Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Upcoming School Events

Lost and Found.  Tues-Thurs. June 15-17th. In the school back hall (near the lost and found cubbies). This is your last chance to unearth your child's lost jackets, lunch boxes, etc.!

Last Day of School. Thursday, June 17th. Early dismissal at 1:20pm (Wednesday schedule).

First Day of School, 2010-11. Thursday, Sept. 2nd, Grades 1-12. (Kindergarten starts on Tuesday, Sept. 7th.)

Also, be on the lookout during the late summer for announcements for the Staff Welcome Back Day and the New Family Welcome.

Have a great summer, everybody!--Ann McLaughlin, Website Editor.

*Items in teal are sponsored by Parent Council.

Looking Ahead to Next Year

As we are winding down this school year, Parent Council is already planning ahead for September. While many of the volunteers coordinating Parent Council Events are continuing, we are still looking for coordinators for the positions listed below. It would be helpful to have these positions filled before September – particularly for the fall events: Family Fair, New Family Welcome, and Cultural Enrichment Volunteer.

We are also looking for volunteers to help with the directory in early fall.

A brief description of each coordinator position can be seen when you click on the "Read More" link at the bottom of this post.

If you are interested in taking over any of these positions please contact Sue Borden.

Thanks for a great year!

Coordinators needed

Family Fair (5th & 6th grade parent)
Cultural Enrichment Volunteer

New Family Welcome

6th Grade Graduation

Box Tops for Education

Lost and Found

Parent Council Secretary

*Picture Day

*Blog Editor

*Co-coordinator needed.


Parent Council voted to purchase microscopes for Fort River using the generous funds made available by Amherstopoly. 

Thanks Sue Cairn, Liz Larson and all the folks who made this all- elementary school fundraiser such a success.

Thirteen microscopes should be ready for use at Fort River next September!

Field Day 2010

Thanks to Sarah Murphy and Tammy Rahhal for coordinating this year's Field Day. Thanks as well to all the Fort River parents/guardians who volunteered to make Field Day a success!

Sixth Grade Class Gift Gets Big Donation

Through the generosity of Dorsey Memorials on Main Street, around the corner from Fort River, the sixth grade class of 2010 will be giving two long granite benches to the school. The eight-foot long benches of Vermont gray granite will replace the worn wooden benches on both sides of the sidewalk that leads to the school's front door. There will be room on the front of the benches for an inspirational saying or two. Our committee was surprised by the donation. We had collected enough money for one bench and planned to buy only one, but when Richard Verock, the president of Dorsey Memorials, stopped by Fort River to look at the site, he told us that the school really needed two benches and that if we could pay for one ($1,000) then he would donate the second one to the school. "I'm glad to do it. It's for the neighborhood," he said. Two years ago, our good neighbor Mr. Verock donated his time to engrave the bricks that lead to the new playground equipment. Thank you to all sixth grade parents who contributed, and thanks to Mr. Verock for his great contribution. He will install the benches at the end of June.

The Sixth Grade Class Gift Committee:
Janet McGowan
Elly Hosea
Betty Sharpe

Bus/Van Driver Appreciation Breakfast

Dear Fort River families,

I wanted to thank all the parents who contributed to the bus/van driver appreciation breakfast this year.  Again, it was a huge success because of all the wonderful food items that were brought in.  I know it is hard for most parents to be able to stay and chat with our drivers, but I wish some of you could have seen the gratitude on their faces.  This event means so much to them.  It shows our drivers how grateful we are, as parents, that they are keeping our children safe on a daily basis, and that we know what an extremely stressful and important job they have.  Many thanks to everyone for all your help.  You make this volunteer position very easy for me!!

Also, thank you to the Parent Council for providing the Dunkin Donuts gift cards to the bus drivers.  They all love receiving them.

With gratitude,
Jenn Wellman

Don't Forget to Complete the School Survey!

Here's the link to the school survey that Principal Sharick has asked all parents/guardians to complete.  https://www.surveymonkey.com/s/7RR7HYN.

Please take a few minutes to provide your feedback!! It's important to help our school continue to improve.

Crocker Farm Playground News

The Crocker Farm PGO is thrilled to announce that the playground total has been reached! This community effort could not have been achieved without the support of dozens of individual and business donors, as well as the Fort River and Wildwood Elementary School PGOs and the ARHS Dance Theater Ensemble. Crocker Farm also received major financial support from the Rotary Club of Amherst having been awarded their 1st annual Community Grant. Thank you to everyone who sponsored this project!

The Town of Amherst and ARPS Facilities will begin the process of removing the old pieces and tending to the much needed landscaping and drainage after the last day of school. The new playground will be built on Friday, August 13th (rain date August 20th), beginning at 8:00 am. We need 30 – 50 volunteers (no children, please) to install all of those fabulous pieces. Food and beverages will be provided. Can you help with this final step?

To sign up, please contact Becky at  CrockerFarmPGO@gmail.com.

Monday, June 14, 2010

Unsubscribe from Parent Council Emails

If you no longer want to receive email updates from Parent Council, please send any email to the following address: fort_river_parent_council_newsletter-unsubscribe@npogroups.org. You will be automatically unsubscribed. Just be sure to send the email from the same address that you used to subscribe in the first place.

If you have trouble unsubscribing, please send an email to me, Ann McLaughlin,  at damclaughlin@comcast.net and I will take care of it for you.

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Upcoming School Events

Fort River Band and Orchestra Concert.  Thurs., June 3, 7:30pm. In the Fort River gymnasium.

Summer Read-a-Thon Permission Slips Due.
Friday, June 4th. See below for more info.

Fort River Roasters Coffee Orders Due.
Friday, June 4th. Order forms here. This is your last chance to order for the summer, so stock up!

Coffee With the Principals. Friday, June 4th. 8:30-9:15am.
Fort River Cafeteria. All Fort River parents are invited to meet with Principal Ray Sharick and/or Asst. Principal Susan Kennedy-Marx for coffee, light refreshments and casual conversation. Younger siblings are welcome to attend. This is the last coffee of the school year!

Field Day
.  Tues., June 8. Fort River Playing Fields. During school hours. Online sign-up here.

5th Grade Immigration Play.
Tues., June 8th, 7:30pm. ARMS Auditorium.

Van/Bus Driver Appreciation Breakfast
. Thurs. June 10th, 9:30-10:30am. Fort River Cafeteria. More info here. Online sign-up here.

Hillside Pizza Fundraiser Pizza Order Pickup. Thursday. June 10. 3:05-5:30pm. We will also be offering reusable lunch bags for sale in the school lobby during the pickup time. See below for more information.

Sixth Grade Graduation. Friday, June 11th. 1:30pm. Fort River Gymnasium.

Last Day of School.
Thursday, June 17th. Early dismissal at 1:20pm (Wednesday schedule). Please note: the dismissal time has been changed since my last update. Please see the arps.org website for confirmation.--Ann McL.

*Items in teal are sponsored by Parent Council.

Principal Sharick's Newsletter--Updated Staffing Plan

In case you've missed it, Ray Sharick posted his latest newsletter last week. Included is the latest updated staffing plan for next year. Click on the following link http://www.arps.org/fr/Fort_River_News.htm, then click on "May 28" under "Fort River Newsletters."

Buy Earth-Friendly Lunch Bags during the Hillside Pizza Pickup, Thursday, June 10, 3:05-5:30pm

Don't forget that you can pick up your Hillside pizza orders on Thursday, June 10, from 3:05 to 5:30 pm. Contact Libby Stanforth with questions.

Parent Council is pleased to announce that we will be offering locally made--by a Fort River parent--reusable lunch bags for sale in the school lobby during the pizza pick-up hours.

Here's a description of the bags:

A re-useable alternative to plastic bags!

Our fun and colorful baggies are great for snacks, sandwiches, and just about anything!
We make our baggies with a 100% cotton print outer (we also have 100% organic cotton choices) and a waterproof inner (PU coated nylon). Lbaggies are food safe and free of lead, phlalates, BPA, and PVC.

Lbaggies come in two sizes: snack (6 in. x 6 in.) and sandwich (7 in. x 7 in.) and have a snap closure. We find snaps work better than aplix/velcro so you don't get all those icky crumbs stuck in the closure. And you won't smoosh your sandwich snapping them closed- just pinch the fabric from the outside to snap together.

Locally made in Amherst by a Fort River parent. Stock up for summer camp lunches while going green!

Prices: $5 for snack size  
            $6 for sandwich size

Bus/Van Driver Appreciation Breakfast, Thursday, June 10

Don't forget that the Bus/Van Driver Appreciation Breakfast will be held on Thursday, June 10th, 9:30-10:30 AM, in the Fort River Cafeteria. Our bus and van drivers have a very difficult job of trying to keep our children safe while taking them back and forth to school on a daily basis.

We could still use additional food donations!! Please click the link to sign-up:  2010 Bus Driver Breakfast

Our drivers love fresh fruit, baked breads, donuts, bagels with cream cheese, orange juice, eggs, and any other breakfast items.  The coffee will be taken care of by our wonderful cafeteria staff at the school, but we need volunteers to donate milk/cream and sugar.  Paper goods and small thank you gifts will be provided by event coordinator, Jenn Wellman (ajwellman@comcast.net).  THANKS!

Field Day News

Field Day is Coming!

We still have a few open time slots.
If you'd like to help out, please sign up online here: Field Day.

There will be a variety of outdoor activity stations on the field and playground where children can run, jump, throw, slide, dribble, dance, whatever. The field day games and activities will be divided into three times according to grade:

9:00—9:45  Kindergarten
9:30—10:45 1st, 2nd, 3rd
11:00-12:15  4th, 5th

Picnic times:

1st, 2nd:          11:30am
Kindergarten:  11:50am
3rd                   12:00noon
4th , 5th           12:25pm

Please join us for this fun event with the kids!

Don't Forget to Turn In Summer Read-a-Thon Forms

Permission slips for the Summer Read-a-Thon are due tomorrow, Friday June 4th. 

Over the summer students will ask family, friends, and neighbors to sponsor their summer reading by making a pledge for each book they read.  A gift will be awarded to everyone who turns in a reading list.  The real emphasis is reading, reading, reading!!

Permission slips have been sent out to all children K-5 in the backpacks.  Permission slips are required for participation.  Please return them by June 4th

If you prefer to email me directly at jacquelynreilly@hotmail.com that is fine as well.

Social Justice Consultant Visits District June 3 and 4

Amherst Regional Public Schools has contracted with Dr. Rossi Ray-Taylor, a private consultant, to help us outline the next steps in our Social Justice, Equity and Access work. Dr. Ray-Taylor will study the districts’ commitment to BAMMS and Social Justice by reviewing documents, conducting interviews and on-site visits.

Dr. Ray-Taylor will visit on June 3 and 4 and conduct a series of focused meetings with the different stakeholders.  All members of the community are invited to attend the evening session on June 3, from 7:30-9:00 pm in the high school library.

After meeting with staff, students, families and community groups, we plan to conduct a final, "round table" discussion with reps from each of these groups.  The goal of the roundtable is to discuss possible "next steps" and check for understanding before Dr. Ray-Taylor leaves and drafts recommendations for us.  Our ultimate goal is to have an action plan that we can begin implementing as soon as possible.

Staff/Teacher Appreciation Luncheon: Slideshow

International Fair 2010--Slideshow

Upcoming Community Events

Please note that these events are not sponsored by Parent Council.

Click image to enlarge.
Friday, June 4th, will the last day to Save $10 on all summer sports camps. Thanks.
Amherst Leisure Services website: http://www.lsse.org.

Summer 2010 at Amherst Ballet!
Children's Workshops  (for ages 5 – 10)
June 28 – July 2 and July 5 – 9, 9:30am – 3:30pm (attend one or both weeks)
Dance, art, choreography, prop and set design and construction.  Participants perform on the last day of the workshop in our very own studio theater!

Week #1: The Gods of the Vikings:  Favorite Norse Myths!  Learn more about Norse mythology as we create a performance based on the lives of the gods Odin, Thor, Loki, Freya and others.  We will make costumes, masks and props and create the choreography for our performance.

Week #2: Russian Folk Tales and Dance  Explore Russian folklore and learn the special character steps and dances seen in many well known classical ballets.  We will make our own vests and crowns and perform in costume.

Summer Teen Intensive  (for ages 10 – 18)
August 2 – 6 and August 9 – 13, 9:00am – 4:00pm (attend one or both weeks)

Week #1:  Classical Ballet Technique and Repertory from Swan Lake  Classes in ballet, pointe, character dance, theater, and workshop in costume design, construction and illustration.

Week #2:  Generation YouTube, Phase Two  Back by popular demand!  Join us as we explore the creation of dance for video.  Morning classes in classical ballet and Modern dance; during the afternoons we will travel to a variety of local spots and video our choreography on site.

Ballet Technique & Modern dance Classes  (for ages 12 – adult)
Weekday afternoons and evenings throughout the summer in our air-conditioned studio with state-of-the-art, sprung dance floor!

Amherst Ballet, 29 Strong Street, Amherst, MA 01002
Contact us for more information:  413-549-1555, info@amherstballet.org,

Yoga for Kids, ages 10-12 M-W-F, 1-2 PM
June 21, 23, 25, 28, 30, July 1
6 classes for $66
Yoga Center Amherst
17 Kellogg St. (near Bart's and Rao's)
To Register: 256-0604/ www.yogacenteramherst.com


The Fresh Air fund is in need of hosts for this summer. Host families are volunteers who open their hearts and home to a child from the city to give a fresh air experience that disadvantaged children never forget. There's lots of info on the Fresh Air Fund website here: http://www.freshair.org/the-fresh-air-fund.


Fort River Parent Council will publish information about non-Parent Council sponsored events with the following conditions:

1. The event should be of interest to Fort River families.
2. The information should be sent to Ann McLaughlin at damclaughlin@comcast.net in the form of a short description.
3. Contact information (website or name, telephone and/or email address) must be included.

We add new information to the blog every Thursday during the school year. Please send your announcement no later than 5pm Wednesday for inclusion in the week's updates. Also note that we do not accept announcements of items or services for sale (with the exceptions of children's classes/lessons). Inclusion in this section does not imply any guarantees or endorsements by Fort River Parent Council or Fort River School.

Easy Ways to Earn $$$ for Fort River

Stop & Shopʼs A+ BonusBucks Program
Use your Stop & Shop card and Fort River earns a percentage! This year's program ended on March 25th. This year we earned $567.66 for Fort River with 123 people participating.  Thanks to everyone who signed up.  Remember, you will need to sign up again next fall!

Big Y Education Express

Use your Big Y Express Savings Club card and Fort River can earn points for buying much needed equipment and supplies! Just visit the Big Y customer service desk and fill out a form that will link Fort River with your card (School ID # 5947). Or go to www.bigy.com/education and sign up from your computer! Whenever you use your card to purchase items designated with the “Education Express” logo, youʼll earn points for our school. 

Target Take Charge of Education

If you have a Target REDcard (credit card), you can designate Fort River to receive up to 1% of the value of your purchases on the card. Go to www.Target.com/tcoe to designate Fort River (School ID # 58645).

Atkins Farms Country Market
Use your Atkins card when you shop at Atkins Farms Country Market, and they will donate a percentage of your purchase to Fort River School. Just show the card when you are checking out. There is an expiration date on the card, which is the date that youngest child graduates from Fort River. 
Last year Fort River parents earned $500 for Fort River by shopping at Atkins! Thanks to everyone who has been participating--and don't forget to keep using your card every time you go.

Box Tops for Education
In case you are not familiar with Box Tops this is an easy way to earn money for Fort River--just take your scissors and clip! Last year we earned over $500. For each Box Top clipped the school receives 10 cents. Just look for the Box Tops logo on products in you already have in your kitchen, cut it out and deliver your box tops to the school's main office. If you would like to learn about the other ways you can make a difference sign up for the Box Tops website at boxtops4education.com. It’s easy, free and you’ll learn about new ways to help our school earn the extra cash it needs.

Cellphones & Ink Jet Cartridges
Protect the environment and raise money for Parent Council by donating used digital cellphones and ink jet cartridges. Please deliver to the Main Office. Cellphones will be recycled, according to EPA regulations, or refurbished and sold, with 100% of the proceeds going to Parent Council.