For the fourth consecutive year, the Philadelphia School District was named Best Communities for Music Education of the National Association of Music Merchants Foundation (NAMM). Now in its 23rd year, the Best Communities for Music Education designation is awarded to school districts that demonstrate outstanding achievement in efforts to provide music access and education for all students.

The School District of Philadelphia received the Top Communities designation based on funding, graduation requirements, music class attendance, instruction time, facilities, music program support, and to Community Music Creation Programs, which has been certified by the Music Research Institute at the University of Kansas.

“Providing students with access to music education means providing students with more opportunities for their future,” said Malika Savoy-Brooks, Ed.D., academic support manager for the School District of Philadelphia. “As an alumnus of the School District of Philadelphia, I am extremely proud that this is a district that not only supports music education, but is highly regarded in the music and arts community for its strong programming. and its ability to provide students with well-rounded educational opportunities.

Since the passage of the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) in 2015 and the emphasis on comprehensive education, many school districts have recommitted to music and arts education programs. During the pandemic, music and arts programs have been a vital part of keeping students engaged in school. ESSA provides designated funding for comprehensive educational opportunities through Title IV Part A Student Academic Achievement and Achievement Scholarships. NAMM Foundation research has found that these grants are widely used by school districts to bridge the pedagogical gaps in access to music and arts education.

The Philadelphia School District has more than 220 music teachers and more than 50 music community partners. The District provides all K-8 students with opportunities to learn instrumental music and during the District’s 2021 summer programming, the District has developed a literacy enrichment program using children’s books with musical themes, leading students’ exploration of the musical instruments used. All middle and high school students have the opportunity to participate in All City Choir, Band, Orchestra and Jazz Band.

The district’s music education program is strongly integrated with the city’s musical heritage and modern landscape, exposing students to the music industry and careers, including recording, production, songwriting, DJing and the modern band. In 2021, the district developed a student residency program that connects Philadelphia’s star DJs, producers, and musicians with the next generation of talent. Students perform alongside their mentor on Monday nights at JG SkyHigh.

For more information on district music programs, please visit www.philasd.org/arts/programs/music/.