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Mount Greylock School Committee 'Ticket': No Intent To Be Divisive
By Stephen Dravis, iBerkshires Staff
04:11AM / Thursday, September 24, 2020
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WILLIAMSTOWN, Mass. — Read the platform of the Greylock Forward ticket for the Mount Greylock School Committee, and it is clear that the candidates' intent was to promote inclusion and healing in the school district.   Imagine the candidates' surprise when they were accused of being a source of division in local politics.   "When you put your hat in the ring, you have no idea who else is putting their hat in the ring," candidate Jose Constantine said. "It's hard to know how to engage or who to engage with.   "Hindsight is 20/20. Could we have managed it differently and been more inclusive? Certainly. But our intention was never to

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Williamstown Youth Center Providing Place for Remote Learners
By Stephen Dravis, iBerkshires Staff
03:57AM / Wednesday, September 23, 2020
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WILLIAMSTOWN, Mass. — Families long have relied on the Williamstown Youth Center as a safe place for their children at the end of the school day.   In the days of COVID-19, some are relying on the WYC for support during school hours.   When Williamstown Elementary School began the school year with remote instruction last week, the youth center was able to host 20 kids who attended their Zoom-based classes under the watchful eye of WYC staff.   And when the local elementary school transitions to a hybrid learning model next month, the center stands ready to expand its capacity to 40 children at a time — up to 80 kids in all between the morning and afternoon

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State Education Commissioner to School Districts: Go In-Person or Face Audit
By Stephen Dravis, iBerkshires Staff
11:08AM / Tuesday, September 22, 2020
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BOSTON. — Continuing a pressure campaign against local school districts that began over the summer, the commissioner of education this week sent multiple districts a letter requesting "further information" of those who are beginning the school year with remote instruction.   In a letter dated Friday, Jeffrey C. Riley told more than a dozen districts, including Pittsfield Public Schools, Hoosac Valley Regional and the Berkshire Arts and Technology Charter Public School, that they have "very low COVID-19 transmission" and that he is "concerned" that their school committees have elected to keep most students remote to start the academic

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Williamstown League of Women Voters Accepting Community Questions For Forum
04:00PM / Friday, September 18, 2020
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WILLIAMSTOWN, Mass. — The League of Women Voters is inviting community questions for their upcoming Mount Greylock school committee candidate.   The Williamstown League of Women Voters is sponsoring candidate forums for the two contested races for the Mount Greylock school committee.   Questions from the community can be sent to Anne Skinner at askinner@williams.edu.   The deadline for questions is Sept. 28.   The forum is Sept. 30, and it will air on WilliNet.  

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StoryWalk In Williamstown
09:57AM / Friday, September 18, 2020
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WILLIAMSTOWN, Mass. —  St. John's and First Church have collaborated on a StoryWalk featuring the book "The Day You Begin."    Families are invited to take a walk through town and read the pages of "The Day You Begin," by Jacqueline Woodson, illustrated by Rafael López, that have been posted throughout the downtown.   The pages have been posted at intervals, beginning in front of St. John's Church at 35 Park St. and ending in front of the First Congregational Church office on Chapin Hall Drive.   he local initiative was sparked by St. John's member Sarah Olsen in collaboration with education directors Sloane Torres of St.

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Mount Greylock School Committee Passes Modified Agreement with Union
By Stephen Dravis, iBerkshires Staff
10:30PM / Wednesday, September 16, 2020
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WILLIAMSTOWN, Mass. — The Mount Greylock Regional School Committee on Tuesday night approved a number of modifications to the memorandum of agreement with the district's union about procedures related to the COVID-19 pandemic.   By a vote of 5-2, the committee OKed changes that include the structure an "remote academy" for elementary school pupils, the metrics that will be used for switches between remote and in-person instruction and safety precautions that will be in place during the school day when the district moves to a hybrid model of in-person and remote instruction on Oct. 5.   School officials had to rethink the remote academy idea for families

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Williamstown's DIRE Committee Raises Issue of Police at School
By Stephen Dravis, iBerkshires Staff
01:29AM / Wednesday, September 16, 2020
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WILLIAMSTOWN, Mass. — Although the year is starting remotely for the town's public school students, members of the Diversity, Inclusion and Racial Equity Committee are raising concerns about the police presence at the buildings kids will attend as soon as Oct. 5.   It is a topic that has been mentioned before in town and Mount Greylock Regional School District forums, but the comments at last week's DIRE Committee meeting were as strong as any to date in an official forum.   "I have people who have reached out to me that are afraid to bring their kids to the school because there are police officers there," Jeffrey Johnson said. "I'm just trying to

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Pupil Tests Positive for COVID-19 at Pine Cobble School
By Stephen Dravis, iBerkshires.com
05:52PM / Tuesday, September 15, 2020
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WILLIAMSTOWN, Mass. -- On Tuesday evening, Pine Cobble School confirmed a third member of its community, a pupil, has tested positive for COVID-19.   Head of School Sue Wells informed iBerkshires.com of the positive test of a kindergarten student.   Earlier in the day, the Wells notified the media that a second kindergarten teacher had tested positive for the novel coronavirus.   The first positive test of a kindergarten teacher prompted the private elementary school to go fully remote for at least two weeks starting Monday.   That first test came back on Saturday, three days after a teacher in the kindergarten went home from school with a fever.   At that time, the

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Drop in Families Opting for Remote Learning Has Mount Greylock Officials 'Scrambling'
By Stephen Dravis, iBerkshires Staff
01:10AM / Tuesday, September 15, 2020
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WILLIAMSTOWN, Mass. — An increase in the number of families planning to send their children for in-person instruction is raising concerns of a budget hit for the Mount Greylock Regional School District.   At Thursday's School Committee meeting, Director of Curriculum and Instruction Joelle Brookner told the panel that the administration was a "bit surprised" by the results of the most recent survey of families about their preferences for the academic year.   About half as many families as in a prior survey indicated a preference for remote instruction only in 2020-21. Currently, there are 24 of 181 pupils at Lanesborough Elementary School (13 percent) opting

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Q&A: New Williamstown Elementary Principal Finds Great Team in Place
By Stephen Dravis, iBerkshires Staff
06:12AM / Sunday, September 13, 2020
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WILLIAMSTOWN, Mass. — Changing jobs in the middle of a global pandemic can be tough. Moving 2,000 miles to do so is even tougher.   But Kristen Thompson was motivated to make a move and is dedicated to making the most of the opportunity to serve as principal at Williamstown Elementary School.   And she has found a community of like-minded professionals ready to take on the challenge of teaching in the COVID-19 era when students return for remote instruction on Wednesday.   "If I've learned one thing being at WES in this short amount of time, it is that we have a staff of absolutely dedicated, motivated and supportive teachers on staff here," Thompson

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