Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Final Coffee...

...of the calendar year! Come to Crocker Farm tomorrow (Thursday) morning at 9 for your eggnog-in-coffee, freshly-baked-pumpkin-bread, chatting-with-other-CF-parents fix.

Questions about your child's social-emotional development? We've got the guidance counselor and school adjustment counselor there tomorrow for that!

Questions about school-related concerns, puzzles, or accolades? We've got Mr. Shea there tomorrow for that!

Questions about what the best song is on the Downton Abbey Christmas Album? We've got Ms. Conklin there for that!

Hope to see you there!

(And any little pre-school elves who live at your house are always welcome, too.)

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

This Week at Crocker Farm & ARPS

This Week @ Crocker Farm:
Tuesday (12/16): 6th grade chorus concert, 9:30 am, & 6:30 pm
Wed (12/17): School Governance Council meeting, 7:30 am
Thurs (12/18): PGO Coffee with the principal & our special guest Tara Luce & Toby Bobbitt, 9 am, community room (link)
Friday (12/19): Deadline for donating to our holiday food drive. Drop off in the school lobby.  (more info here)

This Week @ ARPS:
Tues (12/16):  Amherst School Committee meeting, 6 pm, ARHS Library.  Agenda posted here:  (agenda link)
    Agenda includes presentation of the district and school improvement plans, & a presentation on MCAS scores
Wed (12/17):  SEPAC Workshop, 6:30 pm.  More info here:  (workshop info)

PGO Food collection for the school break - through this Friday

Crocker Farm Parents & Guardians Organization Food Drive

Can you donate a can of food or two?
How about a box of cereal?

The Crocker Farm PGO is sponsoring a week‐long pre‐vacation food drive to help Crocker Farm families in need of food assistance during the December school break.

Food Collection boxes will be in the lobby of Crocker Farm
through Friday, December 19th.

If you would like to donate money instead of food, please make
checks payable to the “Crocker Farm PGO”, subject line “Food
Drive”. All donations will be spent on food for families in need.

If your family could use some assistance during the holiday break, please reach out to Toby Bobbitt ( or Tara Luce (, phone number: 362‐1600.

Suggested donation items: Meals in a can (stew, chili, soup), tuna and other canned meat, low sugar cereals, canned fruit packed in juice, canned vegetables (low salt), beans, rice, pasta.

El grupo de padres y guardianes de la escuela Crocker Farm colección de comidas

El grupo de padres y guardianes de la escuela Crocker Farm
colección de comidas

¿Puedes donar una lata o dos de comida?
¿Tal vez una caja de cereales?

El grupo de padres y guardianes de la escuela Crocker Farm
hace una colección de comidas en latas y cajas para familias de
la escuela quienes necesitan ayuda durante las vacaciones de

La cajas de colección se pueden encontrar a la entrada de la
escuela Crocker Farm hasta el viernes, 19 de diciembre de

Si usted prefiere donar dinero, por favor de hacer los cheques a “Crocker
Farm PGO”. Todas las donaciones se gasta en alimentos para las familias en necesidad.

Si su familia necesita asistencia durante las vacaciones de invierno por favor comunicase con Toby Bobbitt ( o Tara Luce
(, número de teléfono 362‐1600.

SEPAC Workshop, Dec 17th

SEPAC Workshop, Wed, 12/17, 6:30 pm

Understanding Services & Benefits for Children & Youth with Special Health Care Needs

Open to all in the community!
Location: ARMS, Professional Development Room
Time: 6:30pm- 8:00pm

This presentation is an opportunity to learn from the Department of Public Health and Regional Consultation Program Director about State and Local Resources & Benefits available to support children and youth with special health care needs. Come share your experiences and learn about how others have accessed other care.

8:00pm-8:30pm: General Meeting
1. Introductions
2. Approve Minutes
3. Update from School Committee meeting
4. Update on SEPAC Workshops
5. Elections for open positions
6. Other

8:30pm to 9:00pm: Parent Support Group

If you have any questions, please contact Nancy Stewart at

Monday, December 15, 2014

This! Thursday! Eggnog!

Would you enjoy a splash of eggnog in your hot morning coffee?
Could you use some gluten-free fresh baked scones?
Have some questions for Mr. Shea, 
guidance counselor Tara Luce, 
or adjustment counselor Toby Bobbitt?

Did we mention there'd be eggnog??

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

ValleyGives - today!

It's still early, but right now (as of 8 am) the ARPS PGOs are in the running for one of the special Valley Gives prizes, in the 'small non-profits' category, given to the organizations with the most individual donors (unique donors based on email address). We have 61 unique donors so far. If we can keep up this momentum and finish in the top 3 in terms of unique donors among 'small non-profits', we could win an extra $3,000-$5,000 for our PGOs. Wow!  

Plus, there is also a $25 match for the first 1,920 donations by new donors to ValleyGives. Every donation ($10+) counts! Donations to the Crocker Farm PGO and other ARPS PGOs/preschool go to those schools/programs, and also count towards the ARPS PGO totals for ValleyGives prizes.

Thank you for your support!  

Crocker Farm PGO's ValleyGives website:

District Preschool/Early Education Center at Crocker

ARPS PGO ValleyGives website:

Agendas for School Equity Task Force & SEPAC Meetings

School Equity Task Force Meeting
Tonight, Wed, Dec 10th, 6 pm, ARHS Library
Meeting is open to all in the community! 

Meeting Agenda:
6:00-6:10 - Welcome/Introductions
6:10-6:20 – Update & discussion of next steps on budget priorities
6:20-7:15 – Discussion of current/planned equity-focused PD at ARPS  (Maria Geryk, Pat Romney, Monica Hall, Carol Ross)
7:15-7:50 – Subcommittee Updates
7:50-8:00 – Next steps

Special Education Parents Advisory Council (SEPAC) Meeting
Fri, Dec 11th,  9 am, ARMS, Professional Development Room

Meeting is open to all in the community!

Executive Board Meeting Agenda:
1.  Introductions
2.  Follow-up from email regarding school assemblies
3.  Issue/complaint protocol
4.  MTEL survey (more general education support from students on IEPS)
5.  Co-teaching rollout SEPAC support
6.  SE Budget
7.  Other

Monday, December 8, 2014

This Week & Upcoming @ Crocker Farm & ARPS

Crocker Farm:
Mon, 12/8:  a.m. deadline for Dean's Beans orders
Tues, 12/9, 2 pm: 4th & 5th grade chorus concert
Wed, 12/10, 6:30 pm:  4th & 5th grade chorus concert
Wed, 12/10, early dismissal, 1:20 pm
Thurs, 12/11, 6 pm: event for reading intervention students & their families
Tues, 12/16, 9:30 am & 6:30 pm: 6th grade chorus concert 
Thurs, 12/18, PGO coffee with special guests Tara Luce & Toby Bobbitt
Tues, 12/23, last day of school until 2015

Tues, 12/9, 6 pm, Amherst Reg. School Committee Meeting (link to agenda here)
Wed, 12/10, 6 pm, School Equity Task Force Meeting, ARHS Library
Tues, 12/16, Amherst School Committee Meeting

ValleyGives This Wed - Details

ValleyGives Day:  December 10th

ValleyGives Web Sites:
Crocker Farm PGO:   (Enjoy the Crocker Farm pictures and video at this link!)


Amherst Education Foundation:

On ValleyGives Day (Dec 10th), when a donor comes to the Valley Gives website and makes a gift to his or her favorite nonprofits between 12 AM and 11:59 PM on December 10th, that gift will be added up along with all the thousands of other gifts being made to nonprofits in western Massachusetts throughout the day. At the end of 24 hours, the nonprofits that have the most unique donors will be rewarded with special grants from a prize pool which consists of up to $225,000 in awards.

Throughout the day, donors will be randomly chosen and their gift will be amplified with a Golden Ticket, adding $500.  Power hours are from 10 am-11 am, noon-1 pm, 4-5 pm, and 6-7 pm.  There is also a special power hour from 9-10 pm (for a $1,000 Golden Ticket).

Amherst Survival Center - BOOST program for school vacation weeks

Kids School Vacation Boost

If your child/children receive a meal benefit Amherst Survival Center school vacation school-age children (5-17 years) extra food in school, you’ll want to know about the program that gives families with in months that have a school vacation:

Amherst Survival Center, 138 Sunderland Road in North Amherst

Food Pantry Hours:
Monday, Tuesday, Friday: 11am-3pm; Thursday: 11am – 7pm; December 20: 9:30am-11:30am;

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

Tel: 413-549-3968
Twitter: @AmherstSurvival

Universal Declaration of Human Rights, Dec 10th

From the Amherst Human Rights Commission

You are invited to join in the annual public reading of the

Universal Declaration of Human Rights

Wednesday, December 10, 2014, 6:00 pm
Amherst Town Common in front of Town Hall

Each year on the anniversary of its adoption by the UN General Assembly on Dec. 10, 1948 our Amherst Human Rights Commissioners invite community members to join us in making a public statement about our belief in "Human Rights for Every Person Everywhere".  We take a few minutes each December 10th to read the 30 articles included in this Declaration which begins: 

Whereas recognition of the inherent dignity and of the equal and inalienable rights of all members of the human family is the foundation of freedom, justice and peace in the world,
Whereas disregard and contempt for human rights have resulted in barbarous acts which have outraged the conscience of mankind, and the advent of a world in which human beings shall enjoy freedom of speech and belief and freedom from fear and want has been proclaimed as the highest aspiration of the common people,
We look forward to reading with you on December 10th!
Amherst Human Rights Commission meets every 3rd Thursday, Bangs Community Center, room 101.

Programa para las vacaciones escolares del Amherst Survival Center

Si su(s) niño(s) reciben beneficios de comida en la escuela, usted quería saber sobre un nuevo Programa para las vacaciones escolares del Amherst Survival Center que le da alimentos adicionales a familias con niños en edad escolar (de 5 a 17 años) en Diciembre.

Incremento Para Las Vacaciones Escolares para Niños

Regístrese en nuestra
Despensa Comunitaria de Alimentos:
Amherst Survival Center

138 Sunderland Road en North Amherst

Horas de la Despensa Comunitaria de Alimentos
Lunes, Martes, Viernes 11am-3pm
Jueves 11am-7pm
20 de Diciembre: 9:30am-11:30am

Elegible si reside en las siguientes localidades: Amherst, Belchertown, Deerfield,
Granby, Hadley, Leverett, Pelham, Shutesbury, South Deerfield, South Hadley,
Sunderland, Whately o Ware.

Tel: 413-549-3968
Twitter: @AmherstSurvival

Norma Jean Anderson Civil Rights & Academic Achievement Award - Nominations


NOMINATIONS for the Norma Jean Anderson Civil Rights and Academic Achievement Award

The Norma Jean Anderson Civil Rights and Academic Achievement Award applauds the contributions of a current teacher, administrator or staff member in the Amherst and/or Amherst-Pelham Regional school districts who promotes the ideals of a just and respectful community built on compassionate relationships. We recognize many teachers, administrators and staff share these goals, and we look forward to acknowledging their contributions.

Past recipients include:
Roger Wallace (Fort River Elementary); Jasmine Robinson (Crocker Farm Elementary)
Momodou Saar and Mary Custard (ARHS); Shari Abbot (ARHS)
Rachel Coblyn (APRS Administration)

Who is Eligible for Award
Nominee must be a current employee of the Amherst and/or Amherst-Pelham School District as a teacher, administrator or staff person. We welcome nominations from any member of the community, especially students, parents and school employees.

1. Provide a statement of at least 1 page explaining why this candidate should be selected. The focus should be removing systematic privilege based on race and class in our schools.

2. Email the statement to Pat Ononibaku (

3. In lieu of a written statement, you can call and share your reasons for nominating the candidate to Pat Ononibaku at 413-627-0043.

 All nominations need to be received by JANUARY 7, 2015.

The final selection of the recipient of the award will be made by the RaDAR Committee. The award will be presented at the Martin Luther King, Jr. Breakfast in January 2015.

About RaDAR
The RaDAR (Race and Discipline, Action, Rights) Committee grew out of the ARHS Parents Center’s Study Circle Project on Race and Class in the Amherst Schools. In Spring, 2005, RaDAR was formed to address concerns raised by ALANA (African, African-American, Latino, Asian, Native American) parents regarding issues of discipline, social justice and equity at ARHS.

RaDAR believes through the collaborative effort of students, teachers, parents, staff, and administrators, students in Amherst can achieve the highest education attainment when there is no systematic privilege based on race. We believe a school free of racism, prejudice and discrimination promotes safety, personal growth and academic achievement . We envision learning communities that promote the ideals of a just and respectful community built on compassionate relationships.

For more information about RaDAR, contact Jackie Wolf (549-2958) .

Bricks4Kidz Free Events December

Bricks4Kidz Amherst Area Newsletter

There are two free events coming up in December:
  1. Amherst Area Bricks 4 Kidz will be participating in the Macaroni Kid annual Free Holiday Fun Day in Chicopee on Saturday, Dec. 13 from 10:00am until 4:00pm. You can read more about it here:
  2. Bricks 4 Kidz will have a free holiday class on Thursday, Dec. 18 4:00-5:00pm at Second Chances in South Amherst. Come build models related to Christmas and Hanukkah with LEGO® Bricks! Make a one-of-a-kind decoration with our motorized spin art machine. Take home a mini-model. Space is limited so register todayon our Website: 
(not a school or PGO-sponsored event)