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Schools

South Hadley teachers reach agreement on three-year contract with 2 percent annual raises, benefit reduction

Friday, September 12, 2014

SOUTH HADLEY — A new three-year contract for teachers includes a 2 percent annual pay raise and added longevity pay. It also contains a reduction in benefits and increased work hours. Similar agreements were reached with four other bargaining units. Superintendent Nicholas Young said he is currently negotiating with non-union employees with the goal of reaching individual agreements based on those same principles. “That’s the theme across the board,” he …

Amherst School Superintendent Maria Geryk gets $11,000 raise, increasing her salary to $158,000

Thursday, September 11, 2014

AMHERST — Amherst School Superintendent Maria Geryk has been given an $11,000 salary increase by the school boards that serve the Amherst-Pelham Regional School district, boosting her annual salary to $158,000. The raise was announced in a press release Thursday by Darius Modestow of Pelham, chairman of Union # 26 which governs the …

Bob the horse, Smith Voke’s unofficial mascot, dies at 34

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

NORTHAMPTON — Bob, a Belgian draft horse who became the “unofficial mascot” of Smith Vocational and Agricultural High School, received a mint every day for the last 15 years of his life. This was his reward for saving the life of animal science teacher Don Baker after a plowing accident. The plow had …

Smith Academy spiffy after facelift; new play area graces elementary school

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

HATFIELD — When students and staff return to Smith Academy this year, they will enter a school building that has undergone considerable improvements during the summer. Topping the list is the replacement of the school’s 18-year-old roof, which, despite repairs, had been leaking for the last four years. …

Grades 2 and 3 combined at Berkshire Trail Elementary in Cummington due to low enrollment

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

CUMMINGTON — There will be a new classroom grouping and curriculum at Berkshire Trail Elementary School this year. “New for us this year will be the reinstatement of a multi-grade classroom for Grades 2 and 3,” Principal Lorraine Liantonio said. The combined classes resulted from low student enrollment. …

Curriculum coordination, professional development the focus for Frontier Regional, Union 28 schools this year

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

SOUTH DEERFIELD — The Frontier Regional and Union 38 school district will have new staff and programs while emphasizing professional development and increased collaboration among the schools and district towns this year. “Last year, we spent a lot of time focusing on mandates from the state,” said Superintendent …

Move from five- to seven-period day aims to improve students’ course options at Gateway Regional High and Junior High Schools

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

HUNTINGTON — Students at Gateway Regional High School and Junior High School will have a new class schedule this year that school officials say will improve their options for study. “The new daily class schedule is the biggest change happening at the high school this year,” said Wendy …

New principal impressed with ‘welcoming’ community

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

LEVERETT — With a new principal and the retirement of a longtime school psychologist, Leverett Elementary School is set for the new school year with its floors waxed and minor repairs made to a leaking office wall. Principal Margot Lacey, 61, started July 1, replacing Anne Ross who …

‘Meet the principal’ night tomorrow in Shutesbury

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

SHUTESBURY — Jacqueline Mendonsa of Florence is preparing for her first year as the new principal of Shutesbury Elementary School. Mendonsa, 32, joined Shutesbury Elementary on July 1, replacing Maureen Ryan who resigned at the end of the 2013-14 school year. A graduate of the University of Massachusetts …

Two finalists for school superintendent named in Belchertown

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

BELCHERTOWN — Two educators working elsewhere in Massachusetts were named finalists for superintendent of schools in Belchertown after a third candidate withdrew hours before the announcement was made Tuesday evening. Karen Zaleski, director of pupil services for the …

Divided Amherst Regional School Committee elects Trevor Baptiste new chairman amid concern about board factions

Thursday, August 14, 2014

AMHERST — Acknowledging that the Amherst-Regional School Committee has factions that may be causing harm to the school system and student education, a divided board elected a new chairman at its annual retreat Thursday afternoon. Trevor Baptiste of …

Amherst equity panel airs ideas for school reform

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

AMHERST — Supporting school administrators in establishing a more racially and linguistically diverse staff, and retaining these teachers after they are hired, is an initial recommendation expected to come from a group focused on ensuring that Amherst public schools provide a welcoming educational environment for all students. At …

Asian children get Colonial history lesson in Old Deerfield

Saturday, August 9, 2014

DEERFIELD — Surrounded by a small group of Asian children dressed in authentic 17th-century Colonial attire, Pocumtuck Valley Memorial Association artist-in-residence Reba-Jean Shaw-Pichette took a handful of loose herbs and began passing around sprigs. “The way to tell …