Tuesday, April 25, 2017


Principal’s Report

March 2017
I have several recognitions this month:
·         Guidance counselor Dan Korte has been recognized by the Berkshire County Regional Employment Board with the Board of Director’s Educator Award.  This award recognizes Dan’s efforts in the area of college and career readiness. Dan was recognized at the BCREB meeting on March 9.
·         Senior Karli Retzel scored her 1000th career point at the basketball game on February 14th. After the season is over, Karli’s name will go up on our 1000 point banner in the gym.
·         Senior Zach Reynolds received the Pete Snyder Sportsmanship Award from the Berkshire County HS Bowling League.
·         Senior Devon Atwell was one of only 10 skiers from the Berkshires to race in the State Championships this year.
·         Thomas Fraser (first team), Bryce Whalen (second team), and Hunter Roosa (honorable mention) were all named to the All-Eagle golf teams.
·         With their win in the Western Mass. quarterfinal game on March 3, the lady Wildcats basketball team had their 700th win since the current MIAA system was put in place, with a winning percentage of 70% - truly an incredible track record!
In other news, I’m happy to report that we have received a $500 donation from Lipton Energy as part of the ExxonMobil Educational Alliance; these funds are dedicated to use by the science and math departments. We’ve also received a $990 donation from Greylock Federal Credit Union as part of their Lee High Wildcats debit card program; those funds will be going toward the gradual conversion of our library to a “learning commons” – you’ll soon see some more comfortable furniture for student use in the library. I’ve extended our sincere thanks and appreciation to both Lipton Energy and Greylock for these generous donations.
We will soon begin the scheduling process for the 2017-18 school year. As the start of this, I will be asking your approval for changes to the Program of Studies at this month’s school committee meeting.  There are only a few changes this year.

300 Greylock Street, Lee, Massachusetts 01238 • 413-243-2780 • Fax 413-243-4105 www.leepublicschools.net

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Our drama program will be presenting a production of A Funny Thing Happened On The Way To The Forum on Friday, March 10 at 7pm and on Saturday, March 11 at 2pm and 7pm.  It will, I am sure, be an excellent time! Other upcoming events include a spaghetti supper on Thursday, March 23 – hosted by the middle school, this is a fundraiser for their end-of-year field trips to Boston and Albany.


We have begun a very aggressive program of MCAS Prep for our 7th and 8th graders in math and ELA. This year’s MCAS for them will be a very different experience than in the past – it is computer-based, and will have new question types and scoring. Unlike past MCAS Prep sessions, we have been able to figure out a way to do this during the school day. We are also offering our more traditional after school prep sessions for high school students and 8th grade science, which are still the “old-fashioned” MCAS tests.


On Friday, March 10 we will have a half day for professional development. The majority of LMHS faculty members will be continuing literacy training, this year focusing on writing. Many specialists have county-wide professional development meetings that they will be attending instead.


We are also in the midst of planning for graduation.  This year, I’m happy to report that we will be able to do a “Senior Walk” at LES, which was brought up as an idea last year. After returning from our Tanglewood rehearsal on the Wednesday before graduation, the seniors will don their caps and gowns and do walkthrough of the halls at the elementary schools to greet the younger students. This has been a growing trend across the country, and the seniors were happy to try it out her in Lee.


Respectfully submitted,


Gregg M. Brighenti Principal


Principal’s Report

February 2017
It’s been a while since I have filed a written report with the School Committee, so first let me note the various honors and awards that members of our school community have received recently:
·         The following students were named to Junior District Music Festival: Makenna Albee, Madailein Demler, Hope Harrison, Teresa Navin, and Gracie Papkey for treble chorus; Maccus Dinsmore for male chorus; and Annie Maloney for band.
·         The 31st annual Berkshire County High School Art Show at the Norman Rockwell Museum is being held through March 4. Ava Martin, Allison Drumm, Aliyah Noel, Conner LaRock, Sophie Zukowski, Madison Desantis, Juliette Gagnon, Erin Cook, Mia
Salazar, and Emma Bartini each have works on display after a rigorous selection process.
·         Twenty-five eighth graders were inducted into the Junior Honor Society.
·         Karli Retzel was named the Jiminy Peak Athlete of the Week for January 16 on iBerkshires.com.
·         The Berkshire Eagle named their All-Berkshire volleyball team, including Lady Wildcats Shenna Tyer, Anna Wang, and Kendra Williams. Additionally, Haleigh Richardson and Ahna Schlaefer were named to the All-North team.
·         Allison Drumm had one of her photographs selected to be included in the Photographer’s Forum book, Best of College & High School Photography 2017.
·         The Eagle also announced their All-Berkshire football team. From Lee, Matt Lohbauer and Nick Castillo were named.  Ryan Ruef was named to the Second Team.
·         The Massachusetts Secondary Schools Athletic Directors Association announced that Art Reilly was selected to receive the President’s Award of Merit, given for significant contributions within the field of athletic administration at the local and state levels. Art will be honored at the MSSADA Awards Luncheon on March 29th.
In athletics news that the Committee should be aware of, the MIAA accepted our appeal to have our football team compete in Division VIII for the next four years; they had originally assigned us to a higher division. As we are the smallest public high school in the Commonwealth with a football program, we believe that this is the correct placement for our program moving forward.
Berkshire County football will continue to compete as members of the Pioneer Valley Athletic Conference. This spring, we will be the host of a three-way co-op team for boys’ lacrosse, with Lenox and Monument Mountain as guests.  This mirrors the co-op that we host for girls’ lacrosse.
Testing season has begun for this school year. We have recently completed several days of ACCESS testing for our ELL students; in early March our 8th graders will be participating in the

300 Greylock Street, Lee, Massachusetts 01238 • 413-243-2780 • Fax 413-243-4105 www.leepublicschools.net

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National Assessment of Educational Progress, a federal testing program that results in “The Nation’s Report Card” publication; and MCAS will begin shortly thereafter. This year, the MCAS ELA and math tests will be taken online. Thankfully, our new wireless infrastructure and Chromebook “fleet” will allow us to do this without a great deal of disruption. The eighth grade science MCAS and all high school MCAS testing will still be done in a paper-and-pencil format. The new electronic formats will actually result in more days taken from instruction compared to previous years; this trend is very unfortunate.


On Thursday, February 2nd, our junior class once again participated in Groundhog Job Shadow Day. Our juniors filtered out all around Berkshire County to various business establishments to spend the day shadowing professionals in a field of interest. Many juniors reported truly outstanding experiences; thanks are due to Jane McEvoy and Dan Korte for their work organizing the day. This career exploration program will culminate in a few weeks with our annual Career Fair; as a part of that day, juniors will take part in mock interviews with local businesses.



Respectfully submitted,


Gregg Brighenti Principal



Friday, April 8, 2016

LES April Principal's Report

Lee Elementary School 2015/2016
“Opening Doors”
                                                                                                                                                                                     Kate Retzel, Principal

To:     School Committee
Date:  April 8, 2016

·         Our April PD was used as a last period of time for development of our MCUs.  Many teachers have already finished units and others are just beginning them now. Below is a list of MCUs utilized with LES students this year for your consideration and amazement:
K – Mo Williams Author Study
1 – Animals and Habitats*; Poetry: Expanding Language, Sound, and Meaning
2 – Bees Unit (with an extension on Polar Bears for some)*; Geography, Land, and People; Civil Rights and Equality for All; Traditions and Customs; Matter Through Poetry*
3 – Extreme Weather; The American Revolution; Poetry
4 – Weathering and Erosion
5 – Plants and Ecosystems*; Engineering*; Matter/Pre-Chemistry*; European Exploration of the Americas- Perspectives on the Spanish Conquest of Latin America
6 – Heroes of the Iliad
* symbol indicates a cooperation with Flying Cloud Institute.

I am sure you can see the integration of Science and Social Studies now possible with  the ELA base to units.  You will also notice that some grade levels have extended much beyond the requirement of one MCU for the year!  (1.2;1.4; High quality professional development is essential for improving educational practice and maximizing student achievement.)

·         A concerned group of teachers is revisiting the LES Behavior Rubric with me and creating behavior expectations for all areas of the school – the hallway; the cafeteria; the classroom; the bathroom; the buses (arrival and dismissal); and the playground. We will be introducing the expectations and new rubric during our May Community Gathering.  We will try them out for the remaining month of school and then tweak for a September fresh start with students.  With our changing population, we feel it necessary to use the rubric and expectations more rigidly and have more adults visible and on board to ensure we continue to create a safe learning environment.   (5.3; Reasonable rules of behavior are necessary for the development of self-discipline and personal responsibility.)

·         Please consider attending the Lee Youth Drama show, Annie Jr., on Thursday, April 14th, or Friday, April 15th.  Both shows are at 7pm in the Z.  It will be another extravaganza!  Of that, I am sure.  Unfortunately, April 15th will be the final show for our Drama Director, Jessica Pollard.  We wish her the best in any new endeavors she now has time to pursue.  We thank her for many years of dedicated service in the development of an outstanding, all-inclusive drama program second to none at any elementary school I know of! Her dedication has reached out and hugged students and their families giving them a place to learn and grow.  She will be terribly hard to replace.  (4.2; 5.5; We believe in a standard of excellence throughout the district in all endeavors.)

·         At last check in, Kate Olender had 99 appointments for use of the tablets recently purchased!  She will work with 4th graders composing songs and doing assessment in Music class.  1st, 3rd, and 4th graders will be creating presentations with recorded components.  Our 5th graders are using them for electronic math practice and research. We are as excited as the students are for the electronic enhancements to classwork.  Students are so engaged!!! (1.6; 2.2)

Thursday, April 7, 2016

LMHS Principal Report - April 2016

Principal’s Report - LMHS
April 2016

·         We had a very well-received presentation to the student body by Jeff Bauman on March 9.  His message of resiliency and overcoming obstacles was an important one for our students (and, that evening, the community) to hear.  [District goals 5.1, 5.3]
·         Most of our AP classes held mock exams on Saturdays in March, giving the students an opportunity to practice a full-length test scored by an outside agency.  The AP teachers decided to continue providing this service, which previously was part of our MMSI grant. [1.4, 4.5, 4.6]
·         We have posted the carpentry / woodshop position for the new school year.  Additionally, we have had several positive responses to my invitation to be on a new carpentry advisory committee.  We continue to work with McCann Tech to explore and plan what this program may look like in the future. [1.2, 3.4, 4.2]
·         Grades 7, 8 and 10 have completed their MCAS English Language Arts tests.  The grades 7 and 8 tests included a new PARCC-type narrative writing section.  This section is unlike any MCAS composition done in the past.  MCAS Math occurs in May.
·         On April 1, we began the scheduling process for the 2016-17 school year, with grade level assemblies for grades 8-11.  We also sent representatives to St. Mary’s School and to Farmington River to present.  On April 6, we held our annual information night for the families of current 6th graders.  Our plan is to collect course registrations before April vacation, and use the month of May to build the schedule for the new year.
·         Congratulations to Tyler Buratto for receiving the Francis X. Keating Award for overcoming adversity at the Western Mass. Chapter of the National Football Foundation and College Hall of Fame.  There is an excellent article on Masslive.com which can also be accessed from the LMHS Facebook page.
·         Congratulations to the middle school Robotics Team in their inaugural season!  They placed 9th out of 33 teams, and earned the “Rookie Team of the Year” award.
·         Congratulations to the members of the senior class, who have racked up an impressive listing of college acceptances this year.  Dan Korte has created the following graphic:

Respectfully submitted,

Gregg Brighenti

Friday, March 4, 2016

LMHS Principal's Report - March 2016

Lee, Massachusetts

Principal’s Report
March 2016

It was a short month, including vacation, so I’d like to use my Principal’s Report this month to ask that you approve the 2016-2017 Program of Studies.  We will be beginning the course selection and scheduling process in early April.  As you may remember, last year we had some major changes to the Program of Studies so I presented the full document to you.  This year, there are no new courses being proposed, but there are other important changes I would like to point out:

·         We will be instituting a two-year cycle for our AP Science classes.  For the 2016-17 school year, we will offer AP Biology and AP Chemistry; in 2017-18 we will offer AP Environmental Science and AP Physics.  The courses will continue to rotate each year thereafter.  In years when the AP course is not offered, we will offer a non-AP version of the same course.

·         We will be phasing in a change to our Health/PE offering.  Currently, freshmen do not take physical education; instead they take health.   We would like to spread health out over two years.  Freshmen would take two quarters of health and two quarters of phys ed; sophomores would do the same.  This allows all of our students to have formal physical activity during all six years that they are at LMHS.  It also provides the benefit of health education being spread out over more than just the 9th grade year.

·         Similar to what we have done very successfully this year with Senior Varsity Sports, where seniors are able to earn their phys ed credit by participating in two athletics teams, we would like to introduce Drama Production.  Students who participate in two drama productions (either in the same year or over two years) will be able to earn 0.5 credit toward their Humanities / Arts graduation requirement.

·         We are proposing the following changes to our minimum graduation requirements.  The current requirements would remain in place for the classes of 2017 and 2018:


Classes of 2017 & 2018

Class of

Class of 2020+
Students are required to earn a credit of English each year, including:  English 9, English 10, English 11 (or AP Language & Composition), and English 12 (or AP Literature & Composition).
4 credits
4 credits
4 credits
Social Studies
This must include a full-year of US History.  Beginning with the Class of 2017, this must also include a half-credit of American Government.
3 credits
3 credits
3 credits
Credit values vary if course is lab or non-lab.
3 yearlong courses
3 yearlong courses
3 yearlong courses
All students are required to take and pass a 4th year of math unless they scored proficient or advanced on their 10th grade MCAS math assessment.  All students are strongly encouraged to take a 4th year of math.
3 credits
3 credits
3 credits
0.5 credit
0.5 credit
2.0 credits**
Physical Education
1.5 credits
1.5 credits
1 credit
0.5 credit*
0.5 credit*
1 credit
The Arts
Fine and performing arts, including: all courses listed in “The Arts” section, plus Digital Photography, Graphic Arts, Animation.
0.5 credit
0.5 credit
Electives from any subject area
6 credits
7 credits
7 credits
23 credits
23 credits
23 credits
                                * Does not include Woodshop
                                                ** 0.5 credit of combined PE/Health in each of 9th and 10th grades; 0.5 credit of PE in each of 11th and 12th grades

In other news, as I write this our drama club is getting ready to present Legally Blonde, on Friday, March 4 at 7pm, and Saturday, March 5 at 2pm and 7pm.  Our girls basketball program has advanced to the Western Mass semifinal game, to be held Monday, March 7 at the Cage; the time has not yet been set.  Also worth noting: the Wildcat Bowling team, which is not officially an LMHS club, has won the Berkshire County championship.  Congratulations all!

Respectfully submitted,

Gregg M. Brighenti