The Sycamore Community School District has been honored for the 8th consecutive year with the Best Communities for Music Education designation from the NAMM Foundation for its outstanding commitment to music education. Sycamore joins 527 school districts across the country in receiving the prestigious award in 2017. 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, Sycamore 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 Sycamore 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 subjects such as music. ESSA recommends music and the arts as important elements of well-rounded education for all children.
Sycamore Schools Supervisor of Music, Lonnie Stover says, “Earning this designation is a tremendous honor and speaks to the support for music as a key component of each child’s educational experience here at Sycamore. To have earned this award for eight consecutive years clearly indicates the deep and sustained commitment our community, administration, parents and staff have to providing the highest possible quality musical experiences to our students.”