OVERVIEW

We examine enrollment, outcomes, and educational attainment in this sector and ask student support, satisfaction, and preparedness questions.
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INDICATORS

SURVEY RESULTS

Over half of survey respondents who graduated in the last ten years from a Berkshire County school felt their school supported them. Only one in ten felt somewhat or not supported. People of color felt less supported than their white peers.

Three out of four survey respondents who graduated in the last ten years from a Berkshire County school said adults noticed when they were doing a good job. As incomes drop, the percent of respondents who reported adults noticed them doing a good job went down.

Only one out of three survey respondents always imagined they would live in the Berkshires after high school, but another half sometimes envisioned it. Over one in five rarely or never imagined living in the county after they graduated.

Survey respondents who graduated in the last ten years from a Berkshire County school felt well prepared for college, career, military, and community service. Respondents felt prepared the most for college. Career, military, and community service had higher percentages that thought they were less prepared. Lower-income respondents reported feeling less ready across all endeavors than higher-income respondents. People of color felt less prepared for college than whites.

Among recent graduates of Berkshire County schools, internships, college counseling, dual enrollment classes, career education, and vocational education were available to at least two out of three respondents. However, those who participated in each was 10-15% lower than the availability of these experiences.

When asked about getting the most out of their high school education, only one in four survey respondents who graduated in the last ten years from a Berkshire County school reported that they had no issues. One out of three said family issues at home, and one out of four said health issues had significant impacts on their ability to get the most out of school. One out of five were impacted by English not being their first language, special learning needs, or financial constraints. One out of ten were affected by homelessness or hunger.

CURRENT EFFORTS

Berkshire Educational Resources K-12 (B.E.R.K.) is a nonpartisan coalition of local educators, business and nonprofit leaders, school leaders, and community members dedicated to strengthening PK-12 education in the Berkshires. BERK came together to address significant challenges for public PK-12 education in Berkshire County. These include long-term enrollment declines, strained school finances, and educational opportunity disparities. BERK has evolved to become the regional lead partner in developing innovative solutions to benefit the Berkshires’ 14,400 students, their families, and the Berkshires at large. BERK has also worked to develop the Portrait of a Graduate and the Berkshire Resources for Learning and Innovation. https://www.berkshireeducationtaskforce.org/

Berkshire Stem Network connects regional schools and businesses to improve science, technology, engineering, and math education and workforce development within the community. https://www.mcla.edu/mcla-in-the-community/berkshire-stem-network/index.php

The Berkshire Youth Leadership Program supports and helps students be the diverse next generation of community leaders we need; preparing them for constructive and responsible involvement in community affairs, while also thinking seriously about potential career pathways. https://1berkshire.com/1berkshire-programs/youth-leadership-program/

The Berkshire County Superintendents’ Roundtable meets monthly to discuss current topics in education, share programs and initiatives, disseminate information from the Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education, and build relationships with our community and business partners. Comprised of the Educational Leaders from the county’s school districts, the Roundtable serves as a liaison to the Massachusetts Association of School Superintendents. Our goal is to work cooperatively to develop and sustain high-quality public education for all students in the Berkshires. Click on our link to view our initiatives or contact a member.

The Berkshire Cultural Asset Network (BCAN) serves as a professional learning network for the staff of Berkshire County cultural organizations working in education and community engagement. We define culture as going beyond established arts institutions and practices to include the natural resources and diverse creative practices that are essential components of life in Berkshire County. https://www.brainworks.mcla.edu/bcan