Best Communities for Music Education Award

Community  /  Employees  /  Parents Colored squares with a variety of instruments

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

This is the tenth time our District has received this prestigious, national recognition of our music program. This year we are one of only three districts in Oregon to receive the award, and one of nine in the Pacific Northwest. The other two Oregon districts are the Culver School District and Salem-Keizer Public Schools.

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, we 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.

David Douglas has a long, proud history of music education. We are among the few districts to provide full-time music teachers at the elementary level, giving every elementary student exposure to early music education. Nearly 2,300 David Douglas middle and high school students participate in our robust choir, band and orchestra programs at the secondary levels. And that doesn’t include the dozens of advanced 5th graders who have the opportunity to perform at the middle school level.

This award recognizes that David Douglas 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. 

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.

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 www.nammfoundation.org.