The Danbury Public Schools have been nationally recognized as a 2021 “Best Communities for Music Education School District” for its commitment to and support of music education for the third year in a row.

The National Association of Music Merchants (NAMM) recently released a list of 686 school districts nationwide, recognized as 2021 Best Communities for Music Education. Danbury was one of 23 districts in Connecticut to receive this distinction.

To qualify for the Best Communities designation, DPS 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.

“Music education is an important part of our students’ learning experience, and we have been fortunate to have generous community partners who continue to provide the funding we need for instruments and education,” said Superintendent Dr. Sal Pascarella. “Jill Russell-Benner, the DPS K-8 music department head, has been a tremendous asset in serving as the liaison between schools and nonprofit organizations. She has made it her mission to bring music into the life of every student in our district.”

The NAMM Foundation is a nonprofit supported in part by the National Association of Music Merchants and its approximately 10,400 members around the world. The foundation advances active participation in music making across the lifespan by supporting scientific research, philanthropic giving and public service programs.

The Danbury school district has received numerous donations to support its music program from generous donors such as SpreadMusicNow in Redding and VH1 Save the Music Foundation. These donations have made it especially possible for underfunded elementary schools to support band programs.