GFPS receives music community designation

Great Falls Public Schools has been selected with the Best Communities for Music Education designation from the National Association of Music Merchants Foundation for the 12th consecutive year.

In its 23rd year, the designation is awarded to districts that demonstrate outstanding achievement in efforts to provide music access and education to all students, according to a release.

To qualify for the designation, GFPS answered detailed questions about funding, graduation requirements, music class participation, instruction time, facilities, support for the music program and community music-making programs, according to the foundation, and those responses were verified with school officials and reviewed by The Music Research Institute at the University of Kansas.

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“Great Falls is a community that values the arts, and our students have reaped the benefits from keeping a strong arts program with a vibrant music component intact in the face of a pandemic,” Dusty Molyneaux, GFPS music and art supervisor, said in a release. “Being recognized again for this award validates the statements we make as a District about the importance of studying music for the success of our student’s overall education and the well-being of our community.”

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Since the passage of the Every Student Succeeds Act in 2015 and an emphasis on a well-rounded education, many school districts have re-committed to music and arts education programs, according to the release.

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“During the pandemic, music and arts programs were a vital component to keeping students engaged in school. ESSA provides designated funding for well-rounded educational opportunities through Title IV Part A Student Academic Success and Achievement grants. NAMM Foundation research has revealed that these grants are being widely used by school districts to address instructional gaps in access to music and arts education,” according to the foundation.

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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 more likely to graduate high school, but also to attend college as well, according to the foundation.