The ForumMount Greylock Regional School District
Lanesborough and Williamstown, Massachusetts, October 2002
Parents of Juniors and Seniors
Last year the federal government passed the National Defense Authorization Act, which requires high schools to give military recruiters the names and addresses of students if the recruiters request that information. We recently received such a request.
The recruiters will use this information to inform students about the opportunities available to them in the armed forces. Under the law, the recruiters will not be allowed to share the information with any third party.
We must provide this student contact information to military recruiters unless a parent has submitted to us a written request that such information not be provided to them.
Therefore, if you do not want your child’s contact information shared with a military recruiter, please send a written note to the Superintendent’s Office by October 11.
The Mt. Greylock Regional School District is searching for adults to fill two positions in our co-curricular program. We are soliciting applications for a Middle School Drama Director and a Middle School Musical Director.
Middle School Musical Director organizes, manages, and directs a middle school musical. Duties include selecting a musical production, holding auditions, choosing a cast, managing rehearsals, supervising set-build and takedown, and other duties as necessary. Auditions can begin in mid November and performance is scheduled for early January. Stipend: $2,660.
The Middle School Drama Director organizes, manages, and directs a middle school drama. Duties include selecting a play, holding auditions, choosing a cast, managing rehearsals, supervising set-build and takedown, and other duties as necessary. Auditions can begin in early March and performance is scheduled for early April. Stipend: $887.00.
Please contact the Assistant Principal’s Office (458-9582 ext. 101) if you are interested or if you would like more details about the positions.
The first Roundtable of this school year will be 7 p.m., Wednesday, October 9 in the Mt. Greylock Library. Roundtables are an opportunity for parents to meet with Superintendent Piechota and Principal Russell Norton to learn about the latest happenings at Mt. Greylock and to ask question and raise concerns.
There will be five Roundtables this school year, all of them meeting at 7 p.m.
Wednesday 1O/9 Mt. Greylock Library
Thursday 11/14 Lanesborough Town Hall
Thursday l/16 Mt. Greylock Library
Thursday 3/13 Lanesborough Town Hall
Thursday 4/10 Mt. Greylock Library
In This Issue
Friends of the Arts
News & Information
A North Adams family seeks carpoolers to share transportation responsibilities. The family is able to drive students to school in the morning and needs help getting the daughter home in the afternoon. If interested please call 663-3829 (home) or 496-3463 (work).
Adding to the Wall
Is there someone you believe should be honored with a plaque on our Wall of Recognition? On its 40th anniversary Mt. Greylock Regional School District unveiled its Wall of Recognition to honor those individuals who strongly influenced and contributed to its school community.
At that time the district recognized thirteen individuals:
Mitchie Backiel-- Teacher
Bruce Carlson School-- Committee Member
Wham Clark-- Teacher, Administrator
Richard Dodds-- Teacher
Guy Dushanek-- Teacher
Maurice Filler-- Counselor
Mark Gold-- School Committee Member
Paul LaPlante-- Teacher
Edna Lunney-- Teacher
John Maziarz-- Artist in Residence
John McGowen-- School Committee Member
Francis McSweeny-- Teacher
Ferman Turner-- Custodian
The district now wishes to add more individuals to that wall and is seeking nominations. In particular, the district wishes to recognize the lives of those teachers, staff, administrators, and community members who have made significant contributions to the life of Mt. Greylock. These are individuals who either provided vision and direction for the district or made enduring contributions that had a significant impact on students, faculty, and the life of the school.
Dr. Mark Piechota, Superintendent of Schools has stated, “Through this recognition we will capture some of Mt. Greylock’s history and signify to students and to all residents of our towns the evolving nature of our school. The recognition will also underscore the value we place on the lives of people whose commitment and giving have special meaning for Mt. Greylock.”
With this in mind Mt. Greylock is seeking nominations. Those nominated must have served the school district for at least six years and have been away from it for at least two years Nominations should explain why the person deserves recognition, e.g., the words that describe this person, and the specific impact this person had on the nominator or on others in the school community.
The deadline for nominations is November 30. If you wish to submit a nomination, you can do so in two ways:
You can use the form that is included in this issue of the Forum. Nominations should be sent to Joan Manners, Superintendent’s Office, Mt. Greylock Regional School District, 1781 Cold Spring Road, Williamstown, MA 01267.
You can submit a nomination on-line through the Mt. Greylock website: http://www.mgrhs.org. Once you get to the main page of the site, click on “The Wall” and then on “Nominate.” Complete the information requested.
In January a committee will review the nominations and select the first group of individuals to be honored. A recognition ceremony will be scheduled for the beginning of the 2003-2004 school year.
District Goals for 2002-2003
On September 10 the School Committee adopted four goals for the coming school year. Its action culminated an eight-month process of goal development that sought the input of students, parents, faculty and staff. These goals will guide our efforts in the coming school year and will provide a framework for district decision-making. The four goals are as follows.
The mission of the Mount Greylock Regional School District is to serve its communities by helping students progress toward responsible citizenship through an educationally challenging environment
1. Develop and model for students efficient and effective communication and problem solving among all personnel in the school.
* Improve the effectiveness and efficiency of organizational communication
* Streamline the conveying of important information among personnel
* Clarify decision making processes (input. decision, feedback)
* Provide more opportunities for communication and problem solving across departments and divisions
* Improve the communication and problem solving of all personnel in the building
* Provide all personnel with training in effective communication and problem solving
* Develop principles, and practices for effective communication and problem solving among all personnel in the school.
2. Translate the mission of the district, “helping students progress toward responsible citizenship,” into the daily life of the school.
* Make the mission statement more visible and evident throughout the school.
* Articulate the essential proficiencies of responsible citizenship.
* Highlight programs that are developing those proficiencies and initiate new programs to promote them.
3. Continue to integrate technology into curriculum and instruction to improve student performance.
* Train teacher leaders in ways to integrate technology into their curriculum and instruction.
* Use teacher leaders and others to provide professional development on technology integration.
* Provide student technology assistants to teachers to facilitate curriculum integration.
4. Move to the next stage in developing graduation proficiencies.
* Put the proficiency rubrics into a final draft form for School Committee approval.
* Align the curriculum with the graduation proficiencies and with the curriculum frameworks.
* Develop a proposal for modes for student demonstrations of proficiency, e.g. senior projects, portfolios, course activities, and/or oral defenses.
MG Students to Participate in Election 2002
Each election year, the Kennedy Library in Boston hosts a debate program to engage over 1,000 students in the current election. Students are brought to the library in groups of 200 over a period of five days. Mt. Greylock has been invited to bring twenty students on October 10. On that date, Mt. Greylock will join other students drawn from a mixture of urban, suburban, and rural areas to discuss and debate the issues that are of concern to them and their communities.
In the past, the success of this program has stemmed first from providing a small and non-threatening setting for students from different parts of the state to meet and share their concerns and emerging political viewpoints. Second, it allows students a rare opportunity to speak with state and national leaders who not only articulate their positions on the issues but also share stories of the importance of political involvement.
Mr. Murray will prepare students for participation in this program in conjunction with members of the Youth Voice of America. YVOA (www.yvoa.org) is a new organization that was founded by students from Mt. Greylock. The primary mission of YVOA is to gain political recognition for the beliefs and ideas of young people. Because of limited space, this program is open only to Juniors and Seniors.
For more information contact Mr. Murray at 458-9582, x l08 or email@example.com. At school, students should see Mr. Murray in room 55.
Getting Close Up
In March 2003, Mt. Greylock will participate in the Close Up citizen education program in Washington, D.C. The Close Up Foundation is a nonprofit, nonpartisan civic education organization that endeavors to inform,inspire, and empower young people to exercise the rights and responsibilities of a citizen in a democracy.
Close Up connects individuals to their communities and institutions through challenging educational programs. By building partnerships with the educational community, the private and philanthropic sectors, and all branches and levels of government, Close Up makes civic participation a dynamic and meaningful experience.
Over 25,000 students from throughout the United States participate in this program every year. More than 400 Mt. Greylock students have learned about government “Close Up” over the past twenty years. It is a valuable experience that will last a lifetime.
This program is open to any student who is taking or has taken United States History. The total cost of the week - long program is $999 plus transportation. Close Up is able to offer some students of limited means a partial scholarship that is funded by the United States Congress.
For more information contact Mr. Murray at 458-9582, x 108 or firstname.lastname@example.org. At school, students should see Mr. Murray in room 55.
School Adjustment and Outreach Services
Debora Cole-Duffy, LICSW, School Adjustment Counselor, is available to provide supportive individual and group counseling services to Mt. Greylock students. Students may self-refer, or be referred by a staff member or parent. And, if funds are available, outside agency representatives are often invited to provide supportive services.
Please refer to the student handbook, which details those services available to students. In situations where it is believed that outside mental health services would be beneficial to students, the adjustment counselor will work with families to arrange for such services.
Lynn Penna, Wellness Coordinator and Outreach Assistant, provides social skill support to students. Ms. Penna oversees and supervises the Peer Mediation Program and trains interested students to embrace diversity through the Anti-Defamation League program: ‘A World of Difference.’ In addition, Ms. Penna works to educate students about drug and alcohol awareness.
If you have any questions or concerns, please contact Ms. Cole-Duffy at ext. 159, or Ms. Penna at ext. 158.
During the last school year, the Northern Berkshire Community Coalition developed and coordinated the Safe Homes program, which is comprised of Northern Berkshire families interested in promoting safe, drug and alcohol free places for youth to convene. ‘Safe Homes’ families will agree not to knowingly permit parties in their homes without parent/guardian supervision, and will not allow the illegal use of alcohol and drugs in their homes.
The coalition is in the process of compiling a North-County wide directory of ‘Safe Homes,’ so that parents and guardians may contact other parents to determine if indeed there will be appropriate adult supervision when youth gather in friends’ homes, Last June, Safe Homes Coordinator Elena Traister met with Principal Russell Norton, Wellness Coordinator Lynn Penna and Adjustment Counselor Debora Cole-Duffy to discuss this initiative.
The coalition will extend its membership to Mt Greylock families until October 15. If you are interested in joining, or in receiving further information, please refer to the ‘Safe Homes’ flyer in this issue of the Forum, which also contains a pledge form.
If you have any questions or concerns, please contact Debora Cole-Duffy at 458-9582 ext. 159.
Can democracy survive as our society becomes more diverse? Is our society in danger of fragmenting racially, ethnically. and economically? A democracy depends on its citizens being able to come together to discuss and debate different opinions and then accept what is best for the common good.
Will our increasingly diverse society be able to do this? Two writers, Walter Parker and Deborah Meier, say yes, but only if our schools develop in students the skills and orientations necessary for such interactions.
Walter Parker, in his essay, “Educating the Democratic Mind,” maintains “the democratic mind is not natural. It does not arise spontaneously but in institutions-democratic institutions-and then only with difficulty.” He states that in contrast “egocentricity and ethnocentricity are primary forces in humans and, like breathing, take no special training.”
He states that democracy consists of “habits and competencies that require cultivation without which they will not sprout in the first place, or sprout then wither quickly.” Therefore, he concludes, it is the duty of schools to educate children for the demands of an increasingly diverse society-a society “that is organized under and struggling, on and off, to realize the democratic ideal.” He believes the school’s first moral obligation is to give all children an education adequate to take advantage of their political status as citizens, and that education must be delivered in the context of the greater diversity in our society.
Parker sees schools are ideal laboratories of democracy because they have numerous and varied interests which are consciously shared. There are also many ties to potentially connect members of the school community, faculty and students alike. He sees the interplay among groups potentially is quite vigorous.
However, he sees two traditions standing in the way of developing the necessary skills and orientations in students. First, grouping practices within schools prevent congregations. The practices turn schools into clusters of discrete neighborhoods. The little publics are kept separate, Second, schools fail to capitalize on difference where it is found. There is no routine practice of school life to identify, mutually deliberate and problem-solve around problems of common living.
In the December 1996 issue of Phi Delta Kappan, Deborah Meier agrees with Parker’s description of schools and their need to provide students with skills to prepare them for citizenship in a pluralistic society. She states, “Schools can create communities that teach often very disparate communities how to go about trusting each other. In her schools she encourages students to “hear each other out over and over again, listen when it is hard to listen, until they can actually reach a common, if not perfect, way of expressing their ideals.”
She maintains that no form of governance will flourish where basic human relationships have been so eroded or underdeveloped that no one trusts anyone. She believes that “if we want responsible, caring, and competent citizens at the ‘end’, we need responsible, caring and competent schools along the route which model--on a daily basis-what such relationships can look like.” Schools need to structure sustained discussions and dialogues, encouraging students to empathize with others and through this empathy to refine their own thinking and values.
This is the challenge for schools-structuring opportunities for students to discuss and debate issues to their resolution. Schools must create those opportunities to build understanding and trust among students while developing their abilities to reach “common, if not perfect, way(s) of expressing their ideals.”
This year we are beginning a process that hopes to meet this challenge. We are analyzing our programs to see how they are developing the competencies necessary for democratic citizenship. As we pursue this analysis we will be asking ourselves how well we are promoting in students the skills and orientations necessary for sustained, respectful, and thoughtful discussion and debate in a democratic society. This analysis may lead us to create more opportunities for sustained discussions and dialogues, where students can “hear each other out over and over again, listen when it is hard to listen, until they, can actually reach a common, if not perfect, way of expressing their ideals.”
Student Council News
The Student Council is off to a great start this year. We have met with Dr. Davenport to discuss the Student Handbook and we have also talked with Dr. Piechota about our goals for this school year. On September 19, we held our annual breakfast to welcome Mt. Greylock’s new faculty members.
Our most exciting news yet is our participation in Project 540, a nationwide program to help student councils advance their involvement in their schools and communities Mt. Greylock’s Student Council was selected to begin the program this year. On September 24, three other high school student councils -- Pittsfield, Turners Falls, and Drury -- came to Greylock for our first day of training for the program. The day was highly successful and Project 540 seems to be off to a promising start.
In addition to face-to-face dialogues, young people from approximately 40 Project 540 schools from around the country will gather in small online groups to speak out about what matters to them, hear each other’s ideas and think together about which issues and which steps are most important to make change possible.
The MG Student Council will have its hands full this year with Project 540 and other upcoming events, but all of our members are excited and ready to continue to make changes in our school and community.
Health Advisory Committee News
Sue Strizzi, Health Educator, and Debora Cole-Duffy, School Adjustment Counselor, co-facilitators of the Health Advisory Committee, learned recently that the Department of Education’s Health Protection and Teen Dating Violence grants have been cut from the state’s budget.
We are now in the process of examining where that leaves the work of the Health Advisory Committee. For now, we have decided that we would like to meet with the entire group to address thus issue, in relation to following through with goals developed last year. We plan to revisit the prime goal established, which is working with all athletic and extracurricular groups to establish appropriate guidelines for student conduct as it relates to interactions with peers, student behavior, and drug/alcohol/tobacco use. We plan to set a fall meeting time soon. which is also open to anyone in the community wishing to attend.
For further information, please contact Debora Cole-Duffy at 458-9582 ext 159, or Sue Strizzi at ext. 195.
What is the J.C.L.? What does it offer to Latin students at Mt. Greylock? What activities does the Mt. Greylock J.C.L. have planned for this year and why is it so much fun? These and other questions will be answered at an informational meeting Monday, October 7, 7 p.m. in the Mt. Greylock Library. Parents, students, and other interested parties are Invited. Please come see how Latin students can get the most out of the J.C.L.
Membership in J.C.L. is open to all students who are or have taken Latin. This meeting will kick off the membership drive, which will last approximately one week. Come find out why the J.C.L. is the biggest club at Mt. Greylock and how you can help! Upcoming Fall Events for J.C.L.ers!
* Thursday, November 7,2:30 p-m - 5 p.m.: Induction into the J.C.L. together with a free movie and pizza for all J.C.L. members
* Saturday, November 16, 10 a.m. ~ 5 p.m.: Pioneer Valley Classical Association’s Classics Day and the Massachusetts Junior Classical League’s Catapult Contest, both hosted at Mt. Greylock.
Friends of the Arts News
The Friends of the Arts started the year off well with a lively discussion about what our priorities should be from the perspective of students, faculty and parents. We learned much from this conversation. For example:
* there is interest among students in starting a film club
* a number of students would like guitar instruction
* music students may need our support to arrange transportation to the Western District Auditions coming up In November and December
* there are Middle School parents who wish to insure that a middle school play will take place this year (Please call Deb Burns at 458-O925 or e-mail at deburns email@example.com if you would like to learn more about this )
We thank all of you for taking time from busy lives to come and share your ideas with us, and we hope this dialogue will continue.
There is continued Interest In aiding collaboration between Mt. Greylock and our local museums, especially given the budget cuts for field trips. Also, we plan to resume our Arts Lottery, where the Friends of the Arts donate tickets to local arts events, which students can win through a lottery At the moment, we are contemplating tickets to the upcoming Williamstown Film Festival. Students: watch for announcements and sign-up in the Guidance Office.
To Increase the effectiveness of our organization, we will be looking into the possibility of grant funding for some of the wonderful ideas that were shared at our first meeting. We were delighted to see new faces and we welcome heartily any other parents who would like to join us. The work of our committee could be strengthened significantly by growth in our membership.
Please come and see what we are about at our next meeting on Tuesday, October 8 at 7:30 p.m. in the Bruce Carlson Library.
Join Safe Homes!
What is Safe Homes?
Safe Homes of North Berkshire is a network of families in the North Berkshire community who wish to promote safe, drug and alcohol free places for youth. Parents who pledge that they will be present at their children’s parties and will ensure that all parties remain free of alcohol and drugs will be compiled in a North County-wide directory of “Safe Homes.”
Safe Homes Parents Agree:
We will not allow parties in our home or on our property when we are not present.
We will not allow the illegal use of alcohol or drugs in our home or on our property.
Why Safe Homes?
Many parents feel that “they are the only ones” who want to provide and promote a safe, drug and alcohol-free environment for today’s youth. Often parents feel uncomfortable talking to other parents and to youth about their concerns. Research has shown that the majority of parents are concerned about drug and alcohol use among youth, and the Safe Homes program creates a mutually supportive network of families while promoting this true norm. Safe Homes programs throughout the country support parents in supporting eachother and in keeping the youth in our communities healthy and safe.
Safe Homes Benefits:
Safe Homes parents feel comfortable having their students visit a Safe Home for parties.
Safe Homes parents have access to a list of parents supporting this concept which will be distrib-uted to each family endorsing the Safe Homes program.
Who Should Participate?
All North Berkshire parents/guardians with students in grades six through twelve.
How to join:
Sign the pledge form on the reverse side of this flyer!
Mt. Greylock Families
Safe Homes Parents Agree:
We will not allow parties in our home or on our property when we are not present.
We will not allow the illegal use of alcohol or drugs in our home or on our property
Would you like your phone number included in the directory? Yes No
Would you like your address included in the directory? Yes No
More information about Safe Homes of North Berkshire is available online at http://www.nbccoalition.org/safehomes or by calling Elena Traister at the Northern Berkshire Community Coalition at (663-7588).
Please complete and mail this form by October 15th. A contribution is not necessary to participate in the Safe Homes program, but your support is appreciated. Please return this form and any donations to:
The Northern Berkshire Community Coalition
85 Main Street, Suite 624
North Adams, MA 0 1247
Phone: (413) 663-7588
Fax: (413) 663-9877
Nomination Form Mount Greylock Wall of Recognition
Mount Greylock Regional School District wishes to recognize those individuals who provided vision and direction for the district and/or made enduring contributions which had a significant impact on students. faculty and the life of the school.
We seek your nominations. Please explain below, and on the reverse of this sheet, the reasons why the person you are nominating deserves recognition. What specific impact did this person have on you or others in the school community? What descriptive words come to mind as you reflect on the person and his/her influence on students, faculty, staff, or the general life of the school?
To be considered for recognition. the nominee must have served the school district for at least six years and have been away from it for at least two years.
I wish to nominate
for recognition by the Mount Greylock Regional School District.
My Name is
Please return this form to the Superintendent’s Office at Mount Greylock