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Graduating amid signs of protest: 6,800 UMass students receive diplomas at ceremony briefly interrupted by walk out
05-28-2024 10:41 AM

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,...

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44 grads carry the torch at Hopkins Academy
06-06-2024 7:25 PM

By SCOTT MERZBACH

HADLEY — Gratitude to families for their support in making a difference in students’ lives, appreciation for staff and administration who impacted education, and plaudits for the larger community were expressed throughout the Hopkins Academy...


Cost divides town into camps over new Jabish Brook school project
05-30-2024 5:37 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...


Earth Matters: Honoring a local hero: After 40 years, Hitchcock Center bids farewell to educator and creative leader, Colleen Kelley
05-10-2024 9:15 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...


Reyes takes helm of UMass flagship amid pro-Palestinian protests
05-06-2024 5:28 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...


Crocker School kids draw on historical picture books for library banner project
04-18-2024 7:19 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...


Smart search shirt: AHRS invention group’s garment will report rescuers’ vital signs and location
04-11-2024 6:22 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
04-04-2024 6:19 PM

By SCOTT MERZBACH

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 wings,”...


A dream fulfilled: Aaron Lansky, whose Yiddish Book Center helped reclaim a culture, stepping aside
03-14-2024 2:43 PM

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...


Chalk Talk: The debate around ‘early college’: The success of these programs hinges on cross-school collaboration
01-25-2024 11:06 AM

By JOE COURCHESNE

If you’ve been near a high school for any significant amount of time in the last 10 years, you’ve likely encountered the often abstract idea of “early college.” It’s certainly an important buzzword in education these days, but what is it exactly? Does...


Big college aid expansion in Massachusetts will lift 25,000 students
11-29-2023 8:46 PM

By SAM DRYSDALE

BOSTON — A third of all UMass students will qualify for free tuition paid for by the new income surtax on the state’s highest earners under a plan the Healey administration rolled out this month on an expansion of state financial aid.The governor...


UMass Amherst dining takes top honors again
08-25-2023 7:25 PM

State House News Service

AMHERST — The University of Massachusetts Amherst has won bragging rights for having the best campus food in the country for the seventh consecutive time, the Princeton Review determined, based on feedback from college students across the country.The...


‘A really big part of our lives’: State commits $15.5M to early education and care programs 
08-25-2023 7:24 PM

By SCOTT MERZBACH

Upon moving to Shutesbury in 2017, Samantha Spisiak discovered a weekly story time at M.N. Spear Memorial Library, often bringing her toddler to the get-together with other families.“This has been a really big part of our lives,” Spisiak said as she...


Hampshire County’s four colleges add $1.5B to state economy yearly 
07-27-2023 7:34 PM

By ALEXANDER MACDOUGALL

NORTHAMPTON — The four private colleges in Hampshire County generate an annual economic impact of more than $1.5 billion to the Massachusetts economy, including more than 8,000 jobs, according to a report released by the Association of Independent...


Student project shines light on ‘alternate perspective’ of Deerfield history
06-28-2023 7:57 PM

By CHRIS LARABEE

Native American history is a standard element of the fourth grade curriculum. However, with Deerfield celebrating its 350th anniversary this year, Jennifer Smith’s class went one step further.Throughout the year, Smith’s students at Deerfield...


Amherst elementary students lead charge for Indigenous Peoples’ Day
06-21-2023 7:50 PM

By EMILY THURLOW

AMHERST — Seven years ago, middle school students helped usher in change to make Amherst the first community in the state to formally ditch Columbus Day and replace it with Indigenous Peoples’ Day.This year, a group of Fort River Elementary School...


Tuition on rise at UMass as state weighs reforms, financial aid levels
04-20-2023 3:23 PM

By SAM DRYSDALE and SOPHIE HAUCK

BOSTON — The University of Massachusetts has agreed to increase tuition, room and board next academic year, as leaders on Beacon Hill disagree over creating a “tuition lock” system and how much to invest in public higher education.The UMass board of...


Guest columnist Camille Cammack: Wrong turn for early reading curriculum
04-20-2023 3:19 PM

By CAMILLE CAMMACK

Imagine you are a wiggly, bright-eyed kindergartner sitting in a circle with 24 classmates. You have just been encouraged by your teacher to look them in the eye and greet them “properly” saying, “Hello, I’m using my right hand to shake your right...


14 staff positions in jeopardy at Amherst’s 3 elementary schools
02-23-2023 8:57 PM

By SCOTT MERZBACH

AMHERST — Four classroom teachers and 10 paraprofessionals may lose their jobs at the town’s three elementary schools based on an expected cut of almost $900,000 from a so-called level services budget presented to the Amherst School Committee last...


Report finds fewer students heading to college; pols call for more investment
02-16-2023 9:14 PM

By SYDNEY KO

BOSTON — The number of students choosing to attend post-secondary education in Massachusetts has dropped significantly in recent years, a trend that started nearly a decade ago and has only been exacerbated during the pandemic.“The pandemic’s impact...


South Hadley schools, union move forward with new contract, though 46% of members vote against ratification
02-16-2023 9:10 PM

By EMILY THURLOW

SOUTH HADLEY — After a particularly contentious contract negotiation cycle that began in the fall of 2021, the school district and the South Hadley Education Association have solidified their contract agreements.Members of the 270-member union of...

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