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McCann to Hold Virtual Open House for Prospective Students

By Jack GuerinoiBerkshires Staff
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NORTH ADAMS, Mass. — McCann Technical School's eighth-grade Showcase for Success will be held virtually this year and potential students will be invited to the "premiere."
 
Principal Justin Kratz told the School Committee last Thursday that instead of inviting area eighth-graders to the school for the annual showcase and look at after-school programming, the school's recruitment efforts will be virtual.
 
"It is not our ideal situation. We would like to have students here," Kratz said. "But I think this will be a good night and a good event."
 
This decision to go virtual was made because of the COVID-19 pandemic. Normally, eighth-graders are invited to the annual open house to tour the building, see demonstrations in the various shops and labs, and speak with the high school's students and teachers about the programs in the regional vocational school district.
 
Instead, Kratz said students will be shown short clips from each shop and different classrooms.
 
"We will send invitations that look like movie tickets saying come check out the premiere of our movie featuring all of our shop programs to give the kids an overview," he said.
 
Kratz said there will be a question-and-answer period after the showing scheduled for Feb. 24.
 
Before Kratz gave his report, the School Committee accepted a Student Opportunity Act Plan that outlined what the school planned to do with increased state Chapter 70 education funding.
 
"We kind of ran into a bit of a mix here," Superintendent James Brosnan said.
 
The state's Student Opportunity Act (SOA) was put forth to restructure education funding. Brosnan said the due date for school plans on the use of this funding has changed throughout the pandemic but is now due. McCann's plan will focus funds toward high-needs students and reducing class sizes. 
 
"I am sure we will get another chance when the numbers kind of roll out in fiscal year '22 to all go back to the drawing board," he said.
 
The current plan is a two-year plan. 
 
The School Committee also approved a memorandum of agreement with the teachers union. 
 
"Obviously we are in January and obviously our teachers started working under the guidelines that are here before you tonight," Kratz said. "They have not missed a beat since September, and this is the final agreement."
 
The School Committee voted to reject school choice, as it does every year. 

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North Adams Council to Review Hydrant Ordinance Next Week

By Tammy DanielsiBerkshires Staff
NORTH ADAMS, Mass. — The City Council on Tuesday referred an ordinance change regarding fire hydrants to the General Government Committee over the originator's protests. 
 
City Councilor Jason LaForest had initially submitted the proposal for the creation of a "Fire Hydrant Division" with a request to refer to his Public Safety Committee but on Tuesday night instead asked it be fast-tracked to publication and a second reading. 
 
The rest of the council balked at taking a shortcut in the process, rejecting the motion and voting 8-1 to send the language to the General Government with only LaForest voting no. 
 
The ordinance relates to issues regarding non-functioning fire hydrants and how information is shared between the Water Department and police dispatch. Two recent fires highlighted problems with the hydrants; officials say about 130 of the 631 hydrants in the city are nonfunctioning in some way. The city has been working for a decade to address faulty hydrants of which nearly half had been dysfunctional back in 2011. 
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