The National Association of Music Merchants Foundation recently honored dozens of New Jersey schools by naming them to its Best Communities for Music Education list, the foundation announced in a news release.

Now in its 24th year, the 2023 Best Communities for Music Education program recognizes 830 school districts and 78 schools across 43 states for the outstanding efforts by teachers, administrators, parents, students, and community leaders and their support for music education as part of a well-rounded education for all children.

“Music education, as part of a well-rounded education, has never been more important to unleash students’ creativity and supports emotional health and well-being as they build connections through music activities,” said Mary Luehrsen, executive director of The NAMM Foundation. “We applaud the administrators, teachers and communities who support and sustain music education through a period of intense change and are committed to music education so that all children can explore and express themselves through music.”

Celebrating these outstanding districts and schools comes on the heels of a new report that states millions of children do not have access to music education. Released late last year, the National Arts Education Status Report Summary 2019 is a comprehensive look at access to and participation in arts education in public schools in the United States. The report detailed that while 92% of students in U.S. public schools have access to music education in school, 3,609,698 students do not have that same opportunity. In addition, 2,095,538 students do not have access to arts education (defined as dance, music, theatre, or visual arts).

This year’s awards program acknowledges and celebrates innovative schools and districts that have developed a stronger presence for music education on campus and in the lives of students.

The districts that made the list in New Jersey are:

  • Barnegat Township School District.
  • Bergenfield Public School District.
  • Berlin Borough School District.
  • Bloomfield School District.
  • Bordentown Regional School District.
  • Bridgewater-Raritan Regional School District.
  • Butler Public Schools.
  • Clearview Regional High School District.
  • Clifton Public Schools.
  • Closter Public Schools.
  • Collingswood Public Schools.
  • East Brunswick Public Schools.
  • Elizabeth Public Schools.
  • Evesham Township School District.
  • Hillsborough Township Public Schools.
  • Hoboken Public School District.
  • Jefferson Township Public Schools.
  • Kinnelon School District.
  • Linden Public Schools.
  • Livingston Public Schools.
  • Lower Cape May Regional School District.
  • Madison Public Schools.
  • Midland Park Public Schools.
  • Montville Township Public Schools.
  • Morris Hills Regional School District.
  • Mount Olive Township School District.
  • Neptune Township School District.
  • New Providence School District.
  • Newark Public Schools.
  • North Brunswick Township Public Schools.
  • North Plainfield School District.
  • Paramus Public Schools.
  • Parsippany-Troy Hills School District.
  • Pascack Valley Regional High School District.
  • Passaic Public School District.
  • Piscataway Township Schools.
  • Pitman School District.
  • Ramsey School District.
  • Randolph Township School District.
  • Rockaway Township School District.
  • South Brunswick School District.
  • South Orange-Maplewood School District.
  • Vernon Township School District.
  • Washington Township Public Schools.
  • West Morris Regional High School District.
  • West Orange Public Schools.
  • West-Windsor Plainsboro Regional School District.
  • Westfield Public Schools.
  • Westwood Regional School District.

In addition to the 830 districts receiving Best Communities for Music Education recognition, 78 individual schools across the nation are awarded with the SupportMusic Merit Award, which recognizes support for school-based music education programs.

The New Jersey schools that were honored as SupportMusic Merit Award winners are:

  • Bayshore Middle School in Leonardo.
  • Camden’s Promise Charter School
  • Far Hills Country Day School
  • The New School for Music Study in Kingston.

Since its inception, thousands of schools and school districts have submitted a survey for evaluation. In conducting the annual survey, The NAMM Foundation and the Music Institute at the University of Kansas are joined by leading national arts organizations, including the League of American Orchestras; Mr. Holland’s Opus Foundation; Music for All; Music Teachers National Association; National Guild For Community Arts Education; Yamaha Corporation of America; Young Audiences; and Save The Music Foundation.

View the complete list of Best Communities for Music Education and SupportMusic Merit Award winners here.