The National Association of Music Merchants (NAMM) Foundation has named District 99 as one of the best communities in the nation for music education. The award recognizes the outstanding efforts by teachers, administrators, parents, and students at Downers Grove North High and Downers Grove South High, as well as the entire community, who make music education part of the curriculum.
According to The NAMM Foundation, awards are made to districts that demonstrate an exceptionally high commitment and access to comprehensive music education. It evaluates funding, staffing of highly qualified teachers, commitment to standards and access to music instruction to select the winning districts.
“We are privileged to offer a broad and dynamic music program that impacts the lives of thousands of students each year,” says Superintendent Dr. Hank Thiele. “One very important gauge of the quality of a school system is the extent to which it supports and celebrates the arts, and this award speaks to and reinforces our strong commitment to the fine arts.”
The Best Communities for Music Education (BCME) award program started in 1999; this year, District 99 is one of 10 school districts in Illinois recognized by The NAMM Foundation.
“This award is a tremendous honor, as well as a testament to both the skills of our students and the quality of our music educators,” says Fine Arts Department Chair at North High Brayer Teague. “It also highlights the positive ripple effect that music has in engaging the entire community.”
“I cannot imagine teaching in a more supportive community than District 99,” says Fine Arts Department Chair at South High Glenn Williams. “As we foster appreciation for music in our students, we also enrich the lives of those in our community with our programs and performances.”
Both Downers Grove North High School and Downers Grove South High School offer comprehensive programs that include concert bands, jazz bands, orchestra, and choirs as well as offering courses in AP Music Theory, Guitar and Digital Music composition. Abundant curricular and extra-curricular opportunities exist for students, including frequent community performances like marching and singing at Independence Day and Memorial Day parades. Instrumental and choral ensembles from D99 have been accepted to perform at state and national conventions. They also create special programming for preschool children, middle school students, alumni groups and older adults. In addition, student musicians represent the schools outside the community; for example, recent performances have taken place at Carnegie Hall in New York City, the Sugar Bowl, and Disneyworld. Students also continue to participate in a 25+ year old musical and cultural exchange with a music school in Beitigheim-Bissingen, Germany.
“We have been awarding the Best Communities for Music Education for 18 years, and it is heartening to see how many parents and community members check to see if their schools have been recognized,” says Executive Director of The NAMM Foundation Mary Luehrsen. “Parents are choosing to live where schools are committed to music education offerings that are part of the curriculum.”
Click here for additional information about the 2017 Best Communities for Music Education.