Classrooms: School news and notes

  • Nati Passow, of the Jewish Farm School of Philadelphia, Rose Cherneff, farm manager for Abundance Farm, and Heidi Nortonsmith, executive director of the Northampton Survival Center. SUBMITTED PHOTO

Published: 3/20/2018 11:28:25 PM
Farm, schools explore how to help students learn about justice

NORTHAMPTON — Abundance Farm, a collaboration at Congregation B’nai Israel with Lander-Grinspoon Academy, and the Northampton Survival Center, is a unique resource for the three schools who share its campus: Lander-Grinspoon Academy, Gan Keshet Preschool, and ALMA religious school.

Teachers and staff of the three schools, the survival center, and Congregation B’nai Israel gathered last week to explore how Abundance Farm might help students learn about justice.

During the course of the day, teachers had the opportunity to explore the connection between ancient Jewish traditions and current food equity movements in the U.S.

Teachers also learned about the geographic and social history of Abundance Farm, which importantly includes a direct link to caring for the poor. In 1698, the property was the site of the Northampton City Infirmary for the poor and in 1825 was the home of the city’s poor house. The wetlands directly behind the school are also unique in that they are the home to the most diverse wildlife in the city.

“We are focusing on teaching our children through direct engagement with the farm to provide for those who need access to food in our region,” said Rabbi Jacob Fine, Abundance Farm Director and Congregation B’nai Israel’s Director of Jewish Life, who was one of the educators at the professional development day.

Prekindergarten registration at New Hingham

CHESTERFIELD — New Hingham Regional Elementary School will hold prekindergarten registration and screening on April 5 and April 11, from 9 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. both days. Prospective parents may call the school office at 413-296-0000 to schedule a screening appointment.

Information regarding tuition, hours of operation and openings will be available at that time. The program is open to families that live in Chesterfield and Goshen that have 3- and 4-year-olds. Children must be 3 at the time of the screening.

Additionally, the school is now accepting School Choice applications for the 2018-2019 school year. Visit to complete an application. Slots will be filled May 4.

Smith Academy to hold luncheon

HATFIELD — Smith Academy will introduce its students and staff and host a presentation that highlights some of the school’s achievements at a luncheon on Wednesday, April 11.

The school is interested in exploring future partnerships with local businesses in the form of internships and works studies for its students.

The luncheon is scheduled from 10:30 a.m. to noon at the school at 34 School St. RSVP to Casey Pescitelli by March 28 at or 413-247-5641.

NHS students win prize in C-Span’s video competition

NORTHAMPTON — Northampton High School students Elena Frogameni and Jarrett Smith won an honorable mention prize in C-SPAN’s national 2018 StudentCam competition. They will receive $250 for their documentary, “The First Amendment and Internet Regulation.”

Each year since 2006, C-SPAN partners with its local cable television providers in communities nationwide to invite middle and high school students to produce short documentaries about a subject of national importance. This year students addressed the theme, “The Constitution & You: Choose a provision of the U.S. Constitution and create a video illustrating why it’s important to you.”

In response, C-SPAN received a record 2,985 video submissions from over 5,700 students in 46 states and Washington, D.C. Students worked in teams or as individuals to address a wide range of public policy issues, from the freedoms of the First Amendment and the right to bear arms, to equality and the powers of Congress.

The 150 winning videos may be viewed at may be used in a broadcast with attribution to C-SPAN.

Neal visits Gateway to congratulate graduate

Huntington — After Gateway Regional High School said its farewell to the graduating class of 2017, the teachers and staff knew that there were a handful of students who would go on to do amazing things.

One of these graduates was Montgomery native, Franky Tangredi. He graduated from Gateway with big dreams, and attending a military academy was on his mind from early in his high school career. Over the past three months, Tangredi has been accepted into the Air Force Academy, Naval Academy, and West Point, a truly impressive accomplishment.

On March 12, Congressman Richard Neal visited Gateway to publicly announce Tangredi’s acceptance to the academies and decision to attend the Naval Academy. Family, friends, and former teachers all attended.

Neal described the process to be considered for these prestigious United States’ military academies. It begins around the student’s sophomore year of high school, as it did for Tangredi. The student must be nominated by a congressman. A nomination is based upon SAT scores, academic excellence, athletic ability, community service and being an overall well-rounded person.

Tangredi initially received a rejection letter from the Naval Academy during his senior year of high school, but he continued to work toward his goal. Tangredi spent the year following high school completing a gap year at Greystone Prep School in Kerrville, Texas, a school that is part of Schreiner University. Greystone is known for its success in sending students to the military academies.

At Greystone, Tangredi was able to better prepare himself for applying to the Naval Academy again. When he did receive that long awaited acceptance letter, it was an amazing moment.

“It’s even more worth it knowing that another year was put into the effort. That extra year made me appreciate it so much more, that when I finally got my acceptance letter, it was a surreal feeling,” Tangredi said.

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