Home Carrollton Carroll Co. Schools Receives National Recognition for Music Education

Carroll Co. Schools Receives National Recognition for Music Education

The NAMM Foundation has named Carroll County Schools a Best Community for Music Education. Bands like this one from Temple High School played last month at Georgia Music Educators Association evaluations at the Carroll County Schools Performing Arts Center, a premier 1,100-seat concert hall in Carrollton.

Carroll County Schools has been honored with the Best Communities for Music Education designation from The NAMM Foundation for its outstanding commitment to music education. Now in its 24th year, the Best Communities for Music Education designation is awarded to districts that demonstrate outstanding achievement in efforts to provide music access and education to all students.

The Best Communities designation is based on funding, graduation requirements, music class participation, instruction time, facilities, support for the music program and community music-making programs. Information must be verified by school officials and reviewed by The Music Research Institute at the University of Kansas.

“We are extremely proud to be recognized nationally for success in our music programs,” Carroll County Schools Superintendent Scott Cowart said. “At Carroll County Schools, we know that students need opportunities to excel in a variety of areas, and our school board has supported a significant investment in fine arts programs over the last several years.”

“What has been most exciting to me is that our students have responded with unbelievable success,” Cowart said. “More students are participating in band, chorus and elementary music programs, and they are receiving regional and state awards along with superior ratings from adjudicators during evaluations.”

Since the passage of the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) in 2015 and a stated emphasis on a well-rounded education, many school districts have re-committed to music and arts education programs. During the pandemic, music and arts programs were a vital component to keeping students engaged in school. ESSA provides designated funding for well-rounded educational opportunities through Title IV Part A Student Academic Success and Achievement grants. NAMM Foundation research has revealed that these grants are being widely used by school districts to address instructional gaps in access to music and arts education.

As part of a long-term commitment from the Carroll County Board of Education, eight elementary school music teachers have been hired in the last two years to provide all 12 elementary schools in the county with full-time music teachers beginning next school year. A full-time high school chorus position also has been added so that all five high schools now offer chorus as well as band.

The district created a Fine Arts Coordinator position last year to provide district support and vertical alignment to music, arts and theater programs across the county’s 23 elementary, middle and high schools.

Neil Ruby, who is completing his first year as Fine Arts Coordinator after serving as a band director for 30 years, said growth has been tremendous.

“It is so rewarding to know that many more students now have access to premier fine arts programs at Carroll County Schools,” Ruby said. “Our board of education has invested hundreds of thousands of dollars in facility improvements, new equipment and instruments and fine arts-specific professional development for teachers in just the past three years.”

The Carroll County Schools Performing Arts Center is the crown jewel of district fine arts support. Completed in 2017, the PAC features an acoustically calibrated 1,100-seat music hall that is utilized for performance by all county schools. It’s also become a favorite performance venue for groups from the University of West Georgia, the Carroll Symphony Orchestra and others.

“Beyond the hundreds of district events we host each year, we are able to host Georgia Music Educators Association events for band and chorus, and we collaborate with community partners to offer fine arts field trips that provide art, music, theater and cultural experiences to our students of all ages,” Performing Arts Center Director Charity Aaron said.

The district now offers the Fine Arts Diploma Seal through the Georgia Department of Education to graduating seniors who complete a fine arts pathway and engage in creative industry focus courses, extra-curricular activities, and experiences that foster Fine Arts mastery. Eighty-one 2023 graduates will receive the seal.

“We are just beginning to see the impacts of investments which will continue to pay dividends in our students and graduates for years to come,” Ruby said. “Congratulations to our students and teachers for this incredible national recognition.”

Research into music education continues to demonstrate educational/cognitive and social skill benefits for children who make music. After two years of music education, researchers found that participants showed more substantial improvements in how the brain processes speech and reading scores than their less-involved peers. Students who are involved in music are not only more likely to graduate high school but also more likely to attend college.

In addition, everyday listening skills are stronger in musically trained children than in those without music training. Significantly, listening skills are closely tied to the ability to perceive speech in a noisy background, pay attention, and keep sounds in memory.

Later in life, individuals who took music lessons as children show stronger neural processing of sound. Young adults and even older adults who have not played an instrument or sung for up to 50 years show enhanced neural processing compared to their peers. Not to mention, social benefits include conflict resolution, teamwork skills, and how to give and receive constructive criticism.

About Carroll County Schools:
Carroll County Schools provides a premier educational environment to almost 16,000 students spread across 23 schools and two career academies. Carroll County Schools has graduated over 90 percent of students over the last five years and has been voted one of Metro Atlanta’s best places to work four consecutive years. Carroll County Schools is committed to changing lives. Students are challenged with a future-focused curriculum where they are empowered to graduate ready to be enrolled, enlisted or employed and engaged in their community. For more information, please visit www.carrollcountyschools.com.

About the NAMM Foundation:
The NAMM Foundation is a nonprofit supported in part by the National Association of Music Merchants and its 15,000 member companies and individual professionals. The foundation advances active participation in music making across the lifespan by supporting scientific research, philanthropic giving, and public service programs. For more information about The NAMM Foundation, please visit www.nammfoundation.org.