The Nantucket New School was the dream of six visionary families who felt that island children deserved a sound choice in education. Together with teacher Linda Zola, they founded Nantucket New School in 1985 in the basement of Prentice and Patti Claflin’s home.
The original six students entered at the kindergarten/first grade level. The School grew quickly, and, as it did, the School added grade levels to accommodate the needs of the students.
By 1988, the School had outgrown the Claflin’s basement, and it moved to The Old Spouter on Orange Street, where it remained until 1990. During that same year the school was incorporated as a 501 (c)(3) non-profit organization under the auspicious of the Parents Cooperative of Nantucket.
When enrollment reached twenty-five students, the School, with the generous assistance of its parents, arranged to purchase the School’s first campus at 45 Surfside Road.
The School continued to flourish over the next eleven years and in 2001 it purchased, with the cooperation of the Nantucket Land Bank, a two-acre parcel of land on Nobadeer Farm Road, and began construction of its current campus.
In 2001, an anonymous benefactor donated a house to the School and had it moved to the Nobadeer Farm Road campus. With the help of a number of parents, the house, named, at the request of the donor, the George Fraker House after the man who had previously lived in it, was renovated. Fraker House, as it is affectionately known, is now the home of the New School Head of School/Strong Wings Executive Director, Jonathan Alden, and his family.
The School moved into the Louise F. Walker building on the Nobadeer Farm Road campus in 2002, due in large measure to a generous matching grant by the Weezie Foundation, and enrollment grew to about one hundred students in grades pre-kindergarten through eight.
In 2007 the School added a pre-school program, formalizing and expanding the existing pre-kindergarten to include three and four-year-old students.
The School achieved Accreditation by the Association of Independent Schools in New England in 2009. That same year, a formal partnership with Strong Wings began, resulting in the merger of the two organizations a year later. The Nobadeer Farm Rd. campus then expanded to over six acres to include the Strong Wings facilities.
The Building Futures Capital Campaign was completed in the spring of 2010. This multi-year, $4.6 million effort covered expenses associated with the purchase of the Nobadeer Farm Rd. property and the construction of the Louise F. Walker building.
In 2013 Nantucket New School and Strong Wings launched The Building on Promise Capital Campaign to retire the mortgage associated with merger financing and to enhance campus facilities, including a home for the Strong Wings Director.
In 2016 the Board of Trustees voted to change the name of the parent organization from the Parents Cooperative of Nantucket to the Nantucket Partnership for Children (effective October 2017) to reflect better the work of the combined schools. Today the New School continues to thrive and to fulfill its original mission of providing an outstanding educational alternative for Nantucket families.