Several area schools deemed best communities for music education by national group

Megan Tomasic, The Tribune-Review, Greensburg
·2 min read

Apr. 8—Several school districts in Allegheny and Westmoreland counties were named among best communities for music education by a national organization.

The NAMM Foundation recognized the schools for their outstanding commitment to music education. Now in its 22nd year, the designation is awarded to districts that show outstanding achievement in efforts to provide music access and education to all students, according to a news release.

Allegheny County districts that received the recognition include Avonworth, Baldwin-Whitehall, Chartiers Valley, East Allegheny, Fox Chapel, Gateway, Mt. Lebanon, North Allegheny, Plum, Upper St. Clair and Woodland Hills. Westmoreland County districts include Burrell, Franklin Regional, Greater Latrobe, Hempfield, Kiski Area, Mount Pleasant, Norwin and Yough.

In all, 686 school districts were named best communities in the nation for music education. An additional 80 schools were also named winners of the 2021 SupportMusic Merit Award, which is a school-only designation given to qualifying charter, private and parochial schools.

A full list of winner can be found at

"This award helps to highlight all that we have ... in the surrounding community that enriches our lives beyond work and the classroom," said Brian Tychinski, Hempfield's music department chairman and high school band director.

To qualify for the designation, questions must be answered regarding funding, graduation requirements, music class participation, instruction time, facilities, support for the music program and community music making programs. The responses were reviewed by The Music Research Institute at the University of Kansas.

This year, districts were also asked to share stories and experiences of teaching through the covid-19 pandemic.

The NAMM Foundation is a nonprofit organization supported by the National Association of Music Merchants and is made up of 10,400 members around the country. The foundation supports scientific research, philanthropic giving and public service programs.

Megan Tomasic is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Megan at 724-850-1203, or via Twitter .