Thursday, April 30, 2009

Community Presentation at CF Thursday

Re-districting Forum: Thursday, April 30th at 5:00 p.m.: Crocker Farm PGO/CF Community (CF library)

For any families interested in attending, the PGO will have childcare available as well as Spanish translation for the presentation. So please, bring your kids and come listen and share in this most important discussion.

The report is here: If you could read it ahead of time, it is EXTREMELY informative (and it has a map)

Monday, April 27, 2009

Tuesday = Eat For Education !!

Hello Crocker Farm Families and Friends!
The Pub in Amherst is helping out area community organizations by having special night dinners where they donate 15% of food sales to an organization. On Tuesday April 28th, it will be for Crocker Farm. Come out anytime on Tuesday night with your family and friends and enjoy a great dinner while supporting the Crocker Farm PGO – what a great way to help out and enjoy a delicious meal. It is easy, just mention Crocker Farm PGO when you order and that is all you have to do. The Pub offers a great kid friendly menu and of course who can resist their sweet potato fries? Tell your friends and invite your family out to dinner on Tuesday April 28th – see you there!
Kaye Dougan, PGO Member and Crocker Parent
(Any questions please feel free to email me at

Thursday, April 23, 2009

The Book Fair Is Coming!

LIGHTS, CAMERA, BOOKFAIR! Crocker Farm's annual Scholastic Book Fair runs from May 4 - 6.

Monday May 4th is Student Preview Day
Tuesday May 5 & Wednesday May 6 are Student Shopping Days

And the Family Fair is Wednesday May 6 from 6:30 - 8:00 pm. Come with your family to see CLIFFORD the Big Red Dog, purchase some wonderful books for your family and teachers, and have a cookie in the Crocker Cafe.

Help is needed... if you'd like to volunteer contact Erika at Check out our Book Fair Homepage for more information.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Crocker Farm Steals Trash Free Lunch Title from Wildwood

Ricci Mastroianni and Amherst Recycling Coordinator Susan Waite sent out this press release today:

Trash Free Lunch Day at the elementary schools in Amherst is getting contentious. During the third annual event last Friday, Wildwood School beat its previous record by 11%, creating a mere 5.75 pounds of trash during the lunch period. But Crocker Farm School managed to produce 87% less trash than Wildwood; Crocker’s 257 students reduced their normal lunchtime trash by 45% to an astounding ¾ pound.

Conscientious home lunch packers at both schools and Whitson’s Culinary Group, the contracted school food service provider who partners in the event with the Amherst Department of Public Works, deserve credit as well. Many home lunches avoided unnecessary snack packaging and were packed using reusable or compostable materials. Whitson’s designed a special utensil-free cafeteria lunch for the day, provided compostable alternatives to plastic knives and straws and emphasized the use of washable plastic trays.

Composting is a key success factor at both schools, as food waste is typically the heaviest component of cafeteria trash. Milk cartons were also excluded from the waste barrel, as they may be composted or recycled. Crocker Farm School has been diligently separating compost this year due to the efforts of Ritsuka Mastroianni, a kindergarten paraprofessional who recently received a grant to build an on-site animal proof composting bin at the school.

Although Wildwood has 154 more students, Crocker Farm remains the winner when per capita volume is calculated (.29 vs. .21 cubic inches produced per student). Reducing school waste cuts waste removal costs and conserves space at regional landfills.

Friday, April 17, 2009

AEF Teacher Appreciation

Let your teacher know how much you appreciate all their hard work, care, expertise, and dedication!

Make a gift to the Amherst Education Foundation (AEF) in honor of a teacher, and AEF will deliver a shining star with note of appreciation to that teacher.

Your tax-deductible gift will go toward supporting important work in our schools next year.

Gifts must be received by April 30th in order for stars to be delivered on May 5, Teacher Appreciation Day.

Amherstopoly is Here!!

Ever dream of buying Crocker Farm? Well, your chance is finally here! Amherstopoly, the fantastic board game that is all about Amherst and its most beloved haunts has arrived just in time celebrate the Town's 250th Anniversary.

It was created by a team of parents from all 4 of the elementary schools and has been sponsored by dozens of businesses and organizations throughout the town. We are expecting that sales of the game will generate an incredible $28,000 in profit (to be split equally among the 4 schools).

Copies are $25.00 and will be for sale at the "What to Read When" program and Ice Cream social and at area businesses come mid-May. Copies may also be purchased by contacting Erika Zekos ( or 256-1045) or Becky Demling (230-3306 or

Thanks Ms. Winston!

Ms. Janet Winston has been filling in for Ms. Ferro in the art room for the last few months. Friday 4/ 17 is her last day and we'd like to say a heartfelt THANK YOU for her creativity, talent and love of her students. The art all over the school is wonderful and we all appreciate your passion! You'll be missed at Crocker Farm Ms. Winston!

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Spring Cleaning?

SAVE THE DATE!! We'll be holding another fantastic All-School TAG SALE on SATURDAY, JUNE 6. If you've started your spring cleaning, please remember to set aside gently used items to donate to the school for the sale. Toys, books, household items, and kids' clothing are welcome. More details coming soon!

School Musical

The Harlem Renaissance is coming to Crocker Farm! Ms. Zsigmondi and Ms. Harvey have been working hard with the Chorus and actors to put on an amazing show. Plan to attend on Thursday at 9:30 am or 7:00 pm!

School Budget and Reorganization

If you want to learn more about the Amherst school budget and reorganization planning consider attending one of these meetings. More info on

School Committee meetings: April 14 at 7:00 pm, April 28 at 6:30 pm, May 19 at 7:00 pm

Information forums: Interim-Superintendent Maria Geryk and Human Resources Director Kathy Mazur will visit with families at each of the elementary schools. They plan to share data regarding the budget picture for next year (including the potential closing of Marks Meadow) and also hear our feedback and questions. The School Committee is scheduled to vote on this decision at their May 19th meeting.

Thursday, April 30th at 5:00 pm: Crocker Farm (CF Library) Spanish translation will be available, as well as childcare.

You are also welcome to attend the meetings at the other schools:
Wednesday, April 29th at 12:00 Noon: Wildwood (location TBA)
Wednesday, April 29th at 5:00 pm: Fort River (FR Library)
Monday, April 27 at 5:00 pm: Mark’s Meadow (location TBA)

Tuesday, May 5th at 7:00 pm: Community-Wide Forum (Middle School auditorium). The parent groups will be providing childcare for this meeting.

Monday, April 13, 2009

Donate books to League fundraiser

April 24 is the last day for donations of books for the 62nd annual League of Women Voters of Amherst Book Sale which will take place on the Town Common on May 1, 2, and 3. Area residents are urged to look over their book shelves and contribute books to the LWV fund raiser.

The book sale is a great way of recycling books in the area. Last year nearly 40,000 books were received, providing a source of good books at bargain prices. Profits have supported publication of the Voter’s Guide for the recent local election and League publications such as the Town Meeting Hand Book, They Represent You, a listing of Town meeting members and elected officers, and the recently revised Your Amherst Government.

Books should be brought to the LWV sorting and pricing place at 479 West Street, #8 (corner of Pomeroy Ln.and West St.), the Hadley Stop & Shop, the Jones, Munson and North Amherst Libraries or the UPS Store at 6 University Drive. For information, call 253 – 0633.

Friday, April 10, 2009

Important Meeting About Reorganization of Schools

Interim-Superintendent Maria Geryk and Human Resources Director Kathy Mazur will visit with CF parents on Thursday April 30th at 5:00pm in the CF Library.

They plan to share data regarding the potential closing of Marks Meadow and also hear our feedback and questions. The School Committee is scheduled to vote on this decision at their May 19th meeting. All CF families are invited to attend, it will be held at the school, Spanish translation will be available, as well as childcare. A larger public hearing for the entire Amherst community will take place in early May.

What's On The CF Calendar...

Scroll down for details on many of these great school events and activities!

Next week's goings-on:
Tuesday April 14: School Committee Meeting, 7:00 pm ARHS Library
Thursday April 16: School Musical (the Harlem Renaissance), 9:30 am & 7:00 pm
Friday April 17: Trash Free Lunch Day
Sunday April 19: JC Penny/ Crocker Farm Community Playground Clean Up

& Coming Up... :
April 20 - 24: April Vacation Week
April 28: Crocker Farm Night Out at The PUB!
April 30th: Important Meeting about School Budget and Reorganization, 5:00 CF Library
May 4: Coffee with the Principal, 8:30-9:00 am, Community Room
May 4: What to Read When Workshop, 5:30 pm
May 6: Scholastic Book Fair & Crocker Cafe 6:30 - 8:00 pm
May 14: PGO Meeting 6:30 - 7:30 pm
May 22: Ice Cream Social & Movie Night
June 6: Crocker Farm Tag Sale

The Trash Free Challenge

Are We Up to the Task? The Third Annual Trash Free Lunch Day is Friday, April 17. Last year, one school reduced their lunchtime trash volume by a whopping 90%. Can our school meet or beat that record? In honor of Earth Day, Amherst’s Elementary Schools are again challenged to pack—and eat—lunches that are completely trash-free. Whitson’s Culinary Group will also serve utensil and plastic-free meals in the cafeteria. Lunch packers are encouraged to use waxed paper (which will biodegrade) instead of disposable drink packages/pouches, and reusable containers for food instead of individually-wrapped snacks with disposable packaging. For more information contact The Amherst Recycling Coordinator at 413-259-3049 or

What To Read When

Save the date for this exciting literacy event at Crocker Farm on Monday May 4 at 5:30 pm.

Click on the image to see the poster full screen.

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Thanks Shoppers!

Here's an update on this year's grocery store shopping programs:

Big Y shoppers have earned 520,450 Education Express Points so far this year. This year it's Ms. Zsigmondi's turn to use the points to purchase something from Big Y's catalog of educational items. She's is using them to purchase portable microphones for performances at the school! Keep shopping & using your card... this program continues until next January!

Stop&Shop's A+ BonusBucks program has ended for the year & we are happy to announce that we've earned $1642.73!!! A check will be written to Mr. Morris by the end of May and the money will be used towards student activities.

Thank you to the stores for their donations and thank you to everyone who took the time to sign up & remembers to use their card when they shop!

Monday, April 6, 2009

This Week's MCAS Schedule

Monday: 3rd & 6th Grades
Tuesday: (make up day for 4th)
Wednesday: 4th & 5th Grades
Thursday: 4th & 5th Grades

This Week at Crocker Farm

This week's goings-on:
Monday April 6: Coffee with a Principal
8:30 - 9:00 am
Monday April 6: Ants in Their Pants Workshop, 6:00 - 7:30 pm
Tuesday April 7: PGO Meeting (NOTE NEW DATE!)

& Coming Up... are these dates on your calendars?:
April 14: School Committee Meeting, 7:00 pm High School Library
April 16: School Play (the Harlem Renaissance), 9:30 am & 7:00 pm
April 19: JC Penny/ Crocker Farm Community Playground Clean Up
April 20 - 24: April Vacation Week
April 28: JUST ADDED! Crocker Farm Night Out at The PUB!
May 4: What to Read When Workshop, 5:30 pm
May 6: Scholastic Book Fair 6:30 - 8:00 pm
May 22: Ice Cream Social & Movie Night
June 6: Crocker Farm Tag Sale

Information Regarding School Budget Issues

Schools are facing a budget gap and are reviewing a list of proposed cuts. Closing Marks Meadow is proposed as a way to avoid some of the cuts. If they close an elementary school, they will have to re-district, or draw new district school lines to balance out the remaining 3 schools.

What might this mean? In projected modeling, 42% of all students would change schools. At Crocker Farm 48% would have to move to another school. Presently we have about 265 students and that would go up to about 320 students. So this proposal would have an impact on all of our schools and all of our students.

The School Committee has asked the interim-Superintendent to prepare information that will be presented to each school to discuss this with families. My hope is that all of us can consider this carefully and prepare questions for them to answer. I have many questions, no doubt you do too. Please attend any parent gatherings you can to further this discussion. The PGO meeting is scheduled for Tuesday at 6:30pm and time will be given at that meeting to discuss this.

Thank you, Clare Bertrand, CF parent

Thursday, April 2, 2009

New Amherst Health Dept. blog

Did you hear about the recall on pistachios? Did you know that Walgreen's is offering free health care to those unemployed?
You can find details about this kind of information on a new blog provided by the Amherst Health Dept. blog , which should be a very helpful for families who need to be alert to various recalls and public notices.
The Town of Amherst now has a number of interesting blogs which you can check out here.