Martha’s Vineyard high school blends new initiatives with the familiar

MVRHS principal Stephen Nixon. — File photo by Janet Hefler

All of us in the Martha’s Vineyard Regional High School community would like to take this opportunity to welcome all of you to the 2011-2012 school year. Over the last two months our staff has been working diligently to prepare for the opening of doors this fall.

Our custodians have cleaned, washed, and waxed every room and hall in the building. We have put fresh coats of paint in several classrooms, hallways, and our cafeteria. Our teachers have begun to organize and prep lessons. We have constructed a wide-ranging dynamic schedule for every teacher and student, and we have hired new teaching staff to replace those who have moved on or retired. All in all, we have had a very busy summer.

It seems hard to believe, but when we opened our doors on September 7th to this year’s freshmen, we were welcoming in the graduating class of 2015. We are all excited, as we are every year, about working with this new group of young people. Annually, the level of excitement and energy grows as these students begin their four-year journey through our wonderful school.

We ask that the parents of these new students, as well as all of our veteran parents, get involved in our school. Come to meetings, volunteer, become active in the PTSO, cheer our students on at athletic contests, and establish strong working relationships with your child’s teachers.

In the coming year we will begin, or improve, some initiatives that we hope will only strengthen the educational foundation that we are so proud of at MVRHS. We will begin a data-coaching program that, among other things, will allow us to identify strengths and weaknesses within our instructional areas in order to specifically increase student achievement. We will continue our work with standards in order to ensure that each child understands the key components required in each course and to work with each individual child until they demonstrate understanding in these areas before allowing them to move on.

We will begin to align our common mid-term and final assessments to these standards, so we can accurately measure not only your child’s success, but also the effectiveness of our instruction. Along with these newer offerings we will continue with some of our tried and true programs that make an MVRHS education so unique.

We will continue with our Advisory program, where every student in the building meets with an adult in small groups to work on our curriculum that addresses some of the key issues affecting our young people’s daily lives. We will continue our Peer Outreach program, in which our students are trained to help other students.

Our Race Culture Retreat will continue to help our students obliterate any signs of racism or prejudice within our building. Wellness Day, our sports teams, our theatre groups, our clubs, newspaper, Student Council, Vocational instruction, and our musical groups will all continue in order to provide your child with the best rounded education possible.

I am now beginning my fourth year as principal here at MVRHS and there have been many positive changes made in that time period. We have a dedicated, hard-working staff that is here for your child. Drop by and see what we do; you may not want to leave!

Stephen Nixon is principal of the regional high school.