FORNEY, Texas — For the sixth straight year, the Forney Independent School District has been named one of the Best Communities for Music Education by the National Association of Music Merchants (NAMM) Foundation.
During the district's board meeting on Monday, February 8, 2021, Texas House District 4 Representative Keith Bell presented the award and a proclamation from Texas Governor Greg Abbott to Forney ISD Fine Arts Director Mario Luna.
"The award program recognizes outstanding efforts by teachers, administrators, parents, students and community leaders who have made music education part of a well-rounded education," according to the NAMM Foundation. "Designations are made to districts and schools that demonstrate an exceptionally high commitment and access to music education."
Forney ISD was among 754 school districts, out of more than 13,500 nationally, to be selected for the recognition.
"Even in this time of uncertainty, the Best Community districts and SupportMusic schools show what can be done when teachers, school and community leaders, and parents all agree that music is essential and not optional as a learning force that must be available to all students," stated Mary Luehrsen, Executive Director of The NAMM Foundation. "More so now than ever and as evident by the creative music learning by both teachers and students that continue from home and online, music education plays a crucial role in students’ social and emotional connections to each other and the community."
More from the NAMM Foundation:
Since the passage by Congress in 2015 of the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) and a stated emphasis on a well-rounded education, many school districts have re-committed to music and arts education programs. 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.
Even in the face of statewide school closures, many districts continue to affirm music education and its benefits for students, schools, and communities. In 2018, Music Matters, the condensed guide from the Arts Education Partnership and co-sponsored by the Country Music Foundation and The NAMM Foundation, was released. The report offered vital findings, including music students do better in English, math, and science than their peers without music, and more music and art equals fewer dropouts and a reduced number of suspensions.
Over the past 21 years, the number of school districts gaining BCME recognition has grown, from fewer than 100 in 1999 to more than 700 today. BCME designation has helped raise local awareness of quality music programs from coast to coast and has assisted communities in securing funds for music programs threatened by budget cuts.