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Classrooms: Hatfield teacher honored, other news

  • Students rehearse for the 2015 Choral Festival, scheduled for Feb. 25 at Smith College. Ben Barnhart

  • Hatfield first-grade teacher Amy Hudzik, center, is presented with congratulatory flowers by Superintendent John Robert and Principal Jen Chapin. SUBMITTED PHOTO

Published: 2/14/2017 11:31:20 PM
Hudzik wins topHatfield teaching honor for 2017

Amy Hudzik has been selected by the Hatfield Public School District as a 2017 Pioneer Valley Excellence in Teaching Award Winner.

Hudzik is a first-grade teacher at the Hatfield Elementary School. Teachers are nominated by either their peers, parents, students, or community members and are selected based on numerous criteria. Some of those criteria include excellence in teaching practices, professional development, community involvement and attendance on the job.

The award was announced at a Feb. 6 faculty meeting where Hudzik was presented with flowers and congratulatory card. She will be honored at a banquet for Excellence in Teaching Award Winners at the Log Cabin in Holyoke on April 27. The banquet program will feature award presentations, a message about a local education project and an inspiring teacher appreciation video starring Pioneer Valley students.

The Excellence in Teaching Award Program is made possible by the Harold Grinspoon Charitable Foundation, the George A. and Irene David Foundation, and MassMutual Life Insurance Company.

Smith Academy noted for gains in student success

HATFIELD — Smith Academy in Hatfield is one of 433 school districts in the United States and Canada being honored by the College Board with placement on the 7th Annual AP District Honor Roll.  

To be included on the honor roll, Smith Academy had to, since 2014, increase the number of students participating in AP while also increasing or maintaining the percentage of students earning AP Exam scores of 3 or higher.

In 2016, more than 4,000 colleges and universities around the world received AP scores for college credit, advanced placement, or both, and/or consideration in the admission process. 

Inclusion on the 7th Annual AP District Honor Roll is based on a review of three years of AP data, from 2014 to 2016, looking across 37 AP Exams, including world language and culture.

Out of the 25 schools in Massachusetts honored, Smith Academy is the only school in western Massachusetts.

Choral festival
to feature 440

A favorite cultural event of the area returns this month when some 440 students from five campuses take part in the Five College Choral Festival at Smith College.

The Choral Festival, which is presented every other year, will feature 13 different campus ensembles each performing separately, and a final song that unifies the voices of the assembled students.

The festival, which takes place at 7:30 pm Saturday, Feb. 25 at Smith College’s John M. Greene Hall, is free and open to the public.

The Choral Festival features groups drawn from Amherst, Hampshire, Mount Holyoke and Smith colleges and the University of Massachusetts Amherst. Each group will first perform alone, singing work ranging from spirituals to folk to world music.

In the show’s climax, with UMass music professor Stephen Paparo conducting, choir members will together sing “Oseh Shalom” (“The One Who Makes Peace”) by Nurit Hirsh, arranged by Hampshire College choral director Elaine Broad Ginsberg.

Safety drill draws on school counselors’ expertise

Huntington — Gateway Regional’s school counselors and administrators were put through their paces during a tabletop safety drill Monday, Feb. 6, which also marked the start of National School Counseling Week.

The drill opened with a review of Gateway protocols for crisis team and mental health/behavioral crisis teams, along with legal definition of imminent risk. Police Chief Robert Garriepy and officials from the Massachusetts State Police looked on as staff worked through an unfolding mock scenario, which took place in the high school in real time.

In the scenario, a dispute that started at an unsupervised Super Bowl home party results in a dating break-up, the death of the eighth-grade girl in that relationship, and threats against several students who’d attended the party, including the ex-boyfriend.

As Assistant Principal Tony Sabonis, Guidance Counselors Meghan Wasiak and Julie Case, and School Adjustment Counselor Nancy Blume coped with investigating the threats and altercations taking place in the mock scenario, other people were pulled in when needed. While staff worked through the needs of the primary students involved, other Gateway counselors were called in to prepare to inform students and staff of the death and to prepare a place to support students who are distressed by the news.

School Adjustment Counselor Joyce Hanousek, who also serves as the district’s safety coordinator, led the drill with Superintendent David Hopson.

National School Counseling Week (Feb.6-10) was sponsored by the American School Counselor Association to highlight the impact school counselors can have in helping students achieve school success and plan for a career.

ARHS to launch gym
renovation project

Amherst Regional High School’s gymnasium renovation project is expected to begin in March, according to a post on the district’s website.

The construction phase of the project will be completed by Aug. 15 in time for fall athletic programs and the 2017-18 school year.

The scope of the project will include the following: removal and replacement of the existing gym floor; removal of the wooden bleachers to be replaced with new ADA compliant composite bleachers; painting the ceiling and walls white with Hurricane logos; removal of the non-functioning mechanical doors to be replaced with drop down netting; and reconfigure the volleyball court to allow for two practice nets.

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