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West Orange Times & Observer Monday, May 10, 2021 8 months ago

OCPS earns recognition for music education

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The district has earned a Best Communities for Music Education designation from The NAMM Foundation.
by: Danielle Hendrix Former Associate Editor

For the fourth year in a row, Orange County Public Schools has received a Best Communities for Music Education designation from The NAMM Foundation, which celebrates and promotes the value of music education.

The honor recognizes OCPS’ commitment to provide music access and education to all students. According to NAMM, “research into music education continues to demonstrate educational/cognitive and social skill benefits for children who make music.”

“We are so pleased that NAMM is recognizing our dedication to music education for the fourth year in a row,” said OCPS Superintendent Barbara Jenkins. “Our school board remains committed to providing arts education to 100% of our students, even during the pandemic. We have actually enhanced innovative offerings in conjunction with our community partners.”

One of those offerings is a collaboration between OCPS and both local and national celebrities for a social media movement to celebrate the arts. The purpose of the movement, according to OCPS, is to remind students and parents that Orange County arts classrooms are “The Place For You!”

Stars with Orlando roots — including Michael James Scott, who played the Genie in Aladdin on Broadway; and Sophia Deler, an OCPS graduate and star of Netflix hit “The Prom” —  have recorded personalized videos to encourage students to get involved in arts courses in their schools.

Additionally, local arts organizations such as Creative City Project, The Orlando Philharmonic Orchestra, Mad Cow Theatre and Renaissance Theatre Company will take to social media to promote OCPS arts as “The Place For You!” Students, teachers and other members of the community also are encouraged to create and post their own videos.

“Here in Orange County Public Schools, we know what the studies show about a well-rounded arts education: students have higher test scores, higher GPAs, and students involved in arts courses have a lower rate of dropping out, and these statistics extend across socioeconomic boundaries, race, and students with disabilities,” said Scott Evans, OCPS senior director of visual and performing arts.

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Danielle Hendrix was an associate editor for the West Orange Times & Observer, Southwest Orange Observer and OrangeObserver.com.

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