Exemplary Program Award

The purpose of the Exemplary Program Award is to recognize Nebraska Pre-K through 12 public and private school music programs and their communities that have maintained a long and distinguished tradition of excellence in music education. Recipients of this prestigious award are inducted at the annual awards and recognition banquet at the in-service conference/clinic. The deadline for Exemplary Program Award application is February 1 at 11:59 p.m. Central Time.

Submit your Exemplary Program Application


Selection Process

Schools may be nominated or nominate themselves using the criteria listed on this page. The nomination deadline will be February 1 for recognition at the subsequent NMEA Conference/Clinic in November. Nominated programs and committees will be screened by a committee designated by the NMEA Board of Directors. Nominations may be submitted by a music teacher, supervisor, coordinator, school district superintendent, or other administrators (see nomination information below).

On-Site Visitation

Finalists for the award will receive onsite visits during March and early April from a three-member evaluation team consisting of an NMEA Board member, and two other NMEA members who respectively represent instrumental, choral, and elementary general music. The team will interview students, faculty, music teachers, administrators, school board members, and community members, and observe classes and ensemble rehearsals during their one-day visit. The on-site visitation will include an examination of district music curriculum documents for the inclusion of the National Standards. The nominated school may submit any additional materials for review by the visitation team as time permits.


The visitation team will recommend a school for recognition to the NMEA Board of Directors who will make the final decision in late May/early June. Recipients will be notified immediately of their award, and representatives of the winning school district and their community will be invited to the NMEA Awards and Recognition Dinner in November for the presentation of their award. 

Nomination Information

Please list the following:
  • Name of the school district or high school in K-12 area within a district or individual school.
  • Name, addresses, and titles of all building administrators.
  • Name, title, and address of district fine arts coordinator (if applicable).
  • Name, title, and address of district superintendent.
  • Name and position of the nominator.
  • Nominator’s address and phone number.

Specific Award Criteria

The specific criteria used in determining the award are based on the extent to which a unit – a school, K-12 area, or entire district – meets the criteria for curriculum, staffing, scheduling, and facilities/equipment necessary for implementing the National Standards as articulated in the NAfME publication Opportunity to Learn. Nominators should prepare a portfolio, in either paper or digital formats, containing evidence of accomplishment in each category below: (NOTE: It is not expected that the school, area, or district nominated will achieve excellence in all categories):

  • Enrollment/Staffing/Scheduling – For each full-time music educator (all of whom must be current members of NMEA) in the unit nominated, list the highest degree held, courses taught (indicate select or non-select, if applicable), and enrollment subdivided by grade level for each course.
  • Curriculum (Objectives) – Provide a brief summary of the unit’s objectives for each course/grade level, including particularly those which are aligned with the National Standards and those which foster life-long learning and participation in music.
  • Curriculum (Product) – Provide representative printed programs and a ten-minute recording of the band, choral, and string (if applicable) groups at all levels appropriate to the nomination from the past three years.
  • Curriculum (Process) – Describe particularly unique or innovative teaching strategies.
  • Curriculum (Assessment) – Describe procedures used for assessing the music program and summaries of assessment results for the last year.
  • Curriculum (Planning) – Describe changes that are contemplated in the unit’s music program over the next two years.
  • Facilities – Describe facilities, including rehearsal and concert venue(s), practice space, storage, and technology space.
  • Budget – Describe the unit’s plan for purchasing and maintenance/repair/upgrade monies; inventory of supplies and departmental equipment; strategies for the development of large expenditures (e.g., band uniforms, choir robes, instruments, keyboards, computers, etc.), and sources/amounts of funding external to the unit over the past five years.
  • Summary of Noteworthy Strengths – Describe what is unique about the program, i.e., what would make the program worthy of visitation by outside guests?

Mail COMPLETE nomination documents by February 1 to:
NMEA Awards Recognition
PO Box 576
Boystown, NE 68010

Or email COMPLETE nomination documents by February 1 to:
[email protected]

Follow-up evaluative feedback from the visitation will be provided upon request. Awards will be given based on the strength of the nomination and the results of the visitation. Multiple or no awards may occur in a given year


2019      Millard North High School, Millard 
2018      Lincoln East High School, Lincoln
2016      Omaha Central High School, Omaha
2012      Wayne Community Schools, Wayne
2009      Norris Public Schools, Firth
2006      Catlin Arts Magnet Center, Omaha
2001      Westside Community Schools, Omaha
2000      Brownell-Talbot Elementary, Omaha