Wednesday, January 28, 2015

PGO Coffee for this Thurs (Jan 29th) has been postponed

The Crocker Farm PGO Coffee with the Principal & Special Guest Superintendent Maria Geryk that was scheduled for tomorrow, has been postponed because the Superintendent is now unable to attend.  We hope to reschedule the coffee for mid-February & will share the new date once it has been confirmed.   Thank you.    We apologize for any inconvenience. 

Monday, January 26, 2015

All schools closed on Tues, Jan 27th; School Committee meeting rescheduled to Feb 3rd

from the ARPS.org web site: "Due to the impending severe storm and the travel ban, there will be no school Tuesday, January 27th, for all Amherst-Pelham Regional, Amherst Public and Pelham Elementary Schools."

also:
"Due to the predicted winter storm, the Amherst-Pelham Regional School Committee meeting scheduled for tomorrow night (Tuesday, January 27, 2014) is postponed until next Tuesday, February 3rd."  The agenda and materials are available here

This Week at Crocker Farm & ARPS

Have a great week, everyone! We'll post any snow delay/cancellation announcements when we get them.

At Crocker Farm:
Thurs, Jan 29th: PGO Coffee with the Principal & with Special Guest Superintendent Maria Geryk, 8:50 am.  All are welcome!


Thurs, Jan 29th: Band & Orchestra Concert, 2 pm & 6:30 pm
       (the nighttime concert includes an ice cream sundae fundraiser to support the band & orchestra programs)

Fri, Jan 30th: Teacher Work Day - No School

Elsewhere at the ARPS:
Wed, Jan 28th: ARPS Family Center event for elementary school parents, "Enriching the Developing Brain" featuring Wildwood Elem. Psychologist Rory Keogh, 7 pm, ARHS library.  (more info here). 

Thurs, Jan 29th:  Presentation to the Regional School Committee about the proposed Middle School schedule changes, 5 pm, at the Middle School library.  The presentation has no public comment period scheduled, but will allow for questions from the audience if time periods.  For more info on the proposed changes, visit arms.arps.org


More information on the Middle School schedule changes

For parents who are interested in the proposed Amherst Regional Middle School changes & would like to know more, there is information available on the ARMS web site (arms.arps.org).

The information posted there includes a new document (dated Jan 23rd) which provides answers to questions that have been asked about the proposed changes and the process behind the proposal.   The link is this document is here.

Additionally, there will be a presentation to the Regional School Committee about the proposed changes this coming Thursday, Jan 29th, 5 pm, at the Middle School library.  The announcement for that presentation is here.  No time is scheduled during the presentation for public comment, however, as per the announcement, "questions will be taken from the audience if time permits after the School Committee questions/discussion."

The local press has reported that the decision about any schedule changes for next school year,  will be made by the beginning of Feb 2015.

Martin Luther King Jr. Celebration Recap

This past Friday, Crocker Farm has two special events to celebrate Martin Luther King Jr.: a school community breakfast in the morning, and a school-wide assembly in the afternoon.

For the breakfast, Crocker Farm staff and families provided the yummy baked goods, fruit, and juice, with plenty for all.   There were also many helpers and volunteers on the day of the breakfast, to help everything go smoothly.   Students made placemats for all the tables, and a group of sixth graders performed on stage during each of the three breakfast times.  The leftover food was distributed to classrooms to use for class snacks, which are greatly appreciated.  A big thank you to everyone who helped with this event. 


At the afternoon assembly, classes performed as did a staff chorus -- the singing was beautiful.  There was a slideshow and excerpts read from Mr. King's speeches.  Mr. Shea thanked families & the Crocker Farm staff who worked hardest on today's event including Ms. Zsigmondi, Ms. Travis, Ms. Breen, Ms. Mills, & last but not least Ms. Robinson who has been a main organizer of the Martin Luther King Jr. celebration for many years.  Mr. Stedman deserved thanks too for all his work setting up and putting away tables and chairs for the day's various events.  

A few pictures from the afternoon assembly have been shared online through a Crocker Farm PGO link:  http://tinyurl.com/nbja6l.    The link also includes audio clips of the teachers' & and school-wide singing.   






Interested in running for Town Meeting? School Committee? Select Board? Town election will be held March 31st

In addition to the Town Meeting seats up for election/re-election this Spring, there are seats on the Amherst Select Board and Amherst School Committee as well, and other town-wide offices. The deadline to return the nomination papers to be listed on the ballot  is February 10, 2015, and candidates pursuing town-wide office (such as the Select Board or School Committee) must collect signatures from at least 50 residents.  



Interested in Running for Town Meeting?

The deadline for getting your name on the ballot as a candidate for Town Meeting is February 10, 2015. Sign up in the Town Clerk's office in Town Hall. You must be a registered voter in the Town of Amherst. All it takes is one signature. If you have any questions, contact the Town Clerk at 259-3035, TownClerk@amherstma.gov or email the Town Meeting Coordinating Committee (TMCC) at townmeeting@amherstma.gov

Within a few weeks, the Amherst League of Women Voters will contact candidates who have signed up to be on the ballot to write a few sentences about themselves that will be published in the Amherst Bulletin Election Guide the week before the election. Participating in the Election Guide is a good way to increase votes for a candidate.

If you miss the deadline to be on the Ballot…
If you miss the deadline, you can run a “write-in” campaign by asking friends and neighbors in your precinct to vote for you. Write-in candidates are also advised to contact the Amherst League of Women Voters (http://www.lwvamherst.org/) to participate in the LWV Election Guide that is published in the Amherst Bulletin the week before the Annual Election.

The Annual Town Election takes place on March 31, 2015.

The Annual Town Meeting begins on Monday, April 27, 2015.

Once you are elected you will be mailed packets of information about issues to be decided at Town Meeting. An orientation for newly elected Town Meeting members will take place before the first session of Town Meeting. Educational events such as a Warrant Review, Bus Tour, and Precinct Meetings take place in the month before Town Meeting. Additional information for town meeting members can be found at www.amherstma.gov/tminfo and www.amherstma.gov/tm and by joining the Town Meeting listserv by sending an email to townmeeting@amherstma.gov. Town Meeting members can also join the Town Meeting Email Discussion Group by sending an email with your name, precinct number, and contact information to amhersttownmeeting-subscribe@yahoogroups.com .

Do you need Dependent Care so you can attend Town Meeting Sessions? The Town offers some financial support for Town Meeting members who need to pay for care for children or other household members so they can attend Town Meeting. For reimbursement (at least partial - up to $30 per session), receipts must be turned in to the Select Board Office within 2 weeks of the adjournment of Town Meeting.


source: http://www.amherstma.gov/1897/Running-for-Town-Meeting
Page last updated December 9, 2014


Amherst Together Survey for Residents


Here is the link to the survey:  https://umassresearch.co1.qualtrics.com/SE/?SID=SV_9S3HK77nmThsN4V

Dear Friends,

Amherst Together is a creativity hub for advancing community, collaboration, equity and inclusion in Amherst. Through collective impact, Amherst Together continues to evolve as an organizing infrastructure for effective community engagement, connecting people, ideas, and resources for building sustainable progress in everyday social practices. Encouraging cross-cultural interaction across social and economic lines further expands the core experience and skills that hold the potential for a healthier and happier community.

Amherst Together seeks to expand its reach in order to ensure an aligned commitment to these goals. To understand and transform the environments and conditions that matter to people and assure well-being for all, collaborative action requires participation to accelerate change.

This letter is to invite your participation in the Amherst Together public participation survey, developed from a partnership between the Amherst Together initiative and the Public Participation class, from the Landscape Architecture and Regional Planning Department (LARP) at UMass Amherst.

This fall, outreach was conducted within various segments of the Amherst population to gather input about our community. http://www.gazettenet.com/home/14317226-95/amherst-together-sponsors-survey-in-effort-to-improve-community-for-all-residents. However, in order to obtain a reliable sample of community opinion, we need to hear as many voices as possible. We are asking for your help.

The survey asks about the quality of life for those who live in the Amherst region. Our goal is to study what people value in our community, in order to respond to our diverse needs; to help us learn more about the factors that contribute to well-being and life-satisfaction for members of the Amherst community.

Participation from your organization’s membership is very important to this process. To make sure we obtain a reliable picture from Amherst’s people, we need to hear from all sectors and all walks of life. The online survey can be taken in less than 15 minutes. The survey data will not include any personally-identifying information. Responses are completely confidential.

A press release is attached, as well as a flyer publicizing this study, with a web link to the survey (and a QR code for smartphone users to scan). We are asking organizations to circulate this information by email, or through newsletters or meeting announcements.  If you have an upcoming event where flyers can be distributed, please let us know and we will supply you with the appropriate number. We are also asking employers to offer employees up to 15 minutes of time, during regular working hours if needed, to privately complete the online survey.

LARP will administer the survey, analyze the data, and prepare the reports.  The results of the survey will help identify priorities for the Amherst Together collective impact plan. We will report the results on the Amherst Together web site, which will allow community members to make suggestions for actions based on what we learn.

For more information, please visit us online at www.amhersttogether.org or take the survey at https://umassresearch.co1.qualtrics.com/SE/?SID=SV_9S3HK77nmThsN4V.  If you have any questions about the survey, please contact Professor Flavia Montenegro-Menezes at LARP (flaviamont@larp.umass.edu or 545-1784).


Thank you in advance for your help! We look forward to using the results in our continuous efforts to support the wellbeing of our community.

~Carol Ross

Carol Ross
Media & Climate Communications
Amherst Together

170 Chestnut Street
Amherst, MA 01002
4 Boltwood Avenue
Amherst, MA 01002

413-362-1820
rossc@arps.org
rossc@amherstma.gov

PC Software Doctor Hank at the Munson Memorial Library


Are you a PC, Apple, E-Reader and/or Tablet user who needs help with your software/devices?  If so, this may be the program for you!

PC Software Doctor Hank will be holding a series of clinics from 3-5pm at the Munson Memorial Library every Tuesday afternoon through May 26th.  

Free and open to the public.

Call 413.259.3095 after 2 pm for more information.

This program made possible by the Friends of the Jones Library System.

(Not a school or PGO-sponsored event)

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

This Week & Upcoming at Crocker Farm & ARPS

This Week & Upcoming At Crocker Farm:

Fri, Jan 23rd:  Martin Luther King Jr. celebration & breakfast for students & parents
We are still looking for parents to help at the breakfast & to provide fruit & baked goods for the meal. You can signup to help here: (sign-up link)
The breakfast times are as follows:
8:45 – 9:10: 1) Robinson 2) Hughes 3) Joyce 4) G.B. 5) Donovan 6) Radtke
9:15 – 9:40: 1) Prather 2) Teitelman 3) Harvey 4) Pratt 5) McCloskey 6) Moriarty
9:45 – 10:10: 1) Mattone 2) Carson 3) Lefebvre 4) Donoghue 5) Bartolini 6) Coley 

Fri, Jan 23rd:  Martin Luther King Jr. school-wide assembly, 2 pm.
Thurs, Jan 29th:  PGO Coffee with the Principal, with Special Guest Superintendent Maria Geryk, 8:50 am, Crocker Farm Community Room.
Thurs, Jan 29th: Band & Orchestra Concert, 2 pm & 6:30 pm
Fri, Jan 30th:  Teacher Work Day.  No School. 

Other ARPS Events:

Tues, Jan 20th:  Amherst School Committee meeting, 6 pm, ARHS Library  (agenda & meeting materials avail here).  The agenda includes a presentation on the FY2016 budget & a forum on school choice enrollments.
Tues, Jan 20th:  Information meeting on the Proposed MS schedule changes, 6:30 pm, ARMS Library. More information on the proposal & the reasoning behind it is available at the ARMS web site: arms.arps.org.

Wed, Jan 21st:  SEPAC (Special Education Parents Advisory Council) meeting, 10 am, ARMS Professional Development Room  (Agenda here).
Wed, Jan 21st:  Meeting on HS Math curriculum for next year,  6:30 pm, ARHS library (more details here)
Tues, Jan 27th:   Joint Meeting of the Amherst, Pelham, & Regional School Committees, 6 pm, ARHS Library.
Wed, Jan 28th:  ARPS  Family Center event for elementary school parents, "Enriching the Developing Brain" featuring Wildwood Elem. Psychologist Rory Keogh, 7 pm, ARHS library.

Enriching the Developing Brain Event For Parents

The ARPS Family Center has an amazing event for our elementary school parents
"Enriching the Developing Brain" featuring Wildwood Elementary Psychologist Rory Keogh. The

Date & Time: Wednesday, January 28th at 7pm.
Location: ARHS Library



For more information, please contact Juan Burns (burnsj@arps.org) at the ARPS Family Center.
 


Estimulando el cerebro de un nino en desarrollo

Miércoles, 28 de enero a las 7:00 PM.
Biblioteca de la Escuela Superior

Amherst town libraries, Food for Fines, through Jan 31st

PRESS RELEASE

Amherst, MA – The Jones Library and branches will be offering a “food for fines” amnesty period from January 2 – 31, 2015.    Library patrons who bring a non-perishable, non-expired food donation or make a monetary contribution to the Amherst Survival Center when they return overdue library materials during this time will have the fines on those overdue materials forgiven. 

“This is a great opportunity for patrons with long-overdue library materials to get those items back to the library without having to pay the fines that are accumulating,” says Amy Anaya, Head of Borrower Services at the Jones Library.  It’s important to note that the amnesty applies only to items that are being returned during this time, and not to existing overdue fines on items that have already been returned or for billed or lost items.
 
Holding a Food for Fines drive is a long-standing annual tradition at the Jones Library.  The food and funds collected will support the work of the Amherst Survival Center, the local service agency that assists many in our community in meeting their basic needs.

For further information about Food for Fines, please contact Amy Anaya at 413/259-3132.

Hilltown Families Homemade Valentine's Swap

Free to sign up & open to all families in Western Mass.
To signup, visit, the Hilltown Families web site:  https://hilltownfamilies.wordpress.com/2015/01/05/valentine-swap/
Deadline to signup:  Thurs, Jan 29th

 
It’s that time of the year again! For the past seven years, Hilltown Families has coordinated a community Handmade Valentine Swap — and we’re doing it again! Making handmade valentines is a great way to push against the commercialization of yet another holiday, while being creative with your family and friends. Sign up at the link above!  It’s free to sign up and open to all families in western Massachusetts!
A handmade valentine swap gives local families an opportunity to be creative together while connecting with other families in Western Massachusetts.  Through the swap, participating families mail out handmade valentines to ten assigned addresses, and in return, they receive handmade valentines from ten other participating families.  The cards can be handmade by any combination of child and adult, so if you’re kids aren’t completely up to the task, or if an adult would like to make their own design, there’s flexibility.  All are welcome. 

Deadline to sign up is Thursday, January 29th. On Friday (1/30/15), you will be emailed your assigned names/address of participants to mail your handmade valentines to.  Everyone is kindly requested to mail your valentines off by Feb. 7th.

Not a school or PGO-sponsored event

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Important: Date Changed for Martin Luther King Jr. Breakfast at Crocker Farm

Dear Crocker Farm PGO friends,

The PGO has been informed that the date for Crocker Farm's Martin Luther King Jr. breakfast has been moved from Thurs, Jan 14th (tomorrow), to Fri, Jan 23rd. We are sorry for any inconvenience this may cause, & we hope that everyone will still be able to participate. If you have volunteered & are no longer able to, please update the signup sheet accordingly.  If you had wanted to volunteer & now can because of the new date, your help would be most appreciated.  You can signup at the link below.

best regards,
Your PGO

Signup to help here.  Thank you!:  http://www.signupgenius.com/go/10c0f4ca9ac22a5fa7-crocker

Two news articles on the regional (MS & HS) budget cuts & the proposed new MS schedule

We are sharing these articles in case families are interested.
Also, more information on both the budget and the MS schedule is available on the ARPS web site.


Gazette article on the proposed budget cuts (printed Jan 14, 2015)
http://www.gazettenet.com/news/townbytown/shutesbury/15219233-95/revenue-squeeze-likely-to-force-layoffs-in-amherst-pelham-regional-school-district


MassLive article on the proposed MS schedule & parent & student comments.  More information on the proposed schedule is available at the MS web site (arms.arps.org).  Additionally, the MS administration will be holding two more information meetings on the proposed schedule changes:
* Friday, January 16th, 7:45-9:15AM, in the PD Center at ARMS.
* Tuesday, January 20th, 6:30-8:30PM, in the ARMS Library.
http://www.masslive.com/news/index.ssf/2015/01/parents_students_ask_amherst_s.html

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

This Week & Upcoming at Crocker Farm & ARPS


This Week & Upcoming At Crocker Farm:

Wed, Jan 14th:  Early dismissal.  1:20 pm
Thurs, Jan 15th:  Martin Luther King Jr. celebration & breakfast for students & parents
          Signup to help here (sign-up link)
Breakfast times are as follows:
8:45 – 9:10: 1) Robinson 2) Hughes 3) Joyce 4) G.B. 5) Donovan 6) Radtke
9:15 – 9:40: 1) Prather 2) Teitelman 3) Harvey 4) Pratt 5) McCloskey 6) Moriarty
9:45 – 10:10: 1) Mattone 2) Carson 3) Lefebvre 4) Donoghue 5) Bartolini 6) Coley 



Mon, Jan 19th:   NO SCHOOL, Martin Luther King Jr. Holiday
Thurs, Jan 29th:  PGO Coffee with the Principal, with Special Guest Superintendent Maria Geryk, 8:50 am, Crocker Farm Community Room
Thurs, Jan 29th: Band & Orchestra Concert, 2 pm & 6:30 pm
Fri, Jan 30th:  Teacher Work Day.  No School. 


Other ARPS Events:
Tues, Jan 13th:  Regional School Committee meeting, 6 pm (agenda & materials for meeting here)
Wed, Jan 14th:   School Equity Task Force meeting, 6 pm, ARHS library
Wed, Jan 21st:  SEPAC (Special Education Parents Advisory Council) meeting, 10 am, ARMS Professional Development Room
Wed, Jan 21st:  Meeting on HS Math curriculum for next year,  6:30 pm, ARHS library (more details here)   

Monday, January 12, 2015

Middle school schedule changes

Information on the proposed middle school schedule changes is available on the Middle School's APRS web site  (arms.arps.org).

The information posted there includes the school's & district's rationale for the schedule change.  Here is the link to that document.  (link)  

The Daily Hampshire Gazette also published an article about the proposed changes & last week's information meeting for parents.  (link)

After that meeting, one parent with children at multiple Amherst schools, including Crocker Farm, sent out an email about the proposed changes and the decision making process. Excerpts from that email are below. 

The Crocker Farm PGO has taken no position on the proposed middle school schedule changes and is sharing the text of the email strictly for informational purposes.
-------------
"The following is a clarification on the decision process for the ARMS schedule proposal (that among other things cuts language 32% and cuts music 18%), that ARMS Asst Principal Mike Malone told me during a telephone call on Friday 1/9:
  • "Per the teachers' union contract, the design of the schedule proposal had to be fixed in place on 12/1/14.  It now has to have an all-of-nothing decision to either accept everything or reject everything, made by the Superintendent by 2/1.  There are no changes that can be made to anything: it either all goes through, or nothing goes through.
  • "The teachers' union contract requires that teacher feedback be solicited and replied to, but there is no such requirement to communicate with parents/community, or to present to the SC.  The 1/8 parents meeting therefore was just an FYI; there was no parent input meeting/survey/etc prior to the 12/1/14 deadline to gather input or hear concerns."
Tonight's School Committee meeting (7 pm, in the ARHS library), is the only School Committee meeting scheduled before the 2/1 deadline.
------------------ 
Parents/guardians who have comments or concerns on the proposed middle school schedule changes can contact the School Committee members, the Middle School principal and assistant principal, or the Superintendent's office.

In other news, the Crocker Farm PGO is hosting a Coffee with the Principal and Special Guest Superintendent Maria Geryk on Thursday, January 29th at 8:50 am in the school's Community Room (across from the cafeteria).  All are welcome.  The superintendent will be providing updates on the district and our schools, and there will be time for questions and answers as well.  

Saturday, January 10, 2015

Superintendent Geryk & Other ARPS Administrators Speaking at League of Women Voters Forum, Jan 15th


Interested in learning more about our public schools? 

The Amherst League of Women Voters will be holding a public forum on the State of our Schools, Thursday, Jan 15th at 7 pm, at the Jones Library. 

Superintendent Geryk and other ARPS administrators (Mike Morris, Assistant Superintendent; Monica Hall, Director of Diversity & Equity; and Marta Guevera, Director of Achievement and Accountability) will be speaking at the event. 

The speakers will cover: * core curriculum, arts integration (ECT), civics education and high stakes testing,
* equity, changing ARPS demographics and restorative justice,
* the ARPS Family Center: programs, opportunities and support for all students & families


as well as partnerships with Amherst College and Hampshire College. Each will speak for about ten minutes, with plenty of time for Q&A.



for more information, please visit the LWV web page:  link

Crocker Farm awarded $500 from the Amherst Cultural Council to help fund arts field trips

The Amherst Local Cultural Council has awarded Crocker Farm $500 to help subsidize the cost of attending UMass Fine Arts performances for our students.  A big thank you to the Amherst Cultural Council! and thanks as well to Ms. Zsigmondi, parent Isolda Ortega-Bustamante, and others who worked on the grant application.

Crocker Farm will be sending each K-6th grade class on one field trip to the UMass Fine Arts Center this school year.   The K, 1st, 2nd, and 4th grade classes went to a performance in the fall, and the 3rd, 5th, & 6th grade classes will attend one next month.   Grants such as this one, and other donations/grants, help keep these field trips affordable and accessible to all our students.    To send every Crocker class to a UMass Fine Arts Center show for schools costs close to $2700 in total for the tickets.   These trips wouldn't be possible without this outside funding. 

Regional School Committee Meeting Jan 13th


Amherst-Pelham Regional School Committee
meets January 13th, at 6 pm Amherst Regional High School Library

The meeting agenda includes updates from the Regional Agreement Working Group (RAWG) looking at regionalization for the Amherst, Pelham, Leverett, Shutesbury elementary schools, an update from SEPAC (the Special Education Parents Advisory Council), and a presentation on next year's (FY2016) school budget.

The budget projections show a budget shortfall even under the best conditions.  The FY2016 budget proposes a net reduction to the level services budget of $932K, including $249K of targeted additions and $1.181 in total reductions ("Level services is defined as taking the current year's level of services and projecting that level of services forward one year taking into consideration enrollment changes, insurance changes, contracted salary increases, and other contracted changes.") 

More information on the agenda, agenda items, and the packet of handouts for the meeting are available at this link (agenda & packet link)

Updates from the Superintendent

January 9th, 2015

Dear Parents and Guardians:

Happy New Year! I hope you and your family enjoyed a wonderful vacation! 

The third in our series of parent math nights addressing our high school math review has been shifted from Wednesday, January 14th to Wednesday, January 21st from 6:30 p.m. – 7:45 p.m. in the ARHS library. The purpose of the meeting is for parents and guardians to see the recommended math course sequence and curriculum for grades 9 – 12. To see past presentations, information about the ARHS math review, and answers to frequently asked questions please click here. If you have questions please contact Dr. Ian Stith at stithi@arps.org or Jane Mudie, ARHS Math Department Head, at mudiej@arps.org.

We are glad many of you were able to attend the middle school meetings regarding schedule changes for the 2015-2016 school year with ARMS Principal Mendonsa this week. If you were unable to attend, please see the middle school home page here for links to a draft of the new schedule and the rationale behind the proposed changes. 

At the South East Campus, students have been doing projects related to the theme of sustainability. They are engaged in environmental research as well as more hands-on projects to reduce waste in Amherst. Read more details here about these projects.

Child psychologist, Rory Keogh, Psy.D, will offer a presentation called “Enriching the Developing Brain” in the ARHS library on Wednesday, January 28th at 7 p.m. All are welcome. If you have questions, please email Juan Burns in the ARPS Family Center at burnsj@arps.org

Next Tuesday, January 13 the Regional School Committee will be at 6:00 p.m. in the ARHS library.  For the agenda and materials for the meeting, please click here.

Sincerely,
Maria Geryk, Superintendent of Schools

Amherst Lacrosse Spring Season, for K-8th Grade - Registration deadline Jan 25th

For more info, contact Alve Borrell, Director, Amherest Youth Lacrosse
413-549-0943, admin@amherstyouthlacrosse.org

or check the web site:  www.amherstyouthlacrosse.org

(click to enlarge)

Winter Conditioning Clinic for ages 8-15 - 10 weeks

 
Develop strength, power and flexibility between sport seasons.  Join the Winter Youth Conditioning Clinic for kids 8-15 years old.  The 10, 1-hour sessions will focus on keeping kids fit with exercises that are challenging, creative and fun!  All fitness levels welcome. 
 
Tuesdays, January 27-April 7 (no class February 10) in downtown Amherst,  
5:30pm 8-10 years old,
6:30pm 11-15 years old.  
$150 for the 10 week session. 
 
Contact Patrick Schilling for more information and to register, 1to1wellness@comcast.net, 413-687-7713
 
 




Amherst Town Libraries -- Food for Fines, through Jan 31st

PRESS RELEASE

Amherst, MA – The Jones Library and branches will be offering a “food for fines” amnesty period from January 2 – 31, 2015.    Library patrons who bring a non-perishable, non-expired food donation or make a monetary contribution to the Amherst Survival Center when they return overdue library materials during this time will have the fines on those overdue materials forgiven. 

“This is a great opportunity for patrons with long-overdue library materials to get those items back to the library without having to pay the fines that are accumulating,” says Amy Anaya, Head of Borrower Services at the Jones Library.  It’s important to note that the amnesty applies only to items that are being returned during this time, and not to existing overdue fines on items that have already been returned or for billed or lost items.

Holding a Food for Fines drive is a long-standing annual tradition at the Jones Library.  The food and funds collected will support the work of the Amherst Survival Center, the local service agency that assists many in our community in meeting their basic needs.

For further information about Food for Fines, please contact Amy Anaya at 413/259-3132.

Friday, January 9, 2015

Amherst Lions Club Ski & Sale Sale - Crocker Farm PGO Fundraiser; Jan 9th & 10th

The PGO is still seeking volunteers to help with this sale, especially on Sat, Jan 10th.  The sale is Fri, 6-9 pm, and Sat, 10 am-2 pm.   If you can help, please contact Justyne (justyneogdahl@gmail.com).  Thanks!   

The ski & skate sale is a fundraiser for the Amherst Lions Club, and the proceeds benefit the Crocker Farm PGO, the Amherst schools, and other Lions Club projects.   

Crocker Farm Martin Luther King Jr. Breakfast - Thurs Jan 15th

Crocker Farm will be holding a breakfast for all students on Thursday, Jan 15th, in honor of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. 

The breakfast times are as follows:
8:45 – 9:10: 1) Robinson 2) Hughes 3) Joyce 4) G.B. 5) Donovan 6) Radtke
9:15 – 9:40: 1) Prather 2) Teitelman 3) Harvey 4) Pratt 5) McCloskey 6) Moriarty
9:45 – 10:10: 1) Mattone 2) Carson 3) Lefebvre 4) Donoghue 5) Bartolini 6) Coley 


Parents are invited to attend with their child(ren). We are seeking volunteers to help provide fruit, baked goods, & juice for the meal, and to help serve. Please visit our online signup form if you can help out: http://tinyurl.com/l2wphkh. Thanks!



Calvin Terrell Presentation This Sun, Jan 11th

Message from the district, sent Jan 8, 2015:
 

Good Evening Parents/Guardians:

Calvin Terrell, founder and lead facilitator of Social Centric, will return to Amherst on Sunday, January 11. The purpose of this visit will be to re-create the presentation experienced by 7th, 8th and 9th grade students in October. All parents and guardians are invited to attend this free presentation, which is scheduled to begin at 5pm in the ARMS Auditorium (170 Chestnut Street). This presentation is meant for parents and guardians; please refrain from bringing students to this event. If you have questions, please contact Kimberly Stender at 413-362-1825 or stenderk@arps.org.


Calvin Terrell regresa a Amherst el domingo, 11 de enero

-------- Original Message --------
Subject: Calvin Terrell Presentation for Parents
Date: Thu, 08 Jan 2015 15:00:28 -0800
From: Kimberly Stender

Buenas Noches, Padres y Encargados:
Calvin Terrell, fundador y facilitador principal de "Social Centric" regresa a Amherst el domingo, 11 de enero.  El proposito de su visita es re-crear la presentacion que hizo a los estudiantes de los grados 7 y 8 y 9 en octubre.  Todos  los padres y encargados estan invitados a esta presentacion gratuita que se llevara a cabo a partir de las 5 pm en el auditorio de la escuela intermedia (Calle Chestnut #170). Esta presentaci√≥n es para los padres y tutores; por favor se abstengan de llevar a los alumnos a este evento. Si tiene alguna pregunta, favor de llamar a Kimberly Stender al 413-362-1825 o escribiendo a stenderk@arps.org

Wednesday, January 7, 2015

Proposed Middle School Schedule Changes - Meeting Jan 8th, 7 pm

Parents of upper elementary school students: the middle school (ARMS) is proposing some significant changes in the school day schedule for next year's 7th and 8th graders.

On Thursday January 8th, at 7 PM (at the ARMS Library) the middle school administration will be hosting an information night for the school community at large where they will share their rationale for the proposed schedule change and answer questions.

Information about the proposed schedule change is on the school website: http://arms.arps.org/

Here is a link to the rationale for the proposed schedule change:
http://arms.arps.org/UserFiles/Servers/Server_927081/File/Rationale%20for%20ARMS%20Schedule%20Change.pdf

Here is a visual on the proposed schedule change:
http://arms.arps.org/UserFiles/Servers/Server_927081/File/Schedule%20Change%20Visual%2012.23.pdf

Comments about the proposed changes can be directed to the ARMS principal, the superintendent and the school committee.


Some of the key changes embedded in and/or facilitated by the proposed schedule:

(from the link above)

Co - teaching will be the model for inclusion.

• Students will have PE/Health every other day all year (from every other day for ½ the year)

Music will be every other day (2.5 days per week or 162.5 minutes per week), a decrease from 4 days per week or 197 minutes per week, a 17.5% decrease).   In addition, the schedule will have new music classes, and there will also be intro to music classes and electives , addressing long - standing access issues and increasing access to music from roughly 70% of students to over 90% (some students will continue to need to access services during music) .

Exploratories for 7th grade will be in quarters as they are now: however, two of the four quarters will be introductions to two languages/cultures: French, Spanish or Latin – students will register for their top two languages/cultures and be guaranteed to receive one of them. 7th graders will also have one quarter of Drama and one quarter of Art.

8th graders will have Exploratory or Language Electives. 8th graders will choose either a full year of language 1 (Spanish, French or Latin for a year of HS credit) or a choice mixture of semester drama, semester art, semester dance/movement

No more study halls – students will be in music/PE and Exploratories in 7th and will choose between full year of language 1 or semesters of Drama/Art/Dance in 8th

World Language (WL) - Chinese 1A discontinued (1B still offered next year for students currently in 1A) - While there may appear to be a risk of having less student s in WL in 8th grade, currently (2014 - 2015) 48% of 8th graders don’t take a language (50% of 8th graders are in language 1B and 2% are in language 1A) . We anticipate 50% or more of 8th graders will continue to take language.

Advisory in the middle of the day, and longer Advisory will increase from 81 mins per week to 135 (11 mins Mon and 20 mins Tues – Friday to 27 minutes each day). Thus, all students’ schedules will have a one hour break from academics in the middle of the day, as lunch and advisory will make up a one hour section. This will increase our ability to deliver academic support as well as our PBIS, social - emotional, school climate, wellness and movement and social justice and equity curricula, and give students a full hour each day of non-core time.

Overall. The balance between core academic time and aesthetics and World Language shifts from 62.5% core (with 12.5% of that in core skills, in which curricula could not be completed) and 37.5% aesthetics and World Language (music, exploratories) to 66.6% core (all time focused on curricula) and 33.3% aesthetics and World Language. While this is a shift, we believe this shift is necessary to meet our mission of bringing all students to proficiency according to the Mass standards while attending to the social, emotional and physical needs of our students. This balance (1/3+ of overall instructional time in non-core classes) maintains Amherst Middle School’s and the Amherst and Pelham region’s commitment to the whole child and a rich and wide variety of opportunities to explore a range of means to engage, learn and grow.

Two-hour delay on Thurs, Jan 8th




All families, please take note:

From the ARPS Web site (http://www.arps.org/)


Two Hour Delay 1-8-15
Due to extreme cold, all Amherst, Pelham, and Regional Schools will have a two hour delay tomorrow, Thursday 1/8/2015. As a reminder, it is especially important to wear warm clothing when the weather is this severe.


Tuesday, January 6, 2015

Target Grant for field trip to UMass Fine Arts Center

Congratulations & many thanks to Ms. Zsigmondi and parent Rima Dael for their work on an application for a field trip grant from Target. We just learned that the $700 we requested was awarded to Crocker Farm. Hurray! This money will be used to subsidize the cost of our 3rd, 5th, & 6th grades attending The Folktales of Zora Neale Hurston at the Fine Arts Center at UMass. 
 
There is limited money for field trips in the school budget, so Ms. Z & the PGO seeks out other sources of funding to help pay for them & make them accessible & affordable to all our families. Congrats, again! 
 
& Thank You Target for your donations for education. To date, Target has given more than $875 million to schools for special programs, books & supplies, field trips, and more, & has made a goal of reaching $1 billion by 2015.   You can learn more about Target's commitment to education here:  www.target.com/education

IDT Host Family Opportunities



New Bricks 4 Kidz Preschool and Elementary Enrichment classes

New Bricks 4 Kidz Preschool and Elementary Enrichment classes are starting up in January in the following locations:

Second Chances in South Amherst
  • "Ticket to Ride" Ages 6-10 Fridays 3:45 pm-4:45 pm starting January 9
  • "Numbers 0-5" Ages 3-5  Fridays 5:00 pm-5:45 pm starting January 9
Hadley Parks and Recreation Building
  • "Numbers 0-5" Ages 3-5 Fridays 9:00 am-9:45 am starting January 9
Hadley Elementary School
  • Free demo class: Spin Art Machine Grades 1-5 3:00 pm - 4:00 pm Wed. Jan. 7
  • "Cranium Contraptions" Grades 1-5 Wednesdays 3:00-4:00 pm starting January 14
South Hadley Public Library
  • "USA Landmarks" Ages 5-7 Tuesdays 3:45 pm - 4:45 pm starting January 6
  • "Transportation Timeline" Ages 7-10 Tuesdays 5:00 pm - 6:00 pm starting January 6
  • "Numbers 0-5" Ages 3-5 Wednesdays 10:00 am -10:45 am starting January 7
  • "It's a Wild Life" Ages 5-7 Saturdays 9:45 am - 10:45 am starting January 10
  • "Cranium Contraptions" Ages 7-10 Saturdays 11:00 am -12:00 pm starting January 10
Please visit our Website to learn more about these programs and to register.

Not a School Sponsored Event.


Comming Together Project: Michelle Alexander speech screening this Thurs, Jan 8th

Dear Community Members,
  
We at Coming Together Amherst hope that your holidays were restorative and joyful.  As we enter the new year we continue our Coming Together film series with a powerful speech given by Michelle Alexander, author of "The New Jim Crow”.  Please Join us Thursday January 8th at The Jones Library in Amherst at 7pm. 
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 Michelle Alexander speaks about “The New Jim Crow”- a powerful speech given at the Abyssinian Baptist Church in Harlem, NY- Thursday, January 8th, 2015 at The Jones Library.  Free and open to the public.
The New Jim Crow is a stunning account of the rebirth of a caste-like system in the United States, one that has resulted in millions of African Americans locked behind bars and then relegated to a permanent second-class status denied the very rights supposedly won in the Civil Rights Movement. This DVD has been dubbed the secular bible of a new social movement by numerous commentators, including Cornel West, and has led to consciousness-raising efforts in universities, churches, community centers, re-entry centers and prisons nationwide. The New Jim Crow tells a truth our nation has been reluctant to face.”
Alexander shows that, by targeting black men through the War on Drugs and decimating communities of color, the U.S. criminal justice system functions as a contemporary system of racial control, even as it formally adheres to the principle of colorblindness.”
Hoping to see you there,
Russ Vernon-Jones and the rest of us at Coming Together Amherst
Upcoming Dates:
  • Thursday, Feb 5 – video; “Vincent Who?” a powerful film about Vincent Chin and the Asian American civil rights movement
  • Tuesday, March 3 – feature film:  “Smoke Signals” a film debunking stereotypes about native people, followed by discussion with some local native people.
  • We are also planning an evening with a multi-racial panel of local people sharing their experiences and perspectives and leading a general conversation with the community.

Monday, January 5, 2015

This Week & Upcoming at Crocker Farm & ARPS

This Week & Upcoming At Crocker Farm:
Today, Jan 5th:  1st day of school for 2015.  Welcome back
Thurs, Jan 8th: afterschool Zumba class for parents & staff, 3:30 pm
Fri & Sat, Jan 9th-10th:  Ski & Snowboard Sale at Crocker Farm,
         (fundraiser for the Amherst Lions Club & the Crocker Farm PGO)

Wed, Jan 14th:  Early dismissal.  1:20 pm
Thurs, Jan 15th:  Martin Luther King Jr. celebration
Fri, Jan 16th:  Afterschool chess club starts for grades 4-6   (signup form)
Mon, Jan 19th:  No school

Other ARPS Events:
Thurs, Jan 8th:  Meeting on proposed middle school schedule for 2015-16, 7 pm, 
              ARMS Library (more details here)
Tues, Jan 13th:  Regional School Committee meeting, 6 pm
Wed, Jan 14th:   School Equity Task Force meeting, 6 pm, ARHS library
Thurs, Jan 15th:  Meeting on HS Math curriculum for next year,  6:30 pm, ARHS library (more details here)   

Reminder: Easy to Support Crocker Farm when you Shop at Stop & Shop and Target

Two Great Ways to Support Crocker Farm At No Cost to You


Stop & Shop  A+ Rewards

 Through the program, families register their Stop & Shop card to earn points for their school(s), and then the school(s) each time the family shops at the store.  Last year, Crocker Farm earned close to $500.  

If you haven't registered your Stop & Shop card yet for the A+ Rewards program, you can do so at this web site. http://www.stopandshop.com/aplus/register-card/    Crocker Farm has school ID 05194 for the program.  Family members can register to support Crocker Farm School too.   Stop & Shop (& its parent company) has stores in MA, CT, VT, NJ, NY, DE, MD, and WV. 



So far this school year, Crocker Farm has earned just over $140 in A+ Rewards.  The A+ Rewards program for the 2014-2015 year runs through March 19th, 2015.   There are just 2 1/2 months to go!  
 

Target Take Charge of Education

Families with a Target REDcard can signup in the Take Charge of Education program so that Crocker Farm earns 1% of the value of all purchases.   The online signup is here.   Crocker Farm's program ID: 58644.   So far this school year, Crocker Farm has earned just over $300. 

If you are interested in a REDcard debit or credit card and don't have one yet, you can apply for one here.   REDcard holders receive 5% off on all purchases, free shipping at target.com, and 30 extra days for returns (some restrictions apply).  

Sunday, January 4, 2015

January School Lunch Menu

The school lunch menu can also be downloaded at this link:  school_menu_link


(click to enlarge)


Free Zumba classes for parents & school staff, 3:30 pm on Thursdays

Join us for these fun workouts!   These free classes are being taught by Rebecca Woodland, a Crocker Farm parent & licensed Zumba instructor.