SCSD #2 Music Education Program Receives National Recognition – Sheridan Media

Sheridan County School District #2 has received the Best Communities for Music Education designation from the NAMM Foundation for its outstanding commitment to music education.

According to an April 12, 2022 SCSD #2 press release, NAMM is now in its 23rd year and the Top Communities for Music Education designation is awarded to districts that demonstrate exceptional success in efforts to provide access and education to music for all students. .

To qualify for the Top Communities designation, Sheridan County School District #2 answered detailed questions about funding, graduation requirements, music class attendance, instruction time, facilities, music program support and community music creation programs. Responses were verified with school officials and reviewed by the University of Kansas Music Research Institute.

“Our district’s music program was born out of decades of true dedication and collaboration among music teachers, students, parents, and the broader community,” said SCSD2 Assistant Superintendent Mitch Craft. “Sheridan loves children and the arts, and these two passions have come together in a world-class K-12 music program. While many other states have cut funding for music programs, ours continues to shine and improve. The community will continue to reap the benefits long into the future.

Mitch Crafts

“I’ve had the opportunity to look behind the scenes over the years and see what makes our programs work,” Craft said. “We have top quality educators who build relationships with their students and do whatever it takes to ensure quality and growth. We have a student culture where the musicians are truly dedicated, putting in the extra time to achieve excellence. And we have supportive parents who understand the commitment needed to nurture quality young musicians.

Since the passage of the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) in 2015 and the emphasis on comprehensive education, many school districts have recommitted to music and arts education programs. During the pandemic, music and arts programs have been a vital part of keeping students engaged in school.

Sheridan High School senior musician Bryce Allen believes that attending school at SCSD2 has had a positive impact on his life, due to his studying music at all levels of his education. “Music education in the Sheridan community has changed my life for the better and will continue to inspire and push me in the direction I want to go in the future. [Participating in music] gave me mentors who not only taught me so many life lessons, but helped me achieve my goal like being an all-state musician and a viola teacher for young students.

Allen participates in the SHS Baroque Orchestra, Symphony Orchestra, Percussion Ensemble, Spring Musical and completes an internship at the SJHS under the direction of conductor Ryan Walker. Allen plans to go to the University of Wyoming in the fall to study music education.

Music education research continues to demonstrate the educational/cognitive and social benefits of children making music: After two years of music education, researchers found that participants showed more substantial improvements in how 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 from high school, but also go on to college. Daily listening skills are stronger in musically trained children than in non-musically trained children. Significantly, listening skills are closely related to the ability to: perceive speech in a noisy environment, pay attention and remember sounds. Later in life, people who took music lessons as children show stronger neural processing of sound: young adults and even older adults who haven’t played an instrument in 50 years show improved neural processing compared to their peers. Not to mention the social benefits, including conflict resolution, teamwork skills, and how to give and receive constructive criticism.

SCSD2 provides comprehensive music education opportunities for all K-12 students. General music, piano instruction, beginner orchestra, and after-school performance ensembles are available to student-musicians in elementary schools. A band, orchestra and choir are offered for 6 to 12 students, as well as introductory lessons in guitar and piano. SCSD2 is well known statewide for the outstanding performances of its music students at auditions, solo opportunities, concerts, and community performances.

About the NAMM Foundation

The NAMM Foundation is a non-profit organization supported in part by the National Association of Music Merchants and its approximately 10,300 members worldwide. The foundation advances active participation in musical creation throughout life by supporting scientific research, philanthropic giving, and public service programs. For more information about the NAMM Foundation, please visit

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