Tuesday, August 31, 2010

First Day of School Coffee

Meet new parents! See old friends! Have Second Breakfast!

On the first day of school, once you say goodbye to your child, come join us in the Community Room at 8:30 for coffee, muffins, and conversation.

Hey, it's your first day of school too!

Monday, August 30, 2010

CF PGO Positions

Crocker Farm’s Parent Guardian Organization is expanding its board for the upcoming year. With redistricting, it is more important than ever to include voices in our leadership reflecting the diversity of our school’s population. Please consider suggesting yourself or another Crocker Farm parent/guardian you think would be a good volunteer for one of these board positions; decisions will be made in early October.

Co-Chair – two year position. Presides with two other co-chairs at general and executive board meetings, acts as a liaison with the principal, and supervises the work of the PGO executive board. (Short description for a lot of work and responsibility but really rewarding job!)

Social Activities Coordinator – one year position. Oversees events such as monthly “Coffee with the Principal” and movie night, as well as once-a-year activities such as ice cream social and “One World Festival.” New ideas are warmly welcomed.

Fundraising Coordinator – one year position. Directs PGO fundraisers from “Box Tops for Education” to bake sales and everything in between! Just because we haven’t done it before doesn’t mean we’re not open to other fundraising ideas. And similarly, simply because we did it last year doesn’t mean it has to be done again this year.

Secretary – one year position. Responsible for taking minutes at meetings, keeping the PGO calendar, and managing the blog.

All board members steer the direction of the various projects and participate in them as needed. The work is fun, rewarding, and challenging…kind of like parenting.

We need new ideas and new blood to support our teachers, as well as sustain and enhance the events and programs we have provided in the past. Perhaps we can incorporate new events and programs in the future? It’s up to you.

Please let us know if you are interested in any of the above mentioned positions. Better yet, grab a friend and volunteer together! To suggest someone, please email the PGO at crockerfarmpgo@gmail.com. The PGO is a great way to meet other parents, get to know the terrific CF teachers and staff, and see what's going on in your child's school life. Even if you don't assume a leadership role, there may be one event that appeals to you in the coming school year. Volunteer for just that one! Any and every parent/guardian is welcome for any and all PGO events. Every parent/guardian at Crocker Farm is a member of the PGO. Many people working together lighten the load and make our school community stronger.

Please feel free to contact us with any questions.
Becky and Lucy, CF PGO Co-Chairs

Class Parent Volunteers Needed

Volunteer to be a Class Parent!

This is a fun & rewarding way to help your child's teacher.  The job duties & hours are flexible. 

For more information or to volunteer, contact Karen Mack at kmack@oit.umass.edu.

Looking for before school childcare?

Friday, August 27, 2010

First Day Celebration!

The Amherst Regional Public Schools wish to remind everyone about the First Day Welcome Party, a Back-to-School celebration for kids and the community that supports them, on Wednesday, September 1 from 6:00-7:30 pm on the Amherst Town Common.

Children and families are invited to bring a picnic dinner or snack and join their classmates and friends to enjoy a number of festivities. Activities are FREE and will include a BOMBA performance, ARHS Gospel Choir, pony rides courtesy of Muddy Brook Farm, banner decorating, UMass mounted police, and more!

Take the PVTA Bus to the Town Common or take advantage of free parking available in the Amherst Regional High School main parking lot (@ 21 Mattoon St.). Free shuttle buses will be running from ARHS to the Amherst Town Common beginning at 5:45pm. Free shuttle buses will return to ARHS parking lot after the event.

(In the case of rain or inclement weather, the First Day Welcome Party will be held in the Amherst Regional High School Cafeteria.)

Then on On Thursday, September 2, the first day of school, parents are encouraged to join their children during First Day activities in the schools. Stay tuned for more info about activities at your child’s school!

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

The 2010 Hurricane Open - Help Us Support Amherst High School Athletics

Amherst needs you! More specifically, our high school and middle school athletes need your help. Additional funding has become more and more important to ensure that students who wish to participate in school athletics have the chance to do so. Help us provide our kids with the funding, equipment, coaching and other special items that make Amherst such a world-class community.

The Hurricane Open is a scramble format golf tournament that promises to be both fun and competative. Put together a foursome or register by yourself and we'll pair you up with other golfers. The important thing is to participate in this exciting tournament that promises to become an annual event.

The First Annual Hurricane Open Golf Tournament
· Monday, August 30th, 2010

· Hickory Ridge Golf Club, Amherst, MA

· $125 per golfer ($500 per foursome)

· Scramble format

· 11:30 a.m. registration / 12:30 p.m. shotgun start

· Includes 18 holes of golf, cart, lunch and dinner immediately afterwards

· Hole-In-One, Longest Drive, and Closest-to-the-Pin Contests

Help us support our High School Athletes
To register: http://www.hurricaneopen.com/

Crocker Farm in the News

Kids show other kids the ropes at Crocker Farm Elementary School

Thursday, August 26, 2010

AMHERST - Grace Bertrand gave new students at Crocker Farm Elementary School tours of the building Wednesday, showing them the classrooms, the cafeteria, the gym and the location of the bathrooms.

"It's important that they know their school before they go here," she said.

Grace is not a teacher or a parent. She's a sixth-grader at the school, one of seven children giving the tours. About 30 new students went on the tours during the first hour they were available.

"It's more important for them to hear from their peers than from adults," said Principal Mike Morris. "The best person to give kids a tour is other kids."

Because of redistricting, 110 of Crocker Farm's 300 students will be new to the school this fall. With Amherst schools due to open next week, Morris looked for a way to reduce the anxiety of children - and parents - who could feel uncomfortable in a different setting.

He got the idea last spring from a group of sixth-graders. They had gone on a tour of the Regional Middle School, which they'll enter next week, and said they felt excited about the transition in part because middle schoolers had shown them around, Morris said.

Chard Huon went on Grace Bertrand's tour with his daughters, Allison and Mardi, who went to Wildwood School last year. Noting how many times Grace referred to a particular teacher as "the best," he said, "Every teacher is the best teacher. So we hit the jackpot."

Grace explained the small size of the cafeteria by pointing out that students eat lunch in shifts. At the entrance to one room, she said, "That's the teachers' lounge. You're not allowed in."

Huon said the tour was helpful. "We're going to like this school, I think," he said.

For Steve Newcombe, who went on the tour with his fifth-grade daughter Alicia, it was "a trip down Memory Lane," because he attended Crocker Farm in the mid-1960s.

"Being on the tour reduces the stress and anxiety," he said. "I think parents have more anxiety than kids."

John Lambert went to Crocker Farm from 1969 to 1975, and on Wednesday he returned with his fourth-grade son Oscar, who went to Wildwood last year. Oscar, who went on the tour with a friend from Wildwood, is a resilient boy and will be fine in the new school, his dad said.

"You went to Crocker Farm and you turned out OK," Oscar told him.

In addition to Morris, Becky Demling of the Parent Guardian Organization greeted the parents, passing out leaflets about the group's activities. She told parents that Crocker Farm will seek to incorporate traditions from the schools students came from.

Derek Shea, the new assistant principal, said he appreciated the opportunity meet students and parents.

"It's beautiful for kids to develop an affinity for the school" by going on tours led by other children, he said. "If anyone knows a school, it's the students."

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Soccer Season beginning soon


Amherst Youth Soccer is set to begin its fall season Saturday, September 11th, and I recently received an email from the organizers saying they still had many spots open. Last year we had enough kids from Crocker Farm register to have a team mostly of kids from our school. It was a fun experience for the kids and we kept the focus on having fun, friendship, and on learning a few basic soccer skills. Most importantly, we emphasized good team cooperation and civility. It would be great if we could do the same this season, especially in a year when we have many new members of our school community.

Please visit http://www.amherstsoccer.org/RegistrationFall2010.htm to register your child or visit the offices of the LSSE at the Bangs Community Center. The cost is $85 (includes late fee and field use fee) or $48 if your child qualifies for free/reduced lunch. The season lasts until November 13th. Practices for the 1st grade, 2nd grade, and 3rd grade teams will be Saturdays, from 1:30 to 3 p.m. at Fort River School.

Also, please consider volunteering to coach or assist. You do need not be an expert and are only required to attend one brief pre-season meeting and to arrive 15 minutes early to the practices. If interested in doing so, let the director of coaches know at christopherstreeter@yahoo.com . I coached the kindergarten team last year, and could help answer any questions you might have.

See you on the fields,

Jaime Dávila

Thursday, August 19, 2010

The playground is open!

Thanks to our sponsors and volunteers, the PGO is happy to announce that the CF Rotary Playground is open! Read about the build from this Amherst Bulletin story by Nick Grabbe:

Meet and Greet: Crocker Farm Playground Draws Old and New

The 50 volunteers who gathered at Crocker Farm School last week were doing more than just building a new playground. They were also building a community.

"It reminded me of the barn-raising days of yore," said Lucy McMurrer, co-chair of the school's Parent Guardian Organization. "People were meeting each other, and at the end of the day, we were able to say, 'We accomplished this.'"

Crocker Farm has had a higher percentage of children from low-income families than Amherst's other elementary schools, and it also has had the least attractive and functional playground, said Becky Demling, the other PGO co-chair. The School Committee has redrawn the district lines to equalize the income percentages, and Crocker Farm will be getting lots of new students this fall.

Principal Mike Morris, who was among the volunteers last Friday, said he "celebrated that there are so many people coming out. Parents of kids in the same class are getting to know each other."

Old meets new

Among the volunteers were current Crocker Farm parents, new parents, teachers, neighbors, former students and parents of children in other schools. The Rotary Club of Amherst, which donated more than half of the $45,000 cost of the playground, was also represented.

Becca Green-Van Horn recently had surgery on her foot, so she couldn't do any work, but she brought doughnuts to the volunteers.

"It's inspiring that so many people cared enough to help Crocker Farm," said Demling. "It's such a community effort when all these people come together to make something happen."

Matt Cornell's daughter will be a new fourth-grader at Crocker Farm, and he met several other parents at the event. He said of organizer Demling, "We're grateful to have someone who cares so much."

The new playground sits mostly under two maple trees near the school. The equipment is built of metal and plastic, so there will be no splinters, a problem that has diminished the enjoyment of wooden play structures at Amherst schools. Some parts of the playground at now-closed Mark's Meadow School were incorporated into the layout.

'Perfect initiation'

Derek Shea, Crocker Farm's new assistant principal, said working on the playground is "the perfect initiation for me. People chat with me and get to know me a bit. It's nice to get out and meet community members."

Rotarian Bob Meyers lives in Belchertown but works at a business in Amherst. "Since the Amherst community supports me, I look for ways to give back to the community," he said.

Teacher Lauren Matone called it "serendipity" that the new playground is appearing just before all the new students come to Crocker Farm. "It's a chance to add on to the community we already have," she said.

At about 6 p.m., many Crocker Farm parents and their children came to see the completed playground. They marveled at the new slide, the climbing wall and the "X-Wave," a kind of balance beam that accommodates up to 20 children and gives them the sensation of riding a wave.

"We built something for kids, so I'm happy," said Stephen Armstrong, director of the tutoring center, Kumon of Amherst, another donor.

One of the volunteers was ninth-grader Sam Meyers, who attended Crocker Farm and remembers the old playground. "If I were a little kid, I'd be pretty excited," he said.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Munson Memorial Library’s Annual Back-to-School Party

Wednesday, September 1 at 4:30 p.m. in the Garden of the Munson Library.

Please note the earlier time since the Amherst Schools have their gathering the same day on the Amherst Town Common at 6:00 p.m.

Please return your Book Logs to the Munson Memorial Library by Saturday, August 28, 2010.

Call the Munson Library if you have any questions: 413-529-3095 after 2:00 p.m. during the week.

Monday, August 16, 2010

1st Grade Picnic Announced

Calling all Crocker Farm 1st Graders!
Play on the new playground & say hi to new and old friends! Make a welcome back to school mural!

Saturday, August 28th, 11 a.m.
Bring your family, some markers or paints, outdoor games, a picnic, or just show up and have fun!
Questions and offers of help:
Call Isolda Ortega-Bustamante 253-0574

¡Llamando a todos los estudiantes de 1er Grado de Crocker Farm!
¡Vengan a jugar en el nuevo parque escolar y saluden a nuevos y antiguos amigos! ¡Hagan un mural de bienvenida !

sabado, 28 de agosto, 11 a.m.
¡Traigan a sus familias, marcadores o pinturas, pelotas y juegos, un picnic, o nada mas vengan a divertirse!
Preguntas y ofertas de ayuda:
Isolda Ortega-Bustamante 253-0574

You’re Invited!

The Amherst Regional Public Schools are pleased to announce the First Day Welcome Party, a Back-to-School celebration for kids and the community that supports them, on Wednesday, September 1 from 6:00-7:30 pm on the Amherst Town Common.

Children and families are invited to bring a picnic dinner or snack and join their classmates and friends to enjoy a number of festivities. Activities are free and will include a performance by BOMBA, music, pony rides courtesy of Muddy Brook Farm, and more.

Free shuttle service will be provided between the Middle and High School parking lots and the Town Common. Or take the PVTA bus to the Town Common.

Then on On Thursday, September 2, the first day of school, parents are encouraged to join their children during First Day activities in the schools. Stay tuned for more info about activities at your child’s school!

(click on the image to enlarge & print)

Friday, August 13, 2010

Playground Build 2010

What an amazing day! We were fortunate to have CF families, CF neighbors, ARPS staff, town employees, teachers, area businesses, Rotary Club members and CF Alumni come together to build our new playground. All of the new pieces are in leaving only the wood chips and a bit of landscaping. A HUGE thanks to all the volunteers who made this day so productive and fun. A special thanks to Kumon for providing the yummy pizza. Ley-An Martain and Stacey McPheters were there to capture everything. To view the pictures from today go to: http://picasaweb.google.com/105324389474647918332/PlaygroundBuild#

To see Mr. Morris on 22 News talking about the playground visit: http://www.wwlp.com/dpp/news/local/franklin/new-playground-at-crocker-farm

Again, heartfelt thanks go out to everyone who donated their time and/ or money to make this happen.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Photos from today

So much progress was made today thanks to the excellent grounds prep done by ARPS Facilities Staff! We will have a much easier job tomorrow because of it.

Hope to see you there!

The build has begun

Site Specifics, our playground reps, are digging holes, installing posts and decking today. By tomorrow morning, the skeleton of the playground will be up. It's not too late to join us on this exciting project- even an hour or two is appreciated. For more info, contact Becky at 230-3306 or beckydemling@yahoo.com.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

ARPS First Day Community Celebration

The Amherst Regional Public Schools are pleased to announce the First Day Welcome Party, a back to school celebration for kids and the community that supports them, on Wednesday, September 1, 2010 from 6:00-7:30 pm on the Amherst Town Common.

Amherst’s schools are participating in the First Day of School America Campaign, a family involvement program initiated in Bennington, VT in 1997, which has been enjoying steady growth ever since. The First Day Welcome Party is a kick-off to the events planned in the elementary schools on September 2, the first day of school in Amherst and Pelham.

“The Amherst Public Schools are partnering with families, civic organizations and town leaders to unite our community and celebrate with our children the start of a new school year,” says Maria Geryk, Interim Superintendent of the Amherst-Pelham Regional School System. “The schools are the center of our community and we hope to share the celebratory spirit of the First Day with everyone.”

That spirit will be in full view during the First Day Welcome party on the Amherst Town Common, as children and parents are invited to bring a picnic dinner or snack and join their classmates and friends to enjoy a number of festivities. Activities will include a performance by BOMBA, music, pony rides courtesy of Muddy Brook Farm, and more.

On Thursday, September 2, the first day of school, parents are encouraged to join their children during First Day activities in the schools. “I am requesting that area business owners play a role in strengthening this essential collaboration by allowing parents who are employed in your organization to attend these brief activities of 1 to 1 and ½ hours,” says Ms. Geryk. “In this way, you will support our students, families and their combined involvement in the Amherst schools.”

The First Day activities have been put together by a broad group of community organizations led by the Amherst Regional Public Schools, including the Amherst Area Chamber of Commerce, Amherst College, Amherst Education Foundation, Representative Ellen Story’s Office, Interfaith Opportunity Network, Amherst Parent Guardian Organizations, the University of Massachusetts Amherst, and the Town of Amherst.

Free shuttle service will be provided between the Town Common and the Amherst Pelham Regional Middle and High School parking lots. Participants are encouraged to take advantage of this service.

Playground Build this Friday!

The grounds are ready for the build THIS Friday, August 13th. There is a 30% chance of rain, but we are still planning to begin working at 8:00 AM. Our playground reps will be in town this Thursday to dig the holes as well as install the posts and decks. They will also be there on Friday to help with the build.

While we do have the minimum number of volunteers signed up, we will always make room for more! If you fear commitment but wake up Friday morning and feel inspired to lend a hand you are welcome to show up. We will have pizza courtesy of Kumon of Amherst!

Taylor Davis will be spreading the wood chips for us within the next week. will be open for business next week with a formal ceremony on September 2 at 11 AM. Ready to commit or have questions? Contact Becky at 230-3306 or beckydemling@yahoo.com. We hope to see you there!

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

I baked for the CF Playground!

Can't help build the playground but still want to contribute to the effort? Why not bake for the CF playground. We are looking for muffins, cookies, brownies- anything really! to help nourish all of our playground builders next Friday, August 13th! Simply drop off items at CF on Thursday or Friday. Questions? Please contact Becky at 230-3306 or beckydemling@yahoo.com.