I chose Martha’s Vineyard as the subject of my School Context Paper. Martha’s Vineyard is New England’s largest resort island and lies seven miles off the coast of Cape Cod in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. It is accessible by ferry or plane only. The island is roughly one hundred square miles with 124.6 miles of tidal shoreline. Martha’s Vineyard has a year-round population of about twenty thousand residents that grows to one hundred thousand in the summer with an additional twenty five thousand visitors coming and going on the ferries every day.
There are six towns that makeup the island; Aquinnah, Chilmark, Edgartown, Oak Bluffs, West Tisbury and Vineyard Haven (also known as Tisbury). The island is best known for its miles of beautiful beaches, quaint villages and natural beauty. On the vineyard there is only one regional high school which offers a vocational program for its students along with five public elementary schools, one public charter school, several private pre- schools and an active home schooling network. The school system also provides for children with special needs from ages three to twenty two.
Assignment 2: School Context Paper
I chose Chilmark, a village located on Martha’s Vineyard to write my paper on. Martha’s Vineyard is located about seven miles off the coast of Cape Cod. It is a triangular shaped island that is nine miles wide and twenty three miles long with a total land area of approximately one hundred square miles and 124.6 miles of tidal shoreline. You can travel by ferry to reach the island, which takes about forty five minutes from the mainland, or you can take a plane that will fly you to the only airport on the island located in its center. It is New England’s largest resort island.
There are six towns (or villages) on the island; Aquinnah, Chilmark, Edgar Town, Oak Bluff, West Tisbury and Vineyard Haven. There is one regional high school, one public charter school and five public elementary schools serving the Vineyard. These are administered through the office of the Superintendent of Schools.
The All-Island School Committee is composed of members from all of the towns. The Up-Island Regional District committee hires the superintendent and oversees shared programs that serve all Island schools. These resources are available through Central Administration: Superintendent of Schools, Assistant Supt. for Curriculum & Instruction, Director of Student Support Services, Assistant to the Superintendent for Business Affairs, Financial Administrative Assistants, Administrative Secretary, Business Secretaries, Treasurer, Grant Administrator, Receptionist/Clerk and Special Education Secretary. Special Services are available such as: Title 1 Coordinator, Early Childhood Coordinator/Consultant, Occupational Therapists, School Psychologists, Speech Pathologists, Autism Specialist and ELL Director. Chapter 766 provides for the educational needs of children with special needs. The school system provides for every child, regardless of handicap, between the ages of 3 and 22.
The law requires parental involvement and a network of services including that of a school psychologist, occupational therapist, and psychiatric and nursing services under the direction of a special education administrator. The school system also operates a special needs preschool, called Project Headway (http://www.mvy.com/Vineyard_Community/Public_School.aspx August 2012). I chose Chilmark’s school system and the Up-island Regional District as my area of focus. The Population of Chilmark was eight hundred and ninety four as of July 2009 with the estimated median household income of fifty seven thousand, one hundred and eight dollars. The major business of Chilmark is construction with Carpentry being the most popular occupation. The Chilmark School serves students in grades K-5.
Chilmark students in grades 6-8 attend the West Tisbury School and Martha’s Vineyard Regional High School serves grades 9-12 for the whole island. Students can also apply to The Vineyard Public Charter School. The enrollment indicators for these schools are as follows; Chilmark Elementary School enrolled fifty two students, W. Tisbury enrolled three hundred and twenty five students for grades pre k thru 8, Martha’s Vineyard Regional High School enrolled six hundred and sixty nine students and The Vineyard Public Charter School enrolled one hundred and eighty one students for the 2011-2012 school year. Chilmark’s Public Elementary/Middle School Mission Statement states that, “Chilmark Elementary School is committed to equipping students with the tools they need for academic, personal and social achievement.
Chilmark Elementary School enables every student to reach their highest potential by establishing a curriculum that meets or exceeds government standards for education; providing extracurricular programs that develop children’s’ mental, physical and social skills; and partnering with parents and the community to create an environment geared to the success of all students”( http://massachusetts.webschoolpro.com/chilmark-elementary-school_MA00707740010/mission.htmlAugust 2012). West Tisbury’s School Mission Statement states that “The West Tisbury School staff strives to provide a solid academic foundation, to inspire a love of learning for the sake of learning, to foster an understanding of basic human values with a working knowledge of the rights and responsibilities associated with those values, and to promote independent thinking through cooperative and inclusive learning while maintaining the unique values of our diverse, rural island community.
We strive: To teach solid academic skills, to instill a love of learning and to promote an understanding of human values” (http://wtisburyschool.org/modules/cms/pages.phtml?pageid=225325&SID August 2012). Martha’s Vineyard Regional High School’s Mission Statement states that “Martha’s Vineyard Regional High School will provide a safe, active teaching and learning environment where students strive for academic excellence and endeavor to achieve the high level of intellectual and interpersonal skills needed for success in a culturally diverse society. Each student’s educational experience will prepare him/her to be a self-confident lifelong learner, able to set and achieve individual goals, and to become a contributing member of a humane and democratic society (http://www.mvrhs.org/pos/POS-2011-2-Eng.pdf1August 2012).
The Martha’s Vineyard Public Charter School is a K-12 public school. Families do not pay tuition. An application is filled out and then the student body is drawn from a lottery. The mission statement of the Martha’s Vineyard Public Charter School states that “It is the mission of The Martha’s Vineyard Public Carter School to create a public school that will cultivate life-long learners in a multi-aged, project-based setting. To this end, each student in the K-12 school works from a personal education plan that sets specific obtainable and challenging goals.
In addition to meeting the state mandated curriculum frameworks, students experience a rich array of other educational arenas outside of the academic classroom. The entire Island serves as campus where an educational alliance of parents, educators, businesses, artisans and community services is formed” (http://www.mvy.com/Vineyard_Community/Marthas_Vineyard_Public_Charter_School.aspx August 2012). The chart below shows some of the MCAS ratings for the school year 2010-2011:
Massachusetts Elementary School Rankings
3rd, 4th Grades Combined
MCAS English Language Arts & MCAS Mathematics
Rank* (of 895)
School District City
Tisbury Elementary Tisbury Vineyard Haven
HighGrade Total students (2010) Student/ Teacher Ratio (2010) MCAS, avg Mathematics** (2011) 8 305 8.2 88.5
MCAS, avg English Language Arts** (2011) MCAS Combined Rank Change from 2011) 86.5 175.0 up 23 School District City
W. Tisbury ElementaryUp island Regional West Tisbury
HighGrade Total students (2010) Student/ Teacher Ratio (2010) MCAS, avg Mathematics** (2011)
8 276 7.8 79.5
MCAS, avg English Language Arts** (2011 MCAS Combined Rank Change from 2010 82.0 165.9 down 19
(http://www.schooldigger.com/go/MA/schoolrank.aspx August 2012