Gateway Regional School District to Consolidate Elementary Schools

Wendy V. Long of the Gateway Regional School District in Huntington, MA writes:

The Gateway Regional School Committee voted [Wednesday evening] to consolidate its five elementary schools, with all elementary students attending school at either Littleville Elementary School or Chester Elementary School in the 2010-11 school year. Blandford Elementary School, R. H. Conwell Elementary School and Russell Elementary School will close, and those buildings will be returned to their towns. The vote (13 in favor, 3 opposed) was taken at approximately 10:15 p.m., following a lengthy discussion and input from Gateway town officials and community members.

A total of 426 students currently attend the five Gateway elementary schools.

Educationally, the move will provide more opportunities for teacher collaboration and student groupings, reduce or eliminate multi-grade classrooms, reduce the number of staff traveling between schools, and improve the administrative support to the schools.

The motion also stipulated that the school committee “acknowledges and agrees that MSBA will be recouping funds from the district in the amount of $4,587,165 in annual payments of $327,655 for 14 years” for renovations to those buildings. Consolidation is expected to save the district approximately $485,000 in FY ’11 after paying MSBA.

For background information on this issue, please visit the Elementary Advisory Committee website.

“Making Waves” in the Hilltowns

Chester Theatre Company Presents: Making Waves
An Evening of Professionally Produced, Student Written One-Act Plays
November 20 and 21, 2009

Six student-written one act plays fitting the theme Making Waves will be presented on November 20 and 21 at the Gateway Performing Arts Center in Huntington, MA. This semester’s playwrights are Iris Delaney, Allison Garriepy, Jordan Roberts, Peter Rochford, Samantha Sawyer and Lily Wyand.

These are not your typical student plays. Written by sixth grade students at Gateway Regional Middle School, the plays are produced by The Chester Theatre Company, which teams professional actors, directors and designers with the student playwrights to help bring their creative visions to life. The program is now in its fifth year, and the latest evening of truly unique one-act plays – Making Waves – will be presented at 7 p.m. on each night. Read the rest of this entry »

Food Drive for Families in the Hilltowns

GRHS Student Council Sponsoring Annual Food Drive

The Gateway Regional High School Student Council is sponsoring its annual Food Drive to assist local families. Collections will begin on November 3rd and continue through November 19th. Students will bring donations to the cafeteria during lunch, where student council members will be available to collect items.

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Intergenerational Holiday Concert and Luncheon in the Hilltowns

GRSD to Host Elders for Holiday Concert and Luncheon

The Gateway Regional School District extends a warm invitation to area senior citizens for the Annual Holiday Luncheon and Concert at the Gateway Regional Middle/High School complex, 12 Littleville Rd. in Huntington. This event will be held on Wednesday, December 2, 2009 with a student concert in the performing arts center at 11:30 a.m. A holiday luncheon will follow at approximately1:15 p.m. in the cafeteria. This event is free of charge to all hilltown seniors.

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Breaking News From Gateway Regional School District: Flu Update

Wendy V. Long, Editor of Breaking News From Gateway writes:

Good afternoon:

The Gateway Regional School District is seeing growing numbers of absences of students who have Influenza-Like Illnesses (ILI). Health officials are presuming that people who show ILI right now have Swine Flu. Parents are asked not to send students to school if they have flu-like symptoms. Students who are ill should not return to school until their fever has been gone for at least 24 hours, without the use of products like Tylenol or Ibuprofen.

Read more here: Hilltown Families Community Bulletin Board

Raising Teens: 10 Tasks of Adolescence


A new report has been released by the Harvard School of Public Health entitled “Raising Teens: A Synthesis of Research and a Foundation for Action.” The purpose of the report was to heighten public attention to the risks before today’s American teenagers—from violence, mental illness, abuse, neglect, substance abuse, poverty and other factors.

“One of the most striking aspects of this crisis is how little we have involved parents as part of the solution.”

This week, we will look at The Ten Tasks of Adolescence: the ten key developmental milestones that teenagers must accomplish to become fully functioning adults. This information begins on page 9 of the report.

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Eco-Friendly Fundraisers

Recycling Program to Raise Funds

For-profit company EcoPhones is one of several companies that offer community groups and non-profits the opportunity to raise funds for their organization or group by collecting small electronics items to be recycled, including:

  • cell phones
  • DVD movies
  • video games
  • portable DVD players
  • laptop/notebook computers
  • MP3 players
  • video game consoles
  • digital cameras
  • digital picture frames
  • portable navigation and GPS devices

Click here to read the article Cell phone recycling for cash a win-win, or is it? on about these types of eco-friendly fundraisers being offered to such groups.

Local Fundraising Efforts

The Gateway Regional High School (Huntington, MA) Cheerleaders are raising money to help send the team to summer cheerleading camp and will be participating in the EcoPhones fundraising program by collecting the above mentioned items. There is a collection bin in the main entrance foyer of the Gateway Middle/High School complex to deposit donations. Collection will run through the end of the school year.

For more information email Karen Smith at, read the flyer, or go to the EcoPhones Website.

Other Eco-Friendly Fundraising Ideas

Recycling old cell phones and such isn’t the only way to have an “eco-friendly fundraiser.” Click here to read the article Finding Green Fundraisers on to discover other ideas and programs.

What if Spring Break was Cancelled?

It Could Happen to Gateway Regional Middle-High School Students!

[Huntington, MA] – Spring Break for Gateway Regional Middle-High School students and staff is scheduled for April 21 – 25, 2008. But not if the district incurs too many more snow days.

The 2007-08 school year calendar has school ending on June 26th if five snow days are used. Because of the way the dates fall in June, this leaves only two additional school days available (Friday June 27th and Monday June 30th) to make up for any additional snow days or days lost due to other events. Blandford Elementary School already has to make up an additional day because the school was closed due to a broken water main last fall.

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Huntington Schools Offer Laptop Leasing for Students

Gateway School District Offers New Round of Laptops for Student Lease

Gateway school district in Huntington, MA, is offering a new round of laptop leases to students for the 2007-08 school year! Gateway’s 1 to 1 Laptop Program gives all students in grades 7 – 12 the opportunity to lease or purchase their own personal laptop for use at school and at home.

Registration forms and lease agreements must be submitted by August 1st; laptops will be distributed to families the week of August 27th.

Informational meetings for all interested families will be held in the Gateway Performing Arts Center (Middle/High School complex) at 6:30 p.m. on July 17; 6:00 p.m. on July 19; and 6:30 p.m. on July 26. Read the rest of this entry »

Dental Services in Area Schools

Public input sought for new student dental service

(c) 2007 Hilltown FamiliesMany children in our community suffer from dental disease—the most common chronic childhood disease—five times more common than asthma. When a child suffers from untreated dental problems, everyone loses. Due to pain, the child may be unable to concentrate at school and may become disruptive in class, negatively impacting the other children’s opportunity for learning. Ultimately, our whole community suffers when a child suffers.

The good news is that the Hilltown Community Health Centers are working in partnership with Gateway Regional Schools to develop a program to help our community combat this disease. Together, they are planning to bring preventive and restorative dental services into the schools. A taskforce of school representatives, health center representatives and parents have been meeting all year to design a program that meets our community’s unique needs. We have grant funding from MassHealth Access Program and Oral Health Foundation to purchase portable dental equipment and plan the outreach effort. No town or school funds will be used.  Read the rest of this entry »

Consolidating Hilltown Elementary Schools

Girls Summer Science Camp in Western Mass

Biotechnology Summer Camp for girls

Girls who want to explore the field of science will have a special opportunity to do just that this summer. Girls who are currently in 7th or 8th grade are eligible to attend a free Biotechnology Summer Camp (2007) , thanks to a Pioneer Valley Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics Network (PV STEMNET) grant.

High School Biotechnology Teacher Cyndi Jensen applied for the funding, and the award was announced two weeks ago. “This program is just for girls, taught by young women who have a passion for biotechnology,” explained Jensen.

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10th Annual Seuss-abration

Western Mass elementary schools honor national Read Across America Day with Dr. Seuss

Gateway elementary schools held another successful “Seussabration”, to honor national Read Across America Day on March 7th. This is the 10th year that Gateway has participated in this event, which typically involves students, staff, parents and high school volunteers.

National Honor Society members from Gateway Regional High School visited classrooms and read to students at the Blandford, Chester, R. H.Conwell and Littleville Elementary schools.

In our area there are two great place to get a closer look at the work of Dr. Seuss. The National Dr. Seuss Memorial in Springfield, MA, and the R. Michelson Galleries in Northampton, MA. The R. Michelson Galleries exhibits many of Dr. Seuss’s original draws and limited editions. Both places offer an educational experience for children.

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Gateway “town” meetings

The Gateway Regional School Committee has announced that it will again hold meetings in all seven district towns during this school year, so that town officials and area residents will have greater access to those meetings. But discussion on the issue focused on the lack of attendance at those meetings, and the committee will consider whether or not to continue this practice for next year.

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