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Guest Column: Education Task Force Misconceptions Clarified
Guest Column,
02:00PM / Tuesday, December 13, 2016
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The Berkshire Education Task Force and the University of Massachusetts' Donahue Institute recently have completed Phase One of a comprehensive look at the past, current and projected education landscape of the nineteen school districts in Berkshire County and 15,900 students (as of last count). The full Phase One report is online at www.berkshireeducation.org. The focus is on the challenges faced because of significant declining student enrollments, near stagnant financial resources and increasingly limited academic offerings.

Phase Two will explore ways to address these challenges through options of expanded shared services, partnering of neighboring school districts, where

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Norman Rockwell Museum Offers Berkshire County Student Passport Program
02:51PM / Monday, December 12, 2016
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STOCKBRIDGE, Mass. — Norman Rockwell Museum has begun the Berkshire County Student Passport Program, part of a comprehensive effort to reach out and engage many more young people in the region with the museum, and to introduce them to Norman Rockwell, who lived the last 25 years of his life in Berkshire County.

The museum uses Rockwell's narrative images to support learning in the classroom in relation to history, language arts and art, and educators have also found meaningful connections with regard to social/emotional learning and ESL themes.

Supported by the contributions of friends of Norman Rockwell Museum, the Passport Program was created for students and families in

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Pittsfield Committee to Consider Seat Belts on School Buses
By Andy McKeever, iBerkshires Staff
01:25AM / Tuesday, December 06, 2016
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PITTSFIELD, Mass. — Last month's devastating school bus crash in Chattanooga, Tenn., has the Public Safety Advisory Committee mulling the idea of seat belts in city school buses.   Six elementary schoolchildren were killed and many others injured when the bus crashed into a tree. There is no law requiring school buses to have seat belts in Massachusetts but a few states do. The National Safety Council, an advocacy group, and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration are both calling for school buses to have seat belts   "The one thing that is going to be the detriment to this is that it is going to be too expensive. My argument is, what is the price on a

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Pittsfield Super Tracking Impacts of Federal Education Act
By Andy McKeever, iBerkshires Staff
03:41AM / Thursday, December 01, 2016
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PITTSFIELD, Mass. — Superintendent Jason McCandless said he is watching closely what the federal replacement to No Child Left Behind will ultimately mean for the district.   Last year, the federal government adopted the Every Student Succeeds Act that was signed into law on Dec. 10. The program replaces No Child Left Behind but it does retain some of those provisions.   When it comes to the local level, the largest changes would be regarding the ranking system.   "We continue in Massachusetts to work through was ESSA actually means for us," McCandless said told the School Committee Wednesday night.   The act does continue to keep standardized testing,

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Tuition Costs Highlight Meeting With Lanesborough School, Town Officials
By Andy McKeever, iBerkshires Staff
02:28AM / Wednesday, November 30, 2016
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LANESBOROUGH, Mass. — Selectmen Chairman John Goerlach said he is "thoroughly disgusted" that New Ashford is paying half the cost per pupil than Lanesborough is for the same education.   The town has a tuition agreement with New Ashford, which does not have an elementary school, to send its students to Lanesborough Elementary. The tuition is set at $8,730, which is about half of the per-pupil spending of the entire school. Goerlach has been pushing for an increased tuition rate for years, calling for it to equal the per-pupil spending rate the town is paying.   "Why are we still 50 percent? I don't get it. How many times we do we have to ask? I am

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BArT Announces First Trimester Honor Roll
02:43PM / Monday, November 28, 2016
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ADAMS, Mass. — Berkshire Arts & Technology (BArT) Charter Public School has announced the students who made honor roll for the first trimester of the 2016-2017 school year.

Students who earned 80 percent or above in all of their classes received the distinction of "Honors." Students who earned 90 percent or above in all of their classes received the distinction of "High Honors."

Academic courses at BART are aligned with the Massachusetts State Curriculum Frameworks for the appropriate grade level and include all standards deemed necessary for a complete, college-preparatory, middle and high school education.

Students in Grade 6 who earned High Honors are

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BCC Names Dean of Enrollment Management & Student Success
02:38PM / Friday, November 18, 2016
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PITTSFIELD, Mass. — Adam Klepetar has joined Berkshire Community College as dean of enrollment management and student success.

In his new role, he is responsible for leading BCC's efforts in the recruitment and retention of students. Klepetar is also working closely with academic leaders to provide holistic and comprehensive academic success programming for all BCC students.

"Adam's extensive experience in higher education - in the classroom and as an administrative leader - as well as his commitment to open access and student success, make him an excellent addition to BCC," BCC President Ellen Kennedy said said. "He, along with our team in student services,

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Education Task Force Plans Presentations of Phase 1 Report
By Tammy Daniels, iBerkshires Staff
03:53AM / Monday, November 14, 2016
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DALTON, Mass. — Enrollment is declining in Berkshire County schools and costs are rising.

It's one of those things everyone knows — now there's concrete data confirming those notions and pinning down some of the effects on Berkshire County education.

The Berkshire County Task Force on Saturday morning reviewed a 77-page report commissioned from the University of Massachusetts' Donahue Institute on the state of county education.

It's not pretty.

Enrollment is down 22.3 percent over the last 15 years in 17 of the school districts being studied. The only exceptions are McCann Technical School and Berkshire Arts & Technology Public Charter School, both of

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United Way Urging State to Help Up Preschool Teaching Salaries
By Andy McKeever, iBerkshires Staff
01:02AM / Friday, November 11, 2016
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Dalton Preschool Director Paul Harris met with Douglas McNally, state Rep. Paul Mark, and United Way Program Director Karen Vogel on Thursday. DALTON, Mass. — On Thursday, Paula Harris wore a button to work in support of a movement to raise the wages for preschool teachers like herself.   The button was from 26 years ago.   Harris is approaching her 30th year as a preschool teacher and is now the director of the Dalton Preschool, housed in the same building with the CRA. When she took over as the director, she took a pay cut and she hasn't had much of a raise since then, now earning around $35,000 a year.    But she's ahead of the curve. Many

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Lanesborough Elementary to Veterans: Breakfast Is On Us
By Andy McKeever, iBerkshires Staff
01:15PM / Thursday, November 10, 2016
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This student saluted during the National Anthem.  LANESBOROUGH, Mass. — The kindergarten class led the way, the preschoolers followed with flags held high — and teachers reminding them not to let them hit the ground.   They stood in the cafeteria and looked over a crowd of some 75 armed service veterans and began singing patriotic songs. When they finished, they had handmade cards of thanks to give to each and every one who attended.   Meanwhile, the third-graders were going from table to table asking, "would you like more coffee, sir?" The first-graders were waiting outside the door, ready to perform their own songs.    The scene was the

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