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Berkley Schools Nationally Recognized for Outstanding Music Education

Foundation honors district's commitment and support as part of the core curriculum.

is being recognized for its outstanding music education this year.

The National Association of Music Merchants (NAMM) Foundation has named the Berkley School District a 2012 Best Community for Music Education, recognizing it for its commitment and support for music education as part of the core curriculum.

"I am very proud of our teachers, students, parents, and community supporters of the music program. This is yet another example of the great things going on in the Berkley School District,” Interim Superintendent Dennis McDavid said in a news release.

Berkley is one of seven school districts in Michigan to receive the award, including Troy, Bloomfield Hills, Fraser and Ann Arbor. A total of 176 school districts nationwide were recognized.

"Despite very challenging times for K-12 state of Michigan public school budgets, the Berkley School District stays focused on the whole child, preserving our award winning music programs,” according to Mary Beth Fitzpatrick, director of Curriculum, Technology, Assessment and Grants.

Berkley's music education program has many elements that draw in hands-on music training and community involvement, including:

  • Berkley offers band, choir and orchestra beginning in grade 5.
  • All elementary students receive music instruction each week, all year long.
  • The community is incredibly supportive of the music program as evidenced by student participation in ensembles, parents’ willingness to invest in quality instruments, attendance at concerts and fundraisers.
  • “We are incredibly grateful to Dan McCourt and (also a NAMM member) for all they do to support our music program and our children," McDavid said. The Berkley business supports students with instrument rentals and repairs, underwriting the fourth-grade musical instrument exploration night, demonstrating all instruments to all fourth-grade students.
  • The middle and high school bands, choirs and orchestras consistently receive outstanding ratings at district and state level festivals.

Maryann Maiuri, the district music coordinator, said a solid music education is “deeply rooted in the traditions” of the Berkley School District.

“It's such a small town feel; many employees work and live in Berkley, send their children to Berkley Schools and went here themselves," she said in the news release. "… Not only are they excellent educators, but they're also outstanding musicians who continue to play music beyond the classroom setting and refine their craft as part of their own personal, professional development, which in turn benefits our students."

Best Communities in Music Education has been surveying communities since 1991 to highlight places in the nation where strong commitments to music are exemplified. The program grades school systems based on areas of graduation requirements, music class participation, facilities, instruction time and support for the music program.

School districts honored have scored in the 80th percentile or higher in the grading process. The national survey was designed and is implemented in collaboration with The Institute for Educational Research and Public Service of Lawrence, an affiliate of the University of Kansas.

For more information on the program and the full list, click here.

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