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Deputy Superintendent Joseph Curtis introduces the School Improvement Plans.

Taconic Rain Garden Dedicated to Late Maxymillian Employee

By Jack GuerinoiBerkshires Staff
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Brian Simard
PITTSFIELD, Mass. — A rain garden at the new Taconic High School is being dedicated in memory of one of the workers who helped build it. 
 
Brian Simard was J.H. Maxymillian Co. employee who was killed in a worksite accident just over a year ago at the age of 26.
 
The School Committee voted last week to place a plaque near the rain gardens in the North Adams native's memory.
 
"We all felt it was really appropriate to honor the memory of this young man whose profession really took off on this construction site with a memorial by the first project he was really in charge of himself," Superintendent Jason "Jake" McCandless said. 
 
Simard was a foreman when was killed on Nov. 15, 2018, while working on the Massachusetts Turnpike.
 
McCandless said Simard was promoted to foreman at a young age and one of his first projects was the rain garden at Taconic during the school renovation project.
 
"He was tragically taken just about a year ago this time of year. He was a Drury graduate and a Berkshire County kid," McCandless said. "He excelled at this work to the point where they made him a foreman at a very young age." 
 
McCandless said Maxymillian approached the school district about placing a plague near the garden.
 
School Committee member Katherine Yon read the plaque:
 
"In honor of Brian Simard, the City of Pittsfield, the Pittsfield School Department and all site contractors would like to dedicate these rain gardens in Brian's memory."
 
In other business, the School Committee accepted school improvement plans from Allendale, Conte, Capeless, Morningside, Herberg, Allendale, and Pittsfield High schools after listening to presentations from each of the principals.
 
Each principal presented their school's "laser-like focus" and Conte will focus on constant student writing, Capeless will focus on standards-based report cards, and Morningside will focus on visible learning by doing.
 
Allendale will focus on having students explain, justify and clearly convey their own thinking through accountable discourse and Herberg will focus on students supporting claims with relevant evidence and analyzation that displays their understanding of content.
 
Pittsfield High School will focus on making thinking visible using actionable feedback to improve student performance through active participation and deep learning experiences.
 
The School Committee asked questions during the presentations and member Cynthia Taylor asked every principal about their homeless population.
 
"If you don't know if you are going to move that night, if your family can afford to eat if, or if your car works," she said. "If you don't have the stable roof over your head how are these students paying attention in class?"
 
McCandless said the district's homeless population has increased over the years.
 
"There is no question that as years go by the trend has increased,not decreased," he said.
 
He said the state has changed the definition of homeless and it can include children living outside or in cars but also shelters or living with people who aren't their designated parents or guardians.
 
He said currently there are 55 homeless children in the district identified in the program but he was certain there were more they have not yet identified.  
 
He praised the teachers and administrators for understanding that many students have more to worry about than just academics. 
 
"A school has to be compassionate and it has to be understanding that life is bigger than what the plan for the day is in school," McCandless said. "I think all of our principals have this belief. For a lot of kids, school is the only constant."

Tags: gardens,   memorial,   school improvement,   Taconic High,   

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Biz Briefs: Price Rite Marketpace to Hold Grand Re-Opening of Pittsfield Store

Price Rite grand re-opening

Price Rite Marketplace will unveil fresh new looks and shopping experiences with grand re-openings at its store on Dalton Avenue in Pittsfield, as well as stores in Chicopee, Springfield, West Springfield and Westfield. The supermarket is continuing to roll out its award-winning redesigned store concept focused on deep discounts and fresh foods after successful store rebrands in Connecticut, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New York and Pennsylvania locations.

Price Rite Marketplace kicked off its rebranding campaign in fall 2018 with three stores in Pennsylvania, followed by an aggressive 2019 rollout with 35 additional rebrands in Connecticut, Pennsylvania, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New York and Maryland. The changes attracted new customers, generated industry buzz and even secured a National Grocers Association Creative Choice Award for outstanding marketing and merchandising in the supermarket industry.

Customers who visit these stores will find bright, revitalized décor, including market-style produce departments brimming with fresh fruit, vegetables and organics. Each store will also include the new "Drop Zone" stocked with special surprise buys on must-have grocery and private label items, and lower prices that extend across hundreds of products.

To mark the latest grand re-openings, Price Rite Marketplace is hosting community celebrations on Friday, Jan. 24, with music, free sampling and other fun events. Doors open 8 a.m.; the first 400 customers who arrive at each store will receive a $20 Price Rite Marketplace gift card.

 

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Marty, the tall, googly-eyed robot that roams Stop & Shop stores searching for spills and potential hazards, is turning 1. To celebrate, all three Berkshire County Stop & Shop stores - 1 Dan Fox Drive and 60 Merrill Road in Pittsfield and 876 State Road in North Adams - will throw Marty a first birthday party on Saturday, Jan. 25, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., complete with birthday cake, crafts for kids and giveaways.

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