Julia Friedberg ’23

Hoosac Valley Regional School District, Cheshire, MA

This summer, I interned remotely at Hoosac Valley Regional School District, a public, high-needs district that spans K-12, with nearly half of the students qualifying for IEP plans or other accommodations. My position was to assist the district administration—many of whom were brand new—with a host of changes they were trying to implement for the upcoming school year and beyond.

Specifically, my internship partner and I went through the new curriculum (the first curriculum review in nearly 20 years) to identify points where it lined up with Massachusetts grade standards and points where teachers would have to supplement the new curriculum with outside materials to ensure learning met those standards. I also assisted in creating a new homework policy for the district to attempt to alleviate the issue of students failing solely due to being unable to complete work outside class—the new policy stresses the importance of quality homework to students’ education but works in several strategies to “catch” underperforming students before the end of a semester to provide them additional support. The third and arguably most intensive portion of the internship was creating a DEI handbook that included more than 30 pages of specific, evidence-based strategies for creating a more equitable environment in all facets of learning. While Hoosac certainly still has a long way to go in truly creating an environment that adequately serves all students, my team and I are optimistic that this handbook is a great first step.

My internship at Hoosac was extremely beneficial personally, professionally and academically. I learned a lot about how school administration operates. I was able to participate in researching and drafting policy that will hopefully benefit future students. Professionally, I learned how to navigate accomplishing my and my supervisors’ goals while appealing to a broader group of stakeholders, which required intentional language and phrasing of certain objectives. I also received valuable practice working remotely and strategically organizing tasks. Academically, I reviewed a lot of research regarding best school practices related to academics and DEI work. I will take several of those lessons and apply them to my personal life.

I am very grateful that this internship allowed me to work intensively in a school-based setting, which has helped inform some of my ideas of what I want to pursue after college. While I am currently still uncertain as to whether or not a career in education is for me, I am incredibly grateful that I have a better sense as to what goes into crafting school policy and putting policy into motion. Overall, this opportunity was a wonderful summer experience, and I am looking forward to hearing from my supervisor in the coming months as to how the projects we started this summer have developed.