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.

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

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

Introducing the Amherst Boys & Girls Club

The Amherst Boys & Girls Club is dedicated to making a difference in your life by giving you access to great programs, activities, and social experiences in a fun and structured environment. Our Club is open to all young adults, ages 9-18, looking for a place where they can meet up with other kids to relax, play games, and even get some extra help with school. But the most important thing you’ll do at the Amherst Boys & Girls Club is learn about yourself and the kind of person you’re capable of being.

Our club accepts grades 1-12 and there is a membership application form and financial assistance form for each member to complete. There is a one-time annual fee of $50. We offer a range of payments plans, as well as scholarships. This is outlined in the financial assistance form linked below.

Our club is open during the school year 2:30pm – 5:30pm. On half days and days when school is closed we open around midday. We also run programs during school vacations, and usually open from 1:00pm to 5:30pm.



Link to Membership registration form

Link to Financial Assistance form


Birds Of The Quabbin Slideshow @ Jones Library

Treat yourself to an unforgettable slideshow as Peter Christoph shares his experiences looking for wildlife, by land and by boat, at the beautiful and pristine Quabbin Reservoir.  The photographic presentation will take place at 2:30 pm at the Jones Library in Amherst on Saturday, October 13, 2018.

A rich diversity of birds call the Quabbin their home, the main attraction being the common loon and bald eagle families that nest here. Several winters ago, Peter built a rustic cabin along a river in an area known as the North Quabbin Woods. It was from this base camp that Peter discovered the Magic of the Quabbin and became intimately familiar with its intricate network of channels, coves and islands. He will also discuss the creation of the Quabbin Reservoir, including a glimpse into the lost towns which gave way to this unlikely wilderness area.

Peter Christoph is a well-known wildlife advocate, naturalist and award-winning bird photographer based in Lancaster, MA. He has a great respect for wildlife and through his presentations seeks to raise awareness of the need to conserve bird habitat. Peter has presented for a variety of organizations, including the Photographic Society of America (PSA), New England Camera Club Council (NECCC,) and the Appalachian Mountain Club (AMC).  He has been the recipient of many prestigious national and international awards and medals recognizing his photographic talent. Peter is also responsible for publishing three bird photography books, including his latest, The Art of Bird Photography.

Free and open to the public.  For more information about this event, please contact Janet Ryan at 413-259-3223.  This event is made possible with support from the Friends of the Jones Libraries and the Woodbury Fund.

Audition for ALSCT Production of Peter Pan

Once again, Amherst Leisure Services Community Theater (ALSCT) is creating a fabulous, large-scale musical, with lavish sets and costumes, a full live orchestra, and enthusiastic audiences fill the 600-seat UMass Bowker Auditorium for nine performances in January. This year, we’ll be presenting PETER PAN, the beloved Broadway musical that has transfixed audiences for over one hundred years. We’re excited to present a version that is both true to the story and also speaks to contemporary audiences in the Pioneer Valley. Actors, singers, and dancers ages 7-107 are encouraged to audition!

 AUDITIONS: Friday, Sept. 14th, Saturday, Sept. 15th, Sunday, Sept. 16th

Callbacks Monday, September 17th


Thanks for your support!

Thanks to your support, the PGO was able to support two exciting projects that culminated this week:
On Friday, June 15, the 5th grade put on their American Independence performance, coached by Enchanted Circle Theater.
The Wildwood Mosaic Mural, made by Ms. Rivera’s art classes, is now hanging outside the front entrance of Wildwood to welcome all who come through our doors.

When you give to the PGO, you help create memorable learning opportunities for the children of Wildwood. Thank you for your ongoing support.

Summer garden volunteers needed

We are looking for support from families to

help the school gardens have a healthy summer growing season. Families are invited to join Leila and Jen for an on-site garden volunteer training at your school on Saturday, June 9th

(Wildwood @ 9 AM, Fort River @ 10:15 AM, Crocker Farm @ 11:30 AM). In the session (under an hour) you’ll  become familiar with the garden space, learn about the plants we’re growing, and learn how to access and use the garden tools. The summer volunteer “work” is fun and kid-friendly! Families who help care for the gardens are also welcome to harvest from the gardens as certain crops become ready.

Sign ups for summer weeks will take place at the orientation sessions. Volunteers will also be asked to sign a liability waiver, per district protocol.

If you are interested in caring for the garden this summer, please complete this short form. Questions can be sent to Jennifer Reese at

Feather Press Studio Update

Thanks to everyone who has signed up for summer art at Feather Press Studio! I am looking forward to working with your children! Drawing and Painting and Sculpture classes are now full with a waitlist, and there are just a couple of spaces left in
Printmaking and Early Childhood Art.

Scholarships available: Feather Press Studio, with the generous support of a Wildwood family, is offering two full scholarships for the Early Childhood Art program this summer. Please check the website for more specific information on this and other classes, and indicate if you are interested in a scholarship for your child.

Finally, we have begun taking registration for after school fall classes. The fall schedule is flexible, so if dates and times don’t work, please let us know and we will see if we can adjust our fall scheduling.

Wishing everyone a restful and joyful summer!
Julie Lapping Rivera

Are you interested in art? Wildwood Elementary School Art Studio needs help in the next few weeks!

1. Wednesday, June 6: We need a few “maker-oriented” folks to help put a mosaic together with a visiting mosaic artist between 12 and 6:00 PM (you do not need to come for the whole time; any time you can donate would be very helpful).

2. Monday, June 11 or Tuesday, June 12: We need help grouting the murals. Time as yet to be determined.
3. First two weeks in June: We need a few parents to help take down and colate student art work. Time to be determined.
If you would like to help, please email Julie Rivera at

2018-2019 AEF Excellence Grants Announcement

Heading into its 25th year, the Amherst Education Foundation announces its Excellence Grants for the 2018-19 academic year.  Totaling $29,000.00, the grants are spread across the Amherst Elementary Schools, the Amherst Regional Middle School, and the Amherst Regional High School.

Of particular interest to elementary families is the winning proposal from Jennifer Reese, Elementary Science and Garden Coordinator:


Grantee: Jennifer Reese, Elementary Science and Garden Coordinator

Grant Amount: $5,000.00

Schools: Wildwood, Fort River, and Crocker Farm

Description: Garden educator Leila Tunnell will lead all second grade students in year-round garden-based learning at school and on field trips to Brookfield Farm.  Each elementary school will create universally accessible raised beds.  The curriculum will build on lessons individual teachers have used in kindergarten and first grade and will provide second graders with the opportunity to learn about our local ecosystem, food sources, collaboration, and problem solving.

Read about the other grantees here:

2018 Sugarloaf Youth Track League

Ages: 6-14

Dates: Thursday 5/24, 5/31, 6/7 and Friday 6/15, 6/22, 6/29

Time: 5:00 – 7:00 PM

Location: Amherst Regional High School Track

Price: $49


Boys and girls of all abilities will be placed on a team and can compete in both relay and individual events. Family and friends of all ages are invited to cheer on athletes! Non-team member children who are present are invited to compete in a 100 meter dash each night.  There is an organizational meeting to group teams, meet coaches, and run an informal series of practice races on May 24th.  Entries may be closed before this date if maximum number of participants is reached, so sign up ASAP!

For more info please visit our website

Contact Sydney Henthorn, Sugarloaf Track League Director at

or Chris Johnson, Sports Director at LSSE,

 (413) 259-3144

Summer Ultimate League of Amherst

Join us for another exciting summer of Ultimate Frisbee. This league is geared for people who want to enjoy the thrill and excitement of ultimate Frisbee, regardless of experience level. All levels of ability will be welcomed to join. All players will be assigned their own team in this fun and competitive league!

Time and Location: All Sessions start at 6:00 PM at Plum Brook Recreational Area

835301 Junior SULA  Price: $39

  • TUESDAYS,June 26th—August 7th
  • Session A, Activities for Kids (Ages 7-8)
  • Session B, Elementary Division (Ages 9-11)
  • Session C, Middle School Division (Ages 12-14)


835300 Adult SULA  Price: $45

Session A

  • Recreational Co-Ed (Ages 14+)
  • Thursdays,June 21st—August 9th

Session B

  • Competitive Co-Ed (Ages 15+)
  • Wednesdays,June 20th—August 8th

Session C

  • Women Only (Ages 13+)
  • Mondays, June 18th—August 6th

LSSE Summer Sports Camps






  • GOLF

Sign up and register today at or (413)259-3065

For more information please reach out to our SPORTS DIRECTOR: Chris Johnson (413)259-3144

Starlight’s Youth Theatre Presents Starlight Express This Weekend at Academy of Music

31606576_10156321245907594_4514848533265776640_oStarlight Express is a rock musical by Andrew Lloyd Webber (Phantom of the Opera, Cats, Jesus Christ Superstar). In the story, a child’s train set magically comes to life, and the various engines compete to become the “Fastest Engine in the World!” The underdog, Rusty the steam train, has little chance until he is inspired by the legend of the Starlight Express.

Starlight’s Youth Theatre is a non-profit theatre group dedicated to providing quality education and production of children’s theatre. Starlight’s priority is the development of the child, using theatre as a tool to build self-esteem, communication and confidence. Every year hundreds of children and teens from across western Massachusetts are involved with the many aspects of creating a production, including set design and building, acting, costume and makeup design, choreography and singing. Older teens function as mentors and guides for younger participants. With a focus on the process, Starlight’s Youth Theatre invites children to enter, enjoy and expand their imagination in the world of theatre. This spring’s family-friendly production will be a show not to miss – with spectacular lighting, costumes, makeup, video projection and roller skating on the Academy of Music stage! Please come experience “Starlight’s Magic” as they celebrate their 10th Anniversary with this entertaining production.

Shows are Friday, May 11 at 7:00 PMSaturday, May 12 at 2:00 PM and Saturday, May 12 at 7:00 PM. Tickets can be purchased online at or at the Academy of Music Box Office TuesdayFriday3:00 PM – 6:00 PM and one hour prior to each ticketed performance. Tickets are $18 for adults and $14 for students, children and seniors.

Family Time with Multi-Arts

Join Multi-Arts in a fun, engaging artistic activity aim to bond you with your child creating collaborative art work that brings you: Laughter, Joy & Communication

Saturday May 19 at 2 pm
Tina Zorz will lead families in a Vision Boarding workshop

Create a collage that has everyone’s values and personality in the same work of art. You and your family will choose images and words that spark excitement and meaning to your unit. Hang your family-created vision board high in your home for an every day reminder of your values, inspirations, and connection to one another!

Place: Immanuel Lutheran Church 867 N Pleasant St, Amherst
FREE of charge – donations welcome

Catalina Arrubla


FeatherPress Studio Summer and Fall Art Classes For All Ages

Wildwood art teacher Julie Rivera will be offering art classes for kids, as well as evening adult creativity classes out of her studio in Leverett,  To see the summer and fall schedule of classes, and for a full description of offerings, please go to her new website:  The studio is only 10 minutes from Wildwood, and is a cozy and creative art environment in a wooded setting. Carpooling will be available.
If you have any questions, please email Julie at

Scouting Open House event

If you are interested in learning more about scouting and possibly becoming a Cub Scout, please join us for a Scouting Open House event on Sunday, April 29.

Where: Immanuel Lutheran Church, 867 N. Pleasant Street, Amherst, MA 01002

When: Sunday, April 29, 1:00-3:00pm

Ages: Grades K-5

Contact: Cubmaster, Al Crosby,

View Flyer

Events at the Eric Carle Museum on April 28, 2018

Sharing Caldecott Medal Books

April 28, 2018
12:00pm – 1:00pm
Free with Museum admission. Reservations required.

Educators, librarians, and caregivers are invited to join Carle library volunteers Susan Schiller and Barbara Weber and librarian Susan Wells (Wildwood Elementary, Amherst) for an informal discussion sharing their experiences of introducing Caldecott Medal books to children. This program will take place in The Carle’s Café and include light fare. Reservations are required; please call 413-559-6336.

The 8th Annual Barbara Elleman Research Library (BERL) Lecture with Anita Silvey (1 PDP)

April 28, 2018
Free with Museum Admission

Celebrating the Caldecott: The stories behind some of the great Caldecott Medal and Honor Books. with editor, author, and scholar Anita Silvey

Every picture book tells a story. But every book also has a story behind it – why the author or illustrator chose the idea, how they found a publisher, and what happened when the book went into the market place. Looking at 80 years of Caldecott history, Professor Anita Silvey of Simmons College will highlight some of the great Caldecott choices and the stories behind these books.

Program followed by book signing and reception.

New Session of Drawing and Painting (Ages 8-11) Begins Thursday May 10!

Drawing and Painting (Ages 8-11)
In this class, students will find their unique artistic voice while developing drawing and painting skills. In a warm supportive environment, we will explore the process of taking our ideas and turning them into works of art that are meaningful to us. Together, we will explore skills and techniques for drawing and painting with a variety of materials. This class is capped at 6 students for small group atmosphere and individual attention.
Thursdays 3:30-4:45
May 10- June 14 (6 Classes) $240

To register for this class click here.

More information about Joy Art Space classes and private lessons for children, teens and adults:

Family Math Night, Mar 22, 2018

Wildwood Elementary School Presents a Title 1 and PGO sponsored school-wide math event.

Thursday,  March 22, 2018  5:45-7:30 pm*

“Play and Take” Math Games

Pizza dinner in the cafeteria: 5:45-6:15

Math games in rooms around school: 6:15-7:15

Grand prize raffle in the cafeteria: 7:15-7:30

*Buses will pick up at entrance (and drop off after the event):

Boulders @ 5:15,   North Village @ 5:25,   Village Park @ 5:35,    Olympia Oaks @ 5:40

Please RSVP before March 14th.

View Flyer in English

View Flyer in Spanish


NERD Summit 2018, March 17 & 18

Is your child interested in learning about computers and programming? Checkout the

It’s free.  Signup is here:
Sessions range from high-level-nerdy, to newbie stuff. The newbie stuff is a track run on Saturday, March 17, 10-5 by Holyoke Codes:
For those interested in the Holyoke Codes sessions, please also signup at the 3 links above.  More info about those sessions is at those links.

The ARHS Theater Company presents The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee

The ARHS Theater Company presents The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee! This Tony Award-winning musical follows the quirky, heartbreaking, and hilarious lives of middle schoolers competing in a spelling bee. ARHS’s unique immersive staging of the show is guaranteed to be entertaining for all!

Join us at ARHS for the show!
Friday, March 9th 7:30pm
Saturday, March 10th 2pm
Saturday, March 10th 7:30pm
Sunday, March 11th 7pm

Tickets are available at

UPDATE: Due to the storm, the show on Thursday night has been rescheduled to Sunday at 7pm. Any tickets purchased for Thursday will be honored at any other show. Contact John Bechtold if you wish to receive a refund. See you there!

Audition opportunity for kids–ALSCT brings KING ARTHUR to Amherst!

ALSCT and Missoula Children’s Theater brings two professional actor/directors to Amherst to stage an original, fill-scale musical production with local cast members in grades K-12 in ONLY ONE WEEK

Auditions Monday March 5th, 4:15PM at the ARMS cafeteria

Performances March 10th, 1:30PM and 4:00PM a the ARMS auditorium. Tickets $5/$8

View Flyer

Celebrate Black History Month


The public is invited to a celebration of Black History Month on Sat., Feb. 10, 2018, from 11 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. at the Amherst Town Common, on the steps of Town Hall

At the event, sponsored by the Amherst Area NAACP and the Town of Amherst Human Rights Commission, community members will join to sing the Black National Anthem. All are invited to sing, and to bring noisemakers to make a joyful noise. Community leaders will give brief remarks.

“Lift Every Voice and Sing,” often referred to as the Black National Anthem, was written in 1900 by brothers James Weldon Johnson (lyrics) and John Rosamond Johnson (music). It was first performed as a poem by African American children at a segregated school in Florida.