Frontier Regional and Union 38 School Districts are located in rural Western Massachusetts. Approximately 1,700 students are enrolled PreK-12. The district employs approximately 180 certified personnel and a support staff of about 140 (including our Before and After School Programs, LifeSkills, and Full-Day Preschool. Occupying four buildings, the Union 38 School District (PreK-6) serves the towns of Conway, Deerfield, Sunderland and Whately. Each town is governed by a local school committee. The Frontier Regional School District (grades 7-12) is governed by a separate nine member school committee. The schools enjoy a high level of community support with a high level of expectation for educational excellence. Approximately 85% of the graduates pursue a two year or four year post-secondary education.
The school district is located within twenty (20) miles of six (6) colleges and universities including Mt. Holyoke College, Smith College, Amherst College, Hampshire College and the University of Massachusetts as well as Greenfield Community College. The fine arts facilities of these colleges afford excellent opportunities for a variety of educational and cultural experiences.
Except for the small business area in South Deerfield, the area is primarily rural. The towns connect by interstate highways to Boston, Massachusetts; (two hours by auto), Hartford, Connecticut; (one and a half hours by auto), and Springfield, Massachusetts; (forty-five minutes by auto).
On January 4, 1992, Old Deerfield Grammar School and South Deerfield Elementary School were joined when the door of the new Deerfield Elementary School opened. It is located near Old Deerfield, a National Historic Site. Several colonial homes and taverns have been restored and are open to the public as museums. Deerfield is also home to three private schools of international renown; namely, Deerfield Academy, Bement School, and Eaglebrook School.
Deerfield Elementary is a PreK through 6th grade school enrolls approximately 415 students. There are about 100 staff members which include classroom teachers, instructional assistants, specialists and support staff.
Deerfield Elementaryoffers full-day preschool programs for three and four year old children. The early childhood classroom is an integrated program for both special needs children and their typically developing peer partners. The programs offer educational programming; therapies such as speech/language, occupational, and physical therapy; screening and assessment; and parent support services such as home visits. Our preschool programs meet the accreditation standards set by the National Association for the Education of Young Children.
Deerfield Elementary School also provides services to children from preschool through sixth grade with Autism Spectrum Disorder. The goal is to provide intensive early intervention and ongoing, high quality programming in accordance with each student’s Individual Education Plan. The services promote each student’s inclusion in regular education classes to the fullest extent possible. Deerfield uses a strong interdisciplinary team approach with regular meetings to maintain communication with staff, school personnel and families. Specialty services include: Contemporary Applied Behavioral Analysis (ABA), Assistive Technology (communication devices, computer software, high and low tech adapted equipment), Occupational Therapy (Sensory Integration Certified), Physical Therapy, Speech and Language Therapy, as well as access to an Inclusion Specialist, Registered Nurse, School Psychologist and Adaptive Physical Education Teacher.
Other programs include instrumental music, where students are eligible to participate in group lessons on string instruments in grades 3-6 and band instruments in grades 5-6. The thirty minute lessons are free of charge and scheduled during the school day in consultation with the classroom teachers. In September, the music teachers demonstrate the instruments and distribute information on how and where to rent an instrument. Concerts are scheduled through the year, culminating in a combined performance by the four Union 38 schools in the spring (held at Frontier Regional).
In an effort to provide the best education to our students, the curriculum in the Deerfield Elementary School, based on Common Core established by the Massachusetts Department of Education, is continually examined and revised by teachers and staff. Current research and strategies about best practices in teaching and learning are considered. The Deerfield Elementary School currently has teacher-authored curriculum guides in the areas of Language Arts, Spelling, Science, and Mathematics. These guides outline overall instructional goals, as well as, specific grade level skills for students.
A school community is a set of relationships: among children, among school staff, among family members, and community members. In the Deerfield Elementary School community, these relationships are valued, supported and nurtured. We believe that these relationships are more likely to flourish when community building becomes an explicit part of what we do each day with children. Clearly, the more children feel that their school community cares about them, and meets their needs, the more likely they will feel a part of the community, to practice the very values that the school promotes, and to thrive as learners.