William Floyd School District named best community for music education


For the second consecutive year and the eighth time in district history, the William Floyd School District Music Department has been named a “Best Community for Music Education” by the National Association of Music Merchants (NAMM) for its outstanding commitment to music education. William Floyd earned this prestigious national designation previously in 2004, 2006, 2017, 2018, 2019, 2020, 2023 and now 2024! This honor, earned by just 975 school districts from all across the nation, recognizes efforts by teachers, administrators, parents, students and the community, who have contributed to making music education an important part of a well-rounded education.

“Congratulations to our entire music department, our students and their families for achieving this prestigious honor,” said Kevin M. Coster, superintendent of schools, William Floyd School District. “An honor like this only occurs with an amazing faculty, talented and eager students and support from parents to create a successful music community for all students.”

To qualify for the Best Communities designation, the district 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 by school officials and reviewed by The Music Research Institute at the University of Kansas.

“I am so thankful for the support we receive from the William Floyd community,” said Dr. Amy Mason Sckipp, coordinator of music, William Floyd School District. “Music has always been a source of pride in William Floyd and I am honored to be a part of continuing that tradition of excellence. I am so incredibly proud of the William Floyd Music program. We have a dedicated, hardworking and passionate faculty who encourage, engage and take our students to new heights every day. Seeing the joy and pride our students take in their musical journeys is the best reward of all!” 

Members of the award-winning music faculty include: Juliana Asselta, Julia Bellante, Tomas Bradbard, Mabel Burgos, Zachary Carrillo, Jason Castoro, Christine Coffill, Dawn Conefry, Joseph Cordaro, Jonathan Dignam, Marisa Drzewiecki, Lauren Farrell, Ryan Feldscher, Kaylee Figalora-Torres, Gabriella Forgit, Christine Furlani, Amanda Gardner, Kasandra Hanson, Garry Helbock, Diana Brown Hoppe, Kimberly Hyland, Sharon Kitzis, Katelyn Levine, Jessica Marks, Christopher Miranda, Joanne Mosquera-Giovanelli, Leanna Ozman, Margaret Pizzarelli, Alison Prestia, Donia Rivera, Garrett Rode, Berkeley Rousseau, Maria Rueda, John Sapanaro, Kailey Schnurman, Michelle Seifert, Mick Singh, Debora-Ann Tomko, Donna Visone-O’Brien, Dara Wolfert, along with Dr. Amy Mason Sckipp, coordinator of the music department, and, Nancy Slane, music department clerical.

In addition to earning this prestigious award, the entire music department was inducted into the Long Island Music Hall of Fame in 2018 for its rich history in music education and for creating notable music experiences for students.

According to the NAMM Foundation, 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. Additionally, 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.


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