MCAS Testing Dates

MCAS testing has begun. Remaining test dates include:

ELA MCAS remaining dates are as follows: Grade 6 on April 28 and May 2.

Math MCAS dates are as follows: Grade 5–May 11, 12, Grade 6–May 18,19 Grades 3 and 4–May 23,24. The fifth grade also has MCAS Science tests on May 16 and 17.

Valley Gives & Brown Envelope Fundraiser, May 2

The 4th annual Valley Gives Day is THIS WEEK!  [ADD VG LOGO and a PHOTO]

This 24-hour online giving day allows people throughout the Pioneer Valley and beyond to support hundreds of local nonprofits, including our very own Wildwood School. Don’t delay, support Wildwood PGO today!

Donate via brown envelope or online at: https://valley-gives.org/designee/wildwood-parent-guardian-organization

With your help the PGO can continue to support our students in ways that are as diverse as the population we serve. We strive to ensure that all children have what they need to thrive while also providing our amazing educators with basic tools for their classrooms. With your help the PGO can continue to support our students in ways that are as diverse as the population we serve. But we can’t do it without you! Check it out:

  • $850 ensures every 6th Grade student can participate in the Morse Hill field trip
  • $700 pays for a visiting author
  • $500 supports Art room clay supplies for the year
  • $200 will pay for a Sewing Machine for the Art Room
  • $125 supports a Staff Appreciation Breakfast
  • $120 buys Soil Testing probes for a 2nd Grade Soil Investigation science unit
  • $100 Pays for Moby Max curriculum software licenses for 5th Graders
  • $100 Can assist the school to submit mini grants for unique learning opportunities for children
  • $50 Will help every child to attend class field trips in the community
  • $20 Contributes to teacher classroom supplies so all children have access to pencils and paper
  • $10 helps to ensure that each child can have a snack every day

Our school will be stronger with help from you. Please donate what you can today and dig deep this spring. Thank you!

Museum Passes Available for FREE at Jones Library

Looking for something to do over the break? Borrow a museum pass.

Our local libraries make regional museums accessible to their patrons! Borrow a museum pass and get out and visit one of these many community resources. Some of these passes allow free admission and others allow discounted admission. The number of adults and children admitted varies from pass to pass.

Be amazed at the community-based educational opportunities waiting for you and your family!

For more info about activities at the library, visit: www.joneslibrary.org/

Amherst School Building Project Update

March 30, 2017

To:       The Amherst Public School District staff and administration and the Amherst community,

From:  Phoebe Hazzard, Amherst School Committee Vice-Chair and Dr. Michael Morris, Interim Superintendent

While the proposed new schools building project failed to achieve a two-thirds majority in Tuesday’s referendum vote, our district will continue to move forward and plan for ways to ensure that our schools remain the best teaching and learning environments possible for our students and staff. There is no question that there was a wide range of opinions and feelings about the project in our small community. But the rigorous and passionate debate leading up to the vote reinforced how deeply our community cares about our elementary schools. And, the activity around the referendum has sparked an upswell in civic involvement, with many district parents now engaging as elected participants in our local democratic system.

Though provocative, the conversation around the proposed building project has also made our community increasingly aware of persistent issues that educators, administrators, and school committees have been grappling with for years, particularly the challenging physical environment of the Fort River and Wildwood buildings, uneven socio-economic distribution of our families, lack of affordable preschool, and fiscal challenges. Our educators work every day to provide our children with outstanding educational experiences despite a challenging teaching environment. These problems remain unresolved, and as we move forward we must be committed to continuing to consider how to address them in the most fiscally responsible and timely manner possible.

The Amherst School Committee will hold its next public meeting on April 25th at 6:00 p.m., at which we will likely discuss next steps. Interim Superintendent Dr. Morris will move forward with requests for the town to fund the outstanding capital repairs needed at Fort River and Wildwood, beginning with $500,000 to replace the Wildwood boiler. The district will also request $115,000 to conduct a site and building assessment at the Fort River School to inform discussion about the future potential of that site.

As we begin this next chapter, we’d like to express a sincere thank you to the members of the School Building Committee for their hundreds of hours of work on the proposed school buildings project.

Statement from School Committee Chairs Regarding Superintendent Search

On Tuesday, March 21, the Amherst-Pelham Regional School Committee and the Union 26 Committee, meeting jointly, unanimously decided to postpone the search for a permanent superintendent of schools until fall 2017.  The committees will name an interim superintendent to serve for the 2017-2018 academic year, with a permanent superintendent to start on July 1, 2018.  Dr. Michael Morris has served as interim superintendent during the current academic year.

The committees deliberated about how best to proceed with the search for a new district superintendent following the news last week that the search firm hired to conduct the process on behalf of the district had inappropriately requested criminal background information from applicants. The committees had a thorough and deliberate discussion in which members balanced multiple issues, including the desire for a new educational leader, confidence in the current search firm, resources expended to date, the timing of the search, and the strong need to have a permanent superintendent who has the full confidence of the community and the committees.

The committees strongly believe that postponing the search until fall 2017, which would follow the typical calendar for superintendent searches, gives our district the best opportunity to ensure a better pool of qualified and diverse candidates than if we restarted the search immediately.  The committees also intend to work closely with the district’s human resources staff and Ray & Associates, the search firm, to ensure that a new search would adhere to all Massachusetts employment and discrimination laws, as well as achieve a standard of excellence that we expect for a search of this importance.  We are committed to bringing regular updates to the committees and the public as we restart the search process during the next few months.

Our committees have expressed how deeply they value input from the community in matters related to the governance of our school district, and continue to be interested in the full participation of the community. We hope that the volunteers who stepped forward to help with the screening of candidates and the broader search will continue to be interested in participating when we pick up this process again in the fall.

We are grateful to interim superintendent Dr. Morris and the district leadership team for their support during this search process. The committees will continue to work with our interim superintendent and other district leaders to ensure that we have a stable, robust educational plan in place for the next school year. We also will continue to work closely with our talented and dedicated educators, principals and other staff to ensure the continued success of our students and schools.

———–

El martes, 21 de marzo, el Comité Escolar Regional de Amherst-Pelham y el Comité de la Unión 26, reunidos conjuntamente, decidieron por unanimidad aplazar la búsqueda de un superintendente permanente de escuelas hasta el otoño de 2017. Los comités nombrarán a un superintendente interino para servir en el año académico 2017 -2018, con un superintendente permanente para comenzar el 1 de julio de 2018. El Dr. Michael Morris ha servido como superintendente interino durante el año académico actual.

Los comités deliberaron sobre la mejor manera de proceder con la búsqueda de un nuevo superintendente de distrito tras la noticia de la semana pasada que la firma de búsqueda contratada, para llevar a cabo el proceso en nombre del distrito, había solicitado de manera inapropiada información de antecedentes penales de los solicitantes. Los comités tuvieron una discusión minuciosa y deliberada en la que los miembros han equilibrado múltiples cuestiones, entre ellas el deseo de un nuevo líder educativo, la confianza en la empresa de búsqueda actual, los recursos gastados hasta la fecha, el momento de la búsqueda y la fuerte necesidad de tener un Superintendente que tenga la plena confianza de la comunidad y de los comités.

Los comités creen firmemente que posponer la búsqueda hasta el otoño de 2017, que seguiría el calendario típico de las búsquedas de superintendentes, da a nuestro distrito la mejor oportunidad de asegurar una mejor reserva de candidatos calificados y diversos, que si volvemos a iniciar la búsqueda inmediatamente. Los comités también tienen la intención de trabajar en estrecha colaboración con el personal de Recursos Humanos del Distrito y Ray & Associates, la firma de búsqueda, para asegurar que la nueva búsqueda se adhiera a todas las leyes de empleo y discriminación de Massachusetts, así como lograr el nivel de excelencia que esperamos para una búsqueda de esta importancia. Estamos comprometidos a llevar actualizaciones periódicas a los comités y al público mientras reiniciamos el proceso de búsqueda durante los próximos meses.

Nuestros comités han expresado lo mucho que valoran el aporte de la comunidad en los asuntos relacionados con la gobernanza de nuestro distrito escolar, y siguen interesados en la plena participación de la comunidad. Esperamos que los voluntarios que se ofrecieron para ayudar con la selección de los candidatos y la búsqueda más amplia sigan interesados en participar cuando retomemos este proceso de nuevo en el otoño.

Estamos agradecidos al superintendente interino Dr. Morris y al equipo de liderazgo del distrito por su apoyo durante este proceso de búsqueda. Los comités continuarán trabajando con nuestro superintendente interino y otros líderes del distrito para asegurar que tengamos un plan educacional estable y robusto establecido para el próximo año escolar. También continuaremos trabajando estrechamente con nuestros talentosos y dedicados educadores, directores y demás personal para asegurar el éxito continuo de nuestros estudiantes y nuestras escuelas.

PGO Awarded Grant

The Amherst Regional Public Schools PGO has been awarded its first Florence Bank Customers Choice grant award!  The ARPS PGO is a registered 501(c)3 non-profit encompassing the PGOs from Crocker Farm, Wildwood and Amherst Regional Middle and High Schools.
The award of $947 will be shared equally by the schools.
Thank you to Florence Bank for their generous support and to everyone who voted for us in support of our schools.

SEPAC Meeting 3/20

Please consider attending an informal meeting to connect with others. A light dinner will be provided, so an RSVP would be helpful! 
When:  Monday, March 20th 6:00pm-7:00pm
Where:  Amherst Regional Middle School, Professional Development Room
From 6:00 pm-6:30 pm:  We will have an opportunity to connect with some candidates running for school committee.
From 6:30 pm-7:00 pm:  We will continue to explore ways we can support each other in the community.  Dr. Brady and SEPAC board will also be in attendance.
Again, please RSVP if possible to sepac@arps.org or 413-687-4255.
____________________________

Invitación de la Junta Consultiva de Padres de Educación Especial

Por favor, considere asistir a una reunión informal para conectar con los demás. Se ofrecerá una cena ligera, por lo que una confirmación de su asistencia sería de gran ayuda!

Cuándo: Lunes, 20 de marzo 6:00 pm-7:00 pm
Dónde: Amherst Regional Middle School, Salón de Desarrollo Profesional

De 6:00 pm -6:30 pm: Tendremos la oportunidad de conectar con algunos candidatos que corren para el Comité Escolar.

De 6:30 pm-7:00 pm: Continuaremos explorando maneras en que podemos apoyarnos mutuamente en la comunidad. El Dr. Brady y la junta de SEPAC también estarán presentes.

Una vez más, por favor confirme su asistencia si es posible sepac@arps.org o 413-687-4255.

Meet your town candidates – March 18

Meet Your Precinct Town Meeting Candidates on Saturday, March 18, 2017 at Amherst Regional Middle School. The meeting will give Amherst residents the opportunity to meet Town Meeting Candidates and learn their views on issues facing Amherst.

Precincts 1-5 candidates will be present from 10 a.m. to 11:30 a.m.
Precincts 6-10 candidates will be present from 12 p.m. to 1:30 p.m.

The event is sponsored by the Town Meeting Coordinating Committee and moderated by the League of Women Voters of Amherst.

Meet School Committee Candidates @ PGO Meeting, 3/1

Meet the Candidates for School Committee at the next Wildwood PGO Meeting

Date: Wednesday, Mar 1st, 2017
Time: 6.00pm-7.30pm
Location: Wildwood 
Library


Agenda:

  • 6:00pm – Meet other parents, hear about what the PGO has been doing and learn about ways to take part.
  • 6.30pm – Candidates for Amherst School Committee, Peter Demling, Bob Greeney, Eric Nakajima and Jennifer Page will introduce themselves to the Wildwood community and answer your questions, in preparation for the town-wide election on March 28th.
  • 7-7.30pm – Meet & Greet

Amherst Open Space and Recreation Plan- Input Needed

The Town of Amherst needs your help in updating it’s Open Space and Recreation Plan (OSRP). The updated plan will be used to guide the Town’s decision making regarding the use, management, and acquisition of Amherst’s valued open spaces, conservation areas, parks, and recreational resources over the next seven years.

Three ways to provide input:
1. Take a survey
2. Attend a public meeting (listed below)
3. Provide comment on the current OSRP (Sections 6 – 9)

Public Meetings
1. February 22nd7pm, Town Room, 2nd Floor, Town Hall (Con Com Mtg)
2. February 23rd7pm, LSSE Office, ARMS (LSSE Mtg)
3. March 1st7pm, Glass Room, Lower Level, Bangs Center, 70 Boltwood Ave

Please visit the Town’s website to complete the survey, to review the current OSRP and for more details on how you can participate at: https://www.amherstma.gov/629/Open-Space-Recreation-Plan

Decision and Results “No Homework During Break”

“At the elementary level, the responses of family and staff were overwhelmingly positive about the impact of not having homework over the winter break. Additionally, 81% of family responses and 86% of staff responses indicated support for eliminating homework over the February and April breaks. Given this feedback and the current research base on homework at the elementary grade levels, our elementary schools will not be assigning homework over these breaks. However, independent reading is encouraged for all students.”

Dear ARPS Community Members:

I am pleased to share the results of the recent family and staff surveys regarding the impact of having no homework over winter break, along with information about homework over the upcoming February and April breaks.  The information is available here.

Sincerely,
Michael Morris, Interim Superintendent

Estimados Miembros de la Comunidad de ARPS:

Me complace compartir los resultados de las recientes encuestas de la familia y el personal sobre el impacto de no tener tarea durante las vacaciones de invierno, junto con información sobre las tareas de los próximos meses de febrero y abril. La información está disponible aquí.

Sinceramente,
Michael Morris, Superintendente Interino

Town of Amherst Statement re: Commitment to Immigrant Members of Community

Dear ARPS Community:

Please read the joint statement (available here) from Amherst Town Manager Paul Bockelman, Amherst Police Chief Scott Livingstone and me regarding our commitment to immigrant members of our community.

Michael Morris, Interim Superintendent of Schools

Estimada Comunidad de ARPS:

Por favor, lea la declaración conjunta (disponible aquí) de Paul Bockelman, Gerente Municipal de Amherst, Scott Livingstone, Jefe de Policía de Amherst, y de este servidor, sobre nuestro compromiso con los miembros inmigrantes de nuestra comunidad.

Michael Morris, Superintendente Interino de Escuelas

Town Meeting School Vote (1/30)

On Monday, January 30 at 7pm, the Amherst Town Meeting will vote on Article 1. Petition “Bond Authorization for Co-located Elementary School Project on Wildwood site
To see if the Town of Amherst will appropriate, transfer from available funds and/or borrow $66,369,000 to be expended under the direction of the School Building Committee 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, which school facility shall have an anticipated useful life as an educational facility for the instruction of school children of at least 50 years, and for which the Town may be eligible for a School construction grant from the Massachusetts School Building Authority (“MSBA”), and to meet this appropriation, the Treasurer, with the approval of the Select Board, is authorized to borrow said amount under and pursuant to Chapter 44, Section 7(1) of the Massachusetts General Laws or pursuant to any other enabling authority, and to issue bonds or notes of the Town therefor. The MSBA’s grant program is a non-entitlement, discretionary program based on need, as determined by the MSBA, and any project costs the Town incurs in excess of any grant approved by and received from the MSBA shall be the sole responsibility of the Town. Any grant that the Town of Amherst may receive from the MSBA for the Project shall not exceed the lessor of (1) 68.34 percent (%) of eligible, approved project costs, as determined by the MSBA, or (2) the total maximum grant amount determined by the MSBA
Certified petitions and statements are available on the Town Meeting’s website: http://www.amherstma.gov/790/Town-Meeting

Superintendent Search Survey (deadline extended to 1/30)

NOTE: The deadline to complete the survey has been extended to Monday, January 30 at 12 Noon.

FROM: Eric Nakajima, Chair of the Amherst-Pelham Regional School Committee and Anastasia Ordonez, Chair of the Union 26 School Committee

RE: Survey Regarding Superintendent Search

The Amherst, Pelham and Amherst-Pelham Regional Schools are in the process of seeking a permanent Superintendent of Schools to serve our communities.  A contractor, Ray and Associates, Inc., will support this process and conduct the national search.  Feedback from all stakeholder groups is essential to ensure we invite candidates who reflect the qualities and characteristics most valued by our communities.

Community members are invited to complete the online survey available here.  Results of the survey will be compiled by Ray and Associates, Inc. and shared with the Amherst-Pelham Regional and Union 26 School Committees.

 DE: Eric Nakajima, Presidente del Comité Escolar Regional de Amherst-Pelham y Anastasia Ordóñez, Presidenta del Comité Escolar de la Unión 26

RE: Encuesta sobre la búsqueda del superintendente

Las Escuelas Regionales de Amherst, Pelham y Amherst-Pelham están en proceso de buscar un Superintendente de Escuelas Permanente para servir a nuestras comunidades. Un contratista, Ray and Associates, Inc., apoyará este proceso y llevar a cabo la búsqueda a nivel nacional. La retroalimentación de todos los grupos de interesados es esencial para asegurar que invitamos a candidatos que reflejen las cualidades y características más valoradas por nuestras comunidades.

Los miembros de la comunidad están invitados a completar la encuesta en línea disponible aquí. Los resultados de la encuesta serán compilados por Ray and Associates, Inc. y compartidos con los Comités Regionales de Amherst-Pelham y Unión 26. La fecha límite para completar la encuesta es 12:00 p.m. el lunes, 30 de enero de 2017.

Amherst A Better Chance is looking for New Board Members!

Interested in volunteering with a program that for nearly 50 years has successfully supported young men of color from disadvantaged school districts who come to Amherst to live in a supportive home environment while attending Amherst Regional High School?

Please consider joining the Board of Directors of Amherst A Better Chance.  We can guarantee our volunteers the opportunity to truly make a difference in the lives of these young men.  They are scholars who demonstrate such promise while here in Amherst and who, as ABC and ARHS alumni, live lives of purpose.  Please contact Wendy Kohler, President of Amherst A Better Chance, for more information.  (Email:  wendykohler@comcast.net; Cell:  413-250-0091)

 

That Volunteer Opportunity May Require a Background Check

We welcome all talents and abilities! To learn more about fun, unique and exciting volunteer opportunities at Wildwood, visit our Volunteering and Contributing page

CORI Background Check: If school or PGO volunteer opportunities bring you into contact with students at Wildwood ES or on a field trip, you must have a CORI (Criminal Offender Record Information) check on file. This includes all field trip chaperones and classroom volunteers (e.g. grandparents, aunts & uncles, adult siblings). CORI checks must be done on individual volunteers every three years and are valid for all schools within our district. If you would like to check to see if you are current on your CORI status, please call Sasha in the Central Office at 362-1810.

To request a CORI check, bring your current driver’s license into the Main Office at Wildwood or to the district’s Central Office (located at the middle school) for photocopying and complete the required application well in advance of any volunteer obligations. Questions about the CORI process can be directed to the Wildwood Main Office or Sasha in the Central Office.

Four Town Meeting including Amherst Select Board, Finance Committee & School Committee

The annual Four Town Meeting will be held this Saturday.

Date: January 7, 2017

Time: 10:00 AM - 1:00 PM

Location: Amherst Regional Middle School Library

Address: 170 Chestnut Street, Amherst, MA 01002

 

LIST OF TOPICS:

a. Welcome and Introductions – 10 min;

b. Legislative Report and Discussion – 20 min;

c. FY18 Budget Projection – 15 min;

d. FY18 Assessment Projection -15 min;

e. Capital Plan Review – 10 min;

f. Working Group Reports – 10 min;

g. Guidance from Member Towns – 20 min;

h. Calendars – 5 min;

i. Other Post Employment Benefits Report – Daniel Sherman;

j. Topics the Chair did not reasonably anticipate 48 hrs before the meeting; and

k. Adjournment.

Gift Ideas from the Amherst Education Foundation

static1-squarespace-comAre you trying to figure out how to thank your children’s teachers for their wonderful work this holiday season? Here’s a great way to give a gift that teachers appreciate and is an easy way to remain in compliance with the law that forbids public employees from receiving gifts valued at more than $50. AEF’S THANK A TEACHER/STARS IN OUR SCHOOLS!

Contribute to AEF in a teacher’s name and they will get the gift that keeps on giving: money that comes back to the schools in the form of excellence grants. The teacher will receive a card from AEF indicating that you supported AEF in their honor. Click here Thanking a Teacher through our Stars in Our Schools; or go to www.amhersteducationfoundation.org and click on “Stars in Our Schools”.

How is AEF helping the elementary schools? AEF grants are funding the following programs:

Math coaches are receiving training to help underperforming kids in grades 3-6! Students with special needs district-wide have much-needed laptop computers! Music teachers are bringing visiting artists to the schools!

Thank you and happy holidays,

The Board of Amherst Education Foundation

Ethan Clotfelter, Becky Michaels, Clare Bertrand, Meg Robertson, Isabella Dell’olio, Rick Hood, Michael Hutton-Woodland, Sue Kelly, Ken Leblond, Sovann-Malis Loeung, Amanda Rivera Lopez, Susan Kennedy Marx, Jennifer Mendelsohn, Adelia Pope, Megan Rosa, Amanda Seaman, Sudha Setty, Jen Veshia

Do you work at UMass?

The annual UMass-Amherst Community Campaign (UMACC) is now underway. The UMACC program gives UMass employees an easy way to donate to charitable organizations, & to spread out donations across a year’s worth of paychecks (for example $5 per paycheck, for 26 paychecks, can be easier to part with than $130 at one time.)

The Amherst Regional Public Schools Parent Guardian Organization, a 501(c)3 non-profit organization consisting of the PGOs for Crocker Farm, Wildwood, the Amherst Middle School, & the Amherst High School, participates in the UMACC program (the Fort River PGO is its own 501(c)3). All donations to the ARPS PGO through UMACC are shared across the 4 schools. Through UMACC, UMass employees can give $1 or more per paycheck for each charity they’d like to donate to. Thanks for considering supporting our schools in this way. Every donation is greatly appreciated.
See http://www.umass.edu/umacc/ for more info.

Do you use Amazon.com for shopping?

Doing any online shopping through Amazon this weekend, over the holidays, any other time of year? Did you know you can earn money for the Wildwood with each Amazon purchase. Enroll in passive fundraising to earn money for Wildwood while you shop!

AMAZON SMILEamazonsmile
Go to https://smile.amazon.com/ch/46-4510327 for your Amazon shopping and Wildwood will earn 0.5% of your purchases.

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

STOP AND SHOP A+ School Rewards
Register your Stop&Shop card and Wildwood will receive a percentage of your shopping. Last year, this raised $1357 for our school.

Visit www.stopandshop.com/aplus to register and designate Wildwood School ID #05168.

If you need help, call A+ Rewards at 1-877-275-2758.

If you registered your card last year, you do not need to re-register if your school selection remains the same.

ATKINS FARM
Use your frequent shopper card when you shop at Atkins Farm to credit Wildwood with a percentage of your purchases. If you need a card, contact Heather Welch at HHourihan@msn.com.

BOXTOPS
Collect boxtops and turn them into the front office at school, or wait until collection dates are announced.

Warm Winter Clothing Share for Amherst Schools

To help everyone stay warm this winter, the Amherst School PGOs are collecting winter clothing for distribution to school and community families. We are seeking donations of clean, gently used winter clothing in ALL sizes (kids & adults)

* coats * snow pants * snow boots * hats * mittens * gloves * scarves * snowsuits

Collection:  During school hours, November 7th ‐ December 9th in the lobby.

Distribution:   December 12th and December 13th, 8:30 a.m. to 3:00 p.m.

More Information