Music programs get national acclaim
San Marcos CISD has been honored with the Best Communities for Music Education designation from The NAMM Foundation for its outstanding commitment to music education. SMCISD is one of four percent of districts across the nation 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, SMCISD 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.
Monica Ruiz-Mills, assistant superintendent for Teaching, Learning and Assessments, said, “We are extremely proud of our Music Programs in SMCISD. Earning the NAMM Best Communities for Music Education is an honor because it recognizes the support given to our programs, and the value of a 360 degree education. We are thankful to our Board of Trustees and community for their dedication to the success of our programs. Our teachers play a vital role in the teaching and learning of Music, and all Fine Arts, by creating varied learning environments that foster multiple literacies and appreciation for the arts.”
This award recognizes that SMCISD 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.
As SMCISD finalizes its 2017-2018 budget, The NAMM Foundation’s Best Communities for Music Education Award and the state level implementation of the federal ESSA law bring attention to the importance of keeping music education part of curriculum offerings and available to all students. It also highlights music’s vital role in students’ overall success in school and the personal benefits of making music.
Some SMCISD students added their thoughts as to why a music education is important to them:
“Music Education inspires the appreciation of human refinement, civilization, and learning. It promotes a greater understanding of the world we live in and where we came from. All of this is accomplished by a shared characteristic amongst all cultures and ethnicities. It is a crucial aspect in order for us to appreciate the human condition.” -- Luis Gonzalez-Aponte
“The education of music is critical for young minds in this world. It opens up a world of creativity and teamwork at the highest of calibers. Music is a place for all people and where the smallest contribution can change someone’s life.” -- Shane Rowe
“The music program at San Marcos High School is one of the top reasons why I am in the top 10 percent of my senior class, as well as a SMHS graduate. Ever since joining the Goodnight Middle School choir program back in 2011, it has changed me as a person forever. Being a part of a choir for the past six years of my life has taught me things I know I would have never learned if it wasn’t for my choir directors’ hard work and dedication. They taught me perseverance, strength, technique, stability, and most importantly confidence. The reason why confidence would be the most important to me is because when I started my singing career in middle school, I was at the lowest point I have ever experienced due to bullying, and singing with the people I loved and cared for in that choir class on a daily basis pulled me out of that. Working on my musicianship and my personality through teamwork in choir with the direction of two of my biggest role models pushed me to be the best person I could be, not just a singer. Without this program I do not know if I would be in the same place I am at this moment. I am forever grateful for everything my directors and this program, in general, has done for me, and will never forget the musical memories we have created along the way.” -- Steven Morales
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, “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.
San Marcos CISD has outstanding, award-winning music programs taught by a dedicated team of educators. Each spring during March—the official Music in Our Schools Month—all the music programs gather on a Saturday at the San Marcos High School for a full day of musical performances for the community.
Superintendent of Schools Michael Cardona said, “SMCISD is proud to receive this recognition from the NAMM Foundation. In the words of Mary Luehrisen, Executive Director for NAMM, ‘A music-rich experience for children of singing, listening, and moving is really bringing a very serious benefit to children as they progress into more formal learning.’ SMCISD is committed to not only increasing exposure for music education but increasing access across all spectrum’s of fine arts because of the fundamental belief that these experiences will create students who leaders, critical thinkers, adaptable and productive, skilled communicators, and post-secondary ready learners who will be successful in whatever life path they choose.”