BArT Education Grant Allowing Local Collaboration for Math Teaching

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ADAMS, Mass. — Berkshire Arts & Technology Charter Public School is receiving a state grant of $244,070 grant to support a collaborative math education project with the Adams-Cheshire Regional School District and the North Adams Public Schools.
BArT proposed the collaborative project to the Massachusetts Dissemination Program for charter schools. The grant from the  state Department of Elementary and Secondary Education will facilitate sharing between middle school math teachers of practices that support improvement of student performance using the Data Wise model as a continuous cycle of inquiry. 
The charter school has an ongoing partnership with Harvard University's Graduate School of Education and the Data Wise project, a process that uses student data to focus and assess teaching methods. 
"With an abundance of data but not sure at the time on what data we should focus to improve student academic performance, we at BArT adopted the Data Wise Improvement Process nearly a decade ago," said Jay White, the school's executive director and project coordinator for the grant. "BArT teachers have learned to use the data cycle, Data Wise, and expertise of the Achievement Network in the years since to help them collaboratively measure student performance and continuously improve learning among our middle school students. The Massachusetts Dissemination Program is a fantastic means for us to share what we are learning with our colleagues in the North Adams and Adams-Cheshire school districts."
North Adams Superintendent Barbara Malkas emphasized the importance of continuing what her district has already begun. 
"The District Data Team had adopted and received preliminary training in the use of the Data Wise cycle of inquiry this past spring," she said. "We saw this grant opportunity as a means of expanding the use of data-informed decision-making in our schools and in a content area for increased student achievement. It is also an opportunity to build collaboration and professional capacity regionally through a dynamic sharing of best practices across schools and districts."
The school is one of only seven institutions across the state to be selected to receive the competitive grant. It will for two years administer the grant, which provides funds to support the collaborative work of the middle-school mathematics teachers as well as provide on-site training by certified Data Wise and Achievement Network experts.
"The ACRSD looks forward to participating in the Data Wise training and using the Achievement Network data, training, and resources that we could not otherwise afford," said Robert Putnam, superintendent of the Adams-Cheshire schools. "I also believe that developing common practices across our districts will benefit the students because we are all serving the same population."

Tags: BArT,   education grant,   math,   state grant,   

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Solid Waste District Considers Accepting North Adams

By Jack GuerinoiBerkshires Staff
ADAMS, Mass. — Northern Berkshire Solid Waste Management has entered into conversations with North Adams about rejoining the district.
Williamstown representative Tim Kaiser told the commission Thursday that he and program director Linda Cernik have met with city officials about re-entering the district.
"At the request of the city we had a meeting ... and they are interested in rejoining the district," Kaiser said. "They expressed that they have the capability of running pretty much all of their operations now but they are weak in areas that they feel we are strong in."
Kaiser said the city is specifically interested in the coordinated events, outreach, and educational opportunities the district offers. The waste district had come up at a city Public Services Committee meeting in May about composting and education. He did not see a downside at this point and noted that if North Adams were to join, it would become the district's largest member.
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