The Whitewater Unified School District 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 22nd 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, Whitewater 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. Christine Hayes, music educator at Lincoln Elementary commented, “Involvement in school music programs provides children the social and emotional outlets to express themselves in vital ways that the other academic areas cannot. Music touches hearts and builds relationships. Additionally, students who have opportunities to play an instrument, sing in choir or participate in other musical activities are more likely to perform better in English, math, science and languages. Studies have documented that they are more likely to stay in school. I am so proud to teach in a district that believes all students deserve a chance to experience hands-on music education.” This is the sixth year Whitewater has won this award. WUSD has previously won this award in 2012, 2014, 2017, 2019, and 2020. Dr. Caroline Pate-Hefty, Superintendent, is extremely proud of the District’s support for music education. “We are tremendously proud of the people behind the passion that is so clear in our Music Department in WUSD. This is our sixth ‘Best Communities for Music Education’ Award and it shows. This is one of the ways we are reaching Every Student, Every Day in a Unified Way,” Pate-Hefty stated. The Music Department will be honored at the April 26 School Board Meeting. The following individuals will be recognized: Christine Hayes, Lincoln Elementary; Justin Kamp, Lakeview Elementary; Valerie Troxel, Washington Elementary; Stacey Joseph and Liz Elliot, Middle School; Karen Tordera and Samuel Averill, High School; and Patricia Nielsen, District Strings.