FI School’s Music Education Program Receives National Recognition

Celebrating the 10th Consecutive year that Fishers Island School has received this honor

Fishers Island, NYJuly 24, 2020Fishers Island School has been honored with the Best Communities for Music Education designation from The NAMM Foundation for its outstanding commitment to music education.  Now in its 22nd year, 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 Music Department 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 Fishers Island Community takes immense pride in our outstanding music program.  Being recognized for 10 consecutive years as a Best Community for Music Education is a testament to the work of Mr. Dollar, our supportive island community and our students,” said Superintendent Christian Arsenault. “This recognition honors the gifts and talents of all of our students who have participated in the program over the past decade”

Since the passage by Congress in 2015 of the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) and a stated emphasis on a well-rounded education, many school districts have re-committed to music and arts education programs and found that in this time of a national pandemic, provides a valuable way to keep students engaged in school. ESSA provides designated funding for well-rounded educational opportunities through Title IV Part A Student Academic Success and Achievement grants. NAMM Foundation research has revealed that these grants are being widely used by school districts to address instructional gaps in access to music and arts education.

When asked about the role that music education played in their academic preparation at Fishers Island School, 2021 graduate Arabella Hatfield stated, “By studying music, students like myself are provided with a crucial creative outlet to both release stress and express ourselves. It is through music education that we learn about the immense power that music has in society and are taught to use that power for the common good.”

Research into music education continues to demonstrate educational/cognitive and social skill benefits for children who make music: After two years of music education, researchers found that participants showed more substantial improvements in how the brain processes speech and reading scores than their less-involved peers and that students who are involved in music are not only more likely to graduate high school, but also to attend college as well. Everyday listening skills are stronger in musically trained children than in those without music training. Significantly, listening skills are closely tied to the ability to: perceive speech in a noisy background, pay attention, and keep sounds in memory. Later in life, individuals who took music lessons as children show stronger neural processing of sound: young adults and even older adults who have not played an instrument for up to 50 years show enhanced neural processing compared to their peers. Not to mention, social benefits include conflict resolution, teamwork skills, and how to give and receive constructive criticism.

Students at Fishers Island School have the opportunity to participate in vocal and instrumental performing ensembles, group instrumental lessons, music technology, music theory, all students PreK-8 have general music instruction, and several students have chosen independent study projects with music as a component. In the 2020-2021 school year 100% of our students chose to enroll in a music class at Fishers Island.

About The NAMM Foundation

The NAMM Foundation is a nonprofit supported in part by the National Association of Music Merchants and its approximately 10,400 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

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