Barefoot and Balanced: Free Lectures at the Hitchcock Center January 17th and 18th

Barefoot and Balanced Lectures
with Pediatric Occupational Therapist, Author & TimberNook Founder
Angela Hanscom

Thursday, January 17, 6pm (snow date: Thursday March 14, 6pm)
Friday, January 18, 1:30pm (snow date: Friday, March 15, 1:30pm)
Angela Hanscom will present a lecture on her recent book, Balanced and Barefoot: How Unrestricted Outdoor Play Makes for Strong, Confident, and Capable Children. Today’s kids have adopted sedentary lifestyles filled with television, video games, and computer screens. But more and more, studies show that children need “rough and tumble” outdoor play in order to develop their sensory, motor, and executive functions.  
Disturbingly, a lack of movement has been shown to lead to a number of health and cognitive difficulties, such as attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), emotion regulation and sensory processing issues, and aggressiveness at school recess break. So, how can you ensure your child is fully engaging their body, mind, and all of their senses? Learn more…

Happy Holidays!!

The Wildwood PGO wishes everyone a happy holiday season, and a restful break!

There is no school next week, and we won’t be back in session until Wednesday, January 2nd. Enjoy all that family time, and we’ll see you next year!

Request from the new Farm to School grant coordinator

Greetings,    I’m Vicki Van Zee, the new Farm to School grant coordinator.  We are in need of a few interested volunteers to help us with the current planning stage of the grant.   Could you please put the following info in your next newsletter?   Thanks much and if you have any questions, please contact me

USDA Farm to School grant update

Next Steps for Farm to School 

The Farm to School work that the district began at the start of this school year is ready to move into the next phase.  Expanding on our essentialrelationships with local farmers, strong in-house food services program, and school garden programwe are working together towards our vision of “Building a stronger, healthier community through diversity, food access and equity, local farm and food system connections, and joyful learning.”

The program is seeking community volunteers to help create a comprehensive plan to attain its vision.  Volunteers are needed for the following teams:

1. Cafeteria Team– focusing on local procurement, reducing waste, increasing program revenue, maximizing operational efficiencies, and informal education leading to a sustainable business model.

2.  Curriculum Team– focusing on experiential classroom, garden and farm-based learning.

3.  Community Team– focusing on creating a stronger link among ARPS, the larger community and local food.   A few examples include:  Identifying regional producers that can supply more local and culturally appropriate foods for menus; recipe development; expanding the current catering offerings;  and community dinner menus reflective of the diversity of community.

These volunteers will be required to attend one meeting/month throughout the school year (approximately 2 hours/month) at the ARPS Central Offices.   Additionally, the program is looking for team members who have some expertise and skills/knowledge related to the content of the team they are interested in.

If you are interested in serving on one of the Farm to School teams, or if you would like to contribute to this work in other ways, please complete this form by January 18th, 2019.

Please email Vicki Van Zee,  USDA Grant Coordinator,, if you have questions.

Presentation on recycling at Jones Library

Recycling 101

Amherst, MA – Learn the basics of household recycling in the town of Amherst on Saturday, January 5, 2019 at 3:00 pm in the Woodbury Room at the Jones Library.

Are you confused about what you can and cannot recycle? Why are there suddenly so many more recycling rules? What is recycling “contamination”? How can we all create less waste? Mimi Kaplan, the Waste Reduction Enforcement Coordinator in Amherst, has answers to all these questions and more. Feel free to bring any items about which you have questions or need clarification!

Free and open to the public.

For more information, please contact Janet Ryan at 413/259-3223.

Please vote in the Florence Bank grant program for the ARPS PGO

Each year, Florence Bank gives away $100,000 to community non-profits through its Community Choice grants program. Florence Bank customers vote for the non-profit of their choice & all non-profits getting at least 50 votes receive a grant.  The non-profits receiving the most votes get up to $5,000(!) through this program.

In 2017, the ARPS PGO received  almost 100 votes & $1,413. Yay!  The grant money went towards classroom support, special projects, field trips & more.

This year, the PGOs of the ARPS PGO (Crocker Farm, Wildwood, Amherst Middle School, & Amherst High School) are campaigning jointly again to maximize our votes.

** Each Florence Bank account holder is eligible to vote once for the community organization of their choice. **
** The ARPS PGO is urging people to vote (at least please consider voting for) for the “Amherst Regional Public Schools PGO”, the name of our joint non-profit. **

There are 2 easy ways that people can vote:
(1) Online – Visit to view the online voting site & can cast a vote online for the “Amherst Regional Public Schools PGO”.
(2) Paper Ballot. Ballot for printing attached. Ballots are also available at any Florence Bank location.  Ballots should be submitted at the bank or turned into your PGO.

Voting is open until December 31st.
Thank you for your support!

Do you work at UMass? Do you want an easy way to make a contribution to the Wildwood PGO and help our schools?

The annual UMass-Amherst Community Campaign (UMACC) is now underway. The UMACC program lets UMass employees donate to charitable organizations via paycheck, as little as $1 per pay period.

The Amherst Regional Public Schools PGO (ARPS PGO), is a 501(c)3 non-profit organization consisting of the PGOs for Crocker Farm, Wildwood, the Amherst Middle School, & the Amherst High School.  The APRS PGO’s UMACC number is 15250.

UMass employees can signup with their UMass NetID at

Please consider signing up today & giving to the ARPS PGO.  Every donation to the PGOs makes a big difference in helping our schools.
The UMACC program makes it very easy to give.  Here are the top 10 reasons for giving through UMACC:

Thank you for your support.

Support the ARPS PGO Through AmazonSmile

amazon-smileDoing any online shopping through Amazon during the holidays? Did you know you can earn money for the ARPS PGO with each Amazon purchase. Enroll in this passive fundraising to earn money for the Amherst/Amherst Regional School PGOs while you shop!

Shop for everyone on your gift list this holiday at and Amazon donates to Amherst Regional Public Schools Parent Guardian Organization.

To select our as your permanent charity, go to Click Your Account -> Your Amazon Smile -> Change Charity button. Search for “Amherst Amherst Regional Public Schools Parent Guardian Organization” -> Click Select.

Annual 2-Day Ski and Winter Gear Sale

he Amherst Historical Society’s Third Annual 2-Day Ski and Winter Gear Sale
Friday, January 4th, 5-9 p.m. and Saturday, January 5th 9 am-2pm in downtown Amherst at the Pacific Lodge, located at 99 Main Street, next door to the police station.

The sale transforms the hall inside of the Pacific Lodge into a ski market stocked with hundreds of new and used skis, skates, and winter sports gear at rock-bottom prices.  Shoppers can choose from new and used downhill and cross-country skis in adult and youth sizes, boots and bindings, hockey and figure skates, snowboards, clothing for adults and children, gloves, ski poles, and snowshoes. Great discounts for the beginner skater to the expert skier. Experts will be on hand to assist with selection and sizing to ensure satisfaction. Credit Cards, Visa Gift Cards, and cash will be accepted. More information at or questions to

Thank you to the entire Wildwood Community!

We made it! Together, we raised a whopping $4,885 for our Giving Tuesday fundraising event! This incredible generosity is a testament to the commitment Wildwood families have toward public school education.
Thanks to your generosity, the Wildwood PGO will be able to support teachers and staff, and fund exciting projects that enrich the educational experience of all children in our school.
Thank you a million, and Go Wildwood!

Seeking Old Umbrellas

The Wildwood Arts Team needs approximately 5 umbrellas to repair the dragon for the lunar new year parade. They don’t need to be in good shape as long as they open. Drop them off in the office marked for Susan Wells or bring them to the wildwood library. Questions can be addressed to Susan Wells

Thank you in advance!

AEF Stars in Our School

Are you looking for ways to celebrate your child’s favorite teachers during this season?

At the Amherst Education Foundation, we are excited to announce the return of Stars in Our Schools!

Make a donation in an educator’s name, and they will receive a card 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. Visit the “Stars” tab on our website for details and to order! If you prefer to order by mail, please enclose a check made out to “Amherst Education Foundation, Inc.” and complete the order form below. Please allow adequate time for mailing. Orders must be received by December 18 to allow adequate time for processing before the break. Thanks!

Thank You Note from Mr B.

“Thanks to the amazing support of our PGO, families, and students, there are two new soccer goals and balls for students to use throughout the day. The goals are perfect for smaller sized games, and allow multiple grades to have their own field during recess. Thank you!!!” – Mr. B.

This equipment was purchased with the proceeds from a Hillside Pizza fundraiser ($352) in 2016 and a contribution from the PGO ($105).

Help needed for 5th/6th grade MakerSpace Play


5th & 6th grade students READ an ​MCBA Mashup​ book, they created a game or activity that features that book, then they built it


You are invited to come and play (and help a little bit, if possible). Your job will be to run a game and facilitate play. No experience necessary.

When: Wednesday, December 19th from 8:40 – 11:20 (or some portion of that time)

Where: The Wildwood Library and MakerSpace

Questions? Contact Susan Wells, ​​​​ 413-362-1424

Volunteer Form

Ski & Winter Gear Consignment Event

When: Thursday, December 13 from 5:30 to 8:30 PM

Where: Strong House, 67 Amity Street, Amherst

Outgrown your skis or skates? Need to upgrade? Garage packed with winter gear no longer being used? Problem solved! Sell your gently used skis and winter gear on consignment at the Amherst Historical Society’s Third Annual 2-Day Ski & Winter Gear Sale.

Bring your items to this special Pre-Season Consignment Event. The seller sets the price with an expert on hand to provide guidance on sales price history. We retain final say on what is accepted into the sale and reserve the right to refuse equipment. You will receive 40% of the final sale price on all items sold. Pieces accepted on December 13th will be tagged, priced, and stored at the museum until the sale on January 4 and 5, 2019.

We will accept skis, ski boots, poles, helmets, ice skates, cross country gear, and snowshoes in good condition. You will receive a ticket stub for each item put into the sale – you MUST present this stub during pick-up on January 5th, 2pm-3pm to receive your money or unsold equipment. All items and payments not picked up will be considered a donation. Questions? Email Bonnie at

Hello Wildwood Families, #ValleyGivingTuesday is Here!

On or before Tuesday, November 27, please give to the Wildwood children and to the people that welcome them in school. Make out a check to the PGO and send it back to school in the BROWN ENVELOPE.

Or, click here to donate online!

The Giving Tuesday/Brown envelope fundraiser is the biggest single funder of the PGO budget. Just last year, it made $8,000, which was 40 percent of all revenue raised! By consolidating a series of smaller fundraisers into this one event, the PGO is making it more convenient for families to support us at a key, high profile time of the year.

As you know, the PGO achieve its aims of equity, enrichment, and curriculum-related support to Wildwood through a series of events and projects that bring education, joy, and a supportive community to the children. We hold Welcome Back breakfasts for staff, Coffees for parents, and maintain a strong Class Parent network to link parents with classroom teachers. We publish a School Directory and a Yearbook, and hold clothing swaps. And finally, we send our children on field trips, fund events at the Library, hold Movie Nights, and provide mini-grants for teachers.
None of these goals can be achieved without monetary support from parents. Click here to donate online.

Please give generously. Your donation can be used for:

$5 a child’s field trip
$25 extra supplies for a classroom
$50 books for the library
$100 toward a visiting artist
$200 for a teacher mini-grant

Happy Thanksgiving

Just a reminder that there is no school Wednesday, Nov. 21- Friday, Nov. 23 in recognition of Thanksgiving.  The newsletter is going to take a break next week.

On behalf of the Wildwood PGO, the team would like to wish all readers a happy Thanksgiving, and safe travels if you are hitting the road, rails, or skies!

ARPS Warm Winter Coat and Clothing Share

Help everyone stay warm this winterThe Amherst schoolparent & guardian organizations (PGOs) are collecting winter coats & other warm outerwear for students (preK through 12th grade) & families.

We are seeking donations of clean, gently-used winter outerwear:

in ALL sizes (especially student sizes)

* coats snow pants snow boots hats

* jackets gloves/mittens *scarves * snowsuits


CROCKER FARM ELEMENTARY 280 West Street, 413-362-1600

Collection: Now until November 26th in the lobby & at the preschool entrance

Distribution: November 27th & 28th (school hours)November 29th (morning)

FORT RIVER ELEMENTARY 70 South East Street, 413-362-1200

Collection: Now until November 30th in the lobby

DistributionDecember 3rd, 4th, & 5th (school hours)

WILDWOOD ELEMENTARY 71 Strong Street, 413-362-1400

Collection: Now until December 17th in the lobby

Distribution: Now through December 20th (school hours)


AMHERST REGIONAL MIDDLE SCHOOL (ARMS)170 Chestnut Street, 413-362-1800

AMHERST REGIONAL HIGH SCHOOL (ARHS) 21 Mattoon Street, 413-362-1700

Collection: Now through November 30th in the school lobbies

DistributionThrough the ARPS Family Center (170 Chestnut Street),

November 28th into December (on school daysas supplies last)

JONES LIBRARY 43 Amity Street
Collection: Now through November 28th in the Kids’ Room

MANY THANKS for your donations. THANK YOU too to the community partners who are helping with this effort, including the Jones Library, Evaluation Systems Group of Pearson, & the Amherst Education Foundation.

Any winter clothing that is not given out at the schools will be donated to the Amherst Survival Center.

If you have any questions, please contact:

Crocker Farm PGO: Tracy Zafian,

Fort River PGO: Rebecca Kennedy,

Wildwood PGO: Julie HawkOwl,

ARMS PGO: Rie Traub,

ARHS PGO: Becky Demling,

ARPS Family Center: Mildred Martínez 413-362-1871

New Class for 4-5yr olds at Miss Leticia Music School

Miss Leticia Music School
has started a new Ukulele/Movement and Music class for 4-5 year olds!  Bring your Wee One on Saturdays 10am-10:45am. $120 per month tuition.
Ukuleles to lend but it’s a good idea to have your own!  (The Toy Box in Amherst sells some lovely instruments in colors you can choose!)
Email: to reserve a spot!
Call: 413-246-7338
Come Strum and Sing with us!
Miss Leticia
Leticia Davies
Miss Leticia Music School & Music Summer Camp

Private individual and group instruction in Ukulele, Guitar, Voice, a Capella, Bass, Drums and Rock Band

Hot Chocolate Run for Safe Passage

Sunday, December 2, 2018

9:00 walk           9:30 5K Fun Run           10:15 5K Road Race

Every day, Safe Passage helps families take steps to achieve safety, justice and a brighter future. Some steps are easy and some are really hard. Every step is important.

We’re asking YOU to honor these families’ path by stepping up and fundraising to support Safe Passage’s critical programs.

Register to run or walk in the Hot Chocolate Run, and then ask your friends and family members to sponsor your participation. The more money you help us raise, the more people we can help–it’s that simple. YOU can make brighter futures possible for more families. Join us!

No School November 12th

Just a reminder that there is no school on Monday, November 12th  in observation of Veteran’s Day.  Please see below information about  Veteran’s Day programs at The Jones Library on November 10th and on the North Common in Amherst on November 11th.

Veterans Day Program: Remains of a War: Exploring WWI Battlefields

Amherst, MA – The Jones Library marks the 100th anniversary of Veterans Day with a special program presented by Libby and Ed Klekowski on Saturday, November 10, 2018 at 2:30 pm as they share their experiences in exploring some of the battlefields from World War I.

This Veterans Day marks the 100th anniversary of the end of World War I. Originally called Armistice Day, this November holiday was created to mark the signing of the agreement that ended World War I at 11:00 A.M., November 11, 1918. It became a federal holiday in 1938 and was renamed Veterans Day in 1954.

Libby and Ed Klekowski have been researching World War I for over ten years and have spent many hours walking through the battlefields of Verdun, the Meuse Argonne, and St Mihiel. Their work has resulted in three books and they have produced two WWI documentaries for public television. This special lecture will take the audience for a walk “on the wild side”, where the dross of war still litters the woods.

Books will be available for purchase and signing.

Free and open to the public.  For more information about this event, please contact Janet Ryan at 413/259-3223.

Veterans Day Ceremony in Amherst on Sunday

Veterans Day 2018_News

The 100th Anniversary Of The WWI Armistice. Commemorate Veterans Day with a flag presentation with veterans from Amherst Veterans of Foreign Wars and American Legion posts. Steven J. Connor, the Director of Central Hampshire Veterans’ Services, will provide an update on veteran programs and events in Amherst and the Pioneer Valley. This event is free and the public is encouraged to attend. 

Date: Sunday November 11, 2018

Time: 11:00 AM

Location: North Common in front of Town Hall at the flag poles

Details: The ceremony will begin at 11 a.m. on the North Common in front of Town Hall. Speeches will be held inside a location TBA (likely Bangs or VFW), in the case of inclement weather.

Contact: 413-259-3001