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Taconic High Construction: Precast Concrete Begins; Steel Going Up
By Andy McKeever, iBerkshires Staff
05:18PM / Tuesday, October 25, 2016
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PITTSFIELD, Mass. — The first precast concrete beam for the vocational shops at the new Taconic High School was placed on Tuesday.   Construction has been ongoing since March. It began with site work by J.H. Maximillian, who leveled the area, set up drainage, and blasted out rock ledge. Once that was completed, the foundation work started.    David Tierney Construction has so far completed the foundation in what is known as "area A" and steel work — the upward construction of the bones of the building — began in early October. Foundation has been laid in nearly all areas of the site, with just the final of four areas still being complete. That

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St Joe Strong: The Crusaders Won't Go Down Without A Fight
By Andy McKeever, iBerkshires Staff
08:14PM / Thursday, October 20, 2016
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Dozens of parents, alumni, and students rallied at Park Square on Thursday. PITTSFIELD, Mass. — Unless Pope Francis himself says nothing can be done, the crusaders will be strong.   In the wake of the Diocese of Springfield announcing last week the closure of the 120-year St. Joseph Central High School, parents, students, and alumni have joined together to appeal the closing of the county's only Catholic high school.   The "St. Joe Strong" effort kicked off in earnest Thursday night when dozens of people rallied at Park Square as the fight to keep the school open began.   "I think it is important enough for us to fight this. If Pope Francis

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Lanesborough Elementary Retains Level 1 Ranking
By Andy McKeever, iBerkshires Staff
09:35PM / Wednesday, October 19, 2016
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LANESBOROUGH, Mass. — The elementary school has again scored a top level ranking from the state.   The scores from the Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers have placed the school as Level 1. While the school has consistently ranked Level 1 in recent years, what stands out about this year's results is that PARCC was a pilot program that had a clause allowing schools to be held harmless in state accountability.   "This is the first time we took the PARCC. It is more rigorous and aligned with the common core than the old MCAS," Principal Martin McEvoy said. "Our students did so well, we didn't need to invoke that held harmless

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Founding Director Bowen Leaving BArT at End of School Year
Staff Reports,
05:30PM / Wednesday, October 19, 2016
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ADAMS, Mass. — The founding director of Berkshire Arts & Technology Public Charter School will leave at the end of the school year.

Julia Bowen informed the BArT community by email on Wednesday afternoon that she was departing after 13 years guiding the region's first and only charter school.

"I feel confident that this work will continue long after my departure," she wrote. "Over the years, we have built a team that has the intelligence to take on new challenges, the wisdom to focus on the most important work and the moral clarity to do this with integrity and respect, always with students' best interests at heart. I couldn't have imagined we would

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BCC To Pilot Humanities Center Focused On Stories Of Immigration
By Andy McKeever, iBerkshires Staff
05:59PM / Monday, October 17, 2016
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David Tebaldi said Mass Humanities will be seeking an implementation from to implement the humanities centers at three community colleges in the state.

PITTSFIELD, Mass. — Juan Jose Carrion-Almeida immigrated to Berkshire County from Ecuador in 2009.

Five years later, he was Berkshire Community College's first Latino valedictorian.

Carrion-Almeida said while his story isn't nearly as difficult as others who immigrated to the United States, he has faced significant challenges. After a few years of being encouraged to go to college and educate himself, he put himself in a better position than he imagined.    "We have a different perspective of the world.

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McCandless: Test Scores Show Cultural Proficiency Taking Hold
By Andy McKeever, iBerkshires Staff
01:20AM / Monday, October 17, 2016
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PITTSFIELD, Mass. — On the surface, standardized testing scores for the Pittsfield School District distinguishes the system as Level 3 in the state's rankings.   But Superintendent Jason McCandless says looking deeper into the numbers, the scores show progress in the areas the district has focused on. The district revamped its English curriculum in the elementary school to a unified one and this year expanded it to the middle school level, is piloting math curriculum this year to do the same.   But maybe even more importantly for McCandless, the district's recent focus on cultural proficiency is paying dividends with those "subgroups" of

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Wahconah Volleyball, Girls Soccer Teams Recognized for Off-Field Efforts
By Stephen Dravis, iBerkshires Staff
06:19AM / Sunday, October 16, 2016
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DALTON, Mass. — Michaela DeFoe put a whole new spin on the term "beach volleyball."   Earlier this fall, the Wahconah volleyball captain recruited her teammates to help her tackle a big problem in her hometown of Becket.   "Basically, the beach was redone a few years ago," she recalled on Friday. "They put gravel above the old beach and then a tarp and then the sand. After one one winter, it started to erode, and all the stones started to come up through the fabric."   DeFoe, a lifeguard at Becket Beach and a Senior Girl Scout looking for a service project for worthy of the organization's Gold Award, decided to take on the problem of

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Pittsfield School Committee Urges No On Charter School Question
By Andy McKeever, iBerkshires Staff
02:37AM / Saturday, October 15, 2016
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PITTSFIELD, Mass. — The School Committee is urging a no vote on Question 2, which would raise the cap on the number of charter schools and allow a dozen more to open.   The ballot question will be put to voters on Nov. 8. In April, the School Committee passed a proclamation against the question. That same proclamation was tabled by the City Council on Tuesday.   "One of the major issues we have is the amount of money that is paid from our district to charter schools," said Chairwoman Katherine Yon.   Yon said the district is projected to lose $2.3 million next year from students opting to go to a charter school instead of the Pittsfield Public Schools. In

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Pittsfield City Council Tables Resolution Against Charter School Expansion
By Andy McKeever, iBerkshires Staff
06:15PM / Wednesday, October 12, 2016
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No on 2 advocates urged the City Council to adopt the resolution.  PITTSFIELD, Mass. — The City Council is divided on whether it should or should not take a stance on the ballot question regarding charter schools.   In November voters will be asked to lift the cap on the number of charter schools in the state should be raised, allowing a dozen more schools to open.   City Councilors Kathleen Amuso, John Krol, and Peter White asked the City Council to join other communities in the state to pass a resolution calling for a no vote on the ballot question.   For those three, the issue of more charter schools is impactful to the city because of the funding

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Mount Greylock Holds Groundbreaking for Building Project
By Stephen Dravis, iBerkshires Staff
04:30PM / Friday, October 07, 2016
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WILLIAMSTOWN, Mass. — It was all smiles and laughter at Friday's ceremonial groundbreaking for the renovation and addition at Mount Greylock Regional School.   But it was worth remembering the sometimes bumpy road that brought the district to what School Building Committee Chairman Mark Schiek characterized as, "one big milestone on the project path we're on together."   School Committee Chairwoman Carolyn Greene told the crowd gathered for Friday's ceremony that there were many people to thank for helping Mount Greylock reach that milestone — including folks who would have chosen a different project path or no path at

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