Monday, June 22, 2015

Final, final chance to order a Crocker Farm Yearbook - June 23rd, 9 am deadline

Due to high demand, we are printing up extra copies of this year's Crocker Farm Yearbook. We are taking additional orders until 9 o'clock Tues morning (6/23). If you meant to order a yearbook earlier & didn't or want another copy, this is the final chance. The yearbook will still be $6.50 per copy.

Please send your request to Becky,, before 9 a.m. on Tues (6/23). 
Check or cash payment can be dropped off at Crocker Farm (checks should be made out to the Crocker Farm PGO) or with Becky. The additional yearbooks will be available for pickup soon. Thank you.

Please pass this info along to any one who might have wanted to order a yearbook & didn't before the earlier deadline.    Thank you.  

MANY, MANY THANKS to Rie & Becky for creating such a wonderful yearbook, & thanks to everyone who contributed photos including Greg Bernier of ITB Photography who took all the 6th grade portrait photos.  

Free Fun Summer Fridays at Museums & Sites around Massachusetts

 (click to enlarge)

Summer Reading Programs & The Importance of Summer Reading

The Crocker Farm Elementary School PGO is not doing a summer Read-a-Thon program this summer due to a lack of volunteers.   However, there are a number of other summer reading programs available to Crocker Farm students. 

A number of Local libraries are running summer reading programs:

In Amherst, the Jones Library, Munson Memorial Library, & the North Amherst Library are each having a summer reading program.    You can learn more about the programs here:

The Jones Library program starts June 27th, & participants are given the goal of reading and reporting on 5 books over the summer.   Book reports may be oral, written, or artwork.  Informal book chats will be held every Mon & Fri from 3-4 pm in the Kids Biography Room.  There are also a number of fun events associated with the reading program.  Visit the link above for details.    The Summer Reading Club Party will be held Tues, Aug 11st at 3 pm.  

The Jones Library also has a Young Adult Summer Reading Program for students in Grades 6 & up.   

The Munson Memorial Library summer reading program starts June 15th.  Participants receive a book log to record the books read over the summer.   Participants must read 10 books to receive a prize, and can earn a second prize by reading 20 or more books.  After 10 visits to the Munson Library over the summer, each club member will receive a coupon for a free ice cream cone.   The book logs should be returned by Sat, Aug 29th.  The Back-to-School Party will be held on Tues, Sept 1st, at 3 pm.  

The North Amherst Library summer reading program includes children ages 4 to 14.  Participants receive a book log to record the books read over the summer.   All reading club members and their families are invited to our Summer Reading Club celebration. The party will be on Saturday Aug 15th, 11 am, at Mill River Park.  Reading program members who read 10 books or more will receive a prize and a certificate to be awarded at the Reading Club Party.  Reading logs should be returned by August 10th.  

Other summer reading programs:
Barnes & Noble has a summer reading program where participants who read 8 books qualify for a FREE book. The details are here: 
The program's reading log can be downloaded at this link.  Completed logs are returned to a local B&N store, and participants can then select a free book on the Reading Journal list at the store.  

The Massachusetts Teachers Assocation & Red Sox summer reading program. 
** Participants pledge to read nine books over the summer, one for each position on the ballfield. 
** List the titles of the nine books on the entry form and mail it in by July 10, 2015. 
** MTA will choose 100 winners at random. Each winner will receive a pair of tickets to a Red Sox game at Fenway in September.
** Five of the 100 winners will be chosen at random to become Grand Prize Winners. Grand Prize Winners will receive four tickets each and participate in an on-field pregame ceremony at the game in September.

The Importance of Summer Reading  -- Voices from Our Schools,Amherst Media
 Please enjoy the latest episode of Voices From Our Schools, featuring Crocker Farm Elementary Sixth grade students, Monica Cage and Brendon Stephen, as they discuss the importance of reading and summer book selections. They were wonderful guests who offered great insights and anecdotes.

SNAP/EBT Card Accepted at the Amherst Farmers Market


How to use your EBT card at the Farmers Market:
1) Go to the market booth in front of the Lord Jeffery Inn on Boltwood Ave.
2) Give the person there your SNAP/EBT card.  They will give you tokens. These tokens act as “cash” at the market
3) Use your tokens at any vendor booth.

What you can buy with your EBT card: Fruits and vegetables, breads, meat, dairy products, maple and honey products for home consumption, eggs, seeds and plants that produce food, baked goods (wrapped and intended for home consumption), jams, sauces, mushrooms, fish, etc…

The Amherst Farmers Market DOUBLES your dollars every week! Dollar for dollar (up to $5) we double your EBT money. $5=$10 at Amherst Farmers Market! 

Farm Fresh Food is the best food you can bring home to your family!

(this is not a school-sponsored program) 

Amherst Survival Center Summer BOOST Program

The Amherst Survival Center Food Pantry is preparing for the summer kids BOOST, where families with school-age children will receive extra food in their summer monthly groceries (it starts this month thru August). 

If your child/children receive a meal benefit in school, you’ll want to know about the Amherst Survival Center’s summer program that gives families with school-age children (5-17 years) extra food in July and August : Kids Summer Boost


Amherst Survival Center
138 Sunderland Road in North Amherst

Food Pantry Hours
Monday, Tuesday, Friday 11am-2:45pm; Thursday 11am – 6:45pm
Summer Saturdays include: July 19 and August 16, 2015 9:30am – 11:30am

ASC Food Pantry Towns: Amherst, Belchertown, Deerfield, Granby, Hadley, Leverett, Pelham, Shutesbury, South Deerfield, South Hadley, Sunderland, Whately, Ware

Niri Azuaje, Pantry Coordinator 

Tel: 413-549-3968 x104 


SEPAC June Newletter

The June 2015 newsletter for the ARPS Special Education Parents Advisory Council (SEPAC) was recently sent home in backpacks and can also be downloaded from this link: June2015_SEPAC

For more information on SEPAC, please visit the SEPAC web site at www.arps-sepac/info

Kestrel Land Trust Events, Sat, June 27th

You're Invited... Into the Wild
Come and Take a Peek Into the Forest
Story Walk at Mt. Tom: Opening Celebration for Kids

Your little ones will love to explore the forest around Lake Bray on an accessible trail while they read a story about the animals that live there. Party includes face-painting, games, storytelling, refreshments, and a raffle for local books!

When: Saturday, June 27, 2015 Time: 2 p.m. - 4 p.m.
Where: Mt. Tom State Reservation
Fee: $5 entry per car to the state park: no other event fee.
What to Bring: Bug spray, sturdy shoes, and imagination. 
Learn More Now & Sign Up Here:

iPhone Navigation Workshop
Track your hikes and (almost) never get lost again GPS phone in hand
When: Saturday, June 27, 2015 Time: 1 p.m. - 3 p.m.*
Where: Kestrel Office, Amherst
Fee: FREE workshop, but must purchase app during workshop
What to Bring: Your iPhone or iPad

Did you know you can use your iPhone or iPad as a GPS unit? Why buy two expensive devices when you only need one.
Learn how to use your iPhone or iPad to track your hikes and save them for later. There’s an app for that! Come see how to run inexpensive apps that will make navigating in (and out) of unfamiliar trails much easier. Then after collecting all your hiking data, learn how to make a quick map or store your hikes on Google Earth. *(Stick around until 4 pm for one-on-one Q&A if you like!)

Please RSVP to:

Amherst Together Presentation of Public Perception Study, June 25th

Amherst Together, in collaboration with Dr. Flavia Montenegro-Menezes of the University of Massachusetts, Department of Landscape Architecture and Regional Planning, will release the final results of the public perception study and will share the report and preliminary conclusions during a public presentation on June 25, 2015 at 6:00 pm at the Jones Library Woodbury Room, 43 Amity Street, Amherst, MA. The presentation will review report highlights with aquestion and answer session to follow. 

The study, performed by Dr. Montenegro-Menezes, took approximately 10 months to complete and included three phases: qualitative data collection that included one-to-one interviews, focus groups, comment boards, maps, marbles, and graffiti walls; online and face-to-face survey collection; and extensive analysis, report preparation and presentation. The study provided an opportunity to engage the community in dialogue about values, identity and wellbeing, in order to gauge values and understand how residents perceive the community and their overall quality of life in Amherst.The surveys were fairly distributed amongst thetown’s voting precincts, and the level of participation far exceeded the expectations of Dr. Montenegro-Menezes and Amherst Together.

“We spent extra time out in the field to obtain valid sampling from each of the voting precincts and we managed to gather more information from more people than any of us had hoped. It has taken additional work, including the need to recruit a fresh round of student volunteers, but they were spectacular. We gathered the input of 1052 participants in the overall process and collected 456 survey responses, which exceeded the initial target (380),” says Dr. Montenegro-Menezes. “The response and comments implythat the residents have a strong interest in this community.The study and the overall outreach will have long-lasting benefits for the community.”

Amherst Together intends to use the final survey results to help identify priorities for Amherst Together and develop recommendations for collective impact, to be addressed over the next several years.

“A tremendous amount of work went into this effort. Dr. Montenegro-Menezes and research analyst Jennifer Stromsten went above and beyond to provide this service and deliver a comprehensive report for our community. This study, based on reliable and validated data collection, gives us solid information for continuing our efforts to encourage authentic collective action,” stated Carol Ross, of Amherst Together.

Recent Amherst Together activities include the TAP THE MAP! online interactive map, the Who Are You? Identity Challenge and the Eyes Are The Window digital poetry exhibit. Amherst Together is a town-wide project intended to creatively advance community, collaboration, equity, and inclusion.For more information or to get involved, contact Carol Ross at 413-362-1820 or,

Project Backpack & Safe Seats for Kids 2015

The Amherst, Pelham and Regional Public Schools in collaboration with community partners are proud to announce Project Backpack & Safe Seats for Kids 2015.   

Backpacks will be distributed on August 20 & 21 from the ARPS Family Center (170 Chestnut Street) from 9am-3pm each day.

In its sixth year, Project Backpack supports income-eligible students in Grades PreK-12 to acquire necessary and grade-appropriate school supplies and is designed around the social justice commitment of the Amherst-Pelham and Regional Public Schools. Project Backpack aspires toward equity of access, inclusion, respect and community-building. 
New backpacks and school supplies will be accepted from June 1-August 1 and can be dropped off at the ARPS Family Center located within the Amherst Regional Middle School (170 Chestnut St.)  Back packs and supplies will be distributed on August 20-21. The ARPS Family Center staff will oversee the distribution process. 

In addition, Safe Seats for Kids is supported by the Amherst Police Department, Amherst Fire Department, University of Massachusetts Police Department and Safe Kids of Western Massachusetts/Baystate Children’s Hospital. Officers will install new infant and toddler car seats on August 20-21 from 9am-3pm at the ARPS Family Center.

“Our goal is to help ease the financial burden the start of the school year can mean for many families,” states Superintendent Maria Geryk.  “Project Backpack is a great success due in part to the generosity of individuals and community partners. In 2014, over 465 backpacks with supplies were distributed and over 60 car seats were installed. I am deeply grateful for the community’s support of this initiative.”

School Supplies List
Pre-K- 5th Grade: new backpacks, spiral  notebooks, erasers, 2-pocket folders, glue sticks, markers, crayons, pencils, pens (blue/black/red), colored pencils, pencil sharpeners, pencil cases, bookmarks, rulers

6th -12th Grade: new backpacks, assignment pads, notebooks, loose leaf paper, 2-pocket folders, 3-ring binders, 3-ring pencil cases, highlighters, post-it notes, index cards, calculators (basic, scientific, or graphing), flash drives, pens (blue/black/red), pencils, combination locks for lockers

The mission of the Amherst-Pelham Regional Schools is to provide all students with a high quality education that enables them to be contributing members of a multiethnic, multicultural, pluralistic society. We seek to create an environment that achieves equity for all students and ensures that each student is a successful learner, is fully respected, and learns to respect others.

Four Crocker Farm Students receive Human Rights Hero Awards

The Amherst Human Rights Commission recently presented Human Rights Hero Awards to Crocker Farm School students Khalila Lord-Arond, Yabanex Toro-Rodriguez, Kouta Ueki, and Lauren Joy.  These students were nominated by one of their teachers, who said they all show great empathy for others, especially for those who are often left out.  Their ability to work and play with anyone in their classes was specifically identified as an admirable character trait.   They often offer to be partners and help out students who have no other friends in the school. They embrace others regardless race, socio economic status, only regarding other's needs. 

As the Human Rights Commission seeks to find individuals who promote mutual respect amongst their peers and honor the diversity within our community, these 4 students stand out as remarkable and admirable example of how these qualities and actions can create real and lasting good in the lives of those around us.  The Commission knows that Khalila, Yabanex, Kouta and Lauren will continue to grow into the kind of people we need more of: individuals of integrity, courage, and compassion.We recognize their kind, gentle spirits and understanding of the true meaning of friendship.  

Congratulations to them & the other Human Rights Hero Award winners!  

Here is the full list of this year's winners:
ARHS: Liam Brodigan, Larenz Harris, Sajo Jefferson, and Shekenah Rock, Noreen Swan.
Crocker Farm School:  Khalila Lord- Arond, Yabanex Toro-Rodriguez, Lauren Joy, Kouta Ueki
Fort River School: Seo-Ho Lee, Celia Malone
Pelham Elementary School: 4th Grade 

LSSE Summer Camp Options -- Signups Still Available - Arts, Crafts, Rockets, & More

LSSE Summer Sports Camps - Signups Still Available

Update on the Wildwood School Building Project

June 17, 2015

Dear Amherst Parents/Guardians, Staff Members, and Community Members,

We would like to share information about the Wildwood School Building Project in advance of Community Forums that will be occurring on this topic when we return in the fall.

In November, 2013, the MSBA (Massachusetts School Building Authority) approved Wildwood Elementary School to enter into an “improvement building project” process.  The MSBA is a state agency that supports the design, construction and financing of public school improvement projects. The Wildwood School Building Committee has been appointed to oversee the process of this project. Parents/guardians and teachers from all three Amherst elementary schools, community members, and town and school officials sit on the committee. For the Wildwood School Building Project, the MSBA determined that it will reimburse the Town for approximately 68% of eligible costs.  For more information regarding the MSBA and entire school building process, please see this video from Amherst Media’s Voices From Our Schools, which shares many details about this project.

The committee has been hard at work since its formation exploring options for the project as well as selecting an Owner’s Project Manager (OPM) firm, who are experts in supporting towns and districts in the building process and in working with the MSBA.  An architect for the project will be selected next month by the MSBA Designer Selection Panel, which includes three local members. The Building Committee has emphasized needing a designer who places a priority on community input and has a proven track record of facilitating sessions to engage the broader public into the process.

The Wildwood School Building Committee wishes to express its excitement for the opportunity the MSBA has provided, and would like to thank families, staff members, and community members who have offered their comments and opinions regarding this project thus far at initial PGO meetings, staff meetings, and School Council meetings. In the fall of 2015, Community Forums will be held to gather input on the best option for this project. This will be a thorough process with many opportunities for public input. The fall forums will have detailed information about the implications of each option, as the designer and the OPM will spend the next few months analyzing the educational benefits, short- and long-term financial implications, and required infrastructure for all options. The Building Committee will be making a recommendation of a preferred option for MSBA approval on January 27, 2016.

There are three current options under consideration for the Wildwood School Building Project. The first is an Addition/Renovation, where new sections would be added to the current building while many parts of the existing structure will be updated. This option is similar to the Crocker Farm project that was completed about thirteen years ago. The second option is to build a new K-6 Wildwood facility that will completely replace the current building. The third option is a grade reconfiguration, which entails building a new school for all Amherst elementary school students in grades 2-6, and educating all grades PreK-1 students at Crocker Farm School. If this option is determined to be the best one for our community, the current Wildwood and Fort River buildings would be closed, thus maintaining two elementary schools for the students of Amherst. Regardless of which option is chosen, the earliest date that a project could be completed would be in the fall of 2019.

For more information regarding the Wildwood School Building Project, Wildwood School Building Committee, and the MSBA, please visit this link which can be found on the main page of arps website.  

Michael Morris, Assistant Superintendent & Chair of the Wildwood School Building Committee

Wildwood School Building Committee Members:
Katherine Appy, Amherst School Committee Chair
Anna Bartolini, Teacher at Crocker Farm Elementary
Ron Bohonowicz, Director of Facilities for the Amherst Public Schools & the Town of Amherst
Holly Bowser, Assistant Comptroller for the Town of Amherst
Sasha Figueroa, Administrative Assistant to the Assistant Superintendent
Maria Geryk, Superintendent of Schools
Miki Gromacki, Wildwood Parent and Assistant Principal of the Amherst Regional High School
Monica Hall, Director of Diversity and Equity for the Amherst Public Schools
Sean Mangano, Director of Finance for the Amherst Public Schools
Guilford Mooring, Director of Public Works
John Musante, Amherst Town Manager
Ludmilla Pavlova, Wildwood Parent & Senior Facilities Planner & Adjunct Professor at UMass
Sandy Pooler, Director of Finance for the Town of Amherst
Irv Rhodes, Community Member & Former Amherst School Committee Member
Narayan Sampath, Crocker Farm Parent

Timothy Sheehan, Teacher at Fort River Elementary School
Nancy Stewart, Fort River Parent

Sherril Willis, Teacher at Wildwood Elementary School
Nick Yaffe, Principal of Wildwood Elementary School
David Ziomek, Assistant Town Manager for Amherst

el Proceso de Construcción del Proyecto Escuela Wildwood

17 de junio 2015

Estimado padres/tutores y miembros de la comunidad de Amherst,

He querido compartir información sobre el Proceso de Construcción del Proyecto Escuela Wildwood antes de que los Foros de la comunidad ocurran cuando volvamos en el otoño.

En noviembre del 2013 la MSBA (Massachusetts School Building Authority) aprobó a la Escuela Elemental Wildwood entrar en un proceso de "proyecto de construcción de mejora". La MSBA es una agencia estatal que apoya el diseño, construcción y financiación de proyectos de mejora de las escuelas públicas. El Comité de Construcción Escuela Elemental ha sido designado para supervisar el proceso de este proyecto. Los padres / tutores y maestros de las tres escuelas elementales de Amherst, miembros de la comunidad, y el pueblo y funcionarios de la escuela son parte de este comité. Para el proyecto de construcción de la Escuela Wildwood, la MSBA ha determinado que reembolsará al pueblo de Amherst aproximadamente el 68% de los costes elegibles (para más información sobre la MSBA y todo el proceso de construcción de la escuela, por favor vea este video de Voces de nuestras escuelas).

El comité ha estado trabajando fuertemente desde su formación explorando opciones para el proyecto, así como la selección de la empresa Owner’s Project Manager (OPM), que son expertos apoyando las ciudades y los distritos en el proceso de construcción y en el trabajo con MSBA. Un arquitecto del proyecto será seleccionado el próximo mes por el Panel de Selección de diseño de MSBA, que incluye tres miembros locales. El Comité de Construcción ha hecho hincapié en la necesidad de un diseñador que dé prioridad a las aportaciones de la comunidad y cuente un historial comprobado de facilitar sesiones para involucrar al público en general en el proceso.

El Comité de Construcción de la Escuela Wildwood desea expresar su entusiasmo por la oportunidad que la MSBA ha proporcionado, y le gustaría dar las gracias a las familias, el personal docente y los miembros de la comunidad que han ofrecido sus comentarios y opiniones con respecto a este proyecto hasta el momento en las reuniones de PGO, reuniones de personal, y las reuniones del Consejo Escolar. En el otoño de 2015, foros de la comunidad se llevarán a cabo para reunir información sobre la mejor opción para este proyecto. Este será un proceso exhaustivo con muchas oportunidades para comentarios del público. Los foros de otoño contarán con información detallada acerca de las implicaciones de cada opción, ya que el diseñador y el OPM dedicarán los próximos meses al análisis de cada opción en áreas tales como beneficio educativo, a corto y largo plazo, repercusiones financieras, y la infraestructura necesaria para todas las opciones. El Comité de Construcción hará una recomendación sobre la opción preferida para aprobación de MSBA el 27 de enero 2016.

Actualmente, hay tres opciones en consideración para el proyecto de construcción de la Escuela Wildwood. La primera opción, es una adición / renovación, donde se añadirán nuevas secciones al edificio actual, mientras que muchas partes de la estructura existente se modernizarán. Esta opción es similar al proyecto de la Escuela Elemental Crocker Farm que se completó hace unos 13 años. La segunda opción, es la construcción de una nueva instalación de K-6 de Wildwood que sustituirá completamente el edificio actual. La tercera opción, es una reconfiguración de grados, lo que implica la creación de una nueva instalación para todos los estudiantes de escuelas elementales en los grados 2-6 de Amherst, y ubicando a todos los estudiantes de los grados Pre-K-1 en la Escuela Elemental Crocker Farm. Si se determina que esta opción, es la más adecuada para nuestra comunidad, los actuales edificios de Wildwood y Fort River serían cerrados, manteniendo así dos escuelas elementares, para los estudiantes de Amherst.  Independientemente de la opción que se elija, la fecha más temprana que el proyecto podría completarse será para el otoño del 2019.

Para obtener más información sobre el Proyecto de Construcción de Escuela Wildwood, Comité de Construcción de Escuela Wildwood, y la MSBA, por favor visite este enlace que se puede encontrar en la página web principal de arps.

Michael Morris, Superintendente Asistente y Presidente del Comité de Construcción de Escuela Wildwood

Comité de Construcción de Escuela Wildwood:
Katherine Appy, Presidente del Comité Escolar de Amherst
Anna Bartolini, Maestra de la Escuela Elemental Crocker Farm
Ron Bohonowicz, Director de Instalaciones de las Escuelas Públicas de Amherst y del Pueblo de Amherst
Holly Bowser, Subcontralor Pueblo de Amherst
Sasha Figueroa, Asistente Administrativo del Superintendente Asistente
Maria Geryk, Superintendente de Escuelas
Miki Gromacki, Padre de Escuela Elemental de Wildwood y Asistente del Director de la Escuela Secundaria Regional de Amherst
Monica Hall, Directora de Diversidad y Equidad para las Escuela Públicas de Amherst
Sean Mangano, Director de Finanzas para las Escuelas Públicas de Amherst
Guilford Mooring, Director de Obras Públicas de Amherst
John Musante, Gerente Municipal de Amherst
Ludmilla Pavlova, Padre de Escuela Elemental de Wildwood y Planificador Superior de Instalaciones y profesor adjunto en UMass
Sandy Pooler, Director de Finanzas del Pueblo de Amherst
Irv Rhodes, Miembro de la Comunidad y Miembro Previo del Comité Escolar de Amherst
Narayan Sampath, Padre de Escuela Elemental de Crocker Farm
Timothy Sheehan, Maestro de la Escuela Elemental Fort River
Nancy Stewart, Padre de Escuela Elemental de Fort River
Sherril Willis, Maestra de Escuela Elemental Wildwood
Nick Yaffe, Principal de la Escuela Elemental Wildwood
David Ziomek, Asistente de Gerente del Pueblo de Amherst