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School District Earns NYSSMA Presidential Citation

The Farmingdale School District music department was recently selected as the recipient of the highly prestigious New York State School Music Association (NYSSMA) Presidential Citation Award, the highest honor recognizing school districts with comprehensive and exemplary music programs. NYSSMA grants this award to districts that are models for music education. Each year, NYSSMA is permitted to select a maximum of two districts from the entire state as recipients of the Presidential Citation Award.

“The Farmingdale School District continues to provide the highest quality academic and extracurricular programs possible in order for our students to achieve their goals and aspirations,” said Farmingdale School District Superintendent John Lorentz. “Earning the highest ranking from NYSSMA is a testament to the outstanding work of our music teachers and students. It is an honor to have NYSSMA recognize the accomplishments of the district’s music program.”   

The extensive criterion includes the components NYSSMA deems essential for a successful music education. The lengthy and extensive application provides a profile of the district’s music program including the district music curriculum and time allotted for General Music, rotation lessons, and ensemble rehearsals. NYSSMA considers the percentage of the district’s students involved in the music program at each level, the size of the teaching staff, and the number of students who continue from elementary school to middle school to high school. The association also determines the incorporation of technology in music classes as well as the district’s support of staff development and conferences for music teachers. NYSSMA additionally assesses the support that building administrators and central administrators give to the music program.

Fine Arts Director Rita Zirpolo Padden commented, “Each year our music teachers set rigorous goals for themselves and their students. They create wonderful performances that demonstrate outstanding student musicianship. It is very exciting to have the New York State School Music Association recognize our accomplishment.”

In the spring, Woodward Parkway Elementary School band teacher, Erica Hartmann, initiated the idea of applying for NYSSMA’s highest award. Hartmann, Padden and the entire music department began to accumulate the data necessary for submission.

The Farmingdale Music Department is delighted that School District Administrators as well as several Farmingdale music teachers were able to attend the NYSSMA Presidential Citation Award Ceremony to receive the award.

For more information on the Farmingdale School District’s NYSSMA highest honor, visit