Monday, November 30, 2015

Winter craft at the Jones

For the small but oh-so-crafty people in your life...

(Click on image to enlarge.)

Calling all 1st and 2nd graders!

Book groups aren't just for the grownups in your life!
(Click on image to enlarge.)

Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Giving Tues - Dec 1st - Please consider a donation to Crocker Farm's Field Trip Fund

December 1st next week is Giving Tuesday, a national day of giving to support charitable causes.

For Giving Tuesday & through the end of December, the Crocker Farm PGO is collecting donations for our FIELD TRIP FUND to help

Donations made now count for Giving Tuesday. We are hoping to raise up to $1000 by year's end, which equals just under $3 per Crocker Farm student. The cost of field trips keeps going up & donations to the Field Trip Fund will be a BIG HELP. 


(Minimum donations of $10 are required for the link below).

Donation site: 
Donations can also be made via cash or check to the Crocker Farm PGO, 280 West St, Amherst, MA 01002

LSSE - Special 20% off discount

Amherst Leisure Services & Supplemental Education (LSSE) is now offering a 20% discount for youth (0-18 years old) meeting one of the following criteria:
       Siblings registering for the same program at the same time;
       Youth who participated in an LSSE Program within the last year;
       Any youth new to an LSSE program.
The discount can apply to registrations made online, over the phone, or in person. For online registrations use WEBB20 in the coupon code. 

Fee subsidies are also available based on income qualifications. Please see the web site for details:

Fort River PGO Bookfair at Barnes & Noble next Sat, Dec 5th

A great opportunity to support another Amherst elementary school at no cost to you.


Start getting those holiday book shopping lists ready!  On Saturday, December 5th, Fort River will be hosting a book fair at Barnes & Noble Hadley.  On that day, Fort River School & the Fort River PGO will get a percentage (10-15%) of every purchase made by customers who mention Fort River School at checkout.

The Fort River PGO is also hosting a wrapping table that day.  Make your gift purchases & get them wrapped at the same time.  Easy peasy & less work for you.  

Sunday, November 22, 2015

This coming week at Crocker Farm

School is open Mon & Tues, regular hours
There is no school on Wed, Thurs or Fri for the Thanksgiving holiday.

Next Monday, Nov 30th, is a teacher curriculum day & there is no school for students.
Students will return on Tuesday, December 1st.

Enjoy the school break.

Wildwood/Elementary School Building Study - next public forum, Dec 8th

pdf of the forum flyer: here

The next public forum on the Wildwood/Amherst Elementary School building study has been scheduled for Dec 8th, at the Amherst Reg MS Library. Identical presentations will be made at the 3:30 & 7:00 pm sessions.

To learn more about the study, you can visit the study web site here  or
the district's Facebook page on the project here.

The Amherst School Committee is planning to vote on their preferred option for grade configuration at a School Committee meeting in January 2016.

In the meantime, the Wildwood School Building Committee is meeting regularly (monthly or more often) & discussing details of the potential new construction.  Many of the details related to the design of any new building/renovations will be decided on by this committee.

The agendas & minutes of the School Building Committee's meetings are posted on the project's web site. 

Family Photo Project at Crocker Farm

Professional photographer Travis Weitzman, the son of Crocker Farm art teacher Diane Travis took pictures of many families at Curriculum Night for the Crocker Farm "Family Photo Project".   Diane Travis, Toby Bobbitt, Tara Luce, & Amy Baver assisted with the photo shoot.

The families who participated have now been sent a copy of their photos. A second copy will be put up on a bulletin board at Crocker Farm near the main office.   The photos are beautiful, and an impressive reminder of how special the Crocker Farm community is.

Any families who did not have the opportunity yet to participate in the Family Photo Project are welcome to send in their personal family photo to add to the bulletin board display.  Photos can be sent in to Toby Bobbitt's attention.

A BIG THANK YOU to Mr. Weitzman, Ms. Travis, & everyone else who has worked on the Family Photo Project.    The Crocker Farm PGO was proud to help fund the photo printing costs.

Downtown Amherst Donation Days - Ends today

See the full listing of upcoming downtown Amherst holiday events here:

Amherst Downtown Donation Days
November 19-22nd, 2015
Start the season of giving during Downtown Donation Days! Downtown Amherst businesses are coming together for four days of giving during this holiday season!  Participating businesses will donate a portion of the proceeds to a downtown non-profit of their choice. Start your holiday shopping early at these participating businesses:
Elements Hot Tub & Spa, The Blue Marble, Zanna, J Austin, Laughing Dog Bicycles, Osteria Vespa, Hope & Feathers Framing & Gallery, A.J. Hastings, Baku’s African Restaurant, Bistro 63 at the Monkey Bar, Pasta E Basta, Russell’s Liquors, Amherst Copy & Design Works, Amherst Optical Shoppe, Chez Albert, FOLCWALD Gallery of Sculptural Art, Hair by Harlow Day Spa, Henion Bakery, Knowles Flower Shop, M & M Links Jewelry and Acessories, Ren’s Mobil Station, TOY Box, Vici Hair Studio & Beauty Bar, B.Home, The Pub, Artefakt,The Mercantile, Judie’s, Bertucci’s, The Chopping Block, Amherst Books, High Horse, The Black Sheep, Lumber Yard, Mystery Train Records & Panda East

List of downtown Amherst non-profits: 
Emily Dickinson Museum, Big Brothers Big Sisters of Hampshire County, First Congregational Church, Amherst History Museum, Friends of the Jones Library, Unitarian Meetinghouse, Grace Church, St Brigid’s Church, Kestrel Land Trust, Amherst Boys & Girls Club, Craig’s Doors, Trust for Public Land, First Congregational Church, Youth Action Coalition, Not Bread Alone, Family Outreach of Amherst, Amherst Community Connections, Hillel House, MERCY House, Knights of Columbus, Pacific Lodge, Amherst Cinema & First Baptist Church & Pioneer Valley Health Center, Friends of Amherst Community Theater (Amherst Leisure Services Community Theater)

Amherst Youth Hockey programs & their new teams for girls

From Karen Skolfield
VP & Girls’ Division Coordinator 
Amherst Hockey Association

It’s not too late to sign up for the Amherst Hockey Association's popular Learn to Skate and Learn to Play programs, the all-girls Learn to Play team, and the all-girls house team. Practices begin Nov. 19 (girls’ house team) or Nov. 21 (LTS, LTP, all-girls LTP), and late registrations will still be accepted provided there is space.
Learn to Skate practices are Saturdays at 1-2:20, from Nov. 21 - March 12. No skating experience necessary - we’ll divide skaters into groups from our “bucket brigade” on up to more experienced skaters. Coaches lead skaters in fun drills, games, obstacle courses, and more to get all kids skating with confidence. The cost is $120; additional $48 USA Hockey registration required for children 6 and up (free USA Hockey registration for children under 6). 
Learn to Play practices are Saturdays at 2:30-3:50, from Nov. 21 - March 12. Beginning in December, there will be additional cross-ice games on Sundays. Children rapidly become better skaters as they forget to think about their feet and focus on the puck. Practices are full of fun with a variety of games such as freeze tag and soccer on ice, obstacle courses, small-net hockey games, “beat your best time” races, and more. The cost is $325; additional $48 USA Hockey registration required for children 6 and up (free USA Hockey registration for children under 6). 
The All-girls Learn to Play team is for girls age 4-8. The girls’ team will be part of co-ed practices (see details, above) and will play their games against co-ed teams. Girls also have the option of being on a co-ed team, if they prefer. 
Our All-Girls House Team is for girls age 9-15. The Girls' House Team will be on the ice two evenings per week starting Nov. 19 through mid-March. The focus is on FUN first with low-stakes scrimmaging, obstacle courses, and skill building. There are additional, optional on- and off-ice events with the Girls’ Division. Cost: $325 plus the $48 USA Hockey registration. 

For more information, email Dan Feldman at or go to to register. 

Book fair to benefit Jones Library

Aw snap! Did you miss the chance to support Crocker Farm at the Barnes and Noble book fair earlier this month? That's okay.  You can still support another worthy cause at the bookstore!

Stop by Barnes and Noble THIS Saturday, Nov. 28, and finish off your holiday shopping while supporting the Jones Library. Done and done!

(Click on image to enlarge.)

Can't make it to the bookstore? Hey, that's okay too! You're busy. You've got elementary-aged people living with you. Say no more. Do all your shopping online at Barnes & Noble and just remember to type in the Book Fair ID 11714409 when you check out.

And hey. Thanks.

Friday, November 20, 2015

Make stuff! For Free!

Do you know anyone ages 8-12?
Do those kids happen to have a free Saturday?

Does the Jones have something cool for them!
Come get your craft on!
(Click on image to enlarge.)

Tuesday, November 17, 2015

Crocker Farm Student Directory -- Last Call for Families to be Included

The PGO volunteers are working hard to get this year's Crocker Farm Student Directory out the door.  

However we still have not heard back from over 75 families, & we want the directory to be as complete as possible.   This week, the PGO will be sending out emails & final reminders this week to families that we are still waiting to hear back from.     If you get such a reminder, please respond ASAP.

You can submit your family's contact info here if you have not already done so.  Crocker Farm Student Directory Form.   The Student Directory is a great tool for social and class events.

Thank you for your help! 
(Please accept our apologies if you already submitted a directory form & are contacted again. This is a huge volunteer effort!)

School Committee Meeting Tonight - Elementary School Building Study updates & more

Amherst School Committee meeting tonight, 6 pm, at the HS Library. 

Agenda items include updates on the elementary school building study, & discussions on the District Improvement Plan & School Improvement Plans. 

The full agenda is posted here:…/Kim%20SC%…/ASC%20Agenda%2011.17.15.pdf

Amherst Survival Center Holiday Gift Program


new children's books, games, warm winter accessories
Families from the 13 towns who use the Amherst Survival Center's Food Pantry are eligible for the Center's Holiday Gift Program for their children.  These towns include Amherst, Belchertown, Deerfield, Granby, Hadley, Leverett, Pelham, Shutesbury, South Deerfield, South Hadley, Sunderland, Ware, & Whately.


WHAT? Here's what we distribute:
  • three (3) NEW children's books (lists with suggested titles here) per child,
  • a family game (board games, card games, dice games, and video games), and
  • warm winter accessories.
The Center's workshop room is set up so that families can access these holiday gifts when they're in the Center during the month of December.

Last year (2014) we distributed almost 2,000 NEW children's books. For many of the recipients, these were their very first books. Your donations became a cornerstone of their personal libraries.  
Bring your donation(s) to the Center during our open hours now through December 18, 2015
In addition, there are collection boxes accepting donations of NEW children's books, games and warm winter accessories (hats, gloves, scarves) at these local locations:
Contact Tracey Levy at or 413-549-3968 x102. 

Toy Fund Program for Qualifying Families

The Berkshire Children & Families agency is currently accepting applications from families who wish to be considered for this year's Sidney F. Smith Toy Fund.   The fund gives parents vouchers for children ages 1 through 14 to be used for holiday gifts.  

Applications are not accepted over the phone.  They can be picked up at the following locations:
* Amherst Family Center – 1200 N. Pleasant St, Amherst
* Amherst Survival Center - 138 Sunderland Rd, Amherst
* Berkshire Children and Families – 220 Russell St, Hadley
* United Way of Hampshire County – 71 King St, Northampton
* Community Action Offices, 17 New South St, Suite 116, Northampton
* Daily Hampshire Gazette, 150 Conz St, Northampton
* Center for New Americans,42 Gothic St, Northampton
* Easthampton Community Center, 12 Clark St, Easthampton

Applications must be received by November 30, 2015.

Cash donations for the Toy Fund are accepted at this web site:
Donations to the Sidney F. Smith Toy Fund are tax deductible.  The Toy Fund is a donor-advised fund of the Community Foundation of Western Massachusetts, a 501(c)3 organization. 

Last week of the ARPS Winter Coat Shares - at Wildwood through Wed

The Amherst school PGOs continue their winter Coat Shares this week at the Wildwood Elementary School. Through Wednesday during school hours.  If your family still needs coats or other warm items for the winter, feel free to stop by. 

Thanks again to the Fort River PGO, the ARHS & PGOs, & the ARPS Family Center for their work on last week's Coat Shares, & thank you to the Crocker Farm volunteers.  At Crocker Farm, this is one of the PGO's most important school community events.  We collected over 60 coats, 75 hats, 20 pairs of snowpants, plus boots, scarves, snowsuits, & more. Our leftovers went to Fort River for their Coat Share.

Friday, November 13, 2015

Coffee with the Principal & Special Guests Tara Luce & Amy Baver, Nov 20th

 Next Fri morning: 

Coffee with the Principal & Special Guests Amy Baver, our new school psychologist, & Tara Luce, the Crocker Farm guidance counselor.

Come meet Ms. Baver, hear about the ways in which the Crocker guidance & counseling staff help students, learn about the lunch assigned seating & incentive program, & more. 

All invited. Small children always welcome.

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

Crocker Farm Bookfair Continues Online through Thurs, Nov 12th

MANY THANKS to everyone who joined us at Barnes & Noble on Saturday for the Crocker Farm bookfair. It was a great success. If you meant to stop by & didn't make, or did come & then thought of other books or purchases you forgot to make while there, the bookfair is continuing online through this Thurs, Nov 12th. Please enter our bookfair ID 11714474 when checking out, & Crocker Farm will earn 10%. Thanks again for your support! 

Also, special thanks to Miss Leticia, preschool teacher Amy C., & the volunteer mom & daughter who generously spent all day on Saturday at the PGO's table at Barnes & Noble encouraging people to participate in our bookfair & raise money for our school.    

Thank you too to Barnes & Noble for partnering with us on this fundraiser.   

Bookfair link & details here:…/bookfairs

Sunday, November 8, 2015

Crocker Farm Winter Coat & Clothing Share - Monday & Tuesday

Monday (11/9): 8:30 am-5:00 pm
Tuesday (11/10): 8:30 am-2:30 pm

In the school lobby

All school & community families are welcome to come by & look for what they need for this coming winter. The PGOs at the other Amherst schools will be having their coast shares later this week & during the next few weeks. Please check the flyer for details.

Thanks to everyone who donated coats, etc. to Crocker Farm & to the wonderful volunteers (Lisa, Sue, Ruby, Christine) who helped set up the lobby. We are still looking for volunteers to help with the distribution on Mon & Tues. You can signup here:

& if anyone is still going through their winter clothes for this year, & hasn't yet got rid of what they don't need, we could definitely use more of the following, as we don't have that many of them, & they are always in the most demand. Thank you!
* more winter boots (especially large sizes)
* more snowpants (especially size 8 & up),
* big size jackets (size 10/12+ especially)
* waterproof mittens/gloves

Thursday, November 5, 2015

Crocker Farm Bookfair At Barnes & Noble this Sat -- Please Join Us!

Crocker Farm Bookfair at the Hadley Barnes & Noble, all day, Sat, Nov 7th

FUN activities for the whole family
Crocker Farm PGO fundraiser 

In the store's children's area:
10 am - Come here the fabulous Miss Leticia & her music students.  Their concerts are must see events & so much fun. 
11 am - Join us as the wonderful Amy Coulthard, a Crocker Farm preschool teacher, hosts a storytime with great picture books

Throughout the store: 
Mini-Maker Fair events including

 ** Make & Collaborate - Hands-On Activities at Noon, 4 pm, & 5 pm; different activities for ages 5+, 8+, & teens/adults

**  Demonstrations of tech/gadget products at 11 am, 3 pm, & 6 pm including a 3D printer, and a Meccanoid personal robots.  

Stop by the Crocker Farm PGO's table in the front of the store to
enter our FREE kids & adult raffles. 

** The prize for the kids' raffle is a  Meccano Erector set of Washington's Capital Hill.

** The adult raffle includes a basket with a Barnes & Noble gift card & other goodies.

MENTION "CROCKER FARM" WHEN CHECKING OUT & earn money for our school. 

Crocker Farm PGO: Bookfair ID 11714474 

All funds raised will go for the PGO's field trip fund to subsidize field trips & for classroom mini-grants. 

November School Calendar Updates

From Angela Mills in the Crocker Farm office.   Thank you, Angela! 

November is a month full of interesting events and our first long vacation break – here are the details:
Friday, November 6th – Community breakfast with Student-Athletes from UMass 8am in the cafeteria, come join us and meet some interesting members of our valley community

Wednesday, November 11 – Veterans’ Day – School is closed.

Friday, November 20 – Coffee with the principal 8:45am – special guests Tara Luce, School Counselor and Amy Baver, School Psychologist

Wednesday, November 25 – 27 – Thanksgiving Recess – School is closed.

Monday, November 30 - Teacher Curriculum/Workday – School is closed.

Tues, December 1 -  School open again.    

From the Crocker Farm PGO:
Saturday, November 7th Crocker Farm PGO Bookfair at the Hadley Barnes & Noble.   This is one of our big fundraisers of the year.   The bookfair runs all day, & the store is open 9 am until 10 pm.   Please mention "Crocker Farm" when checking out to earn credit for our school.    See the next blog post for additional details.   

Monday, November 9th  (8:30 am - 5 pm) & Tuesday, November 10th (8:30 am - 3:00 pm).    Crocker Farm PGO's annual winter coat & clothing share.  Come "shop" for whatever your family needs for the winter.  All school & community members are welcome.    & if you have gently used winter outerwear your family no longer needs,  please drop them off at Crocker Farm by Friday afternoon (tomorrow).   We'll be setting up afterschool for next week's distribution. Families, parents/guardians are welcome to stop by & help with the setup.  

Monday, November 2, 2015

Upcoming @ Crocker Farm & great volunteer opportunities

Upcoming @ Crocker Farm:
**Tues, Nov 3rd:  School picture makeup day

** Sat, Nov 7th:  Crocker Farm Barnes & Noble Bookfair day, at the Hadley B&N.  We are still looking for people to sit out our table in-store & help promote our bookfair.  There are a number of fun tech events the store that day (link to more info here), so there will be more people in the store, & more potential participants for our bookfair.  This is one of our big fundraisers for the year, & volunteers are still needed.

** Mon & Tues, Nov 9th & 10th:  Crocker Farm Winter Coat & Clothing Share.  We are still seeking coats, snowpants, boots, etc. to give away -- the collection bins will be out until Friday afternoon --  & more volunteers to help.  We are looking for coats & clothing in all sizes (baby through adult).  This is one of the PGO's most important events of the year & a great way to help our community.  Volunteers can sign at this link:

** Wed, Nov 11th:  No school.  Veteran's Day holiday.

Upcoming @ ARPS:
 **Tues, Nov 3rd.  Amherst School Committee meeting, 6 pm, ARHS Library.  The School Committee is expected to take a vote at the meeting on which proposed elementary school building option to support to the next stage.  To find out more about the Amherst elementary school building study, you can visit the project's web page (here) or the district's Facebook page for the project.

The Wildwood PGO has created an online feedback form to encourage input from parents, teachers, school staff, & community members about the district's recommendation to consolidate the current three K-6 Amherst public elementary schools into two schools: a K-1 school at Crocker Farm (which also houses the district's preK program) & a grades 2-6 school at a location still tbd. The link to the Wildwood PGO's online feedback form is below, & the form is available in both English & Spanish. Those wanting to give feedback to the district about its recommendations can also email the Amherst School Committee at   Like the Wildwood PGO, the Crocker Farm PGO is taking no position on the building study & the district's recommendations, & is providing information on the project & the feedback form link only as a service to help our families learn more about the project & help them give an easy way to  provide feedback should they care to do so.
Link to Wildwood PGO feedback form:

November school lunch menu

(click to enlarge)
You can also view it online here:…