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Miss Hallís School Presents 'Nice Work if You Can Get It'
10:37AM / Wednesday, February 17, 2016
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PITTSFIELD, Mass. — The Miss Hall’s School Theater Ensemble will showcase the songs of George and Ira Gershwin, performing the musical comedy "Nice Work if You Can Get It" in shows at 8 p.m. on Friday, Feb. 19, and Saturday, Feb. 20, and 2 p.m. on Sunday, Feb. 21.

Set on Long Island in the “Roaring Twenties,” "Nice Work if You Can Get It" brings the Gershwin songbook to life, as recently married playboy Jimmy Winter finds himself tangled up with a trio of bootleggers, including one who steals his heart. With the law sniffing around, romance in the air, and prohibitionists in the house, there are plenty of madcap happenings in this lively

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General Dynamics Engineers Teach Science to Reid Students
By Andy McKeever, iBerkshires Staff
02:13AM / Monday, February 15, 2016
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PITTSFIELD, Mass. — Michael Arace remembers attending educational workshops provided by General Electric as a child and it inspired him to become an engineer.   Now a lead mechanical engineer at General Dynamics, he's hoping to inspire children to pursue careers in the field.   On Friday, he and nine other engineers from General Dynamics spent their day off teaching seventh-graders at Reid Middle School how to build rubber band-propelled airplanes and explained the science behind it.   "A lot of these kids may be thinking what they want to do in the future," Arace said.   The group of engineers taught Mary Yamosky's classes working with

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PHS Looks to Add Four New AP Courses
By Andy McKeever, iBerkshires Staff
04:36PM / Friday, February 12, 2016
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PITTSFIELD, Mass. — The School Committee is looking to provide four new Advanced Placement courses at Pittsfield High School, bringing the total offerings up to 23 there.   The courses would be AP Human Geography, AP Computer Science Principles, and two pilot programs — AP Seminar and AP research. The School Committee is also looking to add the AP Computer Science Principals course to Taconic High School.   "We actually had to apply to be one of the schools to pilot [seminar and research]," PHS Principal Matthew Bishop said.   Those two courses are "capstone" courses which will lead to a special degree for students who complete both as well as

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Pittsfield School Officials Weigh Value of Hiring Grant Writer
By Andy McKeever, iBerkshires Staff
03:12AM / Thursday, February 11, 2016
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PITTSFIELD, Mass. — With a decrease of nearly $1 million in grant funding coming to city schools this year, the School Committee is wondering if now is the time to consider hiring a grant writer.   School administrators presented information about the array of grants — state, federal, and private — that help fund various programs inside the schools. Last year, the city reeled in some $7,774,500 from various sources. But this year that number is down to $6,804,161 — a total drop of $970,339.   Assistant Superintendent for Business and Finance Kristen Behnke said she remembers only a handful of years ago city schools were seeing funding in the $11

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McCandless Rebuts Critics To Start Budget Process
By Andy McKeever, iBerkshires Staff
03:27AM / Thursday, January 28, 2016
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PITTSFIELD, Mass. — Superintendent Jason McCandless is kicking off the budget season by addressing three of the most criticized items: school choice, per-pupil expenditures, and teacher salaries.   In comparing those items to other districts in the county, McCandless says Pittsfield is right in line, if not better, than the city's peers. The districts ranks 10th out of 16 local districts in teacher salaries, sends a lower percentage of students to other districts through school choice than many others, and spends less per pupil than the county average.   In Pittsfield, the district spent some $31.2 million on teachers in 2013 and 2014. According to the Department of

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Simon Youth Foundation Seeks Applicants for Scholarships Across New England
03:07PM / Wednesday, January 27, 2016
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LEE, Mass. — Living near a Simon Malls or Simon Premium Outlets property - like the Lee Premium Outlets - could help a graduating senior pay for college.  Simon Youth Foundation, a national nonprofit that provides educational opportunities for at-risk high school students, has begun looking for a graduating senior who live within 50 miles of a Simon property.

Each year, Simon Youth Community Scholarships are awarded in every community across the country that is home to Simon Malls, Mills or Premium Outlets. The application period has begun and ends on March 1, 2016.

Students can apply online by visiting syf.org/scholarships.

Any student who will be graduating in the class of

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FAFSA Day Offers Free Help Applying for Financial Aid for College
01:25PM / Monday, January 25, 2016
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PITTSFIELD, Mass. — Every high school senior, college student and adult student who will be attending college during the 2016-2017 academic year needs to complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) in order to apply for federal, state and institutional financial aid.

FAFSA Day Massachusetts, part of the national College Goal SundaySM program, provides free help statewide to students and families looking to complete the FAFSA.

The 12th annual FAFSA Day Massachusetts is being held on Sunday, Jan. 31, at 1:15 p.m. at Berkshire Community College. Families are encouraged to visit www.FAFSADay.org to register and to see a list of what to bring.

The services are free

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Pittsfield Principals Present Budget Requests Part 3: Instruction, Supplies, Security
By Andy McKeever, iBerkshires Staff
06:10AM / Monday, January 18, 2016
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Stearns Principal Aaron Dean said he would like to implement new lessons but the manuals are expensive. PITTSFIELD, Mass. — The principals in each of the city's 12 schools wants the most highly trained teachers and their students to be safe.   But at what cost? During an all-day budget workshop on Wednesday the principals all presented what they think they'd need to most effectively operate their schools.   iBerkshires outlined some of the building repairs and staffing needs through two previous stories, all of which would be above and beyond what a $2.8 million increase would cover.    "Every year as we come to this budget process, not including

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Pittsfield Principals Present Budget Requests Part 2: Staffing
By Andy McKeever, iBerkshires Staff
06:05PM / Friday, January 15, 2016
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  PITTSFIELD, Mass. — Williams Elementary School Principal Lisa Buchinski kept her presentation to the School Committee fairly short on Wednesday, knowing she needed to rush back to the school to fill a supervisory role.   The School Committee heard from all 12 principals Wednesday about their wants in the upcoming budget during the daylong session. Buchinski was short staffed because of absences that day and couldn't find a substitute. She put one of the paraprofessional supervisors in a classroom and then took the supervisory role herself.    "For instance today, we are short staffed and I am taking the role of a supervisory paraprofessional when I get

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Pittsfield School Committee Taps Yon, Elias For Leadership
By Andy McKeever, iBerkshires Staff
09:36AM / Thursday, January 14, 2016
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Daniel Elias will be the vice chairman of the Pittsfield School Committee. PITTSFIELD, Mass. — The School Committee will continue with the same leadership.   The committee picked Katherine Yon chairman and Daniel Elias as vice chairman on Wednesday. Both served in those roles during the last two years.   "It is indeed a distinct honor and great pleasure to assume the chair of the Pittsfield School Committee again," Yon said. "I look forward to working together as a team."    The vote was unanimous and School Committee member Anthony Reillo praised the leadership Yon provided over the last two years in the seat.   "That's a

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