PMSD Music Education Program Receives 7th National Recognition

APR 13 2022, 7:45 pm

SWIFTWATER — The Pocono Mountain School District was honored with its seventh consecutive Best Communities for Music Education designation from The NAMM Foundation for the district’s outstanding commitment to music education.

To qualify for the annual Best Communities designation, PMSD 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.

“I am extremely proud of Pocono Mountain School District’s K to 12 music programs,” said Dr. Elizabeth Robison, Superintendent of Schools.  “Our K-12 Music and Fine Arts programs continue to thrive thanks to the hard work and dedication of our entire music education team, and the support of our parents, Board of Education, Administrators, community partners, and booster clubs.  Most importantly, our students are excelling in these programs.”

Pocono Mountain SD was one of 738 school districts out of 13,515 across the nation to receive the Best Community for Music Education recognition, which puts the district’s program in the top 5% across the country.

“It is an incredible honor to have our K-12 Music and Fine Arts program recognized by NAMM as one of the best,” said Dr. Catherine Sweeney, the Assistant Superintendent for Curriculum. “While many school districts have reduced their Music and Fine Arts offerings, we continue to improve and expand these opportunities for our students.  Our team of music educators and administrators developed a topnotch Music and Fine Arts curriculum to help our students grow and achieve artistically and academically.”

Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, music and arts programs have remained a vital component to keeping students engaged in school. 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.

NAMM will formally recognize the PMSD Music and Fine Arts program at an upcoming School Board Meeting.

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