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Partners in Island Education (PIE) was formed at the start of the new school project in 1999 by a group of community members intent on making more opportunities available to children on Vinalhaven. PIE identified the library and auditorium as two important facilities where public funds would not meet the needs of the community and raised $1.8 million dollars through private fundraising to make possible a 350-seat theater and to significantly increase the amount of square footage in the library design. PIE’s contributions, combined with local money raised through taxation, and with state funding, built for the Vinalhaven community a state-of-the-art school facility. The school was completed in 2003 and is currently attended by 171 students in grades Pre-K to12.
With the conclusion of the capital campaign, members decided to re-direct the organization’s focus toward programmatic ways of meeting the educational needs of island children. They recognized that the isolation of our town makes it difficult to take advantage of educational and cultural resources accessible to communities on the mainland. For this reason, PIE is an important factor in the cultural and artistic education provided to the students on Vinalhaven, and receives substantial community support. With funds raised from the community, volunteer time and grants from organizations, PIE finds new and interesting ways to expand the horizons of the students who attend the island’s public school.