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School Zone: Author speaks on student success; robot builders compete

The author of “How Children Succeed,” which appears on current nonfiction best-seller lists, will be in Amherst next Wednesday. The talk by Paul Tough will be at 11:30 a.m. in the auditorium of Amherst Regional High School.

Tough argues that conventional measures of intelligence are less important to a student’s success than people think. He emphasizes the importance of skills such as perseverance, curiosity, conscientiousness, optimism and self-control.

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ROBOT BUILDERS: Students at Wildwood School are participating in an international competition in which they are building and programming robots and learning about the difficulties that senior citizens encounter and researching possible solutions.

The Lego Robotics Club meets once a week, with teacher Kathryn Runyan serving as the adviser. In addition to building the robots, there are two teams of 10 girls and 10 boys who are doing interviews with seniors and local experts, preparing for a presentation at the Dec. 8 competition in Agawam, Runyan said.

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ENERGY SURGE: “We have the potential to create a world-class public school system,” said Rhonda Cohen, the director of teaching and learning, at the Oct. 23 meeting of the Regional and Amherst School Committees.

Cohen outlined plans for greater alignment of the curriculum from kindergarten to 12th grade and more rigorous standards for English and math, and gave the committee a preview of a new interactive, online assessment system.

The Amherst schools are on a “fast path” to reform, Cohen said. “We’re setting ourselves up for success,” she said. “The question is how quickly we can do it.”

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ELECTION DAY: The students at Fort River School are holding a mock election for President on Monday...The elementary schools will be closed next Tuesday, Election Day, for a teachers work day...

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YOUNG RUNNERS: Fourth-graders at Crocker Farm School have been running a quarter-mile loop for a three-week period from Oct. 22 to Nov. 9. For every mile students run, they receive key chains, and after collecting 15 of them, students will qualify for a lunch catered by a local restaurant. The goal is to develop a love for running. Three coaches from the University of Massachusetts Department of Sport Management are motivating the children by running with them.

Send items for School Zone to: ngrabbe@gazettenet.com.

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