Tuesday, December 22, 2015

Amherst School Committee Meeting, Dec 22nd, agenda & materials

The Amherst School Committee has a full agenda for their last meeting of 2015.  The meeting is scheduled for Tuesday, Dec 22nd, 6 pm, at the Amherst Regional High School Library.  

The agenda includes continued discussions on the elementary school building study, a vote on whether to conduct a staff survey about the elementary building options, updates on the FY2017 budget, & discussions regarding new restraint regulations, field trips, and the district's new wellness policy.  

The Wellness Policy (Policy ADF) reflects the district's commitment to promoting wellness for its students in a variety of areas, including related to physical activity & nutrition.  For physical activity, the policy states that in K-6th grades, "recess shall be offered at least once a day, with preference for additional activity for all."  In terms of food and nutrition, the policy gives preference to fresh foods, freshly cooked foods, and locally produced foods for snacks and meals provided by the district.  The policy also states that staff "shall refrain from using food as a reward or punishment and shall whenever, possible recognize celebrations such as birthdays using alternatives to food. Ideas for celebrations will be developed and shared to assist classroom teachers and families."  

The full agenda packet, including supporting materials for the meeting, is available at this link.

Crocker Farm Preschool Openings Starting in January

Contact Michele Regan-Ladd, Crocker Farm Preschool Director, for more information or to apply: 413-362-1610.

Capacidad Vacation Care, at Fort River School, Dec 28-31st

Capacidad Vacation Care for Elementary School Children
Dec 28-31st
Location: Fort River Elementary School
Cost: $65 per day per child

For more information:  email capacidad.programs@gmail.com or call 413-253-5659

December camp - KidsAfrik in Northampton (Dec 28-30th)

KidsAfrik  is providing a 3-day camp & cultural retreat for children ages 7-15
over the December break.
Location:  Allsport Soccer Arena, Northampton, MA
Cost $159 for 3 days (Dec 28-30th)

Web site for more info:  http://www.mymobilesocceracademy.com/#!cultural-camp/cr7l

Thursday, December 17, 2015

Coffee with the Principal & Special Guest Assistant Superintendent Mike Morris, Mon, Dec 21st

All are invited to attend next Monday's coffee with the Principal with special guest Assistant Superintendent Mike Morris. 
 8:45-9:45 am in the Crocker Farm cafeteria 
The main topic: the elementary school reconfiguration project. 
Have questions, concerns, thoughts about the project? This is a great forum to share them. 
In January 2016, the Amherst School Committee is slated to vote on which grade configuration option they support. To learn more about this project & the options, you can visit the project web site here (http://wildwood.projects.joslinlesser.com/) or the Facebook page for the project, https://www.facebook.com/Amherst-Elementary-School-Building-Project-968374979880827/

The district recently created a chart summarizing the implications of the main options under consideration.   The chart is shown below (click on it to enlarge it) & can also be downloaded at this link

Recent Evening Events for Families - Thank You Crocker Farm teachers & staff!

In the past week, Crocker Farm had three wonderful events:
* a winter chorus concert for 3rd & 4th grade classes
* a Title I Literacy Night with dinner for children who receive reading intervention services & their families
* a winter chorus concert for 5th & 6th grade classes

Many thanks to the teachers & staff who made these events possible.  It's always great seeing so many families at Crocker Farm.

(K-2nd graders will have their concert in the spring of 2016).

PGO & Year-End Giving

The PGO is so appreciative of each & every donation that we receive, big or small, including the unexpected donation that we received a few days ago.

All money donated to the Crocker Farm PGO is used for PGO activities that support the Crocker Farm community, including  classes, teachers/staff, students, and families. Donations to the Crocker Farm PGO are tax-deductible to the extent permitted by law.

Donations can be made at the link below or sent in to the PGO.  For families who make year-end donations, please consider including Crocker Farm in your year-end giving.  Thank you for your support. 


Crocker Farm Lost & Found -- Items to be Bagged up over the December Break

A BIG THANK YOU to Ms. Bobbitt for doing such a wonderful job organizing the Lost & Found.

Unfortunately, there are many coats, sweatshirts, lunch boxes & other items in the Lost & Found & new items are added daily. If your child came to school with clothing or another item that never made it home, please come take a look. Over the December break, Lost & Found items will be bagged up & then donated to the Amherst Survival Center.

Jones Library Star Wars-themed Event for Kids, Sat, Dec 19th

Children’s Craft & Family Film Screening
As excitement builds for the next film in the Star Wars series, the Jones Library is taking a lighthearted look at the genre.  Join us for a screening the 1987 film written and directed by Mel Brooks, in which a space bum helps rescue a princess from an evil overlord with the help of a benevolent elder.  Although it borrows most of its plot from the Star Wars series, this film also pokes fun at Star Trek, Snow White, and Planet of the Apes, in true Mel Brooks fashion.
Join us in the Woodbury Room on Saturday, December 19 at 2 pm for the screening of this feature film.  More information about the movie can be found on the Jones Library website at www.joneslibrary.org.  The film is rated PG.
Children ages 7 and up are invited to attend a Jedi Training at 11 am on the same day. Come make your Light Saber and a Star Wars craft, then test your skills with our Jedi obstacle course! Costumes welcomed and encouraged. Drop-ins are welcome for the Jedi obstacle course, but registration is required for the craft project.  Please contact the Children’s Room at 413/ 259-3091 to register.

Free and open to the public.  For more information, please contact Janet Ryan at 413/259-3223

Janet Ryan
Head of Programming & Outreach
43 Amity Street
Jones Library
Amherst, MA 01002

Saturday, December 12, 2015

Crocker Farm 6th grade selling Amherst winter hats for $10 - get yours today

The Crocker Farm 6th grade is selling these hats to raise $ for their end of school year field trip & graduation festivities.
They are warm & nice, & at just $10 each, a great bargain. The first order of the hats sold out quickly & a new order has been placed. Get yours today!
& they are not just for Crocker Farm families - sales are open to all!
You can download the order form HERE  
Order form in Spanish HERE
Any questions? Please contact Stacey (snwmac@yahoo.com) or Angela (pav4all@yahoo.com).

Saturday, December 5, 2015

Afterschool Chess Club Seeks Parent Volunteers

The last two years, the Crocker Farm PGO has run a weekly afterschool chess club over the winter months (January to March). It has been a great success with over 50 students participating each year.

We would love to run it again this year if we have volunteers for it. The plan is to have the chess club meet once a week afterschool from 3:15-4:15 pm (day tbd based on volunteer availability). There would be 5 weeks for students in grades 4-6, & then 5 weeks for students in grades 1-3, & sessions would run Jan-Mar.

If you would like to help with one or both age groups, please email crockerfarmpgo@gmail.com or otherwise get in touch asap. Chess boards & pieces provided. A basic knowledge of chess is a plus, but chess mastery is not required.  Thank you.  

Crocker Farm PGO fundraiser for its Field Trip Fund & other activities

For #GivingTuesday & since, the PGOs in the ARPS PGO combined non-profit (for Crocker Farm, Wildwood, & Amherst Regional Middle & High Schools) have raised almost $3500.  (Wow!) However, sadly, only 1% ($35) of this total has been for the Crocker Farm PGO.  :( 

Through the end of Dec, the Crocker PGO is trying to raise money for our Field Trip Fund to help keep field trips affordable for all regardless of cost & families' ability to pay.  Any donation big or small for the fund would be greatly appreciated & would go to good use.

You can also donate to the PGO's general fund & help support the PGO's other activities & grant programs.  Please help us help our school community.  

The link to our donation site is here:  https://givingtuesday.razoo.com/story/Crocker-Farm-Parent-Guardian-OrganizationDonations can also be sent or dropped off to the school: Crocker Farm PGO, 280 West Street, Amherst, MA 01002.  

Thank you for your support.  

Crocker Farm 6th Grade Fundraiser - Amherst Winter Hats for Sale

The order form for the hats is going home in backpacks soon.  You may have already seen it.  The hats are $10 each, & the proceeds will go to support the end of school year field trip & activities for this year's Crocker Farm 6th grade.   If you have any questions, please contact Stacey (snwmac@yahoo.com) or Angela (pavs4all@yahoo.com).

They make great holiday gifts & are also good for keeping for yourself.   The hats are made of 100% acrylic yarn.

(click to enlarge)

Fort River School Bookfair at Barnes & Noble Today

The Bookfair continues online 12/5/15 to 12/10/15.  Enter Bookfair ID# 11609500 at checkout at earn $ for the Fort River PGO, at no cost to you.  It's an easy way to support a fellow Amherst school & their students & teachers.  

Wednesday, December 2, 2015

Update on the Elementary School Building Study - Meeting this Thurs, Public Forum next Tues

The Wildwood/Elementary School Building Committee (SBC) meets this Thursday, Dec 3rd, 4 pm, at the ARMS Library.

At the meeting the SBC will be voting on approving the Prelimnary Design Program (PDP) for submission to the Massachusetts School Building Authority (MSBA) on Monday, for the MSBA's review. 

A copy of the draft PDP can be downloaded here:

The PDP focuses on 3 elementary school alternatives:
1) a new K-6 school to replace the existing Wildwood School (the new school would be for up to 360 students)
2) a new K-6 school which would have two K-6 "schools with a school" to replace the Fort River & Wildwood Schools (670 students)
3) a new grades 2-6 school to serve the whole town (750 students) & replace Wildwood & Fort River.  Crocker Farm would become a K-1 school & continue to house the district's preschool. 

The PDP includes the Educational Program, Initial Space Summary, Evaluation of Existing Conditions, Site Development Requirements, Preliminary Evaluation of Alternatives, Local Actions.  It essentially lays out the goals of the project & the options for meeting those goals, & includes a detailed investigation of the current issues & possible solutions.  The MSBA will review & approve it, & might make additional suggestions. 

You can learn more about the school building study at the project web site: http://wildwood.projects.joslinlesser.com/

Upcoming School Concerts, 3rd-6th grades

Save the dates:
Tues, Dec 8th, 6:30 pm: Concert for 3rd & 4th grade classes & families

Wed, Dec 16th, 6:30 pm: Concert of 5th & 6th grade classes & families

There will be a concert for K-2nd grade classes in the spring.

Conciertos de invierno para grados 3-6

El Martes 8 de diciembre:  concierto por los estudiantes de tercer y cuarto grados
El miércoles 16 de diciembre: concierto por los estudiantes de tercer y cuarto grados

Un concierto para el kindergarten, 1er grado y 2o grado se celebrará en la primavera

Merry Maple & Other Downtown Holiday Festivities

Merry Maple this Friday, activities start at 3 pm. This year is Merry Maple's 40th anniversary.  

Find out more about all the holiday festivities downtown this Dec here: http://www.amherstdowntown.com/events/holidays/

Tuesday, December 1, 2015

Giving Tuesday, Crocker Farm, & the ARPS PGO

There are many great organizations worthy of support on #GivingTuesday. Please consider adding Crocker Farm & the ARPS PGO to your list. The Crocker Farm PGO is raising money for our field trip fund to help keep field trips affordable for all.  We are hoping to hoping to raise $1,000 by the end of Dec.   Every donation big or small is greatly appreciated.  
You can donate here:

The ARPS PGO is a partnership between the PGOs at Crocker Farm, Wildwood, ARMS and ARHS, & donations to the ARPS PGO are distributed among the 4 partner schools. The ARPS PGO is also raising $ for the new preschool playground at Crocker Farm. The Crocker Farm preschool serves 65 children from throughout Amherst, including many with special needs.