Fishers Island School: Best Communities for Music Education Award Winner

Fishers Island School has been the proud recipient of the National Association of Music Merchants Best Communities for Music Education designation for the past 7 consecutive years. In 2018, 583 school districts were chosen across the nation to receive this honor. School music programs are evaluated based on established criteria and schools that meet their high standards are then awarded the designation. More information can be found at

Fishers Island School’s Music Education Program Receives National Recognition

Fishers Island School has been honored with the Best Communities for Music Education designation from The NAMM Foundation for its outstanding commitment to music education. This is the seventh consecutive year that Fishers Island School has received this honor.

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, Fishers Island School 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.

“At Fishers Island School we strive to cultivate and honor the gifts and talents of all of our students.” said Principal Christian Arsenault. “Receiving this special designation is a true testament to how our Music Education Program exemplifies and honors our core educational mission.”– Christian Arsenault; Fishers Island School Principal

This award recognizes that Fishers Island School is leading the way with learning opportunities as outlined in the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA). The legislation guides implementation in the states and replaces the No Child Left Behind Act (NCLB) 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 a well-rounded education for all children.

“Music education at Fishers Island is important because it brings the students together and enables them to be unique. It builds imagination and helps develop creative thinking which are two aspects of learning that are sometimes overlooked.”
-Brooklyn Redo; Fishers Island School Senior

Research into music education continues to demonstrate educational/cognitive and social skill benefits for children who make music. In a series of landmark studies by scientists and researchers at Northwestern University a link was found between students in community music programs and life-long academic success, including higher high school graduation rates and college attendance. In another study from the University, it was discovered that the benefits of early exposure to music education improves how the brain processes and assimilates sounds, a trait that lasts well into adulthood.

Beyond the Northwestern research, other studies have indicated that music education lays the foundation for individual excellence in group settings, creative problem solving and flexibility in work situations, as well learning how to give and receive constructive criticism to excel.

A 2015 study supported by The NAMM Foundation, “Striking A Chord,” also outlines the overwhelming desire by teachers and parents for music education opportunities for all children as part of the school curriculum.

Fishers Island School is a rural PreK-12 school located on Fishers Island, NY. The PreK-12 student population is composed of approximately 70 students from both Fishers Island and various locations in Connecticut such as New London, Mystic, Noank, Waterford, and Stonington. This is the seventh consecutive year that Fishers Island School has received this distinction from the National Association of Music Merchants. Currently, 97 % of the school participates in a music performance ensemble and the school is a member of both the New York State School Music Association (NYSSMA) and the Connecticut Music Education Association (CMEA). Students audition annually for acceptance into CMEA’s Eastern Regional Band and Chorus ensembles. This year 2 students were selected to represent the school for the senior high ensembles, Brooklyn Redo and Julia Helal were both selected for choir: Constance Toldo (choir), and Sophia Basile (band), were selected for the Junior High Ensembles.

About The NAMM Foundation

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

Contact: Chris Dollar
To learn more about music at Fishers Island School please visit the School’s website 


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