For the fifth consecutive year, Upper St. Clair School District has been named among the nation’s Best Communities for Music Education by the NAMM Foundation.

Upper St. Clair is one of 18 school districts in Allegheny County, 115 in Pennsylvania and 754 from across the country to earn the distinction in 2020.

In its 21st year, the Best Communities for Music Education designation is awarded to districts that demonstrate outstanding achievement in efforts to provide music access and education to all students.

In addition to boosting academic achievement, studies have indicated music education lays the foundation for individual excellence in group settings, creative problem solving and flexibility in work situations, as well learning how to give and receive constructive criticism to excel.

“Our USC music program provides a comprehensive music education with diverse musical opportunities for all students,” John Seybert, performing arts curriculum leader, said. “The program’s commitment to excellence is evident from our elementary programs to our middle and high school concerts and productions. Our students and ensembles also perform throughout the country in nationally recognized festivals.”

According to the NAMM Foundation, the award recognizes Upper St. Clair School District is leading the way with learning opportunities as outlined in the Every Student Succeeds Act. ESSA recommends music and the arts as important elements of a well-rounded education for all children.

To qualify for the Best Communities designation, Upper St. Clair officials answered detailed questions about funding, graduation requirements, music class participation, instruction time, facilities, support for the music program and community music-making programs.

Among the strengths of the district’s music program is having a music faculty with diverse experiences in music and education.

“All of our faculty are actively involved in advancing music education in our community,” Seybert said. “In addition to enhancing our district programs, our faculty direct university, professional, and community ensembles; research and teach courses for pre-service and current educators, and consult other district music programs; as well as perform with internationally renowned ensembles.”

The NAMM Foundation is a nonprofit organization supported in part by the National Association of Music Merchants and its approximately 10,400 members around the world. The foundation advances active participation in music making across the lifespan by supporting scientific research, philanthropic giving and public service programs.