Paul Laurence Dunbar Middle School has been honored with the Best Communities for Music Education designation from The NAMM Foundation for its outstanding commitment to music education.

The Best Communities for Music Education designation is awarded to schools that demonstrate outstanding achievement in efforts to provide music access and education to all students.

“It’s an honor to be one of 135 in the nation, and one of only 3 in Florida,” says Dr. Nathan Shaker, Principal at Paul Laurence Dunbar Middle. “Music, Theater, the Arts, are foundational to our success in academics and in creating a positive school culture. All of these areas are not only strong communities for our middle schoolers, they are arenas to excel, to make your mark, and for students to feel good about who they are what they can create.”

To qualify for the Best Communities designation, PLDMS 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.

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.