Hoosac Valley, North Adams to Share Athletic Director

By Brian RhodesiBerkshires Staff
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Jeff Puleri
CHESHIRE, Mass. — Hoosac Valley Regional School District has entered into a shared services agreement with North Adams Public Schools for an athletic director, hiring Jeff Puleri for the position. 
 
"New, uncharted territory. But I think very necessary in terms of both districts looking to provide the best athletic opportunities for our students," said Superintendent Aaron Dean on the agreement at Monday's school committee meeting. 
 
Puleri is the assistant athletic director at Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts, and will replace Molly Meczywor at Hoosac Valley and David Racette in North Adams. The Lee native had been at MCLA since 1999 and holds a degree in sports management from the University of Massachusetts at Amherst and a master of business from MCLA. 
 
Dean said the agreement should benefit both districts and their athletic programming. 
 
"The time was just kind of ripe for us to enter into this and really look at this as an opportunity to help both and have kind of a win-win," he said. 
 
Committee Chair Michael Mucci said there was an extensive athletic director search, which ultimately led to them hiring Puleri. Dean said Puleri seemed to be the best match for background and experience. 
 
"It really is exciting for both school systems. I think it's going to be a great benefit," he said. "We got our guy." 
 
Mucci said minor things will likely need to be worked out between the two districts regarding specific policy. Dean said none of these should be significant hurdles, but it is likely something will come up
 
"This is something that a lot of people are going to be talking about," Mucci said. "And we'll be talking about this a lot more in the days to come." 
 
The committee also approved minor revisions to the high school's phone policy. Dean said the changes should help enforcement and prevent phones from distracting students during instruction. 
 
"One thing that's become abundantly clear from our walkthrough data and other pieces is that we need to renew our enforcement of cell phones and when they're used and when they're not used," he said. 
 
The update allows students to use their phones when not in the classroom or study hall, such as at lunch and other transition periods. 
 
"Phones won't be out during instruction," he said. "I talked to other superintendents about what they do for policies and this seems to be kind of the most successful model. I happened to be on a school committee once that adopted something very similar. I think it gives students the ability to use them but also gives us the ability to set boundaries." 
 
The school, Dean said, will work out any edge cases or minor issues that arise. Something the school already did is purchase new calculators for every math teacher in the high school, as some students were using their phones as calculators. 
 
Committee member Mike Henault said the policy would likely be more effective if the adults had to follow it as well. Dean said this is something the district is looking at. 
 
"I think it would go a long way for the community and for students, to have buy-in, if they knew if the adults in the building were doing the same thing during instruction," he said.

Tags: athletic director,   HVRSD,   NAPS,   shared services,   

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Adams Parks Commission Considering Options for Renfrew Bleachers

By Brian RhodesiBerkshires Staff

ADAMS, Mass. — The Parks Commission is looking for solutions for the bleachers at Renfrew Field, after debate over their arrangement on the field in recent months. 

 

Currently, three sets of bleachers are on the south side of the field, when in previous years, two were on the south side, with two on the north. The bleachers had been arranged that way over the summer, something the board voiced support for in July

 

The commission's previous meeting had a larger-than-normal audience to give input on the issue, after the board received a letter from the Adams Cheshire Youth Football League expressing confusion from parents, coaches and others over the change. Commission co-Chair Jacob Schutz said he and others have since looked into portable bleachers, which can move without the need for heavy machinery. 

 

"We looked out there, and the first thing we found is they are very expensive," he said. "Twenty-five thousand dollars on average, and we'd probably need at least two for one side to match something like what we had." 

 

Town staff has explained that constantly moving the heavy bleachers and equipment around the field can cause wear on the field. Equipment operator Mark Pizani said they have installed tires on the current bleachers to move them, which requires a loader to lift the bleachers and pull them to where they need to go on the field. 

 

"If something like this was permanent and didn't have to be taken apart, and you could just do it, we could push them or pull them with something smaller," he said. 

 

Commission Co-Chair James Fassell was not present for the meeting but had previously suggested moving one set of bleachers from the southeast side of the field to the southwest side. He had expressed concerns at the previous meeting about emergency vehicles and accessibility with the current placement. 

 

Pizani explained that this is not a viable option because of banking on the west side of the field, which would prevent the bleachers from being level. 

 

"You would have to actually dig into the ground, and there's underground wires there," he said. "It's really just not feasible." 

 

Selectman Joseph Nowak suggested that the commission reach out to the Adams Agricultural Fair to use their bleachers, which he said are lightweight and made of aluminum. He said it would benefit elderly spectators, so they don't have to walk as far, and would get them through the rest of the season. 

 

Schutz said he does not feel the board has the authority to tell the leagues which side of the field they use as the home side. He said the high school and the leagues that use the field should decide for themselves which side they want to use. 

 

In other business, the group was updated on the new shed at Valley Street Field. Pizani said the shed looks fantastic the students from McCann Technical School who put it together did a good job. 

 

"They sent me a text thanking us for considering them [to build the shed] and letting the kids do it. That's a great thing," he said. 

 

Schutz suggested that the board write a letter thanking the students for building the shed.

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