Island schools open doors on a new school year
Schools chief highlights new programs
As we start the 2008-09 school year, the Martha's Vineyard Public Schools will begin several important programs and initiatives. First, our new Bridge program will be located at the Edgartown School and will serve students entering kindergarten or first grade in need of a more intensive and supportive approach to learning. The two Project Headway classes that had been located in Edgartown will now move to the West Tisbury School and will continue their outstanding work with pre-schoolers.
Second, our staff will begin to work with a new supervision model called the Professional Growth System, or PGS. This new model, which was developed over the past year, will help teachers to continually improve their practice and encourage them to become a member of a professional learning community - a group of teachers who truly focus upon student learning.
Third, our successful Grade 8 honors algebra program will expand and work with students in all four of our middle-level buildings. Last year this program was piloted at the Oak Bluffs School, and a limited number of eighth graders from across the Island traveled there each day to have their math instruction.
Finally, as we begin to develop the budget for the 2009-2010 school year, we will work to provide more easily understandable information to our local citizens and the finance committees throughout the process. At last year's town meetings, citizens asked for more information, and we will answer their call.
James Weiss is superintendent of Vineyard schools.
Martha's Vineyard Regional High School begins 50th year
As we begin the 2008-09 school year at Martha's Vineyard Regional High School, we are all excited at being part of a new era. This year we will graduate the 50th class in the history of our school and, with that in mind, I feel our theme of moving forward to be: bringing with us the foundations from the past, using the best of the present, and working toward an even more rewarding future.
I am privileged to be taking over the helm this year and realize, being only the fourth person to ever hold this position, that I have some big shoes to fill. What this school is today is the result of the hard work of those who came before. We have always been blessed with strong community support since the inception of the Regional High School, and that is the one constant on which we can always rely. At times, like any large family, we may disagree as to how we should arrive, but we never disagree on the destination: the success of our young people.
There will be some new innovations this year, such as: Edline, the electronic portal that enhances parent contact with the school by allowing them to access important school records and information about their child; 30 hours of increased time on learning by the elimination of daily (Tues-Thurs) homeroom; the addition (in October) of an electronic payment system for our cafeteria; and presentations at school committee by each of our departments throughout the year to keep the public abreast of some of the exciting things and innovations going on at Martha's Vineyard Regional High School.
My goal for the future of Martha's Vineyard Regional High School is to make this school a cutting edge educational center that other schools will wish to visit, in order to model. We have the students, the staff, and, most of all, the community support to make this happen. In these difficult financial times we realize our responsibility to be fiscally vigilant, but we also understand that that must be balanced with our main responsibility of equipping our young people to be successful in life. I cannot do this alone; the school cannot do it alone. We ask all of you to become members of our school family, even if only in spirit, and together we an continue to be proud of our outstanding educational system on Martha's Vineyard, but most of all we can continue to be proud of our wonderful young people.
Stephen Nixon is principal of the Regional High School.
Tisbury School continues to excel
Our school continues to excel academically, socially, and athletically. It is truly a privilege to work with a staff and group of children that represent the best of this Island. I believe we have the finest staff assembled and continue to recruit new members that will only enhance the growth of our children and our professional expertise and collegiality.
Our PTO has energized our efforts to reconnect with the community at large. In athletics, the improvement of our sports programs demonstrates a renewed commitment and spirit among our student/athletes, parents, and coaches.
Academically, we remain on target in our improvement rating, as we have for the past 9 years. Though we did not reach AYP goals in math and ELA subgroups of low income, our overall aggregate scores continue to improve as our "Very High" performance rating in language arts and our "High" performance rating in math indicate.