OPS Music Education program receives national recognition

April 19, 2021 | 12:06 am

Updated April 18, 2021 | 8:06 pm

Graphic by Owensboro Times

Owensboro Public Schools has been honored with the Best Communities for Music Education designation from The NAMM Foundation for the second consecutive year. 

Now in its 22nd 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.

To qualify for the Best Communities designation, OPS answered detailed questions about funding, graduation requirements, music class participation, instruction time, facilities, and support for the music programs. Responses were verified with school officials and reviewed by The Music Research Institute at the University of Kansas. 


“The outstanding support of our OPS school board, administration and world-class arts teachers gives every child, regardless of their background, the opportunity to explore in every form of artistic expression,” said OPS Fine Arts Coordinator Tom Stites. “‘Every Art for Every Child’ works for the students of Owensboro Public Schools. This recognition validates the decision of our district to support music education.” 

This award recognizes that OPS is leading the way with learning opportunities as outlined in the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA). ESSA recommends music and the arts as important elements of a well-rounded education for all children. 

“Owensboro’s success is a result of the leadership’s commitment to removing the obstacles that often suppress students beginning their involvement in the arts,” said Owensboro High School band director Abe Barr. “We believe that all children have an innate curiosity for creative expression and OPS’ dedication to providing ‘Every Art for Every Child’ in every school allows students the opportunity to engage that curiosity.” 

According to a release from OPS, “Research into music education continues to demonstrate educational, cognitive and social skill benefits for children who make music. After two years of music education, research found that participants showed more substantial improvements in how the brain processes speech and reading scores than their less-involved peers and that students who are involved in music are not only more likely to graduate high school, but to attend college as well. Everyday listening skills are stronger in musically-trained children than in those without music training.”

A 2015 study supported by The NAMM Foundation, “Striking A Chord,” also outlines the desire by teachers and parents for music education opportunities for all children as part of the school curriculum. 

“Owensboro Public Schools believes in an “Every Art for Every Child” philosophy thanks to the support of district administration, school board, staff and community,” a release from OPS reads. “Knowing the immense difference a quality arts program makes in the lives of students, the district has made the arts a regular part of every student’s time throughout their education career.”

The NAMM Foundation is a nonprofit 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. For more information about the NAMM Foundation, visit

April 19, 2021 | 12:06 am

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