Saturday, August 28, 2010

TEXT: Rose Ellis' email chock full of staffing news at Mount Greylock RHS

Here is the text of an August 26 email sent by Rose Ellis, the new
superintendent of the Lanesborough-Williamstown elementary, middle and
high schools.

Greetings and Welcome to a New School Year!

Next week in Williamstown and Lanesborough we will be opening our three schools -- Mount Greylock Regional MS/HS on Thursday, September 1st and the Williamstown Elementary School (WES) and the Lanesborough Elementary School (LES) on Tuesday, August 31st. Our returning students in pre-kindergarten through 12th grade will be warmly greeted by teachers and staff eager to begin anew--- Welcome back!

What is the Status of the New Tri-District Shared Administrative Structure?
I would like to take this opportunity to share with you my progress this summer transitioning from the Superintendent of SCHOOL UNION 71 (Williamstown Elementary and Lanesborough Elementary) to include the Superintendent position at the Mount Greylock Middle School/High School (MG).

I moved into MG on July 1st and began establishing a new Tri-District Central Office to serve all four schools – WES, LES, the MG middle school and high school with a combined enrollment of 1300 students and a faculty/staff totaling approximately 200 employees.

As you may recall the joint school committees of School Union 71(WES and LES) and MGRHS participated in a feasibility study last year and voted in June to unanimously share administrative services -- my position as Superintendent, the position of Business Manager, held by Jennifer Coscia and the Administrative Assistant, Lynne Sadlowski. In addition, the two school committees agreed to hire and share a Director of Pupil Personnel Services (DPPS), a Special Education Coordinator and a part-time Curriculum Coordinator.

So Where Are We Two Months Later?
I'm pleased to report that since joining the MGRHS school community; I have spent the summer weeks "settling in". The principals, office staff and custodians at MG have been welcoming and supportive. I have also met with over 60 faculty, staff, students and parents. These informal conversations were enjoyable and informative; they also validated my commitment to my new shared position and the wonderful possibilities for greater collaboration between the elementary schools and the middle school/high school on so many levels.

Going forward, the Tri-District Central Office administrative staff will be housed at Mount Greylock and you can contact me there at 458-9582. However, I will continue to visit the elementary schools during the school year.

Who will assume the position of Director of Pupil Personnel Services (DPPS) and the Special Education Coordinator for the Districts?
In response to a request from the SU71/MG School Committees, to assist in hiring the Director of Pupil Personnel Services (DPPS) and the Special Education Coordinator,

11 members of our three school communities met to interview DPPS candidates and recommend three finalists.
The joint SU71/MG School Committees met on August 13th to interview the finalists. After deliberation in public, the representative school committee members chose Kimberley Grady as the new Director of Pupil Personnel Services for MG and WES/LES. Kim Grady most recently served as the Community Outreach Coordinator in the Pittsfield School District. She also worked as a Special Education Coordinator in Pennsylvania at a large school (3600 students with 900 special education students) serving nine communities. Kimberley is no stranger to working with special education students and developing student services across multiple communities.

The position of Special Education Coordinator was posted and Lauren Allembert from MG was appointed last week. Lauren has worked at MG and at WES. She is currently a Coordinator of Autism Life Skills and Community Education Programs. Lauren will work in tandem with the Director of PPS, Kimberley Grady, to support student services at each school.

Linda Araoz, the MG Director of Pupil Personnel Services, and Paul Mays, the SU71 Director of Special Education, will be leaving us at the end of this month. Linda and Paul have served our districts well as Directors and we extend our very best wishes to them.

How Will the Curriculum Coordinator Position Serve the Tri-Districts?
Ellen Kaiser, part-time Principal of the middle school, will also assume the position of part-time Curriculum Coordinator. Ellen will work with principals and teachers at the 5th grade through the 9th grade focusing on student transitions/challenges between elementary school and middle school and from middle school to high school. She will also begin to focus on the continuity of the tri-district math curriculum.

What's Next?
The Director of Pupil Personnel Services, Kimberley Grady, and the Special Education Coordinator, Lauren Allembert, will consult with the four building principals and introduce themselves to the staff at each building on Opening Day. We plan to host a reception for parents at each school. Business Manager, Jennifer Coscia, will work on "getting up to speed" at MG and she will continue to work closely with the town accountants and finance committees at Williamstown and Lanesborough.

I hope this update is helpful in communicating the new Tri-District Central Office administrative structure and I would also like to request that you bear with us as we continue to move through this transition over the next few months.
I am very excited about my shared position as Superintendent of MGRHS, WES and LES and I, enthusiastically, support the timeliness of this historical partnership.

For the last two years, I have enjoyed working with the combined staff, administrators, parents and communities of WES and LES – coordinating and sharing resources and opportunities – professional development, supplies, software/textbooks and broader thinking! Now I look forward to expanding and deepening that collaborative effort to include MG for the benefit of all our students. I know there will be plenty of opportunities!
I will continue throughout the year to communicate with you through this forum,

Please feel free to provide feedback -- it is always welcome.
Dr. Rose Ellis


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