GloucesterTimes.com, Gloucester, MA

June 14, 2013

Letter: Making Gloucester's schools among state's best


Gloucester Daily Times

---- — To the editor:

A couple months ago, I was approached in the lobby of Cape Ann Savings Bank by a director of the Gloucester Education Foundation (GEF) and was asked if I would be willing to serve as treasurer for that organization.

Over the past few years, I have heard about GEF but had never taken the time to look into all of the new programs, funded by GEF, and offered through our school system. After a review of GEF’s financials and talking to some of its board members, I learned of the numerous initiatives now being offered through our public schools. While reading the GEF annual report, I was impressed by the bridges being built between Gloucester Public Schools and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) and the numerous educational programs at every grade level, in literacy, math, science, technology and the arts.

Examples of valuable equipment and supplies with money donated by GEF include; soundfields amplification systems in elementary school classrooms, materials for ceramic arts and science lab equipment. Thanks to the gift of an anonymous donor GEF furnished 60 ipads to enable every student in 6th grade Harbor House to participate in an innovative project-based learning program.

There are now many programs, projects and positions originally subsidized by GEF that are now or soon to be fully integrated into the curriculum. These include but are not limited to:

Science, technology & engineering coordinator & curriculum writer.

Math specialist.

GHS extracurricular advisor stipends.

Physics of Robotics Curriculum.

Middle School Spanish.

Gloucester Public School District Citywide Arts Festival.

As natives of Gloucester, my six older siblings and I attended Gloucester public schools and participated in some of the after school and summer curriculum in the 1960’s and 1970’s. However, the breadth and depth of these offerings were aways limited to the funding allotted to the School Committee by the City Council.

GEF’s efforts are now allowing the Gloucester Public School District to compete in an era of school choice and private schools. Some of us have made the difficult decision to send our children to private schools hoping that their full scholastic potential will be realized.

To curtail this trend, GEF is becoming the catalyst needed to band us together as a community to make our school district one of the top in the state. The quality of our teachers is every bit as good as you will find in any school system, public or private. We need to provide our teachers with funds that will increase the depth of the education offered through our public schools. GEF is doing just that.

I was so impressed with all that I learned about GEF and its accomplishments that I agreed to take on the role of treasurer. I look forward to make a personal contribution to the Foundation. Further, I would like to thank all GEF supporters for helping to create a culture of excellence in our schools.

With your continued support, the Gloucester Public Schools can strive to be one the best school districts in Massachusetts.

To learn more about GEF and to find out how you can help make a difference in our children’s education, please visit our website at www.thinkthebest.org .

DEAN MURRAY

Trust Officer

Cape Ann Savings Bank, Gloucester