Business Briefs: ‘Reimagining America’ series; COVID-19, mental health webinar; HDC artist funding; Olmstead Awards for schools

Williams College has announced its 2020 bicentennial Olmsted Awards for Faculty and Curricular Development.

Berkshire Bank to host ‘Reimagining America’ town hall series

Boston — This week, Berkshire Bank and Reevx Labs will host the two-part virtual town hall series “Reimagining America,” which will bring together leading policy makers, economic experts and community bank executives to discuss the economic impact of COVID-19 on African American and Hispanic communities, and how working together can build a stronger, more inclusive economy that ensures everyone thrives.

Reimagining America: The Future of the Black Economy” will take place Thursday, June 4, from 4 to 5:30 p.m. with Rep. Ayanna Pressley, D-Dorchester; Joy Reid, host of MSNBC’s “AM Joy”; NAACP president and CEO Derrick Johnson; Malia Lazu, Berkshire Bank executive vice president and chief experience officer; and former Small Business Administration director Courtland Cox.

Reimagining America: The Future of the Latinx Economy” will occure Friday, June 5, from 4 to 5:30 p.m. with Congressional Hispanic Caucus Chair Rep. Joaquin Castro; Alicia Menendez of MSNBC Live; United We Dream executive director and co-founder Cristina Jiménez; entrepreneur and builder capitalist Nathalie Molina Niño; and Lazu.

The series is free and open to the public. Registration is required. For more information, contact Berkshire Bank corporate communications coordinator Aaliyah Outlaw at


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Salisbury Bank to hold webinar on COVID-19 and mental health

Lakeville, Conn. — On Monday, June 8, from 4 to 5:30 p.m., Salisbury Bank and Mountainside will partner for a webinar on COVID-19 and mental health.

COVID-19 and quarantine have impacted individuals’ mental health. Topics of discussion will include the impact that social isolation has on mental health and tips on how to cope; the effect that the loss of work, friends, community, etc. can have on mental health and ways to handle the loss; and how to deal with the fear and uncertainty of re-opening and what the new “normal” may look like. The webinar will conclude with a question-and-answer period and a guided meditation. The webinar will be led by Anthony Nave, LCSW, Mountainside senior manager of outpatient services; and Mountainside manager of executive projects Marie Lanier, LCSW.

The event is free and open to the public. Registration is required. For more information or to register, contact Genia Pavlova at (860) 453-3496 or email and type “COVID-19” in the subject line.


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Hudson Development Corporation gives stipends to artists

Hudson, N.Y. — Six creative workers will share a total of $3,000 in stipends in a third round of funding from the Hudson Arts Emergency Program, a community-funded, WPA-style project run by the Hudson Development Corporation, supporting individual artists for projects that speak to life in Hudson during the COVID-19 pandemic shutdown.

This third round of funding brings the number to date of artists receiving aid to 26, sharing a total of $13,000. Projects receiving funding include painting, photography, musical compositions, performance, mixed media, installations and video. Individuals receiving $500 stipends in the latest round of funding include Tony Kieraldo, music and video; Claire Pohl, painting; Maeve McCool, drawing; Bryan Zimmerman, portraits; Filiz Soyak, mixed media; and Tim Pugh, photography.

More awards will be issued pending additional contributions to the Hudson Arts Emergency Fund. Funding for the project relies on donations from individual and organizational sponsors. Stipends are awarded in multiples of $500, depending upon the scope of the projects and the availability of funds.


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Local schools receive Olmsted Awards from Williams College

Williamstown — Williams College has announced its 2020 bicentennial Olmsted Awards for Faculty and Curricular Development. Each entity will receive $5,000 for professional and curricular development projects.

The Adams-Cheshire Regional School District will expand its practices of guiding and intervening in students’ development of social-emotional skills. Focusing on uniformity and consistency in its practices throughout the district, it will establish universal expectations and implement a consistent professional development plan to support students’ social-emotional learning. The remaining funds will be allocated toward the materials and groups that aid the work of the district’s student support centers.

Berkshire Arts and Technology Charter Public School will continue an ongoing initiative to change the manner in which students engage with advanced material in the college-preparatory curriculum. BART will now require every student to pass an Advanced Placement course by graduation. The Olmsted funds will support this change by allowing the school to administer AP examinations and provide course-related materials and access to AP tests at no additional cost to students.

Lanesborough Elementary School will partner with Playworks to make recess a safe and fun space. Using a combination of direct-service training and online resources, a consultant will provide two full-day workshops at the school and use virtual material to reinforce the strategies learned at the in-person sessions.

McCann Technical School will continue its transition from traditional grading and assessments to a standards-based learning approach. The Olmsted funds will set up and train faculty in configuring the school management software to tailor it toward the new standards-based environment. In addition, the funds will help create and develop more standards for special education programs.

Mount Greylock Regional School will rebuild a vegetable and herb garden as a joint cross-curricular venture involving science classes and student organizations, including opportunities for design, management and harvesting, and science-based instruction. The food services director will also introduce the harvests into the autumn lunch rotations.

North Adams Public Schools will focus on the improvement of science instruction. A deep two-year investigation into existing needs, materials and instructional approaches will help strengthen the program and increase the amount of creative, hands-on work in the curriculum. The Olmsted funds will directly support the establishment of a K-12 science team, who will engage in active student learning with professional development coaches.

Pine Cobble School will use the grant for two projects: expanding the work of the Inclusion, Diversity, Equity, Action Committee by partnering with Teaching Tolerance, which will lead in-person professional development workshops with staff and faculty; and developing and expanding the school’s Our Whole Lives program, which teaches students about the topics healthy relationships, self-care, gender and sexual identity, and puberty.

Pownal Elementary School will develop its staff’s trauma-informed practices by evaluating the effectiveness of existing monitoring systems for emotional and behavioral curricula.

Williamstown Elementary School will use the grant in the same way as Lanesborough Elementary School. Its partnership with Playworks will coach faculty and staff in leveraging the power of playtime for children’s emotional and social health.

The local Olmsted Awards are funded by an endowment from the estates of George Olmsted Jr. ’24 and his wife, Frances. The awards were established in 1993, on the occasion of Williams’ bicentennial celebration. They are an extension of the national Olmsted Prizes, which are administered each year to secondary school teachers from around the country, nominated by students of Williams’ senior class.