WEST ORANGE, NJ — The West Orange Public Schools district has been named among the “Best Communities for Music Education” designation from The NAMM Foundation for its outstanding commitment to music education.

The NAMM (National Association of Music Merchants) Foundation advances active participation in music making across the lifespan by supporting scientific research, philanthropic giving and public service programs. For 21 years, the nonprofit organization has been awarding “Best Communities for Music Education” designations to districts that demonstrate outstanding efforts by teachers, administrators, parents, students and community leaders who have made music education part of a well-rounded curriculum.  

This year, West Orange was one of 754 school districts recognized from across the nation.

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“What an honor it is to know that our district can continue to provide quality music instruction to the students of this community,” said Lou Quagliato, West Orange Supervisor for Fine Arts. “It would not be possible without the constant dedication of our teachers, support from the administration/board of education and of course, our wonderful parents and children. We are fortunate to be able to thrive in a community that values the arts and understands the benefits that music instills in our children.”

This award recognizes that West Orange is leading the way with learning opportunities as outlined in the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA). The legislation guides implementation in the states and replaces the No Child Left Behind Act (NCLB), which was often criticized for an overemphasis on testing while leaving behind subjects such as music. ESSA recommends music and the arts as important elements of a well-rounded education for all children.

According to the NAMM website, high-quality music programs contribute to “improved graduation rates and academic success,” and students in quality music programs are “consistently more proficient in other subjects and develop many ancillary life-long skills.”

“We have all noticed how the most involved music students are also exceptional critical thinkers and good listeners, able to persist through all kinds of adversities,” the foundation states. “The benefits of a strong music program extend far beyond the program itself, though the primary benefit will always be the unparalleled joys that good music brings to peoples’ lives."

West Orange schools provide countless opportunities in music opportunities within the K-8 curriculum. Music appreciation, recorders, orchestra and band beginning in fourth grade, choir, Jazz Band, and theater arts are only the beginning of what is offered. 

West Orange High School programs include theater, dance, choir, jazz band, Step, Glee Choir, Marching Band, Symphonic Winds and Wind Ensemble.