It has helped buy robots, taken students to the symphony and trained teachers in classroom management.
And at its 28th annual meeting Wednesday night, the Lynn Business Education Foundation invited city school teachers to travel back in time and learn about Deborah Samson Gannett, the first woman to enlist, fight in, and be honorably discharged from the American military.
“What we try to do is to come up with a subject and speaker who would be interesting for the teachers,” said Frederick Cole, executive director of the foundation and a former assistant superintendent in Lynn. “It’s a time to get teachers out dealing with their subjects, meeting other teachers, and meeting others in their field who have seen success. They deserve it, they’re on the front lines all day long, so we try to help them out.”
Cole said the foundation began in the 1980s as a partnership among local businesses and local schools. He and other founding members solicited donations from major local businesses and set the money aside for a year. The idea was that a local business or businesses would, in effect, “sponsor” a school, as a well-educated local workforce was seen as key to the sustainability of the businesses, the city and the schools, Cole explained. The interest earned on the money would pay for enrichment and job-training and apprenticeship programs for the students.
But the business and school communities have changed. Instead of many local banks in the city, for example, there are now a handful of mostly regional banks, Cole said. Standardized testing, core-curriculum requirements and greater state and federal involvement in education leave teachers with little time for special projects, he added. Meanwhile, the nonprofit sector has increasingly become a source of money and provider of specialized programs.
|Actress Judith Kalaora portrays Deborah Samson Gannett, the first woman to enlist, fight in, and be honorably discharged from the American military, at the 28th annual meeting of the Lynn Business Education Foundationt.
The foundation is a nonprofit education fund to provide supplemental financial and programmatic support to the Lynn Public Schools.
So the business education foundation has adapted as well, becoming a nonprofit education fund to provide supplemental financial and programmatic support to the Lynn Public Schools.
As a nonprofit, the foundation can apply for grants that the school system cannot. This has enabled the group to provide money for very specific projects — for example, a Lynn Vocational Technical Institute Robotics Team — as well as community-wide projects, such as money to provide copies of Africana Encyclopedia to all Lynn schools, community organizations and public libraries.
The foundation has also dedicated money to professional development opportunities for educators and administrators. The foundation paid for 200 school personnel to attend workshops on classroom management and data analysis in 2007, 2008 and 2009 and paid for orientation workshops for 100 new teachers entering the public school system in 2006 and 2007, according to a list of foundation accomplishments.The foundation still provides speakers for business forums. But internships and externships are now available from other organizations, such as career services, Cole said.
But the invited theater, social studies and history teachers in attendance at the event, and the students who performed jazz and who were taking photos, demonstrate how the organization has changed. Cole said the invitees gave rave reviews for actress Judith Kalaora and her portrayal of Deborah Samson Gannett. He said the foundation plans to set up workshops to bring Kalaora into the schools.
Our speaker was Mark Peter Hughes, an author who has written and published four books and is presently working on his fifth. His second book Lemonade Mouth was adapted by the Disney Channel and was voted the number 1 cable movie of 2011. He was born in Liverpool, England in the same hospital as John Lennon and his family moved to the United States when he was one year old. After college he played guitar for a rock band called Exhibit A in the Boston area. He now lives in Massachusetts with his wife and three children.
One hundred people attended the meeting from all areas of education. Members of the Library Board and our Foundation Board were joined by the Superintendent, the two Deputy Superintendents, along with many other members of the administration. School principals, english and reading teacher’s, aides and other guests were also in attendance. Each year we invite teacher’s from the subject area of our invited speaker and since Mark Peter Hughes was an author the English and reading teachers were invited. Elected officials with all members of the School Committee, including the Mayor, Judith Flanagan Kennedy also enjoyed the evening.
A short program opened the evening with the greetings of the city presented by the Mayor; the Superintendent Dr. Catherine Latham, gave a report on the status of the schools and our President, Brian Thomas gave a report on the accomplishments of the Foundation.
We would thank the chief librarian, Theresa Hurley, her Board and staff for their help in this undertaking. Our meal was catered by Christopher's of Lynn.
After Mark Peter Hughes spoke at the Annual meeting the Board and school personnel present were so impressed the Board voted to bring him back at a later date to work with students in the schools. One high school and one Middle School was selected and he appeared at English High in April, 2014 and at Breed Middle school on 30 May, 2014. At Lynn English he addressed 4 classes of 60 students each and at Breed 4 classes of 7th graders numbering approximately 60 students each. Many of the students had him sign autographs and had their picture taken with him because not only were they highly impressed with his workshop but had seen the movie LEMONADE MOUTH, which he wrote on the Disney channel .BEF Supported Event
The Foundation, over the last few years has contributed to a Lynn Student attending the 3 week summer residential Learning and Leadership program conducted at Endicott College. This program devotes over 60 hours to in-depth learning for the students.BEF Supported Event