Island School holds Kindergarten lottery for first time in history

April 7, 2017
By Marcy Shortuse

BY MARCY SHORTUSE – Something unprecedented happened at The Island School this year, and its as much a testament to the loyalty of the community as it is a very sad state of affairs. This week a lottery had to be held for kindergartners to attend the school.
With a maximum capacity of 60 students, this is the first time such a large number of children were unable to find a spot at the school. After all enrollment applications were received, school personnel said 51 students were returning for the 2017-18 school year, which only left nine openings for next year. There were 14 new student applications, and all new enrollments were for the kindergarten class.
Three people conducted the lottery on Tuesday, April 4 – two from The Island School board and one impartial person from the community. Each student was given a numbered ball in their name and the balls were placed into a Bingo-type mechanism to be spun and sorted.
Two lotteries were conducted. The first was for incoming kindergarteners who had siblings enrolled at the school, six in all, and the second lottery was for those who did not. The first six who had siblings at the school were chosen in the lottery, and three more were chosen from the second lottery. That left five students on a waiting list.
Head-of-School Jean Thompson said there is usually unforeseen movement of families between now and the start of next school year. She said as soon as school personnel is made aware of movement that creates openings for students, they will contact students on the waitlist.
“For me, the lottery brought mixed emotions,” Thompson said. “I am so pleased that enrollment has continued to increase and that we are at capacity. On the other hand, it breaks my heart to have a limit and to put students on a waitlist.”
Other students who are scheduled to attend school at The Island School in the fall include 10 first graders, seven second graders, 11 third graders, 14 fourth graders and nine fifth graders.
All current teachers will be returning in the fall as well. Megan O’Connor will be teaching kindergarten, Tammy Tieu will teach first grade, Rebecca Blalock will teach second grade, Jesse Tremaine and Nicole Tillotson will teach third, fourth and fifth grade students. Judy Still will return as the school’s reading specialist, Kimberly Deins will teach Spanish and Diana Donlon will teach music.
Angela Colosimo, Karen Kelley and Sarah Moore will also return as paraprofessionals.
The Mission of The Island School is to create an educational environment, which stresses academic excellence while nurturing the spirit of the child. Inherent in our philosophy is the belief that the responsibility for and ownership of education belong to the child.