WEST NEWBURY — Superintendent Justin Bartholomew is pleased to announce that the Pentucket Regional School District has been recently honored with the Best Communities for Music Education award from the NAMM Foundation.
For the past 22 years, this honor has been awarded to districts that demonstrate outstanding achievement in efforts to provide music access and education to all students.
“I am thrilled that our district was awarded this incredible honor,” said Superintendent Bartholomew. “This award speaks volumes, especially to our music faculty who work so hard and dedicate countless hours in order to provide our students with the best possible musical education.”
To qualify for this honor, each district answered detailed questions about funding, graduation requirements, music class participation, instruction time, facilities, support for the music program and community music-making programs.
This school year, the district adjusted its music program like all other programs to support hybrid and remote learning. Middle and high school students participating in hybrid learning were given an opportunity to focus on mechanics and musical skills this school year through assignments tailored to foster independence and self assessment. Students at the elementary school level participated in music instruction remotely due to the district’s public health requirements for its elementary schools, and as a result educators were able to teach 15 minute mini-lessons to students individually. This offered educators an opportunity to work with students one on one to help them reach their goals.
The district has a longstanding tradition of excellence in its music program, and offers separate middle and high school percussion and jazz programs for credit. Students who have accumulated at least 30 credits in the music department are recognized at their high school graduation.
The district’s music instructors are specialists in their fields of jazz, percussion, strings and woodwinds, and are active in their professional pursuits performing, publishing, recording, presenting and guest conducting.
Pentucket is also a National Association for Music Education (NAfME) Tri-M National Music Honor Society chapter. Students in the program have also earned top awards at the Berklee College of Music, University of New Hampshire, and Massachusetts Association for Jazz Education (MAJE) Jazz Festivals, as well as spots in District, All-State, and All-National ensembles and acceptance into top music schools around the country. Of alumni from the class of 2020 who studied jazz at Pentucket, 40% are majoring in music at their college or university, and 22% of alumni from that class who studied music at the district decided to pursue music as their major. The district has seen similar percentages of students pursue music at the post-secondary level over the past three years.
Responses were verified with school officials and reviewed by the Music Research Institute at the University of Kansas.
“Music education intrinsically encompasses the uppermost levels of Bloom’s Taxonomy and the 4 C’s of 20th Century Learning (critical thinking, collaboration, creativity and communication) to foster higher-order thinking skills in its students,” said Director of Jazz David Schumacher. “In no other academic subject are these crucial opportunities as prevalent or ubiquitous. Nor does any other subject offer as clear and innate a path to social and emotional wellness for students. There has never been a more important moment to support music and the Arts.”
“Music is the purest expression of the human condition, and it has held a central role in every culture of every era since time immemorial. We teach music not as a mere novelty or as a means to some external end, but so that our students can become more complete human beings, and can revel in the splendor of what it is to be alive,” said Bobby Spellman, a 2006 alumni of the district and trumpet player.
Spellman and several other alumni participated in the district’s virtual Cafe Jazz event to commemorate the 20th year of the event. The district has a strong alumni network through its music department.
The Pentucket Music Department also wishes to recognize and thank community groups who have long supported its mission and enabled its work including the Pentucket Music Boosters, Pentucket Arts Foundation and the Pentucket Educaiton Foundation. Individual members of the community have also given kind donations to support the program over the years.
About The NAMM Foundation
The NAMM Foundation is a nonprofit supported in part by the National Association of Music Merchants and its approximately 10,400 members around the world. The foundation advances active participation in music-making by supporting scientific research, philanthropic giving and public service programs. For more information about The NAMM Foundation, please visit www.nammfoundation.org.