This site aims to inform and mobilize Beverly parents to take an active role in all issues related to the funding and operation of the city's schools. It was launched in the spring of 2008, when the city saw its first-ever override attempt fail, followed by the closure of a nearly-new elementary school. Subsequent years have seen further cuts that have led to larger class sizes across the district. While the opening of an impressive new high school and plans to replace the city's aging middle school give us reason to be optimistic, the school community must be ever vigilant in demanding appropriate school funding by city and state governments, and better community communications from the district and School Committee.

Friday, November 19, 2010

Leaders Celebrate City's New Flagship

More than 100 school, city, and state leaders gathered this morning outside the library of the gleaming new Beverly High School to usher in a new era of education in Beverly.

The ribbon cutting ceremony was led by a jubilant Mayor Scanlon, who State leaders gave the bulk of the credit for making the project a reality.

State Treasurer Tim Cahill and Massachusetts School Building Authority director Katherine Craven praised the Mayor's tenacity in keeping the project on track, and ultimately getting the state to fund nearly 60% of the project.

Past and present School Committee and City Council members, academic and parent leaders from across the city, and others with some connection to the project, all joined together in what had to be the most celebratory moment in recent Beverly education history.

The project has been in the works for nearly 20 years, and seeing the successful results of that effort gave attendees a sense of pride, not just in the new building, but in the many positive aspects of the district's programs that are often overlooked in times of budget turmoil.

Former Superintendent Hayes, who managed so many of the details of the buildout, joined in the festivities, and current Superintendent Marie Galinski called the new school the "flagship of our educational program."  Galinski talked about the recognition that has already been given to the school's technology program, as just one of several recent accolades the district has earned.

Following the ceremony, high school students—clearly excited about next week's move to the new facility—led small group tours of the new building.

The building will be open for the public to tour Saturday from 10:00am-1:00 pm.  Take some time to see it, and appreciate the work and dedication by so many that went into making it a reality.

10/20 UPDATE: Here are reports on the ceremony from the Globe's YourTown:Beverly, and the Salem News. The News' story details some of the features of the new facility.
The new four-story building features chemistry, physics and computer labs; a conference room with a state-of-the-art sound system; an art wing with rooms for music, chorus and cooking; and half-size "special learning centers" for classes such as English as a Second Language.

The top three floors each include an assistant principal's office and a carpeted teachers' lounge with a kitchenette. On the first floor is a computer tech support room where students can bring their laptop computers for repairs. The chorus and band rooms feature "sound cloud" ceiling panels that enhance acoustics.
The News also had an editorial praising the project, and produced the following video featuring highlights of the ceremony.

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