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Clarke County Schools Get High Marks for Music Education Program

The system is one of the 2014 Best Communities in Music Education as part of the National Association of Music Merchants (NAMM) Foundation Best Communities for Music Education Program.

The Clarke County School District has recognized for its music education program, according to the following press release:

Athens, Ga. – The Clarke County School District was recently named as one of the 2014 Best Communities in Music Education as part of the National Association of Music Merchants (NAMM) Foundation Best Communities for Music Education Program. The school district, in partnership with AthFest Educates, received this designation due to the school district’s commitment to arts education. The district also received the designation last year.

“We are very pleased to again be recognized for our music education program, which is strengthened through our strong community partnerships,” said Superintendent Philip D. Lanoue. “Educators know that involvement with the arts is associated with achievement in all core subject areas, as well as critical thinking and verbal skills. I am proud to have our commitment to the arts again recognized at a national level.”

The Clarke County School District has managed to increase its support over the past few years for arts education. In total, over $500,000 in new funding has come from Board of Education allotments, state and local grants and collaborative agreements with university and community based arts agencies. Specifically: 

    • The school district, in cooperation with the University of Georgia Department of Music Education, now offers afterschool orchestra and percussion classes at the Boys & Girls Clubs of Athens.
    • The school district also offers afterschool elementary band and orchestra programs.
    • Large instruments were purchased, including the repair and replacement of orchestra instruments in several schools, plus new band uniforms for both high schools.
    • The University of Georgia Hodgson Hall offers free concerts for students and teachers, as well as cross-curricular arts activities.
    • The school district is preparing for its second annual Fine Arts Day Celebration, in partnership with AthFest Educates.
    • Arts teachers are highly qualified, and retention rates are high.

    AthFest Educates has donated more than $125,000 worth of instruments and arts funding in the last few years to local music programs. This funding includes student scholarships for afterschool music programs, grants for teachers and concerts, and residencies in our schools by local musicians and artists.

    “AthFest Educates is thrilled that our community and our school district have been recognized once again for what everyone who lives here already knows: Athens supports and values music! We are thrilled to be able to help teachers and artists in our community see their wonderful ideas and initiatives to fruition, and see and hear how much the children here benefit from it," said Andy Whitehead, Marketing Chair of AthFest Educates.

    The NAMM Best Communities designation recognizes collaborative, from-the-ground-up efforts of teachers, administrators, students and parents who continually work to keep comprehensive music education as an integral part of the core curriculum. This year, nearly 2000 schools and school districts participated in the survey, and 376 school districts made the final list. More information is available at http://www.nammfoundation.org.

    With 21 schools and over 12,000 students, the Clarke County School District offers students both diversity and a culture of academic excellence. The district was recognized as Georgia’s top school district for closing the achievement gap as a Title I Distinguished District. For more information, visit http://clarke.k12.ga.us. More information on the arts program can be found at http://www.clarke.k12.ga.us/arts.

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