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City, Platteville Public Schools earn repeat honors
School district honored for music, city for trees
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The City of Platteville and Platteville Public Schools received repeat honors this past week.

For the second consecutive year, PPS was named one of the Best Communities for Music Education by the NAMM Foundation, a nonprofit supported in part by the National Association of Music Merchants.

“We are thrilled to be receiving this designation for the second consecutive year,” said Platteville High School vocal music teacher Amelia Armstrong. “NAMM has recognized our outstanding music programs, our highly trained music staff, and strong community support for music education.”

This award recognizes that PPS is leading the way with learning opportunities as outlined in the new federal education legislation, the Every Student Succeeds Act. The legislation, signed into law in December 2015, replaces No Child Left Behind Act, which was often criticized for an overemphasis on testing while leaving behind subjects such as music. ESSA recommends music and the arts as important elements of well-rounded education for all children.

The school district offers comprehensive music education for grades K-12, taught by certified music specialists. Students in kindergarten through sixth grade receive general music instruction. Elective music offerings in fifth through 12th grades include concert band, orchestra, choir, music theory, and beginning guitar. Platteville music staff include Kelsey Duss at Neal Wilkins Early Learning Center and Westview Elementary School, Marcia Russell, Owen Strizic, and Bill Sefton at Platteville Middle School, and Amelia Armstrong, Nancy Fairchild and Strizic at Platteville High School.

To qualify for the Best Communities designation, PPS music staff 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.

Other Wisconsin school districts named include Cedarburg, Chilton, Delavan–Darien, Elmbrook, Fort Atkinson, Greendale, Hortonville, Hudson, Kenosha, Kettle Moraine, Kimberly, Kohler, Pulaski, Ripon, Saint Croix Falls and Watertown, along with United Community Center in Milwaukee. Ashland High School, Central High School in Salem, Jefferson High School and Richland Center High School received the Support Music Merit Award.

A recognition ceremony to present the Best Community for Music Education award will be held in the PHS Commons Monday, June 6 at 5:45 p.m.  Guest speakers will include Platteville music alumni. The annual PHS Music Awards and Pops Concert will follow the ceremony. The community is invited to attend and celebrate this honor. 

Meanwhile, the City of Platteville was named a Tree City USA by the Arbor Day Foundation, and received a Tree City USA Growth Award for demonstrating environmental improvement and a higher level of tree care.

The city achieved Tree City USA recognition by meeting the program’s four requirements — a tree board or department, a tree care ordinance, an annual city forestry budget of at least $2 per resident, and an Arbor Day observance and proclamation.

Dodgeville, Mineral Point, Prairie du Chien and Richland Center are also a Tree City USA. Platteville is the only Southwest Wisconsin community to get a Growth Award.