News

GHS Graduation Rescheduled for 4 p.m. at Newell Stadium on Sunday, June 9


Dear GHS Families and Graduates,


Our first priority for Gloucester High Graduation is to celebrate the graduating class with as many family and friends as possible in what is one of our community’s most important annual events. This means we always aim to have graduation outdoors at Newell Stadium. 


We have been following tomorrow’s weather forecast very closely. It looks like the best chance for an outdoor ceremony will be to reschedule for a little later in the afternoon on Sunday. As a result, we are moving the start of Gloucester High’s 2024 Graduation to 4:00 p.m. The ceremony will be outdoors at Newell Stadium. 


We understand that this three hour delay may disrupt some celebration plans. And we hope you will understand how important it is for the graduates to have as many family and friends in attendance as possible to watch them graduate in the beautiful outdoor setting of Newell Stadium.. Moving indoors would severely restrict the number of family members who could attend the ceremony and postponing until Monday would disrupt families even further. 


Please help us communicate this change in schedule by passing along the news to your friends and family. 


We are looking forward to celebrating Gloucester High School’s 2024 Graduating Class with you tomorrow afternoon at 4:00 p.m. 


Sincerely,


James Cook

Principal

Gloucester High School


Ben Lummis

Superintendent

Gloucester Public Schools


GPS Elementary and Middle School Band Programs Flourishing with Community Support


Jan. 29, 2024 -The Gloucester Public Schools’ elementary and middle school instrumental music programs are thriving, with surging student participation numbers and expanded youth access to different instruments thanks largely to financial support from generous community partners.


The Gloucester Education Foundation (GEF), thanks to significant recent gifts made by the  J.M.R. Barker Foundation and John and Mollie Byrnes, has been crucial in helping to build and  sustain the program that allows GPS students to begin playing an instrument in fourth grade. 


For the 2023-2024 school year, GEF is providing $98,100 to support the grades 4-8 instrumental music program - funding that pays for the elementary school band coordinator and eight instrumental instructors who help elementary school students across the district learn their instruments of choice.


The district extends a sincere thank you to the J.M.R. Barker Foundation for recently approving a $100,000 grant that will benefit the district’s instrumental music programs for grades 4-8 over the next two years.


Gloucester Public Schools will receive $55,000 this fiscal year from the Barker Foundation, which will supplement the $43,100 that GEF already allocated to the district this fiscal year for the grades 4-8 instrumental music program. The remaining $45,000 of the grant will support the district’s grades 4-8 instrumental music programs in 2024-2025.


"The school music programs make a real difference in the lives of many students, like so much else that GEF supports,” said Jim Barker of the J.M.R. Barker Foundation.


The Gloucester Public Schools also thanks Mollie Byrnes and the late John Byrnes for donating $30,000 through GEF to support the elementary school instrumental music program this year.


Through their investment into the Gloucester Public Schools’ grades 4-8 instrumental music programs, donors have “helped establish a continuum from elementary to middle to high school, so students can progress towards mastery in music over an eight-year period,” as GEF outlined in its grant application to the J.M.R. Barker Foundation.


Gloucester Education Foundation Executive Director Emily Siegel is pleased to see donors unite to help bolster the district’s grades 4-8 instrumental music programs.


“GEF has made a multi-year commitment to support the growth of Gloucester's band programs, and is delighted by the recent generosity of the JMR Barker Foundation and the Byrnes family,” Siegel said. “Their shared commitment to Gloucester youth and to the arts is helping elevate music education in GPS."


Gloucester Superintendent Ben Lummis thanked GEF and community donors for providing financial backing that helps dedicated GPS staff members Carlos Menezes Jr., Jamie Klopotoski and instrument instructors continue the momentum to grow the grades 4-8 band programs.


“Playing an instrument is one way that students develop an appreciation for music and find their place in our schools,” Lummis said. “We want every student to experience a sense of belonging and our robust grades 4-8 instrumental program helps many students feel connected and excited to show up for school every day. The district is very grateful for the funding provided by GEF and generous donors that enhances the engaging, high-quality music instruction our students receive.”


Elementary School Band Program Prospering


Gloucester Public Schools Elementary School Band Coordinator Jamie Klopotoski is thrilled to report the elementary school band now boasts 94 students, compared to 77 students in 2021. The number of students participating in the elementary school band has increased each of the last three years.


Klopotoski oversees twice weekly Elementary School Band rehearsals and student instrumental lessons at O’Maley Middle School. Fourth-graders are bused from each of the elementary schools to O’Maley on Tuesdays and fifth-graders are bused to O’Maley on Thursdays for the after school band program.


Having all of the elementary school band students together under one roof at O’Maley is preferable to the previous arrangement when band students met at their individual elementary schools for instrumental lessons, Klopotoski said.


“It was much nicer to have all the students come together and be one big band!” Klopotoski said. “They get to meet and to become friends with fellow band students at other schools, and they get a glimpse of what middle school and middle school band will be like.” 


Particularly exciting for Klopotoski are the increased performance opportunities for the Elementary School Band. The community is invited to the Elementary School Band’s Winter Concert on Monday, Jan. 29 from 6:30-7:30 p.m. at the O'Maley Middle School Auditorium, and future concerts are planned for the spring and Gloucester Student Arts Festival.


Klopotoski believes the emphasis on a district-wide elementary school band program also helps with retention. The district has a 70 percent retention rate from elementary school to the O’Maley band program and she anticipates a significant number of students from this feeder program will join the Gloucester High School Band as the years go by.


Pardon the pun, Klopotoski said, but band is an instrumental part of a student’s education.


“In addition to teaching the basics of music and playing an instrument, the band becomes a little community where everyone can feel like they belong,” she said. “The band creates a safe space for students to be themselves, to build relationships with each other and with trusting adults, to find and develop their passion for music, and to be a part of something bigger than themselves.”


Klopotoski hears from students all the time that band is the best part of their day.


“Students have told me that before joining band, they had a hard time fitting in at school, but after joining band, they felt like they fully belonged, that they found something to be passionate about, and were excited to be able express themselves through music,” Klopotoski said. “And those feelings only continue to grow through middle and high school.”


Donor Support Expands Opportunities for O’Maley Band


O’Maley Middle School Band Director Carlos Menezes Jr. said the thriving elementary school feeder program has been essential to students developing the skills necessary to being part of instrumental ensembles such as the concert band and jazz band in which reading literacy is paramount.


When Menezes Jr. started at O’Maley in 2015 there were 27 students in the band program. The program currently has 97 students and in December put together a very successful Holiday Concert - the band’s first Holiday Concert since 2019.


For last year’s June concert, the O’Maley Middle School Band performed with a high school level repertoire that featured movie themes, band covers and timeless classics .


Menezes Jr. stressed that the financial support from GEF and donors has allowed O’Maley to push new boundaries with both the ensembles that the school offers and the instruments students can play. O’Maley now fields a concert band, jazz band and an advanced combo ensemble.


New instruments made possible thanks to the donors include one tuba, two baritone horns, two bass clarinets, and the timpani drums.


“All of these have allowed us to expand our sound concept and play more diverse concert music,” Menezes Jr. said.

Gloucester Public Schools Elementary School Band Coordinator Jamie Klopotoski leads the Gloucester Elementary School Band during a rehearsal at O'Maley Middle School

The O'Maley Middle School Band performs during the Gloucester Student Arts Festival last spring. Courtesy Photo by Martin Del Vecchio

Amy Donnelly leads an experiment for O'Maley Middle School students. Donnelly is serving as the coordinator of the O'Maley Science Center, a position funded by a grant from the Brace Cove Foundation.

Brace Cove Foundation Awards Gloucester Public Schools Grant to Fund Science Center Coordinator

GLOUCESTER – Superintendent of Schools Ben Lummis is pleased to announce a grant from the Brace Cove Foundation to the Gloucester Public Schools (GPS) to fund a coordinator to lead the Birdseye-Hammond Science Center located at O’Maley Middle School. The $200,000 grant will provide funding over two years for a dedicated science center coordinator. 

Amy Donnelly, an accomplished science teacher at O’Maley Middle School, will step into the role of science center coordinator to oversee the expansion of the O’Maley Science Center as a resource to strengthen the science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) instruction delivered to Gloucester Public Schools students in grades 3-8. 

“The Gloucester Public Schools thanks the Brace Cove Foundation for its generous support in awarding a grant that we feel will strengthen STEM education in the Gloucester Public Schools and build a pipeline of students eager to study and pursue careers in the science and engineering fields,” said Superintendent Ben Lummis.

The science center coordinator will strive to: 

● Take advantage of the O’Maley Science Center as an experiential science programming destination for GPS elementary school students through hands-on laboratory work directed by teachers with a deeper content knowledge in STEM.

● Strengthen local science community partnerships with organizations such as the Gloucester Marine Genomics Institute, Applied Materials, Maritime Gloucester, Ocean Alliance, New England Biolabs, Gorton’s Laboratories, Cell Signaling Technology, etc.

● Strengthen college and university partnerships by bringing on additional student teachers to work in the labs with GPS students.

About the O’Maley Science Center

For more than a decade, O’Maley Middle School has benefited from the Birdseye-Hammond Science Center in which students undertake STEM projects in a series of working laboratories. The Science Center features a wet lab, life sciences lab, design lab and tech room. 

About Brace Cove Foundation

Brace Cove Foundation was founded by Walter Herlihy and Nancy LeGendre in 2016 to provide grants to non-profit organizations in Cape Ann and surrounding communities to improve the quality of life in our community. See www.bracecove.org for more information.