School Committee Talks Wyvern, APs

Emma Sandstorm and Molly Sullivan

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At their December meeting, the district School Committee hosted two sixth graders from Lanesboro Elementary to talk about an exciting, new activity that they took part in, which involved their whole school. 

Led by Principal Nolan Pratt, the students took part in a day full of a variety of activities revolving around the question: “what does it mean to be a Wyvern?”

To those who didn’t attend Lanesboro Elementary, the term Wyvern may seem foreign. The Wyvern is a fictional creature in the form of a dragon, which represents kindness, respectfulness and encouragement. 

Two students from Lanesboro, Raymond Banker and Tania Roach, gave a presentation to the Committee to explain how they celebrated their mascot, the wyvern, with their peers during “Wyvern Week.” 

Roach explained that “this November our school participated in Wyvern Week. The main purpose was to learn about our school mascot, build school spirit, and think about what the Wyvern represents to us.”

“Specialist teachers came up with Wyvern themed activities,” Banker added. “For example, the second grade wrote about what a Wyvern is and colored pictures.”

Every student at LES took Wyvern Week as a time to recall and discuss the qualities that the wyvern represents and how they can bring out their inner wyvern as a way to make the world a better place. 

Roach listed some traits that her classmates came up with: “Respectful, kind, helpful, courteous, always tries to do their best even when things get hard, works together as a team, and is inspirational.”

The students took part in some friendly competition and team building games as a way to work on embracing their inner wyvern. Each grade also took part in a trip to the art room where they created images that portray why they are proud to be a wyvern. 

“Watching all the students find out what it really means to be a wyvern was really cool to see,” Pratt said. He said he sees a bright future in his students and hopes to make wyvern week an annual occurrence.

In additional news, Charlie McWeeny, the student council representative on the Committee, brought forward several happenings from within the Mount Greylock halls.

Mount Greylock’s Student Council will be testing out a new lunch option until mid January, where students with busy schedules can decide to sign out of lunch and do work quietly in the foyer if they prefer. 

McWeeny also brought up the school start time debate, explaining, “Student Council is looking to reach out to other school’s student councils on their school’s start time to gage interest in that.”

Student Council has also had an increase in their social media outreach; they have been actively posting notes on the school’s website, working on a bulletin board in the hall, and considering creating a website.

“We are going to have a student forum to hear student voices on AP classes and the student experiences with that and what they would like to see going forward,” he added

While praising the students gratitude towards the AP classes offered, McWeeny brought forth the point of student stress levels on behalf of the student body. “They are finding that there is not a lot of flexibility in the course and not a lot of room for either student or teacher input,” he said.

Superintendent Kim Grady announced that she will be getting in touch with other Berkshire County Schools with a possible student survey to get other opinions on AP classes and start times.

McWeeny also examined the commonly discussed issue of being in a Massachusetts school, starting in September, and not having the luxury of the extra prep time that other schools who start earlier may receive for AP exams. “Starting so late and working towards that May test date, that is the same for absolutely everyone, can make it feel like a forced march through, and then we lose six weeks after that test date so we are discussing changes that we can make.”

McWeeny also discussed state standards, and how the required course load can seem tedious, especially the PE requirements. Having such set in stone guidelines that students are forced to follow (more or less) poses the problem that students don’t get to study the topics that they are actually interested in.

With grant money from the cultural council of northern Berkshire, LES has had some musical groups come in for a performance and readlong. Additionally, as a part of their STEAM education, students have been constructing their own catapults and began their 101 acts of kindness campaign. They also have their winter concert coming up on Thursday the 19th at six.

In terms of WES updates, students have been working on their “Inner Family” exhibit, where they create artwork portraying families from all backgrounds. Berkshire Empathy Awareness also came in to give a workshop about treating others with respect and plan on coming back for another workshop shortly.