Thursday, June 21, 2012

Thanks for a Great Year!

Thanks for a great year at Fort River! As we are winding down this school year, the PGO is already planning ahead for September. At our final PGO meeting of the year last week, we elected officers for next school year. You can see the meeting minutes and budget HERE.

While many of the volunteer coordinators for PGO events are continuing, we are always looking for volunteers to help organize and guide our events! In particular, we still have openings for the officer positions of Vice-President and Blog Editor. If you are interested in taking over either of these positions, or simply getting involved with the PGO, please contact new PGO President Liz Larson. Many thanks to outgoing officers Pam Rietkerk, Michele Spirko and Catherine McGraw for all their work in helping make Fort River great.

Thanks for a great year, and have a fantastic summer!

- 2011-2012 Officers Pam Rietkerk (Chair), Michele Spirko (Vice-chair), Catherine McGraw (Secretary), Liz Larson (Treasuerer), & Erin Cherewatti (Blog Editor)

Summer Read-A-Thon!

We're excited about the PGO Summer Read-a-Thon!  We are sending home Read-a-Thon folders to all kids this year.  Those who did not send in a permission slip just need to return it in the fall .  We want all kids to read and participate even if they don't fund-raise.  We want to hear from all the kids about their favorite three books from the summer and will be putting a "FR recommends" list out in the fall.  We are also having a healthy competition between grades for participation as well!  The grade with the highest degree of participation will get an extra prize (and bragging rights).  Most important we want to promote summer reading!  Help your child start out their next school year as a great reader.  Reading is FUN!

Congrats Fort River Graduates!

6th Grade Graduation was a huge success!  Thanks go out to all the parent volunteers and coordinators. This event would not happen without all of your efforts.  Thanks especially to our 5th grade parent volunteers who were AWESOME: Ruthie Ireland, Chris Felton, and Catherine McGraw.  It was a really special day!

The Yearbooks are Here!

The yearbook was distributed this week, through the classroom teachers. Each child and staff member received a copy, thanks to funding provided by the PGO annual fund. If you would like to contribute to the annual fund, it is still possible. (Click the Paypal link in the right-hand column of the blog.)

Thank you to our volunteer yearbook committee Kathy Niedzielski and Joy Sullivan.  Special thanks to Kathy for all of her work with the Yearbook Club!  Thank you to those classes and teachers who provided candid shots as well.  The children love having a record of the year at Fort River.

Lemonade and Cookies at the Library!

On Monday, June 25, 2012, from 1-5pm, the Jones Library will be serving lemonade to its patrons. (Bonnie Isman, Former Library Director and current Friend of the Jones, and Tamson Ely, Library Trustee, will be our servers.)

The Jones and its branches want to thank you, the patrons, for being so patient during this transition to Evergreen. The librarians realize how hard it has been on patrons, and they want to reassure everyone that the system will get better.

Along with the lemonade/cookies, staff members will be available to answer Evergreen questions. Also, we will have a suggestion box available so that patrons can write down their comments/concerns about the new OPAC; we will forward patron comments on to C/W MARS staff.

Come with your questions. Come with your comments. Come thirsty!
This event is not sponsored by the FR PGO.

Host a Japanese Exchange Student this summer!

Can you host a Japanese high school exchange student this summer? We have 2 groups coming, one from 7/7-7/9 and one from 7/25-7/25. It's a great cultural experience for your child and a lot of fun for everyone. During the longer stay the students are in ESL classes at Amherst College and in the afternoon there are fun activities such as Six Flags and Tanglewood, with your children invited to participate if they can. You will receive a stipend and the kids bring their own money.

We are short families due to the timing with many families away, but in the past 90% of our hosting families continue to host. A separate bedroom is not needed. Please contact Diane at 413-687-8833 or if interested.

This event is not sponsored by the FR PGO.

Girl Scouts Event

This event is not sponsored by the FR PGO.

Summer Music at the Red Barn Music School

Interested in music this summer for your child?  Check out the summer offerings at Amherst's Red Barn Music School HERE.

This is not sponsored by the FR PGO.

Summer Fun from Multi-Arts!

School days are dwindling and the days are getting hotter- it’s time to think about summer fun for your child!

Multi-Arts Summer Camp 2012 offers theater, puppetry, art, fashion design, creative writing and music for your child! A day jam-packed with creativity guided by professionals and excellent role models!
Consider having your child spend time with us and you’ll find yourself, in the words of our past campers, “bringing home a happy child”!

We have still have space in ALL four workshops between the end of June and August!
Register now:

This event is not sponsored by the FR PGO.

Friday, June 15, 2012

Don't forget to turn in Summer Read-a-Thon forms!

The deadline to turn in permission slips for the Summer Read-a-Thon has been extended to Wednesday, June 20. 

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 Wed. June 20th

If you prefer to email Jacquelyn directly at that is fine as well.

5TH Grade Families - Your help is Needed!

5th Grade Families!  Your Help is NEEDED!

Every year 5th grade parents help out for an hour or two during 6th Grade Graduation (Wednesday, June 20). This allows the families of 6th graders to enjoy the graduation ceremony and reception. There are only a few parents signed up and a few more are really needed! Duties are: helping set up in the cafeteria; helping serve cake; and keeping food tables neat. There are two time-slots; 1-2:30 or 2:00-3:30. Thanks for considering this and know that next year's 5th grade parents will help out with your students graduation!

6th Grade Families!! Last Chance to Contribute to the Class Gift

Thank you to the 12 families who have contributed to the 6th grade class gift so far! Next week is our last week to collect contributions and we are hoping to have many more families participate. A letter with envelope went home last week week for your convenience.

Please consider making a contribution in any amount in your students name. Your generosity allow the purchase of four beautiful planters with a plaque acknowledging their class. This is a wonderful way for our children to leave their mark and brighten the entrance to Fort River School.

Checks should be made out to Fort River PGO with "6th grade gift" in the subject line. Donations may be left in the PGO mailbox in the main office or sent to school with your child to give to their teacher.

Questions? Contact Eileen Marasco at or Shari Abbott at

Graduation Food Contributions

6th grade parents - there are still a few food items needed for the graduation celebration. Please check your classroom list.

Laurie Rabut String Fund

PGO Financials To Date

At this week's PGO meeting, treasurer Liz Larson gave her final treasurer's report before she transitions over to PGO President!  You can see the PGO Financials for 2011-2012 HERE.

Free LSSE Basketball Clinic - Sat. June 16

This event is not sponsored by the FR PGO.

Saturday Fundraiser for Amherst Child

Come to Groff Park on Saturday (tomorrow!) for a family festival to benefit Sabir Douglas, a 4-year-old Amherst boy who has been undergoing treatment for a rare form of childhood cancer.   The festival, which will run from 1 to 5 p.m., will raise money to support Sabir's Health Recovery Fund.

The festival will include food such as hamburgers and hot dogs, carnival-style games and raffle prizes, including tickets to the Springfield Armor, a professional basketball team in the NBA Development League that plays at the MassMutual Center in Springfield. There will also be live music, face painting, a bake sale, a 20-minute Zumba demonstration and a visit from Steal, the mascot for the Armor.

See the Gazette article about the fundraiser HERE.

Multi-Arts News

Thanks to many donors and successful Fiesta Flamenca fundraising, Multi-Arts is offering over two slots at reduced fee for families in need. To apply please contact Tara Luce.

One day option: Try camp just for one day, come and have a blast. From June 26 to June 29 families can sign up for a day: $60 for Multi-Arts members, $70 new families.

Come to our Fiesta Flamenca & help raise more Multi-Arts funds for children at Fort River.  The feast will take place at the beautiful Amherst Farm Winery. You will enjoy  food and dance. There will be tapas, a group dance performance, music, a play for children, and an art auction. Friday June 15, 2012,  6:00 to 9:00 p.m. at 529 Belchertown Rd, Amherst

For info:  or 413-584-7951

This event is not sponsored by the FR PGO.

LSSE Summer Camps

Summer is fast approaching!  LSSE offers camps for children as young as 3 years old! In order to register for any of the camps in black, please visit or call the LSSE front office at 413-259-3065 or come visit LSSE in the Bangs Center at 70 Boltwood Walk, Amherst MA 01002.  Please go to for full descriptions of our summer camps. Fee reductions up to 70%  are available for qualified Amherst residents!
Further information can be obtained about the camps in red from the following websites:

To register for camps please visit or call the LSSE front office at 413-259-3065 or come visit us at our office located at 70 Boltwood Walk, Amherst MA 01002.

These activities are not sponsored by the FR PGO.

Sign up for Summer Ultimate League

This event is not sponsored by the FR PGO.

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Afterschool Programs Information Night

Due to the power outage at Fort River, the informational meeting about afterschool programming for next year has been rescheduled for next Wednesday evening, June 20  from 5-7 PM at Fort River.

New after-school programs will be launched at Crocker Farm, Fort River and Wildwood Elementary Schools in the fall of 2012.  The after-school programs are the result of a collaboration between the Amherst School Department and the Town of Amherst.  The programs will integrate academic enrichment and support, field trips, outdoor recreation and performing arts programs within each after-school program. Bus transportation home will be available and we will provide fee subsidy discounts to those who qualify to ensure equity and accessibility.

Attend the Fort River Elementary School registration night for more information on June 20, 5-7 pm.  This event was rescheduled due to last Wednesdays' power outage.  Learn more about the programs and find registration materials.

Friday, June 8, 2012

Attention 6th Grade Families!

Please check out below for links to important information about graduation. Thanks for your participation!

Food for Graduation
CLICK HERE for a copy of the letter that is going home about contributing food for the graduation reception. Here are the links to the online sign up sheets for classroom lists of food contribution.  Click on the links to get to the "Bring It" sign up sheet.

6th Grade Class Gift Reminder
Don't forget to make your contribution to the Class Gift! A letter and envelope went home this week. Please consider making a contribution in any amount in your students name. Your generosity will ensure that this class is able to purchase four new beautiful planters with a plaque acknowledging the graduating class of 2018. This is a wonderful way for our children to leave their mark and brighten the entrance to Fort River School.

Checks should be made out to Fort River PGO with 6th grade gift in the subject line. Donations may be left in the PGO mailbox in the main office or sent to school with your child to give to their teacher. The deadline for donations has been extended to June 15th.

Questions? Contact Eileen Marasco at or Shari Abbott at

Attention 5th Grade Families!

It is a long standing FR tradition that 5th grade parents help with the reception following the 6th Grade Graduation Ceremony. All the supplies and refreshments will be purchased and ready to go. The cafeteria cannot be set up until 1pm on Graduation Day, Wednesday, June 20. The ceremony begins at 2pm and we are looking for some 5th grade parent volunteers who are willing to help with set up and a few others to stay through the first part of the reception. 

Please sign up online by CLICKING HERE or contact Kathy Brennan at or 253-4611.

Bus/Van Driver Breakfast - Thank You!

A huge thank you to all parents who brought in food to thank the hard-working bus and van drivers who safely bring our children to and from school every day!  The Bus Driver Breakfast on Wednesday was much-appreciated by the drivers.  A special thanks to Jenn Wellman  for coordinating the event.  Thanks for your support!

Final PGO Meeting of the year and Elections - Thurs. June 14

The final PGO meeting of this school year will be held next Thursday, June 14 at 8:45-9:15am in the FR Cafeteria.  The Fort River PGO will be electing the officers for the 2012/13 school year at this meeting.  So far, the following people have indicated interest in running for an officer position:

President: Liz Larson
Vice President: (open)
Treasurer: Erin Cherewatti
Secretary: Maria Polino
Blog Editor: (open)

Any parent/guardian wishing to stand for election is welcome to attend the meeting to nominate yourself or be nominated.   Younger siblings are welcome to attend, and refreshments will be provided.  If you are interested in serving as an officer but are unable to attend the meeting please contact Pam Rietkerk ( or 256-2605).

Pastel Drawing Workshop

Thursday June 14th from 5-7 pm, local artist Greg Maichack will be offering a 
How to Draw & Pastel Paint adult workshop in the style of Georgia O'Keeffe.  
Interested?  Call the Jones at 259.3090.
This event is not sponsored by the FR PGO.

Jones Library Summer Reading Program Kick-Off

This event is not sponsored by the FR PGO.

Register for AYSA Soccer Camp!

Register now for Amherst Youth Soccer Association (AYSA) soccer camp at Crocker Farm.  It's the week of July 9, with full day / half-day options.  Children ages 5 through 14 are welcome.  ARHS varsity players and local college players help coach and provide lots of fun instruction for the kids. 

This is AYSA's ONLY fundraiser.  A large part of camp revenue goes directly back to AYSA.  If your child is going to attend a soccer camp this summer, please consider attending to help support AYSA and our wonderful soccer club here in town.  Click HERE For more information and registration forms.

In addition,  registration for Fall 2012 Amherst Youth Soccer Recreational League is open!  Fall Season starts on Saturday, September 8, 2012.    Register at

This activity is not sponsored by the FR PGO.