As the first day of school approaches, prospective fourth and fifth graders at the Chilmark school are already looking forward to the second week of school. That’s when they leave the classroom for the high seas, sailing for a week on the schooner Alabama.

“They learn about the waves and wind and working together,” said Principal Susan Stevens.

This year the Chilmark School will welcome its biggest kindergarten/first grade class in years with 19 students. In total, 51 students are enrolled at the Chilmark school.

Classrooms are ready and waiting for the new year. — Maria Thibodeau

Around the Island, an expected 2,155 students are dusting off backpacks, sharpening pencils and choosing first day outfits in preparation for Sept. 5. There are also 61 new hires in the district, 30 of which are teachers.

Overall district goals include a continued focus on writing, health and wellness, in-school safety and special education improvements, Superintendent Dr. Matthew D’Andrea said.

Last year, the district adopted a so-called safe schools resolution and Mr. D’Andrea has been putting together an advisory group to look at the policies around civil rights and bullying in the schools, including curriculums, parent involvement and outreach. They have also contracted with a company called Synergy Solutions to help train and coordinate emergency responses at the schools, working with the police and staff.

“This is another step forward making sure we are prepared in our schools and coordinated with the police if there is an emergency in the building,” said Mr. D’Andrea. “If there’s an intruder in the building, or situation outside where we need to lock down.”

At the regional high school, 657 students are expected and Principal Sara Dingledy, now starting her second year, said she will continue to focus on community building. After a tumultuous ending to last year, with the sudden retirement of a long time history teacher, complaints about discipline and the painting over of murals by a teacher, the high school is entering into the new year with a few changes.

Andrew Vandall, the history teacher responsible for painting over student murals in the history wing, will not be at the high school for the first semester, Ms. Dingledy told the Gazette.

Regional high school will welcome 657 students at start of school year. — Maria Thibodeau

“Andy Vandall won’t be here for the first half of the year, he will rejoin the school in January,” she said.

The high school has contracted with a building art director who will create a written policy around student and staff art work on the walls. What will happen with the painted-over murals will be decided with student input at the beginning of the year, Ms. Dingledy said.

“We didn’t want to restore the murals without speaking with students,” she said.

Oak Bluffs police officer Jillian Sedlier replaces Michael Marchand as the school resource officer this year. After a public forum in the spring brought up questions about the resource officer’s duties, the role of the SRO in the school will be evaluated. The high school has also introduced flex blocks, a 40-minute period of time every day that is for the students to structure and use in whatever way most benefits them.

“It’s for extra help, enrichment, club activities, visiting the guidance counselors, studying quietly, seeking help from teachers...” Ms. Dingledy said.

Once again, the track and fields at the high school have not been updated as negotiations continue between the field fund and the school committee. Mr. D’Andrea said the track won’t be refurbished until spring 2019. The last dual meet the Vineyard hosted was in 2016, when the opposing team had no facilities. The Vineyard hasn’t hosted a state-level track meet since 2010, though Coach Joe Schroeder said there are multiple reasons the Island isn’t a prime hosting location, the condition of the track being just one of them.

However, for the first time ever the Vineyard will host the league championship cross-country meet this year in October. There will also be a Vineyard invitational and a meet with Nantucket’s newly formed track team. Mr. Schroeder, along with girls tennis coach Nina Bramhall, was named among Boston Globe’s 2017 high school coaches of the year.

For the third year in a row, the high school eagerly awaits a decision in December to learn if they have been accepted into the Massachusetts School Building Authority, a state grant program that helps fund school building projects through reimbursement.

The Tisbury school is currently going through the MSBA process, with plans for a new school building to be built on the current school site. On Tuesday, 310 students are expected to attend the Tisbury School.

Ken DeBettencourt is ready for students. — Maria Thibodeau

The design process for the new school will take most of the fall, with a funding decision coming before the town in the spring. But in the school, children will be preoccupied with learning, especially since two new math programs will be introduced this year. Both curriculums are common core programs that cross platforms with STEM and STEAM.

The Edgartown school expects 345 students this year, with a large kindergarten class. Principal John Stevens said they expect 47 kindergartners and have added a third Kindergarten teacher, Johanna Wooden, to help carry the load.

West Tisbury will welcome 371 students and Oak Bluffs expects 421.

Through a student led initiative, the Oak Bluffs school will continue to reduce plastic waste through a new water bubbler program. Students and staff are encouraged to bring a reusable water bottle to refill throughout the day, Principal Megan Farrell said. A grab-and-go breakfast will be introduced this year as well.

“They can grab a brown paper baggie of something warm for breakfast,” said Ms. Farrell. “It’s a new change because we all know the importance of feeding children so they can be successful at school.”

Breakfast still costs $1.75, but lunch prices have risen from $2.75 to $3.00 this year.

Martha’s Vineyard Public Charter School begins the year fully enrolled with 180 students.

On Tuesday the hallways and classrooms of Vineyard schools will bustle again with renewed academic energy after a long summer away.

“School is a funny place to work in the summer when it’s not full of kids,” said Tisbury Principal John Custer. “So I look forward to their return.”