Fishers Island School’s Music Education Program Receives National Recognition

By Christopher Dollar

District is one of 4% of school districts in nation to receive distinction

Fishers Island, NYMay 5, 2017 – 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. Fishers Island is one of 4% of districts across the nation receiving the prestigious award in 2017.

The Best Communities 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 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 arts are a vital part of our school program as they allow our students to express themselves creatively and to take pride in being part of an award-winning chorus and band, remarked Superintendent/Principal Karen Goodwin. “This award highlights the strong community support we receive for our music program. We are grateful that the Fishers Island community has provided funding for us to hire/retain a high-quality music teacher, completely renovate the music classroom and performance space, purchase new instruments, and implement a popular music technology program.

This award recognizes that Fishers Island is leading the way with music learning opportunities as outlined in the new federal education legislation, the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA). The legislation, signed into law in December 2015, and awaiting state implementation designates music and the arts as important elements of well-rounded education for all children.

As Fishers Island finalizes its 2017-2018 budget, The NAMM Foundation’s Best Communities for Music Education Award and the state level implementation of the federal ESSA law bring attention to the importance of keeping music education part of curriculum offerings and available to all students. It also highlights music’s vital role in students’ overall success in school and the personal benefits of making music.

Our student musicians work hard and constantly push themselves to new levels of musicianship. Without the support of the Fishers Island Community, Parents, Fishers Island School Administration, Faculty and Staff, or the Fishers Island Board of Education, building and sustaining a viable music education program would not be possible. Thank you all for your commitment to and continued support of performing arts education at Fishers Island School.” ~ Chris Dollar, Music Teacher at Fishers Island UFSD

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

For more information about Fishers Island School, please visit us on our web page at or visit up on Facebook at

Click any photo of the 2016 Winter Concert to see a larger image.
Photo Credit: JT Ahrens

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. Its mission is to advance 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

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