Thirty years ago, in the fall of 1987, 18-month-old Jessica McClure was rescued from a Texas well, the Minnesota Twins defeated the St. Louis Cardinals in the first World Series to feature games held indoors, George Michael released his single, “Faith,” and the comedy “Full House” first debuted on television. In 1987, the Medfield State Hospital was still in operation, the recreational area previously known as 56 Acres was dedicated in memory of William E. McCarthy, residents could pick up a gallon of milk at Duffy’s Mini Mart and get a bite to eat at Friendly’s, 1803 students were enrolled in the Medfield Public Schools, and the Medfield Coalition for Public Education was born.
Recognizing an opportunity to help enrich the public schools, five Medfield parents started an initiative to provide system-wide support to Medfield’s elementary, middle, and high schools. Wendy Cohen, Pam Kell, Pat Whitney, Helen Beedy, and Robert Sawyer formed the Medfield Coalition for Public Education, more commonly known as MCPE or the “Coalition,” and served on its first board of directors. Thanks to the ambition of these founding members, thirty years later MCPE continues to play an integral role in enhancing the academic excellence and quality education provided by Medfield’s public schools.
The Medfield Coalition for Public Coalition is an independent, non-profit organization funded to provide system-wide support and academic enrichment for the Medfield Public Schools. MCPE awards grants to support educators with the development of innovative programs, curriculum, and enrichment for the benefit of their students. The Coalition strives to fund innovative projects that meet a variety of student needs and increase motivation to learn, as well as stimulate creativity in the classroom. These initiatives provide unique opportunities to students that school budgets are unable to cover.
This past year, MCPE was able to fund an astounding 40 grants across all five of Medfield’s public schools. The grants were diverse in content and provided new educational opportunities for children in all grades. Many of these grants, including those involving Dash and Dot Robots, Lego Mindstorm Robotic Kits, and Library Makerspace Materials, embody the STEAM approach to education, which integrates science, technology, engineering, the arts, and mathematics into learning.
Other awarded grants provided curricular materials for kinesthetic, hands-on approaches to lessons. Through these grants, materials such as Happy Atoms Magnetic Molecular Modeling Sets, Breakout EDU materials, LittleBits kits, Polar heart rate monitors, and fitness equipment are being used by teachers and students. DiLL Language Learning Software, LabQuest Physics Probeware, and 3D printers are examples of new technology and software acquired through the Coalition’s grants. Assemblies, guest speakers, and educator conferences, all of which inspire new perspectives, encourage collaboration, and build community, were also funded this past year by MCPE.
Thanks to the support and generosity of the Medfield community, MCPE was able to fund these grants and others for a total of $157,000. The Coalition extends its heartfelt appreciation to the community for its support. There are several avenues through which the Medfield community contributes to MCPE’s mission. These include financial contributions from corporate sponsors (including The Hometown Weekly), community participation in MCPE’s events (such as their annual Community Trivia Night, student Spelling Bee, and biennial gala), hosting or attending Entertainment for Education parties, and community donations.
In honor of its 30th year, the Medfield Coalition for Public Education is launching a special blue ribbon fundraiser in order to continue the valuable role it plays in Medfield’s schools. Every household in Medfield will receive a 30th Anniversary donation request in the mail. In the spirit of supporting the Medfield schools and its students, residents are being asked to help MCPE reach its goal of raising $75,000. Every contribution will have an impact on Medfield’s School System and its 2604 students, from Kindergarten through high school.
Donations can be made by returning the donation card or by visiting www.medfieldcoalition.org. Bright blue bows, symbolizing a campaign donation, will be affixed to the mailbox posts of donors in town, in hopes that Medfield will color its town blue in celebration of its schools and MCPE.