Fishers Island School’s Music Education Program Receives National Recognition

Fishers Island School District recognized for 9th consecutive year

May 7, 2020
By Chris Dollar

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 marks the 9th consecutive year that Fishers Island School has received the honor of this national designation.

Now in its 21st 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 School answered detailed questions about funding, graduation requirements, music class participation, instruction time, facilities, support for the music programs, Responses were verified with school officials and reviewed by The Music Research Institute at the University of Kansas.

“Fishers Island School is so proud of our students and of what they bring to our community through music. Our music education program provides our students not only with an artistic outlet but with opportunities to foster collaboration and teamwork. The growth our students show in their musical abilities and expression is a joy to witness year after year.” ~ Christian Arsenault, Superintendent/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.

“To me, the music program at Fishers Island School is the foundation that brings the students together on a daily basis and really allows us to get to know each other. It has shown me the importance of teamwork within a musical group, knowing that if we all work together we can achieve a common goal.” ~ David Shillo, Fishers Island Senior

Research into music education continues to demonstrate educational cognitive and social skill benefits for children who make music. After two years of music education, research found that participants showed more substantial improvements in how the brain processes speech and reading scores that 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.

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.

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 2019-2020 school year 96% of our students were enrolled in a music class at Fishers Island and 100% of students were enrolled in one or more visual or performing arts course.

# # #

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

Check Also