Turner Intermediate Wins Music Award

Kelly Hanna

Public Relations Officer

Wilkinsburg School District

[email protected]


2nd Consecutive Year for Turner Intermediate Winning the

Music Education Program Receives National Recognition


Wilkinsburg, PA4-20-23Wilkinsburg 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 24th 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, Wilkinsburg School District 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 by school officials and reviewed by The Music Research Institute at the University of Kansas.

“From 4th-6th grade, students can play an instrument.  We have well over 100 students learning how to read music and playing an instrument which is about 40% of eligible students in the school”, said Band Director Clarissa Stewart

Since the passage of the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) in 2015 and a stated emphasis on a well-rounded education, many school districts have re-committed to music and arts education programs. During the pandemic, music and arts programs were a vital component to keeping students engaged in school. ESSA provides designated funding for well-rounded educational opportunities through Title IV Part A Student Academic Success and Achievement grants. NAMM Foundation research has revealed that these grants are being widely used by school districts to address instructional gaps in access to music and arts education.

“The Wilkinsburg School District is a recipient of the Disney Musicals in Schools program.  Turner Intermediate is one of only four schools in Allegheny County selected to participate in this prestigious program.  Our students will appear in the production, the Jungle Book Kids on May 5th and 6th at our school”, stated Music Teacher Shawn VanMastrigt.

Research into music education continues to demonstrate educational/cognitive and social skill benefits for children who make music: After two years of music education, researchers found that participants showed more substantial improvements in how the brain processes speech and reading scores than their less-involved peers and that students who are involved in music are not only more likely to graduate high school but also to attend college as well. In addition, everyday listening skills are stronger in musically trained children than in those without music training. Significantly, listening skills are closely tied to the ability to: perceive speech in a noisy background, pay attention, and keep sounds in memory. Later in life, individuals who took music lessons as children show stronger neural processing of sound: young adults and even older adults who have not played an instrument for up to 50 years show enhanced neural processing compared to their peers. Not to mention, social benefits include conflict resolution, teamwork skills, and how to give and receive constructive criticism.

“The WBSD's elementary music program is the best I have seen in 25 years. The staff is passionate about teaching and learning music through various methodologies that are always culturally relevant. This relevancy has cultivated relationships among the staff and students, inspiring and motivating our kids to be engaged and excited in their music learning”, said Superintendent, Dr. Joe Maluchnik

About Wilkinsburg School District

The Wilkinsburg School District is a small, urban public school district serving the Pittsburgh suburb of Wilkinsburg, Pennsylvania. The district encompasses approximately 3 square miles. Wilkinsburg School District operates two schools: Kelly Primary School (Pre-K-2), Turner Intermediate School (grades 3-6). The school district is governed by its Board of Directors, as well as by the Pennsylvania State Board of Education, the Pennsylvania Department of Education and the Pennsylvania General Assembly. www.WilkinsburgSchools.org

About The NAMM Foundation

The NAMM Foundation is a nonprofit supported in part by the National Association of Music Merchants and its 15,000 member companies and individual professionals. The foundation advances active participation in music making across the lifespan by supporting scientific research, philanthropic giving, and public service programs. For more information about The NAMM Foundation, please visit www.nammfoundation.org.