Contact: Kirk Wilson, Director of Communications FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
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Mustang Public Schools’ Music Program Earns National Recognition
(Mustang, Oklahoma – April 18, 2022) – Mustang Public Schools (MPS) has been honored with the Best Communities for Music Education designation from The National Association of Music Merchants (NAMM) Foundation for its outstanding commitment to music education. Now in its 23rd 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. MPS is one of only two Districts in Oklahoma to earn this honor.
To qualify for the Best Communities designation, MPS Staff responded to 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.
“We are very proud of our music programs in Mustang, and are excited for them to be recognized on a national level,” Mustang Performing Arts Center Director Samantha Waldrop said. “Our Fine Arts are vitally important to our students, and we recognize the importance that these programs play in their lives and development.
Since the passage of the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) in 2015 and a stated emphasis on a well-rounded education, many school districts have re-committed to music and arts education programs. During the pandemic, music and arts programs were a vital component to keeping students engaged in school. 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.
“Mustang has some of the finest music educators in the nation,” Assistant Superintendent Ryan McKinney said. “These staff dedicate literally hundreds of hours each year, if not more, to their students and programs; this recognition is important to highlight their contributions to our mission of providing a world class education for our students.”
Research into music education continues to demonstrate educational/cognitive and social skill benefits for children who make music: After two years of music education, researchers found that participants showed more substantial improvements in how the brain processes speech and reading scores than 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 than 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.
About The NAMM Foundation
The NAMM Foundation is a nonprofit supported in part by the National Association of Music Merchants and its approximately 10,300 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.
About Mustang Public Schools
The Mustang Public School District covers over 72 square miles in Oklahoma and Canadian counties with the City of Mustang at its center. The district is the largest employer in Canadian County, with more than 1,500 certified and support employees. As one of Oklahoma’s Top Workplaces, the school district offers a comprehensive compensation package for full-time employees, in addition to a satisfying working environment. There are eight elementary schools (grades PreK-4), three intermediate centers (grades 5-6), three middle schools (grades 7-8), one high school (grades 9-12), and an educational center which houses pre-kindergarten and alternative education.
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