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Adams-Cheshire Preparing Students For State Exams

By Jack GuerinoiBerkshires Staff
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The School Committee receives an update from the superintendent on Monday night. 
CHESHIRE, Mass. — The Adams-Cheshire Regional School District is preparing for this year's round of standardized tests that will take place this spring.
Superintendent John Vosburgh told the School Committee on Monday night that the high school Massachusetts Comprehensive Assessment System tests for will take place in March and middle and elementary schools in April. Specific dates will be released in the near future.
"We set our MCAS dates, which we will post. I just wanted to ask the principals to digest it for a week," he said. "It's a little bit tricker now that it's online."
Because this year's test, except for the science section, will be completely online, Vosburgh said, it is imperative to make sure the district's computers are up and running and there is plenty of tech support available during the scheduled time.
"We have to figure it out within the schools to make sure we have tech support and that our systems are working," he said. "It is no longer handing out the booklets and the bubble sheets and it is a little more elaborate than that now but we are preparing ... we will be ready to roll."
In other business, Hoosac Valley Principal Colleen Byrd presented how school climate and culture is being improved in regard to the district's turnaround plan.
"We have a lot going on that we are excited about," she said.
She said the school rolled out a survey for students and faculty and that between 80 and 85 percent responded that they felt safe and secure in the building and felt as though they had someone to turn to.
"The the majority of the students and the staff feel comfortable and they feel safe and they feel like they have someone who can support them or reach out to," Byrd said. "We want to increase that."
She said the students have painted new murals in the building as well as welcomed the assistant district attorney visit the school to talk about bullying and its effects on social media.
Byrd also explained "Talk About Them Tuesdays," when students or faculty are nominated and recognized. She said the school also holds pride days and pride rallies during which students and faculty are recognized.  
Looking toward the future, the principal said there is a plan to introduce new "street signage" in the building in each hallway.
"We thought it would bring us together more as a family if we labeled the hallways in the school," she said. "We have Perseverance Way, Respect Avenue, Integrity Lane, Empathy Way, etc."
She added that a community forum is planned for March and that the school has sent invitations to Drury High School in North Adams, Mount Greylock Regional School in Williamstown, the Northern Berkshire Community Coalition and the probation office, so far.
"We are going to start the conversation and really talk to each other and talk to others about what message we want to get out to our youth and how we bring the community in those conversations," she said.
The School Committee also approved an eighth-grade trip to New York City.
"We hope to continue this tradition for the eighth grade and we did a survey to see if they wanted to do Washington, D.C., again or New York City and they wanted to do New York City," eighth-grade adviser Regina Diesz said.
Diesz said the trip would be for two nights and that she hopes to bring around 60 percent of the class, which would be around 50 students. The cost is $592 per student but if more go, this could bring down the rate. The grade plans on fundraising for the trip. 

Tags: bullying,   MCAS,   

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Adams Board of Health Accepts Town Halloween Plan

By Jack GuerinoiBerkshires Staff
ADAMS, Mass. — The Board of Health officially endorsed the town's Halloween plans but urged residents to remain vigilant over the holiday weekend.
"I was thrilled to hear that a very robust plan because as you know having kids trick or treat is high-risk behavior," Chairman David Rhoads said last week before the unanimous vote. "...This is a super alternative."
The town will utilize Police Department, Fire Department, Department of Public Works and Forest Warden vehicles to deliver candy to kids instead of the traditional door-to-door trick-or-treat that is considered a high-risk activity in regard to the possible transmission of COVID-19.
Gloved and masked town employees will hand out candy as they drive through each precinct. 
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