During a high school visit, eighth-graders from Herberg Middle School (left) watch as Taconic High School students crowd the halls as they switch classes.
During a high school visit, eighth-graders from Herberg Middle School (left) watch as Taconic High School students crowd the halls as they switch classes. (Jenn Smith / Berkshire Eagle Staff)

Transition.

It's a time hallmarked as much by hope as it is hesitance.

Change can bring promise for progress, for improvement for a better quality of life. But trying out new things and implementing new ideas can also bring uncertainty, doubt and fear of failure.

It is a time of great change for education in the United States, with lawmakers' calls for sweeping education reform for pre-kindergarten through higher education, incentivized by competitive dollars and demands for high return on investments.

Schools and districts in Massachusetts and in our own neighborhoods of Berkshire County are not immune. Whether you are a student, a voter or a taxpayer, everyone has a stake in this movement.

In addition to reform in curriculum and assessments, members of school communities are adjusting to other ongoing developments, from the yearly cycle of changing grades to finding a job as a new graduate, from choosing new administrators to getting used to the federal reconstruction of what goes out on a school lunch tray.

Ultimately, time, understanding and dedication will determine how smoothly such transitions will be made.

In this year's Making the Grade, we submerse into such sea change and offer insight on how to navigate the shifting tides.

-- Jenn Smith