Saturday, May 29, 2010

New Last Day of School Announced

From the ARPS.ORG website:

Due to Thursday's unexpected weather-related school closing, the new last day of school for all Amherst, Pelham and Amherst-Pelham Regional schools is Thursday, June 17th. Because this closing came so late in the school year, some families have inquired whether the requirement to make-up the day can be waived. The district has been informed by the Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education that we are required to make up the lost day. Please note that June 17th will be a regular, full-day schedule at the elementary schools. Amherst Regional Middle School and Amherst Regional High School will follow the High School exam schedule.

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Concert Cancelled

The concert scheduled for tonight has been canceled. When a new date is announced, we will break that news as well. Enjoy your unexpected day off.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Save It or Shave It

If not the ultimate sacrifice, it would be a big one. That is if Michael Hayes, Amherst Regional Middle School’s new principal, loses in a town-wide giving pool that will decide if he has to shave down or be allowed to preserve his pristine head of flowing locks.

You see, he has never been to a barber. That’s right, NEVER! (It becomes clearer upon seeing the long-ponytailed educator.)

In a fundraiser concocted by ARMS parent Adam Siegel, students, residents and others (Michael’s friends, perhaps) will have a chance to vote with their dollars on whether or not he will have to go under the scissors.

Administering the cutlery (or not) will be Matt Haskins, who will also collect the votes/dollars at his barbershop at 59A Boltwood Walk (facing the parking lot behind Judy’s). ARMS will have its own polling place where donations for the two categories (save it/shave it) will also be collected.

With a deadline of June 16th, when the dollars will be tallied and the popular decision revealed at ARMS’s end of the year farewell ceremony, the school hopes to have enough money on hand to perpetuate its Visiting Authors program to at least next year. The popular program hosted Naomi Shihab Nye, author of Habibi, and several other authors this year, costs about $10,000 a year to administer.

Also, at this very public ceremony, Matt will be there poised to cut. In fact, Mr. Hayes has agreed to have his head shaved entirely in front of the student body if he loses the vote and more than $8,000 is raised for the program. “If I’m going to have it cut at all, I might as well go for it,” he said shakily. His enthusiasm of the prospect is belied by his own donation. He committed $100 to, you guessed it, keep his head intact. In support of his profound hopes, ARMS FSP Chair, Cathy Cullen matched his gift; though Siegel voted “nay” with his own donation.

Send your donation for this great cause along with your vote to ARMS Save It or Shave It, 170 Chestnut St., Amherst, MA 01002. Checks can be made out to ARMS Principal’s Fund. Pass the word along to all of your friends to help with the fun and the fundraising. We can’t wait to see what happens on the last day of school!

For more information contact either Adam Siegel (413) 687-1471 or Principal Michael Hayes

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Stop & Shop A++ Bonus Program

Our Crocker Farm community was one of the highest earning local schools at Stop & Shop on Russell Street this academic year! Thank you Crocker Farm shoppers!!

CF Tag Sale Donations Happily Accepted!

(Click on image below to enlarge & what kinds of items we are collecting for the Tag Sale.)

Monday, May 24, 2010

Order your Hillside Pizza and Cookie Dough NOW!

Please support Fort River’s effort to contribute to the Crocker Farm Playground Fund!

The deadline for order forms is Wednesday, June 2.

Order forms are available HERE.

Pizza pick-up day is Thursday, June 10, from 3:05 to 5:30 pm. Volunteers are needed to help pick up pizzas on delivery day and to help with distribution back at the school.

Contact Libby Stanforth:

Summer Spanish Language Story Hours at Jones Library

Throughout the summer, the Jones Library will present a new story hour
series in Spanish. Spanish speaking volunteers will read stories to
children on Thursday evenings at 6:30 pm on June 17, July 15, and
August 19.

The story hours will be held in the Children’s Room and are for
children 3-8 years of age. The children will develop early reading
skills while they listen to stories in Spanish and enjoy a snack.

The Spanish language story hours are free and open to the public,
brought to you with federal funds provided by the Institute of Museum
& Library Services, and administered by the Massachusetts Board of
Library Commissioners.

For more information call Janet Ryan at 413/259-3223

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Legal Services Subcommittee Deadline Extended

The Legal Services Subcommittee of the Regional School Committee has extended the deadline for submitting ideas for interview questions. The question list they develop will be used to interview law firms under consideration to represent the three districts of Amherst, Pelham and the Region. Questions may be submitted to Irv Rhodes through Monday, May 24th at .

New Playground Total

Wow, Crocker Farm. We are only $750 away from the final playground total! Let's see if we can finish our efforts by the end of May! Thanks to all those who have donated and those who will donate after reading this message. This community rocks!

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Movie Night this Friday !

Come to the final movie night of the year!

This Friday we'll be showing "Spirit: Stallion of the Cimarron" at 6:30 (doors open at 6:00).

Legal Service Subcommittee of the School Committee meeting

The Legal Service Subcommittee of the Regional School Committee will meet on Thursday, May 20th, at 8 am in the professional development center at Amherst Regional Middle School. The purpose of this meeting is to both finalize the list of firms that will be invited to interview to serve as legal counsel for the Amherst, Pelham, and Regional Schools, and to finalize a list of questions that will be asked of each firm. If you have suggestions of questions or topics of questions for these firms, please attend the meeting and/or send them to Irv Rhodes, chair of the Legal Services Subcommittee, at: This meeting is a public meeting and all members of the public are welcome to attend. The interviews with the law firms under consideration will also be public; dates and times for these interviews will be announced shortly and posted on the ARPS website.

Trash-Free Lunch Day Success!

(Click on image to enlarge.)

Another successful Trash-Free Lunch Day in Amherst Elementary Schools. Congratulations Crocker Farm!! You have influenced the whole entire Amherst community to "Step Up" and reduce its trash.

And the most amazing thing about Crocker Farm is that we do this every day! Hooray!

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

And the winners are.....

The CF PGO is pleased to announce the winners of our recent raffles:

Malti-Arts Camp Raffle- Mary Amaru
50/50 raffle- Bruce McInnis
Basket from Amherst Dental- Kaye Dougan
Miss Saigon Gift Certificate- Claudia Canale-Parola

Thanks to all who purchased tickets at the Town Fair and through Multi-Arts. We earned almost $400 for the playground through these two raffles.

Crocker Press Party This Thursday!

All of our remaining classes are ready to hit the presses and it can't happen without you! There is a training/ Press Party this Thursday, May 20th from 5:30 - 7:00 PM. Childcare and food provided. For more information or to RSVP for Thursday, please contact Becky at 230-3306 or

Playground Update

The playground total keeps going up! Thanks to donations made this week, we are at $41,950- only $1450 away from our goal. We are so close to making the playground a reality. Can you help push us over the top?

Monday, May 17, 2010

Thank a Teacher!

Did you know that when asked what type of gift would make them feel most appreciated, the majority of teachers polled by the National Education Association last year said "a simple thank you" was all.

Why not send them a meaningful thank you and support Amherst Education Foundation's mission to strengthen our schools at the same time? AEF will deliver a personalized Thank You card to the person you wish to honor during the last week of school and your contribution will be used for grants to schools next year.

Visit before June 10 to make a donation and thank the special teachers in your life!

(Click on the image to print)

Saturday, May 15, 2010

Playground Update!

Dear Crocker Farm and larger Amherst community,

The Crocker Farm PGO is pleased to announce that we are a mere $1,800 away from reaching our goal of $43,400 for the new playground. We have completed all our planned fundraisers and are now turning to you to help us raise this final amount. Can you help? Please donate to this very worthy project! Help us complete our goal of having all Amherst schools have playgrounds we can be proud of.

There are so many ways to make this final donation!

(1) You can mail a check made out to the “Crocker Farm PGO” at 280 West Street, Amherst, MA 01002 with “playground” in the memo.

(2) Put your donation in your child’s school backpack in an envelope marked “PGO.”

(3) Donate online through AEF at specifying “CF PGO” as the donation recipient.

Questions? Please contact the PGO at or Becky 230-3306.

Thank you for your support!

Becky Demling & Lucy McMurrer
Crocker Farm PGO co-chairs

Welcome New Families!

To all new Crocker Farm families,
Welcome to the Crocker Farm community! We'd like to remind you that you are invited to join us for these remaining casual social events. We’d love to meet you, your children, and your friends for relaxed conversation and play. There’s no need to confirm (unless noted), just come by and get to know a few NEW friends from your wonderful new school.
Welcome to our community!
Becky Demling and Lucy McMurrer (PGO co-chairs)

Friday May 21, 6:00 - 8:00 PM, Amherst Coffee. Have a coffee or a glass of wine and meet with new friends.
Wednesday May 26, 6:30 – 8:30 PM, New Families Open House. An opportunity to meet the principal and see the school.
Thursday June 3, 3:30 – 4:30 PM, Flayvors of Cook’s Farm. Buy an ice cream cone and meet some new friends! For children and adults.
Friday June 4, 7:00 – 9:00 PM, at Sue Bernier’s home (817 Bay Road). Come for hors d'oeuvres and friendly adult conversation. (Please call or email to confirm: 256-1164 or
Saturday June 5, 3:00 – 5:00 PM, Groff Park. "Potluck Picnic at the Park”. Bring your children and food or drink to share. Bring games and balls, too! We’ll have limbo dancing and music. (No event if the weather is bad.)

There are also a few Crocker Farm school events coming up that we would like to invite you to attend:
Friday May 21 6:00 – 8:00 PM, Movie Night, Crocker Farm Cafeteria. Now Showing: "Spirit: Stallion of the Cimarron,"
Saturday June 5, 9:00 AM – 1:00 PM, Annual PGO Tag Sale, Crocker Farm Lobby
Friday June 4, 8:40 – 9:40 AM, Coffee with the Principal, Crocker Farm Community Room

Friday, May 14, 2010

A look ahead to next week...

Thursday, May 20th 5:30 - 7:30 PM- Crocker Press book binding party!
Join us for some typing and binding, food and fun! Childcare and training provided. All class books will be ready to go. If you have a child K-3 please come support your child's writing and help us continue this fantastic tradition. For more information or to sign up, please contact Becky at 230-3306 or

Friday, May 21st 6:00 PM Movie Night featuring Spirit
"Spirit: Stallion of the Cimarron," is the story of a wild horse in the Old West who teams up with an Indian youth as they both struggle to live naturally and free. This is the last Movie Night of the school year.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Crocker Press Help Wanted

Crocker Press needs parents to help "publish" 3rd grade stories. Both Ms. Robinson's and Ms. Holland's stories are ready to go. Helping is easy and the committment can be smaller or larger. We supply the materials and training. Even by doing just a few stories, you help keep the Crocker Press tradition alive. For more information, please contact Becky at 230-3306 or

Boy Scouts of America

The Boy Scouts of America is now 100 years old. Come join Boy Scout Troop 500 Amherst to see how Scouting is evolving as it enters its 2nd century. We are having an Open House for prospective scouts and their families Tuesday, May 25 from 7:00 to 8:30 PM at the South Congregational Church, 1066 Southeast Street, Amherst. Troop 500 has a 50+ year history in Amherst working with school-age boys (grades 5-12). Troop activities are organized and run by the boys, including weekly meetings, monthly campouts, and projects in the community. Our Scouts learn practical outdoor skills and develop leadership skills while having a lot of fun. Scouts who join before June 15 can attend summer camp with us at Camp Wanocksett in NH. For more information, contact Scoutmaster Bob Cowles at (413) 665-8968.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Kung Fu Adventure Week

Kung Fu Adventure Week is a fun summer camp experience for children ages 7-12. This event is put on by Shaolin Kung Fu of Amherst. If you enroll by next Thursday, you get 20% off tuition.

Please visit for testimonials and pictures from Adventure Week 2009!

PGO Meeting Time Change

The PGO meeting this Thursday, May 13th will be held from 6:00 PM - 7:00 PM. Immediately after the meeting, CF Assistant Principal Joseph Smith will host an Anti-Bullying Forum. Childcare and refreshments will be provided for both events.

Monday, May 10, 2010

2010-2011 Travel Soccer TRYOUT SCHEDULE

Travel Soccer Tryout information for the Fall 2010 and Spring 2011 seasons is now available at

Please be advised the tryout pre-registration form is due by Saturday May 29.

Here is the Tryout Schedule: 2010-2011 Travel Soccer Age Brackets:

U-9 – Born on or after August 1, 2001

U-10 – Born on or after August 1, 2000

U-11 – Born on or after August 1, 1999

U-12 – Born on or after August 1, 1998

U-13 – Born on or after August 1, 1997

U-14 – Born on or after August 1, 1996


Tuesday June 1 - U9 BOYS 5:30 – 8:00pm

Wednesday June 2 - U9 GIRLS 5:30 – 8:00pm

Thursday June 3 – U10 BOYS 5:30 – 8:00pm

Friday June 4 – U10 GIRLS 5:30 – 8:00pm

Monday June 7 – U11 BOYS 5:30 – 8:00pm

Tuesday June 8 – U11 GIRLS 5:30 – 8:00pm

Wednesday June 9 – U12 BOYS 5:30 – 8:00pm

Thursday June 10 – U12 GIRLS 5:30 – 8:00pm

Monday June 14 – U13 BOYS 5:30 – 8:00pm

Tuesday June 15 – U13 GIRLS 5:30 – 8:00pm

Wednesday June 16 – U14 BOYS 5:30 – 8:00pm

Thursday June 17 – U14 GIRLS 5:30 – 8:00pm


We'll be holding another fantastic All-School TAG SALE on SATURDAY, JUNE 5. We are looking for donations of gently used items for the sale. Toys, books, household items, and kids' clothing are welcome, so if you've started your spring cleaning, please remember to set some items aside. More details coming soon!

Sunday, May 9, 2010

Thank you CF town fair parent volunteers!

To all the wonderful Crocker Farm families who volunteered their time on a very soggy Saturday to work the CF tent: thank you. Gracias. Grazie. Merci. Takk. Danke.

It was so kind of you to give up your energy, your time, and your dry feet to help get us to our playground goal.

Thank you.

Saturday, May 8, 2010

Scholastic Book Fair Thank You!

We would like to thank all parents, families, and friends who supported our Scholastic Book Fair & Crocker Café this year. It was a huge success! Thanks to you, the PGO was able to add over $2,000 worth of new books to the school library, classrooms and special programs.

Teachers received over $1600 in free books for their classrooms and the CF Library received $500 for new books!

The PGO’s Scholastic Book Fair is also helping to make reading more fun for our students; 33 Read-A-Thon participants redeemed $5 coupons for free books at the Book Fair!

To all our volunteers, we couldn’t have done this without you! Thank you for taking time out of your busy day to help set up, assist classes during shopping times, bake and clean up.
~ Coordinators: Jeff Lefebvre, Alicia Lopez and Erika Zekos

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Calling All CF kids & Anyone Who'll Be a CF Kid Next Year!

Coming up next in the PGO's series of social events for new & current CF families...

Friday May 7,
3:00 - 5:00 PM, Groff Park. This Friday afternoon! Bring your parents & meet some new friends! (No event if the weather is bad).

Wed. May 12, 3:00 - 5:00, Crocker Farm. Meet in the school lobby for a tour of the school.

Fri. May 14, 6:00 - 7:30 PM, Crocker Farm Playground. Bring a picnic dinner & be prepared to play! (No event if the weather is bad).

Monday, May 3, 2010

See YOU at the Book Fair!

Geronimo Stilton & all of your friends will be at the Book Fair on Wednesday night (6:30 - 8:00 pm) - Hope to see YOU there too!

We are still looking for a few people to bake a dozen cookies for the Crocker Cafe - if you can bake please get in touch with Erika ( Thanks!

Good to the Last Drop...

It's time again to place your order for Crocker Farm's own blend of Dean's Beans organic, Fair Trade, kosher and delicious coffee.

Orders are due on the first Wednesday of each month. That's this Wednesday May 5th so CLICK HERE to print out an order form & send it in to school with your payment. We'll deliver your coffee by May 12th.

Coffee with the principal Friday morning

After this week, there's only (gasp) one more Coffee with the Principal!

Come, while you still can, to the Crocker Farm Community Room on Friday morning at 8:45 and join us for coffee and talk. Mr. Morris will be there to answer any questions you may have about this current year or the coming one.

Tasty treats will be provided and small children are always welcome. Hope to see you there!

Preschool needs

Ms. Chin-Gibbons needs small figurines/lotto or any other games/puzzles related to Disney characters especially from Monsters, Inc; Mickey; Donald; Pluto and Goofy.

Got any you'd like to pass along? Bring them to the front office.


How can our town libraries help you?

A joint committee of the Friends of the Jones Library, the Library Trustees, and Library staff invites the public to submit ideas for the use of a recent gift from Richard and Natalie Woodbury for the benefit of the libraries. Public proposals will be considered along with proposals from staff, the Friends, and the Trustees and will be discussed at our public meetings. Proposal forms can be downloaded at or paper copies can be found at all 3 town libraries.

The deadline for proposals will be June 1, 2010. For further information, please contact Beth Girshman at, 413/259-3168.

Sunday, May 2, 2010

Capoeira Festa on May 8th

BATEPAPO (baht-chee-pah-poh) is Brazilian for people getting together and chatting.
FESTA (fesh-ta) is a party or celebration.

We're having both! Come to our fun and family-friendly gathering on Saturday, May 8 at the North Star building in Hadley. (135 Russell St., corner of 9 and 47)

Kids Capoeira Workshops!
2:00-3:30- Ages 5-10, $15
4:00-5:30- Ages 10 and up, $15

Introduction to the art of capoeira- movement, acrobatics, music, dance.

To register call 413-386-8316.

Kids Capoeira performance at 6:00, followed by a full demonstration roda (hoda).

Brazilian BBQ begins around 7:00- lots of meat but also a full range of traditional Brazilian food will be available, including vegetarian options. $10/plate adults, $5/kids.

Outside games, music, and fun things to do all afternoon! Learn about capoeira, Brazilian culture, and have a great time!

This event is a fundaiser for our group's upcoming Batizado (baht-chee-zah-doh). All funds directly support our capoeira group.

Volunteers Delightfully Requested for 1 hour shifts Sat. 11 - 8 PM

The playground fund needs your help! We are $5,000 from the $43,400 needed to build playground. The PGO will be running a 50/50 raffle and community-wide ask for donations this upcoming Saturday, May 8th from 11 AM - 8 PM on the Town Common as part of the Town Fair. We are looking to fill the day, 1 hour at a time. Kids are encouraged to be part of this final push. All that is required are smiles, the ability to say thanks and sell raffle tickets along side Rotary Club volunteers. We have a nice tent to protect you from the elements and comfy chairs to sit on. We'll even through in the pens. Can you help? Please? Pretty please with sugar on top and a lemon drop?

Know a girl/ boy scout troop or some other group that can lend a hand, let us know. We need all the help we can get!

Please let me know if you can give an hour or two of your time by calling me at 230-3306 or emailing the PGO at

Newspaper Announcement of CF Playground

Crocker Farm Elementary School grant winner
By BEN STORROW Staff Writer, Amherst Bulletin
Published on April 30, 2010

Crocker Farm Elementary School was named the winner of the Rotary Club of Amherst's first-ever community grant last week, with the $25,000 gift going to help the school expand and upgrade its aging playground.

The Rotary gift comes at a welcome time for Crocker Farm. The school is due to receive 95 additional students in the coming school year, following the closure of Mark's Meadow Elementary School this year.

"The current playground does not meet the needs of current school population, yet alone 95 more students," said Crocker Farm Principal Mark Morris. Of the gift, he said, "It's tremendous. It will make the transition for all the new children that much easier with a new place to play in."

Rotary officials said the goal of the gift to make a substantial impact in the community by providing funding for nonprofit or civic institutions. Crocker Farm was selected from among 20 applications.

Greg Boisseau, president of the Amherst Rotary, said his organization was impressed by parents' fundraising efforts to build a new playground. He cited their "Brown Envelope Appeal" and dance-a-thon, both fundraising drives, as examples of their hard work.

"(The playground) will be an extremely visible project and will completed by the start of school," Boisseau said. "The economic timing of this was perfect. Funding for our schools was at a low, and it was a great opportunity to support our community and our students."

The Rotary gift brings the parents and school close to their goal of raising $43,000 for the new playground. The Crocker Farm Parent Guardian Organization has already raised $13,000 for the project. Combined with the Rotary gift, the PGO now has $38,000 on hand for the playground and is $5,000 short of bringing the project to fruition. The Rotary has said it will match the additional donations needed to complete the playground at a 5 to 1 ratio.

Becky Demling, co-chairwoman of the PGO, said the Rotary gift was going toward a good cause.

"The playground is old, 18 and half years old," Demling said, noting there is duct tape on the slide and pieces of the structure missing. The facility is already beyond capacity, she said, noting that more children use the playground than it was intended for.

"Without the Rotary, this project would not happen this year," Demling said. "For a community organization, to see what we've done, I'm just awestruck."

Anastasia Morton, also of the PGO, offered a similar assessment. She noted that she had recently moved from New York and had been drawn to Amherst by the community's support of the schools. That belief was confirmed by the Rotary gift, she said.

"Instead of just saying they're going to help, (Rotary) went out and did it."

The $25,000 was raised through the Amherst Rotary Auction fundraiser, which is held on Amherst Community Television each November. There had been some debate as to whether the Rotary should distribute multiple gifts in smaller amounts, said state Rep. Ellen Story, D-Amherst, herself a Rotarian. She said she felt the group could be more effective by making one, large gift.

"Instead of helping people limp along, we said, ‘Why not make a difference with a big gift? And that is what we did," Story said.