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Berkshire Museum To Participate In National School Readiness Project

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PITTSFIELD, Mass. — The Berkshire Museum was selected to participate in the Building a National Network of Museums and Libraries for School Readiness Project

As part of an agreement with the Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS) awarded to Boston Children's Museum to expand its existing School Readiness through Partnerships program to three new states, the Berkshire Museum has been selected to engage in the Building a National Network of Museums and Libraries for School Readiness project. 
 
The museum's programming during the project will focus on developing and testing object-based mobile museum units in non-traditional, community settings. This experimental phase will provide participating regions with examples of how they may engage their own local cultural institutions and resources including historical and contemporary objects to support child and family development in new ways.
 
Boston Children's Museum will work with the Berkshire Museum through site visits, conference calls, webinars, and an annual leadership institute to bring states together to learn from and share with each other. Individual institutions will strengthen their knowledge and skills for reaching out to and serving families, including low-income and hard-to-reach families. The networks will develop and integrate systems and policies within their institutions to support this work going forward.
 
Together with participating museums and libraries, Boston Children's Museum has launched new museum and library networks in Iowa, Mississippi, and New Mexico; and will develop methods for network sustainability within and among states. Education Development Center Inc. (EDC) will serve as the third-party evaluator for the project, documenting the progress and testing the effectiveness of the model in building institutional readiness to serve all families in their regions.
 
This is a national effort over a three-year timeline that advances state work on behalf of young children, families, and communities. 
 
The Berkshire Museum served as the Hub Leader organization for Western Massachusetts as part of an IMLS National Leadership Grant-funded School Readiness through Partnerships project from 2016 to 2018. 
 
According to a press release, the Berkshire Museum strengthened local partnerships with community organizations to foster family engagement and built professional capacity to provide learning experiences for children and families. Their role as part of the larger network of nine regions across the state served as a foundation for expanding this partnership model beyond Massachusetts.
 
The goal of the Building a National Network of Museums and Libraries for School Readiness project is to amplify the strength of organizations serving children and families by forming coalitions that ensure all children in their regions, regardless of socio-economic or linguistic background, have the skills needed to enter school prepared for success.
 

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City Council Appropriates $500k For Tyer's Home Program

By Brittany PolitoiBerkshires Staff

Mayor Linda Tyer hopes the At Home program will be successful enough to  attract financing from other agencies and organizations. 
PITTSFIELD, Mass. — The City Council last week approved an appropriation of $500,000 from the Pittsfield Economic Development Fund for a residential exterior home improvement program titled "At Home in Pittsfield."
 
Mayor Linda Tyer pitched this program back in 2019 to help eligible residents improve their homes. This program would provide zero-interest loans to residents for undertaking certain home improvement projects in an effort to improve the housing stock in the city.
 
At the time, the council rejected the program.
 
Tyer originally asked for $250,000 from the General Electric account to kickstart the program so that homeowners could then get loans of up to 10 percent of the appraised value after renovations, or a maximum of $20,000.
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