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Cabell County Schools’ Music Education Program Receives National Recognition

Cabell County Schools has been honored with the Best Communities for Music Education designation from the NAMM Foundation for its outstanding commitment to music education. 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, Cabell County Schools 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 by school officials and reviewed by The Music Research Institute at the University of Kansas.

“We are extremely fortunate to be able to offer world class arts instruction to our students at all grade levels,” says Dr. Ryan Saxe, Cabell County Schools Superintendent. “The district’s music education program is second to none and a direct reflection of the extraordinary work of our talented students and dedicated instructors. The level of music education we offer would not be possible without voter support of the district’s excess levy and the care of families who work tirelessly for the success of all students. This national recognition is only possible because our community clearly prioritizes arts education and the success of all students.”

According to the NAMM Foundation, since the passage of the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) in 2015 and a stated emphasis on a well-rounded education, many school districts have re-committed to music and arts education programs. During the pandemic, these programs were a vital component to keeping students engaged in school. ESSA provides designated funding for well-rounded educational opportunities through Title IV Part A Student Academic Success and Achievement grants. NAMM Foundation research has revealed that these grants are being widely used by school districts to address instructional gaps in access to music and arts education. 

The NAMM Foundation states its research into music education continues to demonstrate educational/cognitive and social skill benefits for children who make music: After two years of music education, NAMM states 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. In addition, 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. 

About Cabell County Schools
Cabell County Schools is a public school district helping students create their own life stories. The school district is made up of nearly 12,000 students learning at 26 physical schools and one virtual learning academy. The district strives to develop students’ skills, beliefs & desire to make positive contributions to society. Extensive partnerships with the community help to ensure all students are safe and valued. And all in the school community work to instill a sense of responsibility & accountability to our community. The school district offers a wide variety of instructional programming, with a vision that every graduate will be accepted into a career, be prepared to continue learning through a post-secondary option, or ready to begin service to their country. 

About the NAMM Foundation
The NAMM Foundation is a nonprofit supported in part by the National Association of Music Merchants and its 15,000 member companies and individual professionals. The foundation advances active participation in music making across the lifespan by supporting scientific research, philanthropic giving, and public service programs. For more information about The NAMM Foundation, please visit