Thursday, January 31, 2008

Election Day Bake Sale

Wow! TOMORROW February 5th is primary election day and we’re having a bake sale to earn money for the school! There are 2 easy ways to help: Bake something sweet or Sign up to work at the table!

You can drop baked goods off at school on Tuesday morning (at the Preschool entrance) or send them in with your child Monday or Tuesday. Call Erika (256-1045) or Gina (253-3266) if you can work for an hour or have any questions.

ps - We're pulling this together really fast & we really DO need your help. All hands on deck!

Crocker Java orders due!

reminder! Coffee orders are due the 1st Wednesday of each month... that's THIS Wednesday February 6th! Click here if you need to download an order form or look in the last Crumbs. Why not do it NOW while you're thinking about it?

Wednesday, January 30, 2008


You’re all planning to attend Winterfest on Saturday Feb. 9th right?

Well, Crocker Farm has challenged the other elementary schools to participate in the “Cardboard Classic” sled race & we need your help to build the fastest CARDBOARD CROCODILE in the west!

Join the sled construction crew at Muddy Brook Farm at 4:00pm THIS FRIDAY. Bring a few bucks to chip in for a pizza & roll of tape if you have some. Need more info? Email Clare:

Sunday, January 27, 2008

Crocker Farmers - Start Your Engines!

Sled Race Challenge! A challenge has been issued by Clare Bertrand of the CF PGO to all other elementary schools to race them in the upcoming "Kardboard Klassic" at Winterfest '08. Are any of you ready to take them on? Marks Meadow has already announced the formation of their "X-Wing" team & Fort River is showing some interest. If you want to help create the fastest cardboard croc in the west let Clare know asap!

Here's the email from Clare:
Dear PTO leaders of Fort River, Marks Meadow and Wildwood,

The Crocker Farm PGO (parent group) would like to challenge the other elementary schools to join us in the first ever “Cardboard Classic” to be held at Winterfest ’08 at the Cherry Hill Golf Course on Feb. 9th, races to begin at 2:30.

In case you haven’t heard about it, besides the Cardboard Classic, Winterfest ’08 at Cherry Hill Golf Course features a rockin’ GREAT band (Swift Kicks), beer and wine, fireworks at 7pm, and LOTS of fun family events like sledding, skiing, snow sculpture contests, golf putting contests, a craft fair, and a chili cook off among area restaurants. For more info about Winterfest ’08 see

So far they have planned some really great and funny match ups for the Cardboard Classic:
-A Selectboard Primary Race!!
-Larry Shaffer vs. Gerry Weiss vs. Larry Kelly!
-Fire Chief Hoyle vs. Police Chief Scherpa
-Building Inspector Bonnie Weeks vs. Building Outlaw David Keenan!
-Big Brothers vs Big Sisters
-And they’re looking for more races among restaurants, stores, non-profits, kids and the general public!!

So what do you think? Are you willing to take our challenge and meet us on the hill? We think our Crocker Crocodile is going to kick your butt!!!! Check out the fun you could have:

The bigger the box, the more kids you can fit in it! Imagine the giggling as we all race to the bottom. Be in touch and let us know what you think!


Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Family Salsa Friday!

Come to a Family Dance Night at the Amherst Middle School Friday, January 25th from 7 to 9pm. Join us for Salsa, Reggaeton & Merengue with music provided by DJ Joey Acevedo. Tickets on a sliding scale $5 to $15/family max. This is a fundraiser for the 8th Grade Spanish students trip to New York.
And the best part: Salsa lessons and refreshments provided!

In the Amherst Regional Middle School cafeteria. Please note that this is a family dance--not at drop-off event.

Winter & Spring PGO Events

Take out your calendars everyone - here's what's coming up in the next few months! We are always looking for help, frankly, we NEED your help - please let someone know if you can lend a hand.

Tuesday Feb. 5, 6:30 - 8:00pm in the CF Library
An evening workshop with Jerry Koch-Gonzales on parenting with compassion.

Wednesday April 9, 6:00 - 7:30 pm
Our fantastic evening of home made food and home grown performances from around the world, brought to you by Crocker Farm's own talented families. Contact Jose Gerena or Erika Zekos if you are interested in performing or cooking a dish.

Thursday April 17
This year it's Broadway!

Wednesday May 7
A great opportunity to visit with friends, buy books cheap AND support classroom libraries at the same time.

ICE CREAM SOCIAL w/ a special performance by children's musician Roger Ticknell:
Friday May 16th, 6:00 - 7:30 pm
This fund raiser tastes delicious!

Savings Makes Sense Needs Your Help

The Savings Makes Sense program is in need of adult "bankers" to help CF students make deposits. This is so fun and its' a really quick and easy way to do something great for the kids. You'll need to be available just one Wednesday morning a month from 8:15 - 8:50 am. Give Suzanne Warren a call right away if you can help: 253-0606.

Friday, January 18, 2008

Horse Camp February Vacation Week

February 18th -22nd Full 9am to 3pm Or Half Day 9am to 12pm
Ages 6-15 years
Muddy Brook Farm Day camp is designed to provide a safe educational atmosphere to learn the basics of horse care and riding.
Campers will have a lesson each day in a group formed by their level of riding experience. Muddy Brook Farm, 646 West Street, Amherst, Kathy Roberts 413-537-7262
Anne Skillings256-6159
Fax 413-253-6662

Friday - 1 Hour Delay

Sleep in, but just a little! If your child(ren) ride the bus, have them at the bus stop 1 hour after the normal pick up time. Stay safe on the roads if you're driving.

Have a great weekend, and remember - no school on Monday Jan. 21.

Thursday, January 17, 2008

PGO Mini-Grants Have Been Awarded to Teachers!

Look Below To See the Difference Your Donations Have Made to Our Children:

* $50.00 went to the pre-school to help buy dress-up materials.
* $110.00 will send third-graders to the Hitchcock Center for a special field trip.
* $315.00 will help to send third-graders on a field trip to the Springfield Science Museum.
* $130.00 will buy atlases for the fifth-graders.
* $215.00 will help pay for the fourth grade’s Downtown Scavenger Hunt and trip to Smith College.
* $250.00 pays for Family Math Night.
* $400.00 will go toward the All-School Musical.
* $300.00 will begin a multi-year book purchasing project for Reading Recovery summer reading books.
* $255.00 will buy a new multi-person listening station for the ELL (English Language Learners) program.
* $250.00 will fund Latin dance lessons for K- 6 kids at Crocker.

Total Amount Granted: $2,275.00

Parents of 6th Graders - Got Middle School Curriculum Questions?

Thursday, January 17th at 7:00 PM in the Amherst Regional Middle School Library
Family Education Program on ARMS/ARHS curriculum choices. Middle school and the high school staff answer questions on how to help your student navigate the choices in the Amherst system.

Sample questions:
Does my student have to do the 7th grade math extensions to do advanced science in High School?
What does my student need to do in middle school to qualify for admission to Smith Vocational & Agricultural High School?
How do students qualify to take Honors English in High School?

MLK Celebration a Wonderful Day

Tuesday's day long celebration of Martin Luther King Jr.'s birthday was a wonderful experience. From the well attended and delicious Community Breakfast in the morning to the artwork and poetry displayed all over the school to the lunch of vegetable stew and warm bread made and served by the fourth graders to the afternoon assembly - there were many examples of Dr. King's messages at work!

The assembly was really fantastic. After a rousing song by Ms. GB and a welcome address by Mr. Wiley, we all viewed a slide presentation with many wonderful pictures of Dr. King and his family and friends (sent to us by Mrs. Roberts - we miss you!). Following another song, Mr. Eshu Bumpus wrapped us all up in a song he wrote about Dr. King and folk tale from Zimbabwe about brave and creative children. This was followed by "I am Young and Positive" (by the Crocker Chorus) and a lively performance (by Crocker's Umoja dancers). Mr. Morris and Ms. Lev came next to show "How You Made Me Feel Welcome", a slide show of the new faces at our school. The afternoon closed with the entire school singing "Shed a Little Light" that had everyone clapping.

Congratulations to the teachers who pulled this all together and to the students for their talents and energy!

Pictures from MLK assembly

Monday, January 14, 2008

No School Monday!

It's winter again! No school today kids! Have fun playing outside, but don't forget about the Dr. King day celebrations tomorrow!

Breakfast from 8:00am - 9:00am (bring a dish to share).
Assembly at 1:30pm.

Friday, January 11, 2008

School District Mission and Values Discussion

On Wednesday, January 23, Superintendent Jere Hochman will present an overview of the Amherst-Pelham schools. This brief presentation will be followed by and important hour of dialogue about our school districts' MISSION and VALUES. What do YOU believe to be the most essential values our schools should characterize? What do YOU believe to be the mission of our public schools? It has been several years since our schools adopted a mission statement. I imagine if you ask several individuals within the schools what our mission is, they would respond "Every student, Every day!" That simple phrase is packed with meaning and understandings -- yet we must ask ourselves if there is consensus in its meaning and does it serve as a valued ends upon which we direct all means? Please join us on January 23! Meetings will occur in the Bangs Center at 1:00 p.m. and in the Middle School Cafeteria at 7:00 p.m. Bring a friend! (Oh, and please do not park in the fire lanes).

Middle School Parent Newsletter

If your child will be entering the Middle School and you'd like to receive updates from the Parent Group, please sign up:

For example you could hear about this event:

Middle School Curriculum Choices and Consequences
Thursday, January 17 7:00 PM in the Middle School Library
Family Education Program on ARMS/ARHS curriculum choices. Middle school and the high school staff answer questions on how to help your student navigate the choices in the Amherst system.
Sample questions:
Does my student have to do the 7th grade math extensions to do advanced science in High School?What does my student need to do in middle school to qualify for admission to Smith Vocational & Agricultural High School? How do students qualify to take Honors English in High School? This was the number one requested topic in our family education program survey.

to-do list from PGO Meeting

The PGO meeting on Thursday night identified a few needs:
1. Savings Makes Sense volunteer needed for one Wednesday a month for 45 minutes, 8am. contact Suzanne Warren:

2. Volunteers needed Monday after school to set up for the MLK breakfast on Tuesday. Contact Cathy:

Thursday, January 10, 2008

Principal Search Survey

PLEASE take the time now to respond to the Superintendent regarding your opinion on the questions below. Dr. Hochman has given each and every one of us the opportunity to share our ideas NOW. Beginning the week of January 28th, actual principal candidates will be brought in to be interviewed. The process is underway and right now it is our turn to participate. So please take the time to respond: (if you want to print out the survey and fill it out and get it back to school, you can find it here. If you want to email your responses directly to Dr. Hochman, email him through his assistant,

Here is the survey:
What grade is your child?
What are the strengths and successes of Crocker Farm School?
What are the topics, issues or goals that you think should be addressed in upcoming years at Crocker Farm School?
What are the characteristics you would hope to see in the new Principal of Crocker farm School?

Right before the holiday break, the PGO helped host a visit from our Superintendent to discuss with us the process by which a new principal will be chosen for our school, since Paul Wiley will be retiring. About 15 parents were able to attend. The Superintendent, Dr. Hochman, explained his process. He certainly has his work cut out for him since 4 schools (CF, Fort River, Middle School and Wildwood) will all be hiring new principals! A letter just came home (dig it out of that backpack) explaining this process and inviting interested parents to join an Interview Committee. That letter also had space for each parent to respond to 3 questions: What are the strengths of CF? What are goals you think should be addressed? And What are the characteristics you would hope to see in the new Principal? PLEASE take a few minutes to respond to this survey by filling out the form. Also if you are interested in submitting your name for the Interview Committee, or answering the questions in an email, send it to Debbie Westmoreland WestmorelandD@ARPS.ORG (she is his secretary)

Spring Street Preschool Open House

Come visit Spring Street Preschool at their annual OPEN HOUSE on Feb 9, 2008, 10 am - 12 pm. The school is located at 64 Spring Street behind the First Congregation Church. Now accepting applications for preschoolers ages 2.9-5 years for the 2008-2009 school year. For more information contact Alicia at 256-8442 or email at

Tuesday, January 8, 2008

Great News From Stop & Shop!

So far the 37 CF families that are signed up with the A+ BonusBucks Program have earned $262.40 towards student activities at our school!

It is not too late to sign up & it’s really easy to do. Just take out your Stop&Shop card and click here to enroll in the program. Crocker Farm’s ID # is 05194. After that, when you shop, the school earns cash (3% of your purchase price is donated directly to the school). Please take a minute to do this NOW!

A+ Bonus Bucks Art Contest

Stop & Shop is calling all “budding artists” in grades K - 5! You’re invited to use pencils, crayons, markers or paint to depict how your school could use the A+ BonusBucks you earn (think field trips, new playground equipment or whatever else you can imagine)!

Details: Entry must be on an 8.5” x 11” sheet of paper, no photographs. Print artist’s first name, school name/address/phone number and teacher/grade level on the back of the entry. Mail to: “A+ BonusBucks Art Contest” c/o Crane Communications, Inc., 111 Presidential Blvd., Ste. 252, Bala Cynwyd, PA 19004. All entries must be postmarked by 12 midnight February 15, 2008. All entries will be reviewed and five finalists from grades K-2 and five finalists from grades 3-5 will be selected.

Prizes: Finalists and Winners will be posted on the web on or around March 2nd. One Grand Prize winner from K-2 group and one winner from 3-5 group will receive a $100 Savings Bond, a “Classroom Party” ($100 STOP & SHOP Gift Card to purchase party food and supplies), PLUS 2500 A+ BonusBucks Points for their school. Each of the remaining eight Finalists’ school will receive 1,000 A+ BonusBucks Points for their school.

If you have any additional questions or require further information, visit us at for official contest rules.

Friday, January 4, 2008

MLK Breakfast Tuesday 1/15

Mark your calendars for the CF Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Breakfast Tuesday Jan. 15th at 8 am (snow date is Thursday Jan. 17th at 8:00am)This is a lovely potluck breakfast and performance and must not be missed!

Recycle Your Tree

January 11th is Amherst’s “Put Out Your Tree Day”. Get your Christmas tree to the curb by 7am and will be picked up and recycled for you. Remove all ornaments. Reduce the tree to 6’ tall (or less). Do not put it in a plastic bag. For Amherst Trucking and Amherst Waste Customers (if you have another waste hauler, please bring your tree to the Transfer Station – disposal is free).

Planning Ahead

Sure it’s still a whole year away, but Amherst is busy planning it’s 250th birthday celebration in 2009 (bonus points if you can pronounce bisesquicentennial). Check out the website for some interesting historical factoids and to see how you might get involved.


South Hadley Children's Chorus holds auditions for boys ages 7-13 Jan. 7, 4-6pm, First Congregational Church of South Hadley, 1 Church St., South Hadley. Auditions are in 10-minute segments by appointment. Cathy Melhorn, 548-1098 or

Internet Safety Talk

The Leverett Elementary School and Leverett Library are sponsoring a program, "Internet Safety: A Proactive Approach," Jan. 9 at 7:00pm in the school for parents and students who are in grade 5 or older. Katelyn LeClare, former Internet safety coordinator for the state attorney general's office, will be the speaker. The meeting is free and open to the public.

Lots To Do At The Jones

The Jones Library has several things scheduled to take your mind off the January chill:

Chess Club: The club will meet on Jan. 5, Feb. 1 and March 1 at 3:30pm. Children ages 8 and up at all skill levels are welcome. The club is free and sponsored by the Friends of the Jones Library System.

Kid's Book Club: Meets in the Children's Biography Room, Jones Library every Tuesday 3:30-4:30pm

Free Passes to Museums: Check out the Children’s Desk for free passes to museums all over our area (and a couple in Boston too).

Beastly Abodes: The series presents "Black Bears" Jan. 12 at 3:00pm. Ralph Taylor from the Connecticut Valley Wildlife District will present slides and videos about local bears and answer questions and residents can meet two mounted bears on display in the library atrium from January 8-15. The program is free and sponsored by the Friends of the Jones Library System.

Baskets, Books and Chocolate!: Did you receive one too many copies of the Omnivore’s Dilema this holiday season? Well, regift to the Library! The Baskets, Books and Chocolate fundraiser is coming up. Much of what is included in the baskets comes from patrons. We always appreciate donations for our gift baskets, such as: Chocolate and fancy foods / New or almost new books / Gift items. Please bring your donations, labeled with your name so we can thank you, to the Jones Library any time before January 18.

Wednesday, January 2, 2008

Coffee Orders Due

Coffee Anyone? We've been enjoying our delicious Deans Beans Coffee & now it's time for the January order. Remember that we're doing this EVERY MONTH & that orders are always due on the first Wednesday.

Orders are supposed to be due today, but we'll extend it until THURSDAY JANUARY 3!
Just download your form, print it out & get it into school right away or email Erika (

Welcome Back!

Hope everyone's winter vacation was fantastic! Welcome back to school!