For many school districts determining how big of a role music and music education plays can be a tough, and oftentimes controversial subject.
But Hastings Public Schools feels that if it's offered as a class, then it's just as important. And that mentality has proven to have paid off.
HPS recently received notification from the National Association of Music Merchants Foundation that they would be receiving the Best Community for Music Education Award.
These are awarded to school districts that have demonstrated exceptional efforts in maintaining music education as part of the schools core curriculum, something Rick Matticks, lead band director at Hastings Middle School, says starts at the top.
"The administration has to make a conscious decision on how they are going to support music education. There are so many other important things out there in the education world, with standardized testing and the core curriculum areas that receive so much attention and press. Where does music education fall in that? And I was told just the other day by an administrator, that if we offer it as a class it is just as important as anything in the district," said Matticks.
HPS joins 376 districts across the county who have received the prestigious distinction; including one other school in the state -- Tri County Schools in DeWitt.
Districts must meet a list of requirements which include funding, graduation requirements, music class participation, instruction time, facilities, and support for the music program and community programs.