GGUSD’s Visual and Performing Arts Program Receives Top Honor for Sixth Year in a Row

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Garden Grove Unified School District (GGUSD) has received the 2024 Best Communities for Music Education Award. This marks the sixth year in a row that the district’s Visual and Performing Arts (VAPA) program has received this honor. This award is presented to districts that demonstrate outstanding achievement in providing music access and education to all students. 

GGUSD is one of only eight districts in Orange County and 34 districts across California to receive this national recognition, awarded to only 974 other districts across the U.S.

“We are excited to be celebrated once again as a leader in music education on a national scale because it demonstrates the exceptional quality of our Visual and Performing Arts program,” said Board of Education Trustee Bob Harden. “GGUSD has earned this prestigious recognition for an impressive six consecutive years, which speaks to our amazing educators who go above and beyond to provide a high-quality program.”

This award from the NAMM (National Association of Music Merchants) Foundation recognizes that GGUSD is leading the way with best practices in music education opportunities as outlined in the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA). The legislation recommends music and the arts as essential elements of a well-rounded education for all children.

GGUSD's VAPA program is led by Coordinator Stacy Harris and is supported by 65 music teachers serving students PreK-12 in instrumental, choral, and general music, three elementary art teachers, two elementary dance teachers, 43 secondary visual art teachers, 9 secondary theatre teachers, and five secondary dance teachers.

To qualify for the designation, GGUSD met criteria around music education funding, graduation requirements, music class participation, instruction time, facilities, support for the music program and community music-making programs. Responses were verified and reviewed by The Music Research Institute at the University of Kansas.

Research into music education continues to demonstrate educational/cognitive and social skill benefits for children who make music. After two years of music education, research found that participants showed more substantial improvements in how the brain processes speech and reading scores that 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.