Franklin County Technical School   82 Industrial Blvd.   Turners Falls, MA 413 . 863 . 9561

MCAS progress

Franklin County Technical School students continue to improve on MCAS performance, with more progress projected for the future.

The school has maintained Level II accountability for the second year in a row on the Progress Performance Index (PPI). In 2012, the PPI was 17 percent compared to other schools, which is Level III. After implementing new programs last year, the PPI rose to 21 percent, upping the school to Level II.

The PPI measures school performance in comparison to all other schools across the state. The cumulative PPI generally represents a performance trend over four years.

This year, the school’s PPI was up to 31 percent, a 10 percent jump from 2013, and one percentage point away from reaching Level I accountability status, the highest level possible.

“We’re progressing on the right track,” said FCTS Principal Richard J. Martin. “We’ve climbed a big ladder compared to other schools. When you look at 2013-2014 compared to other years, we’ve made great progress.”

Massachusetts schools use the PPI and school percentiles to classify schools into one of five accountability and assistance levels. Schools making sufficient progress toward narrowing proficiency gaps are classified into Level I, while the state’s lowest performing schools are classified into Levels 4 and 5.

Beginning last school year, the Franklin County Technical School took a focused and assertive approach to helping students master the curriculum and achieve higher scores, and the results were extraordinary.

“The reasons for our success are obvious,” Martin said of last year’s results. “We’ve utilized targeted intervention strategies for math and ELA supported by Superintendent James Laverty and the school committee that allowed us to hire an additional math instructor half way through last school year. Our intervention strategies worked. This is not a one year anomaly.”

Martin also noted that the implementation of math adaptive software allowed students to have continuity of math instruction during shop week. The school also realigned the scope and sequence of the math curriculum to match up with state frameworks. He said vocational and technical instructors supported the extra period of math instruction during shop week and that had a significantly positive impact on the MCAS scores.

“Without the support of those instructors the growth in math scores would not have come to fruition,” Martin said last year.

From the girls soccer team, to the football team, to the Landscaping and Horticulture program, the generosity and kindness of Franklin County Technical School students and staff recently raised funds and awareness for various charitable and community service initiatives.

Throughout the month of September and into October, students, faculty and staff at FCTS could be seen at the school and in the community making a difference for people in need.

In honor of Pediatric Cancer Awareness Month, the girls soccer team raised funds for pediatric cancer research by selling gold ribbons throughout September and into October. The effort was highlighted by a fun event on September 24 where students and staff purchased pieces of tape to tape girls soccer Coach Jenna Carme, Dean of Students Earl McGraw, and Science Teacher Daniel Prasol to the wall of the cafeteria.

Carme got the idea for the fundraiser because she felt that the ribbon is the symbol of support or respect for many awareness campaigns and initiatives. Gold is the signature color for Pediatric Cancer Awareness month, and Carme and the soccer players felt that ribbons would be simple enough to make and sell fast at $1 each.

“The girls have been 100 percent on board with this cause,” Carme said. “They are motivated to make a difference. We started off with just over 100 ribbons. The girls wanted to keep making and selling them up until our Greenfield game which was on Monday October 13th.”

FCTS Students Generously Volunteer for Franklin County Community Service Projects

The game against Greenfield High School was the 2nd Annual Pink Out Game, with all proceeds dedicated to raising cancer awareness.

The 21 members of the FCTS girls soccer team are, Ericalyn Farnham, Tabi Hamilton, Amber Merritt, Cat Cairns, Shayla Demers. Ry-Ann Decker, Megan McCrory, Rachel Shearer, Brit Andrews, Tamara Arsenault, Kaiti Churchill, Laurel Cooke, Yarelis Santana, Mackenzie Bardwell, Skyler Clark-Williams, Mackenzie Coburn, Arielle Diemand, Teigan Hadfield, Gabby Santucci, Svetlana Vdovichenko, and Jenna Williams.

While not the largest fundraiser the girls soccer team is involved in, Carme believes selling ribbons on behalf of pediatric cancer research is the most valuable.

“The girls are doing something for a greater cause instead of raising money so they can, for example, buy themselves warm-up clothes,” she said. “It makes them feel good about themselves that they are doing something positive by trying to make a future possible for others. You can't put a price on that. Ask any one of the girls on the team and they will tell you one major bullet point on our team contract is 'Be Good People'. This is the type of thing that supports that initiative.”

FCTS Students Generously Volunteer for Franklin County Community Service Projects

Students from the Landscaping and Horticulture program removed 33 tires and hundreds of pounds of debris from the Connecticut River as part of the FirstLight GDF Suez “Source to the Sea Cleanup,” held on Thursday, September 25 and Friday, September 26.

“The girls are doing something for a greater cause instead of raising money so they can, for example, buy themselves warm-up clothes,” she said. “It makes them feel good about themselves that they are doing something positive by trying to make a future possible for others. You can't put a price on that. Ask any one of the girls on the team and they will tell you one major bullet point on our team contract is 'Be Good People'. This is the type of thing that supports that initiative.”

“The students in the landscape/ horticulture program at FCTS look forward to this day every year,” said Landscaping and Horticulture Teacher Mark Amstein. “They take pride in knowing that (FirstLight Land Management Administrator) Beth Bazler will give us a difficult site that is loaded with debris. At the end of the day they are dirty, tired and proud to have participated in such a worthwhile event.”

The students from Landscaping and Horticulture are, Culleen Ames, Meagan Blais, Douglas Coates, Colby Collins, Andrew LaCoy, Isaac Melanson, Morgan Plante, Harley Robinson, Nicole Rogalski, Matthew Smith, Emily Sullivan, Cooper Deane, Christopher Cwikowski, Tyler Facey, Cobi Hardin, Christopher Ludwig, Shauntel Ortiz, Gage Ovit-Hoyt, Tammy-Marie Paul, Tyler Raymond, Spencer Telega, Ashlee Townsley, and James Waldron.

FCTS students and other volunteers pulled out 40 cubic yards of trash, 130 tires, 4,000 pounds of scrap metal, five mattresses, three televisions, two couches, and two recliners. The piles of trash that dotted the landscape throughout Gill, Montague, Millers Falls, Turners Falls, Sunderland and Deerfield were gathered, hauled and sorted.

FCTS Students Generously Volunteer for Franklin County Community Service Projects

On Saturday, September 27, following a 20-7 victory over Pathfinder, the football team, along with students Sara Powell and Nikko Sciandra, assembled and installed two steel swing sets at Highland Park in Millers Falls.

“It was an excellent opportunity for our student athletes to learn the importance of civility, community service, and giving back to one of the communities who give to us,” said FCTS Athletic Director Joe Gamache. “It will be a project they can forever take pride in.”

The team also participated in the Zumbathon that was held at the school on Friday, October 17. The event raised money for Alex’s Lemonade Stand Foundation, an organization that collects funds to help find a cure for childhood cancer.

“The entire football team did a great choreographed Zumba dance at the fund raiser for childhood cancer,” said Jocelyn Croft, FCTS vocational curriculum director. “They certainly have rhythm. In addition to the football team, other dancers for the cause were Rick Martin, Terry Lapachinski, Jenna Carme and myself.”


Franklin County Technical School is hosting a fundraising event that will take your breath away.

On Friday, October 17, 2014, a Zumbathon will be held at the school from 6-8 p.m. in the assembly hall. Franklin County Technical School is located at 82 Industrial Boulevard, Turners Falls.

The event is being organized by Zumba instructor Pam Reipold as a way to raise money for Alex’s Lemonade Stand Foundation, an organization that collects funds to help find a cure for childhood cancer.

The fee to participate in the Zumbathon is $15 per person. Anyone who wants to participate can just show up at Franklin County Technical School on the night of the event; no advance registration is necessary. Reipold urged participants to bring a towel, water and wear loose clothing.

Zumba is a fitness program that combines elements of dance an aerobics. Besides Reipold there will be other Zumba instructors from around the county at the event.

Riepold assures that Zumathon participants will have a great time as they work up a sweat.

“It’s so much fun, you don’t feel like you’re exercising,” she said. “It’s more like dancing.”

Reipold said she has done other Zumbathon fundraisers before, and when FCTS girl’s soccer coach Jenna Carme told her about Alex’s Lemonade Stand, “we just kind of ran with it,” and organized the event at the school.

“It’s nice to be able to raise awareness and have people get together to raise money for such a good cause.”

Cross Country Team Runs Around the Clock for a Good Cause

Seven Franklin County Technical School Health Technology students have taken the first step toward careers in health care by earning certificates to become certified nursing assistants.

The students, Sarah Arsenault, 18, of Greenfield, Hayley Black, 17, of Montague, Sarah Campbell, 17, of Turners Falls, Avi Cox, 17, of Leyden, Amber Desreuisseau, 17, of Orange, Hannah Major, 17, of Orange, and Kyle Paulson, 17, of Northfield, are all seniors. All of the students passed the written and practical portions of the test to earn the certificate. The examining body is the American Red Cross, and students are certified through the Massachusetts Department of Public Health.

The practical segment of the test included demonstrating skills like checking vital signs, transferring patients, practicing patients’ range of motion, and other tasks including Alzheimer’s care, first aid, and CPR.

“The students were being evaluated on infection control, safety and communication,” said Health Technology teacher Gretchen Werle. “The Health Technology program has a good track record of students passing the Red Cross exam to become certified.”

The certification enables the students to work as CNAs at nursing homes, adult day care facilities and with adults with disabilities. Some of the students are already working in part time jobs in the health care field.

Desreuisseau is currently working at Applewood Home for Elders, an assisted living facility in Athol, and hopes to one day pursue a career in home health.

“I’ve been at Applewood about a year and I’ll stay working there after I graduate,” she said.

Campbell, who hopes to become a pediatrician or special education teacher, is working as a CNA at Poet’s Seat Nursing Home in Greenfield.

“I’ve been working there two months and I love it,” she said.

Black is planning to attend Greenfield Community College after graduation and then go onto a four-year college. She would like to earn an advanced degree in marriage and family therapy and have her own practice one day.

“I’m working as a personal care assistant in Leverett,” Black said. “I have one client now.”

Cox, who would like to become a massage therapist, said he felt well-prepared for the CNA test.

“We had been practicing tasks for awhile, so when we took the test I was used to it at that point,” he said.

Major’s goal is to become a registered nurse, but first she is going to join the service.

“I’m going into the Navy and further my education and see where it takes me,” she said.

Paulson aspires to work as a CNA at Farren Care Center in Montague.

Arsenault is looking to enroll at Greenfield Community College in the fall, and after two years there become a registered nurse, then move onto a four year college. She plans to choose between a career in day care or as a pharmaceutical salesperson.

According to Arsenault, she studied for two years to pass the CNA test, and was proud to have taken that step forward.

“It’s a big accomplishment to get my CNA,” she said. “I’ll be the first girl in my family in 20 years to graduate from high school. Getting my CNA is very exciting. It’s a step in the right direction.”

Cross Country Team Runs Around the Clock for a Good Cause

Exhausted but fulfilled, the FCTS Cross Country team completed its 24 hour fundraising relay marathon at 10 a.m. on Saturday, September 27 after having raised a total of more than $1,100 for the team and Franklin County Community Meals.

“This event raises a good amount of money for a good cause and it’s challenging,” said FCTS Cross Country Coach Christopher Kusek. “The kids enjoy it. It speaks to the determination in the kids and the sport. Not everybody can do it.”

The event started on the FCTS track at 10 a.m. on Friday, the 26th with a ceremonial running of one mile in laps by the whole team before the baton was handed to a teammate to officially begin the relay.

Cross Country Team Runs Around the Clock for a Good Cause

Athletes took individual shifts of running 30 minutes around the track, then handing off the baton to a teammate to continue the marathon. The participants ran all night and when not running slept at the field. The relay became a school event as “guest runners,” such as FCTS Principal Richard Martin, Mathematics teacher Caitlin Sheridan, Reading teacher Megan Fogarty, and recent alumni and former cross country team members, Max Pellerin and Clarisse Hutchinson also logged time on the track.

The girls soccer team, students from the school’s Electrical program, and gym classes also participated by doing laps around the track.

The relay fundraiser was begun in 1972 at Northampton High School by Coach Ron Hebert, and he continued it for 12 years as he moved from NHS to Williston Northampton School, to Turners Falls High School. The THS and Franklin County Tech cross country programs merged and this is the first year the relay was held at FCTS.

“We change the charity that we raise money for every year,” Hebert said. “The marathon builds good team morale. It gives the kids the idea of working for a donation, rather than just asking for one.”

Cross Country Team Runs Around the Clock for a Good Cause

In between laps, Martin Given, a freshman runner from Northfield, said the relay was tiring but enjoyable. He was pleased that money from the event would go to such as worthy cause.

“It’s a fun and new experience for a lot of us to be running 24 hours as a team,” Given said. “It’s cool that we can help the Franklin County Meals Program doing something we love.”

Liam Berry, out of breath after completing 30 minutes on the track, said he was enjoying the experience. The freshman from Orange was looking forward to spending the night at the track.

“This is a good bonding experience for the team,” he said.

Fifth Annual Franklin County Tech Cool Rides Car Show

John Craddock of Wendell stood next to his red, four-door 1957 Bel Air at the Cool Rides Car Show and talked with pride about the hard work he put into restoring the classic car and the fond memories it conjures.

“I bought this car in 1993,” he said. “The original color was Canyon Yellow. I had one almost just like it when I was in high school. I worked on it off and on for 14 years, and worked on it straight through the last two years after I retired. Ninety five percent of the car is original. I did all the work myself.”

Craddock was one of 253 vehicle owners that participated in the fifth annual Franklin County Technical School Cool Rides Car Show, held Saturday, September 27 from 9:00 a.m.-1:00 p.m. on the school grounds. The event was the largest ever, with more vehicle owners than previous years and a crowd of about 1,000 spectators. This is an increase of about 30 percent in both participants and spectators over last year’s event.

The show included not just vintage cars, but other types of automobiles, motorcycles, trucks and farm tractors. Under picture perfect skies, crowds not only viewed an impressive array of vehicles, but also enjoyed a live DJ, activities for kids like face painting and a coloring table, and a chance to vote for their favorite vehicles. For the first time, the event included Step By Step Animal Adventures, a petting zoo operated by Dakota Whitmore, a 2014 FCTS graduate from Orange, which included alpaca, lambs, goats, sheep, and a calf.

“It was fun to bring the petting zoo to the school,” Whitmore said. “This has turned into a big event. It’s nice to come back every year and see it grow.”

Fifth Annual Franklin County Tech Cool Rides Car Show

Taste of Tech, with menu items prepared by the FCTS Culinary Arts students and teachers, offered hamburgers and hot dogs, and homemade items like a pulled pork sandwich, autumn bisque soup, and a root quesadilla, as well as water, coffee, and soft drinks.

Brenda Fortin, FCTS Culinary instructor, said she and her students had been busy cooking and serving food continuously all day

“This nice weather brought everybody out,” Fortin said. “We’ve been running around like crazy. It’s been nonstop since 10 a.m. The hand-cut French fries were so popular we sold out of them halfway through the day.”

Besides the Culinary program, the event was a real school-wide effort, as FCTS students from a number of organizations like the Electrathon Racing Team, National Honor Society, SkillsUSA, FCTS Store, Pre-Employment Program and others operated vending booths. The school’s Cosmetology program provided fingernail painting and hair braid weaving.

Engraved aluminum plaques created by FCTS Machine Technology, Pre-Employment and Carpentry students were awarded to the top 25 winners for favorite vehicles chosen by the public.

Other activities included “Bash It For A Buck” where, for the price of a donation, participants took whacks with a sledgehammer at an old car. The Turners Falls Fire Department was on hand to demonstrate the Jaws of Life apparatus.

Craddock usually goes to eight or nine car shows a year, but had never been to Cool Rides before this year. He was impressed with the quality of participants and turnout.

“I always wanted to come here, and this year everything worked out right,” he said. “It’s a good show. There are lots of nice cars here.”

Fifth Annual Franklin County Tech Cool Rides Car Show

Norman MacLeod drove his 1969 Pontiac GTO, known as “The Judge,” down to the show from Keene, New Hampshire. Like Craddock, he had never been to Cool Rides, and decided to participate on the recommendation of a friend.

“A friend of mine was here last year and said it was a fun, very well run car show,” MacLeod said. “It’s beautiful. There’s a real diversity of vehicles, from old to new. Everybody likes something different.”

MacLeod said he bought “The Judge” from an owner in Boston and did the work at Fran’s Garage in Keene.

“I did all of the detail work,” he said. “The amount of hours of hunting on ebay for parts is phenomenal.”

Jim Laliberte and Nancy Pulley of Easthampton relaxed on lawn chairs behind Laliberte’s 1932 Ford three window Coupe. The two came to Cool Rides last year, but Pulley said, “it’s even better this year.”

Laliberte built the car from a kit, and it has a fiberglass body and a small block Chevrolet V-8 engine. He added his own touches by installing air conditioning, power disc brakes, power windows, and other amenities.

“It has all of the creature comforts,” Laliberte said. “It had a radio in it, but I took it out. I like listening to the sound of the car better.”

FCTS Superintendent James Laverty gave credit to faculty, staff and students that volunteered to work at the car show.

“This show is a success because of them,” he said.

Co-organizer and FCTS Pre-Employment Program Instructor Philip Foisy said there were more students than ever volunteering this year.

“The students were hard working and they were here on time,” he said. “I’m especially happy with the student volunteers.”

Show co-organizer Thomas Specht, an FCTS mathematics teacher, noted that Cool Rides is the largest car show in Franklin County. He said that changing the location of the show from the rear of the school building to the football practice field was a major upgrade.

“We found the formula to the set-up,” Specht said. “It’s much better than in the past.”

Foisy said the new set-up made the event more festive and better showcased the school than in the past.

Fifth Annual Franklin County Tech Cool Rides Car Show

Specht thanked the school committee for its continued support of the event throughout the years.

According to Foisy, the response from show attendees and participants was very positive in general.

“I stood at the gate and thanked people for coming as they were leaving and a couple of people said it was the best show they had ever been to and they would see us next year,” he said. “I got all positive statements from everybody I talked to. All around I think people were very pleased.”

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