Bay Village named a Best Music Education Community for 16th straight year

Bay Village Schools music educators, from left, front row: Elaine Dwyer (Westerly, vocal), Mark Awad (Bay Middle School, instrumental), Heidi Herczeg (Bay Middle School, vocal). Back row: Darren Allen (Bay High instrumental), Carrie Singler (Bay High, instrumental), Jeffrey Schimelpfenig (Westerly, strings), James Kotora (Normandy, general music), Carrie Engelbrecht (Westerly, general music), and Devon Gess (Bay High, vocal).

Standards for inclusion on the prestigious Best Communities for Music Education list have increased consistently over the last 16 years, but the Bay Village City School District is once again so honored for its exemplary music program. First recognized with the designation in 2003, and each year since, Bay Village is among just 583 districts nationwide identified for the honor by the NAMM Foundation this year.

The designation takes on added significance as research into music education continues to demonstrate educational/cognitive and social skill benefits for children who make music. In a series of landmark studies by scientists and researchers at Northwestern University, a link was found between students in community music programs and life-long academic success, including higher high school graduation rates and college attendance. In another study from the University, it was discovered that the benefits of early exposure to music education improves how the brain processes and assimilates sounds, a trait that lasts well into adulthood.

Beyond the Northwestern research, other studies have indicated that music education lays the foundation for individual excellence in group settings, creative problem solving and flexibility in work situations, as well learning how to give and receive constructive criticism to excel.

Districts who wish to be evaluated and considered for the Best Music Education Communities designation must complete a detailed survey responding to questions about funding, graduation requirements, music class participation, instruction time, facilities, support for the music program, certification of instructors and other relevant factors in their music education programs. Examples of how music teachers collaborate on lessons and activities with regular classroom teachers musts be provided. Responses are verified with school officials and reviewed by The Music Research Institute at the University of Kansas.

“Music is truly an integral part of our schools and our entire Bay Village community,” said Clint Keener, superintendent of the Bay Village Schools. “Our students, parents and music instructors are passionate about music. Our community members of all ages support them by turning out in droves for our performances.”

Music instructors are Darren Allen (Bay High instrumental), Mark Awad (Bay Middle instrumental), Dr. E. James Kotora (Normandy music), Elaine Dwyer (Westerly music), Carrie Engelbrecht (Westerly music), Devon Gess (Bay High vocal), Heidi Herczeg (Bay Middle vocal), Jeffrey Schimelpfenig (Westerly strings), and Carrie Singler (Bay High instrumental).

Keener noted that Bay Village just wouldn’t be the same without music provided by the schools. “Our student musicians and vocalists contribute to the quality of life here, whether leading the homecoming parade, the Memorial Day parade or the local merchants' Boo Village Parade at Halloween. Our holiday concerts have become cherished traditions that leave our audiences with uplifted spirits. It's a joy to watch our spring musical with live music from our Pit Orchestra, rather than taped music,” he said. “We have an exceptionally high percentage of students participating in our music programs, and they add a festive, musical note wherever a sense of celebration is required and wherever community members gather.”

Karen Derby

Director of Communications for the Bay Village City School District

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Volume 10, Issue 9, Posted 10:02 AM, 05.01.2018