Tisbury School principal Richie Smith can describe exactly the moment he learned how his students performed in the annual Massachusetts Comprehensive Assessment System (MCAS) test: it was August 6, early morning, in his kitchen, on the telephone and he did cartwheels.

“Well, it was more jumps,” he revised. “But I react that way every year when I find out we made AYP.”


While town and school officials up-Island continue their years-long debate over the fairness of their regional school district, the Massachusetts department of education is preparing to enforce statewide changes that could dramatically alter not only up-Island district finances, but also how every Vineyard town pays for the regional high school.


For four years now, since its inception in 1997, the state-sponsored special English language program has been growing. From three classes that first year to seven classes today - and it's still not enough. Ninety-seven adult students enrolled, and 154 filled the waiting list during September registration earlier this year. Another 86 added their names to the list several weeks ago, when a second registration was held - a mid-session adjustment to enroll students replacing those no longer in the course.

Teachers who do their math might be smiling this week, knowing that
their new salary contract will boost wages by as much as 27 per cent
over three years, turning today's $50,000 job into a $63,893
position by the fall of 2003.

The waiting list for English as a second language classes on the
Island has more than 80 names, and has left Island educators scrambling
for teachers and funds.


Those of us who aspire to teach must never cease to learn, and I would hope each of us will work constantly to improve our craft.