Shelter Island, N.Y.: A Paradise That Has Its Challenges

Shelter Island, N.Y.: A Paradise That Has Its Challenges

Kindnesses, small and large, are typical of the islanders, Mr. Kaasik said. After his daughter received a diagnosis of Hodgkin lymphoma, he received concerned messages from community members he barely knew.

“I’ve seen it happen over and over again,” he said. “It’s the perfect example of how things should be.”

The Schools

Christine Finn, who became superintendent of the Shelter Island Union Free School District in the fall, said the district has been reversing the greater Long Island trend of declining enrollments, and is showing an uptick. “We’re going to keep the trend going by offering more electives and AP classes,” she said.

Ms. Ketcham pointed out that the district just passed an $11.7 million budget, and divided among the 222 students in prekindergarten through 12th grade, that comes to more than $52,700 per student. “Come on, you can send a kid to Choate for that!” she said.

Among the elementary school students who took the 2017 state tests, 51 percent met standards in English versus 42 percent statewide; 54 percent met standards in math versus 46 percent statewide.

Among the middle school students, 48 percent met standards in English versus 40 percent statewide; 26 percent met standards in math versus 39 percent statewide.

The average SAT scores for high school juniors and seniors who took the test in the fall of 2016 were 609 for reading and writing and 557 for math, versus 528 and 523 statewide.

The Commute

Shelter Island is about two and a half hours east of New York City. The North Ferry departs for Greenport, N.Y., on the North Fork every 10 to 20 minutes. The ride takes eight minutes and costs $16 dollars round trip for a car and driver making a same-day return. The South Ferry departs for North Haven, N.Y., in the Hamptons every 10 to 15 minutes. The crossing takes four minutes and costs $19 round trip.

The History

In June of 1947, a conference about theoretical physics took place at the Ram’s Head Inn on Shelter Island. Twenty-four of the world’s leading scientists — including Edward Teller, J. Robert Oppenheimer, John von Neumann and Richard Feynman — gathered to discuss the foundations of quantum mechanics. On the way to what is now known as the Shelter Island Conference, the men were given celebrity-style police escorts, tributes to the work many of them had done on the atomic bomb.

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