Martha’s Vineyard Charter School will launch a new math program

— File photo by Susan Safford

The Martha’s Vineyard Public Charter School is entering its 17th year providing a public school option for Island students and families. For the fourth year in a row, we are at full capacity with 180 students, Kindergarten through grade 12, as set by the Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE). We are projecting a 2013 graduation class of 13 students, our largest graduating class to date. We welcome 26 new students and families to our school community. Fourteen of the new students will be in our kindergarten classroom.

We are excited about the new school year as we are introducing a new math program, Singapore Math, working on the second year of the redesign of our grade 11-12 program, preparing for the Massachusetts DESE’s site visit as part of the five-year assessment of the work we do at the Charter School, and beginning a school-to-school partnership with the Experimental Primary School of Hanshan District of Handan City in Hebei Province, China.

Our math teachers embarked on a year-long needs assessment of the school’s math program during the 2011-2012 school year, working with a consultant and attending a number of workshops. It was decided to adopt the Singapore Math series beginning this year. The Singapore Math series is comprised of the Common Core math standards expected of math curriculums in Massachusetts schools.

The grade 11-12 teachers and students embark on the second year of the integrated curriculum design adopted last year. This year’s theme is “Social Justice” and summer reading in preparation for the fall semester includes White Tiger and Ishmael.

I have been selected to participate in the 2012-2013 U.S.-China Administrator Shadowing Project. Thirty-one administrators from Massachusetts, New York, Pennsylvania, and Oregon are partnered with principals from China. I will be traveling to China for two weeks in April and the Charter School will host an educator from China next fall. This is a wonderful opportunity for Martha’s Vineyard and the Charter School.

In addition to our curricular work in mathematics, we will be focusing attention on technology, assisting our students in more effectively using Google and search engines in their research, and continuing our work on aligning our curriculum scope and sequence with the Common Core. We will be implementing the school’s new Professional Evaluation protocol as required by the Massachusetts DESE.

Dissemination of innovative practices is a key component of the work we do at the Charter School. We will continue our partnership with the Martha’s Vineyard Museum, conduct Parent Forums, post our work on the school’s website, and participate in professional communities on the Island and throughout the State to share our work with others.

Amy Thompson and Ken Vincent join our staff as art instructors. Amy is our new lower school instructor and Ken is our new secondary school instructor. Amy and Ken are talented artists and bring their love of art and teaching to the Charter School. Kara Gelinas joins the staff as our grade 5-6 Math and Science instructor. The Charter School will benefit from Kara’s knowledge of and experience with project-based activities from her work as Education Coordinator of the Vineyard Energy Project.

Barrett Grazioso joins the Charter School as Kitchen Manager and we look forward to her extensive background and knowledge of providing healthy meals. Mandy Tomkins, Mathea Morais, and Frederica Crafts join the staff as Educational Support Personnel.

We are looking forward to our Second Annual Student Showcase Evening on November 8 when all students exhibit their work throughout the school. It is an evening when parents, guardians, and friends can visit each classroom and interact with students about their work. The eighth graders will be preparing for their annual trip to Italy and the High School students will prepare for their trip to Costa Rico.

The teachers returned to school on Tuesday, August 28, for meetings in preparation for the school year. Parents, guardians, and students met with their teacher advisors on Thursday, August 30, and Tuesday, September 4, for their Personal Education Plan conferences to discuss the upcoming school year, set goals and objectives, and begin the work towards a successful school year for all.

We open the new school year in anticipation of seeing dreams fulfilled, a school community collaborating around the goal of assisting each member in achieving their goals and aspirations, and continuing to create a school culture where everyone feels welcome.

Robert Moore has been the director of the Charter School since 1998. The school opened in September 1996 with 75 students.