Little Compton - Little Compton Public Schools



The mission of the Wilbur & McMahon Schools is to develop a comprehensive educational community with high academic standards that challenge all students to love learning and to become skilled communicators and critical thinkers who are respectful, motivated, responsible, and self confident contributors to their community and the world.


Wilbur & McMahon Schools are dedicated to preparing students for educational and life experiences in an atmosphere where there is respect for the dignity of every person and an enthusiasm for learning. Wilbur & McMahon Schools are dedicated to the principle that educational programs be both challenging and supportive, distinguished by consistent high standards and by attention to the needs and potential of the individual student.


This Statement of Beliefs encompasses the fundamental convictions, values, and character of the Little Compton school district. These beliefs will direct the activities of our school.

The Little Compton School District believes that:

We can always improve.
Each student has the right to an educational experience based on high standards. All children can achieve high standards.
Not all children will achieve the standards in the same way or in the same time.
Schools must provide safe, secure, nurturing learning environments.
Schools must be flexible to change.
Education is a shared responsibility requiring the cooperation of the student, home, school, and community.
Schools prepare and challenge students to contribute to the community.
Love of learning fosters life-long educational growth.


Public education in Little Compton is on record dating back to 1698 when school was conducted in private homes with a schoolmaster appointed to teach reading, writing and arithmetic. Lack of an official building to house the school, the schoolmaster was required to move his school quarterly around town.

The traveling schoolmaster was later replaced in 1725 by the "Peaked Top" school, which did some traveling of its own. First built on the Commons, "Peaked Top" is known to have made three or four different locations it's home in the following years. Higher education was provided for several years through an academy founded by prominent area residents.

In 1828, the state legislature passed an act to establish free schools throughout the state. Each town would now be obligated by law to provide a free school at the town's expense. Soon after as many as 10 "districts" were established in town with one school and a teacher assigned to each district.

In 1885, the town changed from the "district" to the "town" system, with control of the public schools given to a school committee consisting of 5 members.

Local men and women served capably as superintendent though with little or no professional training. High school was conducted for a few years in what is today the Town Hall. The high-school had two teachers and a well respected head teacher by the name of Josephine Field Wilbur.

In 1923, a special survey commission was appointed by the state commissioner of education and a subsequent recommendation was made to build a single building to educate the town's youth from 1st grade through high school.

In 1925, the first of two bonds to construct the central school was overwhelmingly voted down. It wasn't until the second bond introduced a year later and 40,000 dollars less would the voters give approval for the town to issue the bond to build the central school. In 1928 the Consolidated Central School was completed and later named the Josephine F. Wilbur School.

The year 1930 would see the arrival of a new superintendent by the name of Miss Katherine B. McMahon. Over the next 43 years many changes in education would take place - namely the advancement of the sciences and technology. Consequently, this lead to a demand to see more complex science courses offered and to see opportunities for students to obtain vocational training.

These pressures would eventually cause the school to make arrangements with the communities of Tiverton, Middletown, and today - Portsmouth to send its students so that they could receive the broader education that would allow Little Compton students to remain competitive in an ever developing and complex world.