image description

Hoosac Valley High School is Moving and Shaking

Print Story | Email Story
There have been some major shifts within the Hoosac Valley Regional School District recently, all of which have focused on enhancing the student experience to make it a place where ALL students can find their path.
 
In 2023, Hoosac Valley High School was designated an Innovation Pathway School by the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE) and has since restructured the Program of Studies, utilized creative scheduling, and expanded internship opportunities. Part of this transformation includes participating in a "Portrait of a Graduate" cohort alongside four other Berkshire County schools to determine a collective vision for student success, in partnership with the BARR Foundation.
 
The Innovation Pathways at HVHS are designed to give students coursework and experience in a specific high-demand industry, such as technology, engineering, healthcare, or life sciences. Currently, Biomedical Science & Healthcare and Environmental Studies have received official state IP designation. In addition to the IP designated pathways, HVHS offers programs in Engineering & Technology, Business & Entrepreneurship, Arts & Entertainment, Education, and Sports Medicine. The result is that students have an opportunity for a transformative experience – enabling them to build essential skills, gain awareness of future career opportunities, and make informed choices about post-secondary education in promising fields.
 
Principal Colleen Byrd notes, "What makes our program special is that entry into the Pathway of your choice allows a student to access Advanced Placement and dual enrollment college courses, as well as internships in the community to set them up for success after high school."
 
The Portrait of a Graduate initiative consists of a team of Hoosac educators and students who exemplify the essential skills, practices, and beliefs that define learning experiences across the district. They work to outline the competencies, values, skills, and knowledge that define our vision for student success – keeping in mind that not every student's pathway will look the same. The District's goal is to ensure that all students graduate as responsible people, prepared individuals, lifelong learners, global citizens, critical thinkers, and thoughtful communicators.
 
Another recent change district-wide in grades K-12 is the "Crew" culture. Teachers and students now have time each day to create positive connections and build authentic relationships with one another. Through Responsive Classroom at the elementary school and Crew at the middle and high schools, students and staff gather for 30 minutes each day to engage in meaningful experiences rooted in mutual and shared interests. 
The Crew block is a prioritized structure that allows staff to support all students socially, emotionally, and academically – anchoring them and promoting the Portrait of a Graduate competencies. Crew takes many forms at the high school, such as gardening, bird watching, yoga, and sports talk with visits to college games.
 
Anna Thurston, a tenth grade member of the Portrait of a Graduate committee for the high school, says this about her experiences in her Volleyball Crew: "Crew is the best. It's our time each day to reset, connect with other students that we might not typically socialize with, and do meaningful things outside of our usual coursework with adults that we trust."
 
Outside of the classroom, Hoosac Valley hosts 13 interscholastic sports programs while offering cooperative opportunities in three other sports. Athletic programs are an extension of the academic day where staff work to challenge players in a positive manner, in hopes of imparting life-long lessons to students. Participation in sports (which is voluntary) can provide student-athletes with experiences to help them be better prepared to meet and successfully handle future challenges and responsibilities. And finally, athletic programs provide students with true opportunities for self-discipline, self-sacrifice and loyalty to the school, team and community. Over the last two years, Hoosac Valley programs have competed in the MIAA State Tournaments in eight different sports, claimed sectional titles in three others, and most recently, a state title. Our students take pride in becoming Hurricanes and it shows on the field and in the classrooms. (The HVHS athletic program is governed by the rules and policies of Berkshire County Athletics as well as the MIAA.)
 
Another way students can get involved outside of class is through Hoosac Valley's Theater program, run by high school English teacher Rebecca Koczela. This program allows students to thrive on the stage. The school's musical productions bring together both middle and high school students for a chance to display their talents, while allowing older students to mentor younger students in an enriching, positive way.
 
The Hurricane Band, led by music teacher Amanda Watroba, offers high school students an opportunity to find a creative outlet through daily lessons, an opportunity to march in the Northern Berkshire Fall Foliage Parade, participate in Jazz band and in the pit band for school musicals. In the past, the Hurricane band has marched through Walt Disney World in the Magic Kingdom parade.
 
All of these various options provide something for every student – and all are woven together with high standards and high expectations for learning, high quality instruction, applied- and project-based learning, varied extracurricular activities and the chance everyday to connect with a mentor adult. Superintendent of the District, Aaron Dean, proudly shares that 7 out of 10 graduates from Hoosac Valley High School enroll in a four-year college. But no matter what students choose to pursue upon graduation, they will leave Hoosac Valley with a better understanding of who they are, what they want to pursue, and how to get there.
 
If you'd like to learn more about Hoosac Valley Regional School District, you can visit our website or email our engagement coordinator Erica Girgenti at egirgenti@hoosacvalley.org.

 





Tags: Hoosac Valley,   


Adams Review Library, COA and Education Budgets

By Tammy DanielsiBerkshires Staff
ADAMS, Mass. — The Finance Committee and Board of Selectmen reviewed the public services, Hoosac Valley Regional School District and McCann Technical School budgets on Tuesday. 
 
The workshop at the Adams Free Library was the third of four joint sessions to review the proposed $19 million fiscal 2025 budget. The first workshop covered general government, executive, finance and technology budgets; the second public works, community development and the Greylock Glen. 
 
The Council on Aging and library budgets have increases for wages, equipment, postage and software. The Memorial Day budget is level-funded at $1,450 for flags and for additional expenses the American Legion might have; it had been used to hire bagpipers who are no longer available. 
 
The COA's budget is up 6.76 percent at $241,166. This covers three full-time positions including the director and five regular per diem van drivers and three backup drivers. Savoy also contracts with the town at a cost of $10,000 a year based on the number of residents using its services. 
 
Director Sarah Fontaine said the governor's budget has increased the amount of funding through the Executive Office of Elder Affairs from $12 to $14 per resident age 60 or older. 
 
"So for Adams, based on the 2020 Census data, says we have 2,442 people 60 and older in town," she said. "So that translates to $34,188 from the state to help manage Council on Aging programs and services."
 
The COA hired a part-time meal site coordinator using the state funds because it was getting difficult to manage the weekday lunches for several dozen attendees, said Fontaine. "And then as we need program supplies or to pay for certain services, we tap into this grant."
 
View Full Story

More Adams Stories