links between students in community music programs and academic success in subjects such as reading.
Beyond the Northwestern study, other reports indicate that learning to play music can boost academic and social skills, such as processing math and learning to cooperate in group settings.
A 2015 study, “Striking A Chord” supported by the NAMM Foundation, also outlines the overwhelming desire by teachers and parents for music education opportunities for all children as part of the school curriculum.
Milpitas Unified has a total of 7 full and part time music teachers who serve 9 elementary schools, 2 middle schools, and Milpitas High School, where they teach a total of 34 music classes and almost 1,000 students combined.
The classes include 18 elementary bands, 4 middle school bands, 4 high school concert bands, 1 percussion ensemble, 1 jazz band, 4 orchestras, 1 marching band and color guard, AP Music Theory, and 5 choirs.