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 RPS 205 Music Education Program Receives National Recognition


​Rockford Public Schools was recognized this month with the Best Communities for Music Education designation from The NAMM Foundation for its outstanding commitment to music education. The designation is awarded to districts that demonstrate outstanding achievement in efforts to provide music access and education to all students. RPS 205 is one of only 19 districts in Illinois to receive this recognition. 

"This recognition illustrates the fact that music education and the arts are a priority in Rockford Public Schools," said Bonnie Spurling, Director of Fine Arts, Recruitment & Programming. "It shows on a national level that our administrators and staff are committed to educating the whole child, supporting the arts and providing equal opportunities for all students."

This award recognizes that RPS 205 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.  

To qualify for the Best Communities designation, RPS 205 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.

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 that their less-involved peers. Students who are involved in music are not only more likely to graduate high school, but also to attend college. Everyday listening skills are stronger in musically-trained children than in those without music training. Listening skills are closely tied to the ability to: perceive speech in a noisy background, pay attention, and keep sounds in memory. 

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