Nine months after its establishment in Jan. 2008, the Williams Center at Mt. Greylock Regional High School (MGRHS) is entering its first full academic year with “many projects and collaborations underway,” according to Kaatje White, the Center’s coordinator. The focal initiatives of the Center this year align with the broader goals of the high school: academic excellence and environmental sustainability.
“While we are helping organize some individual events like a national election assembly at Greylock in October with a panel of Williams students and faculty, we are focusing our efforts in support of several large priorities identified by teachers and administrators at the school,” she said.
Having been involved with the center right from its inception, White is happy to see the growing interest that students and faculty of MGRHS pay towards the center, which she identified as the strongest motivation for the ongoing programs.
To further the school’s pursuit of academic excellence, trained Williams student Writing Fellows will participate in the newly conceived Writing Fellow Program for ninth graders. Tutors will work individually with the students, critiquing and conferencing on at least three drafts per semester and will be available for conferences with students about their work on a regular basis. Tutoring in subjects ranging from math, Spanish and research skills to SAT and college essay writing will continue both at the high school and middle school levels, with 25 College students currently enrolled in the program. Additionally, members of the College math department will provide special lectures to high school math classes on a regular basis.
Compared to other goals of the school, environmental science and sustainability are relatively new. Besides introducing environmental issues into the curriculum, MGRHS is also “working on ways to make the physical school buildings more energy efficient and the community more environmentally responsible,” White said. “We’d also like to develop a stronger relationship between Thursday Night Group and the fledgling Mt. Greylock Youth Environmental Squad.”
Beginning this fall, the Center will have a home in the Mount Greylock library. White will be at MGRHS during regularly scheduled times to be “nearer to the scene.”
For such a young center, logistical obstacles are inevitable. According to White, the tight schedule of college students does not allow enough time for more participation at MGRHS. The four mile stretch between the two schools also makes transportation an issue. But these difficulties do not hinder growth of the Center, White said.
“My hope is that we have more opportunities for collaborations and that more people from Williams and the community will want to get involved,” White said. “The goal here is to plant seeds that with increasing amounts of support can truly flourish.”