Jackson Street School seeks ideas for playground redesign
Northampton senior Allie Martineau applies a clear protective coat of polyurethane to the spring portion of a four-season themed mural that she and other Honors Art 4 students painted in the second floor girls rest room at the high school.
KEVIN GUTTING Purchase photo reprints »
Northamptonseniors, from left, Zach Senchuk, Leah Tompkins, Margaux Paine, Sara Moss-Horwitz, Lila Hartwell, Allie Martineau and Jojo Renard pose in the entrance to the second floor girls rest room with the winter-to-fall portion of a four-season themed mural they painted. Paine, Moss-Horwitz, Hartwell and Renard won honors at this year's Boston Globe Scholastic statewide art competition
KEVIN GUTTING Purchase photo reprints »
NORTHAMPTON — Jackson Street Principal Gwen Agna shared some sad news last week with staff, students and parents.
“Our beautiful signature playground, affectionately known as the ‘Wooden Structure’ is on its last legs,” she announced in the school newsletter.
The playground, built in 1990 by volunteers, was expected to last up to 15 years, Agna said. In 2006, the school PTO raised more than $20,000 to replace the structure’s wooden boards with stronger recycled materials. But recently, the city’s school maintenance department recommended that sections of the playground be taken down before next fall.
On Wednesday at 3:15 p.m. Agna is hosting a playground “walk around” with school Maintenance Director Michael Diemand. Community members are invited to attend and share their ideas for a redesign.
In 1990, a poll of Jackson Street students found “they all wanted castle towers,” Agna said. In response, the playground structure was built with numerous red turrets that have become Jackson Street’s insignia, displayed on school T-shirts and other items.
Agna said the redesign aims to preserve the spirit of the playground as captured in the rules posted at its entryway. The first is “Everyone is welcome,” and the last is “Use your imagination.”
Student artists honored
Northampton High School junior Isabelle Page can’t remember a time when she didn’t draw or paint.
“I have a very artistic family,” said Page, who lives in Conway. “I can’t even remember when I started.”
Page is one of several NHS students who earned statewide arts honors this spring. Her painting, “The Insecure Self Portrait,” won this year’s Congressional Art Competition for Massachusetts and will hang in the U.S. Capitol in Washington, D.C.
Page — one of 75 students from nine schools participating in this year’s Congressional District awards — credited the arts program at NHS with making her “much more serious” about her work.
“It’s very tough, but in the best way possible,” she said.
Other NHS students who recently have been recognized for achievement in the arts are:
■ Junior Jace Hill will attend the Worcester Art Museum’s All-State event May 24 and 25. Hill’s portfolio earned him a spot working with artist mentors and students from across the state on creating a large-scale installation at the museum.
■ Seniors Lila Hartwell, Joni Sullivan, Margaux Paine and Sara Moss-Horwitz won Gold Keys for their art porfolios at this year’s statewide Boston Globe Scholastic competition, part of the national Alliance for Young Artists & Writers program.
■ Senior Elias Miller was awarded a Gold Key for a pastel drawing, and Sullivan and fellow senior JoJo Renard won Silver Keys for a painting and a print.
■ Junior Joshua Dietz received an Honorable Mention for three of his paintings.
Artworks by Gold and Silver Key winners were displayed at the State Transportation Building in Boston earlier this spring. Gold Key winners went on to compete in the Scholastic nationals in March.
City schools Technology Director Angelo Rota recently offered an iPad to the Northampton teacher who could “make the best use of technology in an instructional lesson.”
At first, only one iPad was on offer, but Rota said the submissions were so stellar his department decided to offer one at each grade level. And the winners are:
■ Beth Brady, a second-grade teacher at R.K. Finn Ryan Road School, for a multimedia unit on science and writing based on a class walk in the woods.
■ Dinah Mack, a seventh-grade social studies teacher at JFK Middle School, for a lesson on the European Union using online tools Prezi, PowerPoint and numerous websites.
■ Barbara Bitgood, a French teacher at NHS, for a lesson using student-created videos and multimedia presentations about fashions of the French-speaking world.
Rota said he hopes to make the iPad for the Classroom contest an annual event.