Alabaster City Schools recognized for music education programs

By NATHAN HOWELL | Staff Writer

ALABASTER – The Alabaster City Schools district was recently honored by the National Association of Music Merchants (NAMM), through their “Best Communities for Music Education” program, which recognizes schools that put forth the extra effort in providing access to the arts to their students.

According to THS Band Director Justin White, it was through a combination of the efforts of the ACS Board of Education, school administrators, teachers, students and community members that they were able to receive this designation for a second year.

“This is a tremendous national honor,” White said. “We were one of seven schools in the state of Alabama, and one of 686 in the country to receive this award. What it does is shows not only the dedication of our teachers and students, but the way we are supported by the community. Supporting the arts has made a tremendous impact, especially during this time.”

To receive this designation, the school system had to submit an extensive application detailing things like teacher experience, access to music programs in each of the schools and funding for resources to ensure that students are able to receive a well-rounded music education.

“We have been provided with great resources for our program,” White said. “We have been given a state-of-the-art performing arts center, instruments, practice facilities and staffing so that students at each of our schools are able to have some kind of music education.”

White said that aside from resources, one of the biggest examples of dedication to the program comes from board members and administration physically attending their performances.

“Almost all of the time we have a board member or Dr. Vickers in attendance,” White said. “We have a great support system from the school system.”

He also credited the hard work of community members who provide after school lessons for things like choir, guitar, piano and other things.

This recognition was especially memorable for the school as the school had to work extra hard over the last year due to the pandemic.

“It has been a challenge over the past year,” White said. “We have been able to be successful because the school board set us up for success with designing safety and logistics to make sure we could continue the programs.”

Ultimately, White believes that this recognition is important because of the impact that music has on students for their entire lifetime, and how it correlates to success academically and personally.

“I think music is so connected with the human spirit. It is part of who we are,” he said. “Everyone should have the opportunity to explore that part of art and culture. They have the opportunity if they want to learn and grow. With the exceptional teachers, supportive administration and community the sky is the limit for our students.”