District 158 wins national music education award for third straight year

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A student band performs at Memorial Jr. High School. (Photo from d158.net)

Three-part harmony — D158 is BCME Award recipient for the third time

By Josh Bootsma

LANSING, Ill. (May 5, 2022) – For the third consecutive year, District 158 has been recognized by the National Association of Music Merchants as one of the best districts in the country for music education, winning the Best Communities for Music Education Award.

In 2022, the BCME award was presented to 738 school districts around the country. The award “recognizes outstanding efforts by teachers, administrators, parents, students and community leaders who have made music education part of a well-rounded education,” according to nammfoundation.org.

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District 158 received the BCME for the third year in a row. (Graphic provided)

Musical success

“Receiving the BCME award for three years in a row has been a huge accomplishment for our music programs in Lansing District 158,” said Matthew Becker, music instructor and Director of Bands for District 158.

Becker believes a variety of factors have captured the attention of the National Association of Music Merchants (NAMM), including modern classrooms, rehearsal spaces, and performance spaces, as well as touring opportunities for students to perform outside of Lansing. Becker said D158’s most recent out-of-state tour brought student performers to Tennessee.

Additionally, Becker said the COVID-19 pandemic, though difficult for music education, helped bring to light innovative ways to teach music.

“The situation has helped in guiding us toward discovery of new, modern, and innovative ways of using technology and technological resources that we may not have known about in the past. When students return to the school building, we are excited to use our newly gained knowledge and resources to continue to further advance and enhance the educational landscape of our music classrooms, and to further develop and refine lessons and musical experiences that will meet all students’ social and emotional needs and will positively impact students’ educational experiences,” he said.

Upon returning to the music classroom in full, Becker described the energy that returned to music rehearsals, saying, “The energy of student excitement, engagement, and continuous growth that were missing from the school buildings has now brought each music room back to life.”

District 158 Superintendent Dr. Nathan Schilling said, “We are incredibly proud that performing arts programs for students have continued to thrive in our school district despite the challenges of recent years.”

Lansing School District 158 schools include Memorial Jr. High, Oak Glen Elementary, Calvin Coolidge Elementary, W.C. Reavis Elementary, and Lester Crawl Primary Center.

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