Mary Ellen Baron: In Memory of a Beloved Educator

unnamedSometimes educators’ personal and professional lives blur as friends become mentors and leaders in teaching excellence.  Such was the case with Mary Ellen Baron, a dear friend and beloved educator who passed away on July 20, 2015 after refusing to let cancer define her life for the last 7 years.

A born educator, Mary Ellen saw teaching and learning moments in most moments of her life as a wife, mother and grandmother, teacher, administrator, and friend.  Never too busy to listen and help, she served those who were fortunate to cross her path — from students to custodians to colleagues — in the Westfield and Springfield schools, the Springfield School Department, and on the Monson School Board. Continue reading

Author & Illustrator Commemorate Sandy Hook Elementary Children

At the New England Reading Association (NERA) Conference held in Springfield this past May, Patricia MacLachlan and Steven Kellogg, both celebrated for their work in children’s literature, received the 2015 Special Recognition Award for  Snowflakes Fall.  As this video shows, their book honors the spirits of the 20 young victims of Sandy Hook Elementary School and helps transcend the tragic events of December 14, 2012.  Educators at the conference who love children and reading listened, sometimes tearfully, as Continue reading

Meet the 2015 Digital Innovators

We’ve shared information with you before about the Digital Innovators’ program, including a profile of last year’s local digital innovator, Mark Vasicek, from West Springfield High.  Now, PBS LearningMedia is pleased to introduce the 2015 PBS LearningMedia Digital Innovators.  After a nationwide search, these educators were selected for their passion and commitment to innovative teaching practices. Continue reading

Launching Today: Program Application for 2015 PBS LearningMedia Digital Innovators

The holiday season is here and we’re celebrating by kicking off the 2015 PBS LearningMedia Digital Innovators program.  In addition to this video from one of last year’s recipients, Bekah Hightower, we’ve shared inspiring information about our local 2014 Digital Innovator, Mark Vasicek, and hope you’ll consider applying for this program.  As a PBS LearningMedia Digital Innovator, you’ll be able to build a relationship with WGBY, receive one year of free PD, gain membership into a robust professional learning community and have an all-expense paid two-day trip to the PBS Digital Summit in Philadelphia, PA Continue reading

2014 Hispanic Heritage Award Recipients Include High School Robotics Team

During the 27th Hispanic Heritage Awards last night in Washington, DC, honored recipients included celebrities, physicians, scientists, educators, innovators, public officials and community and business leaders. The awards, established by the White House in 1987 to commemorate the creation of Hispanic Heritage Month in the U.S., are considered among the highest honors for Latinos by Latinos and recognize notable Latinos who have had a positive impact on America and the world in various fields. The recipient of the 2014 education award is the Hayden High School Robotics Team Continue reading

Featured 2014 Pioneer Valley Teacher of Excellence: Catherine Maccini

indexCatherine teaches 6th grade English at M. Marcus Kiley Middle School in Springfield, MA.  She loves her job and adores the children. She tries to prepare them for life with an open minded, sociological, and democratic education.

As one of this year’s Pioneer Valley Teachers of Excellence Awards recipients, we asked her the following questions: Continue reading

Featured 2014 Pioneer Valley Teacher of Excellence: Josh Kislo

John Kislo with studentsJosh is an Instructor/Chef at Smith Vocational and Agricultural High School in Northampton and a  graduate of Northampton High School, Class of 1977.   He himself earned a Culinary Arts Certificate from Smith Vocational and Agricultural High School in 1979 as well as a Bachelor of Science in Education/Occupational Education at Westfield State University in 1999.  He’s been a Culinary Arts Instructor since February of 1988.  Here are his responses to a few questions  Continue reading

Happy, Magical New Years

Groverweb2On the eve of this New Year, I’d like to thank you for your service to the young people in our region, who can never have too many loving and supportive adults in their lives.  Henry David Thoreau writes, “To affect the quality of the day is the highest of the arts.”   You have the privilege and the challenge of affecting the quality of students’ lives every day with the magic — and hard work — of learning and the promise of many Happy New Years.