EDUCATION

A school bus in Worcester.
File photo / MassLive

Worcester's mayor said he's hoping school bus drivers in his city vote on Wednesday to accept a five-year contract.

The bus drivers nearly went on strike this week, which could have delayed the first day of school in Worcester. But Mayor Joseph Petty said he asked union leadership to keep talking.

They did and now have a deal, although union members still must approve it.

"My understand [is] it's a good contract," Petty said. "So hopefully they will ratify it, and we won't have to worry about the buses...not running."

A school bus in Worcester.
File photo / MassLive

Updated at 10:00 a.m. on Aug. 29, 2017: A statement from the mayor's office Monday night said the union and bus company reached a 5-year deal, "with the goal of ratification by the union members on Wednesday night."

The union representing school bus drivers in Worcester had considered a strike starting Monday, the first day of school, but agreed to stay on the job for three more days while negotiations continue.

Easthampton School Committee voted teachers will receive training on how to handle information requests from federal immigration officials.
Mary Serreze / MassLive

As a new school year draws near, school officials in Massachusetts are focused on immigration policy, with some districts training their staff how to handle information requests from federal immigration officials.

In May, state Attorney General Maura Healey released guidelines for public schools that detail how cooperative they should be with US Immigration Customs and Customs agents, should they seek information about students. The advisory Healey released said schools can provide basic information, but are not required to.

It's A School's Job To Acknowledge Race

Jul 31, 2017
Grace Lin

A few years ago, commentator Grace Lin joined the Diversity Committee of her child's preschool in western Massachusetts . When one of the members asked dubiously whether race really needed to be addressed with young children, Lin knew the answer instantly.

When I was a child, the way adults dealt with race in my community was by not talking about it.

I remember in fifth grade, after I'd answered a question correctly, a boy burst in saying, “She just knows that because she’s Chin—,” only to be cut off by our teacher.

State receiver Jessica L. Huizenga spoke of the Southbridge Public Schools turnaround plan on Friday, June 24, 2016.
Michelle Williams / MassLive

Massachusetts education officials must find a new leader for the Southbridge school district, following the resignation of its state-appointed receiver.

Pittsfield High School is designed to accomodate 1,600 students, but only had about 900 during the last school year.
Adam Frenier / NEPR

One school district for all 15,000 of Berkshire County's school children. That's what an advisory panel of educators, local officials and business leaders is recommending. They commissioned a new study that said this approach could solve a lot of the problems schools are facing.

The sign outside St. Joseph Central High School in Pittsfield.
Adam Frenier / NEPR

After holding classes 120 years, Berkshire County's lone Catholic high school, St. Joseph Central of Pittsfield, closed its doors last week.

The school's closure was announced last fall amid sagging enrollment. And as the process has begun to clean out the building, students and staff members have largely moved on.

An online petition urged the school committee to change the mascot of Turners Falls High School.
Screen shot / Change.org

Massachusetts Senate President Stan Rosenberg said he opposes a ban on Native American mascots in public schools. A bill proposed in the legislature would do just that. Rosenberg was asked about the proposal during an interview on WGBH radio.

"It should be a matter of local decision," Rosenberg said. "One of my communities just went through this debate and it is really about local standard."

Mass. AG Investigates Incidents At Easthampton High

May 25, 2017
A person wearing a Confederate flag jacket, outside Easthampton High School on May 3, 2017.
Submitted Photo / NEPR

The school superintendent in Easthampton said disciplinary action has been taken against a student who allegedly bullied others through social media.

This comes as Massachusetts Attorney General Maura Healey investigates incidents at Easthampton High School.

Earlier this month, the School Committee voted to ban students from wearing the Confederate flag.

Later, a student posted on Instagram the words "Make Easthampton Great Again" with photo-shopped images of students and the principal holding guns in front of a Confederate flag.

Holyoke Teens Develop Anti-Bullying App

May 18, 2017
Girls Inc. Holyoke participated in Technovation Challenge. Pictured (left to right): Stella Cabrera, Crystalee Mendez, Meghan Bone (staff) and Jaylynn Rentas.
Sean Teehan / NEPR

Inside a stuffy second-story conference room in Holyoke’s innovation district, a small group of developers spent about three months creating a mobile app meant to combat bullying.

But they're not employees at a hot new tech startup. They’re teenage girls from Holyoke tasked with building an app that addresses an issue in their community.

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