Best Communities for Music Education: Newark

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For the 11th consecutive year, the Newark Central School District has been designated as one of the Best Communities for Music Education in the United States by the NAMM (National Association of Music Merchants) Foundation.

Now in its 24th 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, the NCSD answered detailed questions about funding, graduation requirements, music class participation, instruction time, facilities, and support for the music programs. Responses were verified by school officials and reviewed by The Music Research Institute at the University of Kansas.

“We are once again fortunate enough to be recognized for the amazing music program that we have here in the Newark School District,” said Cindy Briggs, K-12 Music Department Leader. “I can't tell you how much I appreciate our amazing music staff and all the support that our NCSD administration has given us through the years. I’m so proud of our program and proud to work alongside some of the best!!!”

The award program recognizes outstanding efforts by teachers, administrators, parents, students, and community leaders who have made music education part of a well-rounded education. Designations are made to districts and schools that demonstrate an exceptionally high commitment and access to music education.

It also recognizes the NCSD 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.

Palmyra-Macedon Central School District in Wayne County also received the designation, as did the Honeoye Central School District and Honeoye Falls-Lima Central in Ontario County.

Nine Monroe County school districts Brighton Central, East Irondequoit Central, Churchville-Chili Central, Penfield Central, Pittsford Central, Rochester City School District, Rush-Henrietta, Webster Central and West Irondequoit also received NAMM’s BCME designation.

Briggs commended the entire music department staff for its great work. The staff and their responsibilities include:

Robert Humphrey: NHS instrumental music teacher who directs Concert Band, Wind Ensemble, Jazz Band and “Fusion.” He also gives instrumental lessons.

Kate Flock: NHS vocal music teacher who directs Mixed Chorus, Concert Choir and Vocal Jazz. She gives grades 9-12 vocal lessons and is the musical director for NHS musicals.

Mike Ciranni: NHS television production teacher who also teaches Music in Our Lives, Audio Production and directs “Fusion” with Humphrey. He also gives instrumental lessons.

Rebekah Valerio: NMS instrumental music teacher who directs sixth, seventh and eighth grade band and jazz band and gives instrumental lessons.

Melissa Narusky: NMS Vocal Music teacher who directs sixth, seventh and eighth grade chorus and teaches grades 6-8 general music.

Cindy Briggs: Kelley School instrumental music teacher who directs Beginning Band, Continuing Band, Bucket Brigade and gives instrumental lessons.

Ethan Bast: Kelley School vocal music teacher who directs third, fourth and fifth grade chorus and teaches grades 3-5 general music.

Libby Brozik: Lincoln and NMS general music teacher. 

Lara Larsson: Perkins School general music teacher.

In addition to music instruction provided daily by the NCSD music staff and many music performances throughout a typical school year, there are numerous other music-related activities the NCSD Music Department relates to:

• Homecoming

• Memorial Day Ceremony

• Veteran’s Day Ceremony

• Veteran’s Tribute Concert at Newark High School

• Eastview Mall holiday performances

• Participation in junior and senior high-level ensembles at the Hochstein School of Music in downtown Rochester.

• The Rochester Philharmonic Orchestra Holiday performance each December

• The ELENBE awards for the Performing Arts that are presented in May

• Community parades • Rotary Club performances

• The Newark High School & Newark Middle School musicals each Spring

• The Lincoln School Second Grade Holiday Performance

• The Lincoln School Field Day

• Lincoln School "Farewell Fridays"

• “The Young Americans’’ outreach tour and group workshops at NCSD every 2-3 years

• Cabaret Night and Jazz Festival • Chamber of Commerce performances

• Newark students participating in the RPO Holiday Pops Festival Chorus

• Perkins School Second Grade Musical Performance

• Representation in All-County • Representation in Area All-State

• Representation at the state level in Conference All-State

• Representation at the Regional level in All-Eastern • Participation in local and state sponsored solo festivals

"The Newark Central School District has received NAMM’s Best Communities for Music Education designation for 11 consecutive years a truly well-deserved honor for our music department,” Superintendent Susan Hasenauer said. “I congratulate our talented staff that typically engages hundreds of students, parents and other community members each year who contribute in so many different ways to make our program exceptional and a great success.”