By Nancy Whitney
Wylie Independent School District can now place successful music program on their list of achievements. The district was recognized last month as one of 388 school districts in 46 states as one of the Best Communities for Music Education.
During the June School Board of Trustees meeting Mike Lipe, director of fine arts, presented a proclamation to the district from Governor Greg Abbott, recognizing the honor from the National Association of Music Merchants.
In its 16th year, the NAMM program singles out districts for outstanding efforts by teachers, administrators, parents, students and community leaders who have made music education part of the core curriculum.
“A lot of people might assume that with our recent success with the STAAR testing that the district has sacrificed in other areas,” Lipe said. “But that is quite untrue. Our school board and community have always been very supportive of our music programs.”
Lipe said there are many things the school district has done to keep music an important factor in the education of the students in Wylie ISD.
The budget process has moved to centralized control, ensuring equitable funding from campus to campus and program to program. There has been increased funding for instrument and equipment purchases to keep up with program growth (increased enrollment). There is a long-range plan in place for the replacement of marching band and drill team uniforms.
Lipe said, the district also has a clearly defined and written scope and sequence for art curriculum ensuring alignment from kindergarten through high school. There has been an increase in teaching staff to accommodate student growth and the passage of the recent bond election will allow the district to build orchestra facilities and add an orchestra program to the elective offerings beginning with the 2016-’17 school year.
Not all of the nation’s 13,588 school districts promote the arts and music education. According to the White House’s Turnaround Arts program, 1.3 million elementary school students still have no access to music classes.
The BCME program evaluates schools and districts based on funding, staffing of highly qualified teachers, commitment to standards and access to music instruction.
Researchers at the Center for Public Partnerships and Research led the data review.