Participating Middle Schools
Four middle schools in Berkshire County have been selected as pilot sites for the Berkshire Wireless Learning Initiative. Over 2,300 students and teachers at these schools are participating in BWLI. Each of the four middle schools has made a commitment to utilize technology to enhance education. The schools all have strong teams of administrators, technology staff, and teachers who are dedicated to working together to implement this pilot program. The enthusiasm, creativity, and hard work of the personnel and students at these schools is essential to BWLI�s success.
Pittsfield Public Schools: Herberg Middle School and Reid Middle School
Catholic Schools of Pittsfield: St. Mark School
North Adams Public Schools: Silvio O. Conte Middle School
BWLI Higher Education Partner
The Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts is the higher education partner for the Berkshire Wireless Learning Initiative. President Mary Grant is actively involved in policy-making for BWLI as a Steering Committee member. Vice President of Administration and Finance, James Stakenas, provides leadership to the Initiative as co-chair of the Steering Committee.
MCLA's education department has integrated technology into their education curriculum and also coordinated BWLI's approach to professional development training. In this role, they provide training resources and curriculum development assistance to the schools as needed to supplement training conducted by school trainers and Apple Computer. The College fosters a strong partnership between the North Adams and Pittsfield schools, planning collaborative events and encouraging information sharing.
As part of their role in BWLI, MCLA has developed an instructional technology licensure program and an information technology concentration in their M.Ed program. They are also working to integrate technology into teacher education courses at MCLA, with the goal of preparing teachers who can enter the schools ready to use the technology that is available in the classrooms.
MCLA's Education Community Online provides educators with a place to share best practices and teaching ideas and to access information about MCLA courses and offerings. Educators in Berkshire County and the surrounding area are encouraged to become part of this learning community. If you would like to share your best practices, lesson plans, or technology projects created by you and your students, please contact Emily DeMoor at Emily.DeMoor@mcla.eduEmily.DeMoor@mcla.edu.
State and Regional Partners
- State support for BWLI was the responsibility of the John Adams Innovation Institute, a division of the Massachusetts Technology Collaborative. MTC's Innovation Institute (1) served as the fiduciary of the state investment; (2) provided comprehensive program oversight on behalf of the Commonwealth; and, (3) oversaw an extensive third party evaluation of the effort. The experience of supporting this pilot effort has resulted in Innovation Institute support during the startup phase of a new pilot that was designed for an urban community in Boston and the consideration of a potential statewide program for 1:1 wireless learning initiatives.
- Berkshire Connect, Inc., created in 2000 to address the need for high speed, affordable Internet, voice and data access in the Berkshires, provides project management of the Berkshire Wireless Learning Initiative. Some of Berkshire Connect's responsibilities are to facilitate communications among the many partners involved in the Initiative, support the work of the committees, provide oversight of the technology vendor, and manage the budgeting process.
- The Berkshire Chamber of Commerce is a key partner in BWLI. The Chamber worked closely with the Fundraising and Marketing Committees and ensured that businesses and schools actively participated in BWLI. The Chamber views this Initiative as a key economic development tool for Berkshire County.
- As the fiscal agent for BWLI, the Berkshire Taconic Community Foundationmanages private donations. They are using their expertise in fiscal management to help BWLI set up effective policies and procedures. The Foundation has a solid reputation managing funds for many community programs and is already working with many of the school systems in Berkshire County.