‘Un-Gala’ for mental health to feature actor Sean Astin – News – telegram.com

WORCESTER – The affable sounding Sean Astin is known for his roles of resilience and everyday heroism, such as Samwise Gamgee in “The Lord of the Rings” trilogy, Mikey Walsh in “The Goonies,” the title character in “Rudy,” and Bob Newby in Netflix’s “Stranger Things.”

He is also an active advocate for mental health education and for ending the stigma of mental illness. Asked why he became involved in the cause of increasing mental health awareness, Astin had a two-word response: “My mother.”

Patty Duke (1946-2016) was a beloved actress who won an Academy Award, two Golden Globe Awards, and three Primetime Emmy Awards. She was also “really one of the first celebrity types to talk about bipolar disorder, or manic depression as it was known at that time,” Astin said.

“We watched her devote the second part of her life to advocacy, doing shows, speaking to Congress,” he said.

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As remote learning continues, districts boost outreach to students – News – telegram.com

WORCESTER — The school system’s switch to remote learning this year has created unprecedented hardships. But it may have also pushed the district to more fully address a problem that existed even before the pandemic, according to the school superintendent.

This fall, the district has rolled out a number of new initiatives aimed at keeping track of struggling students and providing more information to parents about their kids’ academic performance, Worcester Schools Superintendent Maureen Binienda said.

Those types of efforts are even more critical now that school staff are not able to physically interact with students during the ongoing remote learning phase of the new school year.

“I think the remote has actually caused some good practices to be expanded,” Binienda said. “We have to find more ways to keep track of kids.”

The district’s new approaches include twice-a-week check-ins with students, a more “aggressive” assessment system, and an update

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Special education students begin return to school – The Item – telegram.com

REGION — More than 200 special education students across the Wachusett Regional School District returned to school classrooms on Oct. 5 for in-person learning, along with a large number of support staff including teachers, school psychologists, nurses, Applied Behavioral Analysis (ABA) paraprofessionals and other paraprofessionals, and speech, occupational, and physical therapists.

“We have districtwide safety procedures and school-specific safety procedures,” said Christine Smith, Wachusett’s administrator of special education. “All staff have been trained on the proper use of and disposal of PPE and sanitizing. We have new routines for students and staff, but everyone is ready. I have been saying since March, together we can climb this mountain, and today I can say, we are approaching the summit and we are ready to soar.”

Smith, who has been in her role since July 2019, said 124 of those special education students will be transported to their respective schools in vans.

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Mass. colleges have shown ‘Patience of Job’ through pandemic, says state Sen. Anne Gobi of Spencer – News – telegram.com

The COVID-19 pandemic has presented colleges and universities with financial challenges that will likely extend for multiple years and may not be sustainable for all institutions, heads of public and private universities told state lawmakers Tuesday.

 

“We don’t view this as a one-year deal,” University of Massachusetts President Marty Meehan told the Higher Education Committee. “We view this as a two- to three- to four-year deal, and I will say Madam Chairman, there are universities and colleges in New England who won’t survive this. What we’re trying to do at UMass is make sure at the end of this crisis that we still have five UMass campuses that are all nationally ranked and that are successful.”

 

The committee, chaired by Sen. Anne Gobi and Rep. Jeff Roy, heard virtual testimony from state education officials, the Massachusetts Teachers Association, and heads of community colleges and private and public universities for an

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Michelle Singletary: Stop telling Black people we could close wealth gap if we valued education more – News – telegram.com

In a 10-part series for Sundays titled “Sincerely, Michelle,” Michelle Singletary gets personal about misconceptions involving race. This is the second column in the series, but each one stands alone as well.

WASHINGTON – Dear Reader,

I probably would have never gone to college had I not spent two months of my childhood in a hospital.

While in middle school, I was diagnosed with juvenile rheumatoid arthritis. The pain in my legs became so bad that I couldn’t walk. My grandmother, “Big Mama,” a nursing assistant who raised me from the time I was 4, couldn’t afford to miss work to take me to the daily physical therapy appointments I needed to walk without pain. So I stayed at the hospital. I cried a lot over the isolation from my grandmother and my two brothers and two sisters, whom she also was raising.

The director of the physical therapy department,

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