CURRENT FACILITY: Meeting Summaries 

Below are summaries from recent meetings that relate to our current school facility as well as the new school project. As you know, the immediate needs of our school are unfolding in parallel with a new school building plan being developed. We are committed to keeping you up to date if you are unable to attend these meetings in person. If you have any questions on the contents of these summaries, please reach out to:

AUGUST 21, 2019: Agenda: Asbestos and Leading Testing
Meeting Summary prepared by Tisbury School PTO

Amy Houghton, Chair TSC outlined the findings of the Asbestos and Lead Testing.

Asbestos – FLI Contractors hired to test for Asbestos were on site last week, they walked through the entire building and took approx. 50-60 samples. There is no indication of friable or crumbling asbestos that could be airborne at this time. We are aware of some areas with openings in the ceilings and it has been confirmed that none of these areas have asbestos. While waiting for a final report the conclusion is that at this time there is no need for any asbestos remediation.

Lead – Lead Testing has been done throughout the building. We have known there was lead paint in the building, but now it is confirmed that several areas show positive for lead paint where the paint is chipping. Based on this information the school is proceeding with an abundance of caution and is going to take steps to have this remediated.

As a result, the following will occur:

DELAYED SCHOOL START – Tisbury Students will not return to school until Monday, September 9th.


K-4 Classes will move to Camp Jabberwocky, Greenwood Avenue, Vineyard Haven

5-8 Classes will move to the MV Regional High School


Buses will be provided for students to get to and from both locations


New signage will be posted around the Tisbury School campus and new campuses at Camp Jabberwocky and MVRHS as necessary


Will be present at Camp Jabberwocky and MVRHS


The Lead Removal Contractor will be on site this Friday to review Tisbury School and Kirk Mettell and Town will work on getting the work done ASAP. The hope is that it will be completed within two months.

Matt D’Andrea, Superintendent acknowledged that this was not the ideal situation and that it will be an inconvenience for many families, but the priority is the health and safety of our students. He feels confident that our Tisbury School staff will make it a positive experience for the students. John Custer echoed his sentiment that the health and safety of our kids are No. 1. Asked how long we expect the move to last, he expects 1-2 months but does not know for sure.

Several parents asked questions, many were taken note of by the TSC for them to answer in the coming days.

Q1 – School is now starting one week later for our children; has childcare been discussed? This will be a financial hardship for many families to provide childcare to our kids for an additional week.

A – TSC will contact the YMCA and investigate further.

Q2 – How will the delayed start affect the School Schedule for the year? Is it only the Tisbury Students that have a delayed start?

A – Potentially the kids will stay in school a week longer at the end of the school year or possibly we may be able to have the additional week embedded somehow into the regular school year. The school administration will reach out to Dept. of Education to determine options.

Q3 – For the kids moving to the High School – Will they be kept together?

A – Yes, they are going to be kept in the same area at the high school. They will be supervised at all times and will be sharing the services of the high school nurse. K-4 will have Nurse Coogan at the Camp Jabberwocky campus. Some parents requested that an additional nurse be hired to take care of our Tisbury Students as the High School nurse is already at full capacity.

Q4 – How will we hire the Contractor for the remediation work? Will it be the public bid process?

A – School is hoping that it can bypass the bid process as this is an emergency situation.

Q5 – Unified Arts and Recess – where will these be held?

A – Administration is working on scheduling resources to allow for the continuation of all school programs.

Q6 – Will students be able to visit campus before the school start date?

A – Yes, administration is planning on holding campus orientations before kids start school.

Q7 – Moving Classrooms and Coordination with Teachers, how is this being addressed?

A – Teachers will be having a meeting on Friday at 3 pm to discuss the logistics of this transition.

Q8 – Communication, how is this going to be handled for the coming weeks?

A – All communication related to this transition will be handled via email. Parents should check their email regularly in the coming days and weeks to stay up to date as more information becomes available.

Q9 – Homerooms – Will students be kept together?

A – Yes, students will be kept in their homerooms.

Several parents asked specific logistics questions, and many had questions related to their personal situations with their children. Many of these questions are a work in progress as our administration works through the next steps.

Siobhán Mullin, PTO President expressed her anger at this situation, that this is happening in our town, to our school and our kids and called for whatever resources we need to be given to ensure our kids have every service provided to them at each facility.

The Tisbury School is committed to making this transition a success for our students.

Matt D’Andrea is emailing all parents to inform them of this transition.

Any questions regarding these changes should be sent to the following:

John Custer, Principal – Email:

Melissa Ogden, Assistants Principal – Email:

Richie Smith, Assistant Superintendent – Email:

 Since this meeting, the PTO has heard from numerous parents expressing their distress as well as their willingness to help our staff and our students through this difficult situation.

We will be in touch in the coming days to let you know how you can help.


Monday August 26th – Time TBD.

AUGUST 13, 2019:

Hello Parents,

A brief report on the August 12th Tisbury School Committee meeting. There were three agenda items:
-School maintenance
-Ideas for possible relocation of classrooms
-Education Program

The takeaway from the meeting is that the Tisbury School Committee, School Administrators, and Selectman realize the seriousness of the possible health concerns at our school and are taking steps to ensure the safety of our children.

Here are some important notes:

Asbestos and lead testing will take place this week. It was confirmed that the comprehensive test will include all classrooms. Upon completion, we can anticipate a formal report within 1 – 2 weeks.

In the meantime, the School Administration is developing an interim plan (short term 1-2 months) and long term plan (beyond 2 months). An interim plan could include being able to accommodate 1-2 classrooms within our existing building if more space is needed alternative buildings close to the school will be considered as well as our other school facilities on-island. The long-term plan includes getting modular classrooms on our school site, that also have the potential to accommodate future needs as we move into a new building project.

It was noted that we are hopeful that none of these plans are necessary, moving our kids is not the ideal.
Furthermore, it was noted that we have known lead and asbestos in the building, left undisturbed they are not a health and safety issues, but as our school continues to deteriorate having these test results will give us the information to determine current health and safety needs.
Funds, if needed immediately, for remediation and any relocation could come from the current school budget that would have to be reimbursed by securing funds at special town meeting. If this happens WE WILL NEED YOUR SUPPORT AT THIS TOWN MEETING, potentially mid/late September.

Mr. Custer will be updating the Educational Program that was prepared in 2017 on request of the Tisbury School Building Committee. The update will ensure the new Owners Project Manager (OPM) that will be hired soon, for the renovation/addition project will have the most current information and vision for the school. This is important as this document will serve as the guide for the building plans for the School project informing kinds spaces, size of spaces and the overall flow of the school.