Superintendent: School District “Fully Staffed” Entering 2023-2024 School Year

David Creed •

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Superintendent Beth Hallett announced during Tuesday’s school committee meeting that the Nantucket Public Schools are fully staffed ahead of the upcoming school year, however there is an ongoing effort to fill over a dozen vacant teaching assistant positions in the district.

“I am proud to say we are fully staffed at this point with some adjustments,” Hallett said. “At (Nantucket Elementary School) we have filled all of our open teaching positions. At (Nantucket Intermediate School) we had a very late resignation to the fifth grade – but the administrators have successfully rescheduled students into existing fifth-grade classes. This will push the numbers up a little bit – about 23 to 24 students per class. That is still manageable, but we want to make sure the fifth grade feels strongly supported so we are in the process of hiring a floating support teacher who will push into existing classes and provide additional assistance for students such as our (ELL learners) as well as working with the orchestra program because the person we have in mind to hire is a certified music teacher.”

Hallett did not provide an exact student enrollment number for 2023-2024, however, she said that the enrollment in the district this year will be over 1,700 students. Last year’s enrollment was approximately 1,718 students.

Hallett said that the district has “really struggled” to fill open positions at Cyrus Peirce Middle School but, due to a decline in the student enrollment at that particular school and several supplementary staff at its disposal, CPS has been able to redistribute students to keep class sizes manageable.

“We have not been able to offer more specialist choices for middle schoolers which is really a time when we want to be able to offer more, but they do still have options,” Hallett said. Those options include art, music, music tech, band, percussion, chorus, Latin, creative writing, wellness, and a reading book club. She said they hoping to hire a “project lead-the-way teacher” mid-year who may be able to join the school system in December.

Hallett said all positions are filled at the high school. She said they are in the process of hiring a student support center coordinator to provide more social and emotional support for students. Moving the personal finance program from the Math Department to the Social Studies Department, she added, will play a big role in being able to fill all of the positions because three social studies teachers will be picking it up.

“This is also after the state Board of Education made a recommendation for this move to consider it as a graduation requirement in economics. Personal finance falls under social sciences as opposed to math,” Hallett said. “We will be looking to make some of those changes official once we know more from the state. This could be a policy change so we will bring it to the committee for review and approval.”

Hallett said while she considered the district fully staffed, it continues to struggle with the hiring of teaching assistant positions to support the staff in place.

“At NES we are looking to fill 10 positions,” Hallett said. “Some of those are part-time. We are looking at NIS for three positions and CPS (for) one position. Finally at the high school, four positions. It is a difficult position to fill. We recognize the need for a massive contract change. I am looking carefully at compensation but also at other pieces of the contract for our TAs. Next year, and when I say next year I mean a few weeks, we will start the negotiation process for that.”

You can view employment opportunities at the Nantucket Public Schools by clicking here.

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