Williams Center established at Mount Greylock Regional High

In an ongoing campaign to assist public schools and maximize the benefits that local students and teachers receive from the College, the Williams Center was officially established earlier this winter at Mount Greylock Regional High School (MGRHS) in Williamstown.

President Schapiro lauded the success of previous projects the College has undertaken with local schools, including the recent renovation of the elementary school on Cole Avenue, and expressed his hope that the success would translate to the middle and high schools. “Through this Center we aim to work more closely with Mt. Greylock faculty to realize this fuller potential, to the benefit of both institutions,” Schapiro said. He added that there was great potential for the College to improve its relationship with MGRHS.

America Reads/America Counts coordinator Kaatje White, who has worked on several past collaborative efforts between the College and local schools, was named as the Center’s coordinator. The primary focus of the new Center will be to establish programs that enhance the core academics and student access to them, White said.

White has been meeting with administrators and students at both MGRHS and the College to determine areas in which the Center can focus its energy. Her goal now is to strengthen the existing tutoring program, provide greater opportunities for Williams faculty to get involved at the high school, establish a writing lab and emphasize greater high school student and faculty participation in more programs at Williams.

This semester, several students from MGRHS participated in the College’s Martin Luther King Jr. Day celebration and Focus the Nation events on campus, and White hopes one benefit of the Center will be to foster involvement of local high school students in the greater community. Something as simple as a link on the MGRHS Web site to upcoming events on campus will involve local students from the high school in learning outside the classroom and attending many of the free and public events that are held at the College.

“The tutoring component is a large priority for me right now,” White said regarding her goals for the classroom. Twenty students from the College currently work at the Mt. Greylock middle school and high school on a weekly basis as student tutors. Attention from the new center will hopefully increase that number and attract more math and science tutors, who are in particularly high demand. The program currently in place focuses primarily on “homework help” after school, White said, but this role could expand as more Williams students become involved with the program.

Several members of the College faculty are already involved with the Center both in the classroom and as consultants. Colin Adams, professor of mathematics, is currently working in Courtenay Gibson’s seventh grade math class, while Susan Engel, professor of psychology and director of the Williams College Program in Teaching, is helping White develop curriculum ideas to be implemented in the near future.

“Obviously we can’t do everything at once, but little by little we’ll develop a good list of initiatives and priorities for the upcoming year,” White said. “This is a very exciting opportunity for a public-private partnership.” As of yet, no physical location has been designated for the Center at MGRHS.