Gloucester Education Foundation: Parenting Elementary School Children During a Pandemic

“It’s safe for kids to do a lot. This is not a pandemic of children. It’s not a dangerous illness for kids this age.” -Dr. Brian Orr

To hear more encouraging news from Dr. Orr and panelists, Lisa LaBella of West Parish and Ben Lummis, Superintendent of Gloucester Public Schools, watch Gloucester Education Foundation’s “Parenting Elementary School Children During a Pandemic” discussion below.

Gloucester Education Foundation Funds Expansion of Community Resource Dog Program and Provides Books about Ace the Dog to Classrooms

GLOUCESTER , MASS. – Gloucester Education Foundation has partnered with the Gloucester Police Department to fund school-based activity of “Ace” the Department’s new Community Resource Dog. 

With support from the Dusky Fund and other local donors, Gloucester Education Foundation has awarded $5,000 to the Community Resource Dog program. This funding will make it possible for Ace the dog to spend additional time in classrooms helping students cope with social-emotional needs and challenges presented by the pandemic. 

“Supporting our kids’ mental health and well-being during this incredibly challenging year is a priority for us at Gloucester Education Foundation” said Aria McElhenny, Executive Director of the local nonprofit. “Ace brings joy, smiles and comfort to our students, and,  we’re thrilled to partner with the Police to help make sure as many kids as possible will benefit from this wonderful program.” 

In addition to more classroom time for Ace, the grant from Gloucester Education Foundation also provides funds for a new interactive storybook about Ace that will be gifted to local classrooms, along with “Ace” golden retriever stuffed animals that will remain with students as a continued source of comfort when Ace is not able to be with them in person. 

“The Community Impact Units’ Kops-n-Kids program is proud to collaborate with the Gloucester Education Foundation to support “Ace” and our Community Resource Dog Initiative,” said Lieutenant Jeremiah Nicastro. “With our new partnership, Ace will be able to visit all elementary classrooms in the Gloucester School system where his handler, Officer Sutera, will read the interactive book to the children and leave a book and a stuffed animal in each class.” 

In addition to the therapeutic benefits that Ace brings to kids, his presence in schools helps to establish positive relationships among kids and the Gloucester Police.

Major Gift Awarded to the Gloucester Education Foundation by Cape Ann Savings Bank

Bob Gillis, President Cape Ann Savings Bank
Aria McElhenny, Executive Director, Gloucester Education Foundation
Marianne Smith, Senior Vice President/CFO
GPS first grade helpers

November 3, 2020
Cape Ann Savings Bank of Gloucester, MA has awarded $60,000 to the Gloucester Education Foundation (GEF). The donation will support GEF’s endowment fund as well as programs in the Gloucester Public Schools.

Gloucester Education Foundation Executive Director Aria McElhenny commented, “Cape Ann Savings Bank has been a longtime friend and supporter of GEF in many ways. We are deeply grateful for this generous gift and for the Bank’s ongoing partnership. By investing in Gloucester Education Foundation’s infrastructure, Cape Ann Savings is helping to pave the way for innovative and creative programs in Gloucester’s schools for years to come.”

Major gift to be awarded by Warren Waugh of Lyon-Waugh Auto Group to Gloucester Ed Foundation

The Lyon-Waugh Auto Group met with students and teachers at Gloucester High School today, Thursday, October 29, to award the second installment of a three-year commitment of $150,000 ($50,000 a year) to the Gloucester Education Foundation in support of the Automotive Technology Program at Gloucester High School.  This gift supports an additional educator for this program to meet the needs of a growing student enrollment.  With this support, additional students wishing to pursue careers in the growing auto technology field have been given the opportunity to enter the popular program.

            Mr. Waugh has also provided state-of-the art equipment for use in the program, and automobiles for students’ use in the shop to apply classroom learning.  The program fosters a close connection with the Lyon Waugh Auto Group for visits to various dealership service departments, as well as classroom visits from Lyon-Waugh auto technicians to share state-of-the art trends and knowledge with students.

Warren Waugh, a resident of Gloucester, stated, “Lyon Waugh Auto Group is committed to sharing our success with our workplace communities and the towns we live in.  The students that come from local towns like Gloucester are the foundation for businesses like ours. We consider it a privilege to be able to give back to our schools and help students prepare for entering the workforce through projects like this.”

Gloucester Education Foundation Executive Director Aria McElhenny commented, “We are so fortunate to have the generous support of Lyon-Waugh Auto Group. The high school’s automotive vocational program has grown and flourished thanks to Warren’s commitment to our students. There is a lot of interest in auto tech and that need is being met in a very high-level way through this generous donation.”

Gloucester Public Schools Need Your Help

The coronavirus shut down our schools for 66 days this spring. That’s over ⅓ of the school year. In a split second, teachers were forced to rethink entire teaching plans and move classrooms online. Administrators had to quickly find the technology and devices for 2,900 students to access remote learning. Children were forced to accept that they would only see their teachers and friends on a screen for the rest of the school year. 

The pandemic has left Gloucester’s schools with unforeseen challenges, additional student support needs, increased expenses, and urgent needs for technology, supplies and resources to prepare for the coming school year. 

The School Response Fund, created by Gloucester Education Foundation, will provide flexible support, so demands can be met quickly to current and evolving school needs. These include tutoring to help students rebound from learning loss during school closure, and resources to meet student and family social-emotional needs in the wake of the pandemic. Additional technology and supplies for learning at home may also be needed if remote learning continues.

Please donate online at to GEF’s School Response Fund. No amount is too small, and every gift is appreciated.