Thursday, May 26, 2011

New Blog Editor Wanted

After many years of dedication, our beloved blog editor, Ann McLaughlin, will be "graduating" from Fort River along with her girls.
We are sorry to see Ann go and thank her so much for all the hard work, innovation, and creativity that has gone into the PGO communications.

The PGO needs to find a volunteer willing to step up and become the new PGO Communications Coordinator. Advanced computer skills are not necessary to do this job. Ann has generously volunteered to do training over this summer. This is also a job that could be done with a partner or small group of volunteers.

Duties would include:
  • collecting information from the school, district, and town
  • organizing and posting relevant information on a weekly or bi-weekly basis on the blog
  • maintaining the PGO google calendar
  • coordinating with the office and newsletter volunteer to send out "hard-copy" to requesting families
This is your chance to help the PGO stay in touch with Fort River families and friends and to shape the direction of the Fort River PGO website!

Please feel free to contact Ann McLaughlin with questions. 

6th Grade Production of "Across the Decades" Tonight at ARMS

Attention Parents and Families of Fort River Sixth Grade Students,

You are cordially invited to see the sixth grade production, "Across the Decades," a musical, theatrical celebration of American arts and culture from the 1920s to the present. The show will take place in the Amherst Middle School Auditorium on Thursday evening, May 26th at 7pm.

Sixth graders should arrive at the ARMS auditorium by 5:30pm so that they have the opportunity to rehearse on the stage.

Field Day is Coming! Wednesday: June 22nd.

Field Day has been scheduled for Wednesday, June 22nd. Lots of parent volunteers will be needed. Watch out for a flyer coming home soon in the backpacks to sign up or sign up online! This is an easy and fun event for parents to participate in. Click here for the online sign up sheet.

Tammy Rahhal
Field Day Coordinator

Attention 6th Grade Families: Donations for the Class Gift Needed!

Bench donated by last year's 6th grade class
Each year at Fort River, the 6th grade families present the school with a gift that benefits students in all grades. Last year, the 6th grade presented the beautiful granite benches located at the front of the school.  Please help this year's 6th grade continue this wonderful tradition!

HOW TO CONTRIBUTE: Jen Vanderleeden is collecting money--small and large amounts are welcome! You can send an envelope with Jen's name on it to your child's teacher and jen will get it from him/her. OR you can mail to Jen at 73 Curtis Place, Amherst MA 01002.

Coffee for 6th Grade families with students on IEPs

Please join ARMS Principal Mike Hayes and Assistant Principal Betsy Dinger for a 7th Grade Special Education Parent/Guardian Orientation discussion for families of students with special needs on Thursday, June 2th at 4:30 PM at the Middle School.

This will be an informal opportunity for parents to hear about ARMS, ask questions and meet other families. Light refreshments will be served. Questions? Please contact Betsy Dinger at

Graduation Information for Sixth Grade Families

Dear Sixth Grade Families,

Are you counting down yet? It’s hard to believe that graduation is a little more than a month away!

We’ve been working quietly behind the scenes, and now we’ll be moving fast and furiously to get everything in place. We would like every family to be involved, so we’re writing now to let you know what’s coming up.

Let's treat our Bus/Van Drivers!

Please join the community in thanking the hard-working folks who drive our children to and from school every day. On Thursday, June 9 the annual Bus/Van Driver Appreciation breakfast will be held in the Fort River cafeteria at 8:45am.

Please sign up to donate a breakfast item by clicking here:

Thanks for your support!

Multi-Arts Presents

What: Theater show FRIENDSHIP IS GOLDEN: A Fractured Fairytale. An original production by children for children

Who: Multi-Arts Theater Project

When: Friday, June 3rd, 4:00 p.m.

Where: The Jones Library, Amherst

FREE of Charge

Join us as we enter the world of Fairytale Land and revisit the combined stories of Jack and the Beanstalk and Rapunzel, but with a twist! What would happen if Jack met Rapunzel? What if the magic bean seller turned out to be a villain who wanted the ogre’s gold all for himself? Add a ghost, fairies and a beanstalk and you have one wacky story! Multi Arts is presenting this show as the culmination of an after-school collaborative project, where the children create the story, improvise the script, and make the scenery and costumes.

Multi-Arts Website

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Staff and Teacher Appreciation Luncheon Volunteers Needed

If you are able to help decorate Mi Tierra anytime between 12:45-1:30pm on Wednesday, May 25th, please email Catalina Arrubla, or Suzanne Schilling,

Fort River Band and Orchestra Concert, Monday May 23

The Spring Concert will take place on Monday, May 23rd, 2011 at 1:45pm for students and 7:30pm for parents and friends. Both performances will be in the Fort River Gymnasium, and the duration of each performance is approximately one hour.

Normal school clothing will be fine for the day concert. A white (light) shirt and black (dark) bottom is requested for the night concert. Students will need to arrive for the night concert by 7PM. Band members report to Cafeteria 1 and orchestra members report to the Music Room for tuning and warmup. Band members who wish to play solos should arrive by 6:45 to make sure their solo groups are set.

Thank you,
Mrs. Dunbar and Ms. Rabut

Thanks for International Fair

Thank you to all the people who made last week's International Fair a huge success! Delicious food, impressive performances, and great community!

A special thank you goes to Rebecca Fricke for coordinating this event and the performances.

Shout outs also go to: Liz Larson, Paula Mangiaratti, FR custodial staff, teachers who attended, Michele Spirko, the performers - the kids and the adults who helped, parents who came early and stayed late to help with set-up and clean-up.

And remember, we are looking for someone to step up and coordinate this event next year as Rebecca will be unable. Please contact Rebecca at or Pam Rietkerk at if you are interested.

"Across the Decades"--Sixth Grade Production

Attention Parents and Families of Fort River Sixth Grade Students,

You are cordially invited to see the sixth grade production, "Across the Decades," a musical, theatrical celebration of American arts and culture from the 1920s to the present. The show will take place in the Amherst Middle School Auditorium on Thursday evening, May 26th at 7pm.

Sixth graders should arrive at the ARMS auditorium by 5:30pm so that they have the opportunity to rehearse on the stage.

Monica Colley Chosen as New Fort River Principal

From the Daily Hampshire Gazette:

Fort River School in Amherst gets new principal
Staff Writer

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

AMHERST - Monica Colley has been chosen to be the next principal of Fort River Elementary School, according to the office of Superintendent Maria Geryk.

Please click here to view the rest of the story.

Middle School Teacher Interviews: 6th Grade Parent Volunteers Wanted

Mr. Hayes is looking for parent/guardian volunteers for several interview committees:

- This Friday, May 20th, we are interviewing for a 7th grade Math position.

- Monday, May 23rd, we are interviewing for the Dean of Students position.

- Thursday, May 26th, we are interviewing for a 7th grade Social Studies position.

It would be great to have 6th grade parent/guardians on the committees, but the first priority is to have some parent/guardian on the committee.

This is a great opportunity for parent/guardians to get to know the school better. Hiring high quality teachers is one of the most important jobs we do and the voice of parent/guardians is critical to the process.

Please contact Mr. Hayes directly at or 362-1800 if you are interested in participating on one of the committees.

LSSE Summer Camps

To register and for more info: go to

Be Environmentally Friendly and Support Fort River School!

In the program kit sent home with your child on Friday, you will find information on two ways to help our school and the environment…

1. Purchase energy-efficient lightbulbs and power strips at an amazing price using the order form in the program kit…ALL proceeds go directly to the Fort River PGO!

2. Help your child encourage Amherst residents to sign up for Western Mass Saves (a free online energy-saving program sponsored by WMECo)…if we work together and get 50 households to sign up, we will win a prize of a bald eagle adopted in the school’s name! (Be sure to fill out the school name and goal of 50 households on the bottom of the Western Mass Saves flier). Feel free to sign yourself up at to get us started on our way towards our goal!

Order forms are due in the PGO mailbox in the main office by
 Friday, May 20th.

A date/time will be arranged in June when parents can pick up their orders at Fort River.
Questions? Contact Whitney Lyman at 413.388.3338 or

Friday, May 13, 2011

Links to Other Amherst Parent Groups

Here are links to the websites of all the other school parent groups in town.

Crocker Farm PGO:

The Wildwood PGO:

ARHS Parent Center:

Amherst Regional Middle School Family School Partnership:

Thursday, May 12, 2011

Say Thank You to Staff!

Help say thanks to the terrific Fort River staff! The annual Staff and Teacher Appreciation Luncheon is being held on May 25 at Mi Tierra Restaurant in Hadley. You can express your gratitude by making a contribution towards the fiesta.

To make a contribution to defray the costs of this big event, complete this form and submit to the PGO mailbox in the school office by May 15.

Contact Catalina Arrubla, or Suzanne Schilling, with any questions. Thanks for supporting our awesome school staff!

Friday, May 6, 2011

International Fair

Fort River Principal Search 2011

Three finalists have been selected for the position of Principal of Fort River School:
  • Candidate #1, Travis Yagodzinski, will visit the district on Monday, May 9 
  • Candidate #2, Lisa Desjarlais, will visit the district on Tuesday, May 10 
  • Candidate #3, Monica Colley, will visit the district on Thursday, May 12


Please try to make time to attend the evening public forums with the candidates. Your input is valuable!

Visit Schedule

10:00 AM Candidate arrival at Central Office

10:30 – 11:30 am Tour of Fort River with Susan Kennedy Marx

11:30 – 12:30 am Drop in lunch with Fort River Staff

12:45 – 1:30 pm Meeting and lunch with Maria Geryk, Superintendent – Central Office

2:00 – 3:00 pm Meeting in Central Office with District and Building Administrators

3:30 – 4:30 pm Meeting with Fort River Faculty

5:00 – 6:00 pm Dinner Break

6:30 – 7:30 pm Public Forum at Fort River Library

Club Showcase at the Middle School TONIGHT!

ARMS Family School Partnership is hosting a Club Showcase to highlight the fun of the after school clubs. It is this Friday, May 6th from 7-9pm in the middle school cafeteria. There will be a drama performance right at 7pm and club displays throughout the night. Meet other middle school families and see what might interest you for next year. Pizza slices and raffle tickets will be for sale to raise money for next year's clubs. Hope to see you there!

TEACH: Fulfilling the Promise of Universal Public Education

Saturday May 7
Food For Thought Books, Amherst

Join us for a screening & discussion of Teach, a documentary film that features conversations about the art of teaching and learning by teachers themselves - with filmmakers Bob and Yvonne LaMothe and a Panel of Local/School Community Respondents.

Each day we hear about teaching and teachers through the eyes of administrators, politicians and business leaders. Seldom is voice given of those dedicated and experienced, the teachers who work in our public schools. This documentary hopes to give dignity and appreciation to the passion, commitment and insight of those who make the choice to devote their lives to educating all of our nation's children.

Find out more about Teach at Film Our Way Films.


Co-sponsored with Western Mass Advocates for Public Schools.

Boy Scout Open House, May 17

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, May 17 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.

Please note: this event not sponsored by the FR PGO. 

AEF Spring Sprint

Amherst Education Foundation 1st Annual Spring Sprint
Saturday May 7 at Groff Park

Register online at
or at the event (8 - 8:45am)

1 Mile Fun Run & 5k Run/Walk start at 9:00!

TOP 10 Reasons to come to the AEF Spring Sprint:
1. Your registration fee will support grants from the Amherst Education Foundation to our schools next year!
2. Multi-taskers can do three things at once: support our schools, get in a workout and see friends.
3. Oh that nagging New Year's Resolution. . .
4. Chance to win lots of great local prizes!
5. It's an easy and fun way to show your support for our fabulous teachers!
6. It starts early and ends early for those with jam-packed Saturdays.
7. School and town celebrities will be running and walking. Can you keep up with Mr. Morris?
8. Everyone can participate--walk, run or cheer!
9. You'll feel great!
10. The first 100 registrants receive a free t-shirt!