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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God forbid a wealthy Williams alum should direct the college to help the North Adams school district, you know, the one that teaches all the kids of the janitors and cooks. Nope. You've gotta make sure the professor's kids all have the best access money can buy.
The rich helping the rich. That's the American way.
Thanks to the donor for their help. They can do whatever they wish to support schools in the area.
BTW, Williams does help out with many school districts including N.A. Public Schools. The support tends to be more low key but it does amount to a large impact--in the millions over the years. Could they do more? Of course that is always true for everyone, yes?
Unfortunately, many incurably affluent and emotionally immature Williams students forget about North Adams and marginalize it as a downtrodden area, but Williams under the last 2 presidents has been putting in a lot of effort to make changes for the better and they should be recognized for their efforts.
Why would anyone look a gift horse in the mouth, maybe Jealous of there neighbors. Maybe the writer should think long term like a recipient of the leadership initiative could stay around and help there neighbors. I know that sometimes it is depressing to see others have and appear to receive more then others, but we all have a responsibility to change what we think needs changing and not look to others to change things for us. Thanks to the person or persons that steped up.
I just recently graduated Mt Greylock, and let me tell you every dime that was donated is needed. I have visited both Drury High and McCann Tech, and of those 3 schools Mt. Greylock is in need of that money. They still use laptops that were there when I was in middle school (7 years old roughly) Where Drury is able to loan fairly new macbooks to students. So it is not "The rich helping the rich" it is the person that worked hard helping students and give them the oppurtinity to work hard. Stop the class warfare!
This generosity is so welcome as we struggle as a town to fund necessities. It builds a strong bridge between the town and college. However, Williams should be obligated through a PILOT program, but until such time as they take on the responsibility of what the rest of us do in town (pay taxes) …many of us will be happy with gestures such as this.
In the end though, Williams and all other well endowed schools and non-profits (including churches!) will see the sense in PILOT and contribute money to our schools and town. I no longer feel that my property tax should help subsidize organizations that clearly no longer need such help! This isn't 1776 and we need to help establish these entities, rather these are entities that need to contribute to the very community from which they spring. They are established and have cashflow and students willing to come. PILOT! PILOT! PILOT!!!
Did you know that there is a PILOT plan in place with our Fired District dating back to a failed attempt to establish a tax that Williams would pay to help out with the cost of fire fighting? This was around 1912 as I recall. Williams won the case, BUT THEY SAW THE GOOD and COMMON SENSE in helping to fund this town necessity and resource. It was in their self-interest to have a healthy Fire Department. So too is it in their self interest to help a school system in need (in their home town). It is a resource for attracting and keeping Williams people in town.
The landscape for Williamstown’s financial picture is a lot different then it was 300 years ago.
The wealthy must pay taxes too, and Williams is wealthy.