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Earth Matters: Honoring a local hero: After 40 years, Hitchcock Center bids farewell to educator and creative leader, Colleen Kelley
05-03-2024 1:51 PM

By TED WATT and HELEN ANN SEPHTON

This column honors Colleen Kelley, the education director at the Hitchcock Center, who will soon be leaving her post after 40 years.In the fall of 1984, Colleen walked into the Hitchcock Center — young, bright, idealistic, and fresh off a position as...

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Cost divides town into camps over new Jabish Brook school project
05-22-2024 8:09 PM

By EMILEE KLEIN

BELCHERTOWN — While driving to Town Meeting earlier this month, Lynn Sikes noticed signs punctuating the lawns of homes, urging residents to vote “yes” or “no” on a Proposition 2½ debt exclusion override to fund a new $122.6 million Jabish Brook...


South Hadley elementary school staff vote no confidence in principal
05-20-2024 11:08 AM

By EMILEE KLEIN

SOUTH HADLEY — The South Hadley Education Association has issued a vote of no confidence in the Mosier Elementary School principal on behalf of 43 staff members at the school.Union President Amy Foley read a shortened version of a statement at a...


Graduating amid signs of protest: 6,800 UMass students receive diplomas at ceremony briefly interrupted by walk out
05-18-2024 4:22 PM

By Elise Linscott

AMHERST — Several dozen protesters marched out of the 154th UMass Amherst Undergraduate Commencement ceremony this weekend when Chancellor Javier Reyes took the podium, including a few faculty members and people in the stands carrying banners,...


Frontier Regional School students appeal to lower voting age
04-27-2024 5:02 PM

By CHRIS LARABEE

When Sunderland residents head to their Annual Town Meeting on Friday, they’ll vote on the town’s budget, some bylaw changes and a citizen’s petition with a unique twist, as the residents who brought the article forward can’t actually vote on...


Reyes takes helm of UMass flagship amid pro-Palestinian protests
04-26-2024 4:32 PM

By SCOTT MERZBACH

AMHERST — On a Friday morning filled with music, ceremony and speeches by state leaders to inaugurate Javier Reyes as the 31st leader of the University of Massachusetts Amherst, and the first Hispanic chancellor of the flagship campus, protesters...


Contentious dispute ends as Hampshire Regional schools, union settle on contract
04-23-2024 4:55 PM

By EMILEE KLEIN

WESTHAMPTON — After over a year of contentious negotiations and 224 days without a contract, Hampshire Regional Education Association and the School Committee have agreed to a contract.The tentative contract between the school district and the...


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;...


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...

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