New fund seeks to assist schools in new normal – Gloucester Daily Times Article

Article by Taylor Ann Bradford from the Gloucester Daily Times – August 3rd 2020

With the novel coronavirus pandemic leaving schools with unexpected challenges, additional support for staff and students is needed as they prepare for an academic year like none other.

The Gloucester Education Foundation has created the School Response Fund to provide flexible support to local schools so demands for current and evolving needs can be met quickly.

“Teachers have a lot more on their back-to-school to-do list than they ever have before,” GEF’s Executive Director Aria McElhenny said. “The Gloucester school response fund is a way that people can fight back against the coronavirus and make a difference to strengthen the education of Gloucester kids – the future of our community.”

The local non-profit organization works with the Gloucester school district and the community through innovation, encouraging creativity, expanding student opportunities, and empowering educators to strengthen teaching and learning in the city’s schools.

Through this campaign, McElhenny is planning to work closely with city’s schools to identify what is needed for an effective academic year and provide a pool of money that can be used as those needs arise.

Support made possible through financial donations will include tutoring to help students rebound from learning loss during school closure, resources to meet student and family social-emotional needs in the wake of the pandemic, and technology and supplies for learning at home if remote learning continues into the academic year.

McElhenny explained that a group of donors have agreed to match up everything raised by the community up to $50,000.

GEF’s new fund had raised $25,000 as of Friday morning.

“This fund has been another example of ways that our community is so special that some people have risen to the occasion and donated,” McElhenny said. “I just want to thank the community for jumping in and helping. They are really rising to the occasion.”

The School Response Fund will go until the end of August and people can give online at www.thinkthebest.org.

Taylor Ann Bradford can be reached at 978-675-2705 or tbradford@gloucestertimes.com.