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R-H Again Named a Best Community for Music Education

Rush-Henrietta Central School District has once again been Best Communities Logo honored with the Best Communities for Music Education designation from The NAMM Foundation for outstanding commitment to music education. This is the tenth consecutive year and the 14th time overall that we have been awarded this designation.

Now in its 20th 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, Rush-Henrietta met criteria concerning funding, graduation requirements, music class participation, instruction time, facilities, and support for the music programs.

"Since I arrived in Rush-Henrietta, I have become well-acquainted with the outstanding qualities of our district's music program," says Lawrence Bo Wright, superintendent. "We have many reasons to be proud of our musicians, as well as the leadership of their teachers and our director, Donna Watts. Of course, we couldn't do it without the support of our entire community. Thank you for always having the best interests of our young musicians at heart."

This national award recognizes that Rush-Henrietta is leading the way with learning opportunities for students, including music and the arts as important elements of a well-rounded education. 

"Rush-Henrietta has a long and distinguished history of excellence in music education," says Donna Watts. "Our core music curriculum prepares students to participate in additional music courses at the secondary level and to be successful in the performing arts. We are able to achieve this level of excellence because of the support of our Board of Education, administration, and our community. Our students are well positioned to achieve at high levels due to the enthusiasm and knowledge of R-H music educators. This award affirms that our resources are well placed to provide opportunities and to support continued learning in music."

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. Significantly, listening skills are closely tied to the ability to: perceive speech in a noisy background, pay attention, and keep sounds in memory. Later in life, individuals who took music lessons as children show stronger neural processing of sound; young adults and even older adults who have not played an instrument for up to 50 years show enhanced neural processing compared to their peers. Not to mention, social benefits include conflict resolution, teamwork skills, and how to give and receive constructive criticism. 

About The NAMM Foundation

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, please visit