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Sue Bush
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Williams Names Local Olmsted Award Honorees

12:00AM / Monday, June 12, 2006

Williamstown - Williams College announced the 2006 winners of its local Bicentennial Olmsted Awards at a ceremony on Monday, June 5.

College President Morton Owen Schapiro presented the awards to the winners and Thomas Garrity, director of the Program for Effective Teaching at Williams, spoke to the assembled local school administrators, award winning teachers, and their families.

The awards are given annually to teachers or groups of teachers at the three public schools supported by Williamstown: Williamstown Elementary School, Mt. Greylock Regional High School, and McCann Technical School. Each school will receive a total of $5,000 to fund their winning projects.

This year's winners from Williamstown Elementary School are Becky Meier, Sherry Monte and Wendy Powell for "Individual Student Success Plan" and Stephen D. Johnson for "Teacher Reading Academy Training."

From Mr. Greylock, the winners are Catherine Demick for a seminar for first-time AP teachers; Robin Lehleitner for a program to identify "at risk" honors students; Patrick Blackman for a catalog of folk songs for U.S. history; and Sharyn Dupee and Liza Barrett for a plan to work with a local author to create fictional characters through historical research.

From McCann, the winning project is "Pre-Engineering in Grades 9-12," submitted by Scott Botto and John Euchler.

One of the grants to Williamstown Elementary will help students who are struggling in a particular area of their studies. "We would like to create documents that are available to the teachers on the school's computer network and develop a computer database of frequently recommended strategies, which will allow us to immediately generate a list of interventions that might be helpful for a particular student," the teachers wrote in their proposal. The second grant will support a professional development program, which will enable teachers to better assess students' reading progress.

At Mt. Greylock, Demick, a French teacher, will attend an Advanced Placement (AP) teacher-training workshop this summer to prepare for offering AP-level French. Lehleitner will launch a two-part pilot project "aimed ultimately at challenging students to stay engaged in Mt. Greylock's most rigorous offerings," with the first pilot concentrated on English courses. Blackman, who teaches U.S. history and is a folk singer and guitar player, will research songs from different eras of American history and create a series of CDs for teachers' use. Dupee and Barrett will bring author Elizabeth Winthrop to Mt. Greylock to lead workshops about writing historical fiction.

At McCann, the grant will allow two teachers to attend a course on engineering principles at Worcester Polytechnic Institute this summer. The training is part of an initiative known as "Project Lead the Way," which "introduces students to the scope, rigor and discipline of engineering and engineering technology prior to entering college."

An endowment from the estates of George Olmsted, Jr. '24 and his wife, Frances, fund the Bicentennial Olmsted Awards. The awards were established during the 1993 Williams Bicentennial Celebration as an extension of the national Olmsted Prizes, which are awarded each year to secondary school teachers from across the country, nominated by the Williams senior class as great teachers. Olmsted, a lifelong proponent of superior teaching, was the president and chairman of the board of the S.D. Warren (Paper) Company.


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