“Musical Arts in Paducah Public Schools are taken seriously,” said Morgan Elementary music teacher Kimberly Davidson. “We have so many opportunities, starting in Head Start all the way through graduation, which can enhance the educational learning process of all students. Any student can find a place to incorporate music into their education in Paducah Public Schools. The music educators give above and beyond what is expected of them every day to develop a passion for music in the arts. We are also blessed with administrators who believe in us and know the importance of music education in our students’ lives. We, at PPS, are a music family. I cannot think of another district where I would rather be.”
This award recognizes that the Paducah Independent School District 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.
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 and that students who are involved in music are not only more likely to graduate high school, but also to attend college as well. Everyday listening skills are stronger in musically-trained children that 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.
A 2015 study supported by The NAMM Foundation, “Striking A Chord,” also outlines the overwhelming desire by teachers and parents for music education opportunities for all children as part of the school curriculum.