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Anonymous Donor Gives Mt. Greylock High $135,000

By James Kolesar
Community Submission
11:30PM / Tuesday, October 18, 2011
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WILLIAMSTOWN, Mass. — An anonymous donor has earmarked a $135,000 to Williams College to go toward helping Mount Greylock Regional High School.

The money is intended to expand the high school's partnership with the International Center for Leadership in Education, develop an active learning community framework  based on 'Rigor, Relevance and Relationship" and begin professional development for staff based on that framework. Officials from Williams College announced the donation to the School Committee on Tuesday night.

"Williams and Mt. Greylock have long had a strong relationship," Superintendent of Schools Rose Ellis said. "This wonderful gift from a Williams alumna and her parent will enable the school and the college to support much more fully our faculty’s efforts to pursue innovative teaching suited for 21st-Century learning. I was thrilled and excited for the students of Williamstown and Lanesborough when I first learned of the possibility of this gift, and now that it’s worked out, our teachers and I are overjoyed."

How the Money Will Be Used:
  • $40,000 - Schedule Coaching/curriculum and technology specialists
  • $15,000 - Field Studies: visits to model/high performing schools and visits from leading educators
  • $25,000 - Summer Institute: expanded professional development including technology for personal productivity and application to classroom instruction
  • $55,000 - Technology: lapstops, tablets, media/voice, science/electronic tools for faculty as building blocks for greater integration of technology in teaching and learning
Mt. Greylock has recently embarked on a plan to give faculty members the training, collaboration, and equipment needed to more fully engage students of all learning styles. Faculty and staff from the school have been working with the International Center for Leadership in Education on adapting ways to prepare students for the rapidly changing world. Teaching coaches from the center will be working with Mt. Greylock faculty, and this summer 14 representatives of the school and the college participated in the center’s Model Schools Conference in Nashville, Tennessee.

 "The donors of this gift are motivated by their understanding of Mt. Greylock’s importance to Williams. On behalf of the college, the school, and the community, I thank them for this extraordinary and insightful gift," Williams College President Adam Falk said.

The gift will be used to expand coaching and other professional development for teachers, to enable study visits to model schools, and to provide much needed technology and support in how best to integrate it naturally into teaching and learning for all students. As one measure of progress for these initiatives, the school will collect input from students, parents, and teachers.

"This kind of feedback, in addition to test scores, will help us understand which innovations are working and which aren’t, enabling us to continually adapt," Ellis said. "Mt. Greylock faculty have been eager to innovate and it’s exciting, at a time when budgets are tight, to have the resources to support their aspirations."

In 2008, the college launched the Williams Center at Mt. Greylock, which under the coordination of Kaatje White, works to maximize the educational value that Williams students, faculty, and staff can bring to bear at Mt. Greylock. Those efforts will continue.

"The vision of these donors is not to relieve our community of its responsibility to support a thriving school, but to help Mt. Greylock go even further—to reclaim its own historic legacy as an exemplary school," Jim Kolesar, Williams' assistant to the president for public affairs, said. "With the plan for innovation that the school's administration and faculty have begun, with the new Multicultural BRIDGE program underway, and with the intent to file with the state by the end of the calendar year an updated Statement of Interest in replacing the current building, there’s certainly a sense of momentum building at Mt. Greylock."
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