F1S Music Education program earns national recognition for the 7th year
For the seventh straight year, Florence 1 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 21st 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.
To qualify for the Best Communities designation, Florence 1 School responded to detailed questions about funding, graduation requirements, music class participation, instructional time, facilities, support for the music program and community music-making programs. The Music Research Institute at the University of Kansas reviewed responses and verified them with school officials.
“It is indeed an honor to receive this designation from the NAMM Foundation. Music is not only an intricate part of what we do, but who we are in the Florence community,” said Jeffery Gaines, Director of Arts and Innovative Programs for Florence 1 Schools. “The roots of music run deep in our schools and as a consequence, permeates our community,” he added.
The announcement of the award drew reaction from three Florence 1 Schools music educators, all of whom are products of Florence 1 Schools.
“Music education has the ability to continuously breathe life into our community because it gives our students the opportunity to display their creative skills at their highest level during any performance,” said Megerlyn Davis, choral music director at Wilson High School and 2017-18 Florence 1 Schools Teacher of the Year.
“The Florence area has been a rich center for the arts, particularly music, for many years. As a former Florence 1 student and Florence native, I can attest to the quality of instruction and performance in this area,” said Chrissy Welch, general music teacher at Greenwood Elementary School.
“Even more exciting, though, is the growth of the musical community I have seen since becoming a music educator,” continued Welch. “For example, we now have a community choir for children in fourth through ninth grades, the Masterworks Children’s Choir. It is wonderful to see and hear children from different schools come together to sing challenging and beautiful music!” she exclaimed.
West Florence High School band director Johnny Powers also extolled the virtues of music education in the Florence community. “The Florence community benefits greatly from the presence of music. Students grow with each year of music education they receive, and the community gets the opportunity to see the talents of these students grow while enjoying some quality literature. Music is such an essential part of our lives, and pushing the importance of it in schools and the community is the only way to give everyone the opportunity to experience the joys of it,” explained Powers.
NAMM has also noted that research into music education continues to demonstrate educational/cognitive and social skill benefits for children who make music. Everyday listening skills are stronger in musically trained children than in those without music training conflict resolution; teamwork skills; and how to give and receive constructive criticism.
“Music education is extremely important and valuable to me because I am planning to have a future with music performance,” said Jennings Thompson, a ninth grade student at South Florence High School. “I want to have a minor in Musical Theatre which requires musical performance. To obtain four years of music education before college will help me out greatly. When I get to college, I will be better prepared.”
“This designation is a true testament of the work our teachers do each and every day for all of our students. Florence 1 Schools is the only district in South Carolina to have received this designation for seven consecutive years,” Gaines remarked.