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CISD wins music award for seventh year in a row

September 14, 2018 GMT

For the seventh year in a row, the Conroe Independent School District struck a chord with a national foundation that promotes and supports music education.

Over the summer, the district was given the Best Communities in Music Education award by the National Association of Music Merchants Foundation, or NAMM.

With more than half of the district’s students involved in music education in some way, it’s a large community with more than 32,000 students strumming tunes and belting out songs.

Robert Horton, the fine arts coordinator for Conroe ISD, said the award recognizes districts that give a high level of support to music education.

“To me, it means that people outside of our school district and area recognize the quality of music instruction in our school district. It’s a validation of the wonderful teaching our teachers do,” Horton said.

The award is given to more than 500 school districts across the nation each year.

Horton said that the CISD is distinguished from others because while students may receive classroom instruction, they are also able to successfully demonstrate what they’ve learned outside the classroom.

“Many of our groups have been recognized at the state and national level, either through winning competitions or in an auditioning process,” Horton said.

Specifically, he mentioned opportunities CISD students have had — such as marching in the Rose Bowl Parade or performing at New York City’s Carnegie Hall.

“Every year, our teachers look for different ways to get their students outside of the building to demonstrate not only what goes on in the classes, but also in the programs,” Horton said.

In order to do so, the district has at least 140 certified and degreed music teachers who work with students.

One of those teachers is The Woodlands High School’s Head Choir Director Patrick Newcomb. He said that through the district valuing music education, it boosts student performance in other academic areas.

“Receiving this award the past few years has been encouraging, because it acknowledges not only our students and their unbelievable work ethic, but also the tremendous support we have from our administration and community,” Newcomb said. “They model with their actions what it means to support the arts.”

Horton said the award will allow the district to continue attracting highly qualified teachers.

Part of the award’s criteria is the financial stewardship, which Horton said CISD has demonstrated by outfitting new school buildings with music equipment and instruments, as well as working with the parents and community to raise funds for programs.

The district provides music instruction for students in kindergarten through 12th grade.

jane.stueckemann@chron.com