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OPS earns national honor for music program

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National Association of Music Marketers logoFor the second consecutive year, Orono Schools has been honored with the Best Communities for Music Education designation from the National Association of Music Merchants (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. Some 623 school districts in 41 states were recognized this year. Orono and five other districts in the Twin Cities were among the 12 Minnesota school districts honored.

To qualify for the designation, detailed information was provided about funding, graduation requirements, music class participation, instruction time, facilities, support for the music program and community programs. Responses were verified with school officials and reviewed by the Music Research Institute at the University of Kansas.

“Music education is so important to providing our students a well-rounded education,” said Dr. Karen Orcutt, superintendent of Schools, “and we are so fortunate to have quality teachers who provide them with exceptional experiences.”

“Research of music education continues to demonstrate the educational and social skill benefits for students involved,” Orcutt added. “After two years of music education, the research found that participants showed more substantial improvements in how the brain processes speech and in reading scores.” Studies have also shown that students who are involved in music are more likely to graduate from high school and attend college as well.

Instrumental and vocal music teachers in Orono Schools are Andrea Arnold, Tim Arnold, Nichole Brenna, Kelly Jeremiason, Shannon McCauley, Jennifer Runck, John Twernbold and Dr. Katherine Willow.

School board members with music teachers

The district’s recognition was celebrated at the May 13 School Board meeting. Standing, from left, are music teachers Kelly Jeremiason, Nichole Brenna and Jennifer Runck. Seated from left are Director Laura Wallander, Clerk Michael Bash, Vice Chair Martha Van de Ven, Chair Bob Tunheim, Superintendent Dr. Karen Orcutt, Director of Business Services John Morstad, Treasurer Dick Lewis and Director Sarah Borchers.