Thursday, September 29, 2011

Coffee with the Principal - Fri Oct. 7

Please join us for our monthly Coffee with the Principal on Friday, October 7, from 8:30-9:30am.
Having trouble getting there? Take our quick "coffee survey" and let us know if there is a more convenient time!

Thanks for making Family Fair a success!

The Family Fair was once again a huge success thanks to the fun and games provided by our creative 6th grade students! Many thanks go to event coordinators Carrie Turkot and Becky Schneider for a job well done. Also thanks to parent volunteers Ilene Magpiong, Stephane Willocq, Sarah Thompson, and the many parents who helped out with serving and clean up in the dark! And finally, a round of applause for the 6th grade teachers--Kailtin Leaver, Peter Lamdin and Roger Wallace--great teamwork!

School Governance Council Election Results

Becky Michaels, Tammy Rahhal Schulkind, and Suzanne Schilling were recently elected to the Fort River School Governance Council. Each will serve a two year term, and they will join Sue Borden who is in her final year on the Council.

All parents and guardians in the school community are welcome to attend Council meetings. Watch for more information coming home soon about meeting times and dates.

Coffee with the Principal - Can You Join Us?

We'd like to see as many parents/guardians as possible at our monthly "Coffee with the Principal". Please take our quick "coffee survey" to let us know when you are available! Your suggestions and comments are always welcome!

Younger siblings are always welcome at monthly Coffees.

Amherst ABC Fall Foliage Walk and Run

This event is not sponsored by FR PGO

Friday, September 23, 2011

Family Fair 2011 - This Monday!

Fort River Playground
Monday, Sept. 26, 2011

Please join the Fort River Community in celebrating the start of school, featuring foods from around the world, drinks and games. Once again, pizza salad, drinks, casseroles side dishes and baked goods will be on sale. You can bring your own picnic if you prefer. The sixth graders will be working very hard planning fun games for everyone.

The Family Fair is one of the most popular fund raising and social events sponsored by the Parent Guardian Organization. Please come and support the sixth graders while socializing with your friends and meeting new families.

The salads, casseroles, side dishes and baked goods all come from your generous contributions. Each year the selection of wonderful foods gets better. Please support this fun event by donating food for the fair, and consider bringing a dish from your cultural heritage. This make for an exciting and diverse butffet. Of course, all food donations will be enjoyed! You can return the form that went out in the backpacks to the PGO mailbox in the main office or if time runs out, just bring your food to the fair. Thank you for your support.

WE NEED PARENT VOLUNTEERS TO HELP MAKE THIS A SUCCESSFUL EVENT. Please click here to sign up to bring a food donation or email Carrie Turkot ( to let us know you you can help.

School Governance Council Election

If you did not have an opportunity during Open House to cast your vote for parent representation on the School Governance Council, ballots are available in the Main Office until 3pm TODAY (Friday). Election results will be released next week.

PICTURE DAY is this Tuesday, September 27!

Notices and order forms went home with students this week. Please contact the office if you did not receive the information.

And remember those smiles on Tuesday!

If you are interested in volunteering for Picture Day, please contact Carol Slaughter at or call 253-9920.

Classroom Parents STILL Needed

Thanks to all of our Classroom Parent volunteers! There are STILL a few classrooms in need of parent/guardian volunteers to serve as Classroom Parents. Please consider this fun volunteer opportunity. Grab a friend and do it as a team! Volunteers are needed for the following teachers:
  • Ann Shea (K)
  • Kim Prince (1st)
  • José Cantillo (5th)
  • Peter Lamdin (6th)
  • Kaitlin Leaver (6th)
Please contact Michele Spirko at ASAP if you are interested in volunteering as a classroom parent.

Staff Lounge Makeover

Make sure to take a peek at the newly updated staff lounge. You'll see a new sink and cabinet unit, a fresh coat of paint, and new fabric covering the chairs. Many thanks go to FR parents Liz Larson, Michele Spirko, Howard Rhett, and Jeff Kris from Pioneer Valley Upholstery who did a beautiful job on the chairs. Thanks also to Facilities Director Ron Bohonowicz and teachers Terri Magner and Roger Wallace. The PGO was able to present staff with a new coffee maker and some start-up supplies. These folks work hard at Fort River and we hope they enjoy this new space!

After-school art classes at ETTA Art Gallery

Classes begin October 1.  For more information, go to

This is not sponsored by the Fort River PGO.

Boy Scouts Open House - Oct. 4

6th graders:  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 4 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 6-12).  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.

This event is not sponsored by the Fort River PGO.

ARHS Soccer Fundraiser


Friday, September 16, 2011

Open House on Wednesday evening!

This year's Fort River Open House will be held this Wednesday, September 21, 2011 from 7:00-8:30pm. All parent/guardians are encouraged to attend. This is an evening to meet school staff and learn about the educational programs planned for your child’s class. Information about the schedule will be going home in the backpacks.

Childcare is available for children 3 years and over. Please call ahead @ 362-1210 so that we can anticipate the number of children who will be in attendance.

Room Parents STILL Needed!

Each year parents and guardians are invited to volunteer as classroom parents. There are still a few classrooms in need of parent/guardian volunteers to serve as Classroom Parents. Please consider this fun volunteer opportunity. Grab a friend and do it as a team! Volunteers are needed for the following teachers:
  • Deb Felix (K)
  • Ann Shea (K)
  • Kim Prince (1st)
  • Mary Fournier (3rd)
  • John Keins (4th)
  • Tom Chang (4th)
  • José Cantillo (5th)
  • Peter Lamdin (6th)
  • Kaitlin Leaver (6th)
Please contact Michele Spirko at ASAP if you are interested in volunteering as a classroom parent.

Click here for a general overview of the contributions made by our fabulous Fort River Classroom Parents.
Click here for the complete list of current Classroom Parents as well as contact information for these volunteers and our teachers.

Thank you to all of our wonderful Classroom Parent volunteers - many experienced veterans and some eager new faces! We truly appreciate the help, and hope you enjoy working with your child's classroom teacher!

Parent/Guardian Brainstorming - Off To A Great Start!

Thanks to the members of the Fort River community who turned out for the Brainstorming Session last week. Principal Monica Colley was very pleased with the turnout and hopes that those of you who were unable to attend will consider participating through Survey Monkey.
The feedback from our community will help our Principal plan for Fort River's future. Thank you for your thoughtful comments, concerns, and/or suggestions. An engaged community is a valuable gift to any school!
Lastly, special thanks to our School Governance Representatives who were able to attend and facilitate the small group sessions: Catalina Arrubla, Mike Jacques, and Tammy Rahhal Schulkind.

Final Call for School Council Elections

Members of the Fort River community interested in running for the Fort River School Governance Council should have submitted their statements by today, Friday, September 16, 2011.
Due to term expirations for current representatives, there are three seats open on the Fort River School Governance Council. The Council is a state-mandated elected body of parents, staff, and community representatives that help define the policies and procedures of the school. The Council works collaboratively with Principal Colley on matters such as the budget, staffing, and the school improvement plan. Meetings occur monthly, and the terms are two years in length. All candidates need to prepare a short statement (50 words or less) that will go home to all parents. Please look for the candidates' statements early next week in your child's backpack.
If you are interested in running for a vacant seat and have not returned your nomination form, please contact Michele Spirko at ASAP.
The election will be held at Open House on Wednesday, September 21, 2011.

Upcoming Important Dates

Wednesday, September 21, Open House
Monday, September 26, Family Fair
Tuesday, September 27, Picture Day

We Want YOU!

Volunteering for the PGO is a great way to get to know people in the Fort River community while supporting our kids' education. Please take a moment to review the list of activities, committees, and events planned for the upcoming year. There is a volunteer interest form at the end of the list or you can email any PGO officers with questions.   

There are MANY jobs, both big and small, and they are all important. We hope you can find a way to participate and show your support to the school!

Amherst Ballet Offerings

Amherst Ballet offers a number of classes for both children and adults, including Hip Hop for children and Adults.  Find more information at

Preseason Basketball Program - Northampton

This program is not sponsored by the FR PGO.

21st Anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act

Celebrate the Promise: The 21st Anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act

The STAVROS Center Invites you to enjoy
*Craft and art fair
* 50/50 Raffle

Join us from 11:00 am - 4:00 PM on Saturday, September 17, 2011 at the Amherst Town Common Downtown Amherst.   Celebrate The Promise with featured artists: Olypsys, Mostly Mikes, The Rainbow Players, The Berkshire Hills Band, and The Wailin' Dave Blues Band

For more information, visit

This event is not sponsored by the Fort River PGO

Friday, September 2, 2011

First Day of School - and our First Coffee with the New Principal!

The first day of school is almost here!  

Please join us for the kick-off of our monthly Coffee with the Principal on Tuesday, September 6, the first day of school, from 8:30-9:30am

Kindergarten parents:  There will be an additional Coffee with the Principal on Thursday, September 8, the first day of kindergarten.

Fort River Brainstorming Session

Principal Monica Colley invites you to attend a brainstorming session next Wednesday, September 7, from 6:30-8:00pm, to begin a discussion about where we are and where we are headed at Fort River. There will be moderated small-group stations to discuss issues including communication, academics, and parent involvement. 
This event is co-sponsored by the PGO and the School Governance Council and will be a great opportunity to meet our new principal.  Childcare will be available so that all families can participate.

Classroom Parents Needed!

Each year parents and guardians are invited to volunteer as classroom parents. This is an extremely fun and rewarding opportunity! Click here to see if there is still a need in your child's classroom.
Classroom parents serve as a vital link between teachers and families. Each classroom teacher has one to three room parents. Individual teachers utilize classroom parents in a manner that is comfortable for them and their classroom.
These volunteers support classrooms in a variety of ways, depending upon the teachers’ preferences. Examples include:
  • Communicating with the teacher regularly to determine classroom needs
  • Keeping families informed of classroom events via email (or occasionally printed flyers)
  • Creating and updating online “Wish Lists” for the teacher and classroom
  • Helping to plan classroom events and parties
  • Recruiting field trip volunteers
Additionally, the school administration and the PGO both utilize classroom parents as a very important added means of communication with families. Room parents will be periodically asked to send email reminders to families about upcoming school-wide events and opportunities.
Finally, classroom parents often organize a group class gift for the teacher at the end of the school year.
You will receive a packet during the first week of school detailing full descriptions of many volunteer opportunities. Classroom parent/guardian volunteers need to be in place very soon after the start of school. If you are interested in volunteering as a classroom parent, please contact Michele Spirko at ASAP.

Compost Coaches Needed

Did you know that last year the Amherst elementary schools produced 70 tons of trash?!?  That is 156,800 pounds.  Of that, an estimated 40,000 pounds was compostable. This year Fort River continuing to actively compost and recycle our lunch waste from the first day of school.  
To make this program a success, we need your help. The custodial staff has created a clearly designated composting and recycling area in the cafeteria.  For the first few weeks of the school year, we need volunteer compost coaches each day to help the kids separate their trash during the lunch hours. As the kids become more familiar and comfortable with the system, they will be able to manage on their own.
If you can help, either on a regular (i.e. same day each week) or one time basis, please contact Susan Waite,, 259-3049 to volunteer.

Fall Learn-to-Skate Program

Please join the fun and skate with us!

The Skating Club of Amherst is accepting registration for the upcoming Fall LEARN TO SKATE – Basic Skills program that serves the needs of both the recreational and competitive skater. 

Skaters of all ages and abilities (including adults) will be able to participate in this lifelong sport.
For more information and important dates for the Fall Session  and to print the Registration forms, please visit the following site and click on the “learn to Skate tab”: 
PLACE:  UMass Mullins Center Practice Rink
DAY:     8 Sundays: Sunday, September 11 - October 30, 2011
TIME:   5:50- 6:30 PM 

Registration has been extended until September 6, 2011.  Please contact SCA via email to alert us that registration and membership forms and payment will be forthcoming.  In order to skate on Sunday, Sept 11, pre-registrations must be submitted.

Questions??  Call Rita Leaman at (413) 253-6388 or e-mail questions to

This event is not sponsored by the FR PGO.


Let’s get creative!

Join us at Fort River Elementary School on Tuesdays and dive in the ARTS with us!
Theater, Art, & Fashion Design!

10 sessions of fun starting at 3:30 until 5:30 every Tuesday.
Session l: September 20 - November 29 
Session II: January 10 - March 20 
Session III: March 27 - June 5 

Place: Fort River School, Amherst
cost: $240 each session

To register, send attached form plus payment of tuition.

or SAVE $180 signing up now for all sessions for $45 per month with our affordable Arts-Share program:

We are looking forward to seeing you and getting started!

This event is not sponsored by the FR PGO.

Cub Scouts Open House

Come join Amherst-Pelham Cub Scout Pack 515 and see how Cub Scouting is offering family fun together, with an adventure and character building for boys.  

You are invited to an Open House for prospective cub scouts and their families on Thursday September, 15th from 6:45 to 8:15 PM at the Pacific Lodge of Mason's, 99 Main Street, Amherst. Cub Scouting with Pack 515 offers boys, in the first through fifth grades (age 6 to 11), and their families a FUN and supportive environment as they learn citizenship, develop character and gain personal fitness through age appropriate activities. Many of these activities happen right in the den and pack. The most important are the weekly den meetings and the monthly pack meetings.  

For more information, contact Cub Master, Steve Atkinson at (413) 335-6168.

This is not sponsored by the FR PGO