Dear friends,

You may remember the ACE MV office used to be in a little house on Greenwood Avenue in Vineyard Haven. Then, last spring, we moved into an office within the high school. At the moment—as our social and economic realities change daily—our staff and board are working remotely, but Vineyard adult education is still going strong.

We’re all aware that elementary and secondary schools have closed; adult learning has changed, as well. Professionals in business, health care, language, trades, and technology are shifting their learning environments to accommodate quarantine. ACE MV, as the Island’s cornerstone of adult learning, is at the center.

ACE MV’s line-up of spring classes was impressive: partnering with colleges, universities, state government departments, and local boards of health, we had scheduled courses and programs that lead to certificates, licenses, PDPs, CEUs, and toward a Master’s Degree in Education. Though recent events have changed this plan, leading to some cancellations and postponements, we are diving into a new way to deliver learning: online.

You’re likely aware that ACE MV has prided itself in hiring Vineyard instructors to teach Vineyard residents in-person; we are now adjusting our methods to support a variety of learning options. Our thanks go out to our wonderful and flexible instructors who have enthusiastically jumped on-board with the idea of teaching “virtually.” Many of our teachers have never led an online class, and we’re all discovering this comes with significant challenges. But our staff has researched and vetted online options and our teachers have happily taken up the call: we are now hosting a number of our classes online, such as “Diversity in the Classroom,” taught by Marge Harris, Ph.D., of Southern New Hampshire University’s School of Education, through a partnership between ACE and Fitchburg State University, and “Success with Business Communication” with Professor Aline Wolff, Ph.D. of New York University’s Stern School of Business.

Our Offshore Wind Technician Certificate students are continuing the Electrical Machinery class with Bristol Community College Adjunct Faculty member Dana Munn, as well as completing College Algebra, the first 2 classes in the 2-year part-time certificate. Other classes in the coming months include Docent Training with Elaine Weintraub, Scientific Diving with Giorgio Caramanna, and ServSafe with Alice Robinson. We are also prioritizing the badly-needed HiSET/GED class, taught by Erin Simmons and Robert Ribiero, and the new Adult Basic Ed program, taught by Matthew Burke, which we created in partnership with MV Hospital and Dukes County Homeless Prevention, with funding from Permanent Endowment of MV.

In addition to ACE MV’s dedication to workforce development education, we also value learning for learning’s sake. Depending on the extent of the health situation, ACE MV plans to offer something new this summer: a great variety of enrichment courses. Our popular cooking, photography, and writing classes will return because learning is about keeping our minds nimble and our hands active. Our summer classes will expand awareness, bring joy, and stimulate creativity; we will keep you posted when classes are scheduled.

Additionally, though schools are closed, ACE MV staff have been working closely with MV Regional High School to develop learning opportunities for our teens and young adults. Through our Career Pathways Initiative, funded in part by The Couch Family Foundation, we have been compiling data about regional educational opportunities for trades especially for young people leaving high school for whom a 2-year or 4-year college is not a plan. Working with the high school’s Career and Technical Education department, we are compiling a physical resource that will provide students with a wealth of information about educational opportunities, certificates and licenses required for certain professions, and local job and career opportunities here on the Island. If you are an Island employer, please contact us to learn how you can be involved.

We offer many more classes than can be listed here; please visit our course catalog for your own learning opportunities. ACE MV staff have curated a helpful resource of free online classes, TED talks, and other options for you to enjoy. ( Check our website in another week to register for online classes that can lead to certificates of completion and skill-building.

Finally, we are delighted to announce two new members to our Board of Directors: Aletheia Donahue, M.D., M.P.H., specializing in Internal Medicine at Martha’s Vineyard Hospital, and Heidi Feldman, co-owner of Down Island Farm, LLC and MV Sea Salt. Our board’s outreach into the community reflects ACE MV’s commitment to educating all Islanders and making Martha’s Vineyard an economically viable and culturally rich place to live and work.

We look forward to teaching and learning with you,

Holly Bellebuono
Executive Director ACE MV
March 31, 2020