Thank you FMPS reindeer!

A big Thank You to our wonderful reindeer and FMPS board members, who braved the rain to pull the FMPS bus in the Christmas Walk Parade this year! It was great to see so many people along the route!

Thanks to the Farm Direct Coop for lending us their tent during the Christmas Tree Lighting. And thank you to Jay Pingree of Marblehead Graphics for printing our banner and name tags.

Nice job, Marblehead Chamber of Commerce, on another successful Christmas Walk!


FMPS Joins Chamber!


The Friends of the Marblehead Public Schools (FMPS) is proud to announce that we are now members of The Marblehead Chamber of Commerce. “Joining the Chamber allows us to forge relationships with other non-profits and local businesses,” says FMPS President Lillie Lombardi. “It also gives our mission–to fund grants that support curriculum enhancement for all Marblehead public school students–even greater exposure.”

Deb Payson, Chamber Executive Director, says non-profit groups like FMPS make up a very important segment of the town’s business community. “Our non-profits support our students, schools, and those in need – and as a Chamber member, we can help spread their message, raise funds and help them grow and become stronger.”

Since 1991, FMPS has awarded over $1.3 million in grants, and looks forward to another year of successful fundraising to award grants to more outstanding programs.

Look for the FMPS table at the Tree Lighting at the National Grand Bank parking lot on Friday, December 5 at 7pm, and at the Christmas Walk Parade on Saturday, December 6 at 11:45 am.


Way to go Fit Girls Run Club!

Over 400 runners gathered on Sunday, November 16 for the Fit Girls Full Hearts 5K, an event partially funded by Friends of the Marblehead Public Schools (FMPS). The Fit Girls was founded four years ago at Village School as a running and positive self-esteem group, and a key part of the program is training for and running a 5K, explained one of the Fit Girls coaches, Village School guidance counselor Mandy Murphy. The club participated in community races in years past, but “we thought organizing our own race would be a great opportunity for us to accomplish a few goals:  to have an in-town event for the program, to raise much-needed funds to continue to enhance and build the Fit Girls program without raising fees, and to increase the community awareness about the program,” said Murphy. Last spring, the Fit Girls Run Club applied for and were awarded a grant to hold their own 5K.


​“The race far exceeded our expectations,” said Murphy. “The feedback we got from the girls was incredibly rewarding for us to hear.  While many were excited about finishing the race for the first time or completing the 5k in their fastest time, most of the feedback was focused on how they valued the amazing support of their families, friends, volunteers, and community members who were out cheering along the course. They were also proud that the race gave us the opportunity to give back to the community through the donations for the Marblehead Food Pantry.”


The positive energy of the Fit Girls Run Club made the event more than a race: it was a community-bonding event as well. “The atmosphere was so positive and supportive,” said Murphy. “We expected to see family members join in, but not to the extent that we did. The turnout of teachers and school staff was exceptional, and the race was well supported from the local running community at large whose feedback was upbeat and thoughtful.  Many people who just came to run the race ended up running along side some of the Fit Girls to encourage them as they ran. The overall feeling of the event was definitely more about achieving goals and collaborative effort than winning.”

Murphy and the other Fit Girls coaches are grateful to FMPS for the grant. “The funds we received from the FMPS grant helped defray the upfront costs of organizing a race. They allowed us to provide scholarships and also pay for necessary expenses like insurance, supplies and registration costs without increasing the fees for participants. We are beyond excited to be able to hold this race annually and be self-sustaining because of the support FMPS gave to us.”


article by Michelle Abrams

Native American Storyteller James Bruchac Inspires Glover School Students

As Glover students listened raptly to Native American storyteller James Bruchac, he explained how hearing stories can lead them to do their own creating and exploring. “Many of the stories I’ll tell you today are stories that really inspired me and made me want to write and share,” said Bruchac. “They also inspired me to want to go into the woods and learn about those same animals that are in the stories. And whether the story is true or not, if it has true lessons, that’s what matters.”


He went on to enthrall the students with animal lesson stories and pourquoi, or “why” stories like How Chipmunk Got His Stripes. Bruchac also wove science into the presentation by sharing plaster casts of animal tracks and the “real stories” of animals in the forest. The last time Bruchac visited Glover, his visit consisted of only an hour-long assembly. But thanks to a Friends of the Marblehead Public Schools (FMPS) grant, this year the creativity continued to flow: following the assembly, Bruchac led two days of writing workshops in the second and third grade classrooms, and students created their own legends.

Kira Kay, Glover Enrichment Committee Chair, explained, “We’ve enjoyed having James Bruchac here before, but the Enrichment Committee wanted to expand the program to carry the lessons learned into the classroom. We approached the principal and teachers to be sure that the story-writing workshop supported the curriculum, and we applied for and received a grant from FMPS. We’re so grateful to FMPS and the community donors for the grant. We’ve heard so many stories from these presenters about how an artist or storyteller inspired them when they were young: you just light a fire, and it’s going to spark creativity.”


Bruchac, the author of dozens of books including How Chipmunk Got His Stripes, The Girl Who Helped Thunder and a collection of guides to identify animal tracks and signs, has shared his storytelling magic across the country.  He agrees that the progression from a storytelling presentation to a two-day writing workshop is the perfect opportunity for capturing the students’ enthusiasm and using it to fuel their own creativity. “The stories are powerful: the kids take inspiration from Native American culture, the language of legends, and the natural world. Now they’ll use this inspiration to create their own legends combing writing, visual arts, and better cultural understanding.”


“James Bruchac has been a staple of Glover School enrichment for the last several years.  He is an expert storyteller and has a good rapport with students.  He engages students as audience members and encourages them to think like authors,” explained Glover second grade teacher Maggie Doben.  “This year, the two-day residency was a bonus because children were able to understand more about the story-making process and  participate in group writing activities. The second graders felt proud of their work and enjoyed taking home copies of their pourquoi stories.  Later in the year, second grade will study pourquoi and this will have set the stage for that component of our curriculum.”

Read the wonderful story written by the 2nd graders!

FMPS article written by Michelle Abrams