Chilmark School maintains multi-age classrooms and traditions

— File photo by Janet Hefler

The Chilmark School staff is looking forward to a great year. We are excited to be redistributing our students to one classroom for Kindergarten and first grade students, two classrooms for second and third grade students and one classroom for fourth and fifth grade students.

Jack Regan, the previous grade 2/3 teacher, retired at the end of the year, and Gretchen Snyder will be taking over as the lead teacher in one of the 2/3 classes. Kaitlyn Maciel will be the lead teacher in the other 2/3 class. We are glad these two terrific teachers are on board this year.

We have also hired Susan Gunnels and Mariah MacGregor as teaching assistants for the 4/5 and the 2/3 classrooms. We are working on our schedules and utilizing data from student evaluations to determine plans and groupings for the students for the year.

We believe in multi-age groupings, as we feel they provide for different rates of progress across the ages in each classroom. We also utilize the Responsive Classroom curriculum and all of our teachers, as well as myself, have been trained.

We will start the year with 62 students, up from 52 last year, and when we add our preschool students and families it brings our total number up to 82 learners! Our goal is to ensure that children love to learn, and gain the self-esteem that will enable each child to act as responsible and caring human beings.

We are planning many fun and educational programs that will guide us through the year, and will continue to incorporate all the traditional activities that have made the Chilmark School such a special place.

For example, the second week of school our 4/5 students will be having their classroom lessons aboard the schooner Alabama. They will learn while they are sailing the seas! This is just one of our many traditions!

For additional information regarding our PTO, SAC or school traditions, please visit our website at

Susan Stevens was named head of Chilmark School in 2009, after serving as an exceptional student education coordinator at a middle school in West Palm Beach, Fla.