The Nantucket Public Schools welcomed a record number of students through their doors Tuesday morning for the first day of the 2022-2023 school year. Superintendent Beth Hallett announced at Tuesday’s school committee meeting that the enrollment numbers on the first day of school across the district were 1,723 students.
High school principal Mandy Vasil told the Current that her school has 593 students enrolled, but suggested that number could slightly climb in the coming days. According to the Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE), there were 554 students enrolled at NHS last year.
Cyrus Peirce Middle School principal Mike Horton told the Current that his school had an opening day enrollment of 383 students, a decline of 37 students from last year. Horton attributed that decline to promoting a large class of 152 students to ninth grade while welcoming a small sixth grade class of just 102 students.
“Today was great,” Horton said. “It felt 'normal' again with students back in school without masks to begin the year. We could actually see their smiles today.”
Intermediate school principal Evemarie McNeil told the Current that the first day of school went great as they welcomed 346 students into their building. According to the DESE, that is a 28-student increase from the 318 NIS students last year.
“We had a great first day with students,” McNeil said. “Our third graders joined NIS officially for the first time. Returning 4th and 5th graders met their new teachers and classmates. All engaged in learning the expectations and routines of the classroom and the school while also building class community.”
McNeil said NIS also welcomed 15 new staff members to the school on Tuesday.
At Nantucket Elementary School, principal Kim Kubisch told the Current first and second grade students arrived for their first day in the amount of 254 students, with 13 students absent.
“We had a wonderful day,” Kubisch said. “Students were happy to be here, they were excited to see their friends, they were pleased to all have lunch together in the cafeteria this year, they remembered routines and content they learned last year, they were excited to meet the new staff, and bummed that we had to do indoor recess (on Tuesday). We are looking forward to this year.”
Meet and Greet sessions between kindergarten students and their parents with their kid’s teacher began on Tuesday and will continue on Wednesday. These students will begin full-time on Thursday, September 8 and Friday, September 9.
“Our Pre-K teachers spend about 15 minutes with each child chatting with them to introduce themselves and meet each child, show them around the room, collect supplies, show them their cubbies, and discuss the pre-kindergarten daily routine,” Kubisch said. “It is very special to have this time to forge these new relationships.”
Pre-kindergarten students will begin on Monday, September 12.
Kubisch presented at Tuesday’s school committee meeting and told committee members that NES is entering this school year needing the most teaching assistants of any school with 11 openings. She added that she was hoping to finalize four hires on Wednesday and that while this is something they will continue to work towards resolving, she was happy to see a number of TA’s from last year being hired as full-time NES teachers and to other positions in the district.
A downside to the first day was apparent vandalism to a cafeteria bathroom in the high school. Committee member Pauline Proch mentioned that she had heard a toilet was clogged on Tuesday, which Hallett confirmed. The vandalism is being investigated by the school and Hallett said they are looking at every way to push the message to the student body that this is unacceptable and will not be tolerated moving forward.