Worcester’s Music Education Honored

NEWARK – Worcester County’s school system was recognized last week for receiving a national designation for music education.

In a Worcester County Board of Education meeting last week, Tamara Mills, coordinator of fine arts instruction and music programs, announced Worcester County Public Schools was one of five school systems in Maryland to be honored with the Best Communities for Music Education designation from The NAMM Foundation, a nonprofit organization that supports philanthropic giving and public service programs to advance active participation in music.

“What the designation shows is we are putting a value on our music programs and we are making sure kids have every opportunity possible to take the music classes they need,” she said. “We are really excited. It’s an honor.”

Worcester County Public Schools joins Wicomico County Public Schools, Baltimore County Public Schools, Carroll County Public Schools and Howard County Public School System as one of five school districts in the state and one of 623 school districts in the nation to receive the Best Communities for Music Education designation.

Now in its 20th year, the 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, Worcester County Public Schools answered detailed questions about funding, graduation requirements, music class participation, instruction time, facilities and support for the music programs. Responses were verified with school officials and reviewed by The Music Research Institute at the University of Kansas.

Mills recognized Pocomoke Middle School instrumental music teacher Michael Devine and Principal Matthew Record for completing the application. In a statement, Devine applauded the school system’s support of music programs.

“This support enables us to provide vast opportunities to our students so they can perform, create, and participate in a rich musical environment,” he said. “We believe that music is a fundamental part of a student’s education. I hope this recognition as a one of ‘The Best Communities in Music Education’ lets our communities know that what they are doing makes a difference in the students’ education and lives, and the support of our community is appreciated and does not go unnoticed.”

Mills last week also recognized Devine, Berlin Intermediate School music teacher Lisa Adams and Record for separate nominations and distinctions through the Maryland Music Educators Association.

Devine was nominated for the association’s Outstanding Music Teacher Award, while Adams was one of five educators to win the Outstanding Music Teacher Award. Record was also honored with a School Administrator Award.

“Separate from our NAMM award, Maryland Music Educator Association also designates some awards throughout the school year,” she said. “This year, Mr. Record was our county’s first ever to receive the School Administrator Award for his support of music programs at Pocomoke Middle School … He has been instrumental in helping to make sure our students get amazing music opportunities.”

About The Author: Bethany Hooper

Alternative Text

Bethany Hooper has been with The Dispatch since 2016. She currently covers various general stories. Hooper graduated from Stephen Decatur High School in 2012 and the University of Maryland in 2016, where she completed double majors in journalism and economics.