The Marblehead Community Charter Public School (MCCPS) is looking ahead this year with two priorities: elevating the seventh and eighth graders’ school programming and rebuild warehouse space into a state-of-the-art facility, expected to cost a whopping $5 million.
“Having a new state-of-the-art facility that includes a Science and Technology Lab and that includes a performance space, and updated classrooms are going to allow us to not just say that we’ve got a new upper school model, but physically move them into a new part of the building to unveil that new programming,” said Peter Cohen, Head of Marblehead Community Charter Public School.
Cohen’s main priority falls under creating more opportunities for leadership for both seventh and eighth-grade students to be formal mentors for the younger students and have them stand out. For students to have “more voice and more choice” in the kinds of projects they do.
With a new pantry on site that serves the community a snack bar and a scratch kitchen, Cohen aims to engage students in community service learning, by doing inventory and some behind-the-scenes work.
“By creating those leadership opportunities, we would then bring that into the academic side of things, whereas a requirement for graduation, students would have what we’re calling a capstone project or project that incorporates the things that they’ve done through community service and the things that they’ve learned,” said Cohen.
Students will pick a topic that they focus on for seventh and eighth grade, and then present to a panel of parents, teachers, and classmates. They will defend their work in the process of earning a certificate of completion.
To make sure the transition for students who graduate MCCPS with their selected high schools, a good line of communication with the District Public Schools, neighboring towns, Marblehead, Essex Tech, and private schools.
“We want to get a sense of how our students do once they leave here, and we get pretty regularly and consistently strong reports of our students being able to capitalize on the skills they’ve learned here public speaking skills, teamwork skills, cooperation and collaboration skills, leadership skills that serve them well in any high school,” said Cohen.
MCCPH has hired an architect to come up with plans and what can be done with the warehouse space. Begging its initial construction summer of 2023 with bathroom upgrades, new insulation, and windows.
Starting in the summer of 2024, Cohen anticipates adding the lab and the performance space in classrooms and executing the bulk of the construction.
“Admittedly, that timeline is a little aggressive. And so, it’s possible that that goes over the course of not just these two summers, but a third summer as well. So, the opening of that would be either September 2024 or September 2025,” said Cohen.
The opening of the new warehouse space will rely significantly on how much fundraising they can raise with a capital campaign kicking off in late spring or early summer.
Cohen is also keeping a close eye on construction costs, interest rates, and the supply chain to hopefully bring the expected $5 million cost for renovations down to pre-pandemic levels.
Investing in faculty is also part of the improvement plan for MCCPS, from last year to this year MCCPS gave all staff members a five percent cost of living increase.
“While we can’t do that on an annual basis, consistently, we’ve been able to improve the compensation package we offer which helps us recruit and retain top-notch educators which ultimately that’s the most important thing we can do is make sure we’ve got the best teachers in place and that they have high-quality training to be able to deliver the top-notch instructional practices that we expect here,” said Cohen.
In March, MCCPS will be hosting its first entrepreneur fair, for students and community members to sell the products they have created like rocks and homemade jewelry.
Students will develop a brand, create a product or service, build a marketing strategy, and then open for customers at MCCPS’s one-day marketplace.
Multiple booths will be hosted at the Marblehead Charter Community Public School, 17 Lime St., from 10:00 a.m. until 1:00 p.m.
To participate in the opportunity for children to launch their very own startup business and request a booth please visit https://www.childrensbusinessfair.org/marblehead