GGUSD Receives National Recognition for Music Education Five Years in a Row

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Garden Grove Unified School District (GGUSD) has been honored with the 2023 Best Communities for Music Education Award, a national distinction presented to districts that demonstrate outstanding achievement in providing music access and education to all students.

GGUSD received the award for the fifth consecutive year in a row and is one of only six districts in Orange County and 32 districts across California to receive this national recognition, awarded to less than 850 districts across the U.S.

“Our Board has a long history of supporting music education because of the power it has to enrich the lives of our students,” said GGUSD Board of Trustee Bob Harden. “We are proud of our amazing music teachers and the exceptional quality of our visual and performing arts programs.”

This award from the NAMM (National Association of Music Merchants) Foundation recognizes that GGUSD is leading the way with best practices in music education opportunities as outlined in the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA).  The legislation recommends music and the arts as essential elements of a well-rounded education for all children.

GGUSD's VAPA program is led by Coordinator Stacy Harris and is supported by 61 music teachers serving students PreK-12 in instrumental, choral, and general music, 41 secondary visual art teachers, 9 secondary theatre teachers, and five secondary dance teachers.

To qualify for the designation, GGUSD met criteria around music education funding, graduation requirements, music class participation, instruction time, facilities, support for the music program and community music-making programs. Responses were verified and reviewed by The Music Research Institute at the University of Kansas.

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.