Local Schools Receive Olmsted Awards from Williams College

Media contact: Noelle Lemoine, communications assistant; tele: (413) 597-4277; email: [email protected]

WILLIAMSTOWN, Mass., April 12, 2017—Williams College has announced its 2017 Bicentennial Olmsted Awards for Faculty Development to Adams-Cheshire, Berkshire Arts and Technology (BART), Lanesborough Elementary, McCann Technical, Mount Greylock Regional, North Adams, and Williamstown Elementary. Each district will receive $5,000 for professional and curricular development projects.

Adams-Cheshire will continue last year’s efforts to transform C. T. Plunkett Elementary School into a full-service school, using the Olmsted Award to hire two consultants who will assist with the process. Citing Eric Jenson’s book Teaching with Poverty in Mind as a guiding influence, the school will implement programs to address the social and emotional health of its students. Faculty will work with the consultants to develop an action plan to foster a safe, positive, healthy, and inclusive whole-school learning environment.

BART plans to fund two faculty proposals. The first will support formal and informal cultural competency training for faculty and staff in hopes of better supporting BART’s diverse student body. The second proposal was put forth by BART’s science teachers, who plan to collaborate on producing a revised “Science Fair Packet” and “Science Fair Workbook” to provide students with a comprehensive and fair experience as they participate in the school-wide science fair. This initiative includes one teacher from BART’s special education department, enabling BART to better assist students with learning disabilities.

Lanesborough will use its Olmsted award to fund three projects. The first is a whole-school team bonding experience at Ramblewild, the tree-to-tree adventure park in Lanesborough. The school hopes to use the local resource as a site for meaningful team bonding among all faculty and staff. The second project is in collaboration with Mount Greylock Regional School and Williamstown Elementary School and will help fund a summer boot camp for exploring areas of Google’s G Suite apps. The boot camp will take place at Williamstown Elementary and will equip participating faculty members with the tools needed to become Google Certified Educators. In the process, the camp will increase professional learning and leadership, efficiency in the classroom, and student learning and creativity. The third project involves sending three educators to the statewide MassCUE/M.A.S.S. 2017 Annual Technology conference in Foxboro, Mass., where they will participate in a variety of workshops alongside 3,000 other Massachusetts educators.

McCann Technical School’s award will fund faculty participation in the 2017 International Society for Technology in Education (ISTE) conference. In sending faculty members to the ISTE conference, McCann hopes to create a technology team within the school, consisting of faculty members who will assist their peers in incorporating technology-based teaching strategies into their curricula. The team of faculty attending the conference will return with teaching strategies and methods that use technology to increase student engagement as well as software and apps to help create “greener” classroom practices.

Mount Greylock Regional School plans to fund two projects with its Olmsted Award. The first will extend two of the school’s co-curricular technology-based programs: the First Robotics team and the MakerSpace club. With funds from the award, Mount Greylock will support the First Robotics team’s registrations and travel as it enters its 120-pound robot in state and regional competitions. Funds will also enable the purchase of supplies and equipment for both clubs. The second project will recognize student-designed co-curricular programming. With administrative support, students have expressed interest in clubs focused on chess, Rubik’s Cubes, and international culture and politics. Funding will contribute seed money for expenses incurred from travel and activities, administrative costs, and advisors’ stipends.

North Adams Public Schools will put its Olmsted Award toward providing professional development for all teachers, kindergarten through 6th grade. To provide students with richer learning experiences, teachers will use online resources to support student literacy skills. All teachers will receive professional development outside of school time, followed by job-embedded coaching to ensure successful implementation.

Williamstown Elementary School will use its Olmsted Award to focus on technology. The school will host the Empowered Teacher Bootcamp that it’s offering in collaboration with Lanesborough Elementary and Mount Greylock Regional. It will also use Olmsted funds to send five faculty and administrators to the MassCUE/M.A.S.S. 2017 Annual Technology Conference in Foxboro, Mass.


Founded in 1793, Williams College is the second-oldest institution of higher learning in Massachusetts. The college’s 2,000 students are taught by a faculty noted for the quality of their teaching and research, and the achievement of academic goals includes active participation of students with faculty in their research. Students’ educational experience is enriched by the residential campus environment in Williamstown, Mass., which provides a host of opportunities for interaction with one another and with faculty beyond the classroom. Admission decisions on U.S. applicants are made regardless of a student’s financial ability, and the college provides grants and other assistance to meet the demonstrated needs of all who are admitted.