Local Schools Receive Olmsted Awards from Williams College

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WILLIAMSTOWN, Mass. — Williams College has announced its 2018 Bicentennial Olmsted Awards for Faculty and Curricular Development to the Adams-Cheshire Regional School District, Berkshire Arts and Technology Charter Public School, Lanesborough Elementary School, McCann Technical School, Mount Greylock Regional School, North Adams Public Schools and Williamstown Elementary School.

Each entity will receive $5,000 for professional and curricular development projects.

Adams-Cheshire will fund the implementation of Project Lead the Way at Hoosac Valley Middle School. PLTW will help teachers engage in student-centered instruction and improve student learning through increased engagement in problem solving and process thinking, the development of technical knowledge and skills, and the improvement of communication skills.

BArT will create an Academic Master Plan that evaluates current middle- and high-school core curricula, define elective courses and the enrichment experience, consider the most effective daily and weekly schedules for the delivery of the academic program, and consider how to integrate special education and so-called regular education.

Lanesborough Elementary will send teachers to a professional development opportunity at the MassCUE Fall Technology Conference held in Foxborough, Mass., in October 2018. The conference is designed for educators with a passion for technology in education and will support teachers as they seek to advance technology use in the classroom.

McCann Technical will continue its 2017 program, which funded faculty attendance and participation at the International Society for Technology in Education conference. The school's goal is to shift away from teaching with technology to teaching through technology. The school will expand its tech team to include six additional teachers who will look to implement, and model for others, best practices in teaching using technology.

Mount Greylock Regional will extend its co-curricular programming in robotics and expand its visual arts program. Funding will subsidize students' participation in the First Robotics competition and purchase new visual arts equipment: a motorized potters' wheel and a stained glass cutter.

North Adams will use the Olmsted funds for two projects. First, it will launch the alignment of a new social studies curriculum through teacher engagement and professional development. Second, it will expand the impact of a new data dashboard system by training all staff in the new system.

Williamstown Elementary will focus on social emotional learning. The Olmsted Award will fund a series of presentations on topics including anxiety in children, trauma informed teaching and digital citizenship. Presenters will work with staff, and parents will be included in the programming through evening presentations.

The local Olmsted Awards are funded by an endowment from the estates of George Olmsted Jr., Class of '24, and his wife Frances. The awards were established in 1993, on the occasion of 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.

In addition, Williams College will award the annual George Olmsted Jr. Class of 1924 Prize for Excellence in Secondary School Teaching to four outstanding high school teachers on Saturday, June 2, at Ivy Exercises.

The recipients are Jeff Hess, an English teacher at South Eugene High School in Eugene, Ore.; Justin C. Maaia, a religious studies teacher at the National Cathedral School in Washington D.C.; Chad Stauber Soik, a language arts teacher at the Sheboygan North High School in Sheboygan, Wis.; and Giovanna Termini, a social studies teacher at Hunter College High School in New York, N.Y.

Each year, Williams seniors nominate high school teachers who played influential roles in their lives and learning. A committee of faculty, staff, and students choose winners from among the nominees. Recipients of the award receive $3,000, and an additional $5,000 is given to each recipient’s school.

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