Thursday, February 26, 2015

Music (Singing and Instrumental) Summer Camps @ Amherst College

SING! and SING! Jr. are happy to offer a a fun musical, social and recreational experience while maintaining a focus on healthy vocal production and expanding musical skills. We give students the opportunity to explore the full range of their vocal ability through classes that highlight a variety of vocal styles and genres, such as choir, musical theater, voice lessons and a cappella. We also offer recreational activities such as movement class and opportunities for indoor and outdoor games and swimming. You can email us at

SING! Jr. is for 7-11 year old children who love to sing. (There is also an older program for 12-18 year olds with treble voices). SING! and SING! Jr. will take place from July 5-10 at Amherst College. You can visit our website at

Strings@Amherst is for 7-18 year olds who play stringed instruments. This will also take place from July 5-10 at Amherst College. This is an exciting week of music and fun for young string players who can participate in classes such as orchestra, technique, chamber ensembles, fiddling, drumming, dance and more. We also offer recreational activities such as games, trips to downtown (accompanied by a counselor) and swimming. For more information you can visit our website at or email us at

Writing Retreat for Parents and Guardians

WRITING TO RAISE TM Writing Retreat  

 We all have stories to tell and the ARMS PGO invites you to join us at this on-going mini writing retreat to share yours.

Thursday Evenings from 6:30 to 8:00
(Come to one, a few or all)

Dates: March 5 and 19
            April 2, 16 and 30
            May 14 and 28 

Amherst Regional Middle School Library
170 Chestnut Street, Amherst – 2nd Floor


Theme: Raising Our Children and Growing Ourselves


  • Connect parents and create a supportive, compassionate community in which to share  stories
  • Provide time for writing and light instruction to sharpen writing skills, hopefully inspiring participants to reflect and write more
  • Promote intercultural understanding and exchanges by telling authentic, diverse stories 
  • Share contemporary American culture, values and day-to-day life with our counter-parts in China (and elsewhere) by publishing an anthology available on-line.
  • Generate funds to support ARMS teacher and student initiatives from publication sales 


Open to anyone who has stories about family, children, parenthood and growth, this series of 90-minute Parent/Guardian writing sessions (held in the ARMS library) is designed to provide a space and time for parents who want to write and share their family stories.

Invited to kick-off the series is Corinne Demas, Mount Holyoke Professor and published author of her memoir Eleven Stories High: Growing up in Stuyvesant Town, 1948 – 1968. Professor Demas will talk about the writing process, share tips on how to make stories engaging and how to speak in our own authentic voice.

The final product will be an anthology of participant submissions. Space permitting, contributing to the anthology is open to anyone who is interested in submitting an article about family life, parenthood, home literacy practices, community culture, raising children, etc. The hope is to as inclusive as possible however neither participation nor submission guarantees inclusion in the anthology publication. Workshop organizers will make the determination as to compilation selection with professional guidance.  

An English version of the anthology will be sold to English-speaking community. The English-Chinese version of the book will be sold to Chinese readers in the forms of ibook, ebook and print texts. The money gained from sales will be used to benefit the middle school community.

Structure of a Writing Group Meeting

6:30 - 6:40 pm   Humanize the space via social time

6:40 - 7:00 pm   Pre-writing talk

7:00 - 7:45 pm   Intensive writing

7:45 - 8:00 pm   Wrap-up discussion

  • The first ten minutes is for parents to connect and update one another on progress.
  • The next 20 minutes consists of a pre-write activity: a brief talk given by invited speaker, group members sharing about writing, parenting, cultural awareness, adolescence development, or a collaborative talk about some selected books, articles and videos. It may also include brainstorming activities, writing exercises, sharing pieces, discussing writing prompts or images, etc.
  • Writing is the main task. It will last 45 to 50 minutes.
  • Wrap up activity may be a go-around touch base, group member(s) sharing writing, or a discussion about some issues, concerns, difficulties.
Please Come!!! We'd love it if you let us know if you are interested in participating or have any questions by contacting Ying Zhang or Victoria Cliche at but if you decide to just show up - that's GREAT too!!!

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Athletic Swap, March 7 from 9am to noon

Visit the Athletic Swap at the ARHS Back Gym for FREE sports equipment of all types! This is a cooperative event for our community organized by all district PGOs. 

Donated items can be brought to the ARHS Back Gym on Friday, March 6 between 5 and 7pm. Please search your garage, basement, and closets for gently used equipment that might benefit a friend!

This Athletic Equipment Swap is for ALL families. Donated (new or gently used) equipment is FREE for student athletes in Grades PreK-12. Please see attached info flyer and PSA link. 

This swap is meant to support ALL ARPS families.

Talent Showcase 2015!! Entry details!

TALENT SHOWCASE 2015: 4th, 5th and 6th graders received their information packet and entry forms on Monday, February 23rd.  Entries are due on March 20th.  Please contact Dawn Lepere with any questions at  

Monday, February 23, 2015

Special Film Event at the Jones Library

Film Screening & Discussion:

Smoke Signals at the Jones Library


Join us on Tuesday, March 3, 2015 at 7 pm in the Woodbury Room for a screening of Smoke Signals, the sixth in a film & discussion series being held over several months which look at issues of race.  A facilitated discussion will be held after the screening.

Smoke Signals is a feature film which debunks stereotypes about native people.  An award winner at the 1998 Sundance Film Festival, the film is based on Sherman Alexie's short story "This Is What It Means to Say Phoenix, Arizona" from his book The Lone Ranger and Tonto Fistfight in Heaven.

Free and open to the public.  For more information, please contact Janet Ryan at 413/259-3223

This film series is co-sponsored by the Jones Library and The Coming Together Project.  More information about The Coming Together Project can be found at

Friday, February 13, 2015

ARHS performs "Hairspray" March 5-7

ARHS students will be performing the musical Hairspray March 5th - 7th at 7:30 p.m. in the ARHS auditorium.  There will also be a family-oriented matinee production on Saturday, March 7th at 2:00 p.m. 

Tickets are $15 for adults, $10 for seniors/high school students and $5 for elementary students and can be reserved by emailing

Saturday 2/14 - Celebrate Black History Month: Second Annual Event on the Town Common

Meet local community members of all ages at 11am at the flag pole directly in front of Town Hall to hear the Select Board's 2015 Black History Month resolution, raise the Black History Month flag, and sing the Black National Anthem, “Lift Every Voice and Sing” to commemorate our appreciation and history.
WHEN? TOMORROW, Saturday, Feb 14! 11am
See you tomorrow! We'll be finished by 11:30 -- plenty of time to still hit the Winter Farmer's Market, LWV Amherst luncheon, BID Skating Party, and spend time with your sweethearts:-)

ARHS Schedule Change for 2016 - an initial conversation

At 7;00 pm, on Wednesday, February 25, 2015, ARHS will hold a meeting in the high school library to discuss with the community its plans to change the high school's master schedule for SY 2016-17.

Since the high school is at the beginning of its process, the meeting will NOT involve an actual recommendation for the new schedule. Instead, the agenda will focus on the following topics:
- The educational implications of a new master schedule
- The current economic realities that bear on the decision
- The feedback-gathering and decision-making processes
- The different master schedule options that are under consideration.
- How the community can provide feedback
Current 9th and 10th graders as well as all students in the middle and elementary schools will attend ARHS with the new master schedule in place.
We hope you will join us.
- Mark Jackson, ARHS Principal


A las 7:00 pm, el miércoles, 25 de Febrero 2015, la escuela superior (ARHS) celebrará una reunión para hablar con la comunidad de los planes de cambiar el programa de instrucción para el año 2016-17.


Como  la escuela superior está en el comienzo de su proceso, la reunión no implica una recomendación real para el nuevo horario. En cambio, el programa se concentrará en los siguientes temas:


- Las implicaciones educativas de un nuevo programa de instrucción


- Las realidades económicas actuales que influyen en la decisión


- El proceso de colectar el insumo de la communidad sobre el posible cambio de programa


- Las diferentes opciones de programación que están bajo consideración.


- ¿Cómo la comunidad puede proveer comentarios?


Los estudiantes de noveno y décimo grado actuales, así como todos los estudiantes de las escuelas intermedias y elementales asistirán a la escuela superior con el nuevo programa en su lugar.


Todos las familias del distrito están invitadas a asistir esta reunión que se llevará a cabo en la biblioteca de la escuela superior.

Amherst Monte Carlo Night: Saturday, March 14

Amherst Hurricane Boosters

Dear ARHS/ARMS Athlete Families, Boosters, Coaches, and other Friends:

We are nearing the date for one of the best events of the year in Amherst - Monte Carlo Night! It will be Saturday, March 14, from 7:30 to midnight at Valentine Hall, Amherst College. It is a lot of fun (friends, after-dinner food, live music, gambling, awesome prizes) and it is a great way to raise money for sports teams at ARHS and ARMS, as well as the Hurricane Boosters. For every $25 ticket sold, $20 can be designated to go to a team of the buyer's choice, making Monte Carlo Night the easiest way all year for sports teams to raise money! 

Most important task: buy tickets now! (Almost all tickets are being sold online this year. At this link, enter the number of tickets and how you want to receive them and when you click "add to cart" you will see a screen asking for sport designations, followed by a payment screen with credit card and PayPal options.) 

If you can't or won't attend, donate $20 to the team(s) of your choice using the same process as above. 

If you are the parent of a 2014-15 athlete in any season, please help them sell tickets! Forwarding this email to all your friends in the area with a request that they buy tickets and support your favorite team(s) is the simplest approach. Please also Like the event on FaceBook, Join it, Share it, and Invite friends to it (these little things make a BIG difference to our reach if you have a fair number of FB Friends in the area). This is a community event and not just for parents of athletes - the bigger and more diverse the turnout, the better, so invite your friends and neighbors! 

You can also help us out in other ways: 
- sign up for a Volunteer shift on Monte Carlo weekend
- help organize the event or solicit business donations by replying to this email to let us know that you are willing to help

Please make sure to check out www . amherstmontecarlo . com for more details on the event, or read the excerpt below. We do want to make sure everyone knows of a few changes for 2015. We are starting an hour later this year, and we are only serving desserts, coffee, and light after-dinner savory snacks. We are no longer allowed to bring in donated food from local restaurants and decided that paying for Amherst College food was not a good use of fundraised dollars. We do hope to develop a partnership wih local restauants for pre-event dinners which we may announce in the coming weeks.

Thank you,
Amherst Hurricane Boosters


From our website:


For one evening Valentine Hall is transformed into an elegant mini-Casino complete with live music from Higher Help, complimentary after-dinner snacks, and a full Funny Money Cash Bar.

Hundreds of your neighbors and friends (21 years and older) try their hand at roulette, blackjack, Texas Hold 'Em, and other exciting games of chance and skill. Monte Carlo “Funny Money” can be purchased at the casino and used, with the help of Lady (or Sir) Luck to grow your personal pile of Funny Money cash.

Your winnings can be redeemed for prize coupons used to enter drawings for of fabulous gifts and prizes worth thousands of dollars, including fine wines, gift certificates for local businesses such as massages, tune-ups, even tattoos, and much more.

This is a great opportunity to socialize with other parents and make new connections in a friendly, upbeat atmosphere. It has often been compared to Prom Night, but for grown-ups! No lectures or presentations, just a great time with people you know or would like to get to know. Definitely one of the most memorable events on the Amherst Calendar!

Best of all, every minute you’re enjoying yourself, you’ll be helping support Amherst High School Athletics. The Amherst Hurricane Boosters  raise funds through Monte Carlo Night and other events to help achieve our mission of having a positive impact on athletics at Amherst Regional High School.  Tickets are $25 in advance or $30 at the door -- and you can direct $20 of that to the sport(s) of your choice! 

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

ARPS PGO Athletic Swap!! Saturday, March 7 from 9am to noon

Visit the Athletic Swap at the ARHS Back Gym for FREE sports equipment of all types! This is a cooperative event for our community organized by all district PGOs. 

Donated items can be brought to the ARHS Back Gym on Friday, March 6 between 5 and 7pm. Details on flyer below. Please search your garage, basement, and closets for gently used equipment that might benefit a friend!

Cool Stuff at the Jones Library!!!

On the Same Page – Amherst Program Series
Amherst, MA – The Jones Library is holding its third On the Same Page community reading program, this year featuring the novel The Girl Who Fell from the Sky by bestselling author Heidi Durrow.  The entire Amherst community is invited to read the book and participate in the upcoming programs and events.  The following series of programs will be held during February and March at the Jones Library, and are based on topics and themes from the novel.  On the Same Page – Amherst will culminate in an appearance by author Heidi Durrow to be held at 7:00 pm on Wednesday, March 11, 2015 at the Munson Memorial Library Hall in South Amherst.   For complete program descriptions, visit the program’s webpage at

February 6 - March 14, 2015 – Atrium Jones Library 
Of Many Colors Exhibit - Of Many Colors includes photographs and interviews with families who have bridged the racial divide through interracial relationships and/or adoption.  The exhibit and its companion book were created by Family Diversity Projects.

Tuesday, February 24 at 7 pm - Woodbury Room Jones Library: Book Discussion - An interactive book discussion will explore the impact of community on identity with fun & engaging activities, and then lead into sharing and discussing The Girl Who Fell from the Sky.   This event is co-sponsored by the Jones Library, Amherst Together, and the Equity Project Intergenerational Team at Amherst College.

Thursday, March 5 at 7:00 pm - Woodbury Room  Jones Library: Multiracial Families: The Amherst Experience - A panel of Amherst parents share their personal experiences of parenting biracial and adopted children in our community. The panel will be moderated by Peggy Gillespie, Co-Founder/Director of Family Diversity Projects. 

Wednesday, March 11 at 5:30 pm – Munson Memorial Library, South Amherst
Friends’ Reception - Please join the Friends of the Jones Library System and author Heidi Durrow at this special reception.  Sponsored by the FOJLS, this event is free & open to the public.

Wednesday, March 11 at 7:00 pm – Munson Memorial Library Hall, South Amherst 
On the Same Page...with Heidi DurrowJoin us for this author appearance!  Heidi Durrow will talk about her book and the issues it explores.  Books will be available for purchase & signing.
Copies of The Girl Who Fell from the Sky can be borrowed from the Jones Library and branches, requested and checked out from the C/W Mars library catalog, or purchased at Amherst Books in Amherst. The Girl Who Fell from the Sky was the winner of the PEN/Bellwether Prize for Socially Engaged Fiction in 2008, which is awarded biennially to the author of a previously unpublished novel of high literary caliber that promotes fiction which addresses issues of social justice and the impact of culture and politics on human relationships. The Girl Who Fell from the Sky was a has been hailed as one of the Best Novels of 2010 by the Washington Post, a Top 10 Book of 2010 by The Oregonian, and named a Top 10 Debut of 2010 by Booklist, as well as being a New York Times Bestseller, a Los Angeles Times Bestseller, and an Indie Next Pick.
Heidi W. Durrow, the New York Times best-selling author of The Girl Who Fell from the Sky, is a graduate of Stanford, Columbia's Graduate School of Journalism, and Yale Law School. She is the host of a new audio and video podcast called The Mixed Experience, and has been featured as a leading expert on multiracial and multicultural issues and identity by the NBC Nightly News, the New York Times, CNN, National Public Radio, the BBC, Ebony Magazine, and the San Francisco Chronicle. She is an occasional contributor to National Public Radio and blogs for the Huffington Post.

On the Same Page – Amherst and its programs are sponsored by the Friends of the Jones Library System.  For further information about the On the Same Page - Amherst, please contact Janet Ryan at 413/259-3223.

Dr. Seuss Extravaganza! March 3 @ 6:30pm

Mark your calendars! 

" … we can have lots of good fun that is funny!"

Help still needed! Please contact Deb

Coffee with Principal Finocchio

Saturday, February 7, 2015

Fort River PGO - Blog Editor Needed!

After many years of dedication PGO blog editor, Jenn Green, is ready to hand over the reigns.

The PGO needs to find a volunteer willing to step up and become the new PGO Website Editor. If you have been hoping to volunteer more this is the ideal opportunity!  Advanced computer skills are not necessary to do this job and Jenn is willing to help train the new person.

Duties include collecting information from the school, district, and town and organizing and posting relevant information on a weekly or bi-weekly basis on the blog. Most of this can be done from home!

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 Jenn Green with questions.

Talent Showcase 2015!

The Talent Showcase 2015 is ON!!!!  Mark your calendars for rehearsal on April 9th and the BIG EVENT on April 10th at 6:30pm.  4th, 5th and 6th grade students may participate.  Acts are limited to 3 minutes and students should plan to be showcased in only one act, but can assist in other acts.  We will once again be showcasing talents that can be displayed as table-top exhibits in the hallway before the live show and during intermission.  More details and entry forms will be coming home soon!
¡¡¡La Exhibición de Talento 2015 está en marcha!!!  Marquen sus calendarios para ensayo el 9 de abril, y el GRAN EVENTO el 10 de abril a las 6:30 PM.  Los estudiantes de 4to, 5to, y 6to grado pueden participar.  Los actos están limitados a tres minutos, y los/as estudiantes deben planificar su exhibición en un solo acto, pero pueden ayudar a otros/as en sus actos.   Nuevamente estaremos presentando talentos que puedan ser exhibidos en mesas en el pasillo antes de la presentación en vivo y durante los recesos.  ¡Más detalles y las formas de inscripción serán enviadas al hogar pronto!

Amherst Youth Lacrosse


Community Storytelling

Whole Children Fun Run

Monday, February 2, 2015

Free ®ZUMBA!

FREE ®ZUMBA class for ARPS affiliated parents and staff every Thursday from 3:30-4:30 in the music room at Crocker Farm elementary school.  ®Zumba is a "fitness-party" make up of Latin-inspired, easy-to-follow, rhythmic and aerobic movements set to international music. It exhilarates the senses and works all major muscle groups in a high-energy cardio blast that leaves you feeling invigorated, refreshed and full of life. Just what the Fort River community deserves!

No pre-registration necessary! Just show up with sneakers, a water bottle and be ready to have fun!

Multi-Arts - Free Workshop

Let your imagination fly: create and illustrate your own story. Under the guidance of Multi-Arts talented and creative staff, children will collaborate and make their imagination come alive. It will be fun, engaging and inspirational.
Free workshop at Amherst Farmers Market, 
Saturday February 14
11-12 am for children 6-13 years old &
12:00-12:30 for children 3-5 accompany by their parents