NORTH ADAMS, Mass. — The McCann School Committee met Thursday night in North Adams for what will be the last meeting of the year before students report in a week.
The meeting was also the last for Aaron Dean who will be taking over as superintendent of the Adams-Cheshire Regional School District.
"He's a remarkable young man who has given his all to this committee, he has the ability to handle many issues at once," said Superintendent James Brosnan. "Thoughtful. Perceptive. That's probably a reason why [he was hired], he was so good here that the selection committee said 'Hey, he's our guy.' ...
"He'll be missed on a personal and professional level. I look forward to working with him as a colleague."
As Dean begins his career as top administrator, Brosnan was praised by the committee for two plus decades of service to the district in his recent evaluation.
Dean, who led the project, was first to chime in. "Our continued performance in SkillsUSA and MCAS has made us a prominent program wherever we go throughout the country," he said, in support of Brosnan. "We've also been steady all along in enrollment, which is a hard thing to do in today's competitive environment."
Former principal and current Chairman Gary Rivers noted Brosnan's trust in his staff. "He gives his administrative team a lot of latitude," he said. "Having worked with Jim for 25 years. I can honestly say it's been a pleasure."
The survey evaluated all aspects of the job. Not only academic and leadership performance but financial issues and the ability to engage the community through parent interaction.
Dean finished the report by noting "Exemplary was a nearly unanimous rating."
Principal Justin Kratz began his report by giving an update on the Standards Based Grading (SBG) system that will be instituted as a pilot program for the 2020 incoming class.
"We've been preparing over the course of the summer, I've been meeting with a teacher's group, preparing materials in support for our teachers when they come in next week," Kratz said. "We have a good chunk of our professional development time on those days devoted toward transitioning our freshmen curriculum maps to freshmen SBG maps."
SBG is viewed as a more comprehensive assessment of a student's mastery of a particular subject and breaks down subject matter into smaller "learning targets." Where a student would receive a one line grade (A,B,C,etc.) in the past, they would now be judged using a 1-4 scale on several different goals within the semester.
Kratz reached out to the admissions office at Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts for help communicating to parents that "This is nothing scary." He noted that the college will be sending representatives to Freshman Parent night next spring to help explain the change in philosophy.
Final enrollment numbers were not available but Kratz said, "We're optimistic it's going to be a healthy number again this year."
There will soon be three new machines at McCann thanks in part to the Governor's Skills Capital Grant. McCann received $150,000 this year from the program Gov. Charlie Baker initiated in 2015. The program is aimed at providing the most up-to-date training equipment to give students an advantage when entering the workforce.
"We want to be up to manufacturing industry standards, especially here in Berkshire County," said Kratz. "It's pretty amazing to see a fifteen or sixteen year old kid running a $100,000 piece of equipment that is the same thing they are using in the real world."
The new machines are a Waterjet Machining Center, CNC (Computer Numeric Control) Plasma Cutting Machine, and CNC Vertical Band Saw. All but the plasma cutter were awarded to the low bidder as Brosnan felt the low bid did not meet the specs the school needed.
When it was noted that there was still some construction going on around the 57-year-old school, Brosnan was quick to say, "We will have everything put back together and shined up" for when the students come back.
McCann starts the 2019-20 school year next week with teachers reporting Monday and students on Thursday.
iBerkshires.com welcomes critical, respectful dialogue; please keep comments focused on the issues and not on personalities. Profanity, obscenity, racist language and harassment are not allowed. iBerkshires reserves the right to ban commenters or remove commenting on any article at any time. Concerns may be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org.
iBerkshires.com welcomes critical, respectful dialogue. Name-calling, personal attacks, libel, slander or foul language is not allowed. All comments are reviewed before posting and will be deleted or edited as necessary.
DERRY, N.H. -- The MCLA volleyball team swept a pair of non league matches Sunday afternoon as they defeated Farmingdale State, 3-1, in the opener before defeating host Delhi, 3-0, in the nightcap.
The Trailblazers improve to 7-4 on the season. They have won seven of their last eight games.
MCLA (7-4) took the opening two sets against Farmingdale by scores of 25-23 and 25-19 to take the early lead. The Trailblazers dropped the third set, 25-19 before closing the match out with a 25-20 fourth set victory.
Kelly Moczulski continues to lead the offense. She collected 15 kills and 16 digs in the win for MCLA. Tessa Sestito returned from injury to finish with 31 assists and 11 digs of her own. Madison Jayne and Lee's Ahna Schlaefer ended with nine and seven kills, respectively.
But now, starting this year, the Santa Fund will focus on distributing warm winter coats at the end of October, before the cold weather really sets in. This is a partnership with Northern Berkshire United Way, Berkshire Community Action Council and the Rotary Club of North Adams. click for more
Lifting that shame is one of the major goals of the Voices for Recovery event, which starts at noon in Colegrove Park with informational tables and family activities, continues at 1 p.m. with a ceremony of remembrance for those lost to recovery followed by a walk up Main Street to City Hall for a... click for more
And while the commissioners were supportive of the efforts being made by Massachusetts Museum of Contemporary Arts in developing the empty lot into a park to entice its visitors to the downtown, they acknowledged they had no control over the 40-foot by 40-foot installation that's going to be facing... click for more
But when the topics are narrowed down and announced, Executive Director Amber Besaw warned, people in the room on Friday shouldn't be surprised if they saw ideas they hadn't heard mentioned in the room at The Green. That's because, for the first time, the Coalition held a call-in session on Aug. 23... click for more