Thursday, June 25, 2015

Volunteers wanted for Childhood Learning Research Study at Amherst College

Do you have a child between 0 and 10 years of age? Professor Carrie Palmquist, Assistant Professor of Psychology at Amherst College, is conducting a series of studies at the Child Learning and Development Lab that investigate how children learn from others and about the world around them. Participation in a study takes no more than 30 minutes. If you want your child to participate, contact the The Child Learning and Development (CLAD) Lab at Amherst College at 413-542-5652, email, or visit to learn more and register your family! 

Volunteers wanted for Adolescent Research Study at Amherst College

Adolescent Social Interaction Study


We are recruiting 13 to 16 year-old adolescents for a research study conducted by Dr. Julia McQuade at Amherst College. Participating adolescents and their parent will complete a 45minute assessment at Amherst College that includes an interview and completion of measures assessing social experiences.


$30 compensation is provided!


For more information, contact the Peer Relationships Lab at 

413-542-5619 or email

Tuesday, June 23, 2015


Thank you to all the families and friends who joined us at Barnes & Noble last Sunday to kick off our summer reading and raise some funds for the coming school year. Thank you especially to Flavia Cunha, Yuko Mizutani, Inkygyoung Kim and Salomé López for sharing a book during our story times; Amy Hampson & Liza, Becky Schneider, Bridget Hynes, Kristen DeLuca & Siena, Emily Coleman & Juliet and MaryBeth Meade for their help at our craft and welcome tables and to our fabulous and talented Fort River families for their performances - Dawn Lepere & Jeff Starns, Seiha Krouch & Thyda Ty, Champion Bakare, and Milena & Carina Gravante-Gunnells with their father Paul on keyboard. 

Monday, June 22, 2015

Summer Reading Programs

A number of Local libraries are running summer reading programs:

In Amherst, the Jones Library, Munson Memorial Library, & the North Amherst Library are each having a summer reading program.    You can learn more about the programs here: 

The Jones Library program starts June 27th, & participants are given the goal of reading and reporting on 5 books over the summer.   Book reports may be oral, written, or artwork.  Informal book chats will be held every Mon & Fri from 3-4 pm in the Kids Biography Room.  There are also a number of fun events associated with the reading program.  Visit the link above for details.    The Summer Reading Club Party will be held Tues, Aug 11st at 3 pm.  

The Jones Library also has a Young Adult Summer Reading Program for students in Grades 6 & up.    

The Munson Memorial Library summer reading program starts June 15th.  Participants receive a book log to record the books read over the summer.   Participants must read 10 books to receive a prize, and can earn a second prize by reading 20 or more books.  After 10 visits to the Munson Library over the summer, each club member will receive a coupon for a free ice cream cone.   The book logs should be returned by Sat, Aug 29th.  The Back-to-School Party will be held on Tues, Sept 1st, at 3 pm.   

The North Amherst Library summer reading program includes children ages 4 to 14.  Participants receive a book log to record the books read over the summer.   All reading club members and their families are invited to our Summer Reading Club celebration. The party will be on Saturday Aug 15th, 11 am, at Mill River Park.  Reading program members who read 10 books or more will receive a prize and a certificate to be awarded at the Reading Club Party.  Reading logs should be returned by August 10th.  

Other summer reading programs:
Barnes & Noble has a summer reading program where participants who read 8 books qualify for a FREE book. The details are here: 
The program's reading log can be downloaded at this link.  Completed logs are returned to a local B&N store, and participants can then select a free book on the Reading Journal list at the store.  

The Massachusetts Teachers Assocation & Red Sox summer reading program.  
** Participants pledge to read nine books over the summer, one for each position on the ballfield. 
** List the titles of the nine books on the entry form and mail it in by July 10, 2015
** MTA will choose 100 winners at random. Each winner will receive a pair of tickets to a Red Sox game at Fenway in September.
** Five of the 100 winners will be chosen at random to become Grand Prize Winners. Grand Prize Winners will receive four tickets each and participate in an on-field pregame ceremony at the game in September.

The Importance of Summer Reading  -- Voices from Our Schools,Amherst Media 
 Please enjoy the latest episode of Voices From Our Schools, featuring Crocker Farm Elementary Sixth grade students, Monica Cage and Brendon Stephen, as they discuss the importance of reading and summer book selections. They were wonderful guests who offered great insights and anecdotes. 

Saturday, June 20, 2015

Summer Events and Resources for Families

Use your SNAP/EBT card at the Amherst Farmer’s Market!

Every Saturday in Amherst Center from 8:00am-1:30pm until 11/21/15. 

To use your EBT card: 

(1) Go to the market booth in front of the Lord Jeffery Inn on Boltwood Avenue; 

(2) Give the person your SNAP/EBT card. They will give you tokens. These tokens act as “cash” at the market; 

(3) Use your tokens at any vendor booth.

Wednesday, June 17, 2015

Amherst Together Community Presentation on June 25th at 6pm @ the Jones Library



Amherst Together and UMass Department of Landscape Architecture & Regional Planning Release Final Report of Public Perception Study, Announce Public Presentation of Results, and other activities.


For Immediate Release


Carol Ross: 413-362-1820

Flavia Montenegro-Menezes: 413-687-7963


(June 17, 2015Amherst Together, in collaboration with Dr. Flavia Montenegro-Menezes of the University of Massachusetts, Department of Landscape Architecture and Regional Planning, will release the final results of the public perception study and will share the report and preliminary conclusions during a public presentation on June 25, 2015 at 6:00 pm at the Jones Library Woodbury Room, 43 Amity Street, Amherst, MA. The presentation will review report highlights with a question and answer session to follow


The study, performed by Dr. Montenegro-Menezestook approximately 10 months to complete and included three phases: qualitative data collection that included one-to-one interviews, focus groups, comment boards, maps, marbles, and graffiti walls; online and face-to-face survey collection; and extensive analysisreport preparation and presentationThe study provided an opportunity to engage the community in dialogue about values, identity and wellbeing, in order to gauge values and understand how residents perceive the community and their overall quality of life in Amherst.The surveys were fairly distributed amongst the town’s voting precinctsand the level of participation far exceeded the expectations of Dr. Montenegro-Menezes and Amherst Together. 


“We spent extra time out in the field to obtain valid sampling from each of the voting precincts and we managed to gather more information from more people than any of us had hoped. It has taken additional work, including the need to recruit a fresh round of student volunteers, but they were spectacular. We gathered the input of 1052 participants in the overall process and collected 456 survey responses, which exceeded the initial target (380),” says Dr. Montenegro-Menezes. “The response and comments imply that the residents have a strong interest in this community. The study and the overall outreach will have long-lasting benefits for the community.”


Amherst Together intends to use the final survey results to help identify priorities for Amherst Together and develop recommendations for collective impact, to be addressed over the next several years.


A tremendous amount of work went into this effort. Dr.Montenegro-Menezes and research analyst Jennifer Stromsten went above and beyond to provide this service and deliver a comprehensive report for our community. This study, based on reliable and validated data collectiongives us solid information for continuing our efforts to encourage authentic collective action,” stated Carol Ross, of Amherst Together


Recent Amherst Together activities include the TAP THE MAP! online interactive map, the Who Are You? Identity Challenge and the Eyes Are The Window digital poetry exhibitAmherst Together is a town-wide project intended to creatively advance community, collaboration, equity, and inclusion. For more information or to get involved, contact Carol Ross at 413-362-1820 or

Monday, June 15, 2015

The Spring Band & Orchestra Concert TONIGHT June 15

The Spring Band & Orchestra Concert will take place TODAY, Monday, June 15th at 7:30 PM in the gymnasium. Please join us in the cafeteria for an Ice Cream Social immediately following the concert. Special thanks to Friendly's of Hadley and Big Y for sponsoring our celebration and to Ruthie Ireland for coordinating the social! Ice cream will be $1 and all proceeds go to the Orchestra & Band Scholarship fund. Additional donations gladly accepted! Hope to see you there!

AEF Stars in Our Schools Donations still accepted!

AEF STARS IN OUR SCHOOLS – extended to June 19!

StarsCan't figure out what to give as an end-of-year gift?

A donation through STARS IN OUR SCHOOLS is a meaningful way to recognize our teachers. 

NOW is the time to let teachers and staff members know how much you appreciate their hard work, expertise, care, and dedication. 

We have extended the deadline to June 19.

Make your gift on-line at 
or send your gift by mail on the form you received in the mail or in your child’s backpack. 

Thank you for supporting our schools by donating to AEF.

Our mission: 

Amherst Education Foundation (AEF) supports Amherst area public schools in providing a challenging and enriching educational experience that maximizes the learning potential of every student and prepares them to succeed in the 21st century.

Amherst Human Rights Commission presents Human Rights Heroes Award to Fort River 6th Graders

Congratulations to our sixth graders Celia Malone and Seo-Ho Lee who were recently selected as recipients of the Human Rights Heroes Award!

Each year for 11 years, the Human Rights Commission has celebrated the achievements of Amherst area young people who have shown an ability to love and care for one another through demonstrated acts of kindness, unselfishness, social courage and/or community service within their families, their schools, or the community.  Nominations are invited by educators and community members who have observed young people engaged in the display of one or more of these traits in the past year.  


This year, Celia and Seo-Ho were caught in the act!


The Commission presented awards to ten of this year’s recipients at its annual community picnic on Sunday, June 14, 2015 at the Mill River Recreation Area95 Montague Road in Amherst.


Celia Malone

The Amherst Human Rights Commission presents a Human Rights Hero Award to Celia Malone, completing 6thgrade at Fort River Elementary School. According to her nominator, Celia is consistently a positive social force in the Fort River School community. She stands up for what is right. Whether she is making sure to include others in games at recess, standing up to bullying behavior, or simply being a loyal friend, Celia’s positive actions have a major impact on those around her. Celia is a member of the Fort River Student Council. She brings a mature perspective to the group’s discussions. Celia articulates a sophisticated comprehension of student identity issues and how these might factors affect students in their day-to-day activities at school. She is always very thoughtful and considerate of others’ perspectives, especially those of students and families who may not have the resources that others have. Celia is inclusive of others, including peers who don't seem to hold the same social awareness. She maintains her values but not at the expense of others. She truly exemplifies what it means to be a Student Leader.



Seo-Ho Lee

The Amherst Human Rights Commission presents a Human Rights Hero Award to Seo-Ho Lee, completing 6thgrade at Fort River Elementary School. Seo-Ho makes so many positive contributions to the community at Fort River School. She and her family were new to Amherst this fall and Seo-Ho made numerous connections almost immediately. She has an uncanny ability for picking up on the positive things that she sees her classmates doing and making sure they are recognized.  Seo-Ho often goes out of her way to help others.


Seo-Ho has also come into her own as an activist this year. While researching an article she was writing in Language Arts about teen activists who are fighting racism, Seo-Ho became inspired to take action herself. She asked what else an anti-racism activist might do beyond protest or march. Seo-Ho decided to invite a panel of guest speakers to talk to the 6th grade about racism and what kids can do about it. In early April the event happened and produced valuable discussion amongst the students on an issue that has been widely talked on both the local and national level.  Seo-Ho’s excitement about the issues she cares about is truly infectious, as many of her peers have started to express interest in getting involved as well. Fort River, Amherst, and society in general need more students like Seo-Ho Lee who not only have a deeply held appreciation for those around them, but are also willing to take a critical eye to the problems they see in our society and do something about them.

Volunteer Request from Amherst Survival Center

Project Backpack & Safe Seats for Kids 2015

The Amherst, Pelham and Regional Public Schools in collaboration with community partners are proud to announce Project Backpack & Safe Seats for Kids 2015.  


Backpacks will be distributed on August 20 & 21 from the ARPS Family Center (170 Chestnut Streetfrom 9am-3pmeach day. 


In its sixth year, Project Backpack supports income-eligible students in Grades PreK-12 to acquire necessary and grade-appropriate school supplies and is designed around the social justice commitment of the Amherst-Pelham and Regional Public Schools. Project Backpack aspires toward equity of access, inclusion, respect and community-building. New backpacks and school supplies will be accepted from June 1-August 1 and can be dropped off at the ARPS Family Center. Back packs and supplies will be distributed on August 20-21.The ARPS Family Center staff will oversee the distribution process. In addition, Safe Seats for Kids is supported by the Amherst Police Department, Amherst Fire Department, University of Massachusetts Police Department and Safe Kids of Western Massachusetts/Baystate Children’s Hospital. Officers will install new infant and toddler car seats on August 20-21 from 9am-3pm at the ARPS Family Center located within Amherst Regional Middle School (170 Chestnut St). 


“Our goal is to help ease the financial burden the start of the school year can mean for many families,” states Superintendent Maria Geryk.  “Project Backpack is a great success due in part to the generosity of individuals and community partners. In 2014, over 465 backpacks with supplies were distributed and over 60 car seats were installed. I am deeply grateful for the community’s support of this initiative.”


School Supplies List

Pre-K- 5th Grade: new backpacks, spiral  notebooks, erasers, 2-pocket folders, glue sticks, markers, crayons, pencils, pens (blue/black/red), colored pencils, pencil sharpeners, pencil cases, bookmarks, rulers


6th -12th Grade: new backpacks, assignment pads, notebooks, loose leaf paper, 2-pocket folders, 3-ring binders, 3-ring pencil cases, highlighters, post-it notes, index cards, calculators (basic, scientific, or graphing), flash drives, pens (blue/black/red), pencils, combination locks for lockers 


The mission of the Amherst-Pelham Regional Schools is to provide all students with a high quality education that enables them to be contributing members of a multiethnic, multicultural, pluralistic society. We seek to create an environment that achieves equity for all students and ensures that each student is a successful learner, is fully respected, and learns to respect others. 


Victorian Ballroom Dance Performance June 27 @ 11am

VICTORIAN BALLROOM DANCE PERFORMANCE on the lawn of the Amherst History Museum 

On Saturday, June 27, at 11 am. You are invited to waltz through time on the lawn of the Amherst History Museum. A Victorian ballroom dance performance will take place on the front lawn of the Amherst Historical Museum at 67 Amity Street. This performance will provide a glimpse into the 19th century. The Small Planet Dancers, a community-based performance/dance troupe focusing on historically-accurate cultural dance, will transport you on a journey back in time. The past will come to life during this performance. The performance is funded through a grant from the Amherst Cultural Council; it is free and open to the public. After the performance you are welcomed to tour the museum or buy tickets to the Garden Tour, 10 am to 4 pm. For information about the museum and Garden Tour tickets visit

Lost & Found Items in the Lobby

Missing a winter glove? Replaced a few lunch boxes this year? Check the tables in the lobby this week to find any misplaced items. All unclaimed belongings will be donated. Thanks to Deb Leonard for corralling all of the lost and misplaced gear! 

Sunday, June 14, 2015

Spring Band & Orchestra Concert AND Ice Cream Social - Monday, June 15

The Spring Band & Orchestra Concert will take place TOMORROW, Monday, June 15th at 7:30 PM in the gymnasium.

Please join us in the cafeteria for an Ice Cream Social immediately following the concert. Special thanks to Friendly's of Hadley and Big Y for sponsoring our celebration!

Ice cream will be $1 and all proceeds go to the Orchestra & Band Scholarship fund. Additional donations gladly accepted! Hope to see you there!

Wednesday, June 10, 2015

Coffee with a Principal - This Friday, June 12th 8:45am - 9:30am

Please join other parents and guardians this Friday morning at our monthly Coffee with a Principal. Topics change each month and there is always time for questions and dialogue. PGO officer elections for 2015-16 will take place immediately afterwards. It is not too late to nominate yourself or a friend for a position. The current officers are stepping down but will be available to mentor new volunteers. Please contact Liz Larson at with questions. Infants and small children are ALWAYS welcome at Coffees and PGO meetings. Hope to see you there!  

Monday, June 8, 2015

THANKS to our Awesome Volunteers!

 ** THANK YOU Volunteers !!
The PGO Book Share event was held last week, hopefully your student came home excited to show off the book(s) selected for keeping!!  All of the students were very interested in a variety of book choices, and were polite while visiting the library to participate in the Book Share.  A special thank you to Fran Ludington, for being the library liaison and anchor for the event.  Thank you to Deb Leonard, Liz Larson, Rebecca Kennedy, Allison Page, and Mary Beth Meade, our parent volunteers this year!   Happy summer reading!

Fort River Barnes & Noble Book Fair this Sunday, June 14 in Hadley

Visit the Fort River Barnes & Noble Book Fair this Sunday, June 14 in Hadley! Fun activities planned throughout the day! 

Use Book Fair ID 11614765 at checkout at to support our school with your online purchases! Available June 15 - June 19. 

HELP NEEDED! The PGO Book Fair at Barnes & Noble will be held on Sunday, June 14th. Many volunteers are needed to help with this daylong event. Please contact Liz Larson for information. Kid participation is desired with this FUNdraiser! 

On the day of the fair, our school will get 10% of the sales for everyone who mentions Fort River at check out, funds that we will use to help kick off our next school year.  Our goal is to raise $1200 for our classroom set-up grants for teachers and staff.

Amherst Survival Center Request For Volunteers

Annual Staff and Teacher Appreciation Celebration - Thanks for your support!

Thanks to our great community of families for your continued support in honor of the staff and teachers at Fort River!  Every staff member received a special envelope at school the morning of the celebration filled with a note of gratitude from the PGO and the hundreds of beautiful appreciation notes collected from children in all grades.  Almost 70 staff enjoyed a wonderful after-school gathering at the Amherst Brewing Company. Thanks to the support of Fort River families, we more than covered the costs of the celebration and gifts, and staff were so grateful at the outpouring of generosity of our community. It really shows how much our families care about the staff and teachers of Fort River!  Leftover funds will go back to the staff towards upcoming events this spring and early fall.

Thank you everyone for your support!  Special thanks to Suzanne Severin, Karen Bonneau and the front office team, and parents Shari Abbott, Sue Borden, Sarah Cartel, Deb Christakos, Traci Hess, Tim Hope, Liz Larson, Dawn Lepere, Yuko Mizutani, Rebecca Schneider and our student helpers for making the day a success.  Special thanks to Paul Gunnells for his time and talent as the piano accompaniment at the event and well into the evening!


-Suzanne Schilling

Saturday, June 6, 2015

FIELD DAY is June 17!


Mark your calendar for a day of fun at Fort River School, on Wednesday, June 17, 2015.  Field Day is a school wide event that allows the children to get outside for sun and fun. This year, Kids in grades 1-6 will participate in field day together (from 9-11:30am) in multi-aged groups to build school unity across grades. Groups will rotate through a variety of outdoor activity stations on the fields/playground where kids will work together and have fun.

Kindergarteners will have their own special stations from 10-10:45 am.  

The day will work like this:

9-11:30 Grades 1 - 6 

10 - 10:45 Kindergarteners join

11:30 picnic lunch (bring your own or purchase) 


We will need lots of parent volunteers to make field day a huge success.  Parents can volunteer as an activity station worker or a group leader; parents can help set up or clean up.  

Volunteers can sign up here or print and fill out this form and leave it in the PGO mailbox, or email Rebecca Kennedy at

Field Day Volunteer Sign Up


Telephone____________________ Email_______________________________

I can:

____Set up equipment before school (7:30-8:30 am)

____Run an activity station (____8:45-10:15, ____10-11:30am; ____both)

____Serve as a Parent Group Leader (___8:45-10:15; _____10-11:30 am; ____both)

____Work a kindergarten station (9:45-10:45 am)

____Clean up and put away equipment (12:00pm-1pm)

____Do anything you need me to do

Tuesday, June 2, 2015

The Amherst Regional High School Art Department and The Eli Marsh Gallery, Amherst College, Present: AR[T]HS: An Exhibit of Outstanding Student Artwork from the 2014-2015 Academic Year

The Art Department at Amherst Regional High School is proud to present AR[T]HS, an exhibit of outstanding student artwork from the 2014-2015 academic year. The exhibit will showcase juried work from all of the Art Department’s areas of study: Ceramics, Drawing, Painting, Photography, 2D & 3D Foundations, Printmaking, Art Portfolio and Sculpture.


will be on display at The Eli Marsh Gallery, 105 Fayerweather Hall, Amherst College, from June 3th-June 11th. Gallery hours are from 9 am to 5 pm, every day, Sat & Sun 10-4pm.

The opening reception is on Thursday, June 4th from 5-8 pmThe opening is free and open to the public. Refreshments will be served. The opening will be part of the monthly Amherst Art Walk. Last year’s opening was attended by more than 300 students, parents and relatives, including many non-art students showing support for their peers. It is also an excellent way for students to see what type of work is done in all the various art classes to help them in their future course choices.

Monday, June 1, 2015

HELP NEEDED for PGO book Fair @ Barnes & Noble on June 14th

HELP NEEDED! The PGO Book Fair at Barnes & Noble will be held on Sunday, June 14th. Many volunteers are needed to help with this daylong event. Please contact Liz Larson for information. Kid participation is desired with this FUNdraiser! 

On the day of the fair, our school will get 10% of the sales for everyone who mentions Fort River at check out, funds that we will use to help kick off our next school year.  Our goal is to raise $1200 for our classroom set-up grants for teachers and staff.

The theme for the day is “Travel the World in a Book” and we want to celebrate the wonderful cultural diversity we have at Fort River. Families are invited to share something from their heritage - a craft, a performance or a favorite story.  There will be multi-cultural story times and anyone who would like to come in to share a book in the store, either in the original language or in English, is most welcome.  We also welcome ideas for craft tables (such as origami) that would appeal to the customers at the store.

For more information on the story time schedule or if you have a craft or performance idea
, please contact Liz Larson (liz.fortriver@gmail.com230-3453)

Cambodian Celebration a Tremendous Success!

Many, many thanks to everyone involved in the Cambodian Celebration last Friday!

Please see the lovely note below from the ARPS Central Office:

"Thank you for a wonderful celebration on Friday. The students and staff did a remarkable job and the performance was great. 22News did an amazing story - please see link below. We tweeted it and Maria will include this in her weekly newsletter."

Staff & Teacher Appreciation Celebration this Friday

The annual Staff & Teacher Appreciation Celebration will take place at Amherst Brewing Company on June 5th. Thanks to the more than 40 families who have sent in contributions, we have raised $1,280 so far for this wonderful event! Thanks also to Suzanne Schilling for organizing this event many, many years in a row ... No Small task! Our students made hundreds of thank you notes during lunches last week which will be distributed this Friday.

Please complete the linked form if you would like to send in a contribution: Thank you!


En Espanol: ¡Gracias!


PGO Book Share This Week! Free Books For All!

The 2015 PGO Book Share will be held THIS WEEK June 1- 5! Please remember to donate some gently used books so that there are plenty for all of the Fort River students! WE NEED MANY MORE DONATIONS!! A collection box is in the lobby by the office.   

THANKS SO MUCH TO EVERYONE WHO HAS VOLUNTEERED TO HELP WITH THIS EVENT! There are additional opportunities to help. Please sign up using the link below or simply show up. (Up to date CORI required for all volunteers) 

Any questions, call Mary Beth Meade 835-0239

If you would like to help during the time your child will be selecting books please see the schedule below.  

Grades 2, 3, 4, and 6 will be attending the event during their regularly scheduled library time. Other classes will visit as follows: 

1 (Rondeau): Wed, June 3 at 9
1 (Hickson): Wed, June 3 at 11:30
5 (Castronovo): Mon, June 1 at 10:40
5 (Sautter): Tues, June 2 at 1:35