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Bastrop ISD’s Music Education Program Receives National Recognition

[Bastrop, TX] – [May 19, 2022] – Bastrop Independent School District has been honored NAMM presentationwith the Best Communities for Music Education designation from The NAMM Foundation for its outstanding commitment to music education.  Now in its 23rd year, the Best Communities for Music Education designation is awarded to districts that demonstrate outstanding achievement in efforts to provide music access and education to all students.


To qualify for the Best Communities designation, Bastrop ISD answered 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 Music Research Institute at the University of Kansas.


“I am incredibly excited for our school district to receive The NAMM Best Communities for Music Education distinction, which is an award our community can proudly get behind and continue to support and watch grow.” said Chico Portillo, Director of Fine Arts for Bastrop ISD. “This distinction  is an outward sign of how well the music programs are supported in the Bastrop ISD community, and I am so proud of our music teachers and students for their continued dedication to building high achieving programs.”


Since the passage of the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) in 2015 and a stated emphasis on a well-rounded education, many school districts have re-committed to music and arts education programs. During the pandemic, music and arts programs were a vital component to keeping students engaged in school and to addressing instructional gaps in access to music and arts education. 


NAMM CertificateResearch into music education continues to demonstrate educational/cognitive and social skill benefits for children who make music. After two years of music education, researchers found that participants showed more substantial improvements in how the brain processes speech and reading scores than 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. Everyday listening skills are stronger in musically trained children than in those without music training. Significantly, listening skills are closely tied to the ability to: perceive speech in a noisy background, pay attention, and keep sounds in memory. Later in life, individuals who took music lessons as children show stronger neural processing of sound: young adults and even older adults who have not played an instrument for up to 50 years show enhanced neural processing compared to their peers. Not to mention, social benefits include conflict resolution, teamwork skills, and how to give and receive constructive criticism.


“Music education offers such tremendous benefits for our students, and I am very proud of the incredible work of our teachers and Mr. Portillo, our fine arts director, all of whom invest their time and talents into the wide array of music programming in our district,” said Superintendent Barry Edwards. “We believe that music is a difference maker for our children and for our community. Music and music education are alive and well in Bastrop, Texas!”


The Bastrop Independent School District is a proud public school system in the picturesque Lost Pines of Central Texas, conveniently located just 30 miles southeast of Austin, 100 miles northeast of San Antonio, and 130 miles west of Houston. Bastrop ISD is made up of 15 schools, more than 12,000 students, and 433 square miles throughout Bastrop, Cedar Creek, Dale, Paige, Red Rock, and Rockne. To learn more about Bastrop ISD, please visit


The NAMM Foundation is a nonprofit supported in part by the National Association of Music Merchants and its approximately 10,300 members around the world. The foundation advances active participation in music making across the lifespan by supporting scientific research, philanthropic giving and public service programs. For more information about The NAMM Foundation, please visit


For more information, contact Dr. Kristi Lee, Associate Superintendent, 512.772.7106,