Friday, October 29, 2010

Fort River Yearbook 2010-2011

Come join the yearbook committee as we plan and design our next yearbook. We need parents to be involved in:

  • Yearbook cover design with the 6th grade students 
  • Communicating with teachers/parents to collect digital photographs 
  • Photographing missing staff/students 
  • Photographing events, specials classes, and instrumental performances 
  • Creating yearbook pages, distributing proofs to classroom teachers for review, and editing 

Come and find out how you can help at our first meeting on Wednesday, November 10th at 7:00pm, or contact Kathy Niedzielski at Location TBA.

Election Day Bake Sale

On Tuesday, November 2nd, the fifth grade classes will hold an Election Day Bake Sale fund raiser from 7am-9am (in the hallway near the music room for voters) and 9:30am-12:30pm (in the lobby area for the school).  The money raised will be used for 5th grade field trip admissions.

Please stop by and support the 5th grade! And don't forget to vote on Tuesday!!

Math Night

Members of the community are invited to Math Night, a presentation by consultant Dr. Andrew Chen, at 6:30 pm on Monday, November 1st in the ARMS auditorium. Dr. Chen will present preliminary findings from the K12 Math Review.

The Fort River School Directory is HERE!!

The PGO is proud to offer the community the 2010-2011 Student Directory.

Thank You…..

· Dror Shmerling and Karen Bonneau for data processing

· Jen Vanderleeden for advertising sales

· Hana Rivkin for directory production

· Susan Raker for cover art

And Thank You to all the local businesses and individuals who continue to support Fort River by advertising in our school directory! Please don't forget to make your Annual Fund contribution so the PGO can continue to offer this directory and all other programs and events.

School Picture Retake Day

School Pictures "Retake Day" is scheduled for Monday, November 8 from 10:00am-1:00pm. Pictures will be going home with students soon. If you are dissatisfied with the pictures your child must bring the entire package to return to the photographer. Students who were absent should have their order form with payment ready for the photographer.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Meeting with Superintendent Search Firm Today at Fort River library, 1pm.

There will be a meeting this afternoon (Thurs. Oct. 28) in the Fort River School library at 1:00pm with a representative from the search firm in charge of the Superintendent search. This meeting is for the members of the Fort River School Council and PGO. It is intended to provide the search firm consultant with information about the views of the School Council and PGO membership regarding the district’s current strengths and challenges, as well as to gather suggestions about the qualities and characteristics that the district should seek in its superintendent.

All Fort River Parents/Guardians are invited to attend.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

School Council Election Results

Thank you to all the candidates in the School Governance Council election. This is an important volunteer role and we are so please to have offered a full slate of candidates to the community.

The candidates elected to serve a two-year term on the Council are: Catalina Arrubla and Sue Borden

Halloween Happenings in Amherst

Autumn in Amherst includes colorful fall foliage as well as a lively Halloween Parade & Carnival set for Sunday, Oct. 31. The festivities began with Trick or Treating for children in costume at downtown merchants from 10:45am to 12:45pm. The family parade steps off at 12:45pm from Sweetser Park on Main Street.

Inside the Bangs Center, the fun continues from 1 to 4 p.m. at a carnival in the Large Activity Room with games, performance, a haunted house, prizes, and refreshments.

The Halloween Fest is open to all ages and abilities. Costumes, instruments and noisemakers are encouraged. The activities are staffed by 50-60 volunteers from the community. For details go to: To volunteer for this event call 259-3065 or visit

Please note: these activities are not sponsored by the Fort River PGO.

Fall Festival Cancellation

The Fall Festival has been canceled due to inadequate volunteer support. Successful, safe, and fun community events require lots of volunteers! A steering committee will be formed to create a new and improved community event for next year that celebrates the treasures of the harvest season and reflects a true autumn festival. Creative ideas are needed to ensure an fun event that everyone looks forward to and is consistent with the PGO's mission to enrich and enhance our children's experience at Fort River. Volunteers interested in supporting this event next year should stay tuned for news about the kick-off meeting in the spring.

"Original Works" After-School Art Workshop

The Multi-Arts staff will host and supervise an afternoon of art for students who want to create projects for Original Works. Information on Original Works has gone home in the backpacks. The workshop will be on Friday, October 22nd from 3:05-4:30pm in the Fort River Cafeteria. Please be on time for pick up. Questions? Contact Catalina Arrubla at at 413-387-5304.

Fort River 3rd Grade Fall Pot-Luck

Fort River 3rd Grade Fall Pot-Luck
Please join us for a pot-luck for the families of Grade 3.

Sunday, October 24
Groff Park

Bring the whole family for food, fun, and a chance to get to know each other!

We have created a Please Bring It sign-up for this event.  Please go to to sign up, or let any of the room parents know what you are able to bring.

Please bring re-usable dinner ware and cups for your family; limited paper products will be provided.

Please call or email any of the 3rd grade room parents with questions:
Iris Berkman (Griswold) -; 253-3787
Jacquelyn Kang (Fournier) -; 230-3284
Suzanne Schilling (Bhowmik/Sautter) -; 253-4697

School Pictures--Retake Day

School Pictures "Retake Day" is scheduled for Monday, November 8 from 10:00am-1:00pm. Pictures will be going home with students soon. If you are dissatisfied with the pictures your child must bring the entire package to return to the photographer. Students who were absent should have their order form with payment ready for the photographer.

Superintendent Search

Our school district is now in the process of searching for a new Superintendent of Schools to begin work in July 2011. Hazard, Young, Attea and Associates has been hired to assist the School Committees in this search process. Consultants Al Argenziano and John Connolly of HYA will begin their work by helping the community define the qualities, skills and experience that the public is looking for in a Superintendent. The work to develop this leadership profile will occur on October 27 and October 28, during which time a variety of meetings will occur with school, parent, and community groups. In addition, public forums will be held on Wednesday, October 27 at 2:00 pm in the Wildwood School library and at 7:00 pm in the ARHS Auditorium. The list of groups scheduled to meet with the consultants will be announced in the next few days.

In addition to holding public forums, we are now posting an online survey to seek your input in the process of hiring a new superintendent. This survey is designed to gather your perception on the importance of various characteristics commonly found in effective superintendents. The information will be used by the School Committees to determine the "Desired Characteristics" of our next superintendent. Select the survey link below that best represents your relationship to the School District.


Please continue to check this site for updates as the search process occurs. We deeply appreciate your participation in this important endeavor.

Rick Hood, Chair- Regional School Committee

Irv Rhodes, Chair- Amherst School Committee

Debbie Gould, Chair- Pelham School Committee

Math Survey from the Superintendent's Office

Families of current students are invited to fill out a brief Math Survey as part of the comprehensive K-12 Math Review. Participants are asked to complete the survey by Wednesday, October 27. Click on the link to take the survey, or go to the website to find the link.

Pancake Breakfast to Benefit Fire Department SAFE Program

The Amherst Fire Department will hold a pancake breakfast to raise funds for the SAFE (Student Awareness of Fire Education) program. The SAFE program teaches fire safety to all fourth graders in the Amherst School system. The cost of the breakfast is $6.00/adults and $4.00/children. Breakfast includes pancakes, sausages, juice/milk and coffee/tea. Live entertainment by the Horse Mountain Jazz band.

Learn more about SAFE by visiting the program's website.

*Please note: this event is not sponsored by the Fort River PGO.

2010 Amherst Biennial: Painting Amherst with Art

The Amherst Public Art Commission is running an exhibit of over 40 artists' work here in Amherst through Dec. 5th. The exhibit is entitled Amherst 
Biennial: Art in Unexpected Places. Artworks are displayed at a wide array of venues around town including businesses, galleries, farms and Kendrick Park. The exhibition will end of Dec 5th with a projection by artist Erica Zekos on the East Street School building. 

Here's a list of where and when to see the art on display. 

-Amherst Town Hall 4 Boltwood Ave M-W 8am-7pm, Th noon-7pm, F 8am-4:30pm 
-Hope & Feather Gallery & Framing 319 Main St. Weekdays 10am-7pm,  Sat. 10am-5pm 
-ETTA Gallery 534 Main St. Sat & Sun 1-4 pm 
-Nacul Center 592 Main St. Weekdays 9am-4pm, Sat & Sun 1-4 pm 
-East Street School 31 South East St. Weekdays 1-4 pm
-Thistlebrook Farm 784 Southeast St  
-Swartz Family Farm 11 Meadow St  
-Kendrick Park 
-AJ Hastings 
-J. Austin Antiques 
-Bank of America 
-Chopping Block

Please note: this is not a PGO-sponsored event.

Boy Scout Open House

The Boy Scouts of America is now 100 years old. Come join Boy Scout Troop 500 Amherst to see how Scouting is evolving as it enters its 2nd century. We are having an Open House for prospective scouts and their families Tuesday, October 26 from 7:00 to 8:30 PM at the South Congregational Church, 1066 Southeast Street, Amherst.  Troop 500 has a 50+ year history in Amherst working with school-age boys (grades 5-12).  Troop activities are organized and run by the boys, including weekly meetings, monthly campouts, and projects in the community.  Our Scouts learn practical outdoor skills and develop leadership skills while having a lot of fun.  For more information, contact Scoutmaster Peter Crowley at (413) 253-0964.

Not sponsored by the FRPGO.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

PGO October Meeting Agenda

Our next PGO meeting will take place on Wednesday, Oct. 20 at 8:45am in the Fort River cafeteria.

PGO Meeting Agenda/October 20, 2010

Annual Fund Update

Discussions of Upcoming Events/Fundraisers:

- Original Works
- Fall Festival
- Election Day PGO bake sale
- Dean’s Bean’s coffee sale
- Book Fair
- Community Marketplace/Chili Supper

Discussions of Other New and Continuining Initiatives:

- Directory
- Cultural Enrichment Program
- Teacher Outreach
- Time and Talent Survey

New Business

Potluck for Peter Lamdin's Class

Peter Landin's class will have a potluck dinner Thursday October 22 at 6:00 pm at FR Cafeteria. 

AEF Annual Trivia Bee

Save the Date for Amherst’s “Not to Miss” Fall Event!

Thursday October 28th, 7:00 – 9:00 pm
Amherst Regional Middle School Auditorium 

Who will get an ‘A’ at the Bee? Under the direction of Ellen Story, 30 teams will vie for bragging rights to be “Trivia Bee Champion”. The evening will include refreshments, lots of trivia and laughs. Admission is free with donations to AEF welcome.

Please note: this event is not sponsored by the Fort River PGO.

Multi-Arts Halloween Costume Design Workshop

Multi-Arts invites kids of all ages to participate in one of two “Halloween Costume Design” workshops offered in Amherst. Guided by artist Titus Neijens and fashion designer Asia van Pelt, students will use cardboard and fabrics to design and make their own dream costumes.

For more information and to register visit


WHAT: Designing and making of own costume for Halloween
WHEN: First workshop: Saturday, October 23 /
   Second workshop: Saturday, October 30
TIME: 1:00 p.m. – 3:00 p.m.
WHERE: Munson Public library,  1046 South East St., South Amherst  

Fee: $30 each workshop $45 both Saturdays

*Please note: this event is not sponsored by the Fort River PGO. See below for our publication policy for non-PGO events. 

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

The Fort River Fall Festival is "creeping" up on us!

The Fall Festival
Wednesday, October 27, 5:30-7:30pm

This Halloween celebration takes many hands to work and the PGO is looking for volunteers willing to help out.
We need help with:
  • games
  • crafts
  • food service
  • set up/clean up
  • general supervision
Please lend a hand if you can! We can't do this without your help!
Contact Diane Caraker ASAP at to sign up.
Thank you.

Having Trouble Viewing Fort River PGO Emails?

Several people have recently reported to me that they are unable to view the emails which are sent using the NPOGroups mailing list. This may be a because I have recently changed the email address which I use to reflect our new Fort River PGO name. Your email program may be blocking the content of the message because it thinks I am sending you spam messages.

If you are not able to read the emails that I send out,  please try adding the following email address to your contacts: "" ( You may also want to be sure you have my email address ( in your contact list as well. I hope this will take care of the problem.

If not, please check the Fort River PGO website directly. I will try to be sure to add the content of all my emails directly to the the blog.

AND, stay tuned in the coming weeks for some exciting news about a new way to get content from this website delivered to your inbox!

Ann McLaughlin
Website Editor

Friday, October 8, 2010

Coffee With the Superintendent on Thursday Morning at 8am!

Come meet the ARPS  Interim School Superintendent Maria Geryk in the Fort River cafeteria for coffee and light refreshments. This coffee will take place on Thursday, Oct. 14 at 8:00am.

Thursday, October 7, 2010

School Council Elections

Please look in your child's backpack for the Fort River School Governance Council election ballot which will be sent home to families this week. Please make your selections and send back to the PGO mailbox (your student can deliver to the office) by Friday, October 15.

Volunteers Still Needed

We still need parent/guardian volunteers for the following posts:
  • Lost and Found coordinator
  • Book Fair co-coordinator
  • New Family Welcome event coordinator (for Fall 2011)
  • Staff Welcome Back event coordinator (for Fall 2011)
  • Book Swap coordinator (for 2011)

"Original Works" After-School Art Workshop

The Multi-Arts staff will host and supervise an afternoon of art for students who want to create projects for Original Works. Information on Original Works will be going home with students this week. The workshop will be on Friday, October 22nd from 3:05-4:30pm in the Fort River Cafeteria. Please be on time for pick up. Questions? Contact Catalina Arrubla at at 413-387-5304.

Class Potlucks

Keep an eye out for announcements about a potluck for the families in your child's class. Room parents will be making plans to pull this event together for each classroom over the next month. Feel free to offer to help organize with the room parent.

The Second Grade is having their potluck as one big group (instead of separate classes) on Wednesday, October 13, from 5-7pm in the Fort River cafeteria. 

Thank You

Many thanks to all the parent volunteers for PICTURE DAY last week. The day was smooth and we saw LOTS of smiles from everyone! Thank you Ali Wicks-LimKatie ThompsonAudrey O'Connell, Kristen Lynch and Ellie Skinner. And a big Thank You to Carol Slaughter for taking over as Picture Day coordinator!

Fort River Winter Chorus Concert

Dear Fort River Families,

Please mark your calendars. The fifth and sixth grade Fort River Chorus will present our annual winter concert on Thursday, January 13th in the Amherst Middle School auditorium at 7:00 pm.  We look forward to seeing you there,

Anne White, Fort River Music Teacher

Girl Scout Membership Night

Girl Scout Membership Night
Thursday, October 14
5:00 - 6:30pm
Bangs Center Glass Room

Girl Scouting builds girls of courage, confidence, and character, who
make the world a better place.  Come find out more about Girl Scouting
and how your daughter can become involved.  For more information about
Girl Scouts of Central and Western Massachusetts, come to the
recruitment night or go to  

Please note: This event is not sponsored by the Fort River PGO.

Friday, October 1, 2010

Thank-You Notes from Fort River Teachers

From Art Teacher Teri Magner

From Kindergarten Teacher Ann Shea
From 4th Grade Teacher Amy Jackendoff
The PGO recently received these thank-you notes from three of our Fort River teachers. Every year the PGO gives all classroom teachers a check to help them set up their classes. This is made possible by your generous support of the Fort River PGO! If you wish to renew your support this year, please consider donated to the Annual Fund. Just click on the "Donate" button at the top of this page! Or send your check to the Fort River office. Thanks!

Order Your Fort River Roasters Coffee--First Order Deadline Friday, Oct. 8th

Help support Fort River School by buying something that we all love (or know someone else who does) ….. COFFEE!

Here are a few reasons why this Dean’s Beans fundraiser is so great:

1. Dean’s Beans coffee is not only delicious, but it’s also organic and 
kosher. Not to mention, Dean’s Beans is committed to Fair Trade, 
which makes every sip worthwhile.
2. No need to come to school to pick up your order. Coffee will be 
sent home with your child (unless you specify otherwise OR the 
order is very large).
3. The price of the coffee is cheaper than if you purchased it at the 
grocery store. WOW! Not only are we saving you a trip to the 
store, but we’re also saving you money.
4. Your friends, co-workers, and family members can save money 
too. Ask them if they’d like to buy some delicious coffee at a 
cheaper price.

If this sounds good to you, fill out an order form (CLICK HERE FOR FORM

Questions  or comments? Contact Maria Polino ( or Ali Wicks-Lim ( 

Orders are due the first Friday of every month (October 8th, November 5th, December 10th, January 7th, February 4th, March 4th, April 1st, May 6th,  June 3rd), and the coffee will arrive within approximately two weeks. 

 Buy Organic Fair Trade Coffee and Help Fort River School!