- “Best Communities for Music Education in America” lists Pine City for 3rd straight year
The NAMM Foundation last week announced the results of its 13th annual “Best Communities for Music Education,” which acknowledges districts across the U.S. for their commitment to and support of music education in schools. This year, Pine City has been designated a “Best Community.” Pine City first appeared on the list in 2010.
Pine City was the only rural Minnesota school to be listed. In the Twin Cities, Osseo Public Schools, Edina Public Schools, Brooklyn Center High School were also named to the list, which is sponsored by the NAMM Foundation.
176 schools appeared on this year’s list for demonstrating a commitment to providing music education for their students. According to the NAMM Foundation, this “Best Communities” designation represents not only a distinction worthy of pride, but a call to action for local music education advocates to help preserve their current music education programs.
NAMM Foundation Executive Director Mary Luehrsen says, “We applaud these communities that remain committed to a complete and quality education that must include music and the arts. We urge communities to celebrate the designation as a national recognition for their commitment to children and most of all, keep the music playing in their schools for years to come.”
Districts were measured across curricular and programmatic criteria as well as measures of public support of their music programs. It also weighs music education opportunities outside of the school. Inclusion on the list the past three years has been bolstered by the presence of community arts organizations like Pine Center for the Arts, which offers a wide variety of music classes, lessons, and performances to students, adults, and seniors citizens.
Participants in the survey answered detailed questions about funding, graduation requirements, music class participation, instruction time, facilities, support for the music program, and other relevant factors in their communities‟ music education programs. The responses were verified with district officials, and advisory organizations reviewed the data.
Band director Bradley Mariska points out, “Whether it’s a recent performance of the elementary musical or our most highly qualified high school students preparing for the AP Music Theory Exam, we have talented students and a dedicated faculty that are here to make music an integral part of the education process.”
For choir director Jennifer Krinke, the award comes with a great sense of accomplishment. “I am always overwhelmed at the number of students that voluntarily take part in our program. There is so much enthusiasm for music education in Pine City that we can barely fit the students on stage and in our classrooms.”
Band director Kevin Cahill is committed to teaching student valuable life skills. “Students in band learn a more than just notes on a page – they are learning the value of hard work and discipline. Research also shows that students who take part in music do better in math and reading and are more successful in college.”
About Pine City Schools
Located one hour north of the Twin Cities on the I-35 corridor, Pine City Schools enroll approximately 1,600 students in their K-12 programs. The district is committed to providing students at all levels with quality academic instruction as well as outstanding programs in athletics and the fine arts. The schools enjoy strong community support and have initiated a variety of innovative programs to maintain the bond between the school community and the community at large. The High School is committed to offering a wide variety of college-level classes for students, including more than half a dozen Advanced Placement courses.
About the Pine City Music Department
The fine arts programs at Pine City have long been respected for their quality and levels of participation. Instructors collaborate closely to develop a curriculum that is student-focused and of the highest quality. Hundreds of students participate in ensembles starting as young as first grade, and classroom general music is offered to all students in grades K-6 by certified music instructors. The Pine City High School Wind Ensemble and Concert Choir have both received unanimous superior ratings at Large Group Music Contest each of the past seven years and annually place students in All-State Ensembles. The Department’s top jazz ensemble, Jazz One, participates in several jazz festivals annually, and has recently performed at the Minnesota State School Boards Association Convention. Pine City High School also offers academic courses in music, including Musical Theatre and Music Appreciation for credit through the Minnesota State College and University System. AP Music Theory testing was also added in 2010. Music specialists in Pine City include department chair Kevin Cahill, Joanne Cahill, Jennifer Hansmann, Jennifer Krinke, and Bradley Mariska. The instructors have a combined 101 years teaching experience, 99 of which are in the Pine City School District.