Making Music a Priority


The NAMM Foundation has awarded Islip with a Best Communities for Music Education designation, recognizing the district for its exemplary commitment to music education.

Now in its 16th year, the annual survey honors school districts which place strong emphasis on maintaining music education as part of the schools’ core curriculum and highlight the crucial role of music in academic skills and success of students.

“Islip is a district that has always put the arts high on its list of priorities,” said Director of Fine and Performing Arts Vincent Green. “We don’t see a student as a test score or a GPA – we see unique individuals with interests and passions that extend beyond the classroom. Whatever students choose to do with the rest of their professional lives, we as educators are responsible for helping them to become whole people by offering enriching experiences within and beyond the classroom. How can a young person know where to go without the opportunity to explore the possibilities? We do all we can to allow them to become athletes, poets, scientists and artists.”

Community music programs have attracted increased attention this year due to a landmark study by Northwestern University brain scientists, whose research discovered new links between students in community music programs and academic success in subjects such as reading. Other reports confirm that learning to play music can boost academic and social skills, such as processing math and learning to cooperate in groups.

The BCME’s Best Communities award is decided on a variety of metrics reviewed by the University of Kansas-affiliated Institute for Educational Research and Public Service, including student enrollment in music courses, Advanced Placement or honors weighted music courses offered, the number of minutes per week devoted to both classroom music and performing ensembles, and the appropriate districtwide staffing of certified music teachers.