Monday, March 30, 2015

This Week at Crocker Farm & ARPS

MCAS Testing Continues.  Full MCAS Schedule (grades 3-6) for Crocker Farm is posted here: CF_MCAS
  This week:
     Tues 3/31:  Grades 4 & 6, ELA (English Language Arts)
     Wed 4/1:  Grades 4 & 6, ELA
     Thurs, 4/2:  Make ups

Fri, 4/3:  No School.  

Book Swap Collection Boxes are now out in the main lobby & at the preschool entrance.  The PGO is collecting children's books for all ages & are especially seeking chapter books for grades 4-6 readers.  The book swap will be held on April 14th &15th. 

Wed, 4/1, 7 pm:  Science & technology workshop - Makerspace, for students, at the ARHS Library.  Sponsored by the ARPS Family Center and  More info available here. 

Wed, 4/1:  Deadline for nominating students to receive an award at the African American Achievement Awards night on May 7th.   Nomination forms are available at this link.  (nomination_form).   More info is available here.  Please direct all questions to Kimberly Stender, at

Sunday, March 29, 2015

ARPS Family Center Newsletter: Winter 2015

Read the latest newsletter from the Amherst Regional Public Schools Family Center (link.)

LSSE Spring Trip to New York City: April 11

Join LSSE for Spring in New York!
Saturday, April 11
Departs 7 am from Amherst Regional High School parking lot
Returns between 9 and 10 pm
Cost: $49 per person
Avoid the hassle of parking, and enjoying a relaxing ride to Manhattan on our Luxury Coach Bus.
You may spend the day as you please
Don't pass up this wonderful opportunity!
To register: 413-259-3065 or
Exciting new art classes with the author of Little Pig Joins the Band and I Can Help. Kids learn basic, age-appropriate drawing techniques, and group drawing games.

The Joy of Making Art
Ages 5 - 7
Wednesdays, Apr 1 - May 13
4:00 - 5:00
Cost: $119

Visual Storytelling
Ages 7 - 10
Thursdays, Apr 2 - May 14
5:30 - 6:30
Cost: $119

To register: 413-259-3065 or

LSSE Drama Workshop Grades 3-5

Drama Workshop
Grades 3 - 5
Gods, Godesses, and Percy Jackson
Wednesdays Apr 8 - Jun 10, 5:00 - 6:30
Cost: $139 (plus $10 lab fee)
To register: 413-259-3065, or
Come join us on Mount Olympus as we "try on" the characters of those fun and fasinating Greek Gods. What would it be like to be Zeus, Hera, Hades, Athena, Poseideon, or Aphrodite? We will also explore the characters of the Percy Jackson novels, integrating the ancient with the modern. Through drama games, improvisation, scene work, storytelling, and monologues, participants will have a chance to learn about and explore the mythical world of heroes, gods, goddesses, and bests. Art activities will also be included.

LSSE Youth Improv Classes grades 6-8

Youth Improvisation
Ages 11 - 14 (grades 6 - 8)
Tuesdays 4:30 - 6:00 PM
Apr 7 - Jun 9
Bangs Community Center
Cost: $124 (plus $10 lab fee)
To register: 413-259-3065 or
A take-off on the popular "Whose Line Is It Anyway?" show, this class will give participants an opportunity to hone their improvisational skills in a humorous, playful, nonjudgmental, and supportive setting. The acting exercises, drama games, and scene work are designed to encourage young actors to take creative risks, while increasing their improvisational comfort level and self-confidence.
Participants will increase their listening and collaborative skills, as well as verbal and physical confidence on stage. Participants will visit Hampshire College for a fun evening of Improv with Hampshire students and perform for a young audience. Informal demo at last class. $10 lab fee due at first class

LSSE Youth Flag Football Clinic: Registration Open

Youth Flag Football Clinic
Mondays and Wednesdays, Apr 6 - Apr 29, 5:00 - 6:30
For boys and girls in grades 1 - 6.
To register: 413-259-3065,, or email

For the past five seasons, the Town of Amherst Leisure Services in conjunction with Amherst College head coach EJ Mills, Amherst College Football coaching staff and Amherst Youth Football volunteers have run an instructional program to teach the game of non-contact flag football to boys and girls of all abilities in grades 1-6. In his 18 year tenure at Amherst, Coach Mills has been named the Division II/III New England Head Coach of the Year by the Gridiron Club of Greater Boston, the NESCAC Coach of the Year and the American Football Coaches Association Coach of the Year. In the past five seasons Coach Mills has compiled an impressive record of 35-5! Come learn and    develop the necessary skills and concepts of basic football in a safe and fun environment!

Kid-Friendly Dance Performance by PVPA

PVPA Dance Department Presents: Dance For Every Child
Academy of Music, Northampton
Saturday, April 11, 2:00 pm

Pioneer Valley Performing Arts Dance Department is putting on a special kid-friendly Saturday matinee performance of select works by PVPA’s highly accomplished student dance companies: WOFA (West African Dance and Drum), Catalyst (Contemporary Dance Company) and Momentum (PVPA’s newest company), plus guest artists performing a wide range of different styles from tap, to improvisation, to West African. This one-hour performance was created in partnership with PVPA’s Dance Education Laboratory outreach program! Children of all ages will enjoy this interactive and fun exploration of different styles and dimensions of dance. Come prepared to participate in the joy of dance!

Tickets available here:

Academy of Music Theatre
274 Main Street
Northampton, MA 01060

Phone: (413) 584-9032 ext105

LSSE Volleyball Clinic Registration Open

Youth Valleyball Clinic
For grades 5-8
Tuesdays and Thursdays at the middle school gym. Apr 7 - May 21 from 5:00 to 6:30
To register:

This is a recreational clinic that will emphasize skill development, teamwork, and fun. At this clinic the focus is to build on fundamental skills for kids in grades 5-8. We hope to perfect technique so that kids are ready to take their game to the next level and potentially play in high school.

LSSE Softball Clinic Registration Open

Softball Clinic
Amherst Girls' Softball Clinic
For girls ages 6-12. Monday and Wednesday nights at the middle school and high school April 13 - May 20.
Cost: $59
Registrations are currently being accepted for spring recreational softball. To register, call LSEE at 259-3065, visit, or stop by the LSSE offices in the Bangs Community Center.
This is a recreational clinic that will emphasize skill development, teamwork, and fun. The clinic is taught by Coach Keizer, who is a PE teacher at Fort River and has two years of experience instructing softball camps. Throughout the season we also have various high school and college level players volunteer.

Shaolin Kung Fu Center of Hadley -- Spring Programs

Shaolin Kung Fu Center of Hadley is running Jump into Spring enrollment promotion for new students:  
10% off any enrollment- 1-, 3- and 6-month options. 
Free uniform with 6 month enrollment
$29.95 to try unlimited number of 2 weeks. 
Offers good through May 31, 2015

Hampshire Gymnastics Summer Morning Program

There is still room in Hampshire Gymnastics School's summer morning program. Boys and girls ages 4-10 can sign up now for a two week session. Gymnastics experience is not required. 

- First session begins June 29
Monday - Friday 9am-1pm
- $365/two week session

Summer mornings are filled with gymnastics instruction, games, arts and crafts, slip-n-slides, trampolines, new friends and SO MUCH FUN!  

Call the office at 413-256-6990 or sign up online at

Space is limited so SIGN UP NOW! 
Hampshire Gymnastics School, Inc.
461 West Street
Amherst, MA 01002

Saturday, March 28, 2015

Benefit tonight for a Crocker Farm family

Benefit Dance to Support
Joseth, Jasmine, & Mayeli Alvarado

Tonight, March 28th, 7:00pm 12:00am
VFW Post 754 457 Main St, Amherst MA 01002

Donation: $10 pp (18+). 

Monetary donations can be made to the William Alvarado Memorial Fund at any local Florence Bank office location.

 Any questions, please call Victor Nunez Ortiz at (413) 695-4838

 A GoFundMe site has also been set up for the family:

Science and Technology Event for Families April 1

Passionate about science and technology?
Discover Makerspace!
Learn how to:

  • Design and build electronic devices
  • Computer programming
  • Solve community issues
Wednesday, April 1, 2015
Amherst Regional High School Library, 7 - 8pm
For more information, contact Juan Burns at 413-362-1875
Sponsored by

Public Meetings Apr 8: Amherst Transportation Plan Task Force

The Amherst Transportation Plan Task Force will be hosting two public meetings on Wednesday, April 8, to present the Draft Transportation Plan at the Unitarian Universalist Society Meeting Room at 121 North Pleasant Street. 
There will be two opportunities for people to attend:
5-5:30 pm: for those who are in town at that time
7-8 pm: for those who are able to attend a longer meeting.
There will be a presentation by the consultant: Nelson Nygaard, and an opportunity for public comment at the end of each presentation.

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

This Friday! Don't forget!

Come spend a delightfully informative, deliciously tasty hour at Crocker Farm this Friday morning (8:50-9:50 in the Community Room) with the three School Committee candidates and your favorite elementary school principal.

Want to read up on the candidates before you come? We're there for you. Click on each candidate's name (we put them in alphabetical order to help you out) and listen to their thoughts, hopes, and dreams for our public schools.

Want to check out the event on Facebook? Click here and let us know you're coming! We'll save you a muffin.

Lost & found up in the Crocker Farm lobby through this Fri

Many thanks to Ms. Bobbitt for doing such a wonderful job setting up the lost & found area in the lobby.  The lost & found will be there through this Fri & then remaining items will be donated to the Amherst Survival Center. Please do come take a look if your family is missing any clothes that went to school & never came home.    Thank you. 

Family Math Night - thank you!

A belated big THANK YOU to Ms. Lambert, the Crocker Farm math coach, & all the teachers & volunteers who helped make Family Math Night a success.

There was a great turnout -- 130 students plus their families -- & we've heard from many of them that they had a good time at the event. The Crocker Farm PGO is proud to help sponsor our school's Family Math Night.

Monday, March 23, 2015

This Week at Crocker Farm & ARPS

Crocker Farm
MCAS Testing Begins.  Full MCAS Schedule (grades 3-6) for Crocker Farm is posted here: CF_MCAS
  This week:
     Tues 3/24:  Grade 4, composition
     Wed, 3/25:  Grades 3 & 5, ELA (English Language Arts)
     Thurs, 3/26: Grades 3 & 5, ELA
      Fri, 3/27:  Make ups

Fri, 3/27, 8:50 am:   Coffee with the three School Committee candidates for the Mar 31st election.  Parents/guardians of children in any of the public Amherst elementary schools are especially invited to attend.  Event organized by the Crocker Farm PGO.   Event link on Facebook: HERE

Fri, 3/27:  Last day for the display of all the lost & found items that have accumulated over the winter.  Unclaimed items will be donated to the Amherst Survival Center.   Please come take a look!

Tues, Mar 24,  6 pm, Regional School Committee Meeting, in the ARHS Library.  Agenda items include discussion on regionalization & on data trends (enrollment, demographics, test scores, etc.) in the districts.  The full agenda & packet of materials for the meeting is available at this link   March24_2015_Regional_SC

Sunday, March 22, 2015

African American Achievement Awards Night May 7: Nominate a student!

4th Annual African American Achievement Awards Night
Thursday, May 7
Amherst Regional High School Auditorium
21 Mattoon Street

Parents/guardians, faculty, staff and community members are invited to attend this special event honoring students who identify as African American or Black in the Amherst, Pelham and Regional Public Schools. Awards will be presented to students in Grades PreK-12 who have made accomplishments in the areas of academics, leadership, community service, fine & performing arts and athletics. The evening will also feature music, dance and spoken word performances and a special ceremony to honor the ARHS Seniors who will graduate in June.

If you would like to nominate a student to receive an award, please complete the nomination form and return by April 1.  The nomination form is available for downloading at this link (nomination_form). 

Please direct all questions to Kimberly Stender 413-362-1825 or

Saturday, March 21, 2015

SciTech Cafe, March 23: Why aren't more women in science?

When you think of a scientist, what images comes to mind? Maybe an man in a lab coat?  Why, in 2015, are there still so few women in science?  Prof. Kathy Aidala of Mount Holyoke College will share what she has learned about why this gender inequality still exists and what we can do about it.

SciTech Cafe is pleased to present the monthly discussion series: A scientist walks into a bar...     and defies statistical odds!
Monday, March 23rd
Amherst Brewing Company
Free and open to the public

Why Aren't More Women in Science?
• What is unconscious bias and how does it impact women in science?
• How are the challenges for women in biology different from computer science?
• How can we get more women in science?
Kathy Aidala, Professor of Physics at Mount Holyoke College, will tell us why gender inequality in science is still an issue in 2015 and what we can do to attract more women and young girls to the exciting world of science.

Please bring a friend and join us as we enjoy light appetizers, lively conversations, prizes and brilliant minds. This is an inclusive, family-friendly event and people of all walks of life are invited. 

Coming Together Panel Discussion Mar 24th: Living in Amherst as a Person of Color

March 24th, 7 pm, Jones Library

A multi-racial panel of local people  will share their personal experiences of  growing up in, and/or living in, Amherst.  This will be a special  opportunity to learn how these members of our community experience the racial situation here. The panelists include Janaya Collins, Amina Jordan, Victor Nuñez Ortiz, Josh Odam, and David Ke; facilitated by Sovann-Malis Loeung and Caroline Murray.  They will engage the audience in thinking about how we have all felt (in)visible at times.  The overarching goal is for us to come together to create a more equitable and inclusive community.  This panel includes some younger people than are often heard in the public discourse here. Please join us.
“I am invisible, understand, simply because people refuse to see me. …  When they approach me they see only my surroundings, themselves or figments of their imagination, indeed, everything and anything except me.” ― Ralph Ellison, Invisible Man
Coming Together: Understanding Racism, Working for Justice, Building Connections - a community-wide, multiracial project for the Amherst, MA

Educating the Heart: Author talk at Amherst College Mar 26

Amherst Careers in Education Professions welcomes Daniel Goleman, Amherst College alumnus (class of '68) and author of Emotional Intelligence, Social Intelligence: The New Science of Human Relationships, and a forthcoming book: A Force for Good: The Dalai Lama's Vision for Our World (June 2015)

Educating the Heart: Behind the basics of a liberal arts experience, what kind of education matters?

Thursday, March 26
8:00 pm
Johnson Chapel, Amherst College
Free and open to the public

Support ARHS Hurricane Singers in Local Vocal Chord Bowl Mar 28

A Cappella Benefit Concert:
Local Vocal Chord Bowl #7
Saturday, March 28, 7:00 pm
Amherst Regional High School Auditorium
Adults & Seniors $12 Advance/$14 Door
Children & Students $8 Advance/$10 Door

Featuring the local vocal talents of:
Amherst Regional High School Chorale
Amherst Regional High School Hurricane Singers
Northampton High School Northamptones
University of Massachusetts Wicked Pitch
University of Massachusetts Sharp Attitude
Amherst College Zumbyes
The Wise Guys
Green Street Brew
The Connotations

Tickets available at the door and at:
A. J. Hastings, Amherst
Amherst Books, Amherst
Coopers Corner, Florence
State Street Fruit Store, Northampton

All proceeds will go to Music & Arts enrichment in the Amherst and Northampton Public School Systems
The Local Vocal Chord Bowl, now in its seventh year, is a community fundraising concert which has been produced and hosted by the Northampton-based a cappella singing group, The Green Street Brew. All proceeds from the LVCB have been donated to local, non-profit, community organizations.
This year's proceeds will be divided equally between the Northampton and Amherst school systems and earmarked for music & arts enrichment.

Brookfield Farm CSA shares available

Join Us. Share The Harvest.

Brookfield Farm CSA shares available. Delicious, naturally grown produce direct from our farm to you and your family – from June through November. Now is the time to purchase a share for the coming season: Visit our website – - to join online or to get more information. If you would like to speak with someone about our CSA shares directly, please call 413-253-7991. We hope you join us for the coming season! Not a school-
sponsored program.

Not a school-sponsored program.

Lift Every Voice Singers: Rehearsals begin Mar 31

The Lift Every Voice Singers
K-12 Chorus

The acclaimed Lift Every Voice Singers will perform at the African American Achievement Awards Night on May 7. Students who identify as Black or African American in Grades K-12 are encouraged to join this choral group.

Under the direction of Dr. Richmond Ampiah-Bonney, the Lift Every Voice Singers  will learn the songs Lift Every Voice & Sing and To Be Young, Gifted and Black. The group will perform at the African American Achievement Awards Night on May 7 at Amherst Regional High School Auditorium (21 Mattoon Street) at 6pm.

Rehearsals are scheduled for March 31, April 7, 14 and 28 and May 5 at Amherst Regional Middle School Auditorium (170 Chestnut Street) from 3pm-3:45pm. Parents/guardians are responsible for transporting their child(ren) to and from ARMS for rehearsal.

If a student is interested in joining this group, their parent/guardian should contact Dr. Ampiah-Bonney at or 413-992-7625. He can answer any questions parents/guardians may have. 

Save the Date: May 9 AEF Spring Sprint

Amherst Education Foundation ( is non-profit organization committed to promoting students’ educational equity, supporting diversity, stimulating excellence, and mobilizing broad community support for the public schools of Amherst, Leverett, Pelham, and Shutesbury.  Each year, AEF raises money from the community to support strategic initiatives in our schools.  One of our biggest fundraisers is the Spring Sprint.  This year is the 5th Annual AEF Spring Sprint, which will be held on Saturday, May 9th at 10:00 am.  The Spring Sprint includes a 5K run/walk and a 1-mile fun run for kids 12 and under.  New for this year - all races will be held on the exciting Amherst Regional High School cross country course.  For more information, and to register, visit before May 1st.  The first 100 registrants will receive an awesome AEF tote bag!  See you at the Sprint!

Register now: Daffodil Fun Run Apr 26

Registration is now open!
The Daffodil Fun Run is a 5k Road Race Run and 1 Mile Walk through Amherst that raises funds for CHD's Big Brothers Big Sisters of Hampshire County.
In this fun and festive community event, participants race past many of the thousands of daffodils that were planted throughout town.
Last year the event raised over $45,000 to support Big Brothers Big Sisters - and we are hoping to top that this year! 
YOU can help BBBS change the lives of our most at-risk youth by participating in this great event!

You can register at or in person at Energia Fitness or 50/50 Fitness in Hadley and when you register on site, you will receive a complimentary group fitness class card, valid at both locations!
We are limiting participation to 1,500 runners and walkers, so the sooner you register, the better!
*In addition, only those who register before April 1st will be guaranteed a FREE event t-shirt! 

Free BBQ For ALL PARTICIPANTS provided by The Amherst Pub!
Prizes for 1st, 2nd, & 3rd overall male and female winners!
1st place prizes for winners in each AGE category.

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Lost & Found will be out at Family Math Night

Look for the all the look & found items out in the front lobby during Family Math Night.  We hope to reunite as many of these items with their owners as possible.
love, your PGO

Information on School Committee election candidates - & PGO Coffee with the Candidates on March 27th

The Amherst Town Election is Tues, March 31st, & polling places are open from 7 am - 8 pm. 

 Amherst League of Women Voters Election Forum
Thursday Evening, March 19th, 7 pm
Amherst Town Hall, Town Room

Candidates for Amherst Town Meeting & Town-Wide Office, including School Committee

There are 3 Candidates running for the two vacancies on the Amherst School Committee.

Recently each of these candidates recorded a short statement at ACTV.   (The candidates for other town-wide offices recorded statements as well.  They are all available on the AmherstMedia you tube channel.) 

Links to these statements are below:
in alphabetical order:

Candidate Vira Douangmany Cage

Candidate Phoebe Hazzard

Write-in Candidate Victor Nunez Ortiz

The Crocker Farm PGO is hosting a coffee with the three School Committee candidates on Friday, March 27th, 8:50 am, and is inviting all Amherst elementary school parents/guardians to attend.    Come join us to talk with the candidates and hear more about their ideas for our schools.   Small children are welcome. 

The coffee will be held at the Crocker Farm Elementary School, 280 West Street.

The Crocker Farm PGO is providing information on the election & candidates for informational purposes only & does not endorse any specific candidates. 

Updated MCAS schedule

Here is the current MCAS schedule.
It can also be downloaded here:  Revised_MCAS_Schedule

MCAS start the week of March 23rd for 3rd, 4th, & 5th graders, & the week of March 30th for 6th graders.

March 24th: Grade 4, Composition
March 25th: Grades 3 & 5, English Language Arts (session 1)
March 26th: Grades 3 & 5, English Language Arts (session 2)

Crocker Farm School – Spring 2015 MCAS Testing Schedule
Testing Window:  March 23th - April 6th and May 4-19th  

March 23
Grade 4: Composition (1&2)
(make up 4/2)
Grade 3: ELA (1)
Grade 5: ELA (1)
Grade 3:  ELA (2)
Grade 5:  ELA (2)
Make ups
March 30
Grade 4: ELA (1)
Grade 6:  ELA (1)
April 1
Grade 4:  ELA (2)
Grade 6:  ELA (2)
Grade 4: Comp.
Make ups
April 6
Last day for make ups
UPS deadline

May 4
Grade 3: Math (1)
Grade 5: Math (1)
Grade 4: Math (1)
Grade 5: Math (2)
Grade 3:  Math (2)
Grade 4: Math (2)
Grade 5:  Science (1)
Grade 5: Science (2)
Grade 6: Math (1)
Grade 6:  Math (2)
Make Ups
Make Ups
Last Day for Make Ups
UPS Pickup Deadline

Schedule Changes: 
·         4th grade switches Specials with 1st grade on the following dates:  3/24, 3/31, 4/1, 5/6, 5/8.
o   4th grade Specials will be at 2:20-3:05 and 1st grade will be at 10:35-11:15
·         5th grade switches Specials with 2nd grade on the following dates:  3/25, 3/26, 5/5, 5/6, 5/11, 5/12.
o   5th grade Specials will be at 11:25-12:05 and 2nd grade will be at 9:45-10:25

Monday, March 16, 2015

this week & upcoming at Crocker Farm & ARPS

Crocker Farm this week:
Wed, 3/18:  Elementary school early dismissal, 1:20 pm 
Thurs, 3/19:  Crocker Farm Family Math Night, 6-8 pm.  Fun for all!  More info HERE
Thurs, 3/19:  Hillside Pizza fundraiser order pickup, 3-4 pm at the Crocker pre-K entrance, 5:20-6 pm at the main school entrance.  

Volunteers needed to help with serving pizza on Math Night, & with handing out the Hillside Pizza orders, both on Thurs, Mar 19th.  You can signup to help here:   Volunteer Link

ARPS this week:
Tues, 3/17:  Amherst School Committee meeting, 6 pm, ARHS Library.  Topics include a vote on the FY2016 budget & a discussion about field trips.
Wed, 3/18:  SEPAC Workshop on Basic Rights in Special Education, 6:30 pm, ARMS.

week of 3/23: MCAS testing starts
Fri, 3/27: Special PGO coffee with all 3 School Committee candidates, 8:50 am.  All Amherst elementary school parents/guardians invited. 

& save the date for the PGO's Used Book Swap on 4/14 & 4/15. Boxes for donating books will be in the school lobby starting the last week of March. Donations sought for all levels of readers. Chapter books for grades 4-6 readers especially needed.

Family Math Night, Thurs, March 19th

Crocker Farm Elementary School

presents a Title 1 and PGO sponsored school-wide 
Family Math Night

Thursday, March 19, 6:00-7:30 pm*

“Play and Take” Math Games

Pizza dinner in the cafeteria:      6:00-6:30 
Math games in grade level groups:  6:30-7:15 
Grand prize raffle in the library:  7:15-7:30

Pie slices to purchase and Pie silent auction to bid on to benefit 6th grade graduation.
*Bus transportation available:  Buses will pick up families at:  Butternut @ 5:30, South Point @ 5:40, & The Brook @ 5:50 & drop off after the event.