PCS 4th graders Get Into the Act


(Top left) PCS 4th graders Kelvin Odih, Teslimah Lawal and Reynaldy Espinal play Paul Cuffee (1), Mary Cuffee, and Paul Cuffee (2) as they support education for all in the first integrated school in Westport, MA. (Top right) Paul Cuffee’s crew spot land as they return from a whaling voyage. (Bottom left) Paul Cuffee’s children sing “What Will We Become” after building the first integrated school. (Bottom right) Paul Cuffee defends the need of a school for all to the Townspeople.


Fourth graders take on the roles of the Cuffee family, Westport Townsfolk, and Captain Cuffee’s crew in the Paul Cuffee play, We’ll Build a School, written by Grammy Award winning musician, Bill Harley, and directed by Integrated Arts Teacher, Frances Candelario. The play tells the story of the life of Paul Cuffee, Whaler, Merchant, and Entrepreneur and his establishment of the first racially integrated school in Westport, Massachusetts.

We’ll Build a School is a comprehensive curriculum event integrating language arts, history, and civics as well as the performance experience itself and addresses several of the Common Core State Standards. The play is an account of an actual event in history, one that has had a long-range effect on education and our community. As a concluding lesson, students will consider and write about the lasting influence of Paul Cuffee and his accomplishments.


Average Class Size: 20
Current Enrollment: 820
Students of Color: 96%
Female Students: 51%
Male Students: 49%
Free/Reduced Price Lunch Eligibility: 82%
Multi-Language Learners: 19%
Students Receiving Special Education Services: 13%
Total Employees: 168
BIPOC: 45%
Female Employees: 75%
Male Employees: 25%