The Country Today: Students at Washington Island School are surrounded by knowledgeable teachers, caring support staff and state-of-the-art technology.
Oh, and they’re surrounded by one other thing — water.
Washington Island School, the state’s smallest K-12 institution with 69 total students, stands apart both literally and figuratively as Wisconsin’s only island school.
“Being on an island, you can definitely say we’re a very close-knit community,” teacher/athletics director Michael Gillespie said. “When we say ‘everybody knows everybody,’ that’s definitely true here.”
The island and its roughly 700 residents are located about six miles northeast of the Door County peninsula mainland. All students and school employees live on the island, which connects with the mainland via the year-round Washington Island Ferry Line service.
The island town was established in 1850, and one of the town board’s first acts was to establish a log school near Washington Harbor (now Schoolhouse Beach). The 35-square-mile island later maintained four schools simultaneously until they were consolidated into one school about six decades ago. The current school building, which opened in 1986, houses all grades under one roof — with separate wings for a high school, middle school and elementary school.