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Pittsfield School Committee Endorses Moratorium on Charter Schools
By Tammy Daniels, iBerkshires Staff
01:36AM / Friday, November 13, 2015
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PITTSFIELD, Mass. — The School Committee on Wednesday night endorsed a joint statement with United Educators of Pittsfield to support a moratorium on charter schools.

State Senate bill 326, filed by state Sen. Marc Pacheco, D-Taunton, seeks to halt the state's granting of charters to Commonwealth charter schools until September 2018.

The move comes on the heels of two reports questioning the efficacy of charter schools and the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education's oversight of their legislatively-mandated goals.

"This moratorium will allow time for an independent evaluation for our charters schools to determine whether charters are meeting their intended

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BArT's Campus Improvements Paying Off
By Stephen Dravis, iBerkshires Staff
07:19PM / Wednesday, November 11, 2015
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ADAMS, Mass. — All the physical changes at the Berkshire Arts and Technology Charter Public School are paying big dividends, school officials say.

From the science lab to the new gymnasium and cafeteria wing to the remodeling of the former "cafegymatorium," it has been a busy few years on the Commercial Street campus.

Last week at BArT's annual fall breakfast, Executive Director Julia Bowen explained how the school's physical transformation is helping improve the program at the Grade 6-12 school.

"In the past, students have had to make unfortunate decisions about leaving BArT [after middle school]," Bowen said, referring to students' desire to

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Lanesborough Selectmen Want Town Meeting Vote on School District
By Stephen Dravis, iBerkshires Staff
08:15PM / Monday, November 09, 2015
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LANESBOROUGH, Mass. — The Board of Selectmen on Monday voted to ask a special town meeting whether voters want the board to pursue withdrawal from the Mount Greylock Regional School District.   The board also put an article on the Dec. 1 ballot asking whether the town approves amendments to the agreement between Lanesborough and Williamstown that governs the junior-senior high school district.   The Mount Greylock School Committee drafted the amendment in response to a request from Lanesborough officials to modify the way the district apportions capital expenses in light of the proposed Mount Greylock Regional School renovation project.   Williamstown voters will decide

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Berkshire Community College Awarded Grant to Aid Student Success
By Tammy Daniels, iBerkshires Staff
07:01PM / Monday, November 09, 2015
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PITTSFIELD, Mass. — Students enter Berkshire Community College with dreams of furthering their opportunities, but too often they find the challenges overwhelming.

The college is hoping its selection for a $2 million federal grant, one of 40 granted nationwide, will help forge stronger pathways to success for students from low-income families or who are minorities or first-generation college students.  

"We are ecstatic that our efforts, which were driven by a diverse group from the BCC community as well as outside constituents, were recognized by the Department of Higher Education," said BCC President Ellen Kennedy in a statement. "Our students are at the heart

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Mentors Needed for Financial Literacy Workshop
11:23AM / Monday, November 09, 2015
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PITTSFIELD, Mass. — Miss Hall's School is seeking area professional women to volunteer as mentors for its 16th annual Money Matters financial literacy workshops to be held on Monday, Nov. 16, and Wednesday, Nov. 18, at the school’s Holmes Road campus.

Eighth-grade girls from across Berkshire County will attend the program, which provides them with a foundation of financial understanding. This year’s program will be facilitated by Dr. Mahnaz Mahdavi, professor of economics and the Ann F. Kaplan ’67 Faculty Director of Center for Women and Financial Independence at Smith College, and René Heavlow, Director of the Center for Women and Financial

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Scammers Hack Pittsfield School Committee Chair's E-mail
By Andy McKeever, iBerkshires Staff
11:43PM / Friday, October 30, 2015
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PITTSFIELD, Mass. — School Committee Chairwomen Katherine Yon's email was hacked by scammers.   Yon said those grammatically incorrect and scamlike emails from her AOL address are not coming from her. She said she's been working with the company to secure the address.   "I have been hacked," Yon said during Wednesday's School Committee meeting, telling people that emails from that address may be fake and not to send any money to the hacker.   iBerkshires received a fake email on Tuesday, which asked for money to be sent to Mexico. The email was filled with grammar errors and claimed Yon's cousin was sick with cancer and needed some $1,800 more

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Pittsfield School Committee Reacts to Herberg Gun Situation
By Andy McKeever, iBerkshires Staff
07:20PM / Thursday, October 29, 2015
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PITTSFIELD, Mass. — The School Committee commended the work of Principal Gina Coleman, Herberg staff, and the students for the handling of a recent incident when a middle schooler was found to have a loaded gun in his locker.   The committee said the Herberg community followed procedures to a T, but expressed concern that the student was able to get the weapon into the school in the first place.    "Having something real and very public in our back yard was shocking to say the least," said committee member Joshua Cutler. "This is a situation we all have zero tolerance for and never want to see happen again."   Superintendent Jason McCandless

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Miss Hallís School Announces AP Scholars
02:49PM / Wednesday, October 28, 2015
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PITTSFIELD, Mass. — Thirty-two Miss Hall’s School students, including 28 recent graduates and 11 local students, have been named by the College Board as AP Scholars, in recognition of their exceptional achievements on the 2015 Advanced Placement (AP) Exams.

The AP Scholar designation means that the students earned a 3 or better — using a 5-point grading system — on three or more of the rigorous AP Exams, which are administered in May. This year, 88 MHS girls sat for 163 exams in 22 subject areas, and 91 percent of those exams earned qualifying scores, according to the College Board, which oversees the AP program.

Among the local students recognized as AP Scholars,

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Herberg Gun Incident Reignites Alternative School Talk
By Andy McKeever, iBerkshires Staff
02:59AM / Wednesday, October 28, 2015
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PITTSFIELD, Mass. — Superintendent Jason McCandless says the best thing the city could do to keep the schools safe is to bring back an alternative school.   "It is a conversation that we simply must have. The districts that are successful with the most at-risk students are districts that have a unified housed alternative program for middle and high school students," McCandless told the City Council on Tuesday.   The council called on McCandless, Police Chief Michael Wynn, and Mayor Daniel Bianchi to discuss improving school safety in the wake of a student being found in possession of a handgun at Herberg Middle School. A teacher was informed about the gun by

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Pittsfield School Committee Candidates Discuss Education
By Andy McKeever, iBerkshires Staff
10:38PM / Thursday, October 22, 2015
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PITTSFIELD, Mass. — More and more education is being dictated by bureaucracy. And the eight candidates seeking six seats on the School Committee voiced support for allowing teachers to be creative in combating that oversight.   "I think it is very important that teachers are heard," said incumbent Katherine Yon. "I feel it is important that there is a mechanism, a way for teachers to speak up."    Yon said there used to be advisory councils for teachers to weigh in on what was happening administratively but many of those have disbanded. She wants to bring those back to allow teachers to have more opportunity for input.   Her answer was in

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