The Vineyard Montessori School (VMS) has purchased land adjacent to its existing campus, allowing for expansion of the school to help meet “the growing needs of the community and bringing value to the neighborhood with the focus of capturing the spirit of Vineyard Haven,” according to a press release from the school. The school is now located on Main Street in Vineyard Haven, and serves children from preschool to grade six, enrolling an average of 54 students each year.
The land purchase is a result of the strategic planning process the VMS board of trustees undertook last year. The process included administration, faculty, families, and the community. They created a five-year vision for VMS and identified major areas of focus that include school improvement with a revitalized campus, the hiring of additional teachers and professionals, and continued faculty training and professional development.
In the release, Head of School Deborah Jernegan said, “We are thrilled to have completed the purchase of this land. It is important to VMS to be able to keep providing an exceptional learning environment. We look forward to involving our neighbors in the planning of a campus that will meet the needs of our children and the community today, tomorrow, and in the future.”
The school’s long-term plans include the renovation or replacement of the existing building, expanding the elementary classrooms, and creating new outdoor learning and play environments.
Fundraising efforts for expansion and improvements are led by Starr Snead, founder of Advancement Connections, which consults with small, independent schools. Ms. Snead is working with VMS via a grant awarded to the school from her foundation, and a grant from the Vineyard Fund for Board Development and Education, which is part of the Permanent Endowment for Martha’s Vineyard.
In the first stage of the expansion project, the elementary program (grades 1-6) will relocate to the newly renovated space at nearby Camp Jabberwocky on Greenwood Avenue in Vineyard Haven, beginning September 2017.
“We are very excited about the move to Camp Jabberwocky,” Ms. Jernegan said in the release. “Their beautiful campus and its many amenities, including fields, basketball courts, and gardens, is a great way for us to accommodate the needs of our students and teachers. The short-term move also allows us the time to strategically plan out our campus on our new land.”
VMS was founded in 1975 at Arrowhead Farm in West Tisbury by a group of local parents committed to the Montessori philosophy. For more information, visit vineyardmontessori.com.