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BSD Music Education Recognized!!

Bremerton, WA – Bremerton School District has been honored with the Best Communities for Music Education designation from The NAMM Foundation for its outstanding commitment to music education.

Now in its 21st year, 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, Max Karler, district music coordinator, answered detailed questions about funding, graduation requirements, music class participation, instruction time, facilities, support for the music programs, Responses were verified with school officials and reviewed by The Music Research Institute at the University of Kansas. When asked about the importance of music education and the significance of this recognition, Superintendent Aaron Leavell responded by saying "Our mission in the Bremerton School District is to empower our students to develop the confidence, skills, and perseverance to choose their future and become thriving, contributing members and leaders of society. An essential part of this is providing a wealth of high-quality musical experiences for students. Research has shown that students involved in music report a stronger sense of belonging in their schools, are more socially and emotionally aware of themselves and the impact they have on others, and they perform academically better than students not involved in music. This award is further validation that we are doing high quality work to serve our goals of developing our students into contributing members of society.”

This award recognizes that the Bremerton 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. When asked why music is important, student Courtney Haskan, high school senior, responded by sharing “Music is how I breathe, how I walk, how I love, music is how I live. My closest relationships are based on music as a mutual interest. I sing when I’m sad and when I’m happy. I listen to music to cope and to celebrate. If I’m feeling lost all I need is music and I will find my way. I wake up and the first thing I think about is music, a song I’m learning or how I can spend more time on it. Music is my biggest passion, without it I wouldn’t be me, the person in the halls humming a song or the person dancing around instead of standing still.

Without music, the world would be in the dark without a light. Without music, a lot of people wouldn’t have anything. In Bremerton music is a privilege and a source of community. We
have a family because of music and it's a family of loving and  caring people with one very important thing in common.
Research into music education continues to demonstrate educational/cognitive and social skill benefits for children who make music. After two years of music education, research found that participants showed more substantial improvements in how the brain processes speech and reading scores that their less-involved peers and that students who are involved in music are not only more likely to graduate high school, but also to attend college as well. Everyday listening skills are stronger in musically-trained children that in those without music training. Significantly, listening skills are closely tied to the ability to: perceive speech in a noisy background, pay attention, and keep sounds in memory. Later in life, individuals who took music lessons as children show stronger neural processing of sound; young adults and even older adults who have not played an instrument for up to 50 years show enhanced neural processing compared to their peers. Not to mention, social benefits include conflict resolution, teamwork skills, and how to give and receive constructive criticism.
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.

The Bremerton School District has shown an increasing commitment to its students and its music programs in the recent years. Administration has made staffing allocations to ensure that all elementary students across the district receive an equitable amount of music instruction delivered twice a week for 30 minutes per session from a dedicated, highly qualified music teacher. This has meant the addition of three full time music teachers. Beyond this, the district has found the value in curricular alignment and has added a music coordinator position to help facilitate the music professional learning community.
About The NAMM Foundation The NAMM Foundation is a nonprofit supported in part by the National Association of Music Merchants and its approximately 10,400 members around the world. The foundation advances active participation in music making across the lifespan by supporting scientific research,
philanthropic giving, and public service programs.

For more information about the NAMM Foundation, please visit