Beginning in the 2024-2025 school year, Martha’s Vineyard Public Charter School will offer Brazilian Portuguese as a language option to all students from kindergarten through eighth grade.

“There’s lot of excitement in the air,” said Pete Steedman, director of the school. “It’s such an important milestone for our school to recognize the Portuguese language in the community.”

The Martha’s Vineyard Public Charter School was established in 1995 and provides education for kindergarten through high school students. The process of developing the Portuguese language course was done in tandem with Moreira Education Solution, an organization that provides guidance on “bridging cultural and linguistic gaps, primarily for American children of Brazilian heritage,” according to the website.

“The kids are thrilled,” Mr. Steedman said. “We’ve had conversations with parents who have really encouraged us to take this step. It’s been a few years in the making. The staff is totally on board.”

Mr. Steedman is excited to see the effects the classes will have on the students.

“The confidence the [Brazilian] students are showing, and also, the students who are not familiar with Brazilian Portuguese, they’re like, now I can talk to my friends [in their first language] and to the community at the local grocery store,” Mr. Steedman said. “They can be real leaders in the classroom.”

With the prominent Portuguese-speaking community on the Island, the class is another step in bringing communities closer together.

“We will continue to make outreach efforts to our Brazilian community,” Mr. Steedman said. “Who knows where this will go? But it’s a step in the effort to solidify these relationships and to recognize the rich, vibrant culture of the Brazilian community.”