Hoosac Valley High School has a new principal and the district has new goals going into the school year.
ADAMS, Mass. — The Adams-Cheshire Regional School District is gearing up for the upcoming school year with new goals, new happenings and a new principal at Hoosac Valley High School.
Principal Jeremiah Ames isn't too new. He was promoted from dean of students in July to replace departed Principal Vincent Regan.
Ames was hired this past January as dean of students; he previously taught foreign language at Lenox Memorial Middle and High School and at the private Cushing Academy, and also served a short stint on the Lenox School Committee.
Superintendent Kristen Gordon said an interview committee consisting of staff, the Hoosac Valley Vice Principal Martin McEvoy and parents interviewed six of the 14 applicants for the post.
"It was a unanimous decision by the committee as we chose Jeremiah," Gordon said.
She said after Ames was hired, a committee was put together to select a new dean of students to replace him. The committee chose Colleen Byrd, a English language arts teacher at Hoosac Valley.
Gordon said she is excited to work with new administrators and welcomes them to the Adams-Cheshire team.
"We may be a fresh team but we work extremely well together, and we have a great energy," Gordon said. "We are extremely proud of our district, and we are ready to paddle the water together as a districtwide team."
Gordon said the school district will continue working with the member towns of Adams and Cheshire to create an even more integrated relationship.
She said it will be important this year to communicate with the public and work with the towns to help balance the school budget, which underwent major cuts.
"We will better educate our community and stakeholders in terms of the needs in the district so that when the spring comes, we can better balance the budget in a meaningful and important way for the children in our school district," she said.
Gordon said former Town Administrator Jonathan Butler was a huge supporter of the public schools and she is hoping to create a good working relationship between the town and the district with whoever is the new town administrator.
"Jonathan Butler … was a great fan and supporter of the district," Gordon said. "We are going to miss him, and we wish him well on the new chapter in his life. We are hoping to get an equally supportive town administrator in Adams."
Gordon said the district will continue its efforts to establish the safest school environment possible.
The district has addressed public safety communication issues at Hoosac Valley High School by putting a repeater on the building that allows police to communicate in the notorious dead zone if there is an emergency situation.
"We have a great relationship with the Adams and Cheshire police departments as well as the state police, sheriff's office, and DA's office," she said. "They have all given us invaluable resources, and we are incredibly appreciative."
Gordon said the district has completed its five-year strategic plan that included improvements and goals such as student achievement, curriculum, assessment, data, teaching and learning. She said it will continue to focus on these goals.
Along with the goals, Gordon said there many new programs and initiatives the district is excited about.
She said many of the teachers have undergone a data team workshop to help students better take the Massachusetts Comprehensive Assessment System tests, which are used by the state to determine student progress.
"The work was about digging deep into the MCAS data and formulating a plan to increase student achievement," she said. "Our staff came out with an outstanding plan that we hope to have in place by week two of the school year."
She said Hoosac Valley has been accepted into the Massachusetts Math and Science Initiative Program. The nationally led program looks to address the decline in math and science education in the United States.
She said Cheshire Elementary School and C.T. Plunkett will welcome Baystate Reading Institute into their curriculum. The publicly funded initiative partners long term with elementary schools to promote literacy. Gordon described it as a "highly structured reading philosophy program."