For the second consecutive year, Morton Community Unit School District 709 (MCUSD 709) has been selected as a Best Communities for Music Education by the NAMM Foundation for its outstanding commitment to music education. The award acknowledges MCUSD 709’s entire music program, kindergarten through 12th grade.
Morton School District is one of 583 school districts nationwide, to receive the award. MCUSD 709 is one of 10 school districts in Illinois to receive the distinction and is one of only two districts south of Interstate 80 to receive the award.
The Best Communities for Music Education is awarded to districts that demonstrate outstanding achievement in efforts to provide music access and education to all students. The award recognizes the number of instructional minutes per week at all grade levels, cross-curricular music integration, district-wide course and performance offerings, levels of advanced degrees held by the music faculty, financial support from the school district, as well as community support and involvement. The criteria is verified with school officials and reviewed by The Music Research Institute at the University of Kansas.
“I am extremely proud of our Morton community for its support of our music education programs and the high-quality of instruction our music educators provide our students,” said Superintendent Dr. Jeffrey Hill.
This award recognizes that Morton School District is leading the way with 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.
“What I personally believe separates us from other school districts is a community that embraces and supports music education in our schools through parent volunteers and booster clubs, the Morton Fine Arts Association, and the Morton Community Foundation,” said Morton School District’s Fine Arts Coordinator Patrick Mainieri. “What we have going on musically, in Morton, is very unique! While focusing on developing the whole child, our students benefit artistically, socially, emotionally and academically through their involvement in our music programs.”
“A huge thank you to the Morton School District community for your continued support of our music students, the music curriculum, our music faculty, co- and extra-curricular music offerings, and our students’ performance opportunities,” said Mr. Mainieri.