The Berkshire County Education Task Force (BCETF) is pleased to announce that it has secured funding from the Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education and the Barr Foundation to continue efforts into 2021 and 2022. BCETF is a non-partisan group of committed community members dedicated to strengthening public education in Berkshire County, in light of shrinking enrollment, stretched resources, and constrained educational opportunities. We remain dedicated to developing community-informed solutions to regional challenges facing public education, and in doing so hope to help schools make better what current exists and explore what could be.
Funds secured will support the 2021-2022 work plan, including:
1) ongoing research and planning pertaining to county K12 reorganization and consolidation models;
2) continuation/advancement of existing collaborative projects and expansion of new collaborative cross-district solutions, and;
3) engagement and outreach in order to raise awareness, solicit input, and partner with a wide range of community partners.
Our research platform will focus on subregional solutions (south and north county) as well as an analysis of career vocational technical education needs across the Berkshires. Our goal is to use case studies and data to test assumptions, identify value propositions and assess feasibility within these subregions.
We are excited to launch Phase II of the Barr Foundation sponsored Portrait of a Graduate work. Funding will help to move the draft Portrait (developed in Phase I) from concept into action within our partner schools. Specific activities will include school level alignment, the development of a signature experience, asset mapping, and the drafting of rubrics that reinforce those competencies, we believe, will ensure our graduates are successfully prepared for college, career and community life.
Finally, we are honored to receive funding to support the ongoing efforts of the Berkshire Remote Learning Initiative. This effort led to an eight-district consortium designed to address the learning disruptions, immediate and ongoing, caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. In the coming year, we will continue to support coordination and collaboration across our districts, ongoing professional development and training, school-district specific technology leads, a comprehensive audit of technology tools, and a commons/object repository that will allow for fluid sharing of resources across districts and our community.
BCETF is pleased to be supported by the Berkshire Regional Planning Commission. Our group meets approximately once a month. We encourage those interested to visit our comprehensive website at www.berkshireeducationtaskforce.org and/or contact us for more information.