The Compass

Here, you can read a weekly journal written by the Head of School and other related articles. 
You can also see daily postings on Instagram!

The Compass, 10/12/19

posted Oct 13, 2019, 12:50 PM by Charles Hamm

     Peak foliage is particularly beautiful this year. It’s summer’s last gift before our world transitions and we turn our clocks back. In the meantime, Islesboro Central School continues to reflect on present practices and future initiatives. Our work as educators blends from one week to the next, not unlike the seasons. This past week was right on par with previous weeks.

     We began with our High School students spending two days and nights at Bowdoin College. It’s a beautiful campus and the perfect time of the year to visit. Mid-week gave us a gorgeous, sunny day, to celebrate the completion of our solar array. The entire school community and local well-wishers, joined us as we flipped the switch to our ground installed solar array. Clean, renewable, solar energy will provide us with 40% of our electrical needs. We are proud to complete this project. Solar energy supports our efforts to shrink our carbon footprint and lesson our dependence on fossil fuels. Special thanks to TL Tutor, Ryan Martin, Sally McDonough, Dick Cilley, Supt. Bob England, the ICS School Board, Hans Albee, Jennifer Albee, Scott Sienkiewicz, Paul Grindle, Gabe Pendleton, our neighbors Corky and Sharon, and the entire Islesboro community, for making our transition to solar, possible. 

     Students did not have school Friday. Staff attended an all day conference, hosted by the Island Institute, at Region 8 Tech Center. The new Region 8 facility is remarkable, the food they prepared was delicious, and the Island Institute did a great job putting together a full day. Networking with other coastal and island school staff is always a treat. Maine’s Commissioner of Education, Pendor Makin, was the keynote speaker. She spoke sincerely of the valuable work we do in schools and gave a heartfelt and uplifting message in her opening remarks. 

     Enjoy the long weekend, everybody. We’ll pick up where we left off, on Tuesday. 


Chuck Hamm                                                                                                                

Head of School

The Compass, 10/05/2019

posted Oct 5, 2019, 9:16 AM by Charles Hamm


Every year, we try to focus on a central theme. This school year, we are reminding students, staff, and readers, to be kind. It’s a small word with a simple message. Be kind in all that we do. We can often see kindness in the quickest of glances. A student getting out of lunch line to grab a napkin and pick up some food spilled from another’s tray is a great example of kindness. Taking a knee when a fellow soccer player gets hit hard and falls, is another. Seeing “good morning” on the sidewalk, written in chalk, always brightens the start of the day. We witness kindness all day long at ICS and can easily take it for granted. Let’s be intentional with kindness. Let’s practice it, recognize it, call it out and name it when we experience it. Our school is a better place for it. Please join me in celebrating kindness on the daily.

     We’ve been prepping for the paper airplane contest and had an all school meeting, where we tested designs, cheered each other on, and flew lots of paper! It was heartwarming to watch Littles and Bigs supporting each other in spirited competition. One of the most magical aspects of ICS is that we have grades K - 12 under the same roof. Collaboration across curricula and grade span is easily scheduled. 

     Congratulations are in order for Middle School teacher Peter DiLalla’s students. Last spring, our current seventh graders took part in a writing contest through Young Writers. The theme was Survival Sagas: Mission Catastrophe, and students were only allowed 100 words to tell their story.

     Five students had their stories selected to be published in a collection entitled Mission Catastrophe- Stories From Maine. These students are Finnegan Calderwood, Hailey Leach, Ayla Fuller, Rosalind Brimley and Marley Kormann. Congratulations!

They are allowing the other students to get their stories published too if they send in a revised version of the story. Young Writers will send the school a copy of the book too.

Lastly, we are pleased and proud to announce student bathrooms will be gender neutral soon. The School Board voted unanimously, in agreement to the Civil Rights Team request. 


Chuck Hamm 

Head of School       

The Compass, 9/27/2019

posted Sep 28, 2019, 10:15 AM by Charles Hamm   [ updated Sep 28, 2019, 3:58 PM ]


One of the greatest luxuries of being a small school is the fact that we can be flexible and take advantage of an opportunity in real time. Instead of having our weekly all school meeting in the gym, we jumped at the chance to take the whole school to Maddie Dodge Field to cheer on the Eagles in a soccer match against Vinalhaven. The game ended after the first half because of thunder and impending storm clouds. We were losing 4-0 and missed the opportunity to even the score. The team traveled to Vinalhaven later in the week and won 3-0. Our students played honorably and represented ICS with good sportsmanship and fair play. Well done, Eagles!

     If you are a parent, you may receive a call from the Head of School. It’s a check in of sorts. Being a small school, we can afford to touch base with each family, seeking feedback and assurance that we are continuing to provide the excellent education you have all come to expect. We do not ride on our laurels. Staff continually strive for excellence by setting high expectations and putting in place the supports every student deserves. 

     An exciting event being planned for next week’s all school meeting is a paper airplane contest. Hosted by our Bio-Inspired Design class, we team High School students with Elementary students, in pursuit of the perfect airplane. It’s a collaboration of mentoring, science, and craft, culminating in a school-wide learning experience that will surely be fun.

     The student-led Civil Rights Club has been busy and will present a proposal to the School Board next week. They have been researching the need to create gender neutral bathrooms throughout the school. Their advocacy will help create learning environments that are safe and affirming for all students. It’s as simple as changing the signage and educating students. ICS has single occupant bathrooms and expects to make this change soon after Board approval. 

     As always, we hope you follow us on Instagram at icspathways. For those who do not have an Instagram account, there is a direct link on our school’s website homepage.       

Chuck Hamm                                                                                                                      09272019

The Compass, 9/21/2019

posted Sep 22, 2019, 7:11 AM by Charles Hamm   [ updated Sep 22, 2019, 7:12 AM ]


Teachers have been taking advantage of the beautiful weather and students have been outside as much as possible this past week. The garden is being prepped for our annual Harvest Festival. This year we will hold it on October 18th with Open House. The Junior class will provide a delicious meal as part of their ongoing fundraising efforts. The public is invited to attend both events. Students have also been out and about performing community service in the form of yard work and fall chores for local residents. If you are on-island and would like a hand, please call us. 

     Students from Unity College visited Islesboro Central School (ICS) Tuesday. They enjoyed a tour by the Head of School and spent some time in classes. We enjoy hosting and sharing our wonderful school with future educators. Unity students could see the growing pile of supplies we’ve been collecting to send to hurricane victims in the Bahamas. We have worked closely with our solar installers, ReVision Energy, in gathering enough food, tarps, and hygiene necessities to fill a pickup truck. Those supplies will be driven to South Portland and loaded into the solar voltaic trailer they built and are sending to the Bahamas. As part of an island community ourselves, ICS is proud to partner with ReVision in lending a hand to the victims of Hurricane Dorian. 

     ICS students enjoyed a day at the Common Ground Fair, Friday. An annual field trip, students were able to explore and meet new people during the “student day”. This particular fair fits in nicely with our sustainability theme and we are happy to see their enthusiasm when they return. 

     Head of School, Chuck Hamm, attended another conference. Hosted by Maine School Management Association (MSMA) at the Island Institute, school board members and administration from North haven, Vinalhaven, and Islesboro, spent time learning about the roles of school boards and the parameters of their authority. Meeting leadership teams from other islands is vital in keeping abreast of best practices. We share many of the same challenges and have all experienced a large turnover in staff this year. 

          Looking ahead, we’ll see a new fence going up near the playground, October 9th we’ll flip the switches to our solar panels in a school-wide, community event, and the Anne Dillon House will be breaking ground. Stay tuned and thanks for reading. 

Chuck Hamm

The Compass, 9/14/2019

posted Sep 14, 2019, 2:01 PM by Charles Hamm   [ updated Sep 14, 2019, 2:13 PM ]


We have been experiencing a typical week at ICS, full of excitement and activity. The vibe is contagious and full of promise. Meetings of every sort are occurring, soccer is well underway, and everyone is settling into the school year smiling. 

     We’re expanding our school-wide mentoring program to include triads made up of Elementary, Middle and High School students. It was wonderful to see all three groups of students sitting together on the gym floor, enjoying a performance by Four Shillings Short. This week the class of 2021 hosted a wonderful spaghetti dinner/fund-raiser. Students from Bowdoin were visiting at the time and were delighted to have a nice meal with the greater Islesboro community. 

     Mr. Van Dis represented ICS at the Islesboro Energy Conference. We will work with the Islesboro Energy Team in  continuing efforts to develop a K-12 Sustainability curriculum. The solar array is just about finished and will provide rich learning experiences for our students. A ceremony is being planned to flip the switches. The public will be invited to join us in celebration. We are proud to be producing 40% of our electric needs through clean solar energy. 

     The week was rounded out by the Head of School attending a conference hosted by Drummond and Woodsum attorneys. Many new laws are flooding schools and it is important that ICS keep abreast of any changes that would affect policy and procedures in our Maine schools. Most notable are changes in how we support students with disabilities, protect privacy, and the total ban of all tobacco and related devices from campus. We strive to continue providing excellent services and will evolve as needed. 

     Staff and students at ICS have joined forces with ReVision, our solar installers, to send supplies to the Bahamas in the wake of Hurricane Dorian. More information on this initiative may be found on our Weekly Compass and Recent News tab. In closing, please consider donating supplies to our initiative to help the people in the Bahamas. Our deadline is Thursday, September 19th. 


Chuck Hamm

Hurricane Dorian Relief Efforts

posted Sep 14, 2019, 7:44 AM by Charles Hamm

Hurricane Dorian Relief Efforts

Islesboro Central School is gathering supplies to send to the Bahamas to help victims of Hurricane Dorian. We are joining forces with ReVision Energy. ReVision Energy is sending an emergency solar power unit to the Bahamas that will provide 24/7 electricity for lighting, cell phone and laptop charging and other backup power needs. The company sent three identical trailers to Puerto Rico in the wake of Hurricane Maria, all three of which are now being shipped to the Bahamas to aid first responders and victims.

We are seeking donations of supplies to fill the Maine-based solar power unit before shipping to the Bahamas, including strong tarps, cleaning supplies, 5 gallon contractor buckets, cans of ready to eat food with flip tops, disposable baby diapers, packages of handwipes and other hand sanitizing items, bar soap, clothing detergent, small towels, band aids, Paper products (paper towels, toilet paper), crayons and paper tablets for children. 

Please send supplies to the school. If off-island, bring supplies to the ferry terminal where they will be loaded into Mr. Hamm’s SUV. He can be reached by cell 930 0373.

We are hoping someone will volunteer to drive to take the supplies to South Portland at the end of the day on Thursday, the 19th. 

Designed by solar energy engineers from companies in the national co-op, the emergency solar power unit is an enclosed trailer with six photovoltaic panels and eight deep cycle batteries that feed a total of 30 electrical outlets (two in each gray cubby) on the exterior of the trailer so people can plug in devices and appliances that need power.

The Compass, 9/7/2019

posted Sep 14, 2019, 6:57 AM by Charles Hamm   [ updated Sep 14, 2019, 2:13 PM ]

Welcome to the Head of School’s weekly memo, renamed The Compass. Here, you can read about the recent happenings at Islesboro Central School. Additionally, we publish press-worthy articles in local newspapers that readers can find on our school’s website. For instance, you may read about one of our teachers, Kristen Kelley, as she has recently been recognized by Yale University as an Educator of the Year. Or perhaps you will get caught up on John Van Dis’ recent grant, supporting water testing in our bay. 

ICS is a busy place with much to boast about, every. single. day. Our first week, albeit, a short one, was no exception. We have quite a few new faces this year, as outlined in our last posting. Let’s focus a bit and recognize the newcomers. Imagine the courage it takes to move your entire family to an island off the coast of Maine. Whether they are traveling from Western Maine or Arizona, the move takes a certain amount of gumption. And our community is better for it. Also, try to envision the grit a 13-year-old possesses to ride the ferry as part of her commute to school that takes over an hour each way. To all our newcomers-welcome and thank you in advance for adding to the diversity and strength of our little school. 

Let’s pause a moment and acknowledge all our staff who dedicate their time and energy working at ICS. “Working” is the wrong word. The folks who show up every morning live a certain lifestyle that requires a central focus on other people’s children. They open their hearts to students in pursuit of excellence in an often overlooked and underappreciated occupation. Teaching in particular, is generally an exhausting performance, and demands that a person teaching be vulnerable, super quick on their feet, flexible, and optimistic in the face of criticism. Driving a school bus full of antsy children, another example, is not for the faint of heart. Every role is vital in delivering a strong education. An occasional pat on the back can go a long way. 

ICS is cranking on all cylinders this year. It can be witnessed in the classrooms, on the field, in the studio, band room, boardroom, and cafeteria. Islesboro itself is in the midst of a strong upward trajectory that is exciting to be part of. We continue to focus on excellence in education with a few side notes of outreach, fundraising, and joyous celebration. Several staff are focusing on dovetailing their efforts with existing organizations on and off island. Please reach out to us if you would like to volunteer or can offer some insight regarding how we can better serve the community. 

Yours in education

Chuck Hamm

ICS High School Teacher Kristen Kelley Wins the Yale Educator Award

posted Sep 9, 2019, 5:34 AM by Cooper Cunliffe

Welcome Lindsay Dakers!

posted Aug 7, 2019, 3:45 PM by Katie Yeatts   [ updated Aug 7, 2019, 3:46 PM ]

Magnet Application Deadline Extended!

posted Jul 16, 2019, 4:22 PM by Katie Yeatts

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