Monday, November 28, 2016

Barnes & Noble Book Fair THIS SATURDAY, December 3rd

Our Barnes & Noble Book Fair to benefit Fort River is THIS SATURDAY, December 3rd! Since it is the holiday shopping season, we have a fabulous opportunity to raise some much needed money for our school and teachers.  The key is getting the customers at the store to mention Fort River at check out. There is NO COST to shoppers; B&N simply credits Fort River every time our school is mentioned at checkout. It's free money for our school!

Volunteers are needed to really make this day successful for Fort River teachers and students.  Please use the link below to sign up for this festive holiday FUNdraiser.  Please sign up here:


Kick off December, the month of giving, with a donation to the PGO on Giving Tuesday! Your financial contribution to the Fort River PGO in any amount will allow us to continue to provide our school much need funding for enrichment activities, field trips, and classroom supplies.

Please make checks payable to Fort River PGO and send into the Main Office or donate online via PayPal (link top right on this page.)

Every donation helps! Your contributions support daily work in the classrooms by providing curriculum materials for special units, supplementing field trips funds to make them more affordable, and sponsoring visits from authors and other guests. The PGO also hosts numerous school wide events including the upcoming Barnes & Noble Book Fair and the Annual Chili Night for a Chilly Night, and every Fort River family received a Family Directory thanks to your generous donations! Catch the WAVE!

Holiday Toy Fund for Qualifying Families - Applications due by Nov 28th

Holiday Toy Fund for Qualifying Families - Applications due by Nov 28th

The Berkshire Children & Families agency is currently accepting applications from families who wish to be considered for this year's Sidney F. Smith Toy Fund.  

The fund gives parents vouchers for children ages 1 through 14 to be used for holiday gifts. 

Applications are not accepted over the phone.  The required eligibility forms can be picked up at the following locations:

* Berkshire Children and Families – 220 Russell St, Hadley
* Amherst Family Center – 1200 N. Pleasant St, Amherst
* Amherst Survival Center - 138 Sunderland Rd, Amherst
* United Way of Hampshire County – 71 King St, Northampton
* Community Action Offices, 17 New South St, Suite 116, Northampton
* Daily Hampshire Gazette, 150 Conz St, Northampton
* Center for New Americans,42 Gothic St, Northampton
* Easthampton Community Center, 12 Clark St, Easthampton
* South Hadley Family Center, 7 Woodbridge St, South Hadley
* Gateway Family Center, 9 Russell Road, Huntington

Applications must be received by November 28, 2016.
Applications should be mailed to:
Sidney F. Smith Toy Fund, c/o Berkshire Children & Families, 200 Russell St, Ste 200, Hadley, MA 01035

Cash donations for the Toy Fund are accepted at this web site:

Donations to the Sidney F. Smith Toy Fund are tax deductible.  The Toy Fund is a donor-advised fund of the Community Foundation of Western Massachusetts, a 501(c)3 organization.

Tuesday, November 22, 2016

No School on 11/23, 11/24, and 11/25

There will be No School on Wednesday, November 23, Thursday, November 24, and Friday, November 25. Enjoy the break!

Norma Jean Anderson Civil Rights and Academic Achievement Award Call for Nominations

The Norma Jean Anderson Civil Rights and Academic Achievement Award applauds the contributions of a current teacher, administrator or staff member in the Amherst and or Amherst-Pelham Regional School Districts who promotes the ideals of a just and respectful community built on compassionate relationships. 

Click here to learn more about the award and how to nominate someone.

Dr. Norma Jean Anderson 
"This award honors the memory of Norma Jean Anderson who lived and worked in our community and left a legacy of courage, determination and foresight. Dr. Anderson was born in Springfield, IL in 1932. She graduated the University of Illinois with a degree in Business and became the first black school teacher in her hometown. Dr. Anderson completed her doctorate at the University of Illinois in 1966. In 1970, Dr. Anderson came to the School of Education at UMASS Amherst as Associate Dean of Admissions and Alumni Affairs. She lead efforts to recruit a more diverse student body. After retiring from the University in 1994, Dr. Anderson was an educational consultant both nationally and internationally. “She will be remembered for many things, among them her leadership in addressing issues of institutional racism and instilling values of social justice at the School of Education and across the University”
- University of Massachusetts Amherst Chancellor, John Lombardi, 2006

SAVE THE DATE! 5th Annual Chili Cook-Off on January 19, 2017

Save the Date!

Fort River's annual Chili Night will be held on January 19th. Prepare for culinary delights as the chefs battle for the coveted "Golden Ladle" award. 

More details coming soon.

Monday, November 21, 2016


11:00 - 4:00, HADLEY

On Saturday December 3rd, just by mentioning Fort River PGO at check out, a percentage of each purchase will be donated to our school. We also will be hosting the gift wrap table, a fun holiday activity. The service is free but customers are welcome to make donations in support of our school.

Sign up here to help staff the table:

Support Amherst Education Foundation

"My fourth grade students love learning about what has come before them and finding similarities in what is around them now. I think of Ralph Waldo Emerson's statement, ‘Of the works of our mind, history is the record.’ It's certainly true that the teaching of history allows students to not only learn about the importance of the past but offers them the opportunity to learn from our mistakes." 
- John Keins, Fourth Grade Teacher, Fort River Elementary School

We love this quote from Mr. Keins that was published in a recent outreach email from the Amherst Education Foundation! If you aren't familiar with their work please check them out at


Kick off the month of giving! Your financial contribution to the Fort River PGO in any amount will allow us to continue to provide our school much need funding for enrichment activities, field trips and classroom supplies.

Please make checks payable to Fort River PGO and send into the Main Office or donate online via PayPal (link top right on this page.)

Wednesday, November 16, 2016

Health Room Volunteers Needed

from Fort River School Nurse, Linda Stenlund, RN:

I am looking for two or three parent volunteers to help out (one at a time) during vision screening in the Health Office. The volunteers will work with me directly holding vision cards, helping to keep the students organized, and checking off names as needed. Most parents find it fun and interesting to help out in this way!

The volunteers need to have their CORI in. It is ideal if parents can sign up for two time periods, if possible, as there is some training involved.

Please contact me with any questions, by phone or email. My office phone is 362-1601. Thank you!

Click here to sign up:$ct2Ik

Monday, November 14, 2016

4th Grader in Need of Community Support

Bill Chu, a Wildwood fourth grader, is in end stage renal failure and is in need of a kidney transplant. His kidney functions at about 10 percent, and his family is in need transplant-related assistance.

The family has requested help with transportation. The family travels to Boston Children’s Hospital three times a week for dialysis. The average visit for dialysis is 2-3 hours so it is a full day in Boston. If you can help, please contact Tu Chu via email or phone at 413-549-1332.

Principal Nick Yaffe previously expressed, “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.”

Learn more about Bill and/or make a donation:

Letter to the Community from Amherst/Northampton Superintendents

Letter to the Community

November 9, 2016

Dear Amherst-Pelham Regional and Northampton Communities:

Today, many students came to school expressing feelings about the Presidential Election in our similar school communities. Some indicated that they were in need of support or that they are concerned for their friends. In general, our response has been to provide instructional routines which benefit students; to reassure students that our districts do not tolerate discrimination on the basis of race, color, sex, gender identity, religion, disability, national origin, sexual orientation, economic status, or ethnic background; and to provide additional support from our mental health teams. Additionally, our staff has facilitated dialogue and guided discussions about the election as students have raised the topic to make classrooms safe for all students to discuss their viewpoints regardless of their reaction to the election.

We are aware that there is a range of opinions and emotions from many individuals in our communities. Our talented staff will continue to be sensitive to students who express concerns about the election results and will partner with students and families to support them in whatever way is needed.

If you feel that your child would benefit from additional support or a check-in based on what you are seeing at home, please let your child’s teacher know and we will ensure that this support is offered. We are fully committed to maintaining our districts as safe places for all students to learn and interact with others in their school community.

A helpful video about talking to your children about the results can be found here: If you have any questions, please let us know.

Dr. Michael Morris                                     
Interim Superintendent                              
Amherst-Pelham Regional Schools            

Dr. John Provost
Northampton Public Schools

9 de noviembre de 2016

Estimadas Comunidades de Regionales de Amherst-Pelham y Northampton:

En el día de hoy, muchos estudiantes llegaron a la escuela expresando sentimientos acerca de la elección presidencial en nuestras comunidades escolares similares. Algunos indicaron que estaban en necesidad de apoyo y / o que estaban preocupados por sus amigos. En general, nuestra respuesta ha sido proporcionar rutinas de instrucción que benefician a los estudiantes; para asegurarle a los estudiantes que nuestros distritos no toleran la discriminación por motivos de raza, color, sexo, identidad de género, religión, discapacidad, origen nacional, orientación sexual, situación económica, o el origen étnico; y para proporcionar apoyo adicional por parte de nuestros equipos de salud mental. Además, nuestro personal ha facilitado el diálogo y guiado discusiones acerca de las elecciones, ya que los estudiantes han planteado el tema de hacer aulas seguras donde todos los estudiantes puedan discutir sus puntos de vista, independientemente de su reacción a la elección.

Estamos conscientes de que hay una gama de opiniones y emociones de muchos individuos en nuestras comunidades. Nuestro talentoso personal continuará siendo sensible a los estudiantes que expresan sus preocupaciones acerca de los resultados de las elecciones, y se asociará con los estudiantes y las familias para apoyarlos de cualquier manera que se necesiten.

Si usted siente que su hijo/a se beneficiaría de apoyo adicional o de un chequeo basado en lo que está viendo en casa, por favor déjele saber al maestro de su hijo/a y nos aseguraremos de que este apoyo se ofrezca. Estamos totalmente comprometidos a mantener a nuestros distritos lugares seguros para que todos los estudiantes aprendan e interactúen con otros en su comunidad escolar.

Un video muy útil sobre cómo hablar con sus hijos acerca de los resultados que puede encontrar en: Si usted tiene alguna pregunta, por favor háganoslo saber.

Los mejores deseos,
Dr. Michael Morris                                               
Superintendente Interino                                     
Escuelas Regionales de Amherst-Pelham

Dr. John Provost          
Escuelas Públicas de Northampton

Election Day Bake Sale - Thanks to Volunteers!

Thanks to everyone who visited our Election Day bake sale last week! We especially appreciate the volunteers who donated their time to staff the tables and baked or purchased goods to be sold.

We made $498.94 - what a successful event! 

Cognition and Action Lab at UMass Amherst Research Subjects Needed

The Cognition and Action Lab at UMass Amherst is recruiting children (6 - 9 years of age) for a study assessing the effects of sleep on behavior in children with ADHD.

·      Children will wear a watch to monitor sleep for 10-days
·      For 5 days of the study, your child will follow their normal sleep routine
·      For the other 5 days of the study, your child will go to bed 1.5 hours earlier than they normally do
·      There will be approximately 1 week between these 5-day periods
·      At the end of these 5 day testing periods, you and your child will participate in 2 overnight visits at our sleep lab located on campus
·      During these overnight visits, children will complete a computer task and wear sleep-recording sensors to measure sleep physiology during overnight sleep

If you and your child choose to participate, you are free to withdraw anytime. Eligible children should have diagnosed ADHD, no other developmental disorders or sleep disorders, sleep ≤ 10 hours/night, have a bedtime after 8pm (on average) and have normal, or corrected to normal vision.

Children will receive a small prize and caregivers will receive up to $100.00.

If you would like to learn more about this research, please contact Amanda:
Phone: (413) 545 – 4831


ARMS PGO Online Amherst Merchandise Store

Just in time for your holiday shopping, the ARMS PGO will be hosting an online store with a range of Amherst apparel and accessories, to help you show your Amherst pride and support the ARMS community.  The store is now open, and orders will be accepted through midnight on Sunday, December 4.  Purchases will be available for distribution to ARMS students (and pick up by all others) at ARMS on December 19 and 20, in time for the holidays.

The store can be accessed at:

If you have any questions, please contact Amy Sweeting at

Monday, November 7, 2016

ARPS Warm Winter Clothing Share - DONATE NOW

The Amherst school PGOs are joining together again this year to collect winter clothing for distribution to school and community families.  We are seeking donations of clean, gently used items in all sizes (both kids and adults), including:  coats, snow pants, snow boots, hats, mittens, gloves, scarves, and snowsuits.  

Donations may be dropped off at any school now through Thursday, December 2 (look for the big box in the lobby).

Distribution for Fort River families will take place through December 5 - 8 from 8:30am to 3pm. Please contact with questions.

SEPAC: Supporting Teens With Executive Functioning Challenges on November 14th

Does your child struggle to keep track of and complete assignments?  Are needed materials often lost or left at school?  Is homework completed, only to be lost before your child can turn it in?  These are all challenges associated with executive functioning challenges.  Come learn about the brain-based source of these challenges, as well as interventions and strategies that can help students plan and organize their academic work. There will be a presentation along with an opportunity to ask questions!

Guest Speakers:

Raloon Bialek, ARHS Special Education Teacher
and Denise Green, ARHS School Psychologist

Date:  Monday November, 14th
Time:  5:30pm-7:00pm
Location: Amherst Regional High School Library- 21 Mattoon Street, Amherst

RSVP: Special Education Parent Advisory Council (SEPAC) Nancy Stewart ( or 413-687-4255

Childcare can be provided if given notice one week ahead of time.

Election Day Bake Sale on Tuesday, November 8th - VOLUNTEERS NEEDED!

The Fort River PGO will be hosting an Election Day Bake Sale on Tuesday, November 8th. There is no school on Election Day. 

Voter turnout should be extremely high so this is a fabulous fundraising opportunity!

Please help by baking or donating items and by buying yourself some treats when you come to vote! Children are welcome to volunteer. Our sale will be at Fort River which is Precinct 6. Crocker Farm PGO is hosting a bake sale at Precinct 7: Crocker Farm School and Precinct 8: Munson Memorial Library. Wildwood PGO is hosting a bake sale at Precinct 9: Wildwood School.

Here are the links to sign up:

To donate baked goods:

To volunteer to sell (MUCH MORE HELP NEEDED):

REMINDER: No campaign buttons or materials may be present in the polling locations and sign holding or canvassing activities must remain outside the appropriate perimeter. Volunteers are reminded to abide by these rules. Thanks!

Holiday Events in Amherst including Craft Bazaars on December 3


TWO fun holiday shopping events benefitting community churches PLUS 20% discounts at many local stores and restaurants! Visit for details.

St. Nicholas Bazaar - Grace Episcopal Church
9am - 3pm 
14 Boltwood Avenue (on the Common)

Marketplace - Antiques and Collectibles, White Elephant, Toys and Games, Holiday Decorations, Baked Goods, Fresh Wreaths, Books, CDs & DVDs, Textiles, Framed Art, and Handmade gifts.
Lunch - Chili and fixings with beverage and brownie.
For more information go to or contact

Stone Soup Bazaar & Cafe - Unitarian Universalist Society of Amherst 
10am – 4pm 121 
N. Pleasant Street

Arts and Crafts Fair - pottery, fabrics, wood, jewelry, mixed-media prints, greeting cards, photography, artisan soaps, honey, gourmet brownies and more. Parents, grandparents and people of all ages are sure to find that special something for the people on their list.
Raffles - themed gift baskets and congregation made queen-size quilt.

Food - homemade soups and breads. For more information go to or contact

UMASS Amherst Community Campaign (UMACC) - Prizes Plus Donations to the PGO

UMASS Amherst Community Campaign (UMACC)