Monday, September 26, 2016

Technology Classroom Requests - Please Help!

Our new Technology teacher, Mr. Takayama, requests donations of equipment for a new Yearbook club and Makerspace!

Donations can be either new or used in good condition.

  • Digital cameras (at least 3 - used are fine, but new enough to be practical - for yearbook club)
  • A kinect (1 or 2 - Xbox for a makerspace- 3D scanning)
  • LEGO's (any kind/type for a makerspace)
Please contact Mr. Takayama with questions at Thank you for your support of these exciting new programs!

Sunday, September 25, 2016

LWV Hosts School Vote Information Forum September 28 at 7pm at ARMS

A forum on Wednesday, September 28, 7-9 p.m. in the Amherst Regional Middle School Auditorium will give the community an opportunity to hear different views about an upcoming town ballot question. The forum is being organized by the Amherst League of Women Voters. 
At issue is Question 5 on the Town of Amherst November ballot. While the state will pay the majority of the costs of the Amherst Elementary School Building Project, a Proposition 2 1/2 debt exclusion override is required to fund the Town of Amherst's share. Question number 5 on the November 8, 2016 ballot reads:

“Shall the town of Amherst be allowed to exempt from the provisions of proposition 2½, so called, the amounts required in order to pay for the bonds issued to construct, originally equip and furnish two co-located elementary schools on the Wildwood site to educate all Amherst students in grades 2 - 6, including the cost of architectural design, project management and other incidental and related costs, as well as demolition of the existing building and other necessary site improvements?”
Representatives from Save Amherst Small Schools (SASS), Bold Amherst Schools (BOLD), the ARPS Building Committee and the Amherst Finance Committee will speak. The ARPS Building Committee will be represented by Mike Morris (chair) and Ludmilla Pavlova-Gillham. Marylou Theilman (chair) and Steve Braun will speak for the Amherst Finance Committee. Liz Larson and Susan Bellak are scheduled to appear for BOLD, and Maria Kopicki and Laura Quilter for SASS. Each group will have ten minutes to present plus five minutes to respond to other groups' presentations.
The remainder of the evening will be devoted to questions from the audience. Please attend if you are able.

Fort River T-shirt Orders will be Sent Home on Monday 9/26

Fort River T-shirt orders will be sent home with students on Monday 9/26. There may be some additional t-shirts available for purchase from the PGO. Questions? Send an email to

Thank you for making this a huge success!  

*thanks to Soundscape Merchandising for making this fundraiser possible. 

"Slavery in the Valley: Five Unsung Heroes Who Resisted", a lecture by Robert Romer on Saturday, October 15, 2016 at 2:30 pm at the Jones Library

The Jones Library Presents:
Slavery in the Valley: Five Unsung Heroes Who Resisted


Amherst, MA, September 22, 2016 – The Jones Library announces Slavery in the Valley:  Five Unsung Heroes Who Resisted, a lecture by Robert Romer on Saturday, October 15, 2016 at 2:30 pm.

Slavery was widespread in the Connecticut Valley in colonial times, where most of the “important people” – including most of the ministers – owned two or three black slaves.  By no means did all of the enslaved people in the valley, some born in Africa, some born into slavery in America, passively accept their status as the property of white owners.  Romer will tell what is known of the stories of five who, in various ways, actively resisted and explain why it is important to remember those who lived here in slavery, the “invisible men and women” of our colonial past.

Robert H. Romer, physicist and historian, is Professor of Physics, Emeritus, at Amherst College, where he taught from 1955 to 2001, serving as editor of the American Journal of Physics from 1988 to 2001.  He is the author of Slavery in the Connecticut Valley of Massachusetts(Levellers Press, 2009) and The History of Hope Church in Amherst (2013), a manuscript held at the Special Collections Departments of Jones Library and Amherst College’s Frost Library. He was the 2012 recipient of the Amherst Historical Society’s Conch Shell Award, for distinguished contributions to the history of the town of Amherst.

Romer’s presentation is part of the national lecture series and community-building initiative ‘The Birth of a Nation: Slavery, Resistance & Abolition.” The series is presented in conjunction with the Office for Diversity, Literacy and Outreach Services at the American Library Association (ALA), The United Nations’ Remember Slavery Programme, Fox Searchlight Pictures and BazanED.

Inspired by actor and director Nate Parker’s acclaimed film The Birth of a Nation, the series will run August 21 through October 30, 2016, commemorating the history-changing slave rebellion launched by the film’s subject, Nat Turner, on August 21, 1831, through his capture on October 30, 1831. The lecture series marks the 185th anniversary of Turner’s rebellion, as well as The United Nations’ International Day for the Remembrance of The Slave Trade and its Abolition, observed annually on August 23. 

“We are honored that libraries will be the primary venues for these vitally important conversations across the country, and thankful that the Jones Library came on board to bring this series to its local community,” said Jody Gray, director of the Office for Diversity, Literacy, and Outreach Services at the American Library Association. “Libraries are not just about housing books; they have always been about learning, exchanging ideas, and transforming lives — characteristics that this series perfectly reflects.”

About ‘The Birth of a Nation: Slavery Resistance & Abolition’ National Lecture Series
“The Birth of a Nation: Slavery, Resistance & Abolition” lecture series is taking place in libraries, museums, institutions of higher education, and community centers around the nation during the period of August 21st and October 30th 2016. Each free public event features a local educator or historian addressing the topic of slavery, resistance and abolition, and will provide an opportunity for individual communities to engage in a timely and coordinated national discussion. 

About The Birth of a Nation movie
Set against the antebellum South, The Birth of a Nation follows Nat Turner (Nate Parker), a literate slave and preacher, whose financially strained owner, Samuel Turner (Armie Hammer), accepts an offer to use Nat’s preaching to subdue unruly slaves. As he witnesses countless atrocities — against himself and his fellow slaves — Nat orchestrates an uprising in the hopes of leading his people to freedom. The film won the Audience Award and Grand Jury Prize in the U.S. Dramatic Competition at the 2016 Sundance Film Festival. Fox Searchlight Pictures will release The Birth of a Nation on October 7, 2016. The company acquired the film at this year’s Sundance Film Festival, where it received rave reviews and won both the Audience Award and Grand Jury Prize in the U.S. Dramatic Competition. 

About The American Library Association
The ALA is the oldest and largest library association in the world. Founded on October 6, 1876, during the Centennial Exposition in Philadelphia, the mission of the ALA is “to provide leadership for the development, promotion and improvement of library and information services and the profession of librarianship in order to enhance learning and ensure access to information for all.”

About The United Nations Remember Slavery Programme
The Remember Slavery Programme, managed by the Education Outreach Section of the United Nations Department of Public Information, was established by the General Assembly in its resolution 62/122 of 17 December 2007 to honour the memory of the victims of slavery and the Transatlantic Slave Trade.  It also aims at raising awareness of the dangers of racism and prejudice today with activities held and educational materials produced throughout the year. To learn more about the United Nations 'Remember Slavery' programme, please contact Kimberly Mann, Chief, Education Outreach Section, at or visit
About Fox Searchlight Pictures
Fox Searchlight Pictures is a specialty film company that both finances and acquires motion pictures. It has its own marketing and distribution operations, and its films are distributed internationally by 20th Century Fox. Fox Searchlight Pictures is a unit of 21st Century Fox.

About BazanED
BazanED is a free teacher resource offering free materials for narrative films and documentaries, as well as curriculum guides and so much more to K-12 and College educators throughout the U.S. BazanED partners with entertainment, cultural, scientific and financial organizations to provide teachers with engaging, grade-appropriate content to supplement and support classroom instruction and enhance student learning.

A full high-school and college-level educational curriculum about Nat Turner’s rebellion that meets Common Core state standards will be available for teachers at, pegged to the major motion picture The Birth of a Nation. BazanED provides free curriculum materials to educators, and has previously launched successful educational initiatives on behalf of the 2014 Academy Award®-winning film Selma, the Jesse Owens biopic Race and Davis Guggenheim’s feature-length documentary film Teach.

# # #

Janet Ryan, Head of Programming & Outreach
Jones Library, Amherst, MA

Girls Try Hockey for Free Day on October 8 at the Mullins Center

The Amherst Hockey Association is hosting a Girls Try Hockey for Free Day at the UMass Mullins Center Community Rink Saturday, October 8 from 1-3 p.m. For girls ages 4 and up. No skating experience required. Free skate rentals; bring winter gloves and a bicycle or hockey helmet. 

For more information, contact:

Karen Skolfield 
Girls’ Division Coordinator
Amherst Hockey Association 

To save time at the door, you can register in advance at:

#ArtContinues Wine & Painting Night on October 5th to Benefit Survival Center

Paul Cezanne-343429October 5, #ArtContinues Wine & Painting Night, 6:30pm-9pm

An enjoyable evening and a special fundraising event supporting the Amherst Survival Center, with former Fort River art teacher Teri Magner, offering everyone of every ability the chance to paint a masterpiece (Paul Cezanne’s Pears on a Chair!)  

This event is at Bread & Butter in North Amherst.  

Tickets for this evening are $40 with a portion of each ticket to be donated to the Amherst Survival Center. Eat. Drink. Paint. Limited seats, sign up here.

Monday, September 19, 2016

FORT RIVER PGO Welcome Back Potluck & ​​Family Fun Fair on Wednesday, 9/21 at 5:30pm

Please join the Fort River community in celebrating the start of the new school year at the Fort River Welcome Back Potluck & 6th Grade Family Fun Fair. The potluck starts at 5:30pm on Wednesday, September 21 (which is also an early release day.) The rain date is September 22. The event will be held on the Fort River playground.

In addition to the potluck, our 6th grade students will be selling pizza, drinks and dessert as well as organize fun games. All proceeds will help to support their activities throughout the year. 

We are asking all 6th grade families to bring a contribution for the dessert table. (These items can be home made.)  There will also be pizza and beverages provided for the students to sell. Click here to access the letter that was sent to 6th grade families.

We also need parent volunteers for help on the night of the fair.  Help is needed for set up, clean up, and general supervision of the games.  Additionally, parents are needed to supervise the students while they are serving food.  Sign ups can be done online using the link below or via email.  Thanks for all your help!

Rebecca Kennedy (
Nicole Blum-Carr (

Click here for 6th Grade Volunteer Online Signup  (this link is for 6th grade families only)
Click here to Sign Up to Bring a Dish for the Potluck (or just bring one if you can!)

Water Update and Public Meeting Monday, September 19, at the Fort River Library from 6 to 7pm.

The following letter was sent to families on Friday. 


September 16, 2016

Dear Fort River Families:

This is a follow-up email to the one sent to you yesterday, Thursday, September 15, 2016.  
The initial results shared yesterday were based on the preliminary data received from the lead and copper testing completed on September 2, 2016. More complete results came back today, and this communication is based on the full data collected.

In total, 64 sinks and water fountains at Fort River tested for lead at levels above the state and federally defined relevant action level of 15 parts per billion (ppb) on “first draw” samples.  Importantly, none of the “flush samples” (testing completed after running the water for 30 seconds) of any sinks or fountains tested at or above the action level for lead, with the exception of one water fountain outside the gym.    None of the samples tested above the action level for copper on either initial or flush samples.  All of the data from the tests can be found here.

Lead is not believed to be in the primary water source at Fort River given the fact that the positive tests were from first morning samples, and all but one of the flush samples were low. This indicates good piping and good source water.   

As we work to resolve the issues in the fixtures of the water outlets, we will continue our flushing routines as per Department of Environmental Protection guidelines for each of the 63 sinks and fountains identified through the testing to ensure that all water at Fort River is safe for students.  The water fountain outside the gym will be deactivated until it is fixed.  Given the results from the testing, we know that water at Fort River is safe to drink after the flushing routine has been completed each morning.

We will hold an informational meeting about the results on Monday, September 19, at the Fort River Library from 6:00 to 7:00 pm.

Dr. Michael Morris, Acting Superintendent,, 413.362.1823    
Julie Federman, Director of Health & Community Services,, 413.259.3077 
Dr. Faye Brady, Director of Student Services,, 413.362.1832      

16 de septiembre del 2016

Estimadas Familias de Fort River:

Este es un correo electrónico de seguimiento al que se le envió ayer, jueves, 15 de septiembre de 2016. Los resultados iniciales compartidos ayer se basaron en los datos preliminares recibidos de los examinadores del estado de las pruebas de plomo y cobre completado el 2 de septiembre 2016. Resultados más completos regresaron hoy, y esta comunicación se basa en los datos recopilados completos.

En total 64 sumideros y fuentes de agua en Fort River probaron tener plomo en niveles superiores al nivel estatal y federal correspondiente acción definida de 15 partes por billón (ppb) en muestras de "primer sorteo". Es importante destacar que ninguna de las muestras de "enjuague" (las pruebas realizadas después de correr el agua durante 30 segundos) de los sumideros o fuentes probaron en o por encima del nivel de acción de plomo, con la excepción de la fuente de agua fuera del gimnasio. Ninguna de las muestras probó estar por encima del nivel de acción para el cobre en cualquiera de las muestras iniciales o de enjuague. Todos los datos de las pruebas se pueden encontrar aquí.

El plomo no se cree que está en la fuente de agua primaria en Fort River dado el hecho de que las pruebas positivas pertenecían a las primeras muestras de la mañana y todas, menos una, de las muestras de enjuague fueron bajas. Esto indica una buena tuberías y una buena fuente de agua.

A medida que trabajamos para resolver los problemas en las instalaciones de las salidas de agua, continuaremos nuestras rutinas de lavado para cada uno de los 63 sumideros y fuentes de agua identificadas a través de la pruebas para asegurar que toda el agua de Fort River sea seguro para los estudiantes. La fuente de agua fuera del gimnasio se desactivará hasta que se arregle. De acuerdo a los resultados de las pruebas, sabemos que el agua en Fort River está bien para toma luego de la rutina de drenaje de la mañana.
Vamos a tener una reunión de información sobre los resultados el lunes, 19 de septiembre, en la biblioteca de Fort River River de 6:00 a 7:30 pm.

Dr. Michael Morris, Acting Superintendent,, 413.362.1823
Julie Federman, Director of Health & Community Services,, 413.259.3077                                                  
Dr. Faye Brady, Director of Student Services,, 413.362.1832    

Sunday, September 18, 2016

Early Release Day on Wednesday, September 21

This Wednesday, September 21, is an Early Release Day for all ARPS students. Faculty and staff will spend the time in professional development activities. 

Elementary students will be dismissed at 1:20pm. 

Introducing Multi-Arts Theater Company

The PGO is happy to share information about after-school activities and camps with our community. The following message is from Multi-Arts.


We are thrilled to announce the creation of the MULTI-ARTS THEATER COMPANY

We will stage original plays written by young, local play-writers. These plays will be directed by Multi-Arts theater director, Sonia Arrubla (see bio below). 

The MULTI-ARTS THEATER COMPANY will expand Multi-Arts' educational and artistic mission throughout the academic year by providing a platform for young writers and performers to cultivate and share their artistic talents.
Over the course of the semester, participants will rehearse 1.5 hours a week and present at least two public performances. 

We invite children to join us for the debut season of the MULTI-ARTS THEATER COMPANY.

Children ages: 8-13

Program dates: Fall Semester: 9/15 - 12/8 (no rehearsal on Thanksgiving week)
Rehearsals: Thursdays 4:30-6:00 PM
Shows: Thursday, December 1 (Amherst) & Friday, December 9 (Northampton)
Location: Immanuel Lutheran Church, Amherst
Fee: $150 per child, per semester

Space is limited. Financial aid is available.

Sonia Arrubla - Theatre Director. A former Colombian theater and television actor, Sonia graduated from New York University’s prestigious Film and Television MFA program in 2001.  

Catalina Arrubla is Executive Director of Multi-Arts and a former Fort River parent. 

Time to Send in Your Box Tops!

Does this look familiar? Do you have Ziploc baggies of Box Tops sitting in the junk drawer that you've been meaning to send in? NOW IS THE TIME!                                

Did you know each Box Top coupon you clip and donate to Fort River School is worth 10 cents that will go straight towards funding events and materials to benefit our students and staff? 

How simple is that?
Visit for a complete list of participating brands. It’s fun to involve your whole family and be sure to ask grandparents or friends to clip and share too! A collection container is always available in the main school office (it's a big jar right on the counter!)

Please keep a bag in your kitchen so it’s easy to collect the Box Tops you clip. Children can be taught at a very young age to identify, clip, and count Box Tops. The coupons can be found on many quality products from brands like: 
  • Annie's
  • General Mills
  • Ziploc
  • Progresso
  • Cascadian Farms
  • Pillsbury
  • Hefty
  • Kleenex
  • Scott
  • Betty Crocker
  • Yoplait
Please send any Box Tops that you have collected NOW! Our fall deadline is coming up and they do eventually expire, so send in what you have and please keep clipping! Thanks so much for your support!!

ARHS Science Events and Opportunities Website

The ARHS science department has launched a new web page to share information about science events and opportunities in the local community. Currently posted are details about an upcoming "Women in Engineering and Computing Career Day" at UMass for high school girls.

If you would like to submit an event for possible inclusion, send it to ARHS lab technician, Deb Leonard at To learn about upcoming events, click here.

Follow the Hurricanes through New MIAA Features

from ARHS PGO:

Wondering when your favorite ARHS Team is competing or how they are doing this season?  There is a great feature offered through the MIAA website that will help keep you in the loop by sending you email alerts for your favorite team(s)!!

To get started, go to the MIAA website, look for the light blue bar, select the team(s) you’d like to receive notifications on. In that same area, select the pencil “Schedule Notification Options.” From there, follow the prompts. You can change your selections at any time. There is also a convenient MIAA App for your smart phone. Go Canes!

ARPS Co-Teaching Update

The District has worked to implement co-teaching as an instructional model in all of our schools.  Last Spring, they held information sessions and families were asked to complete a survey about the co-teaching model. Dr. Faye Brady, Director of Student Services, recently released a summary of progress made to date:

Help for Wildwood 4th grader Bill Chu and his Kidney Transplant

This post has been shared from the Wildwood PGO Blog. Please read the urgent request from Wildwood Principal Nick Yaffe and consider helping if you are able. Thank you!

Dear Wildwood,
       I have been meeting with a neighborhood group who has been supporting Bill Chu’s (in fourth grade) family and Bill’s parents as they face an upcoming kidney transplant for this courageous nine year old. They have created a Facebook page and an online donation page which will go towards defraying the extra costs to the family, such as driving and staying overnight in Boston.
     I have personally known this family for more than twenty-five years and have taught two of the older children. The parents’ own story is extraordinary. They could use the support of our community.
      Nick Yaffe, Wildwood Principal

Classroom Parents Still Needed!


Is your child in any of the following classes?
Felix, Rondeau, King, Prince/DeMatteo, Lott, Sheehan, Ackroyd/Kline, Doggett, 

If so, your child’s class doesn’t have a Room Parent!

Volunteering as a Room Parent is a great way to get involved with the school and get to know other Fort River families and staff.

Even if you have just a little time, please consider helping the PGO keep your child’s class connected.  Don’t worry if you don’t have experience, the PGO will advise and support you.

To volunteer or for more information, please contact Diane Preston at or Thank you!

Last Call for Directory Forms!

Thank you to everyone for promptly completing the directory forms! We have heard from most but there are still 34 families that have not filled out a form indicating either yes or no about participation. 

The directory is for the Fort River community ONLY. This is the final call if you wish to participate. Additional forms are available in the Main Office or you may email with your information.


Monday, September 12, 2016

Fort River T-Shirt Orders Due THIS Wednesday

Show your school spirit! Back by popular demand, the PGO is selling Fort River T-shirts in child and adult sizes. The shirts are light blue ("Carolina blue") with black lettering. ALL SHIRTS ARE JUST $10! The low pricing hopefully makes them accessible to all families. They also make great gifts for grandparents and older siblings! Thank you for making this a huge success!  

Checks can be made payable to Fort River PGO.

*thanks to Soundscape Merchandising for making this fundraiser possible. 

Questions? Send an email to

Dr. Ruth Potee to present at ARHS on Addiction, Risk Taking and the Adolescent Brain 9/22 at 7PM

Learn more about what parents and the community can do to keep our children safer, healthier and substance-free through the middle and high school years.
Thursday, September 22 7:00 PM in the ARHS Library This event is free and open to the public.
Childcare and light refreshments will be provided.  For more information or to sign up for childcare, please contact the ARHS Office at 362-1700.
Dr. Potee is an expert in the area of adolescent brain development and its impact on teenage risk taking, including alcohol and substance abuse. She blends scientific research with hands-on understanding of the challenges of raising healthy teens.   Board certified in Family Medicine and Addiction Medicine, Dr. Potee practices in Greenfield, MA and is the Chair of the Healthcare Solutions Committee of the Opioid Task Force of Franklin County.  She has addressed professional and community audiences throughout Massachusetts.
This event is sponsored by the ARHS PGO in collaboration with ARHS, the Town of Amherst Health and Community Service Department, the SPIFFY Coalition.
Click to print flyer for distribution: ruth-potee-arhs-flyer