was John E. McCarthy?
by Marcus Crotty and Kevin Whelan
Closing of School
Photo by Kilmer Sweazy
The 24-room school was designed by Drumney, Rosane Anderson, Inc. and the general contractor was Fay Construction Co., Inc. The design of the school was modeled after that of the John E. Burke School. The school cost $1.69 million.
After various construction changes, including additional facilities and sidewalks along Lake and Winona streets, the school housed roughly 700 students. Funds were also allocated to provide drapes for the school and to purchase recreational equipment.
The opening of the school was delayed three days due to a steel strike and weather conditions. The delay caused a critical shortage of space in the elementary schools. Before the McCarthy School was opened, an additional first grade teacher position, which was not included in the budget, was needed for the school.
The school closed as an elementary school in 1982 when the district
closed two schools and the administration building housed in the Daniel
Keefe School. The closings prompted a controversy over grade reconfiguration.
At the same time, the school board set in motion a master plan that was to include the middle school concept and the future of both vocational education and special education in the city.
School Committee person Joseph V. Fleming accused the school administration of becoming bogged down in details about construction and demanded to know why Peabody schools had not kept abreast of the latest methods of education, including team teaching and student exchange programs.
Superintendent J. Henry Higgins admitted that his age might incline him to rely on traditional methods. "I've seen several systems praised as the latest thing," he said. "And, I've lived to see those systems discredited. Change is inevitable, but not necessarily progress."
Fleming charged that the school committee was putting 250-year-old ideas
into new buildings. (Source: Peabody Times, 3/1/1967).
McCarthy Memorial School Open House, Dec.14, 1969. (Appendix 2)
The source of information for student reports, unless
otherwise indicated, is from Peabody School Committee Records