Saturday, October 30, 2010

Calling All Bakers!

Pre-heat those ovens!  The PGO is looking for people to provide baked goods for Tuesday's Election Day bake sale.  This annual event runs from 8 AM - 8 PM. We need everything from muffins to desserts.  Baked goods can be dropped off anytime this Monday or Tuesday and our fantastic volunteers will sell them to hungry Precinct 7 voters.  Thanks in advance for your support and don't forget to vote!

Friday, October 29, 2010

Halloween Dance Thank Yous!

Tonight's dance was such a success!  Over 200 people attended and fun was had by all.  The PGO wishes to thank DJ Sam Becker for volunteering his time, spinning great tunes and keeping everyone on the dance floor.  We also wish to recognize the following volunteers for their contribution to this first ever event:  Ann Becker for the crafts, Pam Doyle for the spooky sensory table, Donna Rousso for awesome decorations, Anastasia Morton, Renata Shepard and Sylvia Keochakian for set up and break down assistance. Thanks to all the bakers and volunteers who stepped up to help sell yummy treats. 

Have a happy and safe Halloween!

Halloween Dance Tonight!

The first ever CF Halloween Dance is tonight from 6:30 - 8:30 PM in the cafeteria.  Sam Becker, ARHS Student and CF sibling will play your favorite spooky kid songs.  A haunted courtyard and a "gross- what is that" feeling table will provide entertainment for those who need a break from the dance floor.  A bake sale will be held to benefit the CF Snack Fund.  Hope to see you there!

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Halloween Run on the Farm!

Come run and have fun on the farm! Join us this Saturday at Bramble Hill Farm for a 3 mile race and free kids’ fun runs. Events will begin at 9:30 and costumes are optional. T-shirts to the first 75 entrants for the 3 mile race, prizes (including best costume), and delicious post-race refreshments. Family rate available for families running the 3 mile course. For more information, go to: or call Nick Hopley at 256-0234. Hope to see you Saturday!

Music teacher wish list

Our wonderful Ms. Zsigmondi informs us she could really use:

Big bottle of hand gel for cleaning 5th grade hands
Several boxes of tissues
Small drinking cups

Can you help? If so, please bring any donations to the front office. Thank you!

AEF Trivia Bee Thursday!

Q: What organization raised and gave away $40,000 to the Amherst Regional Public Schools in grants last year?
A : Amherst Education Foundation!

Join AEF for Amherst’s “Not to Miss” Fall Event!
Thursday October 28th
7:00 p.m. – 9:00 p.m. in the Amherst Middle School Auditorium

Who will get an ‘A’ at the Bee? Under the direction of Ellen Story, 30 teams (including students, school principals & town administrators) will vie for bragging rights to be “Trivia Bee Champion”. The evening will include refreshments, lots of trivia and laughs. Admission is free with donations to AEF welcome. See you there!

It's Time For November Coffee Orders

Decaf or Regular in Whole Bean or Ground -- We'll take care of your coffee needs! This is Dean's Beans delicious, organic, Fair Trade, Kosher goodness in a 1-pound bag.

Order by Wednesday November 3 by clicking here to download your form & sending it into school with your child w/ your check. We'll send your order home by the following Wednesday.

Monday, October 25, 2010

Half-day alert!

Just a reminder -- this Thursday, Oct. 28th, and next Tuesday, Nov. 2nd, are early dismissal days. All Amherst elementary students will get out at 1:20 for parent-teacher conferences.

Crocker Cares Warm Winter Clothing Drive

It’s that time again – the weather is getting cooler and we’re thinking about winter. In an effort to ensure that all Crocker Farm children are toasty this winter season the PGO is collecting warm winter outerwear again this year. 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:
Anytime during school hours, October 27 – November 12 in the CF lobby.
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 Monday November 15, 6:00 – 8:00pm or Tuesday November 16, 8:30am – 3:00pm.

Any left over items will be donated to the Amherst Survival Center. If you have any questions, please contact Erika Zekos ( or Micaela Henry ( Thank you for your donation!

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Upcoming Bake Sales

The CF PGO is putting the call out for bakers for this Friday's Halloween Dance Party (Cf Cafeteria from 6:30 PM - 8:30 PM), as well as for the Election Day Bake Sale on Tuesday, November 2nd from 8 AM - 8 PM.  The Halloween Bake Sale will benefit the newly established CF Snack Fund that aims to ensure that all CF students have access to a snack, while the Election Day Bake Sale benefits the CF General Fund.  If you'd like to help out both causes at the same time, simply bake extra for Friday, and we'll freeze the leftovers for Tuesday.

Baked goods for either day can be left in the CF office beginning this Thursday.  Thank you for your support!

Friday, October 22, 2010

Preschool needs/wish list

Three of the preschool classes are doing a unit on restaurants. If you have any of the following things not getting much action at your house, bring them to the CF front office. The preschoolers will happily put them to good use!

- play dishes-silverware, real or pretend/plastic
- cloth napkins
- small tablecloths
- small aprons
- plastic food
- small trays for serving
- dolls that reflect our diverse population
- magazines that have pictures of food we could use for menus etc.
- chef hats
- plastic vases/'fake' flowers

Thank you!

Thank you for lending a hand!

A HUGE thank you all of you who supported Crocker Farm by donating to the Lend a Hand annual fundraiser.  Thanks to our generous contributors the PGO will be able to fund many activitivities and materials that are not in Crocker Farm's budget. 

You have helped all of our children by giving them these additional opportunities!

Have you been meaning to write that check, but haven't gotten around to it yet?  Now is a great time to send a check to "Crocker Farm PGO" and:
- Drop it off with Cathy in the office.
- Put it in an envelope marked "Crocker Farm PGO" and put it in your kid's backpack.
- Send it through the mail to "Crocker Farm PGO, 280 West Street".
- Or donate online at by clicking on Donate.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

2010 Amherst Biennial: Painting Amherst with Art!

Come view artwork throughout Amherst!

The Amherst Public Art Commission is running an exhibit of over 40 artists' work here in Amherst through Dec. 5th. The exhibit is entitled Amherst Biennial: Art in Unexpected Places.

Artworks are displayed at a wide array of venues around town including businesses, galleries, farms and Kendrick Park. The exhibition will end of Dec 5th with a projection by artist Erika Zekos on the East Street School building.

Here's a list of where and when to see the art on display.

-Amherst Town Hall 4 Boltwood Ave M-W 8am-7pm, Th noon-7pm, F 8am-4:30pm

-Hope & Feather Gallery & Framing 319 Main St. Weekdays 10am-7pm, Sat. 10am-5pm

-ETTA Gallery 534 Main St. Sat & Sun 1-4 pm

-Nacul Center 592 Main St. Weekdays 9am-4pm, Sat & Sun 1-4 pm

-East Street School 31 South East St. Weekdays 1-4 pm

-Thistlebrook Farm 784 Southeast St

-Swartz Family Farm 11 Meadow St

-Kendrick Park

-AJ Hastings

-J. Austin Antiques

-Bank of America


-Chopping Block

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Superintendent search open to all CF parents

If you are a parent at CF, you are a PGO member. As such, this letter is addressed to you!

Dear School Council and PGO Members,

As you may be aware, Hazard, Young, Attea and Associates, has been hired to assist the Regional School Committee in the search process for a permanent Superintendent of Schools to begin his/her work in July 2011 or sooner. The consultants, John Connolly and Albert Argenziano will begin their work by helping define the qualities, skills and experience that the public is looking for in a permanent superintendent. To accomplish this critical task, Mr. Connolly and Mr. Argenziano will be meeting with a variety of groups representing a broad range of constituencies within the district.

I have scheduled a focus group with the consultants and the Crocker Farm School Council and PGO on Thursday, October 28 at 11:00 a.m. in the Library at Crocker Farm School. The meeting is intended to provide the consultant with information about the views of the School Council and PGO membership regarding the district’s current strengths and challenges, as well as to gather suggestions about the qualities and characteristics that the district should seek in its superintendent, as indicated above. We hope that the assigned date and time are convenient for you and the representatives from your group. Please contact Kathryn Mazur, Human Resources Director, at 362-1803 or by e-mail at to let her know who will attend the scheduled meeting. In addition to the group meetings, the consultants will hold two other public meetings to which you are also invited. These meeting will be held as follows:

Wednesday, October 27 at 2:00 p.m. in the Wildwood Library
Wednesday, October 27 at 7:00 p.m. in the High School Auditorium

We appreciate your participation in this important endeavor.


Rick Hood, Chair
Regional School Committee

Amherst Regional Middle School searching for School Council members

The ARMS School Council is searching for a community member to add to this working group. The School Council advises the principal on the budget and works to build the school improvement plan. There are monthly meetings on one Thursday from 2:45 to 4:15pm. If you are interested in helping to shape the direction of the middle school, please contact Cathy Cullen at

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

School nurse needs assistance

Can you volunteer an hour this week and next to help our esteemed school nurse, Linda Stenlund? Crocker Farm has loads of new students with loads of new health records! In addition to the paper work, Ms. Stenlund also needs someone to measure student heights and weights. This one is easy to learn, pretty fun, and the kids love it. The day and time are flexible -- we just need you!

Can you help? Email us.

Math Survey

ARPS is encouraging all families of students in our districts to complete the Family Math Survey, a component of this year’s K-12 math review. The survey can be found at It will require about 10 minutes of your time, and we’re asking families to complete it by October 27.

Also, Dr. Andrew Chen will present a Math Night for the school community on Monday, November 1, from 6:30 – 8:30 pm in the Middle School auditorium. Dr. Chen’s presentation will include initial findings from his review.

For more information about the math program or other issues pertaining to teaching and learning, please Beth Graham, Director of Curriculum,
Instruction, and Assessment at 362-1810 or email her at

Boy Scouts Open House

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, October 26 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. For more information, contact Scoutmaster Peter Crowley at (413) 253-0964.

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Halloween Dance!

The first ever CF Halloween Dance Party will be held on Friday, October 29th from 6:30 - 8:30 PM in the CF Cafeteria.  This event is open to all CF families Pre-K to Grade 6.  There will be a DJ, games, a haunted house and more.  A bake sale will benefit the CF Snack fund.  Admission is free and costumes are encouraged.

Superintendent Search

Our school district is now in the process of searching for a new Superintendent of Schools to begin work in July 2011. Hazard, Young, Attea and Associates has been hired to assist the School Committees in this search process. Consultants Al Argenziano and John Connolly of HYA will begin their work by helping the community define the qualities, skills and experience that the public is looking for in a Superintendent. The work to develop this leadership profile will occur on October 27 and October 28, during which time a variety of meetings will occur with school, parent, and community groups. In addition, a public forum will be held on Wednesday, October 27 at 7:00 pm in the ARHS Auditorium. The list of groups scheduled to meet with the consultants will be announced in the next few days.
In addition to holding public forums, we are now posting an online survey to seek your input in the process of hiring a new superintendent. This survey is designed to gather your perception on the importance of various characteristics commonly found in effective superintendents. The information will be used by the School Committees to determine the "Desired Characteristics" of our next superintendent. Select the survey link below that best represents your relationship to the School District.


Please continue to check this site for updates as the search process occurs. We deeply appreciate your participation in this important endeavor.

Rick Hood, Chair- Regional School Committee
Irv Rhodes, Chair- Amherst School Committee Debbie Gould, Chair- Pelham School Committee

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Japanese exchange students looking for homestays

November 5th-8th a group of Japanese schoolchildren, aged 10-14, are coming to our area. They are hoping to experience our culture first hand by participating in a homestay.

Is your family interested in hosting a student or two for that weekend? This is a great opportunity for a cultural exchange. There are 60 in the group, but only six more families are needed, so act quickly!

Please contact Marie Lauderdale, a local ESL teacher and guide with PeopleLink, a non-profit organization that coordinates foreign exchange programs. Her phone number is 230-1121 or email her at

Friday, October 15, 2010

Box Tops for Education

Send in those Box Tops for Education! There's a white box in the main lobby for all your cut out tops. They'll be gathered up and shipped off at the end of October so please have them all in by Wednesday, Oct. 27th.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

LSSE Halloween Festivities

Autumn in Amherst includes colorful fall foliage as well as a lively Halloween Parade set for Sunday, Oct. 31.The Amherst LSSE Department that sponsors the parade invites all pirates and princesses, super heroes and sorcerers to gather at 12:45 p.m. at Sweetser Park on Main Street for the parade that marches up Main Street, down North Pleasant Street to Kellogg Avenue ending at Bangs Center on Boltwood Walk.
Inside the Bangs Center, the fun continues from 1 to 4 p.m. at a carnival in the Large Activity Room with games, performance, a haunted house, prizes, and refreshments.

“Halloween is a favorite holiday for many children and when you can roll in a lively parade, trick or treating in downtown Amherst, performances, a haunted house and games, it just can’t get much better. This is a great way for families to have some fun and the whole town to get into the act,” said Linda Chalfant, LSSE Director.  The festivities began with Trick or Treating at downtown merchants from 10:45 a.m. to 12:45 p.m. Children in costume will collect treats from downtown businesses located on North and South Pleasant Streets and Main Street.

The Halloween Fest is open to all ages and abilities. Costumes, instruments and noisemakers are encouraged. The activities are staffed by 50 to 60 volunteers from the campuses and community.  Those interested in volunteering should email Stacey Lecuivre, LSSE Youth Program Director at  The event is also supported by the Amherst Area Chamber of Commerce and Promoting  Downtown Amherst.  For information visit: or call 259-3065.

Volunteers are needed for the annual Amherst LSSE Halloween Parade and carnival that will be held Sunday.  Oct. 31. The parade steps off at 12:45 p.m. at Sweetser Park on Main Street and ends at the Bangs Center. The carnival is from 1 -4 the Large Activity Room at the Bangs Center and features games, performance , haunted house, prizes and refreshments.  Volunteers would decorate, plan and oversee the activities and help with the clean up. About 50 to 60 volunteers are needed.

For information or to volunteer call Stacey Lecuivre, LSSE Youth Program Director, at 259-3065.

Your PGO board

At the beginning of the school year, we posted PGO board openings (go here to read all about it). We're happy to announce that almost all of those positions have been filled. While every single Crocker parent is a member of the Parent Guardian Organization, this year's PGO board members are:

Chair -- Erica Boerman
Chair -- Becky Demling
Chair -- Lucy McMurrer

Treasurer -- Sue Bernier

Social Activities Coordinator -- Anastasia Morton

Fundraising Coordinator -- Micaela Henry

But wait! We are still without a Secretary. The Secretary position is only one year and s/he is responsible for taking minutes at meetings, keeping the PGO calendar, and managing the blog. Want to help out? We'd love to have you!

Let us know. Email us:

Hispanic Heritage Night - TONIGHT!

CF's Hispanic Heritage Month Celebration is tonight, Wednesday, October 13th from 6:00 - 8:00 pm in the CF Cafeteria.

Come and celebrate a night of Latino food, culture, music, and entertainment! Please bring a Latino or Latino-inspired dish or dessert to share.

Internet Safety Event!

Please join us for an evening with Cindy Boyle, an outreach educator from the Northwestern District Attorney's Office. She will discuss the challenges we face with our children's increasing use of the internet. There will be discussion and a follow up question and answer session.

The event will be on Thursday, October 14th at 7:00 p.m. in the Crocker Farm School Cafeteria.

Math Survey

ARPS invites families of current students to fill out a brief Math Survey as part of the comprehensive K-12 Math Review. Participants are asked to complete the survey by Wednesday, October 27.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Read-a-thon reminder

Dear Parents/Guardians of Read-a-thon Participants:

We hope your child had fun reading this summer. Now it’s time to collect your pledges from your sponsors, and bring the money you collect in to your teacher. Please have your child(ren) return their pledges in an envelope with their name and grade clearly marked no later than Friday, October 15, 2010. Remember, the money you raise will go to teachers to use in their classrooms. And again this year, the grade that gets the most sponsors will win a special trophy to display at school! Thanks for all your hard work!

The Read-a-thon Coordinators
Claudia Canale-Parola, Yaniris Fernandez, Bobbie Jemsek & Monica Moran

Amherst Education Foundation Announces 16th Annual Trivia Bee!

Save the Date for Amherst’s “Not to Miss” Fall Event!
Thursday October 28th, 7:00 – 9:00 pm
Amherst Regional Middle School Auditorium

Who will get an ‘A’ at the Bee? Under the direction of Ellen Story, 30 teams will vie for bragging rights to be “Trivia Bee Champion”. The evening will include refreshments, lots of trivia and laughs. Admission is free with donations to AEF welcome.

See you there!

School picture day this Thursday!

Don't forget to brush teeth and wash faces and practice smiling! School picture day is this Thursday, October 14th!

Say "cheese!"

Monday, October 11, 2010

Compost volunteers needed!

On November 1, 2010 we will begin composting our lunchtime fruit and vegetable waste on-site. The finished compost can be used to enrich soil on school grounds, a great resource for those interested in pursuing school gardening projects.

In order to ensure the program’s success, a number of short- and long-term parent volunteers are needed. Parent help can be as simple as periodic “compost coaching” in the Cafeteria during the first weeks of the program, or as involved as monitoring the compost pile to make sure it has the right chemical mix so that it “cooks” properly.

If you are interested in helping, please contact Assistant Principal Derek Shea ( or Susan Waite (413-259-3049 or

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Hispanic Heritage Month Celebration

CF's Hispanic Heritage Month Celebration is this Wednesday, October 13th from 6 - 8PM in the CF Cafeteria.
Come and celebrate a night of Latino food, culture, music, and entertainment!
If you have any questions, or would like to perform (a song, dance, poetry …) for this event, please contact Yaniris Fernández (413-219-1364) or Xiomara Hernández (413-256-1397).

Please bring a Latino or Latino-inspired dish or dessert to share.

Internet Safety for our Children forum

Crocker Farm is hosting an evening event entitled, “Internet Safety for Our Children”, facilitated by Cindy Boyle, who is an outreach educator from the Northwest District Attorney’s Office. This event will be on Thursday, October 14, at 7:00 pm in the Crocker Farm cafeteria.

Crocker Farm has received a number of reports about students using Facebook and other social media sites this fall. Cindy will be able to explain how to support your children in this important area. Both here in Amherst and across the country, bullying events are more frequently taking place outside the school walls and inside social media websites.

Crocker Farm families are strongly encouraged to attend.

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Lend a Hand - The PGO's annual campaign

What does the PGO do with Lend a Hand donations? It funds field trips, purchases goods and services that the school’s budget doesn’t provide, and helps pay for special school programs and events. In short, it enhances the educational experience of all Crocker Farm students.

If you’ve already contributed to Lend a Hand, thank you! If you have the resources to donate to Lend a Hand but have yet to do so, please make your gift NOW!

You can make your gift knowing that Crocker Farm students and families do not fundraise through candy or wrapping paper sales.  This means you do not need to spend time selling products, collecting money & distributing purchases.  You do not need to pay high prices while Crocker Farm would get just a fraction of this money.   Instead of selling stuff, we're asking you to please give generously to Lend a Hand - 100% of your donation goes to our school.

It’s easy to donate. Here’s how:
- Online at Click on Donate.
- Check made out to Crocker Farm PGO. Write “Crocker Farm PGO” on the envelope and send in with your child or mail to the school (280 West Street).
- Cash. Send cash to school with your child in an envelope labeled “Crocker Farm PGO.”
- If you're in school, drop off your check (or cash) with Cathy in the office.

Your contributions benefit all Crocker Farm families!
Thank you for your support!

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Community Supported Education Blog

Residents from Amherst, Leverett, Pelham and Shutesbury have come together to broaden the dialogue about our schools and our communities. Through a group blog, meetings and small group conversations, Community Supported Education (CSE) seeks to share information, exchange ideas and engage in discussions about our shared commitment to sustaining and continuously improving our high-quality school system.
"I love the Amherst school system and want to be a part of a team that continues to support and improve them," said Andra Rose an Amherst resident and parent of two Amherst Regional Public School students
We recognize a strong and vibrant school system is key to our community identity and benefits us all – children, parents, taxpayers, and employers. The founders of Community Supported Education hope to create a safe and dynamic public space where all of us are able to learn about our schools, celebrate our successes, and share our various ideas for improvement in a way that strengthens our school system and our sense of community.
"I became involved with CSE because I am committed to public education and the importance of listening to the many voices in our communities. As a senior citizen, I am pleased to join in the dialog about our children's education," said Karen Dimock, a retired educator and an Amherst resident whose children attended Amherst Schools.
Community Supported Education creates a safe and dynamic public space for people to advance these values and vision. If you want to advance this vision, please join us. You can learn more about this new conversation at Join us by registering at

Monday, October 4, 2010

School picture day volunteers needed!

Do you have a couple of hours free on Thursday, October 14th? Want to see Crocker Farm kids at their most photogenic? Come help out at school picture day!

If you're able to volunteer (even for an hour), please send us an email.

Friday, October 1, 2010

School Governance Council

Crocker Farm will be reconstituting its School Governance Council and needs additional members! This group does the important work of drafting the School Improvement Plan (our current one runs out this spring), which guides the work of the school for the next three years, as well as offer advice to the Principal on major issues such as the budget. The group meets monthly. Please email Elizabeth Walsh ( if you are interested.

Don't Forget to Order Your Coffee

Whole Bean or Ground -- Decaf or Regular -- We've got you covered every month!

Order by Wednesday October 6 by clicking here to download your form & sending it into school with your child w/ your check. We'll send your order home by the following Wednesday.

Hispanic Heritage Month Celebration



Come and celebrate a night of Latino food, culture, music, and entertainment!
If you have any questions, or would like to perform (a song, dance, poetry …) for this event, please contact Yaniris Fernández (413-219-1364) or Xiomara Hernández (413-256-1397).
Please bring a Latino or Latino-inspired dish or dessert to share.