Pittsfield Public Schools, Pittsfield, MA
This summer I had the special privilege of working as an English and Language Arts Equity Intern for Pittsfield Public Schools (PPS). I worked with three other Williams interns, Cinthya Maldonado ’23, Kristen Altman ’22, and Charles Yang ’24 and was supervised by Ryan Buggy ’19. Together, we completed projects that I believe will greatly assist Pittsfield teachers this year and beyond. I had three main responsibilities and each taught me something new and important about the education system in the Berkshires. In addition to my responsibilities, each week Ryan would create presentations for us where he would teach us about a certain aspect of education usually related to data analysis. He also organized meetings with different educators where we were able to learn about the different roles and figures that are needed to properly run a school.
My main responsibility was to create book guides for K-5 teachers and students. There are already a great number of books included in the Pittsfield curriculum that address diversity, equity, and inclusion, so my job was to identify those books and create guides that would prepare teachers and students to have meaningful conversations on difficult topics addressed in these books. Each guide included project ideas for teachers with success criteria, cultural competency sections, and more general information about the book itself. We hope that these guides can give teachers the necessary confidence and knowledge-base to facilitate conversations in their classrooms and engage with students.
My second responsibility was to assist with the Battle of the Books (BoB) competition. Each year in the spring, the students engage in a competition to see who read the most books that school year. For each book, there is a set of questions that are created and used during the competition itself. Lastly, I helped Debra Guachione, whose school was selected as one of 12 schools across the country, to integrate the Project 1619 essays into the civics curriculum.
My time working for the Pittsfield Public Schools taught me about the importance of diversity in the classroom and it was exciting to see how eager and willing teachers are to educate their students about these topics. I was also able to learn about what it means to be a teacher and I can now say that I have a newfound respect for those who work to make sure that their classrooms are equitable and that they reach each student.
Although I am very sad that my internship had to come to a close, I am excited for our hard work to be reflected in the classroom and I look forward to continuing working with PPS in any capacity. I am grateful for this opportunity as it has greatly impacted my life and I will remember it for the rest of my time at Williams and long after.