Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Happy Holidays To All!

May you have a marvelous, magical time with your families and friends during vacation.

Back to school on January 5, 2009!

Click here to see 2009 Crocker Farm events for your new calendars.

Monday, December 22, 2008

Gazette story: Reorganization

Panel convened in Amherst to look at options for schools
By mcarey
Created 12/22/2008 - 05:22

AMHERST- A newly-formed committee will meet on Dec. 29 and Dec. 30 to discuss possible elementary school reorganization plans before the public and School Committee weigh in next month.
In the interest of trimming costs in face of a projected $1.2 million elementary schools budget shortfall, Interim Co-superintendent Helen Vivian has said she believes it is time to pursue one of several reorganization scenarios discussed in recent years.
The idea of pairing the four elementary schools and having children in lower grades attend one of the schools in each pair with children in the higher grades attending the other appeared to be the most viable plan, Vivian said earlier this month.
She suggested Fort River might be paired with Crocker Farm and Mark's Meadow with Wildwood. That move could save up to $400,000, because the number of classes could be reduced by four or five, Vivian said.
The committee will also consider three other options, including not reorganizing the schools, closing Mark's Meadow and creating three kindergarten-through-fourth grade schools and one intermediate school for fifth and sixth graders.
Committee members include Amherst School Committee Chairman Andrew Churchill and member Catherine Sanderson, the four elementary school principals, co-superintendents and parents and teachers from each of the schools.
"I can't think of anything that creates more concern for parents than change involving the structure and organization of the elementary schools. It's obviously something that is anxiety-provoking for children, teachers and parents," Sanderson, a parent of three elementary school children, said.
Vivian, in a prepared statement, said that the magnitude of the projected budget shortfall would mean that "small steps such as raising fees, cutting school buses, and other commonly suggested steps will not be sufficient" to close the gap.
If reorganizing the elementary schools does not prove possible or if it does not result in substantial savings, class sizes would likely be larger and cuts deeper, Vivian said.
Even if the pairing plan produced savings of $400,000 there would still be a "sobering" amount to cut, Vivian said.
Sanderson and Churchill as well as school principals, teachers, parents and former Supt. Jere Hochman served on a committee, last year, that weighed various reorganization options. An executive summary of its report can be seen at [1] .
The district also commissioned a study in 2007 by the New England School Development Council (NESDEC) evaluating the current school configuration.
Data from both efforts will be used in the decision-making process.
Among the data Sanderson said would be important to weigh are comparative cost savings, how long children would be on buses and the socio-economic and ethnic distribution of the schools' populations under the reconfiguration plans.
Currently, the schools have very different profiles. About half of students at Crocker Farm qualify for free and reduced lunch, a much higher percentage than at the other schools, for example. Students are also voluntarily bussed outside their neighborhoods depending on their first language.
Spanish-speaking students are invited to attend Crocker Farm, while Khmer-speaking students may attend Fort River, Chinese-speaking students Wildwood and Korean speakers Mark's Meadow.
Mary Carey can be reached at [2].
Daily Hampshire Gazette © 2008 All rights reserved

Thursday, December 18, 2008

What a Great Show!

Thank you to Ms. Zsigmondi and all of the wonderful singers, dancers and musicians who put on a fantastic and uplifting show today. There's a whole lot of talent at Crocker Farm! Hope you got a chance to enjoy it too.

Snow Day Friday 12/19

Can you believe it?
See you on the sledding hill!
Back to school on Monday.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Thursday 12/18 All School Music

All School Musical Showcase - Dec. 18th 9:30 a.m. and 6:30 p.m.

Wednesday: 1 Hour Delay this morning.

Have your kids at the bus stop 1 hour after their normal pick up time.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Can You Spare 20 Minutes To Help?

Looking for parent volunteers to assist in rinsing the milk cartons to be recycled on Tuesdays and Wednesdays. The ideal time is during the last lunch period (12:45 ish) for about 20 minutes. Please contact Ricci Mastroianni at if you can help. Thank you.

Monday, December 15, 2008

Studying School Reorganization

Last year a committee made up of educators and parents worked at examining possible reorganization options for the elementary schools. The Executive Summary of the report is on the school website here. If you would like to see the full 15 page report, email me and I'll send it to you.
Within a few weeks the Superintendent's will be holding further meetings to examine the feasibility of moving forward with some form of reorganization and if you would like to be a part of it or have any ideas, or questions and concerns, please email them directly

Three Cheers For Our Teachers

Amherst Education FOUNDATION (AEF) Development committee introduces:
Three Cheers For Our Teachers

Sure, there are a thousand reasons to thank a teacher this holiday season, but here are three to get you started:

If you make a gift in honor of a teacher (or up to three) by December 31, AEF will: 1) match all contributions from new donors, 2) notify teachers of your generosity in their honor, and 3) send you a receipt for your tax-deductible contribution to the Amherst Education Foundation, Inc.

You can log onto AEF's website or simply mail your donation to AEF
P.O. Box 2237. Amherst, MA 01004.

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Amherstopoly Update

The committee working on the Amherstopoly board game has already made a number of connections to Amherst businesses and is in the process of reserving spaces! Now we are looking for help from our school communities!

1. Look through this list below. If you have a personal connection to any of the businesses listed here please get in touch with Becky Demling and she will give you the information you need to approach them about this wonderful and unique marketing opportunity!

2. If you know of a business that's not on this list let Becky know. We may have contacted them already, but we may need to add them to the list!

Thank you,
Becky (, 230-3306)

Alan Nathanson Sharpe, Atty at Law / Albano & Szumowski, P.C. / All About Learning / Amherst Chinese / Amherst Coffee / Amherst Family Practice / Amherst Insurance / Amherst Martial Arts / Amherst Wine and Spirits / Applewood Retirement Community / Arigato Sushi / Attorney Julia Rueschemeyer / Avicenna Skin Care Studio / Bank of Western MA / Blair Cutting and Smith Insurance / Charlies Pub / Chez Albert / China Dynasty / CISA Community Involved in Sustaining Agriculture / Clays Clothing Store / Crazy Noodles / Egan, Flanagan and Cohen, P. C. / Elements Hot Tub and Spa / Felicity Hardee/ Bulkley, Richardson, and Gelinas, LLP / Florence Savings Bank / Fresh Side / Greenfield Coop / Greenfield Savings / Hair by Harlow / Henion Bakery / J. Austin Antiques / Jonathan A. Abbott, Esq. / Knowles Flower Shop / La Veracruzana Mexican Restaurant / Laughing Dog Bike Shop / Law Office of Lawrence J. Farber / Law Offices of Gary D. Gruber / Lone Wolf Restaurant / Loose Goose Café / Mary G. Klaes- Attorney & Mediator / Matthieu J. Massengill, P.C. / Moan & Dove / Monkey Bar & Grill / Northampton Savings / Panda East Chinese Restaurant / Paradise of India / Pasta e Basta / Pearson Evaluation Systems / Peoples Bank / Pioneer Valley Driving School / Princeton Review Testing / Rafters / Robert E. Young, Attorney at Law / Shaolin Kung Fu of Amherst / Silverscape Designs / Souper Bowl / Stamell Stringed Instruments / Stanley Kaplan Testing / T.D. BankNorth / Teagno Construction / Teryaki House / Thai Corner / The Amherst Grocery Store / The Hangar / The Pub Restaurant / The Spoke / The Sub / Valley Medical Group / Yoga Center Amherst / Ziomek & Ziomek, Attorneys at Law / UMASS Five College Credit Union

Friday, December 12, 2008

School Closed Today!

No School Today: Friday Dec. 12. Sleep in, drive safely; see you on Monday.

See the Menu on the right side of this blog for links to media outlets with "School Closings and Delays Info".

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Tonight's PGO Meeting Cancelled!

Oh the weather outside is frightful... so we have cancelled tonight's PGO Meeting.

If you are one of those fantastic people who baked for the Bus Driver Appreciation Bags then please consider putting your cookies in the freezer & we'll find a date next week to assemble the bags (and if you dropped something off at the school then we'll freeze them for you).

The scheduled guests from the AEF will be visiting us in January.

Thank you for baking and understanding! Any questions, email Erika (

Monday, December 8, 2008

PGO Meeting on Thursday

PGO Meeting on Thurs., December 11th @ 6:30 in the Community Room
AEF Focus Group on Thurs., December 11th @ 7:15 in the Community Room

Join us for the December PGO meeting on Thursday evening. We will be filling treat bags for our bus and van drivers as a way to say thank you for their work. We’ll also be discussing the Wednesday Clubs and our line up of events and activities for the spring.

Then stay on for a short discussion with the AEF. "As part of its strategic planning process, The Amherst Education Foundation (AEF) is seeking input from as many parents as possible about its future direction and focus. Your input is critical as AEF plans for ways to enhance its support for Amherst schools. Please join us for a half hour focus group during which we will ask for your thoughts on critical school needs and how AEF can best help."

The AEF raised and donated significant funds to our school over the last couple of years. Please take the time to come and support this group in their efforts to improve the quality of our schools.

Childcare will be provided for both events.

Friday, December 5, 2008

Attention All Bus / Van Riders!

If your children ride the bus then PLEASE SEND IN 1 OR 2 DOZEN HOMEMADE COOKIES on Thursday Dec. 11th (or bring them to the PGO Meeting at 6:30). The PGO will be filling goodie bags to show our appreciation for the wonderful BUS AND VAN DRIVERS that transport our wee ones so carefully each day. Have your kids drop off the treats in the Main Office & we'll pick them up. Questions? Please call Erika 256-1045 or

Thursday, December 4, 2008


Crocker Farm PGO is spearheading an effort with Fort River, Marks Meadow and Wildwood Schools to create an Amherstopoly Board Game! If you are a business owner or if you know of a business that would like to sponsor a property on the board let us know!! Contact Becky Demling ( for more info. We hope to have the game ready for sale in March 09 - just in time for Amherst's 250th Birthday! More info at

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Good News

Stop&Shop reports that 61 households have signed up to support Crocker Farm in it's A+ BonusBucks program. So far we've earned a whopping $304.77! If you're still holding out for some reason click here to sign up. CF's id# is 05194.

Help Wanted!

There are a number of volunteer opportunities coming up at Crocker Farm. Take a look to see where you fit in!

MLK Celebration:
The Assembly Committee and the students put on an incredible Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Day Celebration every year. They are looking for adults to help with the breakfast and setting up the assembly on Thursday January 15. Contact Kathleen Stinson if you can help out!

Our music teacher Ms. Zsigmondi is also looking for someone to film the event for ACTV. If you’re handy around the video camera please let her know! The school has equipment or you could use your own. is her email.

Scholastic Book Fair:
In May we’ll have our annual Book Fair which earns over $1000 in books for our teachers. It’s headed up by a team of volunteers & this year we are looking for 2 new co-coordinators to “job shadow” Stacy & Doreen (whos kids are graduating this year). The Book Fair is a quick, but intense event. Learning the ropes this year will make things much smoother for next year. Note that this event will not happen without new leadership. Contact Erika if you’re interested (

Wednesday Clubs:
The PGO is working with Mr. Morris to start an after-school clubs program. We need grown ups to share their skills! Do you knit? Love to jump rope? Like to draw? Enjoy baking? Play chess? Have fun with math games? or know someone who does? The clubs will run from 1:20 – 3:00 for 7 Wednesdays starting in February. We are hoping to have small stipends available for anyone who runs a club. Please get in touch with Mr. Morris, Becky ( or Erika if you have an idea to share (

Monday, December 1, 2008

Shopping Reminders

Do a little holiday shopping with our Gift Card Fundraiser! If you like to give gift cards as presents or want to do your own shopping with them, just click HERE & start shopping!! Remember that it doesn't cost you anything extra, but when you buy your cards through the fundraiser the stores give a little bit back to the school. There are zillions of stores from gas to groceries, clothing to books... Check it out!

Don’t miss the annual Merry Maple Celebration of Lights!

Friday Dec. 5: Merry Maple Celebration of Lights!

4:00pm: A children's parade will start from Kendrick Park and march to Town Hall. Children are invited to wear festive costumes (but they’re not required).

4:30pm: The ARMS Chorus will perform at Town Hall where a large tree will be lit with colored lights.

5:30pm: The UMass Minuteman Marching Band will herald the arrival of Santa Claus on an Amherst fire truck.

Refreshments (including hot cider, donuts, hot chocolate and coffee) are available for a fee. And the Roberts family will offer horse-drawn rides downtown for a fee.

6:00pm: Children of all ages can meet with Santa at the Amherst History Museum on Amity St. for hot chocolate. Admission is free.

All evening: Family Outreach of Amherst is holding its annual toy drive, which serves more than 500 needy children. New and unwrapped toys, clothing, sporting equipment, books and games for infants through teens. Families that could use help providing toys for their children can sign up at Family Outreach by calling 549-5999.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

PGO Meeting Minutes

The PGO does its best to publish a wrap up of its meetings in the Crocker Crumbs, but if you missed it or want to read the full minutes you can always find them hosted on the school's website.

Coming Up At Crocker Farm

Thurs. & Fri., Nov. 27 & 28: No school- Thanksgiving Break

Mon., Dec. 1 8:30-9:00am: Coffee with the Principal, CF Community Room

Wed., Dec. 3: Crocker Java Coffee Orders Due!

Wed., Dec. 3, 6:00 pm: School Governance Council @ CF

Fri., Dec. 5, 8:15 am: Community Breakfast, CF Cafeteria

Tues., Dec. 9, 7:00pm: School Committee Mtg, HS Library

Thurs., Dec.11, 6:30pm: PGO Mtg, CF Community Room

· Thurs., Dec. 18, 9:30am & 6:30 pm: All School Show, CF Cafeteria

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Compost Credit

Ricci Mastroianni would like to thank Becky Demling, Lucy McMurrer, and Michelle Chandler for bringing in yummy treats for the High School EAC students last week. The students volunteered an afternoon to help clear out the area around the old compost bins behind Crocker Farm. They LOVED and truly appreciated the goodies. The EAC is looking forward to coming back probably one more time this fall to finish and level the ground....and in the spring to help build new compost bins!

Thanks also to Sylvia Keochackian and Becky for helping Ricci to rinse milk cartons each week.

Appreciation for Whole Foods

On behalf of the Homework Club, thank you to Whole Foods Market! The store recently made a donation of $320.00 to the Homework Club to help pay for healthy snacks for the students. This generous donation will help to fuel lots of brainpower! Let them know that Crocker Farm appreciates their gift the next time you shop in the store!

Thursday, November 20, 2008

No School Friday

Remember that Friday Nov. 21 is a Teacher Curriculum Work Day. That means NO SCHOOL for the little ones!

Next week at Crocker Farm:
Thursday Nov. 27 & Friday 28th: NO SCHOOL (& Happy Thanksgiving!)

Warm Thanks

My kids & I had the great pleasure yesterday of delivering over 70 food items and 3 HUGE bags of winter clothing to the Amherst Survival Center thanks to donations from Crocker Farm families. The Survival Center staff was so happy as the bags kept coming in and thanked the school for the generous donations.

So thank you so much for sharing a little something from your pantry and from your closets to help keep our school and larger community warm and well fed this winter.

If you’re thinking of taking it one step further, the Amherst Survival Center is always looking for volunteers, and often needs extra hands when college student volunteers are on break (January, summer). Tracey Levy (549-3968, is the person to contact about the possibility of filling in during those times.

Another place to receive help or volunteer with your kids is Not Bread Alone. They offer free home-made hot meals and groceries to anyone in need. Hwei-Ling Greeney is the coordinator (413-253-4882, greeneyh@juno.como).

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Quick Call for Cookies!!!

Tomorrow (Thursday) at 3:30 p.m. students from ARHS's EAC will come help clear the old composting site in back of the school to prepare for our new ones to be built. Ricci Mastroianni (a para in Mrs. Wilcox's class) will bring her camping stove to have hot apple cider and hot water for tea for them....but she is looking for someone who would be willing to donate a bag of apples, or a dozen brownies or cookies. Geoff Friedman, a math teacher and the EAC supervising teacher, will be there as well. Contact Ricci right away if you can help out! mastroiannir@ARPS.ORG

Monday, November 17, 2008

Please help us win a FSB Customer's Choice Community Grant!

Florence Savings Bank will donate $50,000 to local, non-profit organizations through it's Customer's Choice Community Grant program.

Any qualifying organization which receives more than 1% of the total vote, will receive a proportional share of the funds. Last year’s winners needed only 68 votes to win! You must be a customer to vote and there's just one vote per person, but if your child has an account both you and your child can cast your vote for Crocker Farm by completing a ballot sheet (available Wednesday mornings at Savings Makes Sense and at FSB branches) or by visiting their website. Voting ends December 31, 2008. Submit your vote today!

Classifieds: Games for Sale

My name is Zeke (5th grade @ Wildwood) and my family switched our computer to a Mac (yea!), so I've got all these PC Computer Games that you can buy for your kids for Christmas and save lots of money! All the games work, but I don't have the manuals - but you can probably get them online. Most of them cost $30 new for each one. But you can buy them from me for just $25. Just send an email to

The Sims2 / FIFA06 Soccer / Lego StarWars II (awesome!) / SIM City 3000 (Comes with SIM Theme Park) / Harry Potter & Chamber of Secrets / Harry Potter & The Goblet of Fire / The Return of the Incredible Machine / Roller Coaster Tycoon2 / Harry Potter Quidditch / Mall of America Tycoon / SIM Copter / SIM Safari / SIM Golf

Friday, November 14, 2008

Kung Fu Thank You!

Thanks to all of the families who came out and made Crocker Farm's first movie night a big success! More than 75 movie-goers turned out to share a fun family evening, watching Kung Fu Panda in PJs and sleeping bags. In the process, we also donated more than 65 non-perishable food items to the Survival Center - great work everyone! Many thanks also to Don at Northampton Rental, for the use of their fabulous popcorn machine. We'll look forward to seeing everyone again at our next big-screen event - stay tuned!

Next Week at Crocker Farm

Tuesday, Nov. 18:
School Committee Meeting, 7:00 pm, HS Library

Tuesday, Nov. 18:

Picture re-take day *

Friday, Nov. 21:
No School (Teacher Work Day)

* Picture re-take day
is scheduled for Tuesday, November 18. If your child is re-taking his/her picture, send back the original. Keep your class pictures. If your child is having their picture taken for the first time, send in the order form with your payment. Extra order forms are available in the main office.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Box Tops for Education

Marcia Turner (the new boxtops coordinator, mom to Mitchell- grade 3) sent in the BoxTops for Education for the October 31st deadline and the total was $121.00. The next deadline is in February. We have set a $500 goal, but she'd love to see Crocker Farm raise even more! So, please clip those little box tops and send them in. A collection box sits in the front lobby. Thanks Marcia!


Friday Night is Movie Night!

Bring your family for Kung Fu Panda
(doors open at 6:30pm, movie at 7:00pm)

Admission is FREE, but we'll be collecting donations to the food pantry at the Amherst Survival Center. Bring some cans of tuna, peanut butter, beans, soups, etc.

Popcorn $1, Juice boxes & water $.50

Sunday, November 9, 2008

This Week at Crocker Farm

Tuesday 11th:
NO SCHOOL! (Veteran’s Day)

Thursday 13th:
PGO Meeting 6:30 – 7:30pm

Winter Clothing Drive Pick up time 6:00 – 8:00pm

Friday 14th:
Winter Clothing Drive Pick up time 8:30 – 10:00am

MOVIE NIGHT (Kung Fu Panda) Doors open at 6:30, Movie at 7:00 (Bring a food donation for the Survival Center as your "admission fee". Water, juice & popcorn will be for sale).

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Grocery Store Support Program Reports

This just in! So far Crocker Farm has earned $78.55 from the Stop&Shop A+ BonusBucks program. That's great news! However, only 27 households have signed up so far... It's time for you to take the 2 minutes to sign up! CF's id # is 05194. Get out your card & click now!

Big Y's Education Express reports that we've earned 77,700 points. Not sure what that means yet, but it sounds great! You can sign up for this program too here.

Remember that you have to renew your participation in these programs Every Year!

For even more easy no-cost ways to support CF Click Here.

Dates For Your Calendars

Mr. Morris has a few dates for you to put in your calendars:

December 18, Thursday: All School Show (snow date, next day)

January 15, Thursday: Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Day Celebration (snow date, 1/22)

February 12, Thursday: Band and Orchestra Concert

April 16, Thursday, All School Musical

week of June 8: Goodbye Assembly (day still to be decided)

All calendar info can be found HERE.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Election day Bake Sale Tally!!

Wow! The Election Day Bake Sale earned $978.56!

An enormous and heartfelt thank you to everyone who baked something, helped to staff the table or bought some of the delicious treats, coffee and cider.

The PGO plans to put this money to good use by supporting student enrichment at the school.
If you'd like a voice in these decisions join us at the next PGO meeting on Nov. 13th!

The Vote Is In

In case you missed it, here's a snippet of Barack Obama's speech last night in Chicago.

"This is our time, to put our people back to work and open doors of opportunity for our kids; to restore prosperity and promote the cause of peace; to reclaim the American dream and reaffirm that fundamental truth, that, out of many, we are one; that while we breathe, we hope. And where we are met with cynicism and doubts and those who tell us that we can't, we will respond with that timeless creed that sums up the spirit of a people: Yes, we can."

Monday, November 3, 2008


Crocker Java Coffee Orders are due this week! Get them to school by WEDNESDAY Nov. 5th. The PGO sells caf or decaf; ground or whole bean coffee from Deans Beans. It's organic, Fair Trade, kosher, and delicious. Just $8.50 for a pound! Click for your ORDER FORM.

Crocker Cares Warm Winter Clothing Drive

Here's a wonderful way to support your community!

To ensure all Crocker Farm children are toasty this winter season, we are collecting warm winter outerwear.
Please take a look in your closets for any gently used items (ALL sizes, children and adults are needed).

We are looking for donations of: coats, snow pants, snow boots, hats, mittens, gloves, scarves & snowsuits

Drop off: During school, November 3rd – 14th in the school lobby. If Crocker Farm is your polling place bring your donation on Election Day!

Pick up: If you would like any of these clothes for your family or know someone in need, please plan to come by the school Thursday November 13th 6:00 – 8:00pm or Friday November 14th 8:30 – 10:30am.

Any left over items will be donated to the Amherst Survival Center. If you have any questions, please contact Erika Zekos ( or 256-1045). The Winter Gear Drive is sponsored by the PGO. Thank you for your donation!

Sunday, November 2, 2008

Coffee With a Principal Monday Morning

Monday Nov. 3rd brings you an opportunity to visit with Mr. Morris and Mr. Smith for coffee hour. Meet at 8:30am in the Community Room for a cup of coffee, a donut & casual conversation about whatever's on your mind. "Coffee With A Principal" happens the first Monday of each month! See you there!

Saturday, November 1, 2008

Daylight Savings Time Ends

Remember to set your clocks back 1 hour on Saturday night!

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Get Out The Vote


The 2008 Massachusetts ballot features state, national, and presidential elections, as well as three ballot questions.

You can vote by absentee ballot if you:
  • Will be absent from your city or town on election day
  • Have a physical disability that prevents you from voting at the polling place
  • Cannot vote at the polls due to religious beliefs
The deadline for applying for an absentee ballot is noon the day before the election -- Monday, Nov. 3, 2008. You can fill out your absentee ballot at the clerk's office, request that an absentee ballot be mailed to you, or download an application below.

Absentee ballot applications:
Information for this guide was compiled from the Massachusetts secretary of state's office: Thanks also to Wildwood School for pulling it together.

Tuesday November 4... Bake Vote Bake Vote Bake...

School Lunch Price Increase

Reminder: The School Committee has approved an increase in price of school lunch and breakfast, effective Monday, Nov. 3. Students who qualify for free or reduced pricing will not see an increase.

School lunches will increase by a quarter, to $2.50 (reduced fee lunch $0.40).

School breakfast will be $0.50 for elementary (Reduced fee breakfast will be $0.30). It’ll be $1.00 for middle and high school.

Monday, October 27, 2008

Did You Know?

Q. What Crocker Farm luminary will be appearing at the AEF Trivia Bee on Thursday Night?

A. Mr. Morris!

That's right - Mr. Morris will be competing (along with Cathy Aldrich's husband, Greg, Ray Sharick and Nick Yaffe as a team) What a great family evening out. Only $3 admission per audience member. Baked goods and lots of fun for all ages. Come join us, the bigger the crowd the more fun! All proceeds benefit Amherst Education Foundation.

Friday, October 24, 2008

It Only Takes 2 Minutes...

At this time, only 16 Crocker Farm households have signed up for the Stop&Shop A+BonusBucks program. Last year we made it to 48 sign ups & this year we're aiming higher! This is such an easy fundraiser & we're making it so easy for you to sign up! And remember that even if you signed up your card last year YOU NEED TO SIGN UP AGAIN. It takes about 60 seconds: Just click HERE to start shopping for your school!! Remember that Crocker Farm's code is 05194.

Tell your friends, grandparents and neighbors too. Every penny counts... In fact, last year we earned about $470.00 that went directly into the school's Student Activity Account. This money pays for student field trips... important and valuable stuff in this time of budget cuts!

Election Day Bake Sale!!

November 4th is Election Day & it's bound to be a doozy of a turnout. The PGO will be hosting a BAKE SALE table at the Preschool entrance to earn money for the school.

We need LOTS of help! You can:
1. Bake something: Muffins, cookies, breads, cupcakes... are all welcome.

2. Work at the table: Sign up for an hour anytime between 7:00am and 8:00pm.

Contact Erika (256-1045 or for more info or to sign up.

Mark Your Calendars for Movie Night!!

On Friday November 14th at 7:00pm the PGO will host the first Crocker Farm Movie Night! Vote for your movie choice (no, make that your KID's movie choice) in the poll on the right side of this page.

Here's what's up: It's a family event, so bring your child & plan to keep an eye on them. Admission is free, but we are suggesting a donation of a non-perishable food item for the Survival Center. We'll have popcorn & drinks for sale. Kids are encouraged to come in their pj's. How great is that? Our goal is to have one Movie Night each month!

High School Blogical

Ahhh, High School. Many of you have kids there now & all of us will have kids there eventually… is the blog/website for the ARHS parent group. Check it out to see what’s up at school & around town.

Community Event: S. Amherst Blood Drive

Blood Drive on Tuesday, Oct. 28 from 1:00 - 7:00pm at the South Congregational Church. Walk in or make an appointment (and you won't have to wait) by contacting Jeanne at! It's easy, takes only an hour, and truly helps. There is always a need for blood donation.

Community Event: Amherst Halloween Fest

Amherst will celebrate All Hallows' Eve downtown with Halloween Fest 2008, which includes trick-or-treating, a costume parade, carnival and a haunted house Oct. 31.

The event is a downtown tradition. Trick-or-treating will take place from 4:15 - 5:30 pm. The parade begins at 5:45 pm at Sweetser Park goes up Main Street, to North Pleasant and Kellogg streets, ending in the parking lot plaza adjacent to the Bangs Center. Halloween Fest 2008 concludes with the Halloween carnival and haunted house, from 6:30 to 8:30, at the Bangs Community Center.

Donations will be accepted at the door. For a list of participating businesses, visit the Chamber on Amity Street or LSSE at the Bangs Center. For information, call 259-3065.

Saturday, October 18, 2008

CHANGE for CHANGE Challenge

Congratulations Students! The kids won the "Change for Change" fundraiser, beating out the teachers again this year! And because of generous gifts from Costco and Big Y, Ms. Zsigmondi was able to award every student at Crocker Farm with a healthy snack.

Select Board Candidate Forum Rebroadcasts

If you missed Thursday night's Select Board Candidate Forum or would like to watch it again it will be rebroadcast at the following times on ACTV:

10/24 at 7:00 PM
10/25 at 10:00 AM
10/26 at 10:00 AM

Friday, October 17, 2008

Next Week at Crocker Farm

Early dismissal at 1:20 on:
Tuesday Oct. 21
Wednesday Oct. 22
Thursday Oct. 23

Please return your Lend a Hand envelope or make a donation through the Amherst Education Foundation as soon as you can. The PGO will turn your money into grants for classrooms by the end of Novmeber.

Look for Original Works Fundraiser info coming home next week.

Other Calendar Notes:

Nov. 4th: Election Day Bake Sale!!

Nov. 14th: The PGO will be hosting the first FAMILY MOVIE NIGHT. Admission is free, but donation of a non-perishable food item for the Survival Center is recommended. More info to come!

Picture Retake Day has been scheduled for Nov. 18th.

Amherst Education Foundation Planning for a Strong Future

As many parents are aware, the budget crisis facing our school district in the coming years is dire. Last weekend, several board members of the non-profit Amherst Education Foundation (AEF), and Glenda Cresto, the new principal of the Middle School (ARMS), met to discuss critical issues facing ARMS and the district as a whole. Now in its 15th year, AEF's mission is to enhance academic excellence for all students in the public schools of Amherst, Leverett, Pelham and Shutesbury. Over the last two years, AEF has contributed over $85,000 to the schools, and plans are underway to dramatically increase this amount to meet the needs of the district’s students in the increasingly limited budget environment.

AEF is entering its next phase of strategic planning in order to establish a reliable source of long-term funding for the Amherst Regional Public Schools. AEF’s development and strategic planning committees are working to create an even more powerful funding mechanism that provides significant support for teachers and students on a consistent basis.

Last spring several members of AEF met with former School Superintendent Jere Hochman to begin this planning process. His suggestions included funding for professional development for teachers. The meeting with Glenda Cresto was the second in a series of meetings to gather information on the district’s most pressing needs. Ms. Cresto’s suggestions included funding long-term programs with 3- to 5-year commitments. One such initiative is a teacher mentoring program which would improve the teacher turnover rate.

In the coming months, AEF will meet with (or survey) principals, teachers, parents, the local business community, town management, and others. Dr. Hochman and Ms. Cresto’s ideas, combined with those that will be gathered this fall, will create a new roadmap for AEF for funding public schools in the district.

Visit AEF’s website: to make tax-deductible general or targeted donations to local schools.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Community Event: ABC Fall Foliage Walk Saturday

ABC Fall Foliage Walk, October 18th. This year the 40th Annual ABC Walk will feature a free concert with Charles Neville, a barbecue, a community art project, and other activities on the Town Common. At the ABC House on North Prospect Street we board eight young men of color who come from inner city neighborhoods in the northeast, while they attend ARHS. Over a hundred young men have graduated through the program. ABC has come to stand for educational equity, academic excellence, and community service. In recent years the walk has attracted 300-400 participants who walked along 12 miles of wonderful trails in Amherst, Leverett and Shutesbury. This year, to celebrate our 40th, the walk will be much shorter (5k) along a paved route that families can enjoy. It will begin at 10:00 am on the Common. The concert with the Charles Neville Quartet will begin around 12:30. Charles, one of the Neville Brothers, is a renowned jazz saxophonist, and his local band plays jazz standards, and New Orleans-flavored blues and funk. The event will be catered by The Pub. This is a chance to celebrate the diversity of our community while enjoying a walk under the canopy of diverse colors, and to enjoy good music and food with our neighbors. Register for the walk online at

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Community Event: Meet the Candidates for Select Board

On Thursday Oct. 16th the Chamber of Commerce is hosting a "Meet the Candidates Night". The 4 candidates for the open Select Board seat will be at the Middle School from 6:00 - 7:30 pm. The forum's purpose is to help educate the community about candidate positions affecting the well-being of the Amherst area. Calvin Brewer, Aaron Hayden, David Keenan and Vladimir Morales have all agreed to participate. As a nonpartisan body, the Chamber will not officially endorse any of the candidates. After a question/answer period, you'll have the chance to meet and talk with the candidates and other community leaders about the kind of progress you want to see.

Community Event: Amherst Trivia Bee

To sponsor a team or play on a team contact Linda Rotti at Jones, Town and Country, 549-3700. Proceeds to benefit the Amherst Education Foundation, Inc.

Currently there are 20 plus teams registered, we need 10 more teams to fill the stage. Teams, which are comprised of area business or 4 individuals form a group. For instance 4 elementary school principles who are out to prove they are "Smarter Than a 5th Grader". The entry fee is 125.00 per team. The committee will also pair up a 4-player teams with a sponsor if the team does not have one.

We get our sponsors from area businesses, who support the Amherst Education Foundation's mission and see it as an opportunity to participate in a community wide event!

We have a team of trivia bee question makers who are hidden away in a sealed room grinding out secret questions in all different categories (Ha, ha). This year we are adding a special flash round of Amherst area trivia in preparation to Amherst's 250-year celebration next year!

What a great family evening out. Only $3 admission per audience member. Baked goods and lots of fun for all ages. Come join us, the bigger the crowd the more fun! All proceeds benefit Amherst Education Foundation.

Friday, October 10, 2008

Next Week at Crocker Farm

Monday October 13th is Columbus Day & there's NO SCHOOL! Have a nice long weekend, the weather should be wonderful!

Tuesday Oct. 14th, 7:00pm: School Committee Meeting. High School Library.

Thursday Oct. 16: Kindergarten Open House

Other Calendar Notes:
Please return your Lend a Hand envelope or make a donation through the Amherst Education Foundation as soon as you can. The PGO will turn your money into grants for classrooms by the end of Novmeber.

Remember that there will be 1:20 dismissals on Oct. 21, 22 & 23 so that teachers can have conferences.

Picture Retake Day has been scheduled for Nov. 18th.

What To Do This Weekend

Historic Deerfield celebrates a classic New England children's book, the Ox Cart Man, by Donald Hall this weekend with readings, crafts & activities Oct. 11 & 12 from noon - 4:00pm. Why not stop by the Jones Library & get free passes before you go?

Kid-friendly hike on Sunday with the Appalachian Mountain Club family program. We'll meet at Atkins Farm parking lot in the early afternoon and drive to the trail head on Bay Road. It will be a short hike up to Rattlesnake Knob, a spot with great views. The pace will be easy for children. You don't need to be an AMC member and participation is free. Rain will cancel. Call Nancy Weld at (413) 256-8728 or contact by e-mail at

Looking for an Apple Orchard? Check out All About Apples for info about where to pick!

Wednesday, October 8, 2008


The PGO is meeting this Wednesday October 8th (note the change of date) from 6:30 - 7:30pm.

Irv Rhodes from the Budget Choices/Community Voices Committee will join us to discuss the Town's budget situation and what the choices are as we head into next year's budget cycle.

We will also be talking about some exciting new ideas (including Wednesday Clubs, Movie Nights & the possibility of holding a craft fair) so please be sure to join us!

Childcare is provided for free in the Cafeteria.

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Community Event: Kid Friendly Hike

Kid-friendly hike on Sunday with the Appalachian Mountain Club family program. We'll meet at Atkins Farm parking lot in the early afternoon and drive to the trail head on Bay Road. It will be a short hike up to Rattlesnake Knob, a spot with great views. The pace will be easy for children. You don't need to be an AMC member and participation is free. Rain will cancel. Call Nancy Weld at (413) 256-8728 or contact by e-mail at

Monday, October 6, 2008

Tonight! MCAS Info Session

Meet Principal Morris tonight at 5:00pm at the school for an information session devoted to describing what the latest MCAS results mean for Crocker Farm.

Hunger Banquet 10/16/08 6pm

HUNGER BANQUET October 16, 2008 6 - 7:30 PM
Suggested Minimum Donation: $5.00 Proceeds will go to Oxfam and the Food Bank of Western Massachusetts Organized by the Unitarian Universalist Society of Amherst
Please join us at the UUSA Meetinghouse for an Oxfam America Hunger Banquet, a learning experience for all ages. The dinner is designed to raise awareness of global hunger issues and to raise funds to support Oxfam's poverty-fighting work. The Meetinghouse is located at 121 North Pleasant Street, Amherst. For more information on Oxfam and Hunger Banquets
How it works: Guests draw tickets at random that assign them each to a high-, middle-, or low-income tier and receive a corresponding meal. The 15 percent in the high-income tier are served a sumptuous meal. The 35 percent in the middle-income section eat a simple meal of rice and beans. The 50 percent in the low-income tier help themselves to small portions of rice and water. (High-, middle-, and low-income statistics used in the Oxfam America Hunger Banquet event are based on the World Bank Development Indicators
2007.) Guests can also assume characterizations that describe the situation of a specific person at the income level to which they've been assigned.
Finally, all guests are invited to share their thoughts after the meal.
After an Oxfam America Hunger Banquet event, few participants leave with full stomachs, but all possess a greater understanding of the problems of hunger and poverty and will hopefully be motivated to do something about them.

Sunday, October 5, 2008

Thank You Munson Library

The PGO wishes to thank Sue Hugus from the Munson Library who attended our Curriculum Night. She raved about our hospitality, and boasted that we had the most at school Library card sign ups in the Elementary District.

Friday, October 3, 2008

School Pictures - Monday!

Picture Day is MONDAY OCTOBER 6 so don't forget to send your little movie star in looking ready for stardom!

Community Event: Language Lessons

The Toy Box is offering bilingual story and song times each week until November 2nd. On Fridays at 4pm it's French story time, Saturdays at 10:30a it's Spanish story time, and Sundays at 11:30 it's in American Sign Language. Generally it's geared towards 6 year olds and under but absolutely all are welcome and there have been kids up to 10 years old there.

Community Event: Elmer and the Elder Tree Play

The Piti Theater Company performs the fable Elmer and the Elder Tree Saturday Oct. 4 at 11:00am on the South Amherst Common. Followed by workshops for ages 5 -14 in mural-making and storytelling.

Memorial Fund

A fund has been established at Florence Savings Bank for those who wish to contribute to the family of Abraham Espinoza who was fatally injured on Tuesday. Checks should be made payable to Abraham Espinoza Memorial Fund. Contributions can be dropped off at any Florence Savings Bank branch, the Marks Meadow Principal's office or mailed to: Abraham Espinoza-Zavala, Jr. Memorial Fund
c/o Shannon Borrell
164 Montague Rd.
Amherst, MA 01002.
Obituary and memorial register book at .

Community Event: Communicating With Compassion

Do you want to stay connected heart to heart in difficult conversations with children, students, your partner, colleagues, clients/customers and even with people who hold different political views? Join us for a workshop on Communicating With Compassion, Foundations of Nonviolent CommunicationSM (NVC)

A language and consciousness of compassion that can improve your relationships skills to support dialogue in the face of judgment, criticism, and anger practice in honest expression and empathic listening effective ways to bring more joy, ease, and connection into your life support for parenting and teaching from your heart a nonviolent approach to social change

October 4 in Amherst. 9:30 am-4:30 pm

To register, or for more information, please go to the website or call Jerry Koch-Gonzalez, CNVC Certified Trainer at 413-549-1747.

Thursday, October 2, 2008

K Open House Postponed

Due to events that have occurred this week the school is canceling the Kindergarten Curriculum Night that had been scheduled for tonight. The information for rescheduling will be forthcoming. If you have questions please contact the office at 362-1600.

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Read-a-thon Pledges Due!

ATTENTION SUMMER READ-A-THON PARTICIPANTS! Just a reminder—your Read-a-thon envelope with the pledges you’ve collected from your sponsors was due Wednesday, October 1. If you haven’t brought it in yet, please do so as soon as possible so you will be able to collect your thank you prize. Remember, the money you raise will go to teachers to use in their classrooms. And the grade with the most participants will win a special trophy to display at school!

This Halloween, Join the Reverse Trick-or-Treat!

Trick-or-treaters can give chocolate BACK to adults this Halloween...Fair Trade chocolate, attached to a card with thanks and information on how Fair Trade certified chocolate presents a solution to problems faced by cocoa-growing communities, such as poverty, child labor and environmental degradation. The kits are free to participating individuals, schools, congregations, and youth groups, who pay only postage. This new tradition is a wonderful way for trick-or-treaters to give back to their communities...and the world...bringing important meaning to the holiday.
Deadline to order kits for individuals: Monday, October 13
Reverse Trick-or-Treating is organized by the human rights and environmental organization Global Exchange. To order kits or for more information, please visit Also visit this website to find excellent educational resources for families and teachers on the subject of fair trade cocoa.
Please contact the Amherst Fair Trade Partnership at if you participate so you can be added to their count!

Community Event: Budget Choices Committee

The Budget Choices / Community Voices committee is studying the town's economic situation. They are polling the citizens in the town as to what choices we would like to make regarding our budget shortfalls. Spend money on schools? Roads? Raise taxes?

They are having a bunch of meetings to discuss all this (including the Oct. 8th Crocker Farm PGO meeting), but if you can't attend, here is a *VERY EASY* way to get your 2 cents in....Take this online survey, it takes about 2 minutes.

Go to the Budget Choices Committee website.

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Community Event: Select Board Candidate Forum

Come on out and hear the Select Board candidates talk about their positions on Amherst's future! There will be an informational meeting hosted by the Amherst Area Chamber of Commerce Thursday, October 16 at 6:00 - 7:30pm at the Amherst Regional Middle School. For more information call 413-253-0700 or email

Friday, September 26, 2008

Next Week at Crocker Farm

Wednesday Oct. 1: Summer Read-a-Thon pledges are due. Make sure that your child collects his or her pledges for all their summer reading. All of the children will receive some fun prizes for participating in the program and all of the money they earned will be redistributed to the classroom teachers to help pay for beginning of the year supplies.

Thursday Oct. 2: Kindergarten Open House 6:00 - 7:00pm.
Come hear about what your kindergarteners are doing this year in school. Childcare will be provided for those who cannot make other plans. Please let the school know that you need a space for your child by calling the office: 362-1600 before 3:00pm on Monday Sept. 29.

Friday Oct. 3: Crocker Java Coffee Orders are due! Get your forms HERE.

Community Event: Make Sure You Child Doesn't Get Left Inside.

The Berkshire Chapter of the Appalachian Mountain Club is starting up hikes and other events to get kids outdoors. Our first outing will be a short hike at Buffam Falls in Pelham on Saturday, Sept. 27.

The goal is to have at least one kid-friendly event every month of the year. Possibilities include scavenger hunts, building fairy houses, and letter boxing. There is no cost for the hikes and you don't have to be an AMC member. Anyone interested in attending family events or helping with the program can contact Nancy Weld (a Crocker Farm mom), Family Programs chair (info below).

The Sept. 27 to Buffam Falls event will be a short hike at a slow pace, with plenty of opportunity to throw rocks and sticks into the water and explore nature. We may get a snack, lunch or ice cream afterward. We’ll start at 10 a.m.

Our second event, on Oct. 12, will be a hike up Rattlesnake Knob which is a smaller peak just east of Mount Norwottuck, part of the Holyoke Range in Amherst. We will meet at 10 a.m. and may gather for lunch afterward.

Contact Leader Nancy Weld for more information (413) 256-8728 or at

Community Event: Harvest Festival

Sunday September 28th. 1:00 - 6:00pm is the North Amherst 3rd Annual Harvest Festival, being held at Simple Gifts Farm, Located on North Pleasant Street, North Amherst.

Community Event: Kendrick Park Ideas

The Kendrick Park Committee is looking for your input, thoughts and ideas for the best look, use and overall “feel” for Amherst’s newest park, located at the North end of downtown. Tell us your vision for the beautiful, 3.3 acre Kendrick Park located between N. Pleasant and E. Pleasant Sts. (across from Bertucci's).

School Community Meeting: Sun. 9/28/08 3:00 @ Kendrick Park

General Community Meeting: Tues. 10/14/08 7:00 pm @ Town Hall - Town Room

If you can't make the meetings, mail your ideas to:
Kendrick Park Committee
Town Manager’s Office Town Hall
4 Boltwood Ave.
Amherst, MA 01002

Election Reminders Nov. 4th

~Parents are responsible Citizens. Are you registered to vote?
~Do you know where to vote?
~Locally, you are needed too! Amherst Town Meeting needs more members in Precincts 1, 2, 5, 6 and 9. Please visit the Town Clerk for more information.
~And for Crocker Farm: be sure to help with the biggest Bake Sale ever on November 4th!

Fun, cool stuff for families to do around Amherst

Free passes family passes are available
at the Jones Library!! All you have to do is call or stop by to pick them up. Eric Carle Museum / Boston Museum of Fine Arts / Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum / Clark Art Institute / Historic Deerfield / Holyoke Children's Museum / Mass MoCA / Smith College Museum of Art / Springfield Museums at the Quadrangle / The Zoo in Forest Park / Mystic Aquarium/ Wadsworth Athenaeum

The Amhest College Musuem of Natural History is FREE to the public from 11am-4pm Tuesday - Sunday. Just stroll right in to see incredible, towering skeletons (including a wooly mammoth!) and the worlds largest collection of dinosaur footprints (many collected right here in Amherst).

Hitchcock Center: Nature's Storytime Tuesdays at 11:00am
Jones Library: Preschool Storytime Thursdays at 10:30am
Barnes and Noble: Preschool Stories and Crafts Thursdays at 11:00am
Barnes and Noble: Friday night Stories, Fridays at 5:30pm
Eric Carle Museum: Storytime, Tuesday, Friday & Saturday at 10:30am, Saturday & Sunday at 2:00pm
The Toy Box: Storytime Sundays at 11:30am


Junior Chess Club (grades 3 – 5) Saturdays from 2 - 3 pm (Oct. 4, Nov. 1, Dec. 6, Jan. 3, Feb. 7, Mar. 7)
Senior Chess Club (grades 6 & up) Saturdays from 3:30 - 5 pm (Oct. 4, Nov. 1, Dec. 6, Jan. 3, Feb. 7, Mar. 7)

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Curriculum Night Schedule

6:00 Arrivals

6:10 Greeting by Mr. Morris

6:30 Specials/Resource personnel (for parents of grades 4 - 6) and Grades 1, 2, 3 presentations (in classrooms)

7:10 Specials/Resource personnel (for parents of grades 1 - 3) and Grades 4, 5, 6 presentations (in classrooms)

7:40 End of evening announcement in the cafeteria

Childcare drop off is in the Cafeteria.

Friday, September 19, 2008

Art Classes at ACAC

Spice up your fall with an art class at Amherst Community Arts Center!Classes for children, teens & adults begin the weeks of September 22nd & 30th. Classes include: drawing, painting, pottery & handbuilding, jewelry fabrication, mixed media, mask & puppet making, and much more. Great for any age or ability!Look for our class listings in the Amherst Leisure Times or visit For further questions please call LSSE at 259-3065 or ACAC at 253-9265. Registration going on Now!

Community Voices Budget Choices

Please consider this a personal invitation to help plan the future of Amherst. On October 2, 2008 at 7PM, please come to the Town Room of Town Hall to hear three possible budget scenarios for Amherst. The Facilitation of Community Choice Committee has been working for months to compile vast amounts of data so the public can make informed decisions about our budgetary future. At this meeting, you will not only be able to hear about the budget scenarios we are faced with, you will also have an opportunity to voice your opinion about what you believe is the most important direction for Amherst in the next five years.

We hope to hear from as many people in town as possible because these decisions affect each and every one of us,
Irv Rhodes , Facilitation of Community Choices Committee

Aye Matey!

Avast, me hearties, Friday Sept. 19th is International Talk Like a Pirate Day... we hear that some mates are making a weekend of it, arrrg!

Community Event: Amherst Bike Fair

The Commons Group invites you to the Amherst Bike Fair
Saturday, Sept. 20th
Amherst Town Common, 9am to 1pm

Join us to learn about Riding Bikes Safely (An actual half-hour class begins at 11:00), Rules of the Road, Our Speed Limit Petition, Area Bike Maps. And take a look at: A Unicycle Demonstration & a Hybrid Bike
Contact Mary-256-6005, Eduardo-687-8049

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Community Event: Latin Fest This Saturday, Families Welcome!

Latino Youth Media Institute Showcase, Friday, September 19, 5-8 PM, Fine Arts Center Concert Hall Lobby, Free! A showcase of work by young local Latinos that have been selected to participate in the Latino Youth Media Institute. Using various media, each project conveys an important personal experience relating to their family, their community and to society as a whole.

India: “The Princess of Salsa”& Jesus Pagan y su Orquesta, Sat, September 20, 8 PM, Concert Hall, Free Festival on the Plaza, 5-8 PM: Salsa lessons and demonstrations, live music by ARHS's Bomba Ensemble and dancing to music by DJ Bongohead (Pablo Yglesias). There will be Latin food provided by Salsarengue (children 10 and under eat for free) and free craft activities for children.

Exhibit: Nuestras Abuelas (Our Grandmothers): Their Hope, Our Strength
Photographs and Essays, Fine Arts Center’s Central Gallery, Sept 25 - Oct 25.:
An exhibit that reveals how the legacy of the Latina matriarca influences her granddaughters today.

Hispanic Heritage Month began on September 15, the anniversary of independence for five Latin American countries—Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, and Nicaragua. In addition, Mexico declared its independence on September 16, and Chile on September 18. With that in mind, the UMass Fine Arts Center will offer several events that celebrate Hispanic culture, food, music and art. This is a great opportunity for families to share and to learn more about Latino culture.

Thanks for Coming!

The Welcome Back Picnic was a lot of fun this year! The weather was fantastic & the crowd was great. The pizza & bake sale treats were pretty delicious too! Thank you to Jenn Chylack for organizing a wonderful event and to those of you who helped out or just showed up!

Next Week at Crocker Farm

Wednesday Sept. 24: Curriculum Night
Come meet your child's teachers and hear about what they'll be working on this year. This is opportunity to visit the classroom and to hear about their studies in Mathematics, English Language Arts, Sciences, etc.

Childcare will be provided for free, please call the office (362-1600 to let them know how many kids you'll be dropping off).

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

TONIGHT! Welcome Back Picnic

It's time again for the Welcome Back Picnic!

Join your classmates, friends and neighbors on the Crocker Farm playground this Wednesday evening at 5:30pm!

Bring a picnic dinner (or buy a slice of pizza from the PGO). There's a bake sale table for desert and of course, there will be games and prizes for the kids.

Hope to see you all there!

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Attention Summer Read-A-Thon Participants!

Thank you for all your reading!! Now it’s time to collect your pledges from your sponsors, and bring the money you collect in to your teacher. Soon you should receive an envelope with your name on it containing instructions—please bring your money in to the school by October 1. Remember, the money you raise will go to teachers to use in their classrooms. And the grade with the most participants will win a special trophy to display at school!

Grocery Shop for Crocker Farm

Good News! Stop&Shop and Big Y are back with their education support programs once again. When you do your regular grocery shopping at these stores with your card the stores donate a percentage of your purchase price back to Crocker Farm! It doesn't cost you any more, but it earns serious cash for the school. You should sign up today!

Big Y's Education Express is returning after last year's hiatus. This program earns the school "points" that can be converted into sports equipment, computers, etc. at the end of the year.

Stop&Shop's A+BonusBucks program sends a check to Mr. Morris at the end of the year. Last year 41 households earned Crocker Farm over $700!

Sign up on line by clicking the links above or stop at the Customer Service Desk at the store. Thank you!

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

1st PGO Meeting of the Year

The PGO is meeting this Thursday night & we've got a whole new year ahead of us to plan. Do you have ideas or questions to share? Please join us at 6:30 in the Community Room. Childcare is free & in the cafeteria.

Deans Beans Please!

We can only imagine what kind of condition you're in after whole summer of caffeine withdrawal... Well, shake and sweat no more - CROCKER JAVA is back and here to make your mornings pleasant once again!

The PGO sells Crocker Java coffee EVERY MONTH!

USUALLY orders are due at the school by the FIRST WEDNESDAY of the month. However, because we love you, this month we're giving you an extra week. GET YOUR
ORDER FORMS IN BY SEPT. 10TH!! You'll have your coffee by Sept. 17th.

Crocker Java is a delicious organic, kosher, Fair Trade coffee provided by Dean's Beans. Money raised supports the school!

Friday, September 5, 2008

School Events Coming Up

Here's what's on deck for Crocker Farm:

Monday 9/8 (8:30 - 9:00am): COFFEE WITH A PRINCIPAL

Join Principal Mike Morris in the Cafeteria for an informal conversation and a cup of coffee. This program is new to Crocker Farm. Mr. Morris or Mr. Smith will host a "Coffee" on the first Monday of every month. See the Calendar for the full list of dates.

Thursday 9/11 (6:30 - 7:30pm):
We'll be meeting in the Community Room to introduce the PGO and outline our plans for another year of supporting students, teachers and community. Newcomers welcome! Feel free to bring your children, we provide free childcare for you in the Cafeteria.

9/17 (5:30 - 7:30pm): WELCOME BACK PICNIC
This is a fun and casual event on the Playground to celebrate the new school year. Everyone's invited (many middle schoolers even come back for this one)! Bring a picnic dinner (or buy a slice of pizza from the PGO) and plan to meet your neighbors and your kids' classmates. The PGO provides fun games and prizes for the little ones too.

Superintendent Search Public Forums

A consultant, Jacqueline Roy of J.A. Roy Associates, has been hired to assist the Committee in the search process for a new Superintendent of Schools. Ms. Roy will begin her work in the district by meeting with a variety of groups, representing a broad range of constituencies within the school district and community in order to help define the qualities, skills and experience that the public and district staff is looking for in a new superintendent, along with information about the district’s current strengths and challenges. Each focus group meeting will last approximately 45 minutes to one hour.

Monday, September 15
6:30 pm Parent Forum – all schools + Leverett and Shutesbury at HS Library
7:15 pm School Councils & PTOs at HS Library

Tuesday, September 16
8 am Anti Racism Community Groups at Bangs Center
9:30 am Amherst Education Foundation at School District Central Office
11 am Community/Citizen Forum at Jones Library
2:30 pm SE Parents/Guardians at School District Central Office
5 pm ELL Parents/Guardians/Teachers/Paras at HS Library
7 pm Public Forum at HS Library

Wednesday, September 17
8 am Amherst Citizens for Excellence at School District Central Office
9:15 am Town Government at Town Hall

Community Event: Get On The Map!

Amherst GIS Viewer Training Seminars
The Amherst GIS Viewer is a powerful system at that can be used make custom maps, perform geographic analysis and to gather all kinds of information about anyplace in Amherst. Please join us for this hour-long public training seminar designed to teach you how to get the most out of the Amherst GIS Viewer.

Sessions are currently scheduled for the following dates and times:
Monday, Sept. 15, 10:00-11:00am, Town Room, Amherst Town Hall
Thursday, Sept. 25, 7:00-8:00pm, 1st Floor Meeting Room, Amherst Town Hall
Thursday, Oct. 2, 7:00-8:00pm, 1st Floor Meeting Room, Amherst Town Hall

What are some of the things that I can do with the Amherst GIS Viewer? Get Property Information, Sales Histories, Permit Histories, Street Histories, etc! Turn layers on and off to make custom maps Draw right on the map using the markup tools Make maps at various sizes in Adobe Acrobat PDF format E-mail maps to friends and colleagues Convert maps and markups into Google Earth KML format

Reservations are not required. Feel free to RSVP or just come by. For more information, please contact: Mike Olkin GIS Administrator, Town of Amherst 4 Boltwood Avenue, Amherst, MA 01002 PH 413-259-3247 FX 413-256-4006 See Amherst in 3D:

Community Event: Girl Scouts Registration Sept. 23

If you have an aspiring Daisy, Brownie, or Junior Girl Scout who is looking for a troop to join, you should attend the Girl Scouts of Western Mass registration night on Tuesday, September 23rd at 5:45 in room 101 of the Bangs Community Center. Aspiring troop leaders may also be needed, so moms are encouraged to attend as well!

Friday, August 29, 2008

The PGO Needs Volunteers

First and foremost, Welcome back to the new school year. The PGO would like to share appreciation of all the families of Crocker Farm students. You've raised some great children and our school is a wonderful place because of them!

The PGO would also like to welcome Becky Demling (mom of Amanda (preschool), Timmy (2nd grade) & Jacob (4th grade)) as the new co-chair of the PGO. Thank you Becky!

We hope that you are as excited about this year ahead as we are. Principal Morris and Assist. Principal Smith have made it clear that they appreciate the work of the PGO and want to help us encourage family participation at Crocker Farm.

There are many ways to be involved at the school. From bake sales to the One World Festival, there are plenty of events and activities that rely entirely on your participation to make them happen. The PGO is also in need of a secretary for the year. If you're interested in knowing more about any of the volunteer opportunities available to you please consider contacting the PGO!

Becky Demling, Co-Chair (230-3306,
Erika Zekos, Co-Chair (256-1045,
Doreen Beard, Treasurer (256-6002,