Grant funding upgrades high school programs,
establishes new initiative
A lot of exciting things have been happening in science and technology education at Gloucester High School this fall, with several of GEF's generous supporters providing funding totaling nearly $104,000 for new resources that are advancing student opportunities.
Students enrolled in physics, including honors and Advanced Placement classes, are beginning to work with industry-standard equipment systems from Vernier Software & Technology, thanks to support from the Applied Materials Foundation and local supporters John and Mollie Byrnes. Their two grants have funded the purchase of Vernier LabQuest2 Equipment for Physics®, which provides an array of tools for thousands of hands-on physics experiments. Included are sensors measuring color, motion, magnetic field, acceleration, electricity, rotary motion, and other phenomena applicable in experiments and lab work that will help students gain an understanding of the principles of physics.   All equipment can synchronize with computers and with the Chromebook laptops that all students now use at GHS. Photos at right and below show students working with the Vernier Dynamics cart and track system with motion encoder, which enables users to calculate velocity under varying conditions.
Additionally, the funding supported a six-year subscription to two on-line homework systems for physics that include e-texts, online simulations, personalized feedback to students on their work, dynamic study modules and adaptive follow up with practice and coaching targeted to student's' individual learning needs.  The school also acquired WebAssign for students enrolled in Advanced Placement classes, enabling them to effectively navigate between both of the online systems as they complete homework assignments.
Robotics at GHS, part of the school's award-winning engineering program, is also in the process of getting an upgrade, as boxes of new equipment and supplies have been arriving at the school throughout the fall. Funded by generous grants from Applied Materials Foundation, the Dusky Foundation and Joe and Maggie Rosa, this project is replacing the school's aging robots and batteries with modern systems that will enable students to deepen their understanding of robotics as they pursue innovative projects. Look for more in future editions of the GEF News as the new GHS robots are put into service.
A third grant from Applied Materials Foundation has established a new initiative, Empowering Gloucester Girls for Careers in STEM, a three-year project that will provide information and support for Gloucester girls interested in pursuing careers in science and technology. The project will begin with a guided self-study of a group of female students interested in science as they examine their own paths through science education in Gloucester and research the gender gap that exists in the STEM workforce through interviews with female working scientists. A group of female students met recently at the high school for an informational breakfast (right) to learn more about the project from GHS Principal James Cook and Assistant Superintendent Gregg Bach. Several of these students will be involved in the preliminary study and become the first group of high school mentors for younger female students at O'Maley as they  enter the high school. The project will bring students into contact with real-world role models through visits with outside working scientists, field trips to scientific workplaces and lectures featuring female scientists. 
GEF thanks the Applied Materials Foundation and its other generous donors for making these projects possible and for expanding these experiences for Gloucester's students.

Fall events bring GEF supporters together 
An October gathering at the North Shore Arts Association brought together 150 friends of GEF, educators in the Gloucester Public School District, public officials and others for an evening of celebration of GEF's accomplishments over the past year.  
The program highlighted several GEF-funded programs and featured presentations by several teachers and students. Teachers Ann Marie Wentzell and Erin Shondelmeier of Beeman Memorial School brought several of their students to tell the audience about the new summer STEAM camp, which GEF funded over the summer. O'Maley  students Ella Anderson, Clara Del Vecchio and Emily Gossom (right), all of whom are taking the lead role in the three casts of O'Maley's production of Mary Poppins this spring, thanked GEF supporters for funding the O'Maley Theater's new sound system last year and performed a musical number from the show. The final presentation was by GHS robotics student Austin Monell who told the audience about his experiences meeting with a professor of engineering at MIT recently and demonstrated a flying drone that he and a fellow GHS student developed.  
Good food, great fellowship and beautiful art on the walls, created by Gloucester students of all ages, completed the evening.
A few weeks later, in early November, nearly  100 Gloucester parents and other friends gathered at Cape Ann Lanes for the first GEF Education Bowl, an afternoon of fun and candlepin bowling. The event featured a matching gift challenge put forth by GEF Board President Joe Calomo, which in total resulted in $10,000 raised for GEF programs. Many thanks to Cape Ann Lanes for their assistance, and special thanks to GEF volunteer Beth Calomo, who organized the event. 
Elementary students hear visiting author

Students at Plum Cove and Veterans' Memorial Schools were recently treated to a special presentation by children's author Sherri Duskey Rinker. She visited Gloucester in early December to speak at the Cape Ann Museum in observance  of the 75th anniversary of the publication of The Little House, a story written by beloved Gloucester author and designer Virginia Lee Burton.  Ms. Rinker extended her stay in Gloucester to visit the two schools, where she talked to the students about her process in developing ideas for her stories and read The Big Machines, her own book about the life of Mrs. Burton. The author gave lively presentations at each school, highlighted by questions and answer sessions with the students. The program was presented through Artistic Bridges, a joint collaboration between GEF and the Museum. 

Tower garden yields fresh harvests
Students in the Gloucester Alternative Program of Gloucester High School are eating their fresh  vegetables these days, thanks to Food for Thought, a program funded by GEF. The program was able to purchase a tower garden system and install it at its building at Stage Fort Park,  as well as seeds and startup supplies. The students have been learning about the science of growing and how to tend the garden. The garden has yielded fresh harvests of bok choy, basil, lettuce and even tomatoes, all of which the students have used to supplement the meals that they receive from Gloucester's Open Door and prepare on site, providing them with healthy choices and a lesson in good nutrition.'Maley!
A grant from GEF has provided the drama classes
at O'Maley Innovation Middle School with a set of new iPads and access to iMovie software, giving students the opportunity to learn techniques of videography and movie making.
The students are filming original projects using the "green screen" (or "blue screen" in some cases) set up in the classroom of drama teacher Leslie Sellers. They are also learning how to edit their works and are gaining valuable skills that are increasingly in demand in the workplace and in the performing arts industry.
O'Maley students are producing the regular school morning announcements and are using their newfound skills to document school activities such as the S.A.I.L.S., the school's student service club, and others. 

Hold the Date
...Sunday, March 24, 2019 is Power of Play, GEF's annual family fun event that has become a popular early springtime Gloucester tradition.   Look for more details after the first of the year.
Raising your hands for Gloucester's Children
GEF has introduced Show of Hands, a new monthly giving program that offers a simple way to support innovation  in the Gloucester Public Schools around the year. You can sign up through GEF's secure online donation portal, which is operated by 
Network for Good, and select the amount that you wish to give each month.       
Show of Hands  provides sustained revenue that we can count on throughout the year for many of the new programs that you have just read about in this edition of GEF News--  as well as those that rely on GEF support on an ongoing basis...elementary drama productions...after-school for O'Maley Academy...Advanced Placement summer prep classes for high school students...and more.   It is a simple way to have a real impact on Gloucester's children over time.  
To see how can be part of Show of Hands, click here to enter your gift and raise your hand for Gloucester students!
And for those with IRAs...
Making a gift to GEF from your IRA is a simple, tax-wise way to support the critically important work we do to support Gloucester's schools.
If you are 70½ or older, the IRA Charitable Rollover allows you to make a qualified charitable distribution directly from your IRA. Gifts up to $100,000 are excluded from your federal income. If you file a joint return, each spouse can exclude up to $100,000 for a maximum of $200,000 each year. This charitable distribution will even count towards your required minimum distribution.
You can enjoy these special tax savings so long as:
  • The distribution is made from either your Traditional or Roth IRA.
  • The distribution is made to a qualified charitable organization, like GEF.
  • The distribution is made directly by your plan administrator to GEF.
If you would like to support GEF by donating directly through your IRA, please contact your IRA administrator to make a gift directly to us.

From all of us at the Gloucester Education Foundation...
We thank you for your support over the past year and are grateful for the friendship of so many in our community. Our warm wishes for a joyous holiday season and a happy 2019!