LINDEN, NJ — Linden Public Schools have been selected for the second consecutive year as one of the “Best Communities for Music Education” in America.
The NAMM Foundation, National Association of Music Merchants, has recognized the district for its outstanding commitment to music education with a Best Communities for Music Education designation. Linden joins 476 districts across the country in receiving the prestigious distinction in 2016.
The BCME survey was sent to nearly 14,000 school districts across the country requesting information 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 Center for Public Partnerships and Research, an affiliate of the University of Kansas.
Matthew Lorenzetti, supervisor of Fine and Performing Arts for Linden public schools, comes from a background firmly rooted in music, with his father also serving as supervisor of the performing arts program. Lorenzetti has served both as a music teacher and band leader before becoming supervisor three years ago.
Lorenzetti said that involvement and support of board members, faculty and the community has made all the difference in bringing the program to the level it is at today. “I believe one of the main things that set us apart from other districts is that we are committed as a district and community to support all our arts programs,” said Lorenzetti. “At any given event you might find multiple board members, our superintendent and assistant superintendent, and city officials. Our students can see that their involvement in the arts matters. It’s just the dedication of everyone in Linden. There’s a lot of support from the community, the Board of Education, and the superintendent. And we have a very dedicated staff.”
Linden Superintendent of Schools Danny Robertozzi said that he is thrilled that the program has received this recognition. “We are so honored to be named one of the Top 100 Communities for Music Education in the entire United States,” said Robertozzi. “The Linden School District has always prided itself on developing well-rounded students. One way we have always strived to do that is through our Fine and Performing Arts Department. Too often, when school districts need to cut the budget, music and art become the first casualties. That has never been the case in Linden and never will be. We strongly believe in providing a strong music education program for our students and we feel strongly that a high-quality fine and performing arts department also facilitates success in traditional classroom subjects.”
Lorenzetti said that students are exposed to a broad spectrum of skills and programming that provides unique opportunities and experiences. The program, which is offered to students from K-12, also provides a wide variety of musical instruction. “Third grade is a very big year for our students,” said Lorenzetti. “They are allowed to start studying band or orchestra instruments, and students in 4th grade can begin participating in our school choruses. At the middle school level all students are given the opportunity to take music as an elective where they learn piano skills, how to read and create music, as well as about the history of music.”
Lorenzetti said that the middle schools each offer a variety of vocal, band, and orchestral ensembles. Twenty different courses are offered at the high school level, including multiple ensembles, guitar, dance, musical theatre and music technology.
Students from grades three to 12 also receive individual MacBook Air computers to supplement their learning or to create music — another factor that sets Linden music programming from other school districts.
Lorenzetti said that students in the program feel a great sense of pride in their accomplishments. “They take pride in what they do because they see that others are proud of them as well,” said Lorenzetti of the students.
For additional information on Linden Fine and Performing Arts visit www.linden.k12.nj.us.