District performing arts department receives national award
The Bellefonte Area School District Performing Arts Department was selected by the National Association of Music Merchants as a 2021 recipient of the Best Communities for Music Education award. The district previously was honored with the same award in 2020 for its “outstanding commitment to music,” according to the NAMM Foundation.
In its 22nd year, Best Communities for Music Education designation is annually awarded to districts that demonstrate outstanding achievement in efforts to provide music access and education to all students.
To qualify for the honor, the district must have answered a detailed questionnaire about funding, graduation requirements, music class participation, instruction time, facilities, support for the music program and community music-making programs. It was then reviewed by the Music Research Institute at the University of Kansas.
"Despite the challenges our program faced this year, our entire department was thankful to have the support of our outstanding community," said elementary Band Director Jayme Zimmerman in a prepared statement. “The national recognition of our communities support of music education is such a tribute to the tradition of excellence that thrives here in Bellefonte. I could not be more thankful to be a part of such an outstanding community and district."
The district, in the 2020-21 school year, employed eight fulltime music and performing arts educators, and several part time instructional coaches to help with various aspects of the program. The program includes:
- K-12 general music opportunities
- Band, choir and orchestra for those in fourth- to 12th-grades
- Theater, majorettes, dance team and guard for those in middle and high school
Several larger performing groups offer small ensemble and afterschool opportunities for students, as well, and include about 75 percent of the student population that actively participate in a performing arts group.
"Despite restrictions set in place by the global pandemic, the school district has worked with the performing arts educators to ensure all children are still receiving the best performing arts education as possible," Zimmerman added. "Thankfully, the school has continued to provide instruction and performance opportunities both in person and virtually in all performing arts programs K-12."
*By Brit Milazzo, public relations director, BASD