Tremont Consolidated School is a grades K-8 school located in beautiful Bass Harbor on Mount Desert Island. They have 110 student taught by 22 teachers and six educational technicians. They have a 50% free and reduced lunch rate.
Professional development is at the forefront at Tremont Consolidated School. When I first arrived, I had the pleasure of taking part in two of the PLCs that meet on a weekly basis. They were discussing teacher evaluation – in particular the student survey and how that plays a role in the process. At the k-2 team meeting, the discussion was rich and although some concerns were raised, the teachers appreciated the feedback that was given to them from even the kindergarten students. Each of the two meetings ended with an article that principal Pam Bush gave to them, “Teacher Evaluation Means Nothing Without Teacher Buy-In,” located in Education Week. Mrs. Bush helped to connect teacher evaluation goals with recertification goals, making both processes much less overwhelming. It was a true demonstration of leadership.
When touring the school, it is apparent that art plays a key role in the school’s culture. Art is everywhere throughout the building. The specialists work closely with all of the specialists so when looking at the art, you can see what each of the students are learning in different content areas. I had the pleasure to walk into “Studio Art” time. Students have an opportunity to take 30 minutes each day to work on homework or take part in different activities. “Studio Art” is one of the options.
Community plays a strong role in this small island school. Tremont School also serves as a community center and when the school holds a function, the community comes out in support. For example, recently the second grade teacher put on a play “Jack and Annie in Hawaii.” When I walked in to the classroom, they hadn’t taken down the set yet, and I felt transported to another far away tropical island. Pictures around the room demonstrated the community support for the play.
I also had the pleasure of speaking with two eighth grade students: Julia and Lily. Both girls loved talking about their school. “We have really good relationships with teachers and the students. We know we can talk to the teachers and they will help us no matter what.” Some other things they were really excited to share was all grades – even the middle grades – get to have recess every day, the 8th grade field trip they are taking to Washington DC at the end of the school year, and the fact that all students in grades 5-8 get to have two lockers each.
As for their principal, Mrs. Bush, they smiled and said, “She talks to us all the time and sets her expectations. She welcomes us each day to school and when she comes into our classrooms, she cares about what we are learning. She’s very sweet to us all.”
Tremont Consolidated School, 119 Tremont Road, Bass Harbor, ME (207)244-7777