Labor Day, that punctuation mark that used to denote the end of the summer season before it stretched to Columbus Day, dawned bright and cheerful, helping to put everyone in a happy back-to-school frame of mind. Forty-seven kindergarten through fifth-grade students will return to school today, with kindergarteners staying a half-day for the first week, after which they will remain for the full day. Principal Diane Gandy, who has been busy at the school for the last week or so meeting with staff and getting ready for the next school year, is, as usual, upbeat and optimistic about the coming year.
Among newcomers to the staff are Jen DeSelm, who joins Robin Smith and Eleanor Neubert, longtime K/1 teachers, as a one-on-one classroom assistant. Former teacher's assistant Celeste Berg, returns this year as teacher's assistant to the 2/3 class and Holly Bellebuono is the new teacher's assistant in the big (19 students), 4/5 class. Liz Bradley is the music teacher, and Spanish teacher Amy Hewitt will take on added duties as the new English Language Learning teacher.
The 4/5 students will sail off on the Shenandoah this Sunday for the annual trip, first stage of the school's outing program, during which they will learn about life aboard ship. They will be accompanied by teacher Jackie Guzalak and parent chaperones, returning next weekend.
Fifteen children are enrolled in the pre-school under the direction of longtime certified educator Chris Abrams. The pre-school is separate from the Chilmark School, but occupies a room in the school.
Library director Ebba Hierta has announced that prices in the new in-library book sale of used books have been reduced. Adult hardcover books are $1, and paperbacks are all 25 cents. The selection is up-dated weekly, so be sure to check it out when you're in the library.
"The Secret Lives of Skunks" is the subject of next Wednesday's talk at the library. Ecologist Luanne Johnson will discuss her PhD research on the skunks of Martha's Vineyard and tell how she catches them and fits them with radio tracking collars so she can keep track of their activities and pinpoint their role in the Island ecology. She will also tell stories about skunk-human encounters. Wednesday, Sept. 12, 5:30 to 6:30 pm. Everyone is welcome; there is no admission charge.
The library's summer assistant, Louis Becker, leaves today after his fourth summer at the library. Both patrons and staff will miss him and wish him good luck this winter and hope to see him back with us next summer.