Adams-Cheshire First-Graders Find Success In New Reading Initiative

By Jack GuerinoiBerkshires Staff
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The School Committee heard a presentation on the results of a new reading program for first-graders.

ADAMS, Mass. — Adams-Cheshire Regional School District first-grade teachers reported that pupils are responding well to a newly adopted literacy program

First-grade teacher Mary Tanner presented data supporting the success of the Bay State Reading Institute (BSRI), a publicly funded initiative focused on promoting literacy, to the School Committee on Monday night.

She said because of the children’s fluency success, the institute challenged them to meet higher rates by winter. As of this week, 57 percent have already met the goal. She added 80 percent of the children already met the previous end-of-year goal.

Tanner said she expects even more to meet the goal by January.

"We are well on our way of dramatically enhancing student performance in our schools," she said.

Superintendent Kristen Gordon praised the program and the teachers, and said the children enjoy it.

"Although many are standing out, this team is standing out as a superstar team right now," Gordon said. "The kids are saying they are loving school, even our fifth-graders are saying they are loving school.”

Tanner said the students do some of the program work on computers. She said in the first grade, 87 percent of the kids are making recommended usage from 45 minutes to 80 minutes, depending on their ability level.

She said technology in the classroom brings kids up to speed quickly.

"Four iPads in a room would be heaven, and we know this because last year we were very fortunate and the fifth grade let us borrow them for an hour and a half every day," Tanner said. "Our numbers went sky high and their abilities grew with them … it is a great tool and a great resource.”

Tanner said the program allows teachers to pinpoint where students are achieving and struggling and allows them to change their method of teaching to help different groups.

Often children enter the first grade at a pre-first grade level. She said the program allows "re-leveling" so pupils can be put into groups within which they are challenged.

Reading coach Elaine Hunter agreed that the program helps teach more specifically to kids because of the data it provides.

"Each teacher is differentiating based on the needs of those students present in their group so you are going to have a variety of learners," Hunter said. "It is your job as a teacher to differentiate your instruction based on their individual needs. We now are able to look at each student and see what their needs are based on data.”

Selectman Joseph Nowak attended the meeting and said he often substitute teaches and can see the benefits of the BSRI program.

"The students seem to be able to help one another which is important. There is no airs among young kids, and they will tell it the way it is in a polite way," Nowak said. "The children certainly go to the utmost to help one of their fellow students.”

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Adams Will Hire New DPW Director Next Week

By Jeff SnoonianiBerkshires Staff
ADAMS, Mass. — The director of public works job will remain vacant for at least another week as the Board of Selectmen on Tuesday decided to ask two of the candidates back for another round of interviews. 
The position has been unfilled for the better part of two years after David Nuvaille retired in 2017 2018.
Town Administrator Jay Green feels the time without a director might have given the town the chance to re-evaluate how the position is defined and what the town is looking for.
"Without a DPW director, we have been functioning and getting the essentials done. I don't want to hire someone just for the sake of filling the position," he said. "We are working with a very reactive mindset right now though. A pothole pops up we fill it. A structure we hear is falling apart we fix it. We haven't had the capacity or the skill set with someone who can look ahead. We need to introduce someone into the mix who can say, 'Let's look at next year and year two.' Let the operations supervisor run the day to day. That's been going well."
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