Berkshire HorseWorks Reopens With COVID-19 Precautions

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RICHMOND, Mass. — Berkshire HorseWorks is reopened its facility to the public on Monday and implemented new "COVID Clean" restrictions while allowing clients to receive mental health treatment and engage in fun outdoor activities safely. 
Specializing in Eagala's Model Equine-Assisted Psychotherapy and Equine-Assisted Team Building, the nonprofit ranch will make programs available while implementing social distancing, the use of masks and hand-sanitizer, and the sanitizing of facilities before and after appointments.
"Everyone is hurting on so many levels. We would be remiss if we hadn't found a way to offer our services and activities in the 'new normal,'" said Hayley Sumner, founder and executive director. "We've taken the last few months to regroup and focus on our therapy herd's mental and physical well-being and to repair storm damage. We've devised new programming both for those with mental health needs and also for friends, visitors and families who are looking for something fun, safe and challenging to do outdoors. All precautions mandated by the governor are in place to move forward and have people come out to the ranch. Animal lovers can get their fix, too."
Wellness has always been considered integral to Berkshire HorseWorks offerings, where the philosophy of getting out of your head and into your body reigns. Equine-assisted psychotherapy, which integrates horses in ground-based metaphorical activities to facilitate change, can be an effective modality for individuals, couples or groups working on a specific treatment goal.
Tailored workshops use the interaction between people and horses as the basis for personal growth. Equine-assisted team building is available for both families and companies looking to create cohesion, reinforce teamwork and explore group dynamics before returning to school or the office, and for health-care workers and their families through the "Healers and Horses" workshop.
Sessions are by appointment only: email or call 310-488-9777.

Tags: horses,   mental health,   

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Vote on Taconic High's Vocational Status Set for January

By Brittany PolitoiBerkshires Staff

The enrollment numbers at Taconic have been rising. 

PITTSFIELD, Mass. — A possible vote to begin Taconic High's transition to an all-vocational institution is in the near future.

On Monday, district administrators revealed that they plan to put this on the School Committee's agenda in January. If the panel is in favor, Taconic will only accept Career Technical Education (CTE) students in the fall of 2023 and, by the fall of 2027, will be all vocational.

The proposal is fueled by a growing demand for vocational education at Taconic that is outnumbering non-CTE students. This is a situation that the school hoped to have after unveiling the new $120 million facility in 2018.

"Where we're at right now is that we are growing out of our capacity to serve all of our secondary students who want CTE and effectively program for those who don't," Principal Matthew Bishop said.

"As our CTE population gets bigger and bigger and bigger, we're running out of physical space and as our non-CTE program gets smaller, it's more and more difficult to give them the wide range of classes and electives they need to have an effective program."

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