Jenn Smith | Recess: Berkshire grads feted with patchwork of celebrations

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Students, families and educators: Congratulations, you've made it to the end of the school year. It's certainly been one for the books.

On Friday, Berkshire Arts and Technology Charter Public School posted to its Facebook page: "Though we weren't able to wave our students off as they rode the bus home today, a beloved BART tradition, Coach Krzanik still made his board. See you in 72 days."

The Gabriel Abbott Memorial School parent-teacher group was able to uphold its annual end of the school year tradition — an ice cream social — with a twist. They hosted a drive-thru ice cream truck for families, serving up delight and good-byes, one family at a time.

In addition to high school graduations, a bounty of preschoolers, kindergartners, fifth graders and eighth graders have also been feted in special ways for their milestone achievements and transitioning through key grades. Many a Berkshire County front lawn are dotted with signs and balloons from such celebrations. Gifts and certificates have been delivered through either home dropoffs or various arrangements of drive-thru and walk-up ceremonies through partnerships between schools and our generous communities.

In the Farmington River Regional School District, staff and members of the PTA stood out in the rain for a wave parade last Thursday, marking the end of an unusual year, handing out coupons for free frosty treats donated by Katie's Country Store and Papa's Healthy Food and Fuel as just desserts.

Undermountain Elementary School had a "reverse wave parade" last Wednesday, where families drove through and teachers waved them off, with colorful signs and balloons and music, reminding students to "keep reading" and "stay active" over the summer.

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In other celebratory news, Williams College announced on May 29 its 2020 Bicentennial Olmsted Awards for Faculty and Curricular Development to local schools. Each institution will receive $5,000 for professional and curricular development projects, as follows:

- Hoosac Valley Regional School District will focus on implementing social-emotional teaching, learning and support practices.

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- BART will now require every student to pass an Advanced Placement (AP) course by graduation and by providing course-related materials and access to AP tests at no cost to students.

- Lanesborough and Williamstown elementary schools will hold educator workshops with Playworks, a national nonprofit focused on transforming children's social and emotional health through playtime coaching.

- McCann Technical School will continue its transition from traditional grading and assessments to a standards-based learning approach.

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- Mount Greylock Regional School will rebuild a vegetable and herb garden as a joint cross-curricular venture involving science classes and student organizations, and the school's food services department.

- North Adams Public Schools will focus on the improvement of its science instruction and establish a K-12 science instruction team.

- Pine Cobble School will continue the work of its Inclusion, Diversity, Equity, Action (IDEA) Committee by partnering with Teaching Tolerance. It will also develop and expand the school's Our Whole Lives (OWLs) program, which teaches students about topics like healthy relationships, self-care, gender and sexual identity, and puberty.

- Pownal Elementary will develop its staff's trauma-informed practices.

Jenn Smith can be reached at, at @JennSmith_Ink on Twitter and 413-496-6239.


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