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New technology, new hires for Hadley schools

  • Mike Duffy, the technology director for Hadley schools, displays new equipment at Hadley Elementary School recently. From front, a document camera, a laptop computer and an interactive white board. The school has received 22 of each.<br/><br/>JERREY ROBERTS

    Mike Duffy, the technology director for Hadley schools, displays new equipment at Hadley Elementary School recently. From front, a document camera, a laptop computer and an interactive white board. The school has received 22 of each.

    JERREY ROBERTS Purchase photo reprints »

  • An Epson document camera and a HP Pro Book 4540 laptop computer rest on a table Aug. 8 at Hadley Elementary School. The school received 22 of each. <br/>JERREY ROBERTS

    An Epson document camera and a HP Pro Book 4540 laptop computer rest on a table Aug. 8 at Hadley Elementary School. The school received 22 of each.
    JERREY ROBERTS Purchase photo reprints »

  • Kevin Bellavance, who works for Ockers in Brockton, makes an adjustment to an Epson Bright Link interactive white board Aug. 8 at Hadley Elementary School.<br/>JERREY ROBERTS

    Kevin Bellavance, who works for Ockers in Brockton, makes an adjustment to an Epson Bright Link interactive white board Aug. 8 at Hadley Elementary School.
    JERREY ROBERTS Purchase photo reprints »

  • Kevin Bellavance, who works for Ockers in Brockton, demonstrates the use of an Epson Bright Link interactive white board at Hadley Elementary School.<br/>JERREY ROBERTS

    Kevin Bellavance, who works for Ockers in Brockton, demonstrates the use of an Epson Bright Link interactive white board at Hadley Elementary School.
    JERREY ROBERTS Purchase photo reprints »

  • Mike Duffy, the technology director for Hadley schools, displays new equipment at Hadley Elementary School recently. From front, a document camera, a laptop computer and an interactive white board. The school has received 22 of each.<br/><br/>JERREY ROBERTS
  • An Epson document camera and a HP Pro Book 4540 laptop computer rest on a table Aug. 8 at Hadley Elementary School. The school received 22 of each. <br/>JERREY ROBERTS
  • Kevin Bellavance, who works for Ockers in Brockton, makes an adjustment to an Epson Bright Link interactive white board Aug. 8 at Hadley Elementary School.<br/>JERREY ROBERTS
  • Kevin Bellavance, who works for Ockers in Brockton, demonstrates the use of an Epson Bright Link interactive white board at Hadley Elementary School.<br/>JERREY ROBERTS

The school department this summer hired veteran special educator Patricia E. Bell as the district’s new assistant superintendent, a role Bell began this month.

In an interview with the Gazette, Bell emphasized making herself accessible to students and their families. “It’s something I don’t shy away from,” she said.

Earlier in the year, school officials hired Brian Beck as principal of Hopkins Academy, which enrolls about 280 students in grades 7 through 12.

A former principal of Athol High School and Mohawk Trail Regional High School in Buckland, Beck began his new assignment in July.

“Brian is all about serving all students and increasing student participation,” said interim Superintendent Donna Moyer, who had her contract renewed for another year while the School Committee undergoes a superintendent search this year.

In another administrative move, school officials have created the position of school adjustment counselor at Hopkins Academy, a post filled by new hire Tina Howard. The new position is a departure from the former dean of student post and was described by Moyer as a cross between a guidance counselor and social worker. Howard is expected to work with students, monitoring their conduct and assisting those who may need help with social, anxiety or health issues, to name a few examples. Howard previously worked in a similar position for 13 years at the New Hingham School in Chesterfield. “There is clearly a need and we are hoping to better serve students,” Moyer said of Howard’s role.

New technology

At Hadley Elementary School, students and families can expect to see an infusion of technology, from the classrooms to the lunch room. A $150,000 technology initiative approved by town voters has allowed the school district to buy nearly 50 laptops, along with dozens of white boards, projectors and document cameras. In all, the elementary school will have about 75 laptop computers throughout the school.

The elementary school also has been made wireless this year, joining Hopkins Academy in that regard. The increase in use of technology by students and teachers is designed to enrich the curriculum. The wireless network at Hopkins was upgraded over the summer.

“People should slowly see an increase in the use of technology,” Moyer said. “It’s very, very significant at the elementary school.”

Moyer said the major professional development work this year will entail learning how to use the new technology. In addition to new teacher evaluation software, the school district is planning to focus on data analysis of student assessments to help make adjustments to teacher strategies and curriculums in the coming year, according to Moyer.

“There will be a tremendous amount of professional development,” Moyer said. “All the equipment means nothing without professional development.”

In the cafeterias, the district is introducing a new point-of-service or debit card system for its food services. In time, families will be able to receive information about the nutritional value of the schools’ meals, which the schools are planning to provide through the new service at both Hopkins and the elementary school.

Significant new course additions include AP biology and AP chemistry at Hopkins Academy, which is expected to have good enrollment. Small capital improvements have been made, including a new set of doors at Hopkins Academy and new flame-retardant stage curtains at the high school. School officials say they are anticipating sending out back-to-school information soon, including bus transportation details and pick up and drop off times. The last day of school is scheduled for June 13 barring snow days.

“I’ve very optimistic about Hadley and having a very positive year and look forward to working with our students,” Moyer said.

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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