Although Fire Island is primarily known as a vacation spot, full-time residents obviously need to send their kids to school. The Fire Island Union Free School District accommodates the children of these families, and in this article, we’ll talk about the history, as well as other general information related to the education system on Fire Island.
The Fire Island Union Free School District is primarily comprised of two major areas.
- Fire Island Beach
- Great South Beach
Students of the school district come from all over the Island. It includes the incorporated villages of Ocean Beach, Point-O’-Woods, and Saltaire, the Fire Island National Seashore and Fire Island Lighthouse, as well as many small communities along the shores of the barrier island.
Fire Island UFSD History
The school district was originally laid out and designated by Millard H. Packer, school commissioner, on Nov. 18, 1902. The boundaries were amended over the years to eventually encompass the entirety of the island, and nowadays, even students from the mainland are also welcomed to Woodhull School.
The first school on the island was founded in 1918 in a house until a one-room structure was built in 1925 with one teacher. Later on, two schools were operating in the district, one in Ocean Beach and the other in Kismet Park.
The current Pre-K-6 school, Woodhull School, was built in 1954. Additions over the years include the gymnasium (1975), library (1980), detached bus garage (1983), and the Alexander M. Van de Mark Wing (1991).
Getting to School
The daily trip to Woodhull School on Fire Island is unconventional, to say the least. There are no roads on Fire Island, and the “walks” in most communities consist of wood, concrete, or sandy trails. However, there are 4-wheel drive buses that carry students that can handle the beach, walks, and somewhat standard roadways in order to transport Fire Island students throughout the school year.
The Evolution of a Fire Island Student
Fire Island students attend Woodhull School from grades Pre-K-6 (8:00am to 2:35pm every day), and then move on to either the Bay Shore or Islip school districts for the reminder of their public school career.
A positive aspect of the Fire Island School District is that there is an impressively low student-to-teach ratio.
Students are substantially catered to thanks to a variety of supportive resources:
- Special education teacher
- School psychologist
- Speech teacher
- Special area classes: music, art, physical education, library skills, technology classes
- Extra-curricular activities: swimming, karate, Lego club, needlework club
- On-to-one laptop program
- Active and supportive PTA
The Fire Island School District is committed to meeting the individual needs of students by allowing students to learn at their own pace. Fire Island students statistically perform exceptionally well on national and state assessments, and the staff takes pride in their success!
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