Santa Barbara Unified School District honored as 2018 Best Communities for Music Education

Dos Pueblos High School Jazz BandSanta Barbara 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.

The Best Communities for Music Education designation is awarded to districts that demonstrate outstanding achievement in efforts to provide music access and education to all students. To qualify for the Best Communities designation, Santa Barbara Unified School District 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.

“The children of Santa Barbara Unified School District are blessed as beneficiaries of a vision for music education in our district,” said Kim Hoj, Coordinator of Special Programs, “We are grateful to be nationally recognized as a ‘best community’ for music education. This recognition honors our accomplishments and is reflection of the dedication of all our music educators.”

Students holding frames in front of their facesThe 2018 Best Communities for Music Education recognizes that Santa Barbara Unified School District is leading the way with learning opportunities as outlined in the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA). The legislation guides implementation in the states and replaces the 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 a well-rounded education for all children.

“Music education reinforces the 21st Century skills that are highly sought after in the workplace today including teamwork, communication, self-discipline and creativity. Our students are very lucky to live in a community where music is recognized as an essential part of their education and where our music educators and community partners are committed to providing high quality music education for all of our students,” said Karen Dutton, Santa Barbara Unified School District music educator.

Research into music education continues to demonstrate educational/cognitive and social skill benefits for children who make music. In a series of landmark studies by scientists and researchers at Northwestern University a link was found between students in community music programs and life-long academic success, including higher high school graduation rates and college attendance. In another study from the University, it was discovered that the benefits of early exposure to music education improves how the brain processes and assimilates sounds, a trait that lasts well into adulthood.

Beyond the Northwestern research, other studies have indicated that music education lays the foundation for individual excellence in group settings, creative problem solving and flexibility in work situations, as well learning how to give and receive constructive criticism to excel.

A 2015 study supported by The NAMM Foundation, “Striking A Chord,” also outlines the overwhelming desire by teachers and parents for music education opportunities for all children as part of the school curriculum.

Santa Barbara Unified School District is proud to offer a vibrant music program for students in grades K-12.