ORANGE, Calif. (March 30, 2016) -- Orange Unified School District congratulates Villa Park High School on its selection by the National Association of Music Merchants (NAMM) to receive the prestigious SupportMusic Merit Award. This week, the high school was one of 21 schools in California and 118 nationally honored by the San Diego County-based NAMM Foundation for its outstanding commitment to music education. The SupportMusic Merit Award is awarded yearly to individual schools that demonstrate outstanding achievement in efforts to provide music access and education to all students. Schools that have been recognized by the NAMM Foundation are often seen as models for other educators looking to boost their own music education programs.
This award recognizes that Villa Park High School is leading the way with learning opportunities as outlined in the new federal education legislation, the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA). This ESSA legislation designates music as a recommended subject and as part of “a well-rounded education.” Therefore, the award takes on added significance this year due to the passage of the legislation in December 2015. The NAMM Foundation’s SupportMusic Merit Award and the implementation of the federal ESSA law bring attention to the importance of providing access for all students to music education as part of the school’s core curriculum. It also highlights music’s vital role in students’ overall success in school. Chuck Jay, Villa Park’s instrumental music director attests to the benefit his students receive from their music education. He says, “The students in the program are exceptionally deserving and have certainly earned this prestigious recognition. All the credit goes to them and their hard work and talent.”
Districts and schools who have previously received awards from the NAMM Foundation have reported that the honor has significantly increased interest in and support for their music programs. Others have indicated that the award had a direct impact on funding for music programs. Almost all say that recognition of music programs help to generate a greater sense of pride in the community and support for what teachers are doing in the schools. To qualify for the SupportMusic Merit Award, Villa Park High School answered detailed questions about funding, graduation requirements, music class participation, instruction 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.
Upon learning of the award at Villa Park, Principal Gail Richards stated, “Music enriches our lives and is a vital part of a well-rounded curriculum. I am proud that the school is being recognized for enabling so many students to have access to music education. This award is certainly a tribute to the passion and talents of Charles Jay, our instrumental music director, and Stacy Vo, our vocal music director. Congratulations to both of these outstanding teachers.”
Villa Park High School is one of four comprehensive high schools in the Orange Unified School District serving over 2,400 students. Over 300 of their students are enrolled in 10 different courses in the exemplary music program.
About NAMM Foundation
The NAMM Foundation is a non-profit supported in part by the National Association of Music Merchants and its 10,300 members around the world. The NAMM Foundation works to advance active participation in music making across the lifespan by supporting scientific research, philanthropic giving and public service programs. For more information about The NAMM Foundation, please visit www.nammfoundation.org.
The Marching Spartans perform at the OUSD Education Center.