Tullahoma City Schools is one of just nine school districts in the state of Tennessee to receive a Best Communities for Music Education Award from the National Association of Music Merchants Foundation.
“This is only the second time in the history of this award that Tullahoma has achieved this honor,” said TCS Fine Arts Coordinator Atticus Hensley. “This award highlights the incredible fine arts and music programs inside our district. It also solidifies Tullahoma’s status as one of the premier cities for music education in the country.”
This year’s awards program was designed to celebrate schools and districts that are adapting, innovating, and persevering in the face of change. Researchers at The Music Research Institute at the University of Kansas, in conjunction with The NAMM Foundation, created a new way for districts and schools to address the inroads and setbacks impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic, as well as goals for equity and access to music education for all students and national standards for music education in a short, qualitative survey.
To qualify for the Best Communities designation, TCS answered detailed questions about funding, graduation requirements, music class participation, instructional 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.
Since the passage by Congress in 2015 of the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) and a stated emphasis on a well-rounded education, many school districts have re-committed to music and arts education programs and found that in this time of a national pandemic, provides a valuable way to keep students engaged in school. ESSA provides designated funding for well-rounded educational opportunities through Title IV Part A Student Academic Success and Achievement grants. NAMM Foundation research has revealed that these grants are being widely used by school districts to address instructional gaps in access to music and arts education.
“This award recognizes teachers, students, administrators, parents, and community leaders who make music a part of a well-rounded education,” said TCS Director of Schools, Dr. Catherine Stephens. “It’s abundantly clear that we certainly have an outstanding team of music teachers leading, talented students working incredibly hard, and a board who supports this good work of the arts. I’m so thankful that all are being celebrated with this national award.”