KENOSHA, WI–Kenosha Unified has been honored with the Best Communities for Music Education designation from The NAMM Foundation for its outstanding commitment to music education.

The award is given to districts that demonstrate outstanding achievement in efforts to provide music access and education to all students.

To qualify, Unified officials answered detailed questions about funding, class participation, support for the music program, and community music-making programs.

Responses were reviewed by The Music Research Institute at the University of Kansas.

It’s the fourth year in a row KUSD has been honored with the award.

“It is a true honor to have our fine arts program nationally recognized for the fourth year in a row,” said Superintendent Dr. Sue Savaglio-Jarvis. “This program is a point of pride for our staff, students and community and we are extremely thankful for the recognition and support we have received. Most importantly, we are grateful to our staff and community members who make these exceptional learning opportunities possible for our students.”

This award recognizes that Kenosha Unified is leading the way with learning opportunities as outlined in the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA). ESSA recommends music and the arts as important elements of a well-rounded education for all children.

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