Joliet Central High School has been honored with the Best Communities for Music Education designation from The NAMM Foundation for its outstanding commitment to music education. Joliet Central has received this award for the third year in a row.

Now in its 20th 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, Joliet Central High School answered detailed questions about funding, graduation requirements, music class participation, instruction time, facilities, support for the music program and community music-making programs. Responses were verified with school officials and reviewed by The Music Research Institute at the University of Kansas.

“Joliet Central High School has a rich tradition and history of musical excellence.  This tradition is carried on to this day with our talented musicians under the leadership of our band director, Mr. Don Stinson,” said Principal Shad Hallihan.  “I am extremely proud of the Central Band, and this award exemplifies their dedication and hard work, particularly when it comes to community outreach.  Our Central Band can be found providing musical entertainment at numerous events in our community.  Not only is this a service to the community, but it provides valuable, hands-on performance experience to our students. The Joliet Central High School Band consistently goes above and beyond to serve and they are very deserving of this award.”

This award recognizes that Joliet Central High School 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.

Joliet Central Band Director Don Stinson said, “Our sincerest thank you to our school and community for supporting programs that benefit, enrich, and develop our music and fine arts students. This is not necessarily a music department recognition but rather a school recognition, and Joliet Central has received this designation for three years in a row. I believe this designation to be proof that our school and administration values a music education along with and just as much as other academic subjects. There are many studies on the student and community benefits of music and arts education and we’re very grateful that our school supports many programs that help put our students on a level playing field.”

Research into music education continues to demonstrate educational/cognitive and social skill benefits for children who make music: After two years of music education, researchers found that participants showed more substantial improvements in how the 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 high school, but also to attend college as well. Everyday listening skills are stronger in musically-trained children than 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.