Monday, August 29, 2016

Fort River Celebrates 50 Years of "Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do You See?" during Eric Carle Pop Up Exhibit

"Teacher, teacher, what do you see? Maestra, maestra, ?qué ve ahí?"

Fort River is so proud to be part of the pop-up art exhibit installed around Amherst by The Eric Carle Museum of Picture Book Art! Read more about this clever public display of art and maybe schedule a family scavenger hunt to find all of the pages!

Check out what's trending #BrownBearEverywhere 

"I see children looking at me. Veo a los niños que me miran a mí."

Sunday, August 28, 2016

Volunteers Needed! Check out all of the FUN Opportunities to Get Involved at Fort River!

Welcome Back to an exciting new year at Fort River School!

The faculty, staff, and administration are eager to greet returning and new families, and the PGO Board is ready to help everyone find a way to get involved in our welcoming community! 

The first priority for volunteer help is to find an eager parent (or more!) from each classroom to serve as the Classroom Parent for their child's teacher. The tasks can often be done at home (or even from your phone) and largely involve communication between the teacher and class families. Read more about what's involved here.

New coordinators are needed for several events and ongoing activities. Some examples include:

  • New Family Welcome
  • Coffee with the Principal
  • Box Tops
  • Bus/Van Driver Appreciation Breakfast
  • Annual Fund
  • Lost and Found

More details about these individual opportunities and others can be found here:

A new opportunity exists for families who love spending time outdoors! The Fort River Garden is in need of ongoing TLC. The PGO hopes to establish a Garden Support Committee of families that would work with our faculty and staff in an extended collaboration to maintain and nourish this incredible learning space for students and teachers. Click here to read an NPR article describing how the school garden can invigorate children AND teachers.

Please contact a PGO Officer or email us at to volunteer for any opportunity or to suggest other activities and events you'd like to see and successfully  implement at Fort River!

Save the Date! School-Wide Welcome Back Potluck on September 21

Join families and staff to celebrate the new school year at Fort River! 

Our Welcome Back Potluck will be held on Wednesday, September 21. We will gather in the cafeteria and behind the school from 5:30 to 7:00 pm. The rain date is Thursday, September 22. 

Bring the whole family (including alumni!) and socialize with old friends while meeting new families. Sign up information and details to follow soon!

Saturday, August 27, 2016

First Day Family Coffee sponsored by the PGO

The Fort River staff will welcome students and their families into the gym starting at 8:50 on the first day of school. After you say goodbye to your children, please join your friends in the cafeteria where the PGO will serve refreshments and celebrate the new school year! Kindergarten families will come on Tuesday morning and can expect more PGO refreshments after sending off their little ones to begin their first day! 

The Family Coffee Hour is a gentle way for everyone to transition after an exciting and often emotional start to the new school year. Please join us! 

Volunteers Needed for School Governance Council

The state-mandated Fort River School Governance Council reviews the annual budget for Fort River and helps prepare the School Improvement Plan. The School Governance Council is comprised of parent/guardians, teachers, community members, and Principal Chamberlain ( A two year term commitment is optimal but not required.

Parents/guardians will be elected representatives at the Fort River Open House on Thursday, October 13, 2016. If you are interested in serving on the School Governance Council, please fill out the nomination form and return it to the Fort River main office or email the requested information to no later than September 30, 2016.   

Candidate information will be made ​​available to the Fort River community prior to the election at the Open House. 
Questions about serving on the School Governance Council or the election process can be directed to Principal Chamberlain.

El mandato estatal Consejo de Gobierno de la Escuela de Fort River revisa el presupuesto anual para Fort River y ayuda a preparar el Plan de Mejoramiento Escolar. El Consejo de Gobierno de la Escuela está compuesto por los padres / tutores , maestros, miembros de la comunidad, y el directora Chamberlain ( Un termino de compromiso de dos años plazo es óptima, pero no necesita.

Padre/tutor serán elegido en Fort River Open House 13 de octubre de 2016. Si usted está interesado en servir en el Consejo de Gobierno de la Escuela, por favor llene el formulario de nominación y devolverla a la oficina principal de Fort River o correo electrónico la información solicitada a a más tardar 30 de septiembre 2016.

Candidato información se pondrá a disposición de la comunidad de Fort río antes de la elección en la Open House. 
Preguntas sobre servir en el Consejo de Gobierno de la Escuela o el proceso de elección pueden ser dirigidas al Directora Chamberlain.

PGO Coffee with the Principal

Please join your friends on Friday, September 16 at 9am for coffee, donuts, and informative conversation! 

Monthly PGO coffees take place every month or two. The dates can be found on the PGO calendar which is on the right side of the blog home page. Some coffees may take place in the evening, depending upon community feedback. There will usually be a presentation for families and specifics will be available on the blog, FB, and Twitter.

Please share with your friends and neighbors! Your infants, toddlers, and preschoolers are always welcome! Families with future Amherst Elementary school children are also welcome and encouraged to attend. We hope to see you there!

Amherst Solid Waste Survey

TO:  Residents, businesses, employees, and other members of the Amherst community
FROM: Recycling and Refuse Management Committee (RRMC), Town of Amherst

If you live or work in Amherst, we need your help! Regional landfills are closing, and there is growing awareness of the need to preserve our financial and material resources as well as protect the environment and our health through the responsible management of resources and waste.

Please take a few minutes to fill out our survey at (click on the blue bin at the bottom of the page), and let us know:
  • how you currently manage your waste
  • your opinions about waste reduction proposals
  • how you would like to help promote Zero Waste in Amherst
Also, public input to our recently released Solid Waste Master Plan (see be accepted until September 30.  Your feedback about the plan’s proposals, including suggestions for promoting recycling and waste reduction in Amherst, can be submitted viathe RRMC survey, sent to publicworks@amherstma.govor presented at a meeting of the RRMC.

For questions about the Recycling and Refuse Management Committee or the Solid Waste Master Plan, or to help with community outreach, contact John Root, RRMC Chair, at or (413) 961-9059.

For information about recycling and Amherst Transfer Station services, visit For information and registration instructions for the Household Hazardous Collection Day at the Transfer Station from 9 AM until noon on September 15 (the registration deadline is September 1), see:

Friday, August 26, 2016

Volunteering at Fort River: CORI Checks

If your school or PGO volunteer opportunities bring you into contact with students at school or on a field trip, you must have a CORI (Criminal Offender Record Information) check on file.  This includes all field trip chaperones and classroom volunteers (e.g. grandparents, aunts & uncles, adult siblings).  CORI checks must be done on individual volunteers every three years and are valid for all schools within our district.   If you would like to check to see if you are current on your CORI status, please call Sasha in the Central Office at 413-362-1810.

To request a CORI check, bring a valid driver's license or passport into the Main Office at Fort River or to the district's Central Office (located within Amherst Regional Middle School at 170 Chestnut Street) for photocopying and complete the required application well in advance of any volunteer obligations. Questions about the CORI process can be directed to Suzanne in the Main Office at 413-362-1200 or Sasha in the Central Office at 413-362-1810


Si su escuela o las oportunidades de voluntariado PGO se ponen en contacto con los estudiantes en la escuela o en un viaje de campo, debe tener un CORI (Información Criminal de Delincuentes Record) comprobar en el archivo. Esto incluye todos los acompañantes en las excursiones de campo y voluntarios en el aula (por ejemplo, abuelos, tías y tíos, hermanos adultos).  Cheques CORI se deben hacer en los voluntarios individuales, cada tres años, y son válidos para todas las escuelas dentro de nuestro distrito. Si usted desea comprobar para ver si usted está al corriente de su estado de CORI, por favor llame a Sasha en la Oficina Central al 413- 362-1810.
Para solicitar un cheque CORI, traer una licencia de conducir o un pasaporte válido en la oficina principal en Fort River oa la oficina central del distrito (que se encuentra dentro de Amherst escuela media regional de 170 Chestnut Street) para fotocopiar y completar la aplicación necesaria con suficiente antelación de cualquier obligaciones voluntarios. Preguntas sobre el proceso CORI se pueden dirigir a Suzanne en la Oficina Principal en 413- 362-1200 o Sasha en la Oficina Central al 413-362-1810.
如果你的学校或警察通例志愿者的机会让你与在校学生或在外地出差的接触,你  有一个科里(刑事罪犯记录信息)检查文件 这包括所有的实地考察旅行伴侣和课堂的志愿者(如祖父母,姑姑和叔叔,成人兄弟姐妹) 科里检查,必须在各个志愿者每3年,有效期为区内所有学校 如果您想检查一下,如果你是在目前的科里的状态,请致电萨沙在中央办公室413- 362-1810
请求科里检查,随身携带有效的驾驶执照或护照到主办公室堡河或到小区的中央办公室(位于阿默斯特地区中学内的170栗子街)影印,并完成所需的应用程序提前做好任何志愿者的义务 关于科里处理的问题可直接到主办公室413- 362-1200中央局或萨沙在413-362-1810 

Classroom Parent Volunteers Needed!

Each year parents and guardians are invited to volunteer as classroom parents. This is an extremely fun and rewarding opportunity!

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 may organize a group class gift for the teacher at the end of the school year.

Thanks to everyone else who has already volunteered to ensure that your child's classroom has an eager class parent!! The current list and contact emails will be updated regularly on the Class Parent Page

Volunteers are STILL needed to serve as Classroom Parent for most classrooms! 
Grab a friend and share the fun! If you can't personally volunteer please help us find someone for your child's class. Ask your friends and neighbors if they'd be willing to help. Choosing to become a class parent ensures that you will get to know your school community and most of the tasks can be done from home in your PJs! 

Thank you for considering this fun opportunity! Email to volunteer or suggest someone. 

Welcome Back Letter from Ms. Chamberlain

Greetings Fort River Families!

I am incredibly excited to kick off the new year, as are our teachers who have been coming in more and more frequently as we get deeper into August.  The summer has gone quickly with many staff members off in professional development workshops or courses continuing to grow as educators.  We have such a dedicated faculty that I am proud to lead as Interim Principal.

This will be a lengthy letter, so let’s dive right into some important information - dates!  
  1. PGO welcome popsicle party for new families here at the FR playground:  Monday, August 29,  from 6 - 7:30
  2. First day celebration on the town common (bring a picnic dinner!):  Tuesday, August 30 from 5- 6:30
  3. FIRST DAY OF SCHOOL (grades 1-6):  Wednesday, August 31, full day 8:50- 3:10
  4. FIRST DAY OF SCHOOL FOR KINDERGARTEN:  Tuesday, September 6, full day 8:50- 3:10
  5. Kindergarten orientation: September 1 & 2 (a separate letter with more information is coming for Kindergarten families)
  6. Open House will be held this year on Thursday, October 13, 6-7:30 (ELL programming at 5:30)
Also, families who signed up to reserve a backpack should pick them up on August 18th and 19th at the Middle school from 9-3.  All other families in need of a backpack should email Mildred Martinez at or call the ARPS Family Center at 362-1871 to be placed on a wait list.

We will welcome students and their families into the gym starting at 8:50 on our first day.   Please join me in the cafeteria after you say goodbye to your children, where the PGO will serve refreshments and celebrate the new school year! Kindergarten families will come on Tuesday morning and can expect more PGO refreshments after sending off their little ones to begin their first day!

Summertime typically brings change to schools, and we have some adjustments as well as new members of the Fort River faculty to introduce to you all.  Mrs. Griswold has joined the Administrative team!  She will work with us in the Assistant Principal role.  She has already jumped in with amazing new ideas, and we are both eager to support the entire Fort River community in the best way we can so all of our students find success!   Fifth grade will have a new team as Mr. Almodovar moves from 6th grade, and we welcome Carissa Ackroyd to co-teach with Mr. Kline (Ms. Castronovo chose to quietly retire at the end of last year).  We also have Sarah Barrett coming in for the first half of the year as Ms. Doggett continues her maternity leave.  Ms. Doggett will be back in January.  In fourth grade, Mr. Bodkin will follow some of the third graders he worked with last year, and we welcome Jonathan Severance, who will co- teach with Ms. Goodwin-Brown, to the team with Mr. Keins & Mr. Sheehan.  With Mrs. Griswold moving to Administration, we look forward to Phoebe Taffel teaching in third grade along with Mr. Lott.  Ms. King will join Ms. Prince and Ms. DeMatteo in second grade.  We also anticipate one additional Special Education teacher in Building Blocks with Ms. Gowan, but at this time the contract is not signed, so more on that will be shared with Building Blocks families.   Trevor Takayama will teach Technology to all students since Ms. Gallinaro retired.  He comes to us from Wildwood and visited classes to meet many students last spring.   We also have a temporary substitute for Ms. White who will be out for the first few weeks of school.  Zach Danziger has worked with Ms. White to prepare the music program for the opening of the year.  Additionally, Nurse Linda Stenlund who came to us from Crocker Farm and Amy Pilger, one of our Speech Language Pathologists, both of whom started mid-way through last year without a formal introduction, will be returning.   
One of the many positive things I can say about all of our new faculty, which made our hiring committees choose them, is they clearly communicate to us their desire to know and understand their students well.  I consider this a core value of our entire Fort River staff.

I know a burning question for many of you and your children is, who will be my classroom teacher next year and who is in the class?   Our teachers took their knowledge of the students, the information from the forms you submitted, and hours of time, to make their recommendations so students are placed in classes to be best supported both academically and socially.  We anticipate sending out placement information by August 24.  This is later than we would like, but we have experienced some technical difficulties in our database, causing a delay district-wide.  If we can overcome this earlier, we will send out the information as soon as we are able.  

As always, we feel it is imperative for families to be as involved as they can be in the community at Fort River.  We have many ways to communicate with you, and one method to keep close is our website .  Here  you will find information such as the school calendar, upcoming events, a link to our PGO, and our student/family handbook.  I highly recommend taking the time to review our handbook, and sharing it with your child - it is packed with helpful and important details about the daily routines and expectations at Fort River.   Also, please consider working with the Parent Guardian Organization (PGO), or sitting on the School Council which advises the Administrative team regarding our goals for our school.   If interested, please reach out to us at the school at 362-1200.  

We come to a new school year with many new ideas and goals, and for me, I aim to focus our work around the engagement of ALL students: in their academic success, social development, and sense of community.  We are privileged in the work we do each day, and value the trust you have in us to educate your child or children.  Thank you in advance for your support and for communicating to your child how much you value their education so that they are prepared to learn each day!  

Lastly - a bit of fun news!  We are officially part of the Eric Carle Museum!  They have installed a pop-up exhibit of pictures celebrating the 50th anniversary of the book, Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do You See in various places throughout Amherst.  We had the teacher installed out front just last week!    Check out the photo below!

Enjoy the last days of this summer.  I hope you are able to do a few more things you love to do, with the people you most love to do them with!

Here’s to a fantastic 2016-17 school year!

Diane Chamberlain, Principal.

¡Saludos Familias de Fort River!

Estoy increíblemente emocionada con el comienzo del nuevo año, al igual que lo están nuestros maestros quienes han estado viniendo con más y más frecuencia a medida que nos adentramos en agosto.  Este verano ha pasado rápido con muchos miembros del personal en talleres de desarrollo profesional o cursos para continuar su crecimiento como educadores.  Tenemos una facultad dedicada la cual me siento orgullosa de dirigir como Principal Interina.

Esta será una carta larga, así que vamos directamente a algunos asuntos importantes - ¡fechas!
  1. La fiesta de paletas del PGO para dar la bienvenida a las familias nuevas se celebrará aquí en el área de juego de FR: lunes, 29 de agosto  6 - 7:30
  2. Celebración de primer día en el área común de Amherst Common: martes. 30 de agosto  5- 6:30
  3. ¡PRIMER DÍA DE ESCUELA (grados 1-6)!  miércoles, 31 de agosto, todo el día 8:50- 3:10
  4. ¡PRIMER DÍA DE ESCUELA PARA KINDERGARTEN!  martes, 6 de septiembre, todo el día 8:50- 3:10
  5. La Casa Abierta se celebrará este año el jueves, 13 de octubre.
Además, las familias que se apuntaron para reservar una mochila pueden recogerla el 18 y 19 de agosto en la escuela intermedia de 9 – 3:00.  Las demás familias que necesiten una mochila deberán enviarle un e-mail a Mildred Martínez a o llamar al Centro de Familias de ARPS al 362-1871 y será colocado en una lista de espera.

Daremos la bienvenida a los estudiantes y sus familias en el gimnasio a partir de las 8:50 en nuestro primer día.  ¡Por favor reúnase conmigo en la cafetería luego de decirle adiós a su niño, donde el PGO servirá refrigerios y celebraremos el nuevo año escolar! ¡Las familias de Kindergarten vendrán el martes por la mañana y pueden esperar más refrigerios del PGO luego de enviar a sus pequeños a comenzar su primer día escolar!  

El verano típicamente trae cambios en las escuelas, y tenemos varios ajustes así como nuevos miembros en la facultad de Fort River para presentarles.  ¡La Sra. Griswold se ha unido al equipo administrativo!  Ella trabajará con nosotros en el rol de Asistente de la Principal.  ¡Ella ya ha aportado sorprendentes nuevas ideas, y ambas estamos ansiosas de apoyar a toda la comunidad de Fort River de la mejor manera que podamos para que todos los estudiantes tengan éxito!   El quinto grado tendrá un nuevo equipo ya que el Sr. Almodovar se mueve desde el sexto grado el año pasado, y le damos la bienvenida a Carissa Ackroyd que estará enseñando junto al Sr. Kline (La Sra. Castronovo decidió retirarse tranquilamente al final del año pasado).  También tendremos a Sarah Barret que vendrá durante la primera mitad del año ya que la Sra. Doggett continuará su retiro por maternidad.  La Sra. Doggett regresará en enero.  En cuarto grado, el Sr. Bodkin seguirá con algunos de sus estudiantes de tercer grado con los que trabajó el año pasado, y le damos la bienvenida a Jonathan Severance (que coenseñará junto a la Sra. Goodwin-Brown) en el equipo del Sr. Keins y el Sr. Sheehan.  Ya que la Sra. Griswold pasará a la administración, nos complace que Phoebe Taffel enseñará al tercer grado junto al Sr. Lott.  También anticipamos un maestro adicional de educación especial en el equipo de Building Blocks con la Sra. Gowan, pero hasta el momento no se ha firmado el contrato, así que luego le abundaremos sobre eso a las familias de Building Blocks.  Trevor Takayama enseñará tecnología pues la Sra. Gallinaro se retiró.  Él nos llega desde Wildwood y visitó las clases en la primavera pasada para conocer a varios estudiantes.  También tendremos temporalmente a un maestro sustituto en lugar de la Sra. White que estará fuera durante las primeras semanas de clase.   Zach Danziger ha trabajado con la Sra. White en la preparación del programa de música para el inicio del año.  Adicionalmente, tendremos a la enfermera Linda Stenlund que nos llegó a mitad de año desde Crocker Farm y Amy Pilger, una de nuestras patólogas del habla, ambas comenzaron a mitad de año sin que hubiera una introducción formal, que regresarán.

Una de las muchas cosas buenas que puedo decir de la nueva facultad, que fue la razón por la que nuestro comité los escogió, es que ellos nos comunican claramente su interés de conocer a sus estudiantes.  Considero que esto es un valor fundamental en nuestro equipo.  

Sé cuál es la pregunta candente que tienen muchos de ustedes y sus niños, ¿quién será mi maestro de salón hogar el próximo año y quiénes estarán en la clase?  Nuestros maestros utilizan el conocimiento que tienen de sus niños, la información que ustedes nos sometieron en las formas, y horas de trabajo, para ofrecernos sus recomendaciones sobre la ubicación que apoyará mejor a los estudiantes tanto académica como socialmente.  Le enviaremos un anticipo de la información de ubicación el 24 de agosto.  Esto es más tarde de lo que quisiéramos, pero hemos tenido problemas técnicos con nuestra base de datos, que han causado demoras a nivel de todo el distrito.  Si logramos superar estas dificultades antes, le enviaremos la información tan pronto como podamos.

Como siempre, sentimos que es imperativo que las familias se involucren en la comunidad de Fort River tanto como sea posible.  Por favor considere trabajar en la Organización de Padres Guardianes (PGO), o en el Consejo Escolar que asesora al equipo administrativo sobre las metas de nuestra escuela.  Si le interesa, favor de comunicarse con nosotros a través de la escuela 362.1200, o contacte al PGO directamente.

Venimos a un año escolar nuevo con muchas ideas y metas nuevas, y en cuanto a mí, aspiro enfocarme en trabajar para que TODOS los estudiantes se comprometan con su éxito académico, desarrollo social y sentido de comunidad.  Nosotros somos privilegiados por el trabajo que realizamos cada día, y valoramos la confianza que ustedes ponen en nosotros para educar a su niño o niños.  ¡Gracias anticipadas por apoyarnos y llevarle el mensaje a su hijo de cuanto usted valora su educación para que esté preparado para aprender cada día!

Finalmente - ¡un poco de noticias divertidas!  ¡Somos oficialmente parte del museo de Eric Carle!  Ellos instalaron una exhibición de imágenes desplegables que celebran el 50 aniversario del libro, Oso Marrón, Oso Marrón, ¿Qué tú ves? en varios sitios en Amherst.  ¡Los maestros hicieron la instalación hace solo una semana!  ¡Miren la foto!

Disfruten los últimos días del verano.  ¡Espero que puedan hacer un par más de las cosas que adoran, con las personas que más adoran hacerlas!

¡Por un fantástico año escolar 2016-17!

Diane Chamberlain, Principal