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Springfest will feature many of the same games and activities as Snowfest. (Courtesy Williamstown Youth Center)

Willamstown Youth Center Hosts 'Springfest' Fundraiser

By Rebecca DravisiBerkshires Staff
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Springfest will have three bounce houses.

WILLIAMSTOWN, Mass. — For the first time, the Williamstown Youth Center's biggest fundraiser will be held at the youth center itself.

"Springfest" will take place Sunday, April 28, from noon to 4 p.m. inside and outside as well (weather permitting) the youth center building on the grounds of Williamstown Elementary School. Springfest replaces Snowfest, which traditionally was held on Super Bowl Sunday at Towne Field House on the Williams College Campus.

"Every year Williams College has been an invaluable partner in helping us stage this event," Executive Director Michael Williams said. "But with the Towne Field House unavailable due to ongoing renovations, we saw this as an opportunity to offer a community event in the tradition of Snowfest at our own location."

Once again, the event will be free and open to all, though donations will be accepted and all proceeds from the event help the Williamstown Youth Center continue to provide affordable programming for children throughout the year. Springfest is the only major fundraiser that supports the annual operation of the youth center.

And those used to Snowfest will find a lot of familiar activities, according to Julia Melnick, the youth center's business and operations manager, who is overseeing the planning of the event.

There will be the perennial favorite bounce houses - outside, weather permitting, or in the gym of the elementary school in case of rain - and arts and crafts throughout the youth center space, including a caricature artist and a place to make photo magnets. There will be a variety of field games like kickball, sack races and three-legged races outside if the weather cooperates or inside the youth center gym if need be. 

"We want to utilize the space," Melnick said.

In the past, pizza has been sold at Snowfest, but Melnick said with the change of timing and venue comes a change in menu: Grills will be set up and hot dogs and hamburgers will be sold this year instead.

Melnick said she is excited to show off the youth center potentially to people who have not visited before, or new families in town.

"It's a nice way to introduce people to the youth center," she said. "It's a great way to get out of the house and get active with the family."

Melnick said all ages are welcome to the event, which will see high school and college volunteers helping out with activities for the younger kids. That's something that's particularly special, she said.

"Playing basketball with a college kid is the highlight of life for an 8-year-old," Melnick said. "They love it. It's awesome."


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Mount Greylock School Committee Completes Superintendent Evaluation

By Stephen DravisiBerkshires Staff
WILLIAMSTOWN, Mass. — The Mount Greylock School Committee gave first-year Superintendent Kimberley Grady passing marks on her first formal evaluation while recognizing that the evaluation process itself was incomplete given Mount Greylock's transition to a fully regionalized PreK-12 district.
 
Four of the six committee members who completed the evaluation process gave Grady an overall mark of proficient in the evaluation rubric established by the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education for administrators across the commonwealth. Two gave her an overall score of "needs improvement," though at least one commented in the written evaluation that she is at the higher end of the "needs improvement" range.
 
And the "needs improvement" classification itself was not to be unexpected for someone who was hired as a full-time superintendent after a spring 2018 vote of the committee.
 
DESE's guidance to school committees is that, "for first- and second-year superintendents, there will most likely be 'needs improvement,' " acting Chairwoman Regina DiLego said.
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