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)