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Kingsport City Schools music education recognized nationally

Rick Wagner • Jun 28, 2018 at 8:30 AM

KINGSPORT — A local school system has been honored as one of the best nationwide for music education.

Kingsport City Schools again has received the Best Communities for Music Education (BCME) designation from the National Association of Music Merchants (NAMM) Foundation for the system’s commitment to music education.

Out of more than 13,500 school districts in the United States, KCS was among 583 selected for the 2018 BCME award and among five in Tennessee.

The designation is awarded to districts that demonstrate outstanding achievement in efforts to provide music access and education to all students. To qualify for the designation, KCS 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.

“Kingsport’s music programs and the awards and accolades they receive are the result of Kingsport City School’s longstanding commitment to providing students a well-rounded education, which includes music. Another important factor is support from stakeholders like parents, teachers and community partners,” Dobyns-Bennett High School band director Lafe Cook said Wednesday.

The excellence and progress of the KCS music department are led by teachers Ross Bader, Rachel Cinnamon, Cook, Patty Denmark, Lydia Elam, Ryan Gilbert, Turner Hawkins, Kristian Hefner, Kim Hutchison, Debbie Johnson, Sandra Kerney, Carole Makowski, Angela Miller, Hunter Mullins, Jenny Rogers, Shauna Slemp, Connie Treadway, Seth Wallingford and Rachel Zollinger.

“Kingsport City Schools has held a long tradition of excellence in music education, with consistent, ongoing, and purposeful improvements and expansions through the years,” D-B Assistant Principal and KCS Secondary Arts Supervisor Richard Brown said in a news release Tuesday. “This tradition is most evident through our outstanding and nationally competitive high school bands, orchestras and choirs, supported by exemplary elementary school and middle school music programs. The greater Kingsport community recognizes the value of music education for all students. We are pleased to receive this award in response to our city’s commitment to music education.”

Research continues to demonstrate educational/cognitive and social skill benefits for children who participate in music programs. In a series of studies at Northwestern University, a link was found between students in community music programs and lifelong academic success, including higher graduation rates and college attendance. Another study from Northwestern found that early exposure to music education improves how the brain processes and assimilates sounds, a trait that lasts well into adulthood.

Other studies have indicated that music education lays the foundation for individual excellence in group settings, creative problem solving and flexibility in work situations, as well as learning how to give and receive constructive criticism in pursuit of excellence. A 2015 study supported by the NAMM Foundation, “Striking A Chord,” outlines an overwhelming desire by teachers and parents for music education opportunities for all children as part of the school curriculum.

For more information about the NAMM Foundation, visit www.nammfoundation.org.

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