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

Interested in Registering for the Amherst Regional Public Schools?

Please join us for information sessions for the Elementary and Secondary levels. Come meet our principals, the superintendent, and receive information about our schools and how to register!  These events are for both ARPS families with students transitioning to Kindergarten, 7th grade, and 9th grade, and families with children who currently do not attend ARPS (regardless any grade level).

For rising Kindergartners & prospective K-6: Crocker Farm Elementary School Library on March 1st at 6:00 pm

For rising 9th Graders: Amherst Regional High School Library on March 6th at 7:00 pm.  There will be a session at 6:15 for parents/guardians whose children have IEPs

For rising 7th Graders: Amherst Regional Middle School Auditorium Lobby on February 27th at 6:30 pm.  There will be a session at 6 PM for parents/guardians whose children have IEPs or ELL needs.

Please see the attached flyer for Information/Registration events at all school levels in ARPS. Please feel free to share widely!  To view the flyer,  click here.

An invitation to our 2018 March 2nd Read Across America Assembly from the WW Library

In 2016 we “Hit the Books” and our very own 6th graders are planning a big surprise for our MARCH 2nd 2018 READ ACROSS AMERICA Assembly at 9:50 AM! (Please note the change in time. Our apologies for posting the wrong time earlier and in our newsletter)

This ASSEMBLY will be student run and will feature our African American Read-In interviews, a new song, poetry and D.E.A.R. – DROP EVERYTHING AND READ! Bring a BOOK and join us!

Update from the WW Library: Our students pick The Best Picture Book of 2017!

It is exciting to report that our Caldecott Club and our K-2 voting results were pretty similar! Both in class and in our after school club there were some run away favorites that have become our award winners this year! The Caldecott was also announced today at the American Library Association’s Midwinter conference in Denver.  Wolf in the Snow, a wordless Little Red Riding Hood tale turned on its head, took the top honor but we managed to overlap in our voting with the heart warming circular tale Big Cat, Little Cat.  It was so much fun to take this journey with our younger students.  Our students are deepening their understanding of story, book design, art and medium through observation, making connections to books and between books and authors.  The Caldecott study allows students to make connections with books and genres as well as building a community experience through shared reading.

For more details visit the Wildwood Library Blog –

Zero Energy Buildings and Communities: The Landscape of the Future

Presented by: Darren Port, Buildings and Community Solutions Manager at Northeast Energy Efficiency Partnerships (NEEP)  

Free and open to the public.

Tuesday,  February 20th, 7-8:30 Unitarian Universalist Society of Amherst, 121 N. Pleasant St., Amherst

Amherst Mothers Out Front and Climate Action Now are offering the second in a series of public presentations to educate Amherst residents on the feasibility of Zero Energy Municipal Buildings by-law that was passed by Town Meeting last November.

Darren Port, a national expert on municipal and state building policy will present Zero Energy Buildings and Communities: The Landscape of the Future. As the Buildings and Community Solutions Manager at Northeast Energy Efficiency Partnerships (NEEP), Port is paving the way for the proliferation of zero energy buildings throughout the Northeast and Mid-Atlantic region. He brings a broad perspective to the critical role of towns and cities in reducing carbon emissions through building energy performance standards and clean energy development. His presentation will draw connections between Zero Energy buildings, local energy resources, resilience and community-wide energy demand management.

Prior to joining NEEP, Port was the Green Building Administrator and Green Code Specialist for the State of New Jersey. Nationally, he serves as an appointed member on building policy making committees.

The public presentation series is a follow up to passing the Zero Energy Municipal Building Bylaw and the 100% Renewable Energy resolution in Amherst, MA, Mothers Out Front Amherst and Climate Action Now are organizing several public presentations. The focus is on the feasibility of building for Zero Energy.

The first event in the series was on January 31st and drew 70 attendees to hear Ellen Watts, president and co-founder of Architerra in Boston MA. She spoke about Zero Energy Design & Performance: Practical Approaches.

Sponsored by Amherst Mothers Out Front and Climate Action Now. Co-sponsored by the Town office of Sustaining Amherst, Amherst League of Women Voters, and Western Mass Community Choice Energy.

Please Send in Your Box Tops! NOW!

Do you have Ziploc baggies of Box Tops sitting in the junk drawer that you’ve been meaning to send in? NOW IS THE TIME!

Did you know each Box Top coupon you clip and donate to Wildwood School is worth 10 cents that will go straight towards funding events to benefit our students and staff?

Visit for a complete list of participating brands. It’s fun to involve your whole family and be sure to ask grandparents or friends to clip and share too! A collection container is always available in the main school office (it’s a bin right under the PGO mailbox!)

Please keep a bag in your kitchen so it’s easy to collect the Box Tops you clip. Children can be taught at a very young age to identify, clip, and count Box Tops. The coupons can be found on many quality products from brands like:

  • Annie’s
  • General Mills
  • Ziploc
  • Progresso
  • Cascadian Farms
  • Pillsbury
  • Hefty
  • Kleenex
  • Scott
  • Betty Crocker
  • Yoplait

Please send any Box Tops that you have collected NOW! Our spring deadline is looming and they do eventually expire, so send in what you have and please keep clipping! Thanks so much for your support


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.

Amherst Girls Lacrosse – Spring 2018

Bantams – Ages 8-10 (3rd and 4th grade)

Juniors – Ages 10-12 (5th and 6th grade)

Come out and play! Teams forming now for Spring 2018.

Practices: 6-7:30pm Monday & Wednesday; 9:00-10:30am Saturday

Register online by February 28th

Have fun – be fit – beginner players welcome – US Lacrosse certified coaches Jim Chambers, HC Bantams Patrick Schilling, HC Juniors

View Flyer

Multi-Arts February Vacation Camp, 19-23


Art. Theater. Music. Dance. Mime. and more

February Vacation Camp, 19-23
Join us for One day, Two or more days, or the WHOLE WEEK!

Camps in Amherst & Northampton
Brought to you by Multi-Arts, a nonprofit organization dedicated to teaching THE ARTS to children ages 4-12


“Where artists bring their passion and joy to their teaching”
“Arts: Speaking with your heart to the hearts of others.”

Shout Out for PGO Rock-Star Volunteers

We’d like to give a big shout out to the following AMAZING volunteers:

For organizing the Winter Chorus Concert party: Mark Roberts, Andrea Cooper, Suzanne Newby-Estes, Becky Gahan, and Kerry Crosby

To Julie Hawkowl for organizing the Coat Drive, and to everyone who participated.

To Chris Pilsner for her expert analysis of the PGO website to help us figure out how to make it better.

To Nicola Usher for stepping up to help organize Math Night alongside Elizabeth Pretel.

And for stepping up to organize Science Night: Julie Hawkowl and Jon Reichard.

To Becky Gahan and all the class parents she helps organize for all their ongoing efforts

And to Suni Berube who has agreed to tackle the PGO bulletin board in the main office.

And for tirelessly photocopying the hundreds if not thousands of PGO flyers that go home in your kids’ backpacks: Tyffannie Fluitt  and Yuko Mitzutani

And to Amber Cano-Martin for translating them all into  Spanish!
To Jenny and Susan in the library who spend so much of their own time on fabulous projects for our kids, including most recently the hugely successful Book Swap and the Caldecott club​.

To everyone who gave on Giving Tuesday, however great or small, every bit counts.

And last but not least, to Kurt Wise for bringing coffee for everyone at the Coffee With Nick.

The Wildwood PGO is the Wildwood Community, and the Wildwood Community is YOU! Thanks so much everyone!

AEF Celebrates Champions for Our Schools

Join Amherst Education Foundation as we honor the nine principals of our school district: Mark Jackson, David Slovin, Patty Bode, Diane Chamberlain, Nick Yaffe, Derek Shea, Lisa Desjarlais, Margot Lacey, and Jackie Mendonsa!

All nine principals will be in attendance. Come celebrate the leaders of our high schools, middle school, and elementary schools.

We hope you will join us for dinner, festivities, trivia, and more:

March 17


Student Union Ballroom at UMass

Here is the link to ticket sales:

All proceeds from the event will go to AEF and the grants we give to educators.

We hope to see you there!

LSSE’s WinterFest Amherst

When: February 3-10, 2018

WinterFest Amherst is the largest winter festival in Western Mass, featuring over 40 events including music, food, sports, recreation and community activities. [see note above] Among this year’s highlights are 10 events on the first day, including a Luminaria, sponsored by the Amherst BID, on the Town Common. Among other highlights are: the WinterFest Ice Hockey Challenge Cup, 5K Indoor Run, Men and Women’s Amateur Basketball, Food Demonstrations, Nature Hikes, Lectures and Discussions, Figure Skating, Winter Crafts for Kids, Painting for Children, Live Music, Winter Farmers’ Market, Movies and more. WinterFest concludes on Feb. 10, with fireworks, beauty queens, and more at the Grand Finale at the Cherry Hill Golf Course.

Check event details at WinterFest Amherst Events Schedule

 View Flyer

Attention UMass Employees

Are you a UMass employee?  Did you know that UMass employees can donate to the Wildwood PGO (via the ARPS PGO- a non-profit that encompasses the PGOS from ARHS, ARMS, Crocker Farm and Wildwood) through the UMass Amherst Community Campaign? There is still time! But do not wait long since the deadline is January 31st!

You can choose the amount, and if you opt for payroll deductions, you can split it among several payrolls.

Please consider signing up today.  Every donation makes a difference!  Thank you for your support.

Here are the instructions on that site:


IF YOU GAVE ONLINE LAST YEAR the organizations you gave to will already
be in your Donation Basket.

STEP 1: Find the charitable organization(s) that you wish to donate to.
Click “Add to My Donation Basket.” If “Add to My Donation Basket” does
not appear, please Log In first. [2]

STEP 2: Go to Give Now [3] to complete your donation.

Choose Amherst Regional Public Schools Parent Guardian Organization. =amherst+&Did you know=All&field_cause_tid=All

AmeriCorps Information & Application Event

Amherst, MA – The Jones Library and DIAL/SELF are co-hosting an information and application station for young people interested in joining the AmeriCorps team on Saturday, February 3 from 10 am – 12 noon in the Amherst Room of the Jones Library.

Are you passionate about youth empowerment, education, the arts, and social justice? The DIAL/SELF AmeriCorps Program (DSAP) seeks inspired leaders to join the upcoming 2018-19 service term! For 10 months, DSAP members serve full-time to create positive youth development opportunities in schools and local agencies throughout the Pioneer Valley. Interested in learning more? Come meet with current and former AmeriCorps members to hear about their experiences. The initial application deadline is February 15th.

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

Film & Jones Library Discussion Series: Racism and Climate Change Are About You

AMHERST, MA – Join us on Thursday, February 8, 2018 at 7:00 pm in the Woodbury Room for the next event in this ongoing film and discussion series that may educate, touch your heart, and inspire you to action to help dismantle racism.

In this December 2017 TED talk, Dr. Atyia Martin examines the intersections of racism and climate change. She proposes ways for us to scrutinize bias in ourselves, our workplaces, and our social groups. Dr. Martin is the new Chief Resilience Officer for the City of Boston. Under her leadership, Boston will focus on advancing racial equity as the foundation of the Resilience Strategy process. After the screening and discussion, work will continue in small working groups to advance anti-racism action projects that have been undertaken.

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

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

February Vacation Morning Art Program!

February Vacation Joyful Art Exploration (Ages 6-11)
At Joy Art Space, kids can spend their winter break experiencing the joy of making art and developing their artistic, expressive selves! During this week, students will explore a variety of art skills including drawing, painting, and collage in a gentle and supportive environment. Students take their ideas and turn them into expressive works of art!  This is a great winter morning activity for kids who love art and exploring materials! This class is capped at 6 students for small group atmosphere and individual attention.
To register for February Vacation Joyful Art Exploration click here.

For more information about Joy Art Space classes and private lessons for children, teens, and adults visit:

MULTI-ARTS Vacation Camp, February 19-23

Art. Theater. Music. Dance. Mime. and more

Join us for One day, Two or more days, or the WHOLE WEEK!

Camps in Amherst & Northampton
Brought to you by Multi-Arts, a nonprofit organization dedicated to teaching THE ARTS to children ages 4-12


“Where artists bring their passion and joy to their teaching”
“Our children … had a chance to experience being artists”

Zero Energy Design and Performance: A Practical Approach

How can Amherst’s new Zero Energy Municipal Buildings Bylaw be implemented? The public is invited to come learn.

Wednesday, January 31st, 7:00pm – 8:30pm
Hitchcock Center for the Environment
835 West St, Amherst

Architect Ellen Watts, principal of Architerra, is a Zero Energy expert and passionate advocate for practical, high performance buildings and resilient planning. She will share design strategies she has used and performance data of award-winning Zero Energy public buildings her firm has designed.

Sponsored by the Town office of Sustaining Amherst, Mothers Out Front Amherst, Climate Action Now, Amherst League of Women Voters, Western MA Community Choice Energy, and the Hitchcock Center.

For information, contact or 413-256-6006.

Coffee and Chat with Principal Nick

Get to know your Principal, hear what’s happening at the school and ask
whatever has been on your mind.

Wednesday 24th January from 8:40-9:40 am in the Main Office Conference Room

Sponsored by the Wildwood PGO.

View Flyer


Conoce tu director, escucha lo que esta pasando en la escuela, y haz preguntas sobre lo que tienes en la mente.

Miércoles 24 de enero 8:40-9:40am en la sala de conferencias de la oficina central.

Spanish Flyer

Sign Up For Big Y Program to Support Schools

A new passive fundraiser is BACK! Please, if you shop at Big Y,  join Education Express, tell your family, friends and neighbors too!

Education Express is a Family Program to help our local schools get FREE, much needed supplies & equipment!

• Everyone can participate! Do you have children, grandchildren, nieces, nephews or even neighbors? You can support their school by signing up for Education Express.
• And from February 1 through April 25, 2018, for every 500 Education Express Points earned, you get a GOLD COIN!
• Just shop our stores and look for the participating items marked with the Education Express logo. Each item will have a point value and savings on top of that!

You can learn more at

Dangers of Tide Pod Challenge

What is the Tide Pod Challenge?

The Tide Pod Challenge is where students attempt to consume a plastic laundry detergent pod. At first the challenge started as a joke but now poison control centers are warning parents about this dangerous activity. The risks of this viral dare include: choking on the liquid by inhaling it, vomiting, change in blood pressure/heart rate, having seizures, or losing consciousness. Ingredients in the detergent can burn the mouth, digestive system, and stomach. When students partake in the challenge, they upload videos of themselves eating laundry detergent capsules and post them to social media for validation.

Tide Pod Challenge in the news

The so-called ‘Tide Pod challenge,’ which reportedly began as a joke, has become enough of a thing that it has garnered responses from a government watchdog, poison control centers, and Tide’s parent company, Procter & Gamble. Now YouTube is weighing in too. –Fast Company

Children who have been exposed to the [Tide Pod] capsules have been hospitalized with vomiting, breathing difficulties and loss of consciousness. –Washington Post

Thirty-nine reports of teenagers intentionally misusing laundry pods came in during the first 15 days of 2018 alone. –Time

Why should parents care?

The Tide Pod Challenge is incredibly dangerous. It’s essentially ingesting poison
Even if a student doesn’t eat the entire laundry detergent pod, just ingesting a tiny bit can lead to serious health repercussions. If detergent makes its way into the bloodstream and organs, the effects could be fatal.
With so many teens posting videos of this dangerous challenge, YouTube has issued a statement that it will remove any videos that show students partaking in this challenge.
YouTube is also taking further steps to completely terminate channels that have any videos of people eating laundry detergent capsules.

What can parents do?

If your student has eaten a laundry detergent pod, call 911, or contact the poison control center 1-800-222-1222 or a doctor immediately. Consider reading Tide’s safety protocol to learn how you can protect your family and home. Talk to your children about the Tide Pod Challenge and explain the serious health repercussions associated with it. Monitor your student’s digital footprint to see if they are watching, liking, or creating posts about the Tide Pod Challenge. Consider contacting your teen’s school. If your child has engaged with anything like the Tide Pod Challenge, other students might be engaging with it too
Urge your child to report any misbehavior they encounter online and on social media
Consider joining Parent University to get videos you can watch WITH your kids so they will learn how to be safe and smart online


Children’s Learning and Development Study

Cognitive Neuroscience Group at the MGH Institute of Health Professions is currently conducting a study about learning and development in school age children (age 8-10 years). This is a longitudinal study, federally funded by the National Science Foundation (NSF), with the goal of improving understanding of how school age children learn from corrective feedback.


This is a longitudinal study that follows children over a period of 3 consecutive years. The goal of this study is to improve understanding of learning in children.


Help us learn about kids’ brains and how they learn. Make a difference in research about learning development. Your child will participate in fun activities and will be able to see his/her brainwaves.


One visit to our lab at the MGH-IHP in the Charlestown Navy Yard every year for three years  Lab visits are scheduled on weekdays and weekends.  A visit takes about 2.5 hours. A quick follow up test on a home computer/iPad/mobile phone a day after the visit.  Fun word learning and sorting computer games, and a few memory tests, Lab visits include safe and noninvasive EEG recording


Yes! Pay is $60 per year. A prize is given at the end of each lab visit. We pay for parking.


Children who are, or soon turning 8 or 10 years, Are English speaking, Have no history of head injury, concussions, seizures, developmental/language/learning/Attention disorders, or other neurological deficits.

For more information please call 617-643-4821 or email; To enroll in the study, please visit:


Statement Regarding TPS Ending for El Salvadorian Immigrants

January 9, 2018

Yesterday, January 8, it was announced that federal Temporary Protected Status (TPS) will be ended for El Salvadorian immigrants beginning in 2019.  Many members of our community immigrated from El Salvador under TPS.  These are valued individuals who enrich our ARPS community in countless ways.

Since the announcement that TPS will be ending, we have heard from families who are concerned about their children’s status in our district.  We want to ensure families that, consistent with our past practice, our core beliefs, and established law, we will continue to enroll and serve every child living in our district who chooses to attend our schools, without regard to their immigration status.

The case law on this topic is very clear and can be found in the United States Supreme Court case Plyler v. Doe from 1982.  Stemming from that decision, federal guidance from the U.S. Department of Justice and the U.S. Department of Education states that:

All children in the United States are entitled to equal access to a basic public elementary and secondary education regardless of their actual or perceived race, color, national origin, citizenship, immigration status, or the status of their parents/guardians.

Nothing in yesterday’s announcement alters our policy of providing equal access to all students or our commitment to providing all children with the academic and emotional support that will allow them to flourish and become contributing members of our community.


Michael Morris                                   Jean Fay

Superintendent of Schools                Amherst-Pelham Education Association President

It’s a Great Time to Return Overdue Jones Library Materials!

The Jones Library and branches will be offering an amnesty period from January 8 – 31, 2018 for library patrons who return overdue library materials.  Library patrons are encouraged to bring a non-perishable, non-expired food donation for the Amherst Survival Center when they return overdue library materials during this time.

“This is a great opportunity for patrons with long-overdue library materials to get those items back to the library without having to pay the fines that are accumulating,” says Amy Anaya, Head of Borrower Services at the Jones Library.  It’s important to note that the amnesty applies only to items that are being returned during this time.  It will not be possible to forgive existing overdue fines on items that have already been returned, or for billed or lost items.

The food collected will support the work of the Amherst Survival Center, a local service agency that assists many in our community in meeting their basic needs.

For further information about returning overdue items, please contact Amy Anaya at 413/259-3132

80’s MUSICAL BINGO NITE! A Benefit for the Amherst Survival Center

Come and enjoy the music of the 80s — Prince, the Go-Gos, Michael Jackson, Pat Benatar, Whitney Houston, and more… and play bingo! Instead of numbers, we’ll be listening to the best songs of the decade. Tickets are $20 per person for four rounds of Bingo! Tickets sold in advance online: or at AJ Hastings, the Center, or the High Horse. Limited number of tickets will be sold at the door.

80’s attire and hair style are optional. Prizes will be given for each round of Bingo, best 80s attire, best 80s hair and 80s trivia knowledge. Food and beverages will be available for purchase. All proceeds benefit the Amherst Survival Center’s programs.

When: Thursday, January 18, 5:30-8:30pm

Where:High Horse (upstairs), 24 N. Pleasant Street in downtown Amherst!

Facebook Event: