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Mount Greylock Schools Seek Parents' Input to Improve Remote Learning

By Stephen DravisiBerkshires Staff
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WILLIAMSTOWN, Mass. — The Mount Greylock Regional School District wants to hear back from families about the challenges of remote learning during the COVID-19 pandemic.
 
Superintendent Kimberley Grady used last week's School Committee meeting to remind listeners of a survey she sent out on April 25 and talk about its importance in the near and short term.
 
"This will help us adjust things between now and June 16 and also help us with future plans," Grady said. "When [the school closure] happened, we didn't have a full-on remote learning plan ready to go. We've been working with the teachers and other superintendents around the county.
 
"We've been getting the feedback we received from teachers a week and a half ago plus the parent survey. This will help the administrative team, the educational subcommittee, the whole committee put together a tighter plan."
 
Grady said she had heard back from most of the families who were emailed a link to the survey, but she wanted to make sure all voices were heard. Although the immediate crisis is front and center right now, school officials never know when a remote learning plan could be needed again.
 
"In the event that another — I don't want to wish another pandemic or disaster on us — but we want to have a document we can refer to annually to make sure it's updated and aligned to what we're presently doing," Grady said.
 
School Committee Chair Christina Conry said any families in the district who missed the initial email with the survey link could contact her at cconry@mgrhs.org.
 
Looking forward, Grady noted that papers are available in the town clerk's offices in Lanesborough and Williamstown for the four School Committee seats that will be on the ballot in November. Two Williamstown residents on the committee — Jamie Art and Alison Carter — are seeing their terms come to an end, and the interim appointment made on Monday, Carolyn Greene, (also a Williamstown seat) will have to stand for election in the next biennial election. And Lanesborough resident Al Terranova will see his term come to and this fall.
 
The process for filling the district's administrative vacancies is well underway, Grady reported. The second round of interviews are scheduled to be held in the coming week for the soon-to-be-vacant principal position at the middle-high school.
 
And as of last Wednesday, the 14-person advisory committee for the principal post at Williamstown Elementary School was nearly done with the first round of virtual interviews.
 
"The search committees are well represented with input from School Councils, Parent Advisory as well as union has given names and the current principals have given input as well as the diversity advisory group," Grady said.
 
She hopes to have one if not two announcements ready for the May 14 School Committee meeting.
 
In other business on last week, the School Committee reviewed the process for the annual evaluation of the superintendent, which includes new guidance from the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education in light of the way districts are functioning during the pandemic.
 
Besides confirming they had read the guidance, none of the committee members made any substantive comments on how it wished to proceed with the process, except for Regina DiLego, who used the opportunity to publicly acknowledge her friendship with Grady, a fact that she has disclosed in letters on file with both district towns and the district office.
 
"I don't right now want to contribute to [the discussion of] how we move forward," DiLego said. "I just am obliged by the conflict of interest law to notify everyone that I have a friendship with the superintendent, and it does not interfere with my ability to evaluate her."
 
Grady asked that the committee tell her how it will be conducting the evaluation as the deadline nears.
 
"We set my goals, it seems like so many months ago," she said. "I'm hoping everyone has been collecting evidence along the way of everything I've been doing — either utilizing the form I developed or the one that [Conry] created. I'm prepared to present as things were in March and a lot of what's been done over the last couple of weeks as well."

Tags: MGRSD,   remote learning,   

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Mount Greylock Offers Superintendent Post to Pittsfield's McCandless

By Stephen DravisiBerkshires.com Sports
Updated 04:52PM
WILLIAMSTOWN, Mass. — The Mount Greylock Regional School Committee voted 6-0-1 Friday afternoon to offer its vacant superintendent post to current Pittsfield Superintendent Jason "Jake" McCandless.
 
The committee over the course of two days remotely interviewed three finalists put forward to the district by the Massachusetts Association of School Committees from among 22 qualified applicants.
 
Maynard interim Superintendent Mary Jane Rickson and McCandless interviewed for the post on Thursday afternoon and evening. On Friday morning, the committee interviewed Portia Bonner, an education consultant who most recently was superintendent in East Haven, Conn., from 2013-17.
 
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