Meet Our 2014 Soiree Invitation Artist…Lindy Miller


“Art has always been a part of my life: I draw all of the time,” says Marblehead High School junior Lindy Miller, creator of the Friends of the Marblehead School’s 2014 Summer Soiree invitation. It’s an FMPS tradition to enlist the help of a student artist to create the event’s invitation, and Lindy’s art teacher, Pascale Quevals, knew her “extremely talented and very driven” student would be the perfect artist to depict this year’s venue: the beautiful oceanside home of the Willis family.

“I did the initial drawing in pencil, and then added details in pen and ink, and finished with watercolor, ” Lindy explains. “Lately I’ve been drawing people; concentrating on their muscular structure. Doing an architectural drawing was an interesting change of pace for me.”


Invitation art by Lindy Miller. ©2014
Pen & Ink with watercolor

From an early age, Lindy loved sharing her art with the public—as a young child she sold her drawings from her driveway—and her exceptional skills have earned her two 2014 Boston Globe Scholastic Art awards: both a Silver Key award and an honorable mention. She’s currently working on a 150 to 200-page comic book, Exodic, which she plans to complete by the summer: future plans include art school and a career as a manga artist. Lindy’s other interests include playing the guitar in her band and walking around Marblehead and visiting her favorite spots, the library and book store.



Friends of Marblehead Public Schools Funds Significant Grant to Create Wi-Fi at Marblehead High School

“Creating partnerships with the community is an important piece of a school system. When we all put kids first, great things happen,” said Marblehead Superintendent of Schools Maryann Perry about the recent $50,000 grant from the Friends of the Marblehead Public Schools (FMPS) to create a Wi-Fi network at Marblehead High School. “We went live in late January, and the network is being used by students and teachers for teaching and learning,” announced Ken Lord, Supervisor of Technology for Marblehead Public Schools.


Students, parents, and staff new to Marblehead High School were surprised to learn there wasn’t a building-wide Wi-Fi network already in place, but the technology gap existed because the school was built in 2002, when “wireless technology was in its infancy,” Lord explained. However, the deficiency wasn’t addressed as the years went on, and a robust Wi-Fi network is now viewed as a necessity. “Many of the new textbooks and curricular programs refer to web-based sites which support classroom learning,” explained Marblehead High School Principal Layne Millington. “And community-wide, there’s been a request to allow students the ability to use their own electronics at the high school whether it be smart phones, tablets, or laptops.”  When Lord was hired in 2012, he set Wi-Fi at MHS as the top priority in his technology plan, but there was no money in the budget for a building-wide network. All that existed was a cobbled together network with only ten access points, he explained. “Only parts of the building had coverage; it quickly got overwhelmed, and there were constant problems.”

“I think the technology plan really brought the extreme need to light,” Lord explained. “I was invited to present to the Friends of the Marblehead Public Schools, and then I wrote a grant to FMPS and hoped for the best.”  The group carefully considered the proposal because, “this was an unusual grant for FMPS, both in terms of size and timing,” FMPS Vice President Molly Bushman explained. In the end, “the Board was very excited to be in a position to take a leadership role in bringing on-line teaching, learning, and research capability to every classroom at MHS.  We’re sure that this will also enable more robust traditional grant ideas that we can fund in the future.”

“When I found out we had $50,000 to work with, I was thrilled beyond belief,” said Lord. “It’s such a huge step forward. It allowed us to cover most of the building: it covers the English, math, science, social studies and special education classrooms, and a few public areas. I think it’s a seed that will excite other groups to help us get funding to get coverage for the rest of the school.” Filters will help regulate appropriate usage, and “it is our expectation that the network is for education and not personal entertainment,” he added.

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Summer Soiree 2014
Saturday, June 14th, 2014!

Save the date and join us for a casual evening with friends in support of FMPS. Thank you in advance for your generosity.

See you in Flip-Flops on June 14th!

Much more information to come, please stay tuned…..!


Grant Ideas Wanted! All Are Welcome to Apply!

Application Deadline is Friday, February 14, 2014

Did you know?

Each year, Friends of the Marblehead Publics Schools (FMPS) accepts grant applications from teachers, parents and community groups. This year, we are on track to fund more than $100,000 to support your great ideas. Do you have a concept for a new initiative? Could an existing program be supplemented or enhanced with additional funding? Consider filling out our simple, straightforward FMPS online grant application.


FMPS is Thrilled to Announce the Award of a $50,000 Grant for WiFi at MHS!

wifihighThe Friends of the Marblehead Public Schools (FMPS) is thrilled to announce the award of a $50,000 grant to create a wireless network at Marblehead High School. This grant is aimed at creating a secure wireless network in the academic classrooms of the school, which will give faculty and students the infrastructure needed to open the door to a myriad of educational activities that are not currently possible.

“This wireless network will enable students and staff to utilize mobile technology directly to enhance curriculum and learning,” said Marblehead Superintendent of Schools Maryann Perry. “As the Superintendent of the Marblehead Schools, I am extremely grateful to FMPS and their donors for the continued and outstanding support of the Marblehead schools. Without their support we would be unable to move forward with the needs of the district.”

“On behalf of our donors and our board, FMPS is truly excited to be taking a leadership role in this vital push to provide MHS with wireless capabilities for the classrooms,” said FMPS President Lillie Lombardi. “This grant will not affect our ability to continue to fund other educational grants, including fine arts, professional development for teachers, and innovative classroom education grants. We were in the position to make a major contribution to address a critical need at the Marblehead High School, and we’re excited about how this grant is going to positively enhance the educational experience for the students and teachers. By voting last night to approve this grant, MHS will be able to go wireless in a few weeks!”

Happy Holidays from FMPS!

FMPS would like to wish everyone a very happy and safe holiday season. We look forward to a wonderful new year and the continued opportunity to fund innovative grants that will impact the education of our students and professional development for our teachers in Marblehead.

A special thanks to all the bright and joyful reindeer who pulled our FMPS sleigh-bus in the Christmas Walk Parade!

FMPS in Action: MHS Woodworking SawStop


Ben Farrar reviewing plans for a bookcase project

Marblehead High School woodworking teacher Peter Sheridan knew a SawStop–a table saw that stops spinning immediately when it senses an object like a finger or hand is in its path–was a must-have piece of equipment in his class. According to the SawStop company, there is a table saw injury every nine minutes, and this innovative piece of equipment has become standard at workplaces and vocational schools.  “But there wasn’t enough money in our budget to buy one,” Sheridan explains. He turned to FMPS for help, and was awarded a grant. The new saw not only keeps students from harm; it’s improved their learning experience. “Having the SawStop gives kids the confidence that they won’t hurt themselves, and it gives me more time for instruction since they can use it independently,” explains Sheridan. “It’s improved the class for all of us. We don’t have to wait to be supervised to use the saw. It’s made us much more productive,” explains Ben Farrar, a third-year woodworking student. Junior Drew Sigler adds, “The table saw is the main tool in woodworking, and this gives us a safe way to learn how to use it on our own.” Sheridan is thrilled with the saw, and with the ability to partner with FMPS. “FMPS is so important to the schools, especially for the arts,” he explains. “It helps fund important projects and equipment for students that just wouldn’t be possible otherwise.”

Video: Drew Sigler making a rip on the SawStop table saw.