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West Orange School District Receives National 2024 Best Communities for Music Award

WEST ORANGE, NJ – The West Orange School District has been named a 2024 Best Communities for Music Education for the sixth time by the National Association of Music Merchants (NAMM). West Orange also received individual recognition, which is given to districts and schools that demonstrate an exceptionally high commitment and access to music education. The 122 individual schools, including West Orange, were winners of the 2024 Support Music Merit Award. 

The award program recognizes outstanding efforts by teachers, administrators, parents, students and community leaders who have made music education part of a well-rounded curriculum. Designations are made for districts and schools that demonstrate an exceptionally high commitment and access to music education. This year, Best Communities for Music Education recognized 975 school districts along with the 122 individual schools' Support Music Merit Awards. 

According to the NAMM website, "along with contributing to improved graduation rates and academic success, students in quality music programs are consistently more proficient in other subjects and develop many ancillary life-long skills. We have all noticed how the most involved music students are also exceptional critical thinkers and good listeners, able to persist through all kinds of adversities. The benefits of a strong music program extend far beyond the program itself, though the primary benefit will always be the unparalleled joys that good music brings to peoples’ lives." 

West Orange schools provide countless opportunities in music with the K-8 curriculum. Music appreciation, recorders, orchestra and band beginning in fourth grade, choir, Jazz Band, and theater arts are only the beginning of what is offered. High school programs include theater, dance, choir, jazz band, Step, Glee Choir, Marching Band, Symphonic Winds, Wind Ensemble, String Orchestra, Chamber Orchestra, String Quartets, and Royal Strings.  

The award recognizes that West Orange is leading the way in learning opportunities as outlined in the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA). The legislation guides implementation in the states and replaces the No Child Left Behind Act (NCLB) which was often criticized for an overemphasis on testing-while leaving behind subjects such as music. ESSA recommends music and the arts as important elements of a well-rounded education for all children.  

BCME 2024


Cynthia Cumming
April 10, 2024