The Islanders 2009-2010 season has been a time full of change not only on the ice, but off the ice as well. It has been one of the most successful years for the team community initiatives, especially their Islanders @ School Program. The Islanders @ School curriculum serves as the umbrella to the Islanders education initiatives in areas where access to our school programs are available.
The Islanders @ School Program is a curriculum-based program that utilizes customized lesson plans featuring members of the game-night staff and its players. Each program is tailored to the specifics of the Islanders’ team, the sport of hockey, and the unique demands of the New York State school curriculum. The program is delivered through the Islanders @ School website where educators can download classroom ready materials, and students can interact with online games that are fun and educational. Each program is validated at the outset by an advisory panel of local education professionals, and awareness of the program is maximized with email, direct mail and fax communications, going to the schools, teachers, and school boards within our community (This includes all of Long Island and all New York areas within a 50 mile radius of the Nassau Coliseum). During this season 431 teachers have utilized the program at more than 300 different schools.
The @ School Program also is the basis for the assemblies put on by the Islanders community events team. The most successful presentation of the season has been the “We’re All Islanders” Assembly Program. The We’re All Islanders School Assembly Program was created to introduce the “We’re All Islanders” theme into local schools across Long Island to increase the visibility of the Islanders, spread the theme of teamwork to the local youth, and show how all the students the program visits can be part of the New York Islanders team.
The “We’re All Islanders” Assembly is a fun informative presentation that includes a video presentation, student participation and each student receives some great New York Islanders school supplies and giveaways. The assembly explains the similarities between a hockey team and being part of a school team, and a video with current Islanders are seen speaking about the importance of teamwork. This season alone, the “We’re All Islanders” Assembly has visited over 100 schools, and has been seen by almost 52,000 students.
Along with the “We’re All Islanders” Program, the Islanders support Literacy Day, and created a unique program designed to bring awareness to elementary schools about the importance of reading. The Literacy Day program is a one day assembly in which the entire Islanders team is involved. 12 schools are visited by two Islander players, each for a two-hour assembly surrounding the importance of reading. The players read for the children in attendance and discuss how reading has affected their lives and helped get them to where they are today. The assembly concludes with a question and answer period and a small autograph session. This season on Literacy Day alone, the Islanders read to over 4,000 students.
Through these interactive assemblies and programs, the Islanders and their Community Events Team strive to make a difference with their community however they can. The Islanders community initiatives are seen by the NHL as one of the best examples of how a professional sports team can get involved in the community and really make a difference. The Islanders hope to continue their positive relationship within the area and will strive to reach more and more students in the years to come. They continue to be an active member in the region in terms of community involvement and the players and the organization are very proud to be a part of a team that gives so much back when they can. After all, just as they’ve said in the assembly throughout the year, “We’re All Islanders.”