May 9, 2013
CES Awarded NEA Grant to Bring Arts to DYS Classrooms
NORTHAMPTON: The National Endowment of the Arts recently awarded a $60,000 grant to the Collaborative for Educational Services (CES) to expand art opportunities for youth involved in the Massachusetts Department of Youth Services (DYS). The Artists in Juvenile Justice Initiative will bring performance, digital media, and visual arts to DYS classrooms around the state.
“We are thrilled to receive this funding so we can provide our students with the opportunity to work with artists and engage in learning through the arts,” said Woody Clift, the Director of DYS Programs at CES.
Throughout the initiative, artists from four organizations (Performance Project, Actors Shakespeare Project, Merill Comeau Fiber Arts, and This World Music) will work with DYS teachers in classroom-based residencies to develop arts educational programming.
Over a hundred students in 10 DYS facilities will participate in the program. Final projects include four murals, two plays, and four drumming performances.
Clift said that the initiative will also help DYS students develop vital 21st century skills including creativity, critical thinking, collaboration, and effective communication.
The program “will increase the likelihood that our students, who are among the most vulnerable of the Commonwealth, will return to their communities with a newfound understanding of their potential, sustain the gains they made under our care, and prosper,” he said.
CES partners with Commonwealth Corporation and DYS to provide high-quality educational and employability services to youth.
May 8, 2013
Springfield's Anne Marie Bettencourt Named Massachusetts Teacher of the Year
A hearty congratulations goes out to Springfield's Central High School English teacher, Anne Marie Bettencourt, who has been named Massachsuetts Teacher of the Year!
In addition to achieving top honors for her work in the classroom, Bettencourt has been a vital member of a CES team developing Instructional Guides for educators delivering a high-quality education to students served by Department of Youth Services.
Bettencourt's holistic teaching philosophy is a reminder of the impact educators can have in the lives of their students:" It’s really easy to forget that we don’t teach history or science or math. We teach students and that’s how we have to seem them as whole people." See the full story from WGGB ABC 40 here.
Congratulations, Anne Marie, and best of luck in the running for National Teacher of the Year!
April 25, 2013
Thirty Years Later, Struggle -- and Progress -- in American Classrooms
On WWLP 22 News, Collaborative Deputy Director Bill Diehl speaks to a comparison of today's education system to the system as it existed thirty years ago. Watch the news clip here.
President Ronald Regan's A Nation At Risk study exposed weaknesses in American education and, the recent comparison indicates, today's students still struggle in areas of math and science, while only 1 in 4 Americans receive a high school degree on time. While problems certainly still exist, Diehl indicates that factors such as changes in student population, including higher rates of poverty and increased numbers of English language learners, may not lend themselves to a fair comparison.
April 16, 2013
Reunion Center Mentors Middle Schoolers
The Reunion Center of Easthampton has launched an exciting new academic program, bringing high-achieving high school students together with middle schoolers who need some extra support with school work. This exciting new mentorship effort helps to decrease risk of struggling students becoming dropouts before reaching high school. Find out more in Barbara Solow's article in the Daily Hampshire Gazette and or learn more about the Reunion Center here.
April 9, 2013
Local Communities Celebrate the Week of the Young Child™
NORTHAMPTON: Communities throughout Hampshire County are organizing a series of events next week (April 14th – 20th) to raise awareness of the needs of young children, and their families, as well as the community programs and services that support them.
The Week of the Young Child™ is sponsored by the National Association for the Education of Young Children. This year's theme is Early Years Are Learning Years®.
Next week is also Brain Building in Progress Week, an initiative promoting the positive, future impact of quality early childhood education and care. Brain Building in Progress Week is organized by the Massachusetts Department of Early Education and Care, as well as funders and providers throughout the state.
Barbara Finlayson said that as a “child’s earliest years are so critical to their development and learning, these two week-long campaigns raise our awareness of the need to provide supportive, enriching experiences for very young children in child care, school and at home.”
The Week of the Young Child activities and community events taking place around Hampshire County are listed below:
The Belchertown Family Center will be posting a StoryWalk® -- stay tuned for the book selection, dates, and location.
The Easthampton Family Center will be posting the pages of Ezra Jack Keats's Over in the Meadow for a StoryWalk® in Eastworks from April 8 through April 22.
Palmer and Monson
Beginning April 13, downtown businesses in Palmer and Monson will display children's artwork for all to see.
The pages of Janet Morgan Stoeke's A Hat for Minerva Louise will be hung at Old Mill Pond School in Palmer for a StoryWalk® from April 12 through May 4.
Stroll through the pages of A House for Hermit Crab by Eric Carle at Veteran's Field in Monson for this StoryWalk®, from April 13 - 28.
Musician Jon O'Neill appears at the Monson Free Library for a free concert, sponsored by the Palmer Monson Family Network PAC on Thursday, April 18 at 3pm.
Delight in children's artwork, on display from April 14-20 in the following South Hadley locations:
• Town Hall
• South Hadley Public Library in the Falls and Big Y
• Gaylord Library
• Comfort Shoes, Berkshire Yogurt, IYA Sushi and Noodle Kitchen, and People's Bank ATM (all on College Street)
The Ware Family Center and Ware PCDC Head Start will hang children's artwork for display from April 12-22 in windows of Ware businesses.
Visit http://collaborative.org/early-childhood for more information about the Week of the Young Child.
April 9, 2013
Daisha Serrano Honored as Dean's Outstanding Vocational Student
HOLYOKE: Senior Daisha Serrano was chosen as Dean’s 2013 Outstanding Vocational Student by the Massachusetts Association of Vocational Administrators (MAVA). Serrano received the honor last Thursday at an awards dinner in Worcester hosted by MAVA.
One student in each of the 74 vocational schools across the state wins the award every year. “It’s been a pleasure seeing Daisha mature and achieve all her goals,” said Major William Kieda who attended the event. “She’s a fine example of the true potential Dean Technical students have.” Kieda teaches Serrano in Dean’s Air Force Junior Reserve Officers Training Corps (AFJROTC).
According to Kieda, Serrano was Dean’s Outstanding Cadet this past year in AFJROTC. She has earned top marks in her career at Dean and is one of the top three students in her class.
Kieda said Serrano is recognized as a rising star within the district as well. She was the Holyoke Public Schools “Superintendent’s Choice” both this year and last year, making her the first Dean student to achieve that honor two years in a row.
Serrano is in the Graphic Communications technical program at Dean. After graduating this spring, she will attend Westfield State University next year to pursue a B.S. in criminal justice.
According to Kieda, Serrano consistently sets high goals for herself and works diligently to achieve them. “Daisha is a prime example of what a little hard work can accomplish. The other kids will look up to her as a role model,” he said.
Kieda added that Serrano is a leader both in and out of the classroom. She is Dean’s Student Council President and Student Representative to the Holyoke Public School Committee. Serrano is also captain of the girls’ volleyball and basketball teams and is a varsity softball team member.
In addition to Kieda, several other teachers and administrators from Dean attended the awards dinner, including Principal Jonathan Carter, Career Technical Education Director (CTE) Jim Caradonio, CTE Supervisor Pedro Rivera, Graphic Communications Teacher Jose Pedraza, Coach Joe Dutsar, and Librarian Lynn Covington.
Serrano was accompanied to the Awards Dinner by her mother and stepfather, Denise and Mike Romero, and her sister, Natasha.
Dean Tech is currently accepting applications for 9th and 10th grades. For more information, visit deantechpride.org.
April 3, 2013
Dean Tech Students Learn High-Tech Skills by Moving Robots
HOLYOKE: Web Design and Computer Programming Instructor Karen Morneau says that whenever the Robotics Club meets at Dean Technical High School, more students show up.
The afterschool club is popular, she says, because students soon learn that working with robots “is so incredibly fun.” But taking part in the Robotics Club is also a great way to build a wide range of computer skills that will serve students as they enter careers that are increasingly dependent on high-tech equipment.
The Club utilizes robotics kits that were purchased for the school as part of a grant through the Massachusetts Life Sciences Center.
Students first build robots out of Lego building blocks. After plugging the robots into school computers, students watch them move in accordance with a program they designed using special robotics software.
Morneau says that while students start off by directing the robots to start, stop and make simple turns, “Soon they’ll be having these robots going down the hall to the main office.”
The robotics software helps students break down the often confusing language of computer programming. Each time they come in, she said, they are able to make the robots do more and more complex actions.
The Robotics Club is part of the CONNECTIONS After School Program funded through a Department of Elementary and Secondary Education 21st Century Afterschool grant. The Collaborative for Educational Services, which has been managing Dean for the past two years, worked with the Holyoke Public Schools in securing grant funding for the CONNECTIONS program as well as the robotics laboratory.
According to Dean CONNECTIONS program director, Stacey Funston, CONNECTIONS started about two months ago, but already there are over 100 students participating.
Other clubs in the CONNECTIONS include mixed martial arts, urban Latin dance, hip hop, percussion and piano. Students participating in CONNECTIONS also take part in academic help sessions, as well as MCAS preparation and career readiness workshops.
For more information about the CONNECTIONS program at Dean Tech, contact Stacey Funston at 534-2071 x 4179.
March 12, 2013
Youth from 4 Pioneer Valley Towns Gather in South Hadley for Winter Special Olympics
Enjoy this great article by Patricia Cahill of The Republican about the winter Special Olympics in South Hadley. Collaborative adaptive physical education teacher Michael Topor is founder and director of this event that draws developmentally disabled students from Granby, Northampton, Ware and South Hadley, their families, and a bevy of volunteers.
January 14, 2013
CES Conference Explores How Technology Can Help Students Learn
The Collaborative for Educational Services, in collaboration with MassCue, is hosting the 2013 Technology in Education Conference on January 17th at the Kittredge Center at Holyoke Community College from 8 a.m. – 4:30 p.m.
As advanced technologies transform nearly every industry, competency with these new tools is critical for students’ success in school and their future careers in the twenty-first century. A variety of conference workshops focus on the exciting work educators are doing locally, nationally and world-wide to engage students by integrating technology into K-12 curriculum.
This conference is intended to engage educators and administrators at all levels in meaningful discussion about the evolving role of technology in education. These discussions are especially timely given that Governor Patrick signed a bill last week promoting the development of up to ten new virtual schools around the state.
A morning panel discussion will explore some of the issues related to virtual schools. Panelists include Luis Rodriguez, Director of Digital Learning for the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE); Anne McKenzie, Executive Director of the Lower Pioneer Valley Educational Collaborative (LPVEC); CES Chief Technology Officer, Antonio Pagan; and Susan Hollins, Superintendent of Greenfield Public Schools, which operates the first virtual school in Massachusetts.
“We are hoping that the conversation that gets started during this panel contributes to developing the regulations around these new schools, including the need for integrating face-to-face instruction and support,” said Pagan. According to the new law, only school districts and educational collaboratives like CES and LPVEC are allowed to apply for and operate the virtual schools through the 2013-2019 school years.
The morning keynote speaker, Sylvia Martinez, will speak about how technology can be utilized to involve students more in the design of their own educational process. Martinez is President of Generation YES, a non-profit global organization promoting student-centered learning with technology. At lunch, Rodriguez will continue to explore the impact of new virtual learning environments on students and educators in his luncheon talk on digital learning trends.
For more information about the conference, visit tep-wm.org/conference.
January 7, 2013
Holyoke and Dean Technical High Schools Team Up to Win $200,000 Science Grant
HOLYOKE: The Massachusetts Life Sciences Center has announced a major award to Dean Technical and Holyoke High Schools to bring new science equipment and opportunities to the city's students. The competitive grant of nearly $200,000 will help increase student achievement and engagement in science and technology.
"This grant provides Holyoke Public Schools with funds to expand our science programs," said Dr. Helen Gibson Uguccioni, Director of Science, Technology, Health and Physical Education for the Holyoke Public Schools. "The funds will allow our students to learn using the latest technology and equipment."
At Holyoke High School, the grant will fund a marine biology course that will require the building and maintenance of aquaria representing different marine environments. Through the aquaria, students will learn about the intricacies and sensitivities of organisms in marine conditions. The grant will also fund equipment and supplies for the physics and biology courses as well as a set of laptops and a laptop cart.
At Dean, the grant will fund the creation of a robotics strand as part of the school's engineering, biology, and technology classes. A robotics station will be housed in the Computer Programming/Web Development classroom. The project will be linked to robotics initiatives already in place at Holyoke Community College and those being developed by the Massachusetts Green High Performance Computing Center (MGHPCC). The grant will also fund two sets of laptops and laptop carts, one for Robotics and one for Biology.
"This is a wonderful opportunity to create some exciting and engaging courses in Holyoke's two high schools that can spark a lifelong interest in the sciences," said Joan Schuman, Executive Director of the Collaborative for Educational Services, the Northampton-based nonprofit that is managing Dean Technical High School in an effort to turn around low student achievement scores.
Schuman added that as many students do not have access to computers at home, it is even more important they learn how to use newer technologies in school. "The new laptops and hand-held devices we are able to purchase through this grant will motivate students, deepen their learning, and prepare them for careers in the twenty-first century," she said.
Beyond the specific course material of robotics and marine biology, the new courses will allow students to gain a stronger background in basic concepts such as the scientific method, experimental design, and data analysis.