The Martha’s Vineyard Regional High School has received approval from the state to officially close the early childhood education vocational program at the end of the next school year.
At the district school committee meeting Monday evening, Vineyard schools superintendent Dr. James H. Weiss presented a letter from the state approving the school’s plan to close the program. In order to close the program, the school had to ensure that any student already enrolled would be able to finish the program. There are currently six students enrolled.
With enrollment declining significantly in recent years, the school announced last year that the program would be phased out.
Future students interested in early childhood education will still have the opportunity to explore the field, just not with a fully-organized vocational program, Mr. Weiss said. For instance, a student could pursue an internship with one of the preschools.
Meanwhile, with support from the Windemere Nursing and Rehabilitation Center and the Vineyard Nursing Association, Mr. Weiss said he and vocational program director Jeff Rothwell are in the process of creating a certified nursing assistant program.
In other business, Mr. Weiss and high school principal Stephen Nixon both reported the first day of school went smoothly.
“It was for the most part uneventful,” said Mr. Weiss. “It went extremely well. Our buses rolled, our cafeterias worked.”
Island-wide, enrollment is up by 60 students with a total of 2,106 students attending public schools this year. The high school has 691 students.
The freshmen enjoyed a fresh take on orientation day, said Mr. Nixon.
“What we historically did was put them in a big room and tell them everything about the school in an hour or so,” the principal said. “And then they forgot.”
Over the summer, freshmen teachers and counselors met to make orientation day more engaging and interactive.
“The whole day was designed to getting them oriented as being members of the community and being comfortable in the building,” said assistant principal Andrew Berry.
After a greeting by Mr. Nixon, the freshmen were led to the cafeteria for a practice run of buying lunch, and were randomly assigned to tables to mingle with fellow students. Afterwards they met homeroom teachers and prepared for a 45-minute scavenger hunt to different classrooms where they collected items, in the process finding their way around the maze of school hallways. At the end of the day the freshmen went to the gym for competitive games between homerooms. “It was a fun day and I think the kids felt like they were welcome at the high school,” said Mr. Berry.