Essex Happenings, Friday, November 19, 2011
Essex Heritage’s Current County Wide Education Initiative
During the recent Essex Heritage Annual Meeting held at the Carriage House at Lynch Park in Beverly we provided substantial information on several initiatives that ENHC had worked on during the recent past. In previous BLOG postings we have provided updates to you on several of these programs, but not our education program called LINC’s LINC's stands for Local History in a National Context.
Essex Heritage is part of a team guiding a three-year heritage education initiative designed to connect Essex County elementary teachers with local primary source material. During visits to historical sites throughout Essex County and beyond teachers learn how to infuse their social studies lessons with stories, places, and artifacts that make history relevant for the future stewards of the heritage area. Other core partners include Beverly Public Schools, Salem State University, and the National Archives, Northeast Region. The project is funded with a Teaching American History grant from the U.S. Department of Education.
In the last three years, this grant funded program has trained 121 teachers from kindergarten through sixth grade. The teachers that have been trained represented 18 school districts in the region we serve, from Amesbury, Andover and Lawrence to Boxford, Ipswich and Gloucester. During these last 36 months over 3000 Essex county school children have been touched and twenty-five lessons have been created for this program that are available to all over the internet for general use. This has been a wonderful program with a reach that has taken the lessons to every corner of the region we serve.
Questions Answered About Partnerships with Essex Heritage
A couple of weeks ago, an organization that was contemplating a partnership with Essex Heritage asked me if there were any requirements or obligations that were connected with that association. After I responded, it occurred to me that others in the region might have the same questions, so I thought I would offer my thoughts that I passed on at that time to all within the reach of this communication.
Essex Heritage has no requirements that we place on anyone or any organizations, The association with Essex Heritage is purely voluntary and at any time that one wishes to discontinue the association that can easily be accomplished by simply not participating in the future.. The vast majority of our partners in the region view the association with Essex Heritage as positive, as from time to time we try to bring attention to our partners though events like Trails and Sails and special membership events. Several organizations have signage in place that we offered several years ago when we had funds available for a signage project. The sign simply identified a local organization as part of a larger regional voluntary partnership to make this region a better place for all of us to live and work. There is no obligation to display a sign unless an organization believes that it is the best interests of the participating organization. No one should feel that they are being compelled to make any contribution to Essex Heritage for any reason. Any contribution to this cause like one’s participation is strictly voluntary and should only be offered, if one believes that together we can get more done than we can ever do as individual entities. We believe that we have "erected a large virtual tent" over the entire region we serve and regularly ask anyone who wishes to join with us to do so collectively to promote this region. I hope that this explanation might answer any unanswered questions that any of you might have about potential partnerships with Essex Heritage.
North Shore Chamber November Breakfast Forum
The presentation that was the feature of the North Shore Chamber’s Economic and Public Policy Breakfast Forum in November was the educational agenda for public colleges. The presenter at the meeting was Dr. Richard Freeland, the Commissioner for Higher Education for the Commonwealth. He provided an overview of the plans to improve opportunities for young men and woman from Massachusetts who wish to attend public colleges in the State. In Massachusetts we are blessed with a number of wonderful private Universities and Colleges in this state, but funding for public colleges has been generally underfunded. This area has Salem State University and North Shore Community College and Northern Essex Community College within our borders and any additional assistance from the State to those schools would be money well invested. If this region is to prosper in the future, an educated work force is a necessity and the students who attend these three local institutions are the students most likely to remain in this area after graduation and become the nucleus of the required regional work force. I serve on the board of the Foundation at the North Shore community College and know first hand of the great work being done at that school, and any additional funding would certainly be put to great use at the Lynn and Danvers campuses of that school.
SJP Trustee Emeritus Meeting
As we do twice each year the collection of people who have served on the Board of Trustees at St John’s Prep gather to keep current of activities and plans for the school. That group met recently and in a somewhat different format, met with four young men who will graduate in May 2011, to hear their perspective on life at the Danvers private Catholic School and what they will take away after graduation next May. The individual presentations were most informative and wide ranging, and what was most evident to me as both a former Board member and an alumni of the school, is that the institution is still turning out future leaders who are well informed, moral, ethical and articulate young men who when they assume leadership roles in the future will put the school and themselves in a most positive light. The late afternoon meeting was well attended and was thought provoking for all us in attendance.
Regional Effort to Reuse Landfill Sites
This past Sunday, an interesting story about regional cooperation appeared in the North Edition of the Boston Globe. The story focused on a regional approach that was being taken by Amesbury, Andover, Boxford, Georgetown, Haverhill, Newbury, Salisbury and West Newbury under the auspices of the Merrimack Valley Planning Commission to join together to seek a study to learn if landfills in those communities could be used as alternative energy farms. The study that is being accomplished by Meridian Associates in Beverly will try to use the regional aspect of almost one dozen sites in several communities in the northern part of this region to learn if alternative energy projects like solar arrays or wind turbines could be constructed and offer meaningful green uses to the communities in question. To Essex Heritage this approach seems to make a considerable amount of sense, and as we have advocated on many occasions that so much more can be accomplished by working collectively than ever could be accomplished as a stand alone community. After the study is complete the communities will examine if a collective bid by a developer for all of some of the sites might be possible. This seems to be a process that is attracting numerous inquires as virtually all of the communities in this region and beyond all have land fills that need an alternative plan for its reuse. We applaud the effort and the initiative of the Merrimac Valley Planning Commission and encourage all communities in the region we serve to look for projects like this one where collaboration can be a critical component of financial success,
As always we value your comments, questions and observations about the work of Essex Heritage. Please contact me with your thoughts or any questions you may have at www.essexheritage.org. We are always striving to make Essex Heritage work as effectively as possible and your input and suggestions are always welcome. We can always provide more information and better communication, and one of the goals of these postings on Essex happenings is to provide that opportunity. You can also contact me directly if you wish information on the August 2011 Travel opportunity to the Northern National Parks. I am signed up for the trip, and I hope that you will consider joining me on that trip. Thank You. Tom Leonard