Published in the April 7, 2017 edition.

WAKEFIELD – Wakefield Public Schools has been honored with the Best Communities for Music Education designation from The NAMM Foundation for its outstanding commitment to music education.

Wakefield is one of 4 percent of districts across the nation and one of 13 school districts in Massachusetts receiving the prestigious award in 2017. This is the fifth time in the last six years that Wakefield has been recognized for with this award.

Now in its 18th year, Best Communities for Music Education affirms school districts that have demonstrated exceptional efforts toward maintaining music education as part of schools’ core curriculum.

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, Wakefield 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.

Thomas Bankert, the School Department’s director of Visual and Performing Arts, said, “I am very proud of the Wakefield Community, Wakefield Music Boosters and the Wakefield School Department for their continued support of music in the town of Wakefield. This is a K-12 designation, which shows the value that is put on music throughout the school system. Thank you to the school department, parents and especially the music teachers for all of their hard work and dedication to providing a quality music education for all students.”

The Best Communities for Music Education program plays an important part of the

NAMM Foundation’s efforts to make music education part of the core curriculum assuring that the benefits of music making are available to every child. Numerous studies have demonstrated that learning to play music can boost academic and social skills, lower disciplinary action and keep kids in schools.