TONIGHT: vote to whittle new school options. Scenes and recap of new building plans presentation June 17

If you go-

Tonight’s meeting about East Gloucester/Veterans’ Memorial proposed elementary school building(s), will be held at the Gloucester Public Schools District Office Conference Room, 2 Blackburn Drive, Thursday June 20, 2019 5PM Find the agenda here 

Below are a few scenes from Gloucester’s school committee presentation by MSBA assigned designers, Dore & Whittier, and audience statements. The meeting was held at City Hall on June 17 and hosted by Ward 1 City Councilor Scott Memhard.The current status of proposed elementary school plans were reviewed. They discussed 14 options on 3 sites.

Audience members (approximately 125) were overwhelmingly opposed to the plans. People were vocal about green space, Mattos Field and memorial, women and sports, traffic, parking, transparency, consolidation, limited site options, narrow scope (what about the other schools), impact on each neighborhood, evaluation of West Parish, slow timeline, and future plans for any surplus property. Few in favor of consolidation were inclined with those proposed. One woman encouraged checking back in with the MSBA about completing multiple schools at once in lieu of consolidation and costs based on the firm’s belief that most of these options were ill suited.

Here is one statement read aloud reflecting concerns about green space and Mattos Field:

“Mattos field, East Gloucester school area, and Green Street all have the same thing in common: They are all open space and should be protected and preserved for future generations. 

Our Community Plan 2000 remind us over and over again the importance of our open spaces and the places we hold dear. The plan was “citizen-driven” and reached out to residents from all corners of our city. 

Since that plan, we are again reminded of our need and love for open space with our Open Space and Recreation Plan, a plan I was fortunate to be able to be a part of. This plan listed and inventoried all of our open spaces– from our beautiful beaches to our ball fields and parks, to our cemeteries and even our boat landings. Birds. Plants. All find a place in this plan. We talk about how we can protect these places and how we can improve them, but never did we talk about taking them away. 

Preserve, Maintain and Protect. These are the three words we should be using when it comes to our open spaces.  Because once it’s gone we can’t get it back. Thank you!”- Patti Amaral

Here is another statement pushing to reject all or nothing in favor of both/and:

“I’ve been to my share of School Committee meetings over the past several years and I’m learning more and more about what the future holds for the children of our city. There are three sites that the Building Committee has in mind for the “East Gloucester Elementary School” project. Two of those sites will take East Gloucester Elementary School out of East Gloucester.  One of those sites would eliminate the current Mattos Field and another would put the school up on Green Street, 500 yards from the old Fuller School.

The fate of East Gloucester Elementary needs your support.

I stood in front of our School Committee many years ago and asked, “Our schools are beginning to deteriorate. What are we going to do to maintain them? School Committee member, Ab Khambaty (president of the School Committee at the time) said, “Mary Ann, we do not need glorious buildings to educate children. We can teach them in a tent. What children need are teachers who have a strong desire to bring the best out in our children. We need parents who are involved with their PTO’s and staff who care.” I left that meeting very upset, because I was a young mother who wanted it all for my daughter and her fellow students, but as the years have passed I understand his message loud and clear. Our schools do not need brand new facades, grand entrances or hallways that have no educational purpose.

They do, however, need safe, clean and well maintained environments for both students and teachers (staff) alike to thrive in. It’s not the GRAND building that makes a school. It’s the PEOPLE within that structure that make a school GRAND. Can’t we provide safe, learning environments that meet the needs of today’s students, staff and neighborhoods (yes, neighborhoods) without disrupting our green spaces, without disrupting neighborhoods? Can’t we renovate our two schools for less than the cost of a new, consolidated school?

Green Street Playground and field remain green, East Gloucester Elementary remains, as well as it’s green space, Veterans’ and Mattos Field are saved and remain green. ALL dedicated green spaces that are used daily throughout the entire year, not just for school purposes, but for the purpose of enjoying the beauty of what they are and the benefits they each create. The benefits of being outside, socializing with friends, meeting new neighbors, enjoying wildlife. Are we willing to lose teachers and staff that invest in our city’s youth? If we lose a school we will lose more than just a building. We lose the most important parts of what children truly need, the people and their open fields. Take a look throughout our city and others and you will see magnificent renovations to so many of the brick structures, structures that have survived for hundreds of years, structures that have been renovated with the latest technology. We teach our children every day to recycle, repurpose and to save our earth. Let’s show them that it can be done. Can’t we provide clean, safe, learning environments while maintaining and protecting our city assets that residents of all neighborhoods and all ages love? Mary Ann Boucher,  advocate for kids, schools, green spaces and neighborhoods

The conditions pursued by the school committee are variable so it’s difficult to build or defend any consensus. In 2016, the Pines in East Gloucester was a front runner or placeholder. Opinions about consolidating multiple schools at Beeman or O’Maley were voiced but not fleshed out. In February of 2017, the Massachusetts School Building Authority (MSBA), a state agency, moved the Gloucester school consolidation proposal further along in its funding process. In January 2019 at the school committee-city council-board of health joint meeting,  Chairman Pope mentioned exploratory conversations with Rockport about merging districts. Could the elementary and middle schools be situated on Rockport’s campus and O’Maley and GHS accomodate the middle and high school populations?   If so why would large school consolodiation buildings be underway? At the June 17th presentation, questions about other potential sites whether O’Maley, or any of the city’s school properties,  or land elsewhere, or merging with Rockport, went unanswered. Representatives from Dore & Whittier said this phase kicked off in December 2018 and was full spead ahead as of January; in truth, the process began years ago with Dore &Whittier. And new schools were a topic when my kids, now in high school, were in preschool (fantastic!) at the High School. Indeed, a generation of students has grown up and teachers retired since an “urgent” need was expressed. Conditions are urgent. Why is this process so costly and cumbersome? Why is constuction so expensive we can’t remedy in real time?

The school committee and new building sub-group welcome feedback and concerns

although they warn that in order for this process to stay on track for a new school ETA occupancy September 2023/24 they need to move forward with these options. Changes will increase cost.

See prior post with more slides of the presentation, mostly unchanged from the week before.

WEST PARISH LOBSTER TRAP TREE BUOY PAINTERS!

Art Haven’s Executive Director Traci Thayne Corbett and Cathy Kelley are doing a fantastic job managing the fabulous buoy painting taking place daily after school. Today they were joined by volunteers Michael Kelley and Lianna Sours. The finished buoys are gathering in great piles all around the studio. Today’s ernest artists were representing from West Parish Elementary. Saturday, December 2nd, buoy painting continues, and is open studio day for any young person.

Michael and Cathy Kelley, Lianna Sours, and Traci Thayne Corbett

 
West Parish Elementary: Friday – 12/1 – 3:30-5:00pm
Open Day for Everyone: Saturday – 12/2 – 10:0am – 1:00pm
Rockport Elemenary School:  Monday 12/4 – 3:30-5:00pm
O’ Maley Middle School:  Wednesday – 12/6 – 3:30-5:00pm
Open Day for Everyone: Wednesday – 12/6 – 3:30-5:00pm
Manchester/Essex Elementary:  Wednesday – 12/6 – 3:30-5:00pm

Lobster Trap Tree Lighting and Party at Art Haven after

December 9th, 4:30 pm, Main St at Lobster Trap Tree

Buoy Auction

January 26, 5-8pm, Cruiseport

Local Veterans read picture book, Heroes in Our Neighborhood, aloud to elementary school classes this week

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(photos Cape Ann Veterans Services)

This past week Cape Ann Veterans Services brought copies of the children’s picture book, Veterans: Heroes in Our Neighborhood, and super volunteer readers, into our local Kindergarten, first and second grades to read aloud in the classes. Copies of the book were gifted to the classroom libraries. Veterans: Heroes in Our Neighborhood ©2012 is by Valerie Pfundstein with illustrations by Aaron Anderson and foreword by John Vigiano Sr., a Marine Veteran and retired FDNY Captain, who honors his sons’ memories (both lost on 9/11) by volunteering his time and resources to Gold Star families and wounded heroes.

Volunteer readers at East Gloucester School: Members of the US Coast Guard Station, Gloucester, Navy/Veteran/Gloucester Police Department Officer Kevin Hicks and marine Corps Veteran Michael S. Grossi who read to his son’s class. 

Volunteer readers at West Parish: members of the the US Coast Guard Station  Gloucester; David Parisi Air Force Veteran who read to his daughter’s class; Marine Corps Veteran/State Trooper Tim Sova who read to his daughter’s clas; Coast Guard and Marine Veteran/deputy harbor master Chad Johnson; Vietnam War Marine Veteran Brian O’Connor; Army Veteran Anthony Trupiano who recently returned home; Ray Towns Army Veteran/commander of Gloucester Amvets; and Korean War Veteran Melvin Olson .

Volunteer readers at Plum Cove: Massachusetts Secretary of Veterans Services Francisco Urena, Marine Veteran; Trina Parisi-O’Donnell, Air Force Veteran whose son attends Plum Cove; Police Officer Brendan Chipperini and Vionette Vee Chipperini Army Veterans; Gloucester Sea Cadet Commander Robert Pallazolla Air Force Veteran; Police Officer Chris Frates Coast Guard Veteran; Richard J Cavanaugh, Army Veteran; and Devan Smith and Mike Pillelli of US Coast Guard Station, Gloucester

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Adam Curcuru telling Pauline Bresnahan and Anita Coullard Dziedziek about the book last month.

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Gloucester schools consolidation

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Mern Sibley speaking to the Gloucester School Committee Sept 14, 2016 about elementary schools merging

If you missed it, you’re in luck. Busy night of democracy was captured by Dave from Cape Ann TV- direct link if the video isn’t showing below.

The Chair of the School Committee, Johnathan Pope, opened with a power point presentation that went for the first 49 minutes. Questions from the floor began immediately after Pope’s background talk. First question up at minute 50–no surprise –concerned a clarification about the cost of West Parish, quickly followed by Mern Sibley’s remarks at minute 51 which received a large applause as did others throughout the evening. Some residents came prepared to speak. Some were spontaneous. The path to the mike was steady and fascinating. A few residents had more than one take like parent Kylie Mione  who is also by profession a teacher at Veterans.

Here’s a link to the Elementary School Plan Proposal August 2016

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Councilor Ward 1 Scott Memhard Facebook page has several posts about the school proposal.

The audience numbered less than 100 and included Councilors Memhard, Lundberg, Cox and Ciolino.

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Chair Johnathan Pope, School Committee, 9/14/16

WOW FIRST LOOK TOUR OF THE NEW WEST PARISH ELEMENTARY SCHOOL WITH SUPERINTENDENT SAFIER

WOW AND DOUBLE WOW!!! Check out this special edition of the Superintendent’s Corner as Dr. Richard Safier, Alex Corbett, and Telena Imel take us on a tour of the new West Parish Elementary School. This video was created by Lisa Smith and Becky Tober for Cape Ann TV.

The West Parish Elementary School open house for the West Parish community is on Thursday, August 25th. The entire Gloucester community is invited to tour the school on Sunday, August 28th. 

West Parish Elementary School Cruising for Education Auction Saturday, March 26, 2011

West Parish Elementary School

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Saturday, March 26, 2011 Cruiseport Gloucester

Silent auction 6pm-8pm

Live auction to follow

You are cordially invited to attend the long-awaited West Parish Spring Auction “Cruising For Education” at Cruiseport Gloucester on Saturday March 26th at 6 PM!
Please join us for an evening of good cheer and a chance to win outstanding items and services that have been generously donated by parents and local businesses to SUPPORT EDUCATION FOR OUR CHILDREN AT WEST PARISH!
Celebrate with your West Parish Friends and Neighbors as you are able to bid on spectacular items such as ski lift tickets, Disney Hopper Passes, Handmade Jewelry, Tickets to Boston Sports Events, Summer Family Getaways, Student Art Projects, and so much more!
Spread the word to family, friends, and coworkers about our festive evening!  Please remember that this is the MAJOR WEST PARISH PTO fundraiser that will fund the PTO budget for the next year.  Your attendance is so important!
The evening will include a cash bar, music, a raffle for an iPad, appetizer buffets at the various Ports of Call, a silent and live auction, and local celebrity guest auctioneers Bruce Tarr and Rick Doucette!

Purchase your “Early Bird” tickets NOW through March 18

$15 per person/$25 per couple ($20 p.p. the door)

All tickets will be held at the door on the evening of the auction.
Preview our items online in March at www.westparish.schoolauction.net/cruising2011
Make a donation now at www.westparish.schoolauction.net/cruising2011
Email inquiries to westparishpto@hotmail.com or call 978-281-9835.

To purchase tickets:

E-mail westparishpto@hotmail.com with:

Names of all persons attending, Address, Telephone and Email and mail check made payable to West Parish PTO, “Auction Tickets” in the memo line to:

West Parish School, c/o Auction Committee, 10 Concord Street, Gloucester, MA 01930.   

OR

Mail above information with a check to West Parish School, c/o Auction Committee, 10 Concord Street, Gloucester, MA 01930.