The Massapequa School District was recently presented with the New York State School Music Association’s Presidential Citation award. The recognition took place at the 2016 NYSSMA winter conference in Rochester.
This honor is the most prestigious music award given by the organization and it recognizes only the most exemplary programs in New York State. Superintendent Lucille Iconis, music Curriculum Associate Dr. David Gaines and current and former teachers and students were in attendance.
“This group represents the history of the program from its exceptional past to a future that continues to be promising,” Dr. Gaines said. “Massapequa has certainly set a standard of excellence for others to follow.”
Dr. Gaines, hired 30 years ago as the high school band director, said what has always shaped the music department in Massapequa is that administrators, teachers and students pursue excellence over accomplishments. He added that without the support of the board of education, Ms. Iconis and the rest of the Central Office staff, along with the building leadership in all nine schools, this high standard would not be possible.
The music program includes band, orchestra and chorus at all levels, plus many extracurricular opportunities, such as after-school ensembles and various musical theater productions. The district also offers year-round music instruction because of the vibrant Summer Fine Arts program. Additionally, one of the most unique characteristics of the department is the outstanding work with special education students using an approach that is based on research in the areas of neurology and music.
“Music has become an important part of their world,” Dr. Gaines said. “This research-based approach and attitude that all children succeed better when music is part of their daily lives has spread throughout the department and we continue to see the success of all of our talented young musicians.”