United Community Center recognized nationally for school’s music education efforts

As one of the best communities for music education, UCC heralded for support music education

The NAMM Foundation recognizes the United Community Center (UCC) for its outstanding commitment to music education with a Best Communities for Music Education designation. UCC joins 307 districts across the country to receive the prestigious distinction this year. UCC operates Bruce-Guadalupe Community School, a University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee Charter School that offers K4 through 8th grade.

In its 14th year, Best Communities for Music Education (BCME) affirms school districts that have demonstrated exceptional efforts toward maintaining music education as part of the schools’ core curriculum.

The BCME survey requires districts to answer 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 with school officials and reviewed by The Institute for Educational Research and Public Service of Lawrence, Kansas, an affiliate of the University of Kansas.

In addition, more than 300 students at Bruce-Guadalupe Community School participate in music education programming, which includes Bruce-Guadalupe Middle School Jazz Band and a partnership through the Latino Arts Strings Program, an award-winning in-school and afterschool program that has earned national acclaim over the last decade. In addition to offering a positive outlet for students, the music programs often benefit from UCC’s partnership with Latino Arts, which allows for opportunities for young musicians to learn from and collaborate with internationally renowned musicians that come to Milwaukee to perform. These music programs have also strengthened parental involvement and built a supportive community around the young musicians.

“Arts education is an important facet of the United Community Center’s services to the students of Bruce-Guadalupe Community School,” said UCC executive director Ricardo Diaz. “The students that participate in our Middle School Jazz Band and our Latino Arts Strings Program are developing skills and characteristics that will stay with them for life, and their increased self-confidence and discipline translate directly to the academic world. Receiving this designation from the NAMM Foundation will only strengthen our commitment to enhancing our students’ lives with musical education.”

The BCME designation is an important part of the NAMM Foundation’s efforts to advocate for school-based music education. Numerous studies have demonstrated that learning to play music can boost other academic and social skills, such as math and learning to cooperate in a group.

The NAMM-funded Cost of Music Education study found that a comprehensive K–12 music education program cost an average of $187 per student per year in the sample district.