New Easthampton High School building leads to new course offerings for fall
Skylah Colon,13, of Easthampton, explains her science fair project to left, Meaghan Snapp,10, of Easthampton and Lila Zygo,10,of Easthampton at White Brook Middle school Thursday afternoon.
Purchase photo reprints »
Tyenna Chmura-Pass, 13, of Easthampton, explains her science fair project to Anaiza Cuevas,10, of Easthampton.
CAROL LOLLIS Purchase photo reprints »
Jonthan Foley demonstrates his science fair project at an open house at White Brook Middle School last week. Science fair winners are to be announced today.
CAROL LOLLIS Purchase photo reprints »
Betty Maiorano, an eighth-grade math teacher at White Brook Middle School in Easthampton, looks over the science project created by Henry Wong, left, and Jordan Andrews. Their project sought to determine what water level makes the strongest tsumani wave. The school's eighth-graders participated in the fair and about 250 family and community members attended an evening open house March 14 to view the projects.
Science fair winners, who will be identified Thursday, will be invited to participate in a regional Middle School Science Fair set for April 27. Regional winners will go on to compete at a statewide science fair June 1 in Worcester. Purchase photo reprints »
The listing includes 28 new courses, marked with an eagle logo, including college and career readiness for juniors and seniors, extended algebra, Advanced Placement statistics, forensic science, robotics and computer game design — among others.
A letter from EHS Principal Vito Perrone that accompanies the listing cites expanded learning opportunities made possible by a new high school building in the final stages of completion on Williston Avenue.
The new $39.2 million building “will offer us unprecedented opportunities for learning and growth,” Perrone wrote. “We will be housed in a state-of-the-art facility and supported by cutting-edge technology.”
In anticipation of the new building’s opening next month, academic departments were asked to review their courses and align them with new state college and career-ready standards, Perrone said.
“Additionally, faculty members were asked to create rigorous new courses to be taught within the strategically designed spaces of the new school,” his letter states.
One offering that is not listed in the catalogue but will be available next fall is AP biology, Perrone said. The year-long course is equivalent to an introductory college level course for biology majors, and covers themes such as cell structures, molecular genetics, evolution and ecology. Perrone said the course became available last week through a combination of grant funds and efforts of the EHS science department.
Elementary change delayed
In response to concerns expressed by parents at a public forum forum last month, the School Committee has delayed action on a proposed elementary school reorganization plan until next year.
The delay will allow administrators more time to research the issue, said Maple School Principal Tim Luce, who proposed the reorganization along with Center/Pepin Principal Robert Orlando.
Under the plan, which revives an idea first explored four years ago, all students in the same grade level would be enrolled at the same school. Currently students in different grades are enrolled at both Maple and Center/Pepin.
Administrators say the change would eliminate the need for frequent transfers of students between the schools to balance class sizes and would help create a more coordinated curriculum in the early grades.
After parents raised questions at a Feb. 27 forum about transportation, “transition” issues and how children with special needs will be affected by the change, Luce and Orlando notified school families that they’d be asking the School Committee to delay a decision until spring of 2014.
Laurie Kieszek, the parent of a kindergartner at Pepin who was one of 60 city residents attending last month’s forum, welcomed the reprieve.
“I’m really, really happy they are putting some more thought into this,” she said. “The forum raised so many valid issues for why this should not happen and showed how many people would be affected.”
Parents have created a Facebook page to share information about the issue, Easthampton Elementary Parents Concerned About Reorganization.
The curtain rises tonight on “Anything Goes,” the spring musical at Hampshire Regional High School. Performances will be held at 7:30 p.m. tonight; at 2 p.m. and 7:30 p.m. Friday; and at 2 p.m. Sunday. The popular Cole Porter musical is about passengers on an oceanliner bound from New York to London. Tickets cost $12 for adults, $10 for students and seniors 65 and older, and $8 for children 12 and younger. Call 437-5597 for reservations.
Budget session planned
A budget plan for 2014 is on the agenda for the School Committee’s regular meeting to be held Tuesday at 7 p.m. at 50 Payson Ave. School leaders are trying to address a gap anticipated at more than $630,000 for the fiscal year that begins July 1 in a total budget of $17.41 million.
Strategies proposed for closing the deficit include cutting 4.5 teaching positions districtwide. The draft budget is a “level services” plan based on expected funding of $15.64 million from the city.
The following night, March 27, the School Committee and City Council will meet at 6 p.m. at school headquarters to appoint a resident to serve on the school board for the remainder of the calendar year. Four candidates have stepped forward to fill a seat left open after board member Bonnie Katusich resigned last month, citing family demands.
They are Teresa S. Barut, a math teacher at Hampshire Regional High School; Laurie A. Garcia, a world languages teacher at Amherst Regional Middle School; Lois B. Levin, a clinical dietition and member of the Easthampton Schools Wellness Committee; and Laura Scott, a local realtor and former Holyoke public school teacher.
Barbara Solow can be reached at BSolow@gazettenet.com.