In the News
A science-based “wow” factor is very much in play at the 17th Williams College Summer Science Lab at the college’s Morley Scientific Laboratory.
The college students are teaching the kids, but in the end, the kids end up teaching their teachers, too. Entering the third year of a four-year grant, undergraduates from MCLA and Williams College have worked with both elementary teachers and college science professors to develop inquiry-based units of instruction based on the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS) in a program called “Teaching to Learn.” They then implemented their programs with students in Brayton, Colegrove and Greylock schools – and then made tweaks as they learned from the kindergarten through sixth-graders what works.
Williams College junior Jeffrey Rubel helped a team of Mount Greylock students take fourth place statewide in their first-ever appearance at Envirothon.
On May 12, a group of local high school students will compete in a statewide environmental science competition called Envirothon. The event—which takes place at Hopkinton State Park in eastern Massachusetts—brings teams from across the state to an outdoor, hands-on competition. Winning teams from each state will compete in Ontario in July at the North American Envirothon.
We can all agree that it takes a lot of energy to be a student at the College, but an alarmingly large minority of us also know how hard it is to do so on an empty stomach.
Matthew McNaughton ’16, Emily Roach ’16, and Leslie Chae ’16, participated in the Williams Elementary Outreach iTeam, a pilot program of CLiA. They worked with students at Brayton Elementary in North Adams for “The Hour of Code,” to introduce young students to what coding is and get them excited. The students had limited educational experiences with computers and computer science.
Students aren’t just playing computer games, they’re learning to make them.
- Full Article (PDF)
Williams College Pledges $5 Million for Capital Needs of Mt. Greylock Regional School District Outside Scope of the Building Project
Williams College announced today that it will form a $5 million fund to support the Mount Greylock Regional School District’s capital needs outside the scope of the building project that the district is pursuing with the Massachusetts School Building Authority (MSBA).
For the past week, the fourth-grade classrooms of Sean MacDonald and Jenn Szymanski at Lanesborough Elementary School have been transformed into satellite biology laboratories, where kids could study genetics, embryonic development and animal science from the comfort of their own desks and chairs. The Williams College Center for Learning in Action for six years has donated the staff and supplies to run the “BioEYES” program, developed at the University of Pennsylvania, in local schools. This is the first year the program has been extended to Lanesborough.
The College celebrated Martin Luther King Jr. Day on Jan. 18 with service trips, a LEGO bridge building, a screening of Selma and several other events. The Black Student Union (BSU) set up an additional presentation in Baxter Hall on Jan. 19, which displayed pictures of police brutality victims and posters with various statistics.
Williams College will celebrate Martin Luther King Jr. with a day of events on Monday, January 18. All are welcome to attend these free, public events.
This morning, 166 high school students from Mt. Greylock Regional High School, BArT, and Deerfield Academy experienced the joy of learning math at Williams College. Started by Professor of Mathematics Olga R. Beaver, MathBlast is meant to expose high school students to exciting topics in math that are not seen in a typical high school curriculum.
Williams College to Deepen Partnership with Mount Greylock Regional School with Annual Operating Revenue
Williams College and Mount Greylock Regional School announced today a gift from Williams that will expand the college’s longstanding partnership with the school to include annual operating funds.
During Winter Study, Sexual Wellness Advocacy Group (SWAG), an organization composed of students at the College, will hold workshops to educate all students who attend the Buxton School, located in Williamstown, on consent and healthy relationships.
Brayton Elementary School has received a $35,000 boost in technology thanks to donations from BJ’s Wholesale and a former resident connected to the school system. Stephen Drotter, son of late Drury High School Principal Stephen J. Drotter, donated $25,000 as memorial to his wife, Lynn Whitney Dion Drotter. The two donations will afford about 50 iPads for Brayton as well as technical support and teacher training.
On Saturday, the College launched Teach It Forward, a fundraising campaign that aims to raise $650 million.
Michael Curtin ’86 spoke last Friday in Paresky Auditorium, giving a talk entitled, “Fighting Food Insecurity and Poverty in America,” which addressed the history and mission of D.C. Central Kitchen (DCCK), a community kitchen founded by former nightclub owner Robert Egger.
Michael F. Curtin, Jr. ’86, executive director of D.C. Central Kitchen and 2015 Bicentennial Medalist, will speak at Williams College on Friday, Sept. 18, about his experience in engineering path-breaking solutions to alleviate food insecurity, health disparities and poverty in America. The talk will begin at 2 p.m. in the Paresky Center Auditorium.
There are plenty of creams, tablets and elixirs on the market that claim to cure health problems and ease ailments, but do they actually work?
During this month’s Williams College Summer Science Lab sessions, students were able to use professional tools to investigate household compounds, putting things like antacids to the test to see which ones really work.
Emily George had no idea that a dozen neighborhood schools once dotted the city where she lives.
But Emily and other Brayton Elementary School third-graders learned about a former school on Miner Street and even one-room schools, among others that existed circa-1896.
Learning the geography of New England. Creating illustrated books. Studying how to draw koi fish using Japanese techniques.
These are just a few of the innovate ways teachers at Greylock and Brayton elementary schools are using iPads in their classrooms — iPads given to the schools through their relationship with Williams College.
On Sunday, students from Professor of Economics Lara Shore-Sheppard’s tutorial on Poverty and Public Policy gathered with College students and members of the Berkshire community in Dodd Dining Hall to participate in a simulation organized by the Center for Learning in Action (CLiA) to demonstrate local experiences of poverty and current resources and initiatives.
The Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching has selected Williams College to receive its Community Engagement Classification. Williams was one of 240 institutions to earn this distinction in 2015, 83 of them for the first time.
Via a live video link, Hedrick Smith ’55 will join the event “Rules Change and the American Dream: A Dialogue Across Generations” at Williams College on Tuesday, March 3, at 7 p.m. in Brooks-Rogers Recital Hall, Bernhard Music Center. After summarizing findings from two years of nationwide speaking and listening, the Pulitzer Prize-winning author and documentarian will join a dialogue with the audience—and with three Williams seniors who studied capitalism and government while working on the Rules Change Project during Winter Study.
Williams College Announces New Muslim Chaplain and Assistant Director of the Center for Learning in Action
Williams College has hired Sharif Rosen as the new Muslim chaplain and assistant director of the Center for Learning in Action.
This Monday, the campus celebrated Martin Luther King Jr. Day. The Center for Learning in Action (CLiA) commenced official celebrations at 11:30 a.m. in Paresky. As the inspiring words of King’s famous “I Have a Dream Speech” resounded through Baxter Hall, students wrote letters to prison inmates in the spirit of Dr. King’s missives written while detained in Birmingham Jail.
Williams College President Adam Falk will today join President Obama, the First Lady, and Vice President Biden along with hundreds of college presidents and other higher education leaders to announce new actions to help more students prepare for and graduate from college.
The National Science Foundation has awarded a grant of $810,876 to the Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts to work in conjunction with the College and the North Adams Public Schools for a program called Teaching to Learn: Improving Undergraduate Science Education Through Engagement in K-7 Science.
As I reflect on my three years at the College, I cannot help chasing the good thoughts with tears of joy and love. I cannot help but think about the 1000 students, led by the Minority Coalition, who signed a petition to administration to open a Muslim chaplain position. Despite senior administration at Williams having no clue of what that would mean or could mean to have a Muslim chaplain, they courageously listened to the student population and provided an open door. President Adam Falk was in his first year then, and this was exactly the type of daring change of diversity and institutional breadth he wished for Williams going forward. The limits of such daring change were pushed even further when the Muslim chaplain position was expanded to a full-time position that included an associate coordinating role with the Center for Community Engagement.
With the departure of former Muslim chaplain Bilal Ansari to the new Zaytuna College in California, the College is considering his legacy as they search for a new Muslim chaplain.
Thanks to two Williams seniors and associate professor of Chinese Li Yu, local high school students can now take introductory Chinese.
There are a few things about New Orleans that are hard to forget, like the warm sunshine, great food and beckoning streets brought to life by the splendid variety of surrounding houses, each vying to outshine the others with unique architecture and brightly painted facades. And then there’s the occasional relic of a not-so-distant past: the haunting, ramshackle frame of an abandoned home, a ravaged, lifeless plot of land that had once been someone’s backyard or a stretch of battered fence that still stands as a souvenir of the levee that failed to hold back “the perfect storm,” a constant reminder of human failure.
This year, the Center for Learning in Action is expanding the popular off-campus alternative spring break projects that have been successful for years. However, due to the popularity of the off-campus projects, students are often not accepted to their first-choice programs. Also, the price of the programs is sometimes high, making it difficult to afford for students with budget constraints. In response, the Center for Learning in Action wanted to provide these students with more options. Similar to the off-campus projects, the goal of the new on-campus spring break programs is to provide group service and learning opportunities.
One of the Berkshires’ most notable historical figures, Elizabeth Freeman, will be honored at the State House on Feb. 25. State Representatives William Pigantelli, Byron Rushing and Russell Holmes are cooperating with the Black and Latin Legislative Caucus to host the event from 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. in the House Chamber.
Students at Mount Greylock Regional School are achieving and surpassing statewide standards on the Massachusetts Comprehensive Assessment System (MCAS), six years after the community decided to take action to improve falling and stagnant standardized test scores.
Over the past six years, standardized test scores have risen dramatically at Mount Greylock Regional School in all areas of study. A decade ago, the school’s falling standards were a point of concern for many community members. The rise in test scores certainly correlates with the increased community and College involvement in Mount Greylock, namely the 2008 creation of the Williams Center at Mount Greylock Regional School and the 2011-12 establishment of the Williams College Fund for Mount Greylock.
The Mt. Greylock High School Building Committee recently formed a Community Outreach Task Force in an effort to persuade citizens to support the funding of a study to examine the feasibility of renovating the school’s deteriorating facilities. Residents will be asked to vote to approve the study in late spring.
As of late August, the Berkshire Regional Transit Authority (BRTA) revitalized bus service on the Route 7 corridor after a period, some estimate to be around 10 years, of discontinuation due to lack of ridership. The Route 7 bus service aims to stimulate economic development and bring local college students into the community. This service will continue until the end of the school year, at which point BRTA will assess the possibility of continuation.
Ten dozen donuts and bagels, 100 granola bars, 5 boxes of coffee, 150 bag lunches, and 150 T-shirts.
That’s what it took to fuel 150 Williams students who fanned out across 14 nearby schools, churches, and nonprofit organizations for this year’s Great Day of Service in April.
During spring break, Williams students scatter to the four winds. Some train with their teams or tour with performance groups. Others pursue academic research. But for a large number of students, spring break is a time to learn about and serve in communities as diverse as New Orleans, Nicaragua, and even a Navajo reservation.
Last Thursday, President Falk and Vice President for Campus Life Steve Klass announced the formation of the Center for Learning in Action in an all-campus e-mail. The Center will oversee interactive outreach programs currently housed in the Office of Experiential Education and the Center for Community Engagement. Staff to be associated with the Center will remain in their current offices while a space for the department is designated. Paula Consolini, who has served as the coordinator of experiential education at the College since 2002, will direct the new center.
Fourth-grade students and teachers at Williamstown, Brayton, and Greylock Elementary Schools have engaged this fall in a newly developed science curriculum created in collaboration with Williams College. The curriculum focuses on the subject of “Energy” and was written last summer by Sarah Gottesman ’14 and Mpaza Kapembwa ’15 under the guidance of Williams Elementary Outreach Coordinator Jennifer Swoap, Experiential Education Coordinator Paula Consolini, and fourth-grade teachers from the three elementary schools.
The warm-up game for 93 8th graders is simple. Pick one of three words: “stop,” “go,” or “listen.” When it’s your turn, stand up and face your peers, then speak your word loudly and clearly. Sit down, and it’s on to the next student. The game’s coach and referee is Kairav Sinha, a first-year Williams student who’s reshaping the public speaking curriculum at Williamstown’s Mt. Greylock Regional School.
Bilal Ansari wastes no time.
Williams’ first Muslim chaplain and associate coordinator of community engagement arrived on campus on August 28, 2011. By August 31 he was hosting a feast for Muslim students to celebrate the end of Ramadan and helping lead Williamstown efforts to support residents flooded out of The Spruces mobile home park by Hurricane Irene.