Archbold Schools has a lot to sing about and now that singing has helped earn a national honor.
The district’s Music program is the recipient of the 2017 Best Communities for Music Education award presented by the NAMM Foundation. The award honors districts for their commitment to music education from kindergarten through 12th grade.
Music Director Kent Vandock submitted the application to the NAMM Foundation and learned recently the district has joined a rare group of schools that received such an award. Even though this year’s list in 527 schools long, that’s only 4 percent receive the award, he said.
Vandock’s submission provided information about funding, staffing, commitment to standards and access to music instruction. Data was analyzed statistically and verified via a follow-up audit by researchers at the University of Kansas.
According to NAMM, the award recognizes the commitment of school administrators, community leaders, teachers, and parents who believe in music education and are working to ensure that it is part of a complete education for all children. The designation has helped school music programs maintain and in many cases, increase funding for music education programs.
The award highlights music as a national education issue and shows what a school or community is doing to provide opportunities for music learning. The award also enables educators to draw attention to music programs that are sometimes overlooked or not fully understood by members of the public beyond the school community.
The recognition of the school is more about what the students have been able to accomplish, Vandock said.
“It’s a validation of what we believe,” Vandock said. “It’s not just us.
“It means (we) are offering high-quality music education.”
At Archbold, there are three full-time music instructors, Vandock (at the high school); Jen Cobb at the middle school and Courtney Froehlich at the elementary school. The school also employs a part-time instructor.
The program offers General Music to all students in grades K-6, plus several productions, a Christmas and spring programs. In the middle school, there is general music, choir and band.
At the high school, there is marching bands, co-ensemble, jazz and solo performances. The high performs full play productions. Classes offered include stage design, music theater and music theory.
A college credit program is being developed so kids can earn three credits in Humanities at high school, Vandock said.
Student participation is significant in the middle and high school programs, Vandock said.
At the high school there are 60 kids in the band, 70 in the choir. The fall play draws 25-30 students, while the spring musical has a roster of 80. The latter number includes performers, singers and students in the orchestra pit, Vandock said.
The three stage production classes have a total of 60 students, he said.
At the middle school the choir has 60 students and the band 110.
Vandock credits his fellow teachers at the lower levels for the strong participation rates. At both the elementary school and middle school, students get multiple opportunities to perform.
This is done in both large and small venues and all the while meshing well with the student’s busy schedules, Vandock said.
“We try to make it work,” Vandock said.
The NAMM Foundation is a nonprofit organization 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.