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March 18, 2013

Editorial: Innovation thrives at GHS, too

Gloucester’s O’Maley Middle School has drawn a lot of attention and rave reviews this year for its “innovation school” programs and rightfully so.

By virtually all counts, the innovation school format has reinvigorated interest among students, parents and staff alike. And it has segued with the school’s increased STEM emphasis — for science, technology, engineering and math — which had gotten a jump start the previous year, thanks in part to support from the private, nonprofit Gloucester Education Foundation.

But it’s also now clear that O’Maley is hardly the city district’s only school to be taking bold new steps forward through science and technology education. For the Massachusetts Biotechnology Education Foundation is not only continuing to provide grant financial support for Gloucester High School‚ it’s named GHS the state’s Innovative School of the Year.

In extending the honor, the biotech ed foundation cited Gloucester High’s approach in creating programs and partnerships that allow students to connect with biotechnology businesses. And the foundation noted the school has “successfully utilized” the funding for its programs since it started extending the grants in 2009 — especially in gearing programs not just to students already in advanced placement programs, but for “involving students at all academic levels.”

That’s a true tribute to GHS biology teacher Eric Leigh, who has not only taught in the programs for five years, but has helped reel in the grants that funded the innovation effort in the first place. And it’s a tribute to all of the students and teachers who have played a part in the programs and obviously caught the biotechnology ed group’s eye.

Leigh says the program has a basic mission: “We just really want to give all the kids the opportunities to experience it because you never know who’s going to be the next scientist or at least develop an interest in science,” he noted — and he’s right.

Congratulations and best wishes for continued success should be extended to all.

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