Sunday, April 30, 2017

Youth on Broadway Performance May 6 and 7

Youth on Broadway is a musical revue performed by area kids and teens. This is a wonderful opportunity to see and support youth in the arts, while taking in some fine entertainment. The show runs May 6 at 1:30 and 7 pm, and May 7 at 1:30 pm at the Amherst Regional Middle School Auditorium.

Tickets at LSSE 413-259-3065 or at the door.

ARMS PGO Online Store Re-Opens TODAY!

Back by popular demand, the ARMS PGO online Amherst merchandise store will be reopening for two weeks only, from May 1-14.  In addition to the popular items sold last fall, they have added new merchandise, including tank tops, shorts, windbreakers, and new hats. Stock up on Amherst gear for summer!

Help Support ARHS Project Graduation by Purchasing Gift Certificates

Do you shop at Henion Bakery or Collective Copies? How about dining at The Lumberyard or Ginger Garden? Attending a movie at Amherst Cinema? If so please visit the ARHS Project Graduation website to support the local companies who have generously donated gift certificates to fund our event. This is an easy way to help make sure the event is affordable for every Amherst Regional High School senior. Visit the website at and click on the Gift Certificates page. Check back frequently as we are adding more gift certificates weekly.

Amherst Human Rights Youth Heroism Awards - Call for Nominations

Dear Teachers and Staff of Amherst Schools, and Amherst Community Members:

The Amherst Human Rights Commission has as its prime purpose to promote a community of mutual respect and to honor our diversity. We strive to promote attitudes of compassion and concern for all of our neighbors. To encourage these values, we offer the Human Rights Youth Heroism Awards, an annual celebration of Amherst-area youth. 2017 represents the twelfth year of these awards! It is the Commission’s intent to identify and celebrate local youth who have demonstrated acts of kindness, unselfishness, social courage and/or community service within their families, schools or community. Please help us by nominating a young person you have observed displaying exceptional kindness or consideration in the past year. Groups of young people may also be nominated to share an award. We strive to recognize children and teens across the spectrum of age groups and schools, including those who do not live in Amherst but who attend any school in town.

Nominations may be submitted through May 15, 2017, to or to the Commission c/o Deborah Radway, Amherst Town Hall, 4 Boltwood Ave., Amherst MA 01002. 

The Human Rights Commission will celebrate this year’s Heroes at its annual community picnic on June 17 at Mill River Recreation Area. We will alert nominators and award recipients prior to the event so they can make plans to attend. We hope you will join us! 

Yours truly, 
Matthew Charity, 
Sovann Malis-Loeung, 
Emily Boutilier, 
Ingrid Askew, 
Sidonio Ferreira, 
Brenda Mutai, 
Jessica Maposa and 
Greg Bascomb 
The Amherst Human Rights Commission

ARHS and ARMS Teachers Participate in Civic Initiative at UMass

ARHS and ARMS teachers traveled to Pakistan on a US State Department grant through the Civic Initiative at UMASS.  Teachers visited a wide range of schools in Lahore and Islamabad and many cultural sites. They were inspired by all of their interactions and surprised by the commonalities of their challenges in student centered classrooms.  You can view photos from the trip here: 

Jones Library Fourth Annual Samuel Minot Jones Awards for Literary Achievement

The Jones Library is proud to announce that the Fourth Annual Samuel Minot Jones Awards for Literary Achievement will honor ARHS parent Cammie McGovern, author and founder of Whole Children, and Arthur Kinney, founding director of the University of Massachusetts Center for Interdisciplinary Renaissance Studies, for their literary contributions. The gala event, the “Sammys”, will take place on Tuesday, May 2, 2017, at 6:00 p.m. at the Mead Art Museum at Amherst College.

The Sammys is Amherst’s signature event honoring the community’s remarkable and vibrant literary heritage. The evening will begin in the beautiful Mead galleries with delicious, abundant hors d’oeuvres, beer, and wine from local breweries/vineyards, a signature cocktail, and live music. The awards ceremony will be held next door in comfortable Stirn Auditorium, where the evening will end with dessert, coffee, and book signings by the honorees.

All proceeds from the Sammys will be used to support Library collections, purchasing materials in all formats and for all ages. Tickets can be purchased at the Jones Library or online at

Important links:

Event webpage:
Jones Library Facebook page:
Jones Library Twitter page:

ARPS School Equity Task Force Meeting Times

The Amherst-Pelham Regional Schools School Equity Task Force meets the first Wednesday of each month, from 6 pm to 8 pm, in the ARHS library. We invite all parents and guardians to attend our meetings. We discuss issues of equity in our schools and how to resolve inequitable obstacles as they confront our youth.

Friday, April 28, 2017

T-Shirt Design Contest! Due Friday, May 5th



Please turn your designs in to Ms. Singer in the Art Room.

Winning design (as chosen by students) will be featured on next fall’s Fort River T- shirt!! Winner will also receive a free shirt!

Round 1: Each grade will vote for one design from their grade level.

Round 2: The 7 final designs (1 from each grade) will be posted in the lobby and the whole school will vote for the winner.

Monday, April 24, 2017

Daffodil Run 5K Walk/Run & 10K Run THIS Sunday, April 30

The Daffodil Run 5K Walk/Run & 10K Run

Sunday, April 30, 2017

10:00 AM

Kendrick Park, Amherst

Registration costs before April 1st:

5K Run Adult: $25, Student: $18, Child (under 12): $8

Join the fun in support of Big Brothers Big Sisters of Hampshire County! The Daffodil Run is a community event for all ages and abilities.  Run or walk, enjoy entertainment, food and more.  Register before April 1st for early bird rates and an event t-shirt.  Registration is live on Visit our web site for more details or call 413-259-3345.

PGO Coffee with a Principal on Friday, April 28 at 9am

Please join your friends on Friday, April 28 at 9 am for coffee and informative conversation!

PGO coffees with the Principal take place every month or so. The dates can be found on the PGO calendar which is on the right side of the blog home page. 

Your infants, toddlers, and preschoolers are always welcome at PGO Coffees! Families with future Amherst Elementary school children are also welcome and encouraged to attend. We are a welcoming community - join us! Please sign in at the office when you arrive and then join us in the west cafeteria. We hope to see you there!

RESCHEDULED!!!! NOW ON SUNDAY 4/30 Annual Fort River Car Wash, Bake Sale and Tag Sale on Sunday, April 30, 9 - noon


Please come out for the annual Car Wash, Bake Sale and Tag Sale on Saturday, 4/29, 9am-12pm at Fort River. This is an important fundraiser for the 5th and 6th grade trips and a very fun morning at school!

The 5th grade is collecting items for their tag sale from the school community. Please go through closets and storage and find items to donate! Items can be dropped off to the 5th grade quad all week.

VOLUNTEERS STILL NEEDED! 5th grade families please click here to volunteer on Friday (item tagging and sorting) or Saturday. 6th grade families please click here:$0VDg

Be sure to stop by Fort River on the 29th and and tell friends and family to come out for a car wash, shopping, and leave with a sweet treat! Feel free to print and post the attached flyer in your workplace or anywhere local. Share widely!

PGO Meeting on Tuesday, April 25 at 9am - All Welcome

Interested in what the PGO Board does? Hoping to get more involved in your child's school? Please join us on Tuesday, April 25 at 9 am for a productive meeting with our school leadership. We will discuss upcoming fundraisers and events, current finances, and plans for the future. Hope to see you there!

Click for agenda and current financial report

Around the World at Fort River this Thursday April 27 at 6pm - ALL Welcome!


6 p.m. Potluck Dinner/Cena compartida “Potluck Dinner”
6-7 p.m. View posters and art/Ver carteles y arte
7:15 p.m. Performances/Actuaciones:

Grupo Folklorico Tradiciones
Cambodian After-School Group/Grupo Camboyano Después de Escuela
Marie Weber on Irish Fiddle/Marie Weber en el violín irlandés
And More!!/¡Y más!!

Please join in by representing your own heritage or choose to explore a culture not your own.  Bring a dish to share and/or use the time over April break to create a poster or art display. (See poster samples above.  Posters can be as simple or complex as you wish.)

Únase a nosotros representando su propia herencia o elija explorar una cultura que no sea la suya. Traiga un plato para compartir y / o usar el tiempo durante el descanso de abril para crear un cartelón o exhibición de arte. Los cartelones pueden ser tan simples o complejos como desee.)

Questions or Ideas?  Need a poster for the project?  E-mail

Preguntas o Ideas? ¿Necesita un cartelón para el proyecto? Correo electrónico

Thanks from the 6th Grade!

THANKS!!!  The 6th grade raised over $950 in ticket sales from their raffle fundraiser, helping them get closer to their goal to fund upcoming field trips and experiences at the Boston Science Museum and Camp Howe in Goshen. Thank you to all of the Fort River community that helped in purchasing tickets!  We would also like to thank our very generous sponsors, providing over $1,400 in fabulous prizes. Shop local!

ARPS Homework Inquiry Group Volunteer Request

This year, the issue of homework has been discussed multiple times at School Committee meetings, in the weekly ARPS Update, and other venues.   As a next step, I will be forming and facilitating an Inquiry Group made up of educators and parents/guardians to discuss homework at the elementary level.* This group (of roughly 10 members) will review research, share perspectives, and develop homework guidelines to propose to staff, families, and the School Committee for feedback and input.  The group will meet three times from 9:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m. on Tuesday, June 27Wednesday, June 28; and Thursday, June 29, 2017.  All participants need to be able to attend all three sessions.  If you are interested in participating in this work, please email your name, which school(s) your child or children attend, and their grade level(s) to Debbie Westmoreland at

* After additional training for several secondary administrators and staff members occurs next fall, a similar process will take place next year for the discussion of homework at the secondary level.

Este año, el tema de la tarea ha sido discutido varias veces en las reuniones del Comité Escolar, en la actualización semanal de ARPS, y en otros lugares. Como siguiente paso, estaré formando y facilitando un Grupo de Investigación compuesto por educadores y padres / guardianes para discutir la tarea en el nivel elemental. * Este grupo (de aproximadamente 10 miembros) revisarán la investigación, compartirán perspectivas y desarrollarán las pautas sobre las tareas, que serán propuestas al personal, las familias y al Comité Escolar para retroalimentación y sugerencias. El grupo se reunirá en tres ocasiones de 9:00 a.m. a las 12:00 p.m. el martes, 27 de junio; miércoles 28 de junio; Y jueves, 29 de junio de 2017. Todos los participantes deben poder asistir a las tres sesiones. Si está interesado en participar en este trabajo, por favor envíe un correo electrónico con su nombre, la (s) escuela (es) a la que su hijo/s o hija/s asisten, y el grado a Debbie Westmoreland en

* Después del entrenamiento adicional que tendrán varios administradores de intermedia y superior y miembros del personal el próximo otoño, un proceso similar tendrá lugar el próximo año para la discusión de la tarea a nivel intermedia y superior.

LSSE Youth on Broadway on May 6 and 7 - Tickets Available Now

Tickets on sale now, available by calling 413-259-3065. Ticket prices in advance are $13 for adults, $7 for children/students/seniors.  Tickets at the door are available for $15 for adults and $9 for children/students/seniors. View the flyer here.
For the fifth year, Amherst Leisure Services (LSSE) will be presenting the “Youth on Broadway” musical theater revue, showcasing the talent of Pioneer Valley youth between the ages of 9-17 and presenting 38 songs and dances from 24 Broadway shows.  The program will present three shows: Saturday May 6, 2017 at 1:30 p.m. and 7:00 p.m., and Sunday May 7, 2017 at 1:30 p.m.  All shows will take place at the Amherst Regional Middle School Auditorium, located at 170 Chestnut Street, Amherst.
“We are so excited to showcase the amazing array of musical theater talent that young people in the Pioneer Valley seem to have in excess!” said Becca Greene- Van Horn, the show’s director.  “Although there are opportunities in our area to act and sing in large-scale musicals, there are only so many parts to go around for young people. We created ‘Youth on Broadway’ so that kids from 4th through 12th grade could get a chance to learn and perform leading and featured roles.  Youth on Broadway was such a smashing success the last 4 years we just had to bring it back again so these gifted and creative kids have the chance to perform songs from many different Broadway shows.”
“Youth on Broadway” is directed and choreographed by Becca Greene- Van Horn, a former professional actor from New York who relocated to Amherst to raise twins.  Becca has been featured in numerous plays and musicals through Amherst Leisure Services Community Theater (ALSCT) and the Pioneer Valley, teaches drama classes locally, and works as a drama therapist.  Becca is also a professor of drama therapy at Lesley College in Cambridge, MA.  The musical directors for “Youth on Broadway” are Daniel Monte, a much sought after musical talent in many Valley theater venues, and Cindy Naughton, a music/theater teacher at the Smith College Campus School who is also a veteran of several ALSCT productions and the recipient of the Gold Star Award from the Massachusetts Cultural Council for her work with the Pelham Players, a youth musical theater summer program. 
Learn more about LSSE...

Monday, April 10, 2017

Spring Break April 14 - 23

There will be no school on Friday, April 14 or during the entire week of April 17 - 21. School resumes on Monday, April 24. Enjoy the time off and don't forget to read!

Around the World at Fort River - A Multicultural Celebration on April 27 - ALL WELCOME!


6 p.m. Potluck Dinner/Cena compartida “Potluck Dinner”
6-7 p.m. View posters and art/Ver carteles y arte
7:15 p.m. Performances/Actuaciones:

Grupo Folklorico Tradiciones
Cambodian After-School Group/Grupo Camboyano Después de Escuela
Marie Weber on Irish Fiddle/Marie Weber en el violín irlandés
And More!!/¡Y más!!

Please join in by representing your own heritage or choose to explore a culture not your own.  Bring a dish to share and/or use the time over April break to create a poster or art display. (See poster samples above.  Posters can be as simple or complex as you wish.)

Únase a nosotros representando su propia herencia o elija explorar una cultura que no sea la suya. Traiga un plato para compartir y / o usar el tiempo durante el descanso de abril para crear un cartelón o exhibición de arte. Los cartelones pueden ser tan simples o complejos como desee.)

Questions or Ideas?  Need a poster for the project?  E-mail

Preguntas o Ideas? ¿Necesita un cartelón para el proyecto? Correo electrónico

Earth Day Postcard

On Monday, April 17, 2017 from 10:30 am to 11:30 am, Multi-Arts is inviting all children from the community to celebrate EARTH DAY and create artistic post-cards referring to this question: “Why does the environment matter and what can we do to protect it?” Our art teacher will inspire and guide them in the art design of the post-cards.  Multi-Arts will deliver them to people in power. The event will be held at Immanuel Lutheran Church.

Space is limited, please reserve your space at

ONLINE: Children can also participate in this event online, by writing their message at: This web page will be available online through April 21st.

Multi-Arts is extending the invitation to celebrate EARTH DAY to the adult community.  They will make available an ART STATION table with art supplies, post-card paper, and examples of designs and message. This event will also be held on April 17, 2017. It will be from 10:30 am to 4:00 pm. The ART STATION table will be located at the entrance hallway of the Immanuel Lutheran Church.

Amherst Police Targeting Distracted Drivers

Beginning today, Amherst police will be on the lookout for people texting or sending emails while driving. 

“The campaign is designed to raise awareness of the importance of attentive and engaged driving and will focus on the dangers distracted driving poses to everyone on the road, including bicyclists and pedestrians.” The campaign will run through April 28.

They’ll be participating in a statewide campaign to reduce the number of crashes, fatalities and injuries caused by distracted driving. The effort is led by the Highway Safety Division of the state Executive Office of Public Safety and Security and is intended to address “a historic rise in fatal crashes fueled by driver distraction,” according to a press release.

State law prohibits adult drivers from writing, sending or reading electronic messages, interacting with apps or browsing the internet while driving, even if stopped at a light. Teen drivers under 18 are prohibited entirely from using mobile phones and other electronic devices while driving.

“Our goal is keeping all road users in our community safe,” said Police Chief Scott P. Livingstone. “If you text, dial or read a message on your phone while driving, you are endangering the lives of those around you, and you will be stopped.”

Amherst Tritons Swim Try Out on April 23

The Amherst Tritons hosts a new swimmer try out day and invites all interested swimmers to register. The try out day for new swimmers is April 23rd from 11:00am-12:00. Parents can register their children for new swimmer day by visiting and selecting "contact us.” Try out information will be forwarded to interested parties. Click here for a printable flyer to share.

Talent Show Thanks!

Thanks to all of the volunteers, talented performers, and bakers/donors who helped make this year's Talent Show another successful school event!

Proceeds benefit the 5th and 6th Grade Classes. The Bake Sale raised $286.75 and donations at the door totaled $458.50. The money raised will be divided among the two grades and used for end of year fields trips. 

Thanks to the 5th and 6th grade teachers for instilling a culture of community and facilitating shared fundraising efforts. Students enthusiastically participate in these events and see their efforts pay off. Special thanks to Shilpa Cunniffe for coordinating the Talent Show year after year. 

The final combined 5th and 6th grade fundraiser is the Tag Sale/Car Wash scheduled for Saturday, April 29. Please spread the word - all are welcome!

Valley Gives Day on May 2

The 4th annual Valley Gives Day is just a month away! This is a 24-hour online giving day that allows people throughout the Pioneer Valley and beyond to support hundreds of local nonprofits.

This year, ARHS/ARMS Athletics (Hurricane Boosters) is participating for the first time, as well as some of the PGOs. Organizations are eligible for incentive prizes based on the number of donors – no matter how big or small the gifts – so save the date, spread the word, and help our organizations raise thousands of dollars to benefit our students and schools. The Amherst Education Foundation is another organization whose sole purpose is to raise money for grants awarded to ARPS educators. Please consider supporting AEF on Valley Gives Day.

Fort River PGO is not participating in Valley Gives Day this year but welcomes ongoing donations to the Annual Fund throughout the year. Checks may be made out to "Fort River PGO" and sent into the front office. There is also a PayPal button on the blog home page.

Charter Commission Feedback Sessions - Final Opportunity Tuesday, April 11 at 7pm

The Charter Commission is zeroing in on a set of recommendations for reshaping Amherst government. Please attend the final feedback session. These feedback sessions will provide an opportunity for the public to learn about and to comment on the emerging plan. There is still time to have input but as the weeks go by, the chance to influence the plan will diminish. You can also participate with a feedback form that you can find on our web site, or by sending us an email.

Details on the latest draft were covered recently in the Gazette:

Email address:

All feedback sessions will be held in the Woodbury Room (basement level) at the Jones Library. The last one is Tuesday, April 11, 7:00 – 9:00 pm.

Jose Antonio Vargas to speak @ UMass on April 11 at 4pm

Come hear journalist/activist/filmmaker Jose Antonio Vargas speak about immigrants’ rights and his experiences.  

Dr. Michael Morris Appointed Interim Superintendent for 2017-2018 School Year

Eric Nakajima, Amherst-Pelham Regional School Committee Chair, and Anastasia Ordonez, Union 26 School Committee Chair, are pleased to announce that the committees have voted to extend the appointment of Dr. Michael Morris as Interim Superintendent of the Amherst, Pelham and Regional Schools for the 2017-2018 school year.  The unanimous vote of both committees occurred at a joint meeting held on Tuesday, April 4, 2017, and the vote is contingent upon successful contract negotiations between Dr. Morris and the School Committees. 

A 16-year veteran in the districts, Morris began his work in the district as a 5th and 6th grade teacher at Fort River Elementary School. He then became the principal of Crocker Farm Elementary School before moving into district administration first as Director of Evaluation and Assessment and then as Assistant Superintendent.  Morris was appointed Interim Superintendent in September 2016.
“The committee is grateful to Dr. Morris for his steady leadership over the past year,” said Eric Nakajima, “he is a gifted educational leader and we are looking forward to a full academic year in which he can work with us, the staff and community to advance our mission of educational excellence for all students.”

Dr. Morris holds a Bachelor's degree from Amherst College, a Master's and CAGS from the University of Massachusetts at Amherst, and a Doctoral degree from Boston College. His work on Educator Evaluation has been profiled as one of the four exemplary districts in the state by the Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education. He has also presented at statewide conferences on a variety of topics for the Massachusetts Association of School Superintendents, the Massachusetts Elementary Principals' Association, DESE's Spring Convening on Educator Evaluation, as well as others. 

“I have enjoyed the opportunity to serve as Interim Superintendent and to work collaboratively with the School Committees and the outstanding faculty and staff of our districts on behalf of our students,” Morris stated.  “I look forward to continuing that work for another year.” 

"Teachers, parents, staff and community leaders have repeatedly expressed their enthusiastic support for Dr. Morris's work so far, and I'm pleased that the Committees voted to have him continue as Interim Superintendent for the next academic year," said Ms. Ordonez. "Dr. Morris is a steady and collaborative leader who is committed to the excellence of all our students, and we are grateful for his many years of service to this community and school district."