Monday, September 26, 2016

Technology Classroom Requests - Please Help!

Our new Technology teacher, Mr. Takayama, requests donations of equipment for a new Yearbook club and Makerspace!

Donations can be either new or used in good condition.

  • Digital cameras (at least 3 - used are fine, but new enough to be practical - for yearbook club)
  • A kinect (1 or 2 - Xbox for a makerspace- 3D scanning)
  • LEGO's (any kind/type for a makerspace)
Please contact Mr. Takayama with questions at Thank you for your support of these exciting new programs!

Sunday, September 25, 2016

LWV Hosts School Vote Information Forum September 28 at 7pm at ARMS

A forum on Wednesday, September 28, 7-9 p.m. in the Amherst Regional Middle School Auditorium will give the community an opportunity to hear different views about an upcoming town ballot question. The forum is being organized by the Amherst League of Women Voters. 
At issue is Question 5 on the Town of Amherst November ballot. While the state will pay the majority of the costs of the Amherst Elementary School Building Project, a Proposition 2 1/2 debt exclusion override is required to fund the Town of Amherst's share. Question number 5 on the November 8, 2016 ballot reads:

“Shall the town of Amherst be allowed to exempt from the provisions of proposition 2½, so called, the amounts required in order to pay for the bonds issued to construct, originally equip and furnish two co-located elementary schools on the Wildwood site to educate all Amherst students in grades 2 - 6, including the cost of architectural design, project management and other incidental and related costs, as well as demolition of the existing building and other necessary site improvements?”
Representatives from Save Amherst Small Schools (SASS), Bold Amherst Schools (BOLD), the ARPS Building Committee and the Amherst Finance Committee will speak. The ARPS Building Committee will be represented by Mike Morris (chair) and Ludmilla Pavlova-Gillham. Marylou Theilman (chair) and Steve Braun will speak for the Amherst Finance Committee. Liz Larson and Susan Bellak are scheduled to appear for BOLD, and Maria Kopicki and Laura Quilter for SASS. Each group will have ten minutes to present plus five minutes to respond to other groups' presentations.
The remainder of the evening will be devoted to questions from the audience. Please attend if you are able.

Fort River T-shirt Orders will be Sent Home on Monday 9/26

Fort River T-shirt orders will be sent home with students on Monday 9/26. There may be some additional t-shirts available for purchase from the PGO. Questions? Send an email to

Thank you for making this a huge success!  

*thanks to Soundscape Merchandising for making this fundraiser possible. 

"Slavery in the Valley: Five Unsung Heroes Who Resisted", a lecture by Robert Romer on Saturday, October 15, 2016 at 2:30 pm at the Jones Library

The Jones Library Presents:
Slavery in the Valley: Five Unsung Heroes Who Resisted


Amherst, MA, September 22, 2016 – The Jones Library announces Slavery in the Valley:  Five Unsung Heroes Who Resisted, a lecture by Robert Romer on Saturday, October 15, 2016 at 2:30 pm.

Slavery was widespread in the Connecticut Valley in colonial times, where most of the “important people” – including most of the ministers – owned two or three black slaves.  By no means did all of the enslaved people in the valley, some born in Africa, some born into slavery in America, passively accept their status as the property of white owners.  Romer will tell what is known of the stories of five who, in various ways, actively resisted and explain why it is important to remember those who lived here in slavery, the “invisible men and women” of our colonial past.

Robert H. Romer, physicist and historian, is Professor of Physics, Emeritus, at Amherst College, where he taught from 1955 to 2001, serving as editor of the American Journal of Physics from 1988 to 2001.  He is the author of Slavery in the Connecticut Valley of Massachusetts(Levellers Press, 2009) and The History of Hope Church in Amherst (2013), a manuscript held at the Special Collections Departments of Jones Library and Amherst College’s Frost Library. He was the 2012 recipient of the Amherst Historical Society’s Conch Shell Award, for distinguished contributions to the history of the town of Amherst.

Romer’s presentation is part of the national lecture series and community-building initiative ‘The Birth of a Nation: Slavery, Resistance & Abolition.” The series is presented in conjunction with the Office for Diversity, Literacy and Outreach Services at the American Library Association (ALA), The United Nations’ Remember Slavery Programme, Fox Searchlight Pictures and BazanED.

Inspired by actor and director Nate Parker’s acclaimed film The Birth of a Nation, the series will run August 21 through October 30, 2016, commemorating the history-changing slave rebellion launched by the film’s subject, Nat Turner, on August 21, 1831, through his capture on October 30, 1831. The lecture series marks the 185th anniversary of Turner’s rebellion, as well as The United Nations’ International Day for the Remembrance of The Slave Trade and its Abolition, observed annually on August 23. 

“We are honored that libraries will be the primary venues for these vitally important conversations across the country, and thankful that the Jones Library came on board to bring this series to its local community,” said Jody Gray, director of the Office for Diversity, Literacy, and Outreach Services at the American Library Association. “Libraries are not just about housing books; they have always been about learning, exchanging ideas, and transforming lives — characteristics that this series perfectly reflects.”

About ‘The Birth of a Nation: Slavery Resistance & Abolition’ National Lecture Series
“The Birth of a Nation: Slavery, Resistance & Abolition” lecture series is taking place in libraries, museums, institutions of higher education, and community centers around the nation during the period of August 21st and October 30th 2016. Each free public event features a local educator or historian addressing the topic of slavery, resistance and abolition, and will provide an opportunity for individual communities to engage in a timely and coordinated national discussion. 

About The Birth of a Nation movie
Set against the antebellum South, The Birth of a Nation follows Nat Turner (Nate Parker), a literate slave and preacher, whose financially strained owner, Samuel Turner (Armie Hammer), accepts an offer to use Nat’s preaching to subdue unruly slaves. As he witnesses countless atrocities — against himself and his fellow slaves — Nat orchestrates an uprising in the hopes of leading his people to freedom. The film won the Audience Award and Grand Jury Prize in the U.S. Dramatic Competition at the 2016 Sundance Film Festival. Fox Searchlight Pictures will release The Birth of a Nation on October 7, 2016. The company acquired the film at this year’s Sundance Film Festival, where it received rave reviews and won both the Audience Award and Grand Jury Prize in the U.S. Dramatic Competition. 

About The American Library Association
The ALA is the oldest and largest library association in the world. Founded on October 6, 1876, during the Centennial Exposition in Philadelphia, the mission of the ALA is “to provide leadership for the development, promotion and improvement of library and information services and the profession of librarianship in order to enhance learning and ensure access to information for all.”

About The United Nations Remember Slavery Programme
The Remember Slavery Programme, managed by the Education Outreach Section of the United Nations Department of Public Information, was established by the General Assembly in its resolution 62/122 of 17 December 2007 to honour the memory of the victims of slavery and the Transatlantic Slave Trade.  It also aims at raising awareness of the dangers of racism and prejudice today with activities held and educational materials produced throughout the year. To learn more about the United Nations 'Remember Slavery' programme, please contact Kimberly Mann, Chief, Education Outreach Section, at or visit
About Fox Searchlight Pictures
Fox Searchlight Pictures is a specialty film company that both finances and acquires motion pictures. It has its own marketing and distribution operations, and its films are distributed internationally by 20th Century Fox. Fox Searchlight Pictures is a unit of 21st Century Fox.

About BazanED
BazanED is a free teacher resource offering free materials for narrative films and documentaries, as well as curriculum guides and so much more to K-12 and College educators throughout the U.S. BazanED partners with entertainment, cultural, scientific and financial organizations to provide teachers with engaging, grade-appropriate content to supplement and support classroom instruction and enhance student learning.

A full high-school and college-level educational curriculum about Nat Turner’s rebellion that meets Common Core state standards will be available for teachers at, pegged to the major motion picture The Birth of a Nation. BazanED provides free curriculum materials to educators, and has previously launched successful educational initiatives on behalf of the 2014 Academy Award®-winning film Selma, the Jesse Owens biopic Race and Davis Guggenheim’s feature-length documentary film Teach.

# # #

Janet Ryan, Head of Programming & Outreach
Jones Library, Amherst, MA

Girls Try Hockey for Free Day on October 8 at the Mullins Center

The Amherst Hockey Association is hosting a Girls Try Hockey for Free Day at the UMass Mullins Center Community Rink Saturday, October 8 from 1-3 p.m. For girls ages 4 and up. No skating experience required. Free skate rentals; bring winter gloves and a bicycle or hockey helmet. 

For more information, contact:

Karen Skolfield 
Girls’ Division Coordinator
Amherst Hockey Association 

To save time at the door, you can register in advance at:

#ArtContinues Wine & Painting Night on October 5th to Benefit Survival Center

Paul Cezanne-343429October 5, #ArtContinues Wine & Painting Night, 6:30pm-9pm

An enjoyable evening and a special fundraising event supporting the Amherst Survival Center, with former Fort River art teacher Teri Magner, offering everyone of every ability the chance to paint a masterpiece (Paul Cezanne’s Pears on a Chair!)  

This event is at Bread & Butter in North Amherst.  

Tickets for this evening are $40 with a portion of each ticket to be donated to the Amherst Survival Center. Eat. Drink. Paint. Limited seats, sign up here.

Monday, September 19, 2016

FORT RIVER PGO Welcome Back Potluck & ​​Family Fun Fair on Wednesday, 9/21 at 5:30pm

Please join the Fort River community in celebrating the start of the new school year at the Fort River Welcome Back Potluck & 6th Grade Family Fun Fair. The potluck starts at 5:30pm on Wednesday, September 21 (which is also an early release day.) The rain date is September 22. The event will be held on the Fort River playground.

In addition to the potluck, our 6th grade students will be selling pizza, drinks and dessert as well as organize fun games. All proceeds will help to support their activities throughout the year. 

We are asking all 6th grade families to bring a contribution for the dessert table. (These items can be home made.)  There will also be pizza and beverages provided for the students to sell. Click here to access the letter that was sent to 6th grade families.

We also need parent volunteers for help on the night of the fair.  Help is needed for set up, clean up, and general supervision of the games.  Additionally, parents are needed to supervise the students while they are serving food.  Sign ups can be done online using the link below or via email.  Thanks for all your help!

Rebecca Kennedy (
Nicole Blum-Carr (

Click here for 6th Grade Volunteer Online Signup  (this link is for 6th grade families only)
Click here to Sign Up to Bring a Dish for the Potluck (or just bring one if you can!)