About Our School
WES is a member of a shared superintendency agreement with Lanesborough Elementary School and Mt. Greylock Regional Middle and High School. While each district has its own school committee and governance, the positions of the central office are shared among the three schools. The three districts have the opportunity to share services, collaborate on curriculum work, and provide for common professional development.
WES is housed in a state of the art green building that is environmentally responsible, energy efficient, and uses recycled and natural products throughout. In the spring of 2002, WES received the first Green School Grant awarded by the State Department of Education. This funding enabled the placement of photo voltaic panels on the south facing roofs of three wings of the school.
Williamstown Elementary School has an experienced, highly educated teaching staff, as well as a skilled paraprofessional and support staff, all dedicated to the success of our students. Approximately 78 staff serve as classroom teachers, special education teachers, specialists, paraprofessionals and support staff.
WES has a proud heritage of offering a quality education to its young students. Through highly engaged learning, in a state of the art building, with unique and committed community partnerships, students access the community and its myriad of resources to explore mountains, forests, lakes and streams. Local classroom field studies challenge students to observe, hypothesize and ponder real-life problems in nature and in their town. Our highly skilled staff focuses on environmental science as exemplified by the community garden on school grounds tended by students and parents. A wooden gazebo serves as an outdoor classroom. Through collaborations with local museums and performance spaces, students experience first-hand appreciation of art history, dance and theater. Artists-in residence from Shakespeare and Company annually supplement the fourth grade curriculum of performance art, theater and history. Learning is active. The sixth grade performs an adaptation of a Broadway musical every spring, and our very own A Little Night Music recital showcases budding musicians. In 2002 fundraising efforts of the WES “Friends of Music”, comprised of teachers, parents, and community members, purchased a Yamaha Grand Piano for the new auditorium. An annual piano concert continues to add to the music program.
The Berkshires is home to writers, poets and authors. Parents work with teachers and students during the annual Words Are Wonderful celebration of language to promote writing, reading, and creative self-expression across all grades. Writing across the curriculum begins at the PK level, with fine motor activities such as grasping, and spans through sixth grade bookmaking, poetry, and essay writing. Reading includes language, skill building and literature integrated with science and social studies themes.
Williamstown Elementary also has two well-equipped computer labs, a portable wireless laptop lab, and a bank of three eMac computers in each of its classrooms. A schooled focus of resources and financing through state grants on technology has greatly extended computer literacy at the school. Multimedia projects are integrated in teaching and learning. WES is a future-focused school equipped to meet and enrich the educational needs of its students in the 21st Century.
Art, Physical Education, Library, HealthIn addition to the extensive community arts experiences described above, students at WES experience a rich in-house art program that enables them to work with various media through the grades. Instruction includes art history as well as artwork projects and production. An all-school Art Show is held in June.
Students participate in physical education through the lens of life long sports and wellness. Children walk/run, snow shoe and engage in games that encourage cooperation and teamwork.
The cornerstone of Williamstown Elementary School is its beautiful, well-stocked library. Students receive instruction in library science and research methods. Whether it is listening to a story or doing research the library is a foundation to all curriculum areas.
WES is fortunate to have a full time nurse on campus. Student records, health needs, and “TLC” are all handled with expert care.
Literacy at WESAfter a full year of study, in 2005 the Williamstown Elementary School began its journey to implement a Core Reading Model of instruction in Grades K-3. In the fall of 2006, the district purchased the Scott Foresman reading series. This program is designed to address the learning needs for all students, and the staff has worked hard to successfully implement its many components. In addition, the district has been assessing students in the area of reading using the Dynamic Indicators of Basic Literacy Skills (DIBELS). These brief assessments are given minimally three times per year and provide important information for teachers about each student’s progress in the components of reading.
Reading “Team Time”, a common block of time for teaching reading at each grade level, enables teachers to differentiate instruction by sharing staff and designing instruction that is individualized. Activities are organized based upon student’s needs and interests. Computer technology enhances this aspect of our reading curriculum. Programs such as Read Naturally, Lexia, or Accelerated Reader can be prescribed for individuals or groups of students. Computers are carefully supervised and maintained by the classroom teacher to assess student progress.
Reading in the content areas of science and social studies is emphasized at all grade levels. The Scott Foresman Reading Program contains sections of non-fiction that closely relate to our lower grades’ content area curriculum. Upper grades’ studies use content area texts as well as computer technology to enhance their science and social studies curriculum.
Our school’s Title I program provides reading support for students in grades K – 5 who are not making adequate progress in reading. Students receive additional instruction in small groups, designed to improve student fluency and comprehension.
Teachers meet regularly at each grade level to examine assessment data and share strategies and materials to reach all learners. Teachers also participate in on-going professional development to learn about new approaches for teaching students to read. The ultimate goal is to have ALL students reading at or above grade level by the end of Grade 3.
Our children love to read. It is not uncommon to see our upper grade students in primary classrooms with their “reading buddies” sharing a good book and a light moment.
Math at WESWilliamstown Elementary School provides a broad-based math program for children. Using the Everyday Math program for grades K-6 allows teachers to provide continuity of instruction from grade to grade. The program provides embedded assessments that allow teachers to monitor student growth in math skills and provide for individual differences. Our upper grade “math buddies” are often seen working with our younger students on special math projects.
In grades 4-6 teachers differentiate instruction by teaching math at the same time each day and grouping students according to current skill level and fluency. This common block of time enables teachers to provide for individual differences by sharing staff and students. In grade 4 students are assessed at each unit interval, allowing teachers to design instruction based upon student’s strengths. Teachers in grades 5-6 work together instructing math at the same time. This flexibility allows children to progress at their own rate and experience a challenging math curriculum.
Computer technology enhances our math instruction, enabling a child’s math program to be further individualized. Programs such as Math Facts In a Flash and IXL (which is accessible at home) are integral parts of our math program in K-6. Programs are used to monitor student progress in math facts and concepts, as well as to challenge students beyond the regular curriculum.
ScienceWilliamstown Elementary School is fortunate to partner with Williams College to enhance our science curriculum. Through the “Williams College Science Initiative” our school has an equipped Science Lab and support for our science curriculum through a science coordinator and a paraprofessional to maintain the lab.
Social StudiesWilliamstown Elementary School celebrates this country’s diversity through our social studies curriculum. From learning about families in the primary grades, to world cultures in the 6th, our students develop an appreciation and sensitivity to the world around them. Key concepts of citizenship and civility are taught school wide. Activities such as our Martin Luther King Day and Earth Day Celebrations, as well as our All School Meets, champion respect, citizenship, and community service and enhance each grade level’s projects.
Some Specialty ProgramsStudents can follow their passions while extending and strengthening their academic growth by participating in several after school programs. WES students may participate in the national Math Olympiads by joining the Math Club or work with peers to design and program robotic devices by becoming a member of a Lego Robotics team. During the winter months a wide range of mini-courses is offered after school in our Adventures in Learning program, and children may also be selected for the Targeted Instruction Program in math or reading in order to boost their skills in one of those areas. Each program is specifically designed for students’ interests and abilities, and each of the programs is taught by professional staff.
Williams College Connection