Brayton and Greylock Elementary School Partnership

The NAPS student leader team, working remotely!

In partnership with the North Adams Public Schools (NAPS), Williams Elementary Outreach supports collaborations between Williams College students, staff, faculty and NAPS students and teachers that enrich the lives and learning of all who participate.

Williams students engage in a diverse range of programs at Brayton and Greylock Schools (K-6) through paid positions, volunteer opportunities, and projects related to academic coursework. A large group of Williams College Students participate through Williams run programs in the North Adams School District such as Brayton After school Tutoring program, the science fellow program and in programs that are meant to reach all school districts remotely such as the read aloud program, the mindfulness and movement program, and many others.  

Six Student Leaders work with Williams students across NAPS programs as well as in collaboration with other district programs in the region in order to build community and deepen their learning together through trainings, special projects, and intentional reflection.  In the Spring of 2020, the Student Leaders created a resource to share with their peers and other educators about unconscious bias in teaching.  In the spring of 2020, college students who were part of the Brayton After-School Tutoring Program, created read alouds.  Fall 2020, Williams College is still in a remote partnership with surrounding schools in the community.  Williams College Science Fellows in North Adams continue to work extensively with elementary teachers to help plan and teach science lessons via uploading videos, asynchronously, or via zoom in synchronous sessions.  The Elementary Outreach forces have combined to create other resources and remote programs.  The read aloud program is a growing program.  With the guidance and advising of local librarians, teachers, and others, we have compiled the names, purchased, and been able to distribute several enriching books to college students.  The college students videotape themselves reading the books creatively and in an engaging way as well as devise an activity at the end of the book (video).  The videos are uploaded into a folder and shared with the districts (contact: Amy Sosne).  We recognize that videotapes of students reading is not as ideal as in person, but hope that the power of the same faces reading different books week after week or biweekly will give elementary students a different experience and enthusiasm for literature.    

Another program that NAPS student leaders and fellows are working on remotely is launching a movement/mindfulness program.  There are two parts of this program that students have discussed creating.  One part will concentrate on practicing mindfulness and mindful expression through art exercises and art.  Another part of this program will focus on the practicing mindfulness and exercises through breathing and movement.

It is our hope that while we cannot be in direct contact with the elementary students, that these programs will serve multiple families and districts and help to unify the community as well as bring friendly faces into homes during a time of disconnection and uncertainty.  

In 2019-2020, 125 Williams students spent time teaching and mentoring more than 500 NAPS students.  Together, college and elementary students explored curriculum-based topics in science, technology, ELA, math, and the arts, and they shared, further, in learning outside of the classroom at lunch, recess, and after school.  It is our hope that in 2020-2021, we will be able to reach just as many elementary students and families in multiple districts remotely.  

We at CLiA welcome your involvement in our NAPS partnership and look forward to hearing from you!  

Amy Sosne, North Adams coordinator for Williams Elementary Outreach