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, 2/15/20

posted Feb 22, 2020, 8:31 AM by Charles Hamm

      We cannot get a break with the weather and driving conditions lately. It’s tricky with an island that has such a wide range of conditions. Thursday posed a challenging decision regarding a snow day. Consultation with bus drivers, island staff, and satellite weather maps, all influence the final decision with safety being the bottom line. 

     The weeks continue to have noteworthy highlights. For instance, English teacher Heather Moore, from Scotland, spent the day visiting Ms. Kristen’s classroom, chatting with students about Scotland and learning about ICS.  We are happy to explore new ideas and experiences with our students by hosting guests from abroad.

     Grades four and five spent a day at the Camden Snow Bowl learning how to ski and snowboard. It was great fun and a wonderful excursion for those young Mainers. Ms. Betha and Ms. Renee apparently had a wonderful time too. 

     We welcome the addition of a new ICS family member. ICS. librarian, Tammy, delivered a baby boy earlier this week! Mother and baby are doing well. We are anxiously awaiting to hear his name. Congratulations to Tammy and Nate! 

     Valentine’s Day was Friday and a half day of school. As we wrapped up another week, we take this opportunity to wish students and staff a restful and rejuvenating February break.



Chuck Hamm 

Head of School                                                                             

The Compass, 2/8/20

posted Feb 9, 2020, 5:02 AM by Charles Hamm

     Another week of interesting weather. ICS joined schools throughout the midcoast area and had an early release Thursday due to slick road conditions. Friday was a snow day as a major ice storm covered the entire state in a film of ice and snow. Regardless of the short week, we continue providing academic excellence to our students. 

     Speaking of academic excellence, our very own Chris Morris has been nominated as Waldo County Teacher of the Year. We are proud and fortunate to have Chris as our Director of Special Education. His level of expertise, poise, and wisdom, exemplify traits found amongst the outstanding ICS faculty. Congratulations Chris and thank you for your steadfast devotion to our students. 

     Several initiatives are well underway, including the development of a Crisis Response Team. Twelve experts from within the school and greater community met and began the initial stages of identifying potential crisis situations and the development of action plans. The Team represents school leaders, island law enforcement, medical staff, a church parishioner, and the Town Manager, along with school counselors. Our work will create a safer school and community through the development of procedures and protocols.  

     Head of School and Science teacher Mr. Van Dis attended an informational session at the Islesboro Community Center (ICC) featuring a presentation on Island Fellows in collaboration with the Island Institute. Potential joint ventures are being explored in hopes of continuing the school’s relationship with ICC and the Island Institute. This work has the potential to dovetail nicely with our ongoing work identifying the Portrait of a Graduate (PoG). Please stay tuned and contact ICS if you are interested in being involved as a Lead Learner in the PoG project. 



Chuck Hamm 

Head of School                                                                                                         

The Compass, 1/25/20

posted Jan 25, 2020, 1:56 PM by Charles Hamm   [ updated Jan 25, 2020, 2:00 PM ]

      In observance of Martin Luther King Jr. Day, ICS was closed Monday. Despite the short week, we continued our energetic pace and accomplished quite a bit. 

     Congratulations to Ellura, Harper, and Skye on acceptance in the 2020 District 3 Sixth Grade Honors Chorus! This is a festival which includes some of the best sixth grade singers from about 30 schools from Freeport to Augusta to Lincolnville on a map. Our students show a strong appreciation for the arts. They eagerly take part, whether carving soapstone in Ms. Casey’s Art studio, performing in our annual musical, or singing in a community concert, K-12 students thrive in our well-rounded curriculum. It might have something to do with our busy visiting artist schedule and talented teachers. Just this week, Ms. Jen’s 3-4 class, hosted Scot Cannon. Scot is a local musician and gifted educator, specializing in building self-esteem and anti-bullying. He wrote songs with students, played the banjo, and sang witht them. 

     High School Music students rounded out the week by attending the Maine Music Educators Association High School Honors festival. We are looking forward to hearing about their experience. 

      Students maintain busy schedules at ICS. Just this morning, our Varsity Boys Basketball team played AR Gould at home. A grueling competition that ended with a loss of 35-36. It was a terrific display of endurance and skill. Our young team held their own and made the crowd proud to cheer them on. Go Eagles!



Chuck Hamm 

Head of School

The Compass, 1/18/20

posted Jan 18, 2020, 12:04 PM by Charles Hamm



Despite the minus zero temperatures, school is lively and full of warm smiles. The fresh snow that prompted a snow day on Thursday made for much better sledding on the playground. Students happily braved the cold in hopes of making the perfect run with their favorite sled. Thank goodness we have hearty staff willing to spend time outdoors with them at recess. 

     The Head of School attended the 26th Annual Convocation, hosted by the Maine School Superintendents Association, this week. The Honorable John T. Broderick, former Chief Justice of the NH Supreme Court, spoke in collaboration with Jeff Levin, Founder of the Reconnection Project. Their message focused on the need to recognize and support mental illness and “Digititus”, a term Jeff coined regarding the cell phone epidemic. They also discussed their top concerns facing educators today: climate change, school shootings, political rancor, cell phones, and the opioid crisis. We cannot overestimate the seriousness of these topics. Commissioner Makin was in attendance. She reflected on her first year in office and spent some time answering questions. She is scheduled for a May 1st visit to ICS.

     Staff participated in some training sessions on how to better utilize Infinite Campus, our reporting platform. Basketball has kept students busy, Pathways teachers met off campus, and curriculum work continues at the elementary level. Apparently, there is never a slow week at ICS. We wouldn’t have it any other way.   


Chuck Hamm 

Head of School         


The Compass, 1/11/20

posted Jan 11, 2020, 11:36 AM by Charles Hamm



     We’ve enjoyed a great deal of initiative throughout the school this week.  Students and staff pass the weeks with an energetic pace that, at times, is dizzying. Seniors are receiving acceptance letters from colleges and mid-year exams are right around the corner. 

     Sandy and David Perloff graced ICS with a visit this week. We appreciate their continued funding and collaboration. 3-D printers, aquaponics, and aeroponics are just a few examples of their support in action and directly in the hands of students. 

        Our Pathways Team has been enjoying meeting with students and their families lately. Pathways has become the cornerstone of our middle and high school students’ experience at ICS. It is a joy to have their families on campus for their individual meetings. 

     Head of School spent time at the Mid-Coast School of Technology attending a joint meeting of leaders from the tech center and surrounding islands. The Island Institute hosted and organized the day with a focus on shared local resources and credential opportunities for our students. Simultaneously, Dean of Students was in Boston, attending a conference hosted by the Barr Foundation. She has been preparing to launch our Portrait of a Graduate initiative previously mentioned in last week’s Compass. 

     This week we take time to recognize the recipient of this month’s Fly High Award, Grace Burns. Grace embodies the values of ICS and well deserves the recognition. Congratulations!

     As always, thank you for your support and for reading our weekly Compass. 


Chuck Hamm 

Head of School         

The Compass, 1/4/20

posted Jan 11, 2020, 11:34 AM by Charles Hamm


The new year has begun and staff and students appear rested and ready for the next chapter of the school year. We typically have good news to share and this week is no exception. We have recently been awarded a “Portrait of a Graduate” grant from the Barr Foundation. The Island Institute is excited to be partnering with the nonprofit Rural Aspirations Project to bring together three small, isolated, rural Maine high schools and take an in-depth look at the unique role and purpose of rural education and its connection to rural community, vitality, and sustainability.

     The schools are: Islesboro Central School and Vinalhaven School in Penobscot Bay and East Grand School in northern Washington County, Maine, near the Aroostook County border. The University of Maine’s College of Education and Human Development as well as the Maine Department of Education will also be involved in this collaboration. 

     We will look for community involvement. If you would like to included, please contact Dean of Students Meredith Diamond at

     In other news, students Collin Peterson and Veda Lecompte are both very excited to be studying abroad this summer. They are the recipients of the Oxbridge scholarship. Thank you, Lucy Burr, for funding this incredible opportunity for ICS students. 


Chuck Hamm 

Head of School    

The Compass, 12/14/19

posted Jan 11, 2020, 11:32 AM by Charles Hamm


This week’s high point was our Winter Concert. Students performed to a full house. Standouts included grades K-3 train costumes, combined band performances, and solo vocal performances by students from several grades. When students experience the support of their families and the community, as they did at the concert, their confidence soars. It is often the synergy of the entire community working together that makes ICS such an incredible school. On behalf of our students, thank you all for joining us as we showcased an incredible array of skill and talent. 

     Staff took part in a serious training session regarding suicide awareness. It is a state-required mandate. We support training of this nature and welcome expanding our understanding of this serious topic. Our administration and counseling staff are working diligently revising our emergency response plan. Working in tandem with local officials and emergency response teams, it will better prepare ICS if tragedy strikes. 

     Basketball has kept our student athletes very busy lately. We’ve experienced both wins and losses. We cannot underestimate the benefits of student participation. Happily, our athletes are known for showing wonderful sportsmanship, regardless of outcomes.  

     As the holiday season continues, we wish all our readers contentment and happiness, as well as a healthy, and prosperous new year.


Chuck Hamm 

Head of School                                        

The Compass, 12/7/19

posted Dec 13, 2019, 6:07 AM by Charles Hamm


       Staff enjoyed seeing families at our Sports Banquet and Parent/Teacher conferences recently. Thank you all for attending. It’s always nice to see your friendly faces in the building. 

       Head of School attended the Maine Principals’ Association’s Fall Conference recently. Keynote speaker Alex Kajitani, otherwise known as the Rappin’ Mathematician and founder of Multiplication, was energetic and thought provoking. Conference sessions included Vaping, Restorative Practices, Tough Issues in Administration, and Expanding Computer Science in Schools. Time spent with other principals from around the state is worthwhile professional development and good for the overall growth of the school. Our island location is often a topic of interest amongst principals from around the state, as is our high student success rate. 

     The winter is already giving us some challenges. It seemed like the whole state of Maine was shut down with this last Nor’easter. Our students are happy with the fresh snow and the hillside sledding. 

     Thanksgiving has come and gone. We at ICS are continually thankful for the wonderful children we serve. Their smiles and eagerness to learn makes our jobs as educators, that much more rewarding. 

     Our annual Winter Concert will be on December 12. Please join us for an evening of live music and performances. 

Chuck Hamm 

Head of School                       

The Compass, 11/10/19

posted Nov 11, 2019, 6:08 AM by Charles Hamm   [ updated Nov 11, 2019, 6:09 AM ]

The first quarter of the school year closed this week for Middle and High School students. It shouldn’t come as a surprise given the pace at ICS. 

     Students were delighted to take part in a new tradition this week; the ICS Fly High Award. A student who exemplifies ICS is given a certificate and decides where in the school, the plush eagle replica will live until we recognize the next student. Finnigan is the first student to receive the award. He will nominate the next recipient and so on throughout the school year. The eagle will rest on Mrs. Atterbury’s couch for now.

     We completed this month’s fire drill in exactly 2 minutes flat. Students attended a financial aid presentation through FAME this week. A Marine recruiter visited and talked to several classes. The School Board held its monthly meeting Tuesday evening. Prior to that meeting, the Facilities Committee met to discuss the roof, gym floor, stage curtain, and minor leaks in the exterior walls of the school. And the Civil Rights Team renamed themselves the Social Justice Team. The new name appropriately reflects a superhero status that seems fitting. 

   Wonderful news worth sharing this week regards a successful initiative led by Ms. Betha. Betha has been the liaison between the school and an ICS supporter for the last couple of months. Through their mutual efforts, we are able to fund a sizeable expansion of our outdoor spaces. The project is a multi-faceted venture that includes new playground equipment, a living willow dome, an outdoor classroom, fitness trail, and so much more. Betha and the E-Team, with help from various other members of the staff and community, put together a well thought out plan that will revitalize our outdoor spaces. 

     Looking ahead, the school calendar includes observance of Veterans Day, a Sports Banquet, and with support from Island Readers and Writers (IRW), a visit from illustrator Ben Bishop. Ben will spend the day giving presentations and working with students. We are always happy and thankful to host authors and illustrators through IRW.



Chuck Hamm 

Head of School  

The Compass, 11/2/19

posted Nov 3, 2019, 9:07 AM by Charles Hamm

  We began the week by unrolling our expanded mentoring program comprising all three levels of schools. Little, Middles, and Bigs working together as teams provided an exciting and high energy All School Meeting. 

      Later in the week, we celebrated Halloween with an hour-long assembly. Teachers Ms. Diamond and Mr. DiLalla organized many fun-filled activities that featured triads from our expanded mentoring program. 

     If you’ve been in New England for any length of time, this week was probably par for the course as far as the weather goes. Staff had to forego Thursday afternoon professional development for fear of the ferry service cancelling afternoon runs. The realities and challenges we face are numerous regarding logistics and commuting. 

     Our Friday proved to be fairly exciting. The uncertainty of ferry service compounded with power outages and downed trees across the campus driveway, made for an interesting start of the day. Special thanks to School Board member, Nakomis Nelson, for keeping his chainsaw handy when he came to school that morning. He made quick work of cutting the tree into manageable chunks. Other parents and staff cleared the debris and made it possible to continue with having a school day, despite a two-hour delay. The power was out on the entire island for much of the morning. Fortunately, the school had electricity from our generator. We were happy to see more than half our students able to continue with classes and receive a hot lunch. We excused Magnet students and staff from school because of downed power lines on the mainland. Worth noting is that all the staff showed up, anyway. We had a great day despite the storm and the break in routine. 

     While playing four square on the schoolyard, students noticed two large birds riding the wind directly above the school. Framed by a bright blue sky, two mature bald eagles were holding formation, hovering in the powerful wind. One could not ask for a better symbol of Islesboro’s resilience.  


Chuck Hamm 

Head of School                                                     

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