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Three finalists named for Ryan Road School principal in Northampton
04-17-2024 10:04 AM

STAFF REPORT

NORTHAMPTON — A selection committee has chosen three finalists for the job of principal at Ryan Road Elementary School, Superintendent Portia Bonner announced Tuesday.The finalists are Rebecca LeBeau, the current interim principal at Ryan Road;...

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Crocker School kids draw on historical picture books for library banner project
04-16-2024 5:03 PM

By SCOTT MERZBACH

AMHERST — An unfolded brown paper bag is being transformed, through use of crayons, pencils and paint markers, into a banner showcasing an acclaimed American naturalist, artist and academic.“I think Anna Comstock was very impressive in her work,” says...


Report flags equity, income in free college debate
04-13-2024 4:01 PM

By SAM DRYSDALE

BOSTON — Moderate-income white students could gain the most under a proposal that top Senate Democrats are weighing to make community college free for all Massachusetts residents, according to a report, which urges lawmakers to make adjustments with...


Sen. Markey informs Deerfield Elementary students about online privacy law
04-11-2024 5:11 PM

By DOMENIC POLI

SOUTH DEERFIELD — Fifty-two students coming of age during a time enveloped by social media and online influence spoke with U.S. Sen. Ed Markey on Monday to discuss proposed legislation that would update a law enacted 26 years ago to better protect...


Northampton schools eye pay freeze as ‘dire’ budget vote nears on Thursday
04-08-2024 5:20 PM

By ALEXANDER MACDOUGALL

NORTHAMPTON — All public school employees would forego raises next year, in addition to the elimination of more positions on top of those already announced in December, under a plan revealed in recent days by Superintendent Portia Bonner as the...


Smart search shirt: AHRS invention group’s garment will report rescuers’ vital signs and location
04-05-2024 4:50 PM

By SCOTT MERZBACH

AMHERST — Often during search-and-rescue efforts, emergency personnel in the field prioritize helping those lost, trapped or otherwise in trouble, rather than focusing on their own safety and well-being.Understanding the risks they take, a group...


A stuffie bond: Arts collaboration brings high schoolers, kindergartners together in Amherst
03-31-2024 7:45 PM

By SCOTT MERZBACH

AMHERST — Featuring a horn extending from its violet-colored head and a lower body resembling that of a lobster, with elements of a dolphin and turtle thrown in for good measure, the creature is quite a sight in its doll-like form.“It flies. It has...


Art is a vehicle for change: Power of Truths Festival returns to Florence to illuminate history of injustice, April 5-6
03-28-2024 3:43 PM

By STEVE PFARRER

Can the arts help us reexamine our past and come to terms with injustice? Can music, film and other mediums become instruments for social change by helping us look differently at our history and our beliefs?Those are questions the Power of Truths Arts...


Champions of change: NHS Student Union advocates for students before administrators, School Committee
03-27-2024 4:42 PM

By ALEXANDER MACDOUGALL

NORTHAMPTON — When Giselle Ohm was in middle school, she enjoyed reading stories about the adventures and exploits of high school student councils, and she aspired to be on one someday. But when she began the transition to Northampton High School, Ohm...


Senate tries again on early ed bill aimed at helping more Massachusetts families
03-17-2024 1:01 PM

By SAM DRYSDALE

BOSTON — More Massachusetts families would become eligible for subsidized child care and “transformational” grants that kept the early education system afloat during the pandemic would be made permanent, under a bill the Senate unanimously passed late...


A dream fulfilled: Aaron Lansky, whose Yiddish Book Center helped reclaim a culture, stepping aside
03-10-2024 11:46 AM

By STEVE PFARRER

AMHERST — Aaron Lansky, founder and president of the Yiddish Book Center, began his 2004 memoir about his work, “Outwitting History,” with a memorable anecdote: how he’d taken a dead-of-night train from the Valley to Manhattan in 1980 and, with the...


Senate plans another push for major early ed bill
03-09-2024 2:51 PM

By SAM DRYSDALE

BOSTON — Despite a tightening state budget picture, the Senate this week plans to take up a pricey early education and child care bill aimed at expanding access to education for the state’s youngest learners and making it more affordable for families,...


Music, special ed teachers back in elementary schools budget in Amherst
03-06-2024 10:41 AM

By SCOTT MERZBACH

AMHERST — More money available to support the Amherst elementary schools budget should preserve the instrumental music program, as well as two special education instructors, one at Wildwood School and another at Crocker Farm School, next school year,...


At state budget hearing at GCC, school officials share unique challenges faced by rural districts
03-03-2024 11:14 AM

By CHRIS LARABEE

GREENFIELD — School officials and community members from up and down the Pioneer Valley honed in on one of the most important local education issues — rural school funding — during a state budget hearing late last week that also included discussion...


Greening our brains and our thumbs: The many opportunities in the Valley to increase your garden knowledge and skills
02-29-2024 2:22 PM

By PAT JAMES

After moving from the city into a rural home with land 25 years ago, I was excited that the property was mostly bare ground that I could bend to my will and create beautiful gardens over time. As a kid, I’d helped in the garden a lot, so how hard...


Senate plans another sex education reform vote this week
02-25-2024 6:01 AM

By SAM DRYSDALE

Senators this week are expected to vote again on a bill to update the state’s sex education guidelines, something the chamber has already approved four times without getting buy-in from the House.The Senate Committee on Ways and Means polled the...


Markey bill includes funds for paraprofessional hires, training
02-20-2024 2:56 PM

By TANISHA BHAT

The region’s paraeducators could receive additional support from the federal government when it comes to recruitment, training and retention as part of a bill proposed in Congress by Sen. Ed Markey.The bill — called the Preparing and Retaining All...


GCC nursing students talk single-payer health care, workplace safety concerns with WMass legislators
02-13-2024 8:04 PM

By DOMENIC POLI

GREENFIELD — Some two dozen aspiring nurses spent Monday morning rubbing elbows with four of the region’s top politicians, where they were able to ask what they could do to drum up support for single-payer health care to how to better protect medical...


Grooving with a bigger  sound: S. Hadley high school band visited by Bombyx Brass Collective
02-09-2024 5:36 PM

By EMILEE KLEIN

SOUTH HADLEY — The sound from the high school’s music room Tuesday morning echoed down the halls with more volume than usual.South Hadley High School’s concert band currently consists of 12 people, three of whom play trumpet. Nathan Manly is one of...


Guest columnist Pema Latshang : School leaders need to further invest in their teachers
02-05-2024 4:42 PM

By PEMA LATSHANG

Over the past three years, it’s become clear just how essential teachers are to the everyday lives of the western Massachusetts community. In remote and hybrid settings they were there for us throughout the pandemic, with many stepping up to do this...


Guest columnist Doug Selwyn: High-stakes testing regime the opposite of educating kids
02-04-2024 10:32 AM

By DOUG SELWYN

We are now a month away from MCAS season, and I urge readers to learn more about the Thrive Act, which would end the MCAS as a graduation requirement, would end district receivership, and would establish a commission to develop an assessment system...

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