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The School Committee last week voted to add AP physics and statistics, and credit the soft skills course.

McCann Cutting Costs for Electrical & Solar Array Repairs

By Jack GuerinoiBerkshires Staff
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NORTH ADAMS, Mass. — McCann Technical School will receive $10,000 in repairs to its small roof-mounted solar array with a net-metering contract that will cut electricity costs.

The McCann School Committee voted Wednesday to enter into a 25-year solar net metering contract that should cut electricity costs by 25 percent.

"This is something municipalities and school districts are doing across the commonwealth," Superintendent James Brosnan said. "We are not the first we are in the middle of the pack."

He added that he was able to reach an agreement that the contractor would gift $10,000 to make repairs to the 15-year-old array that has been offline for eight years.

"It has not been in operation for a number of years and it needs some significant repairs we just could not afford," he said. "We are hopeful we can get it up and running again and save money on our electricity."

The School Committee also voted to make some policy and curriculum changes, including adding Advanced Placement physics and statistics.

Principal Justin Kratz said some students in honors physics showed in interest in AP physics so now both AP and honors physics will be taught in the same class under the same instructor. Some students will conduct more advanced work.  

AP statistics is being added so students have more options than just the very difficult AP calculus.

"We have a bunch of students that come in as freshman that are on the AP calculus track and then they get to their senior year and they have too much going on," Kratz said. "So now instead of taking AP calculus, which is a very tough class, they can take stats, which is still tough."

Also, the committee voted to make the school's soft skills course that teaches students employee building and job interview skills a credited class on its own. Before it counted as 15 percent of a student's shop grade.

Kratz said students are taken out of shop 45 minutes three times a week to take the class and many put forth little effort and settle for a B average.

"That is not the message we want to send," he said. "They are very important skills and they are very critical items that they are learn for their future success. The teachers feel like they are battling up hill."

The class now will be graded separately.  

The student handbook will also be updated regarding student searches

The school can legally search a student's clothing, locker, and bag if there is reasonable suspicion a student has something he or she shouldn't.

Kratz said all the wording for that is in the handbook but it will be reorganized and clarified so it is all on the same page.

If a student has to be searched two other adults will be present. Students are asked to turn out their pockets, take off their shoes, and be patted down. If they do not comply parents are notified.

The committee agreed to spend $115,085 of the $121,000 governor's equipment grant to purchase some new welding supplies for the school. 

Tags: AP course,   McCann,   solar array,   

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