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The Medfield Coalition for Public Education held its annual meeting on Thursday, May 24, at the Zullo Gallery in Medfield. MCPE board members and supporters celebrated a successful 2017-2018 year by recapping the year’s highlights, recognizing award winners, and thanking corporate sponsors and volunteers. Throughout the evening, a common theme emerged: Medfield is fortunate to have dedicated teachers and administrators, supportive parents, generous businesses and individual donors, and passionate volunteers, who all share a mission to foster innovation and enrichment in the Medfield Public Schools.
Co-Presidents Kate Boxmeyer and Claire Shield began the meeting with a review of the year’s activities and events. Most notably, they recognized the outstanding success of MCPE’s 30th Annual Appeal. The Medfield Coalition for Public Education was founded in 1987 by a group of community members who believed that academic excellence in Medfield’s schools was critical to the economic and social health of the town. Thirty years later, MCPE continues this mission to provide system-wide support and academic enrichment to Medfield’s five public schools. Thanks to the generous support of the Medfield community, MCPE’s 30th Annual Appeal raised $75,000 to directly support the Medfield Public Schools. The success of this appeal is a true testament to the Medfield community’s commitment to education.
MCPE’s other key fundraisers, such as the Community Trivia Night, Treasured Experiences Auction, Student Spelling Bee, and Entertaining for Education (E4E) parties, along with individual and corporate donations, all contributed to the year’s significant fundraising total of nearly $200,000. MCPE Board members took time during the meeting to acknowledge and thank the many members of the community whose monetary and in-kind donations underwrite the organization’s grants for innovative programs and initiatives in the schools. The Coalition thanked the nearly thirty local businesses that support the coalition, offering special recognition to its Warrior Sponsors that donated $2,500 or more, and its Golden Warrior Sponsors that donated $20,000 or more.
Through the incredible success of its fundraisers, MCPE was able to fund over $115,000 in grants to the five Medfield public schools. Grant Coordinator Elizabeth LaRowe shared certain highlights from the year’s 32 grants. These included Memorial School’s “Tower Gardens,” which will enable students to engage directly with nature by caring for, observing and eating from their own school garden; Ralph Wheelock School’s “Providing Innovative Options for Our Students,” which equipped students at Wheelock to connect with their classmates in a more powerful way using Qball wireless microphones, whiteboard collaboration tables, and flexible seating; Dale Street School’s “Using Future-Ready Tech to Bring Lessons to Life with Immersive, Virtual Journeys,” which funded Google Expedition kits that enable users to go on virtual journeys; Blake Middle School’s “Bony Fish Dissection,” which funded supplies for Grade 7 Science to expand the curriculum to include bony fish dissection using plasticated bony fish models; the Medfield High School “Expansion of STEM @ MHS - Robotics Club,” that funded robotics equipment enabling the expansion of the MHS robotics club; and “The Innovator's Mindset” grant which funded George Couros to be the keynote speaker and facilitate workshops at Medfield’s system-wide Digital Learning Day.
Recipients of the Elizabeth G. Busconi Memorial Education Fund were also recognized at the annual meeting. Medfield High School Spanish teacher Paula Hamilton and the 8th grade science team of Jason Heim, Jillian Shaw, Mike Gibbs, and Orla Berry were awarded Busconi grants this year. The Busconi fund was established in memory of Liz Busconi, a beloved second grade teacher at Wheelock School who had a gift for inspiring her students. Liz’s sons Chris and Jeff, along with her dear friends and former colleagues Regina Morris and Jan Interrante, were on hand to present the awards. Paula Hamilton received this award for her grant entitled “Comprehensible Novels to Enhance the Spanish Curriculum. With the funding, Hamilton will purchase sixty copies of the novel “Fiesta Fatal” to integrate into her curriculum, benefitting 150 students annually.
The second Busconi award will enable the 8th grade science team to “Retool the Introduction to Engineering Program at Blake Middle School.” In the Introduction to Engineering class, 8th grade students have the opportunity to build, design and code, as they do things like create solar cars, work with Lego Mindstorm kits, and complete genius hour projects. This grant will provide funds to Jason Heim, Jillian Shaw, Mike Gibbs, and Orla Berry to replace worn out tools, and organize them in a safe and central location – thus supporting the learning of over 200 students each year.
MCPE also awarded the annual Thomas A. Reis Award, named in honor of the former superintendent who supported volunteerism and the formation of MCPE three decades ago. The award is bestowed upon the grant that best promotes cooperation among schools, develops new programs of study, and highlights innovation and creativity in the classroom. This year’s award was presented to Dale Street 5th grade teachers Maura Condon, Marissa Foley and Principal Steve Grenham for their collaborative grant “Using Future-Ready Tech to Bring Lessons to Life with Immersive, Virtual Journeys.” This grant funded 30 virtual reality headsets that allow students to explore far beyond the boundaries of Medfield and engage in the learning process in a transformative way.
Wheelock School Mandarin teacher Grace Wang received the Robert C. Maguire “Global Perspectives in Education Award.” This recognition, named in honor of former Superintendent Bob Maguire, annually recognizes a staff member whose effort embodies Bob’s vision for further developing students’ global understanding and readiness to engage in the expanding global economy. Wang was nominated for this award by Wheelock School Principal Donna Olson and Medfield High School students Avery and Campbell Ayer. Avery and Campbell started an after-school Chinese Culture Club with Wang at the Ralph Wheelock School. The success of this club, as well as her innovative multidisciplinary Chinese New Year, are examples of Wang’s passion for bringing fun to younger foreign language learners and broadening their view of the world. Writing about the Chinese Culture Club, nominators Avery and Campbell Ayer expressed: “We are grateful to Mrs. Wang for allowing us the opportunity to continue our passion for Mandarin as well as the Chinese Culture. We have learned so many things. We have especially learned how much work goes into being a great teacher and how deserving Mrs. Wang is of a special award. She continues to think about how to improve Medfield’s Mandarin program and is currently working with us to expand the program beyond Wheelock.”
In addition to recapping MCPE’s successful year, recognizing the grant and award recipients, and thanking their community supporters and corporate sponsors, the Coalition took time to acknowledged the hard work and efforts of its five outgoing board members: Wendi Ayer, Kate Boxmeyer, Colleen Hawley, Laurie Mills, and Claire Shield, who have dedicated countless hours over the past three years in their commitment to MCPE’s mission of providing system-wide support and academic enrichment to the Medfield Public School System.
Following the meeting, 2018-2019 Co-President Inger Kenworthy commented: "I just love the MCPE Annual Meeting night. It reminds us how important these grants are for our schools. We are so lucky to receive innovative grant applications from our administrators and teachers and be financially supported by our generous Medfield community. I truly feel privileged to live in Medfield and hope to keep MCPE's momentum going this year with more successful fundraising and impactful grant contributions to our schools.”