Williams College Expands Development Grants for Local School Districts

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WILLIAMSTOWN, Mass. — Williams College will increase from three to seven the number of local school districts that benefit from its Bicentennial Olmsted Awards.

Each year the program awards $5,000 per district to support teacher and administrator projects aimed at professional or curricular development. Since the program’s launch in the college’s bicentennial year of 1993, the Olmsted Awards have been given to McCann Technical, Mount Greylock Regional and Williamstown Elementary.

With the expansion of the program, Adams-Cheshire Regional, Berkshire Arts and Technology Charter, Lanesborough Elementary, and North Adams Public Schools will be added.

 “I’m pleased that Williams is able to broaden the benefit of the Olmsted Awards to more of the school districts that serve our community so well,” Williams President Adam Falk said. “In addition to advancing professional and curricular development, these awards also bring well deserved public attention to our dedicated corps of local teachers.”

Projects being funded in the current year include ones implementing the Massachusetts Kindergarten Entry Assessment system at Williamstown Elementary, revamping the ninth-grade English curriculum at Mount Greylock Regional, and developing the robotics program at McCann Technical.

“This is much more than a generous financial commitment to our district,” North Adams Public Schools Superintendent James Montepare said. “I see it as yet another unsolicited huge step by Williams to support K-12 education, not only locally, but throughout the region. The college’s presence in North Adams has grown substantially during my tenure as superintendent. Williams has opened the doors of its art museum to thousands of our students, expanded its student tutorial program, and this year the college is a full partner with us and MCLA in a phenomenal three-year science initiative.”

The local Olmsted Awards are funded by an endowment from the estates of George Olmsted Jr. ’24 and his wife Frances. The awards were established during the 1993 Williams Bicentennial Celebration. They are an extension of the national Olmsted Prizes, which are administered each year to secondary school teachers from around the country, nominated by students of Williams’ senior class. Olmsted, a lifelong advocate of superior teaching, was the president and chairman of the board of the S.D. Warren (Paper) Company.



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Mount Greylock School Committee Completes Superintendent Evaluation

By Stephen DravisiBerkshires Staff
WILLIAMSTOWN, Mass. — The Mount Greylock School Committee gave first-year Superintendent Kimberley Grady passing marks on her first formal evaluation while recognizing that the evaluation process itself was incomplete given Mount Greylock's transition to a fully regionalized PreK-12 district.
Four of the six committee members who completed the evaluation process gave Grady an overall mark of proficient in the evaluation rubric established by the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education for administrators across the commonwealth. Two gave her an overall score of "needs improvement," though at least one commented in the written evaluation that she is at the higher end of the "needs improvement" range.
And the "needs improvement" classification itself was not to be unexpected for someone who was hired as a full-time superintendent after a spring 2018 vote of the committee.
DESE's guidance to school committees is that, "for first- and second-year superintendents, there will most likely be 'needs improvement,' " acting Chairwoman Regina DiLego said.
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