Category Archives: Education

Better to Give Than Receive

So proud of my students last week! They decided that it would be better to give than receive. They opted to skip the annual gingerbread house making for themselves and instead baked like crazy in class and at home. We then made a list of recipients and delivered holiday treats from Beverly to Ipswich to people whom our school is thankful for. We wish we could have made 100 more stops.

Please take a minute to watch  how amazing they are!

Welcoming 2016 is a great time to “Honor a Teacher” in the Gloucester Public Schools

Welcoming 2016 is a great time toHonor a Teacher” in the Gloucester Public Schools


A year ago, the Gloucester Education Foundation (GEF) introduced the “Honor a Teacher” Program to recognize your child’s teachers, middle school house or teaching teams, school, and any staff member(s) whether it is a cafeteria worker, custodian, or guidance counselor. More than 80 awards, totaling $3,000, have been raised by this Honor a Teacher Program and donated to GEF, a 501(C)(3). The Gloucester Education Foundation drives innovation, encourages creativity, and expands student opportunities in the Gloucester Public Schools. This recognition program provides an opportunity for parents, grandparents and community members to honor individuals and teams in the school community who have meaningfully impacted your child’s education.

Students, grandparents/community members and parents can hit the link, and click on “Honor a Teacher” and complete the prompts to process a secure debit/credit card payment or donation via Pay Pal. No amount is too small and tax deductible donations remain confidential.

There is a spot on the form to include an optional short message to a special teacher, staff member or team/house that is included in the body of the acknowledgement letter. Your recipient receives a letter acknowledging a student or family gift.

The Gloucester Education Foundation is grateful to have so many dedicated faculty and staff members in the Gloucester Public Schools and this “Honor a Teacher” Program is one special way to say thanks during the 2015 holiday season and the upcoming New Year.

Young Artists

I don’t usually do this, but I couldn’t resist!  How gorgeous are these drawings done by some of the Middle School students at the school where I teach?  Their art, based upon local art images, capture some lovely waterfront scenes.

Check out Harborlight-Stoneridge Montessori School


IMG_9100 IMG_9101 IMG_9102 IMG_9103 IMG_9105 IMG_9106 IMG_9107


Beyond Measure initial screening

Hi Joey!

Waldorf School at Moraine Farm is one of approximately 20 educational institutions in the country offering this initial screening of Beyond Measure: Rescuing an Overscheduled, Overtested, Underestimated Generation from the director of critically acclaimed Race to Nowhere, Vicki Abeles. The screening is FREE Thursday, October 22 @ 7pm.

All are welcome to witness a positive picture of what’s possible in American education when communities decide they’re ready for change.  I was on a conference call with Vicki yesterday and I think she hit it out of the park again.  Time Magazine is currently working on a feature piece of this movie.  Interviews with internationally-known leaders in education, child development, creativity, motivation and academic equity are supported by real life examples of what’s working for schools all over the country. Change can be driven from the ground up.  This important movie shows us how.

Waldorf School at Moraine Farm, 701 Cabot St. (Rt 97), Beverly, MA (near the N. Beverly shopping plaza, off of exit 20A)

If you would share this with your readers it may be of some real benefit.





Gloucester U After-school Program “ Tuesday Talks” kick-off on September 22 with Jim Unis

Gloucester U After-school Program

“ Tuesday Talks” kick-off on September 22 with Jim Unis image

GHS 2002, Fishermen Tight End and Defensive End, All American, BC Eagles

Please join us to hear our first speaker, Jim Unis, who will be inducted into Gloucester High School Hall of Fame on September 20, 2015

“Never has Gloucester football seen a physical freak of nature like Jim Unis. The 6-foot-5-inch, 225-pound defensive end and tight end wreaked havoc on Northeastern Conference opponents from his freshman year in 1998 to his senior year in 2001.“  Gloucester Times, September 2, 2011

Jim was a Boston College football superstar and clearly headed to the NFL. Then the unexpected happened…Come learn about his incredible story.

September 22nd in the High School Library

Event starts at 2:15 for refreshments

Jim Unis will speak at 2:45 in the High School Lecture Hall followed by a Q and A

Tuesday Talks is an exciting line-up of guest speakers on career/life skills through Gloucester U, the high school after school program

REGISTER ONLINE at or contact Samantha Whitney or Caitlin Kreitman

O’Maley PTO, Gloucester Gardeners Club and Gloucester DPW Team Up To Beautify The O’Maley entrance

Debra Lucey and Christine Leveille forward-

Thanks to the O’Maley PTO for the beautiful benches, Gloucester Gardening Club for the planters and flowers and DPW for the cleanup and removal of cement lights.  The O’Maley entrance looks great!






Who:     All O’Maley Innovation School students

What:    A casual, drop-in gathering for Summer Reading

When:   Wednesday, August 12, 2015, 5:30 – 7:00 pm

Where:  O’Maley Innovation Middle School Library

Why:     Get it done and Celebrate!   Whether you want some help, a check-in on what you’ve done, or book talk with other kids, come on in and get it done!  Pizza, popcorn, packets and book talk.

Hosted by O’Maley ELA teachers 6-8

To help us plan, please call school to leave your name by Monday, 08/10/15:  978 281 9850

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It’s much harder to write a good review than a bad one

Inge Berge

It’s not that hard to write review panning a concert or an album.  You’ve probably read many such reviews.  It’s much more difficult to write a glowing piece that doesn’t sound corny or like a puff piece.  Below is one of the best examples of a rave review that I’ve ever read. It is at once intelligent, witty, entertaining, straight to the point and completely devoid of obscure references and highfalutin language reviewers all to often use in an attempt to show off their intellect.  It’s written by local singer/songwriter/composer/lighting designer Inge Berge, who is actually smart, so he doesn’t need to try and convince anybody.  Check it out:

Fans of exquisite music: Pay attention to Ruby Rose Fox. Her headlining at The Cabot tonight, courtesy of Peter Van Ness and GimmeLive is easily among the top 3 shows I’ve seen all year (and I see way too many shows.) This show was pure magic. Sublime. Genius.

Her songwriting is smart, heartfelt, genre-bending, profound and just plain gorgeous. Her musicianship is impeccable. Her stage presence is mysterious, deep, eclectic and sexy as all get-out. The backup singers blend like butter yet cut like a razor. The band is road-tight and stadium-confident. The material is presented with rock balls, sensual vulnerability and analytic intelligence. A show chemically cleansed of clichés and standard showbiz cheese.

I count myself among the lucky few who got to experience this evening of not-yet-world-famous MA-grown music before it turns into something more industry-processed. (Hopefully not.)

Unfortunately, what I find of Ruby Rose Fox’s music currently online does not quite do justice to the show I saw tonight. But I understand there’s a full length CD in the works. I’m first in line to purchase.

Sound Temple Music and Healing Arts at Floating Lotus in Gloucester on Friday (7/24)

Come meditate, move and be in a sacred, healing musical space with Sound Temple.

Friday, July 24
Sound Temple with Christine Tulis and Kem Stone

Special Guests
Stan Strickland, Jon Holland and Lisa Bouchie

Floating Lotus
169 Main Street, Gloucester
7:30 pm
$20 suggested
at the door

June 1, 2015 GHS Senior Moose Lodge #1471 and Women of the Moose Chapter#896 Youth Awareness Speaker Award’s Ceremony

The annual G.H.S./MOOSE Youth Awareness Program recently awarded scholarships to this year’s senior speakers.  The program, now in its seventh year, features GHS student leaders, developing and facilitating mentoring skits, at Gloucester’s five elementary schools.  The speaker’s unique themes are aimed at advising their youthful peers in proper responses on topics including Positivity, Recycling, Making Good Decisions, Being Yourself, Importance of Reading, and Goal Setting.


Spring 2015 005

Left to right Linda O’Maley, Junior Grad of Moose Chapter #896 and Jason Psalidas, Governor of Moose Lodge #1471, Val Gilman, Skit Coach, GHS Principal Erik Anderson, GHS Youth Awareness Liaison Don Riley, and far right is GHS Youth Awareness Advisor, Rory Gentile
Sitting left to right in the GHS main lobby are GHS senior $200.00 scholarship winners Tess Benson, Tess Destino (who was also awarded $3,000 for her national presentation this month in Orlando, Florida and a $500.00 district award),  Kelly Hurd, (also awarded $500.00 scholarship for her speeches to Gloucester Elementary School K-4th graders) and Jaqi McCarthy, $200.00 scholarship winner. GHS Senior $200.00 scholarship recipients in back row include Everest Crawford, left, and Bart Margiotta, right.
Left to right front row…  Linda O’Maley, Junior Grad of Moose Chapter #896 and Program Liaison; $3,000 national, and $500 District, scholarship winner Tess Destino;  $500.00, District scholarship winner Kelly Hurd;  and Rory Gentile, GHS Teacher/Youth Awareness Advisor.
Spring 2015 043

Left to right back row… Valerie Gilman, Skit Coach, Don Riley Youth Awareness Liaison, and Jason Psalidas, Governor of Moose Lodge #1471

Gloucester High School Selected for MassBioEd BioTeach Program

The Massachusetts Biotechnology Education Foundation (MassBioEd) has selected Gloucester High School (GHS) as one of 10 schools awarded a BioTeach program grant in the 2015-2016 school year.

GHS was also awarded a BioTeach grant in 2009 and was recognized with MassBioEd’s prestigious Joshua Boger Innovative School of the Year Award in 2013 for inspiring students to explore life sciences careers through progressive biotechnology education and exemplary science career programming.  

Through this year’s BioTeach grant, MassBioEd will provide GHS with professional development and mentoring for teachers; updated, inquiry-based biotechnology curricula; access to student career exploration experiences; and up to $12,000 for materials and equipment for school labs.

“We are honored at Gloucester High School to have MassBioEd’s support through equipment and training and look forward to providing exciting, inquiry-based lab exercises,” said Eric Leigh, Biology Teacher and BioTeach Coordinator at GHS.

“Gloucester High School is honored and enthusiastic about being awarded a BioTeach grant, said Robert Gallinelli, Dean of Students at GHS. “This grant will assist us in inspiring our students to pursue careers and educational opportunities in life sciences and biotechnology. Our teachers are eager to enrich our student’s lab experience with modern equipment and training.”

Funding for this year’s BioTeach cohort comes from a $139,999 grant awarded through the Massachusetts Life Sciences Center (MLSC) STEM Equipment and Supplies Grant Program.

“We are thrilled to bring our BioTeach program into additional schools for the 2015-2016 school year,” said Lance Hartford, Executive Director of MassBioEd. “By providing Massachusetts students with lab experiences in high schools across the state, we hope to inspire students to pursue educational opportunities and careers in the life sciences and biotechnology industry.”

“Investing in training the next generation of life sciences workers is a critical part of the Center’s mission,” said Susan Windham-Bannister, Ph.D., President & CEO of the MLSC. “We want to create an interest in STEM careers among students all across the state, and at all levels. The Center’s investments in equipment and supplies for training at high schools, both directly and through our partnership with the MassBioEd Foundation, are increasing interest in STEM among all of our students – regardless of socio-demographics or zip code.”

The 10 schools for the 2015-2016 cohort are:

•  Avon Middle-High School, Avon

•  Claremont Academy, Worcester

•  Dennis-Yarmouth Regional High School, South Yarmouth

•  Gloucester High School, Gloucester

•  Lee Middle and High School, Lee

•  Palmer High School, Palmer

•  Smith Vocational and Agricultural High School, Northampton

•  South High Community School, Worcester

•  Springfield High School of Science and Technology, Springfield

•  Weymouth High School, Weymouth

With the addition of these schools, the BioTeach program, recognized by the Massachusetts State STEM Council as a premier @Scale initiative, now reaches 204 schools in the Commonwealth. Learn more about the MassBioEd Foundation and BioTeach at

Eastern Point Day School sends out another thank you

Eastern point day school 2nd press release


Eastern Point Day School THANKS Their Teachers for Teacher Appreciation Week!

The collective love and effort from our EPDS teachers and staff is overwhelming!

They work as team, almost like a family, to give our kids a great experience and so, in honor of National Teacher & Staff Appreciation Week, our families say “thank you”!


And indeed, to educators all over the country! THANK YOU. It matters.




I have been teaching forever.  Seriously, like FOREVER.  This is my 22nd year.

However, even after all of these years, I am continuously amazed, impressed, and humbled by my students and their love of learning.

Take last week, for example.  After three weeks of learning about the Mayan Civilization my students presented their work, research, art, etc. to their parents and members of the school community.  I couldn’t have been prouder.

Things got off to a slow start and for a few days I was worried that it may not all come together, but, as always, my 1st, 2nd, and 3rd grade students worked, created, imagined, collaborated, and rallied.  Not only did it come together, but it surpassed any expectations that I may have had.

I am so proud of them for sharing their knowledge confidently, for working so diligently, and for expressing themselves so individually through the projects that they created.

Proud enough in fact that I had to take this opportunity to sing their praises a bit.  Forgive me.

If you’ve ever wondered what happens inside a Montessori classroom, this is a great example.

Sorry, Hawk, Easter is Over!

It must be spring because the Schraffts left work/school yesterday and hit Richardson’s Dairy.

The boys got gift cards in their Easter baskets and, since it was a whopping 50ish degrees after school, they naturally wanted to go get the first official ice cream of the season.  With the Red Sox game on the radio (they won 8-0, by the way) and the windows down for a stretch of the ride…off we went….because, really, how do you say “no” to that?

A couple of years ago we were fortunate enough to see a calf being born this time of year.  It was pretty awesome for the boys to see.  Yesterday’s wildlife adventure on the farm was led by a hawk…who apparently thought that Easter was not over because he was clearly still out on an egg hunt.

Check your calendar, Hawk.  Easter is over….and, you can sit there looking all threatening all afternoon, but those birds aren’t going to give up their eggs.

It is OK

Dear Future Teachers, Instructors, and Coaches of my Sons,

I’d like to take a minute now to thank you for the hours, energy, and love that you will undoubtedly be giving to my children in the future.  I know that it is not always an easy job that you have, but it is one that you accepted, however long ago, because you have the best interest of children, and now my children, at heart.   Many of you have simply volunteered…and don’t even get paid…and all of you spend a large portion of your personal time thinking about, worrying about, or being excited about things that have to do with the classes you teach, the lessons you give, or the practices that you run.

I know, no matter how much you love what you do, the down side is that your job will sometimes require that you make difficult decisions.  I know that those decisions will sometimes even cause you sleepless nights, a heavy heart, and worry, and pain.

I’d like to tell you now…that it is OK.  It is OK to not pick my son.

It is OK to not call on him when his hand in raised as high as possible in class, because you have 20 students and they all want to make you happy by knowing the right answer or sharing their thoughts.

I know that even that one silly decision….who to call on?….can be excruciating…each and every time.  I know that you make a mental note…and try to call on them all the same amount each week, but it is still so hard to watch their hands fall disappointedly back into their laps.

It is OK, if my son ends up not being able to carry a tune, that he does not receive a solo in the Spring Concert…no matter how much he wants one. You know what? Even if he can sing, but isn’t one of the best, it is still ok.  I know that you’ll find other ways to encourage him and make him feel proud. I know that you’ll let him know how important his role in the chorus is.

It is OK, if my son has trouble finding his inner actor, to not pick him for a leading role.  He may be crushed for a minute, but I know that you need to do what is right for the other children and the school play.  He’ll understand, because he knows  that everyone has strengths.  We will encourage him to find another way to shine and tell him how important it is to play that small supporting role.  The play couldn’t go on if all characters weren’t cast…no matter how big or small.  After all.

I image that my son will enjoy working on science fair projects each spring.  But, you know what, when it comes time to pick just 5 projects to send to regionals, it is OK to pick others…and not his.  His hard work and the pride that he feels when he presents his experiment should be enough for him.  And, it will motivate him all that much more the following year.  And, trust me, I know how hard it will be for you to pick just 5.  I know that you wish someone else could make those decisions.

I want you to know now that it is OK if his essay is not submitted to the writing contest.  Even though I’m sure he’ll try so hard to be chosen and want so desperately to impress you, sometimes you have to just pick one…and inevitably the other children will feel sad.  I know, without a second of doubt, however, that you’ll pull him aside and tell him how much you enjoyed his story.  You’ll make him want to write again….because writing is fun…even if your story isn’t picked.

It will always be OK if, when some children’s art work gets selected for the art show, his is not.  We will shower him with praise, encourage him to create more, and teach him to congratulate his friends for their creativity and their submissions.  His art will always have a special place in our home.

It is also OK, no matter how much he tries, to sometimes make the decision to leave him on the bench.   I know that you will take time during the season to help him improve, make him feel valuable, and motivate him to dig deeper.  And, because you’ve done such a great job, I know that if the team wins, he will know he has won and played a monumental role in the victory.  Even if his role wasn’t as obvious in the final minutes of a game.

I want to thank you again, because I know that it sometimes feels impossible.  I know that you became a teacher, an instructor, or a coach for so many wonderful reasons.  I know that you had giant aspirations to always be “fair.”  I’m also guessing that you never imagined how many times each year, session, or season you would feel burdened by decisions that have no “fair” answer.

I hope that you know you have our support and gratitude and the love and respect of my child.  Even if you didn’t pick him.  Because…even if you didn’t pick him….you chose him.  You chose to teach him, encourage him, support him, love him, challenge him, push him, excite him, and inspire him.  Your success, loyalty, or impact can not be judged by one, or even several of those difficult decisions.  It is based on the many moments, outside of those decisions, that you made sure to make him know that you are there for him.

I think it is important to tell you….not that you don’t already know….that I don’t expect all parents will feel the same way.  And…that I am by no means speaking for them.  I am simply telling you how I feel.

Thank you in advance for all that you will surely do….and for those difficult decisions you are forced to make.



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