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Pioneer Valley Performing Arts fields new teachers, expanded technology in new year

  • <br/>Scott Goldman, the PVPA principal, with the welcome mural at the entrance to the school. <br/><br/>CAROL LOLLIS


    Scott Goldman, the PVPA principal, with the welcome mural at the entrance to the school.

    CAROL LOLLIS Purchase photo reprints »

  • Luke Gaeger, the technology teacher at PVPA, with 50 new IPads. By the end of the calendar year they should have a total of 100. <br/><br/>CAROL LOLLIS

    Luke Gaeger, the technology teacher at PVPA, with 50 new IPads. By the end of the calendar year they should have a total of 100.

    CAROL LOLLIS Purchase photo reprints »

  • <br/>Scott Goldman, the PVPA principal, with the welcome mural at the entrance to the school. <br/><br/>CAROL LOLLIS
  • Luke Gaeger, the technology teacher at PVPA, with 50 new IPads. By the end of the calendar year they should have a total of 100. <br/><br/>CAROL LOLLIS

Head of School Scott Goldman said he intends the new tablet computers to help bring the school up to speed with some of the latest technology. Faculty members have been testing them.

“I’m really interested in hearing back from the teachers who were using them this summer about how to create deeper and richer learning opportunities for students,” Goldman said.

The purchase was partly in preparation for the start of the online Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College Careers tests, known as PARCC, that will replace the MCAS in 2014, he said. Previously, the only access students had to technology was one computer lab in the school and one laptop cart.

And to help bridge the technology divide among PVPA students, Goldman said he is continuing — and hoping to expand on — an initiative where the school gives refurbished desktop computers donated from local colleges and businesses.

“We’re hoping to give more away this year to families who need them,” he said.

Staff changes

Students will meet several new staff members when classes begin, and science teacher Llama Maynard has been promoted to academic programs director, a position created this year. The new role will give Maynard, who Goldman said has a strong background in curriculum, a chance to have greater contact with all of the teachers.

Michael Hayes, formerly the principal of Amherst Regional Middle School, has also been hired to take the new position, director of math improvement.

Goldman said Hayes will lead the effort to revamp the math curriculum.

Brent Nielson, who previously worked as a special education teacher at Fort River Elementary School in Amherst, will replace retiring staff member Charles Hopkins as the director of academic support.

Goldman said PVPA has been making a commitment to having more full-time arts teachers on board, and with that comes the hiring of James Morrow as a dance teacher.

Jorge Rodriguez, who just finished his doctorate at the Yale University School of Drama, will join the staff as a theater teacher. Rodriguez previously worked with middle school youth during his time at Yale, Goldman said.

Other new staff members are theater teacher, Trenda Loftin, math teachers, Erica Foley and Claudine Margolis, French and Spanish teacher, David Duran, and Kathy Unruh in academic support.

Additionally, parent Kim Hicks is now president of the school’s board of trustees.

“I feel like we got this really great group of folks coming on,” Goldman said.

Goldman said the board of trustees is now in the process of researching a building expansion project that would provide a larger venue for concerts and performances, and would allow all members of the school community to fit in one room of the building.

“When we have to get together as a whole school community, we go outside,” Goldman said of the current situation. He said that if all goes well, he hopes the project will under way this winter.

For the second year, PVPA will hold its opening convocation at the Academy of Music in Northampton. This year’s convocation is set for Sept. 30 at 7 p.m.

Related

Back to School Special Section: What's new for local students this fall; In Northampton numerous new hires

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Scroll to the bottom of the article to read stories about your school district. Sal Canata, the new principal at the Leeds School, describes the lead-up to the start of the school year this way: “We’ve had a ton of change.” In a recent letter to school families, Canata reported several new hires at Leeds, including a new kindergarten teacher, …

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