Wednesday, December 13, 2017

MassDOT Bus Transportation Survey with Impact for Amherst Passengers

If you use the B43 bus, please answer this important survey, especially if you are someone who relies on it to do things like shopping or getting to medical appointments in between Amherst and Northampton. MassDOT is considering cutting some stops to make it an Express, and routing the bus up 116 to Haigis Mall at UMass and back again, not going through the center of Amherst.

Monday, December 11, 2017

Amherst Historical Society’s 2nd Annual Ski and Winter Gear Sale

The Amherst Historical Society’s 2nd annual Ski and Winter Gear sale takes place on Friday evening, January 5th from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. and Saturday, January 6th from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the Crocker Farm Elementary School. The school’s cafetorium will be transformed into a ski market, with experts on hand to assist shoppers with selection and sizing advice to ensure their satisfaction. This two-day sale will offer hundreds of new and used skis, snow boards, skates and accessories at rock-bottom prices.

Consignment/donation opportunities: Anyone wishing to consign or donate their lightly used equipment for inclusion in the sale can do so by bringing it to inside of the front entrance of the Crocker Farm School on Friday, Jan. 5th from 4 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. This is a great opportunity to sell that out-grown winter gear at a good price and pick up better equipment.

In addition to supporting events at the Amherst Historical Society, a portion of the proceeds will again be donated to the Crocker Farms Elementary Schools’ annual sixth grade field trip. Additional information is available at the historical society’s website at and also contact us at

Thank You for Giving!

#GivingTuesday was an incredible success for our community. Over $1500 was raised on Facebook on November 28. Thanks to everyone who gave so generously!

The Fort River Student Council Necessities Drive was a huge success! Supplies for victims of Hurricane Maria are being organized by the 6th grade Council this week and will be in the hands of those who need them very soon!

The Annual Fund is ongoing. The PGO depends on donations to the Annual Fund to cover about 30% of the annual budget. If you are able to help, please use PayPal on the PGO blog or send a check into the Main Office made out to "Fort River PGO." Thanks!

A 21st Century Nutcracker on December 16

Join The Center Dance in Amherst on Saturday, December 16th for an exciting spin on a wintertime classic! It’s A 21st Century Nutcracker – dance styles from across the globe (and right next door!) set to Tchaikovsky’s timeless score.

Curtains will rise in the Amherst Regional High School auditorium at 1 and 5 PM.
Tickets are available online or, beginning 11/24, at The Center Dance Studio (321 Main Street, in Amherst).

Ticket Prices:
Advance: $12/general public, $10/seniors & children 12 and under
At Door: $14/general public, $12/seniors & children 12 and under
A 21st Century Nutcracker.  Let’s play with tradition!

PGO Meeting on December 14 at 9 am

General PGO Meeting
Thursday, December 14
9 - 10 am

Please join the PGO Board for our monthly meeting. All current Fort River parents and guardians are welcome! Budget, fundraising plans, and volunteer needs will be discussed. Small children are always welcome!

Feedback Requested on ARPS Logo & Website - SURVEY CLOSES TODAY AT NOON

The Amherst, Pelham, and Amherst-Pelham Regional School Districts are currently developing a district logo that represents our schools, students, staff and ARPS community. Three images have been selected as possible choices of district logos. As part of the ARPS community, we would like to hear from you. Please participate in the ARPS DistrictLogo Selection Survey to help us choose one logo for our schools. The most selected image will become the new ARPS district logo.

We are also in the planning stages of updating our district and school websites. In an effort to create a site that contains useful and relevant information, we are asking you please participate in the ARPS Website and Social Media Survey to help us update and design our website to better serve our students, staff, and families. The district is searching for information that is accessed most frequently as well as information staff, students and families would like to become available or more accessible on the district and school websites. Your feedback is important and will help the district provide information you need and use.

These surveys will be open until Monday, December 11, 2017 at 12:00 PM.
Thank you for sharing your feedback.

Buenas tardes,
Los distritos escolares regionales de Amherst, Pelham y Amherst-Pelham están desarrollando un logotipo del distrito que representa nuestras escuelas, estudiantes, personal y la comunidad ARPS. Se han seleccionado tres imágenes como posibles opciones de logotipos del distrito. Como parte de la comunidad de ARPS, nos gustaría saber de usted. Por favor, participe en la Encuesta deSelección de Logotipo del Distrito de ARPS para ayudarnos a elegir un logotipo para nuestras escuelas. La imagen más seleccionada se convertirá en el nuevo logotipo del distrito ARPS.

También estamos en las etapas de planificación para actualizar nuestras páginas web del distrito y de las escuelas. En un esfuerzo por crear una página que contenga información útil y relevante, le pedimos que participe en la encuesta dela página web de ARPS y de las redes sociales para ayudarnos a actualizar y diseñar nuestra página web para servir mejor a nuestros estudiantes, personal y familias. Al distrito le interesa conocer que información usted accesa con más frecuencia, así como la información que el personal, los estudiantes y las familias desearían estuviera disponible o accesibles en las páginas web del distrito y la escuela. Sus comentarios son importantes y ayudarán al distrito a proporcionar la información que necesita y usa.

Estas encuestas estarán abiertas hasta el lunes, 11 de diciembre de 2017 a las 12:00 p. M.

Gracias por compartir sus comentarios.

Amherst Ballet presents Snow White: A Grimm Fairytale

Amherst Ballet presents their winter performance of Snow White: A Grimm Fairytale at the Academy of Music in Northampton on December 14th and 15th at 7pm.

Academy of Music:

TIME: 7pm
DATE: December 14th and 15th
LOCATION: Academy of Music in Northampton
COST: Adults: $20 and Seniors/Children 12&under: $10
(Tickets: Academy of Music Box Office T-Fri 3-6pm
                By Phone at 413-584-9032)

Early Release at 1:20 pm on December 13 and December 22

Wednesday, December 13 is an Early Release Day. Students will be dismissed at 1:20 pm. 

Winter break will begin with an Early Release Day on Friday, December 22. School will reopen on Tuesday, January 2.

Please check the district website for information about delays and closings in the event of poor weather. Massachusetts public schools are required to provide 180 days of instruction. While the five snow days built into the calendar are typically adequate to cover closures, any days schools must be closed beyond that must be made up per Massachusetts Department of Education regulations. Whenever possible, such days are added to the end of the school year.

The 2017 - 2018 calendar can be viewed on the right-hand side of the PGO blog under the tab titled "Helpful Links" and here:

This Week at the Jones Library

from the Jones Library: 

As the snow comes down outside, you might be wondering how to find out if the library is closed due to winter weather.  We try to announce the closing on our website and social media as soon as possible.  You can also call the library closure line at 413-259-3094.  In general, the libraries close when other town offices close due to winter weather.

Learn Ukulele with Julie
Wednesday, December 13 from 4 - 5 pm

Kids ages 8 - 12 are invited to come learn some ukulele basics with Julie, play some songs, and have fun! Ukuleles will be provided.

Please pre-register in the Kids Room, call 413-259-3091 or email us at!

Harry Potter Holiday Craft
Thursday, December 14 from 4 - 6 pm

Come celebrate the season with Harry Potter drop-in crafts, recycled book ornaments, and warm cider!  Open to all ages. 

Early Closing @ the Jones
Friday, December 15 at 3 pm

The Jones Library will close at 3 pm on Friday, December 15 for the Town of Amherst Employee Holiday Party.

The North Amherst branch will be open regular hours that day, so you can visit us there from 2 - 5:30 pm!

Family Ukulele Storytime
Saturday, December 16 from 10:30 - 11:30 am

Kids ages 4 -8 and their families are invited to join Julie for a beginning ukulele lesson, stories, and a simple craft. Ukuleles will be provided.

Please pre-register in the Kids Room at 413-259-3091 or

Holiday Movie Classic: White Christmas

Saturday, December 16 from 2:30 - 4:30 pm

This one got snowed out last year, so let's try again!

Join us for a free screening of this holiday classic.  Enjoy song and dance by Bing Crosby, Danny Kaye, Rosemary Clooney, and Vera-Ellen in this 1954 holiday classic by Irving Berlin.

Cognitive Neuroscience Research Study in Boston Recruiting Subjects

The Cognitive Neuroscience Group at the MGH Institute of Health Professions in Boston is recruiting children who are (or are soon turning) 8 or 10 years old to participate in a research study funded by the National Science Foundation (NSF). 

This is a longitudinal study that follows children over a period of 3 consecutive years. Our goal is to improve understanding of learning in children. The study consists of 1 in-person visit (about 2.5 hours) per year for 3 years (weekdays/weekends). During this visit, children play several games on the computer and complete several language/memory tasks. The lab visit includes safe and noninvasive EEG recording. The day after the visit, kids complete a quick follow-up task from a home/library computer. 

Payment is $60 per year. We provide free all day parking at the Navy Yard. Please email us or call us at (617) 643-4821 if you are interested or if you have any questions. 

Thank you!
Isabelle Moore and The LEAD Study Team
The Cognitive Neuroscience Group
MGH Institute of Health Professions



Having fun is our goal!!!  This program is designed for new players who want to see how much fun field hockey can be, as well as experienced players and will involve games, scrimmages and opportunities to play in local indoor tournaments. We will teach both fundamentals including basic rules, proper grip and posture, ball and stick control, and passing and receiving for new players, and more advanced skills for the returning players via fun games. Players are asked to provide their own shin guards, mouth guard, and sneakers. Sticks will be provided if you need to borrow one. 

WHO:     Girls and Boys in grades 1 to 12 

WHEN:   Saturday evenings, January 6 to March 17 (No program January 13 or March 3),  Tournament on February 18
Grades 1st - 6th     6:00-7:30 p.m.
Grades 7th - 12th   7:30- 9:0p.m.

WHERE:  Chestnut Hill Community School Gymnasium, Belchertown (only 11 miles from downtown Amherst)

COST: $40.00 Resident $45.00 Non-Resident

Not a school sponsored event. 

**And if your child LOVES it and will be attending Amherst Regional Middle or High School next fall, please consider the ARMS or ARHS 2018 Field Hockey Teams! We are looking for players to join our growing programs! **

AEF Stars in our Schools Honoring Your Child's Teachers

Stars in our Schools
As the holidays approach and you are looking for ways to celebrate the wonderful teachers and administrators in our schools, AEF announces its holiday Stars in Our Schools! 

Make a donation in an educator’s honor, and they will receive a card from AEF indicating that you supported AEF in their honor. Stars in Our Schools is a great way to give a gift that contributes to the schools and that is in compliance with the law that forbids public employees from receiving gifts valued at more than $50.00.

Here’s what educators say about Stars in Our Schools:

“Receiving a star is one of the most meaningful gifts to get. I love receiving these because I feel truly appreciated as a teacher, and I know that the donation people make is going back to a great organization that really supports our schools.” 
-ARMS Co-Assistant Principal and ELL Teacher Alicia Lopez 

“I was really moved when I received some Stars in Our Schools cards in my mailbox indicating that the parents of some of my students had donated to AEF in my honor. AEF does very important work to support teachers and programs at ARMS, so a monetary gift is like thanking a teacher twice!” 
-ARMS Science Teacher Jennifer Welborn

“I have had the good fortune to be honored by parents and members of the Amherst community through their 'Stars in our Schools' donations to AEF. When making their donations, parents and relatives have commented specifically that they see their children singing with joy and self-confidence and that they have an appreciation for music of different world cultures. It is deeply satisfying to know that what we do in the schools gets carried out into the community.” 
-Fort River Elementary School Music Teacher Anne Louise White (retired 6/2017)

Please make your gift by December 18 to ensure pre-holiday delivery.
As always, thank you for supporting public education and AEF.

Monday, November 27, 2017

Giving Tuesday is November 28 - So Many Ways to Give

#GivingTuesday is a global giving movement that has been built by individuals, families, organizations, businesses and communities in all 50 states and in countries around the world. Millions of people come together to support and champion the causes they believe in and the communities in which they live.

Random acts of kindness are a great way to teach young children about giving and supporting each other. Helping a neighbor with yard work or donating clothes and books are easy ways to get kids involved. The Fort River Student Council is currently organizing a toy and necessities drive for victims of Hurricane Maria. The Amherst Survival Center and local religious groups have ongoing opportunities to donate or volunteer locally. The Amherst Education Foundation provides grants to ARPS teachers allowing students to tangibly see their families' donations at work.

The Fort River PGO also depends on generous giving from our community so that we can continue to support the work of our incredible teachers and staff. The Annual Fund needs to cover about 30% of the annual budget. Please consider joining the Fort River community on Tuesday, November 28, 2017 by including the PGO in your end-of-year giving. If you are able to help, please click here to donate using PayPal or send a check into the Main Office made out to "Fort River PGO." Thanks!

Around the World at Fort River: Save the Date and Request for Committee Volunteers

Fort River Elementary has a rainbow of cultures and people that we like to celebrate at our Around the World at Fort River event. This year's celebration is February 15 from 6 - 8 pm.

The PGO is looking for several volunteers to help organize the evening including arranging performances, decorations, and promoting with posters, flyers and announcements.  If you would like to help organize the celebration, contact 320-7700

Welcome Back! Time to Bundle Up!

We hope you enjoyed your homework free break and managed to get lots of rest! 

It's cold outside so please send your students to school with appropriate gear. Contact the school if you need assistance obtaining warm clothing; there are lots of wonderful items available in the Winter Clothing Share.

Jones Library Film and Discussion Series: 13TH

Message from Coming Together and the Jones Library:

13thJoin us on Thursday, December 7, 2017 at 7:00 pm in the Woodbury Room for the next event in this ongoing film and discussion series that may educate, touch your heart, and inspire you to action to help dismantle racism.

This month’s screening of 13TH is a powerful documentary which explores the history of race and the criminal justice system in the United States by Ava DuVernay, the director of the feature film Selma. The final half of the film will be screened, as the first half was screened and discussed at the October meeting. After the discussion, work will continue in small working groups to advance anti-racism action projects that have been undertaken.
Free and open to the public.  For more information, please contact Janet Ryan at 413/259-3223.

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

ARHS Women’s Rights Club Feminine Hygiene Products Drive

Important message from the ARHS Women’s Rights Club:

The ARHS Women’s Rights Club is running a TAMPON AND PAD drive all month! All donations will benefit the Amherst Survival Center so that hygiene products can be available to all that need it!

Look for the signs and boxes located at the school to donate what you can.

Donations should be in sealed boxes or packages. Drive will be up until the end of the month. Donations are also accepted year round at the Amherst Survival CenterWe hope that this drive will bring more awareness to a natural part of human experience as well as an important public health need.

Monday, November 13, 2017

Volunteers Needed for Videotaping Fort River School Building Committee Meetings

Volunteers are needed to videotape the Fort River School Building Committee meetings. Amherst Media will provide training and the necessary equipment, and will broadcast the meetings for the community.

The first meeting is Thursday, November 30, 2017 from 4 to 6 pm at the ARMS Professional Development Center and there will likely be one or two meetings per month. Several people willing and able to take turns doing the filming would be ideal to ensure coverage of these important meetings.

Please contact if you or someone you know can help.

Thank you!

PGO Meeting on November 16 at 9 am

General PGO Meeting
Thursday, November 16
9 - 10 am

Please join the PGO Board for our monthly meeting. All current Fort River parents and guardians are welcome! Budget, fundraising plans, and volunteer needs will be discussed. Small children are always welcome!

Technology Help at Amherst Libraries

Technology Specialist Doctor Hank will be available to help you troubleshoot your computer, tablet, e-reader, or other personal electronic device according to the following schedule:
  • Jones Library: first and third Mondays from 4:00 to 5:00 p.m. (in the Atrium)
  • Munson Memorial Library: every Wednesday from 4:00 to 6:00 p.m.
  • North Amherst Library: second and fourth Fridays from 3:00 to 5:00 p.m.

This drop-in support is free and open to the public on a first-come first-served basis.

IMPORTANT: Occasionally, Dr. Hank’s visits have to be rescheduled, so we encourage you to call our Reference Desk at 413-259-3096 to confirm.

PC Doctor Hank is funded in large part by the Friends of the Library in memory of Conrad Wogrin.