SHS music department wins national award

Southington High School was named as a Best Community in Music Education by the NAMM Foundation. Southington’s music department boasts an award-winning marching band, a celebrated music department, and an army of talented musicians, teachers, and administrators.

The Southington Public School district has been honored with the Best Communities for Music Education designation from The National Association of Music Merchants (NAMM) Foundation for its outstanding commitment to music education. Southington is among 4 percent of districts nationwide receiving the award in 2017.

The Best Communities Music Education designation is awarded to districts that demonstrate outstanding achievement in efforts to provide music access and education to all students.

“This really is a community wide recognition,” Superintendent Timothy Connellan said in a press release. “Our programs at the high school are consistently outstanding and that is what many people think of when they think of music in Southington.”

To qualify, Southington officials answered detailed questions about funding, graduation requirements, music class participation, instruction time, facilities, support for the music program, and community music-making programs. Responses were verified with school officials and reviewed by the Music Research Institute at the University of Kansas.

This award recognizes that Southington is leading the way with music learning opportunities as outlined in the new federal education legislation, the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA). The legislation, which was signed into law in December 2015 and is awaiting state implementation, designates music and the arts as important elements of well-rounded education for all children.

Although the award goes to the high school, Connellan said it’s a reflection of a much deeper effort that begins with opportunities to explore musical interest at the elementary school level.

“Our middle school programs expand on the elementary experience and begin to provide a wider array of opportunities for students to enhance their skills and interests,” Connellan said in the release. “We have very dedicated and talented professionals teaching our students at every level and of course we have the best and most supportive parents to be found in any district. The result is that our music programs are interwoven into the fabric of our school culture and our community.”

SHS band director Sara Ossias said that the national recognition means a lot to teachers throughout the music department.

“The NAMM award is also a testament to how highly regarded music is in this community,” Ossias said in the release. “With town-wide support, students in the Southington School System have the opportunity to experience music in so many different ways, from elementary school all the way through high school.”

The NAMM Foundation is a nonprofit supported in part by The National Association of Music Merchants and its approximately 10,300 members around the world. Its mission is to advance 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.

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