Posted at 16:57h
NORTHERN BERKSHIRE LEADERS PROMOTE CONTINUITY OF LEARNING, ACTS OF KINDNESS
NORTH ADAMS, MA (April 17, 2020) – In a joint statement released today, municipal and school district leaders from the largest communities in the Northern Berkshires, the City of North Adams and the Towns of Adams and Williamstown, affirmed their commitment to remote learning and food access for students in the region during the school closure period required in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. The group also announced that Tuesday, April 21, 2020, has been designated as Northern Berkshire Cares Day (#NorthBerkCares).
School calendar updates
The North Adams Public Schools (NAPS), Hoosac Valley Regional School District (HVRSD), and Mount Greylock Regional School District (MGRSD) school committees each voted recently to adjust their respective school district calendars for the 2019-2020 school year. The changes will allow the districts to continue remote learning over the days that previously had been scheduled as April vacation.
The approved changes support the remote learning plans recently launched in each district to accommodate student learning during the COVID-19 pandemic. Remote learning and grab and go meal distribution will take place Tuesday, April 21 through Friday, April 24. In observance of the Patriots’ Day holiday on Monday, April 20, students received Monday’s grab and go meals during the Friday meal distribution.
Speaking for the City of North Adams and the North Adams School Committee, Mayor Tom Bernard said, “We are asking a lot of our students and our professional educators right now. To stay home, to not be with classmates, teachers, students, and colleagues, and to learn, study, and teach in new ways. We’ve only just launched our remote learning plan, and sustaining momentum is so critical right now. I’m grateful to the North Adams Teachers Association executive board, as well as the district’s leadership team for supporting this adjustment to our school calendar, and for their ongoing support of our students.”
NAPS Superintendent Dr. Barbara Malkas said, “As we learn and teach in a new way this spring we continue to emphasize to our students, their families, and the community at-large that the North Adams public schools remains committed to supporting everyone in our district in realizing our shared aspiration to nurture our students as respectful, responsible, resilient learners.
ACRSD Superintendent Aaron Dean said, “There has been great collaboration between staff and leadership to maintain meals services, supply families with devices for remote learning, and to get remote learning off the ground. It hasn’t been without its challenges, but many folks have stepped up to make these things happen. We continue to evaluate and make adjustments in this work every day.”
Jason Hoch, Town Manager of Williamstown, said, “I appreciate the willingness of so many members of the community to support our students, their families as well as our teachers and our District administration. More than ever, this takes the collaborative spirit of a community working together to navigate through these challenges. Some days will be challenging and some will be rewarding. Over the coming weeks, our kindness, caring and patience will bring us together and make us stronger to face our new future together.”
MGRSD Superintendent Kim Grady added, “Our educators, students and their families have embraced this new form of education over the past week. We are all learning together through this and I know we all share a common desire to continue to support learning and personal growth even when we cannot be in the classroom together.”
Northern Berkshire Cares
Leaders at the state and local level continue to encourage people to stay home unless absolutely necessary, and to practice physical distancing to slow the spread of COVID-19. However there still are things we all can do to perform acts of kindness for our families, friends, neighbors, our first responders and front line workers, and people battling the virus or mourning loved ones who have passed away.
Mayor Bernard said, “Even as we ask our Northern Berkshire community to make sacrifices, we hear from people who want to help. So, let’s create an easy, public, and most of all, safe way to invite and encourage that help.”
Earlier this week, Mayor Marty Walsh and the City of Boston marked One Boston Day, an annual tradition that celebrates the resiliency, generosity, and strength demonstrated by the people of Boston and those around the world. Recognizing the challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic, Mayor Walsh invited Bostonians “to stand together by staying apart,” to download a checklist of acts of kindness, and to use the hashtag #onebostonday to share their acts of kindness with the world.
“This is a great idea, and one we easily can emulate to activate, celebrate, and engage the compassion, resilience, and strength of our Northern Berkshire community,” Mayor Tom Bernard said. “It is in that spirit that we invite leaders and residents from across the Northern Berkshires to join us in supporting and promoting the first Northern Berkshire Cares Day on Tuesday, April 21.”
Adams Town Administrator Jay Green said, “It is important in a time where for our safety, health, and well-being, that we have to be physically apart as we continue to practice social distancing, that we find concrete ways to demonstrate care and compassion for our neighbors. This community-oriented initiative will allow all of us to demonstrate acts of kindness for our local organizations, responders, and neighbors, but in a safe and meaningful way.”
Using One Boston Day as a model, local leaders created a Northern Berkshire checklist, and will promote #NorthBerkCares so that people can share their acts of kindness with the community and to prove that now, as always, the Northern Berkshires stand together, and that no matter what challenges we face we always look out for our neighbors.