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Francisco Alicandri, with Superintendent Barbara Malkas and Drury High Principal Timothy Callahan, was presented with the Superintendent's Certificate for Academic Excellence on Tuesday.
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Alicandri Siblings Take Top Drury High Spot Two Years in a Row

By Tammy DanielsiBerkshires Staff
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Senior Francisco Alicandri with his mother, Linh Brown, left, and sister.
NORTH ADAMS, Mass. — For the second consecutive year, an Alicandri has taken the top academic spot at Drury High School. 
Francisco Alicandri, a senior and the student representative on the School Committee, was presented with the Superintendent's Certificate for Academic Excellence on Tuesday. His sister, Vincienza, had earned the same honor last year. 
Superintendent of Schools Barbara Malkas, in making the award, explained that the Massachusetts Association of School Superintendents allows each district to present the award to its highest ranking student but that Alicandri also on the same level as his peers across the state.
"Francisco has certainly made the most of his time at Drury, and has taken advantage of all the amazing opportunities offered to him," she said. "Upon graduation, he will have completed 10 Advanced Placement courses and taken three dual enrollment courses at MCLA and Williams College."
Alcandri, the son of Linh Brown, has also taken three years of independent study and a number of electives, and studied piano with music instructor Christopher Caproni.
"While it's evident that his knowledge is vast and his dedication to academics is genuine, it's his ability to connect with his teachers and peers, and his kind and sincere nature that distinguishes Francisco from others," read Malkas. "His easygoing demeanor has allowed him to connect with many students and he is always willing to help others in anyway that he can."
He is a vice president of the senior class, a co-founder of the Math Club and SAT Prep Club, a member and current president of the Student Council, a student ambassador and a member of the soccer and track teams. He has earned accolades including the Principal's Award for being among the top five students in his class, has been inducted into the Nu Sigma and Pro Merito honor societies, and participated in Boston University's Research in Science & Engineering (RISE) program this past summer.
As a junior, he received the Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute's Medal of Academic Excellence and was named a Chang Chavkin Scholar, a program for high-achieving, first generation students that awards up to $15,000 a year toward college. 
Alicandri plans to study pre-med at either New York University, Harvard University, Williams College or Columbia University.
"I would just like to thank my mom, my sister and everyone who's helped me strive toward my acadmeic goals," he said. "And I really think that it's not me that wants to do all that stuff but I'm trying to be a part of what the community wants and I just want to establish a better community, a community where everyone can get together."
The School Committee also reviewed the superintendent's goals for the coming year. Malkas reported that new state guidelines have modified the rubric for superintendent evaluations, reducing the number from 32 to 22, and allowed for school committee to do evaluations every two years, rather than one. 
The committee approved moving to a two-year evaluation, which will align with that of teachers, and Malkas' goals for those two years. She said this would give the committee more evidence on which to evaluate her progress. 
In student learning, Malkas has set a goal of reducing student absenteeism to 3 percent using targeted research and development tools and in engaging families. Performance improvement goals include recruitment and retention of an effective and diverse workforce, which has been difficult, she acknowledged, because of supply and demand. She will also lead the administrative team in developing a budget that aligns with the district's vision and goals for student needs. 
The district improvement goal is about fostering family engagement that will include self-selected leaders taking online courses through HarvardX, meeting weekly to discuss topics and implement plans, and developing communication norms for sharing information with families. She also will be overseeing any followups to the assessment by the state Department of Elementary and Secondary Education and develop a capital improvement plan in concert with the Facilities & Finance subcommittee, the facilities director and the school business administrator. 
Malkas said many of the actions outlined in the goals have been or are in the process of being implemented. 
The committee also heard a substantative facilities review report that will be covered in another article. 
The School Department received two letters, the first from Attorney General Maura Healey thanking the administration for coordinating the "Start With Hello Launch" at Drury High School. 
"I deeply appreciate all that ou have done over the years to bring together North Adams — not only within the school district but amongst community partners as well — to create a more inclusive environment for everyone," she wrote. 
The second was from the governor's office congratulating Drury High School and partner Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts for earning an Early College planning grant. The Drury was the only high school in the Berkshires to be awarded the grant. 
"We want to thank you for your commitment to developing a strong early college program at your institutions through collaboration," the letter states. "Through this funding and your continued support, we hope to expand access to great educational opportunities in the commonwealth." 


Tags: academic award,   superintendent,   valedictorian,   

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North Adams Covers Half Cost for Cumberland Farm Cleanup

Staff Reports
NORTH ADAMS, Mass. — The city will be contributing less than $34,000 to the cleanup of the former City Yard on Ashland Street. 
Cumberland Farms purchased the property just over a year ago for $575,000 with the caveat that the city would share 50 percent of  any cleanup costs up to $287,500, or half the purchase price. The costs incurred for the testing were entirely borne by Cumberland Farms.
The City Council last week approved the transfer of $33,925.04 from the city's Sale of Land account to reimburse Cumberland Farms. Mayor Thomas Bernard said the cleanup came in less than $68,000.
 "The city is going to clear $541,074 and 96 cents, or $541,075, for a net above our call it our-worst case scenario of $253,000," he said. "We received the full purchase price, last year with the understanding that when the final cleanup was settled, that we would reimburse Cumberland farms for the city share."
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