The donor is really donors — the Jeffrey family of Columbus, Ohio. The initial gift was made by two Jeffreys, a Williams alumnae and her mother; the second is a family affair, with 18 Jeffrey relatives — Williams alumni and parents — combining donations.
The announcement was made Tuesday night at the Mount Greylock Regional School Committee.
"This is a family that cares about education and they care about Williams College, " said James Kolesar, assistant to the president for public affairs at Williams College. "And they undertand that this is a pivotal time in the history of this school and they realize with the infusion of some funds, in conjunction with other changes that are taking place at the school, it's a chance to really make a difference at a school and a community that they care about."
Superintendent of Schools Rose Ellis described the initial gift as extraordinary.
"We are very, very grateful for that generosity to our school and so many of us benefited from that gift," she said. "We've been recently informed that a second round of financial support is coming our way, which is incredible."
The first gift in fiscal 2012 allowed the school district to do a complete needs assesment of the school that will be published this week; set education exploratory teams to look at issues such as technology and scheduling; work to develop a learning framework based on "Rigor, Relevance and Relationship"; send staff and faculty to conferences and workshops; provide professional development training during the summer in a variety of educational initiatives; and purchase of laptop carts and printers and a state-of-the-art lab.
"We were very busy last year spending the Jeffrey family gift of $135,000," said Ellis.
The $150,000 gift will help fund similar activities, including more professional development; "a more laserklike approach to literacy"; a math plan; more technology; extended learning; and look more closely at the arts and connected schools.
Ellis said the gift was given without strings but the family was kept informed of what the money was being used for and asked for recommendations. Kolesar said they were pleased at the way the funds were used.
"They are interested in catalyzing not only change at the school but encouraging of community support for the school as well," said Kolesar.
"The family has long been dedicated to education, and it's clear when I talk with its members that they understand the importance of of the school not only to its students but also to the community, including the college," said Williams President Adam Falk in a statement.
The college has been very involved in the school, including maintaining a Williams Center at Mount Greylock, where the college's students, staff and faculty help to advance the middle and high school's programs.
School Committee member Heather Williams said she appreciated the unique approach to how to think about schools and who is served.
"Their vision is not to make up for shortfalls from the towns," she said. "Their vision is to put some icing on the cake that otherwise wouldn't be available, to make the school something more rather than subsidizing it."
Kolesar said the 18 family members were across generations and financial capabilities. None of them live in Williamstown or Lanesborough.
"It's exciting to be the kind of school that can garner this support," said Ellis.
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