Lakewood Schools Earn Best Communities For Music Education Award

Lakewood City Schools has been honored with the Best Communities for Music Education designation from The NAMM Foundation for its outstanding commitment to music education. Only 4% of districts across the nation are 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. To qualify for the Best Communities designation, the District answered detailed questions about funding, graduation requirements, music class participation, instruction time, facilities, support for the music program, and community music-making programs.

“We are so fortunate in Lakewood to have a community that has a long tradition of supporting music education in our schools. I am proud of our dedicated and talented music department staff, who continually challenge our students to grow musically and strive to instill an appreciation of music in all our students,” said Superintendent Jeff Patterson.

The District’s and community’s commitment to music education is evident in the new Performing Arts wing that will open this August that includes a band room, choir room, eight practice rooms, uniform and equipment storage rooms, a keyboard lab and music library room.

This award recognizes that Lakewood City Schools is leading the way with music learning opportunities as outlined in the new federal education legislation, the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA). The legislation, signed into law in December 2015, and awaiting state implementation designates music and the arts as important elements of well-rounded education for all children.

The Lakewood City School District offers music education from kindergarten through 12th grade. Instrumental instruction begins in 5th grade. Middle school offerings include classroom band, orchestra, and choir with extracurricular opportunities in all three such as Strolling Strings and Jazz Band.

The high school boasts of five orchestras, four choirs, three bands, and classes in music theory, music history, pop music and piano. In addition, our high school extracurricular ensembles provide numerous opportunities for our students to enhance their musical experience through groups such as the Lakewood Ranger Marching Band, The Lakewood Project, Chamber Choir, Jazz Band, just to name a few.

The District’s middle school and high school ensembles routinely score Superior and Excellent ratings at adjudicated competitions. High school students are regularly named to regional and state honors ensembles. Lakewood High has been represented in the National Association for Music Education’s All-National Honors Orchestra the last four out of five years and Lakewood High Orchestra Director Beth Hankins was one of 10 Grammy Music Educator national finalists this year.

Said longtime elementary music teacher Carrie Smith of Lakewood’s legacy of music education excellence: “I love teaching music in the Lakewood community because our families value the arts and help instill the love of music in their children from an early age.”

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Volume 13, Issue 8, Posted 10:01 PM, 04.18.2017