North Adams School Committee Praises District

By John DurkaniBerkshires Staff
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The School Committee met at its new meeting location at 37 Main St. on Tuesday.
NORTH ADAMS, Mass. — The School Committee and other officials couldn't stop talking about the success of the Drury High School music and the new performing arts management programs and department — even after the adjournment of Tuesday's meeting.
"It's an amazing group of people out there," said Ellen Sutherland, the assistant to the superintendent, in a new office outside the conference room following the meeting.
About an hour prior to then, Drury High Band Director Chris Caproni spoke highly of the music and performing arts students, who have recently contracted professional acts, run the stage and produced the concerts.
"It's all kid-driven, the kids do incredible work," Caproni said. "Come see a concert, it's the best thing."
Caproni explained that professional musicians Danny Klein, bassist for the J. Geils Band who played with Aerosmith at Fenway Park in 2010, and Jim Taft, a Drury class of 1984 alumni, shared their experiences with the music classes.
"The kids are doing a great job, they're learning all the professional aspects of this," Caproni said.
The performing arts management class is comprised of 15 students. Caproni explained the concerts involve various parts of the school's music department, including the band, chorus and other related classes — for example, the Mozart Requiem, scheduled for Jan. 15 at 7 p.m., will feature about 90 band and chorus students.
Mayor Richard Alcombright credited the department for its work, saying these events "don't happen by accident."
The program has been funded primarily by the McDonald Trust, the Pauline "Polly" Young Fund, Gateway Fund and a $1,000 donation from Iberdrola Renewals. Iberdrola also matched that donation to Drury's athletic department, Caproni said.
Drury Band Director Chris Caproni, above, praised the staff and students for their work on its concert series. Below is the logo for the pamphlet and poster, created by senior Rachel Capec.
"We all work collaboratively appreciate the support of the community," Caproni said.
Caproni passed around pamphlets and posters with event listings with a logo designed by senior Rachel Capec that received praised from the School Committee. Superintendent James Montepare called the work "mind boggling."
The remaining concerts for Drury Performing Arts Center and PAM are (free unless otherwise noted):
  • Jan. 15, 7 p.m.: Mozart Requiem
  • Feb. 12, 6:30 p.m.: Solo and Ensemble Concert
  • March 12, 7 p.m.: Districtwide Band Concert
  • March 28, 7 p.m.: Rani Arbo and Daisy Mayhem with June and the Bee and the Drury chorus; Tickets are $10 general admission, $5 for Drury students.
  • May 7, 7 p.m.: Double Capital Festival (at the Drury High School gym); Tickets are $10 general admission, $5 for Drury students.
  • May 15, 7 p.m.: Final Drury Band and Chorus Concert
The music and performing arts departments weren't the only ones praised.
School committee member John Hockridge was quick to point out the academic improvements of the elementary schools, specifically 77 percent of Brayton Elementary School third-graders scoring in advanced or proficient on mathematics on the Massachusetts Comprehensive Assessment System exam, 10 percent above the state average.
"I think it shows how dedicated and how well the staff works together, at all grade levels at Brayton," Principal John Franzoni said, noting the school will aim to build off the high standard set last year.
School Committee Secretary Mary Lou Accetta credited the district's way of examining the children and the "safe, supportive, ready to learn" culture.
One plan that was mentioned later supported Accetta's statement. Greylock Elementary School Principal Sandra Cote discussed her plan to meet with every pupil individually twice a year to talk to with him or her about how the school year is going.
This committee meeting was the first held at the new administrative offices, located on 37 Main St., suite 200.
The offices, being leased the first year at a reduced rate for less than $50,000 before increasing to about $69,000 for the next two years, still have some work to be done, but are filling in.
Some of the furniture and doors are being recycled from Conte Middle School.
The mayor asked Montepare if there will be an open house, which he confirmed.
They just need to finish moving in.

Tags: Drury High,   MCAS,   North Adams School Committee,   

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