The Reading Musical Foundation (RMF) congratulates the following school districts for being recognized as a “2017 Best Community for Music Education” by the National Association of Music Merchants (NAMM) Foundation: Boyertown Area School District, Exeter Township School District, Fleetwood Area School District, Governor Mifflin School District, Oley Valley School District, Wilson School District and Wyomissing Area School District. Announced today, this award recognizes outstanding efforts by teachers, administrators, parents, students and community leaders who have made music education part of the curriculum. Designations are made to districts and schools that demonstrate an exceptionally high commitment and access to music education.
“This recognition reinforces our strong belief that Berks County is home to some of the very best communities and schools in the country in which to learn music. ‘Hats off’ to the students and their teachers, and to the supportive school boards and community residents who make this true year after year,” said Michael Buterbaugh, Reading Musical Foundation Music Education Advisor.
A total of 527 school districts and 92 schools across the nation are being recognized by the NAMM Foundation for their outstanding music education programs. In cooperation with researchers at The Music Research Institute at the University of Kansas, and based on survey results, The NAMM Foundation each year selects school districts to be recognized as being among the Best Communities for Music Education (BCME).
RMF has actively advocated for school music programs for nearly a decade. RMF strongly supports music in the schools, by the schools, and through certified music teachers employed directly by the schools to ensure equal and quality access to music instruction and ensembles for all students. So strongly are school music instruction and ensemble opportunities correlated with persistence in school, college admissions and life skills that their value in the public school curriculum cannot be denied.
In 2015-2016, RMF launched a music education data collection initiative, which collects participation numbers and music offerings in each Berks County school district. These efforts resulted in learning that there are currently over 16,000 students enrolled in music ensembles in our area schools. Because Pennsylvania does not require arts-related data collection in our schools, Berks County is the first and only county in the state that can accurately state the total number of students who participate in school music ensembles and track movement and trends among these numbers.
Nearly 90 years in existence, RMF is a public charity that provides financial support for music presenters in Berks County, music scholarships by audition and in response to financial need, and extensive music outreach, including programs in most of Berks County’s public and parochial schools. RMF is governed by a self-perpetuating board of volunteer trustees and is administered by two full-time employees. The Foundation depends upon the public’s support each year.