This school year Nantucket Public Schools opened the doors of the Nantucket Intermediate School for the first time. The $45 million building accounts for the large expansion and growth seen in class sizes in past years. From the floor to the ceilings of the school soothing colors of the ocean and wave motifs can be found in nearly every facet of the 73,214 square foot space, and full of island-like decor, from blue walls to wave murals. The Nantucket Intermediate School will house third, fourth, and fifth graders.
Wearing a NIS t-shirt, given to every student, fifth grader Variana Webber was waiting at the drop off door to give me a proper tour. From the outside, the school is massive, with new shingles and a new paint job. It is located right next to the old elementary school, which gives teachers easy access to both schools. “The new school can be overwhelming but it has a new theme throughout,” Webber said.
Much like the old elementary school ( which now only accommodates pre-k through second grade), there was the familiar collective setup, in which each class has their own area on each floor. The main difference, however, was the lack of color coded clusters. There was no longer a way to differentiate each grade’s cluster. Every cluster was decorated the same, had the same color scheme and the same resources available to them. Each classroom has a similar setup with the same resources, giving the students no reason to prefer one room over the other. The school seemed to be a hit throughout the student body. “The teachers are all still here it is just a new surrounding! The biggest thing to miss is not passing the younger grade teachers in the hallway each day,” Webber said.
Teachers also have fallen in love with their new surroundings. Francie Basket, who teaches the ISLE (Interest-based Learning and Enrichment) program, has the rare opportunity to teach at both schools. “What has changed is the crowding in the building, there was so much traffic at NES, it is really night and day as far as noise level and distraction for the kids at NIS compared to NES,” said Ms. Basket.
The new school’s main purpose was to solve an overcrowding issue, and it has been doing just that. Lynne Aloisi teaches 3rd grade now at NIS, and thinks the new school has created the proper space for the kids with classrooms for everyone from grade teacher to ELL to enrichment. “We also have new supplies from interactive whiteboards to matching tables, cubbies and chairs. The change is amazing, the kids are now at home at the new school,” said Ms. Aloisi.
Both teachers agreed that is rewarding to see the kids developing and flourishing in a new updated work environment. The new school has provided the students with more access to everything from supplies to classrooms. NIS has been a great improvement for Nantucket Public Schools.