, Gloucester, MA

Letters/My View

May 7, 2013

Letter: O’Maley and an elementary consolidation

To the editor:

I recently had the opportunity to tour the O’Maley Innovation Middle School in anticipation of my niece’s entering 6th grade next year.

I was curious to see first-hand how the school had evolved since the late 1990s, when I was a student there.

Although I spent just under an hour at the school on my recent visit, I learned a lot and took away the following:

There are some very enthusiastic, devoted educators on hand and the school as a whole is dedicated to continuing its already commendable accomplishments in incorporating STEM curriculum and the effective integration of technology and education. Some of the graduating eighth-graders will be entering high school ready to take Algebra 2; most will have been exposed to engineering activities the likes of which I had only previously seen available in Coach L’s science classes at GHS.

However, I also took away that O’Maley is seemingly forced to do more with less due to budgetary constraints. And I can’t help but imagine that the choices being made by the city in regards to the elementary schools are a contributing factor.

I walked by the same broken lockers I used in 1996, learned that various specialists like gym, art, and home economics had been either reduced in scope or eliminated since I left, and saw that the STEM lab was making do in part with old equipment taken from Fuller.

As I did, I wondered how much could be done to restore what was lost or repair what is failing if, rather than spending $30 million for a new West Parish (and unknown future millions to renovate or replace the other four elementary schools), the city decided to consolidate several elementary schools into a renovated Fuller.

Instead, the City appears bent on depriving the vast majority of students of potential resources based on the notion that we must have several, small, elementary schools.

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