Superintendent’s update from Sept. 10

I want to take a moment to acknowledge and thank our incredible clerical staff across the district for the amazing work they do everyday, but particularly over these past months of the pandemic.  It was the clerical staff who kept families and staff informed and updated and kept their offices open and running smoothly, all while handling all of the innumerable things they take care of in a typical year. The District simply could not function without their expertise and they are much appreciated! 

This week I have a few important updates to share with you on different topics.  First, I want to encourage our Amherst elementary families to mark your calendars for September 21 when the Amherst School Committee will host a public forum on the topic of whether to move the Amherst sixth grade students to the middle school.  Your voice is vital to the discussion around this important topic so I hope you will share your thoughts. The meeting is scheduled to begin at 6:30.

I also want to update all of our families on the ways in which we will share information about any positive COVID cases in the schools.  Based on revised guidance from DESE, we will return to the practice of sending an email to all staff and families within any school building that has a positive case.  As you have probably noticed, contact tracing has usually been completed already when the letter goes out, so you would most likely have already received a call if anyone in your family was a close contact.  In addition, we will continue to maintain our District COVID dashboard to track cases, at least until DESE has their tracking dashboard up and running.

Finally, we are actively planning our open houses for each of the schools.  The dates that are set are October 7 for ARHS, October 13 for Pelham, October 14 for Crocker Farm, and October 21 for ARMS.  The current plan is for these to each be remote.  We will update you once the dates are set for the other schools.

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School pictures

Picture Day is Tuesday, September 28th. The forms will be distributed during Advisory on September 23rd. You can prepay for pictures at www.grynnternet.com. Enter code 3A7W5P4 and click login. If you pay online there is no need to submit anything to the school. Please email any questions to arhsoffice@arps.org.

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Free and Reduced Price Lunch Application

All students are encouraged to fill out a Free and Reduced Price Lunch Application. While lunch is free of cost to all students this year, this application provides access to other benefits such as Test Waivers, Sport Fee Waivers, etc. The form is available at this link and can be turned in to the main office.

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For Seniors: Week of Sept 20 college planning events

Week of September 20th

Tuesday 1st Lunch – Lunching Life After ARHS – Essay

Wednesday 2nd Lunch – Lunching on Life After ARHS – Building Your List

Thursday 3rd Lunch – Lunching on Life After ARHS – Common Application

Brainstorming & Writing Your College Essay Workshop

Tuesday, September 21 · 5:00 – 6:30pm

Google Meet joining info

Video call link: https://meet.google.com/hwv-mwxj-ycg

Early Decision & Early Action Workshop

Friday, September 24 · 5:00 – 6:00pm

Google Meet joining info

Video call link: https://meet.google.com/zds-dhfo-egw

Ms. Cuffee-Gray also recently sent out links to the following resources that might be helpful for seniors:
Life After ARHS handbook
Important dates for seniors

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Donate used clothing/textiles and raise money for the PGO

Doing some fall cleaning? Your used clothing and linens can be recycled AND generate some money for the PGO.

Bay State Textiles collects used clothing and other textiles through drop boxes outside our schools. They accept items in good condition as well as stained clothes, single socks and shoes, worn towels and linens, and other textilesjust make sure they’re clean and dry. You can also recycle stuffed animals, backpacks, pillows… anything that’s soft.  Donations should be put in bags before being dropped off.

Look for the large white donation bins along the driveway to the parking lot at ARHS. The bins are easily accessible and are emptied weekly. If both bins are full, please wait until the next week to donate. Please don’t leave your donations outside the bins.

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Mark your calendar

Sept 18: Amherst Hurricanes Athletics Boosters Fundraiser
Sept 21: Amherst School Committee Meeting
Sept 23: Regional School Committee Meeting
Sept 25: West African takeout food fundraiser for ARHS SGS
Oct 11: Indigenous Peoples’ Day (No School)
Oct 16: PSAT for 10th and 11th graders

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Free Wifi Hotspots available from your local library

Both the Munson and the North Amherst Libraries have free hotspots for families that can be checked out for a month at a time and are good for up to 10 devices. The hotspots provide free, unlimited internet access; there is some default content filtering that can be removed. Visit or contact these libraries for more information.

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Superintendent’s Update from Sept. 3

It has been a wonderful start to the new school year!  I have been able to visit every school–many on the first day students returned–and have seen so much excitement and energy.  On Thursday we finally had all students back in our halls when the preschool and Kindergarten students arrived for their first day.  We love the beginning of every new school year, but it is extra special for all of us this year, of course. 

An extremely important discussion that is taking place this year is the potential for Amherst sixth grade students to move from the elementary schools to Amherst Regional Middle School. Last year, the Amherst School Committee voted to explore the option, and on August 31, the Committee had a formal, public discussion that was informed by the presentation available here: Sixth Grade Potential Move to Middle School.  We are dedicated to gathering stakeholder feedback and input as this potential move is considered.  To that end, after viewing the presentation, please complete the survey available here to share your thoughts and ideas.
Reminder:  No Unscheduled Visitors in the Buildings
One of the safety protocols in place this year to help reduce the risk of COVID spread is a “no visitors” practice in all school buildings.  Other than students and staff, no one will be buzzed into the buildings unless they have a pre-arranged meeting scheduled that cannot be done remotely or outdoors. If you need to drop something off for your student or need to speak with someone in your school or Central Office, you will be asked to wait at the door until a staff member can meet you outside.  Details about this practice, along with the other safety protocols in place this school year, can be found in the Fall Health and Safety Protocols document that was emailed to all families prior to the start of school.
Bus and Van Drivers Needed!
This year there is a state-wide shortage of van and bus drivers, and our district is in dire need of additional drivers. If you are interested in applying, or know someone who is, please email humanresources@arps.org.  Those with experience are encouraged to apply, but the district will provide training and support to obtain the required licenses for those who would be new to the positions.

Important COVID Information 

Notifying the School about Positive COVID Testing or Close Contact
The state has issued a helpful flowchart illustrating the steps to take in case of a positive COVID diagnosis or close contact with someone diagnosed with COVID.  If anyone in your household is diagnosed with COVID, or your child has been a close contact with someone else diagnosed with COVID, please notify your school nurse or your school Principal ASAP.  ARHS School nurses can be reached at the following numbers: Robbin Suprenant 362-1743 Mary O’Brien 362-1744.
Positive COVID Cases Dashboard
The MA Department of Elementary and Secondary Education plans to publish a dashboard of all positive cases of COVID in schools this year.  We will share the link to that site as soon as it is up and running and will rely on it to share our data with the community.  Until that time, the district has developed our own COVID Dashboard where you can check on a daily basis to see if there have been any confirmed COVID cases in our district.  
Unacceptable Types of Masks
Please remember that there are three types of masks that are not acceptable in the ARPS schools:  bandannas, gaiters, and any type of mask with a valve.  
COVID Testing 
Testing for COVID is an important part of reducing its spread. We are working with the state to set-up a testing program in the schools and expect to have more information next week.  In the meantime, UMass Amherst provides free COVID testing for community members who do not have symptoms of COVID and are aged 4 and over. People can visit the Public Health Promotion Center for walk-in testing or to pick up a testing kit and drop it off in a campus kiosk. The Public Health Promotion Center is on the first floor of the Campus Center of UMass Amherst. Take the elevator or escalator to the first floor and follow the signs. Walk-in hours are Monday through Thursday 9:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. and Fridays 9:00 a.m. to noon.  More information about the COVID testing program at UMass Amherst is available at https://www.umass.edu/coronavirus/coronavirus/covid-19-testing and a campus map can be found at https://www.umass.edu/sites/default/files/2021-06/campus-map.pdf.
2021-2022  Community Building Award Recipients
At our convocation for all staff last Friday, the names of this year’s Community Building Awards recipients were announced.   We are so proud to share that the recipients this year are Lani Blechman, Fort River librarian; Michael Gallo-O’Connell, Food Services Director; and Violeta Hernandez-Duran, ARHS paraeducator and interpreter.  The Community Building Award qualifications state “The ARPS Community-Building Award will recognize employees of the Amherst, Pelham and Regional Public Schools who have helped to foster a sense of belonging among students and who have helped to build bridges of understanding and acceptance among them.  These individuals make a difference for students by countering prejudice and isolation, supporting community and promoting inclusion.”  Nominated by their peers, students or ARPS families, these recipients embody those qualities in the work they do on behalf of our students.  
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AEF-supported STEM Virtual Tutoring Center

Later this month we will be launching our first ever STEM virtual tutoring center.  Right now we need help recruiting volunteers as well as identifying students who would like to take advantage of evening tutoring sessions in math, science, computer science and engineering. 

Next week we will be announcing our new coordinator and sharing forms to sign up for volunteering as well as tutoring.  A huge thank you to the Amherst Educational Foundation (AEF) for funding this project.  Our goal is to engage our community to support students in their STEM coursework.

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Support Group for Parents/Guardians/Caregivers of 9th + 10th graders

Raising Teens in Times of Change

September 21st through October 26th
Tuesday mornings 8:30-9:30am
Virtual group, meeting on Zoom

Raising a teenager is hard! Raising Teens in Times of Change is a 6-week support group for Caregivers and Parents of ARHS 9th and 10th grade students. The group meets each week on Tuesday mornings virtually 8:30-9:30am starting September 21st. The capacity is limited to 10 families. The registration deadline is Friday, September 17th.

The aims of the group are to:

  • Develop new skills to improve your relationship with your teen
  • Feel less alone as a caregiver/parent
  • Improve understanding of relationship dynamics with teens
  • Recognize your strengths are a caregiver/parent

Fill out this form to register. Or copy and paste this link into your browser: https://docs.google.com/forms/d/e/1FAIpQLScr7JkyvWo5xCTYFSj8xFwz4AAY17s3gML2CrwcvsxfJ6tnDA/viewform
If you have questions please email or call group facilitator ARHS School Social Worker Hannah Caruso at carusoh@arps.org or (413) 362-1789

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Reminders from Morning Announcements

Free breakfast is available to ALL students each day from 8:45-9:00 am

If your student still needs a Chromebook, they should email Ms. Rodriguez at rodriguezl@arps.org or stop by the main office to be added to the list of students still in need of a Chromebook. 

The English department is missing some books from their collection. If you have any books from previous ARHS English courses lying around your house, please have your student return them to their current English teacher or to the main office.

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PSAT Information for 10th and 11th graders

PSAT’s will be offered at ARHS on Saturday, October 16th. Pre-registration starts on Wednesday, September 8th during lunch. The cost is $20, and there will be a box set up in the cafeteria to drop off the payment. The PSAT Sign-up Form  was attached to an email all of the 10th & 11th graders received earlier. There will also be forms available in the main office. Please let Mrs. DellaMarco, dellamarcoj@arps.org, know if you have any questions. You can email her .

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College and Career Advising Reminders for Seniors

From Ms. Cuffee-Gray:

Office Hours: Outside the Cafeteria on SHINE DAYS – Just Outside the Cafeteria on RAIN DAYS. Come join me or I’ll be sitting all by my lonesome. Sign Up or Walk Up AND TALK! – Here’s the LINK
Tuesdays 1st Lunch
Wednesday 2nd Lunch
Thursdays 3rd Lunch  

Life After ARHS Planning Meetings – Meetings begin September 9th – SCHEDULING LINK
First Gen Fridays – Meetings begin September 10th-SCHEDULING LINK
(Students who are First Generation College students – Fridays are reserved for you!)
For these meetings please note that parents and guardians must either meet outside or remotely. Please be sure to:
Revise and update your Naviance Survey
Let your teacher know if you will be missing class time (commit to make up missed time/work)
Add your parent/gaurdians’ email in the sign up 

School Counseling Recommendation Meeting – SCHEDULING LINK
If I am writing your  School Counselor Recommendation, sign up using this link. Be sure that you have completed the longer Naviance survey for four year college applications.  Please note that there is a lot of good stuff in my virtual office (including recordings of previous workshops…). Check it out.

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Fundraiser for Sene-Gambian Scholars Program

For more information, click here

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Amherst Hurricanes Booster Fundraiser

On Sept. 18 the Hurricanes Boosters are hosting a golf tournament, cocktail party and raffle to socialize and support our student athletes.  Whether you are a golfer or just want to come enjoy some the social party, there’s something for everyone including:

  • Golf
  • Wildwood BBQ
  • Progressions beer/selzer (and non-alcholic options)
  • NEW Hurricane Selzer
  • DJ Music from Ben Harrington
  • Raffle prizes including 2 tickets to a Celtics game + dinner, a long board skateboard, dinner at Bistro 63, yoga basket with Serenity Yoga package
  • or enjoy some games (cornhole, golf drive to hit the principal (Fat head version), and others)

You can learn more about the Boosters on their website and register for golf and/or the cocktail party.  

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Mark your calendar

Sept 16: Early release
Sept 18: Amherst Hurricanes Athletics Boosters Fundraiser
Sept 23: Regional School Committee Meeting
Sept 25: West African takeout food fundraiser for ARHS SGS
Oct 11: Indigenous Peoples’ Day (No School)
Oct 16: PSAT for 10th and 11th graders

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Amherst Community Theater

Amherst Community Theater (formerly ALSCT) is creating a fabulous, large-scale musical, with lavish sets and costumes, a full live orchestra, and enthusiastic audiences to fill the 600-seat UMass Bowker Auditorium for nine performances in January. This year, we’ll be presenting Disney’s The Little Mermaid. A hauntingly beautiful love story for the ages, this timeless fable has a broad scope for a host of actors in incredible roles, and the extravagant production gives student actors an unparalleled stage experience. Actors, singers, and dancers ages 7-107 are encouraged to audition! As an added note, we at Amherst Community Theater are committed to inclusive castingIn addition, extensive Covid-19 precautions will be in place to help guard the safety of all participants.

All audition information is at www.amherstacts.org

AUDITIONS: Friday, Sept. 24th, Saturday, Sept. 25th, Sunday, Sept. 26th; CallbacksMonday, September 27th

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Message from Principal Sadiq

Hello everybody,

The first week of school is off to a good start. The energy in the building is great, and day by day things are running more smoothly. The bus pick-ups and drop-offs have been getting better, students have been doing a great job wearing their masks correctly and distancing appropriately, and it feels like everyone is adjusting well to the new school schedule. Of course, there are things we can still improve on, and we will. Especially with your continued feedback and support. Please reach out to ask questions, make suggestions, or to offer some encouragement. The stronger our partnership is, the better this school year will go for all of us. Thanks

We will be offering PSAT’s at the school on Saturday, October 16th. We will share more information about sign-ups next week. 

Take care

Talib Sadiq
Principal

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Superintendent’s ARPS Update 8/27

Note that these updates normally come out Friday afternoon, so the newsletter will carry the previous week’s update

It’s finally here–Monday we will welcome all students in grades one through 12 back to school for in-person learning for the first time in 18 months!  Our preschool and kindergarten students will join us on Thursday, September 2.   It would be an understatement to say that we’re excited to see our students again, but I also want to acknowledge that this return brings some level of anxiety to many.  In my convocation speech to the faculty and staff today, I noted that everyone has experienced their own unique pandemic.  For some, the transition to being less engaged in person with others has been incredibly difficult.  The loss of social contact has negatively impacted the wellbeing of many of our students, staff, and community.  For others, they have found this new arrangement safer–and I am not only speaking of COVID safety–and have thrived.  These folks may be re-entering a context that comes with many challenges for them. Some in the ARPS community have not experienced a loss of a family member or close friend due to COVID.  Others have experienced significant tragedies due to the virus.  What learning comes from this aspect of the pandemic?  Well, I would offer that it’s a reminder–or more than a reminder, an urgent call–to treat each other kindly and compassionately. 

On Tuesday of this week, we welcomed a talented and diverse group of educators who are joining the ARPS team. I had the pleasure of meeting all of them and was struck by their expertise and excitement to begin their work with us.  I am also happy to report that over half of our new hires this year identify as people of color, which has never occurred before in this district. This is an amazing step toward our goal of ensuring that our students get to work with adults in every district role who reflect their culture and heritage. Yesterday, all of our educators came together to begin two days of learning, collaboration and preparation for the return to the classroom.

Another group of dedicated individuals whose work is essential to our schools are the Amherst, Pelham and Regional School Committees. The Amherst School Committee will begin their fall meeting schedule next Tuesday, August 31 at 6:30 p.m.  One of the agenda topics will be the first of two public hearings regarding the potential future move of Amherst sixth grade students to Amherst Regional Middle School (as soon as the Fall of 2022), as was under discussion in the spring.  Everyone is welcome to join in this important conversation.  The agenda for the meeting can be found here.

Please remember that Monday will be a half-day for all students, meaning the elementary schools will dismiss at 12:30 p.m. and the secondary schools will dismiss at 1:20 p.m.  Enjoy this last weekend of summer vacation and we will see you on Monday!

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Post-ARHS Planning for Seniors

From an email sent by Miss Garrity on 9/2, a few important reminders:

  • In Advisory on Friday 9/3, you will receive our famous Lime Green Form! This form is absolutely required for us to send your transcripts ANYWHERE this year. Even if you aren’t sure of what you want to do after high school, please sign this and return it to me in Guidance as soon as possible. Lots of students think “Eh, I don’t need that, I’m not going to college!” That thought is unhelpful in the long run, because we don’t just send your transcript to college! We send to trade schools, gap year programs, employers, internships, scholarships, sports coaches… the list goes on and on! So PLEASE get this done as soon as you can to set yourself up for success for the year!
     
  • If you need your Naviance password reset, please contact me via email or swing by the office. It takes 2 seconds for me to reset it, and then you can get to work. Don’t let lack of access allow you to procrastinate!
     
  • Soon we will send out tutorials about how to request transcripts and build your list in Naviance. In the meantime, if you know you will be applying Early Action or Early Decision to a college, please be sure to talk to your counselor and your teachers about writing your recommendations by your deadline!

As always, I am here for anything you may need, so please don’t hesitate to ask questions. You can email me at garrityc@arps.org, call me at 362-1720, or stop by the office to ask in person (and play with the fidget toys, of course!)

Best,
Miss Garrity

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Sept. 8 School Committee Meeting

The Amherst-Pelham Regional School Committee will meet virtually at 6:30 pm. The meeting will be livestreamed on Amherst Media (Channel 15). The agenda can be found here.

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Fundraiser for ARHS Sene-Gambian Scholars: West African takeout food!

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Mark your calendar

Sept 3: SEPAC meeting
Sept 3: Last day to submit course change requests to your guidance counselor
Sept 6: No school, Labor Day
Sept 8: Regional School Committee Meeting
Sept 16: Early release
Sept 25: West African takeout food fundraiser for ARHS SGS

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Free concert on the Jones Library Lawn

As we resume fall activities and welcome back students to  our community, join us for a free outdoor concert on the front lawn of the Jones Library on Thursday, September 9th at 5:30 pm.

This event features Gaia Roots, who bring energetic percussion and vocals to create a musical experience that can be enjoyed by all ages.  So bring your family and your friends for this musical community event.

In case of bad weather, the event will take place in the tent in front of the Jones Library.

This program is made possible by the Friends of the Jones Libraries.  This program is also supported in part by the Amherst Cultural Council, a local agency which is supported by the Massachusetts Cultural Council, a state agency.

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Welcome to new ARHS families

While this is the second newsletter of Fall 2021, we know that many families of students new to the school were just added to our email list. Welcome to all of you! For a brief introduction to the PGO newsletter, check out the archived Aug. 20 edition on our ARHS PGO news site or on our Facebook page (use the link or just go to FB and search for ARHS PGO). If you’re on Facebook, please like the ARHS PGO page to see news items from us–we try to post timely reminders and new items of interest between newsletters.

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First Day Information from Principal Sadiq

Hello everyone,

The big day is almost here! We are so excited to welcome all of your children back to school. I wanted to share our schedule for the 1st day with you so you can have a sense of how we will be spending our time on August 30th. We are all looking forward to being back in school and working with you to make this school year as successful as possible.

I also wanted to remind everyone about drop-offs & pick-ups at the high school. We anticipate many families driving their children to and from school. We will need everyone’s cooperation if this is going to happen safely and smoothly. I have attached a map of the high school parking lot. We would like the majority of drop-offs and pick-ups to happen on Mattoon St in front of the gym, similar to last spring. This will help cut down on the number of cars in the parking lot, and potential traffic jams with the buses. We are also asking that families do not drive down the access road that leads to the middle school. There are going to be a lot of buses traveling up and down that road. Thank you for your cooperation.  Take care

Talib Sadiq

Principal

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School bus information

School bus stops and times, along with the bus conduct guidelines, for all of our schools are now available on the district website.  Many of the routes and times have changed over the past few years, so please check the lists for your bus stop time and location.  You may find there are fewer bus stops, and your child may need to walk a little farther to reach their neighborhood stop. The Transportation Department recommends arriving at the bus stop 10 minutes before the scheduled time.

After careful review, the District determined that door-to-door service is not a sustainable model for school buses, and have been incrementally moving in that direction for several years. Most districts in our area utilize similar models for transportation.  This model reduces the carbon footprint of our transportation system and often reduces the overall time our students spend on buses.

This change may result in a longer walk to and from the bus stop for some students. For example, some elementary school students may have a 6 minute walk, and some secondary students may have a 10 minute walk to their bus stop.  This is well under the one mile walking distance to bus stops allowed by Massachusetts General Law Section 68.

In establishing neighborhood stop locations, our transportation department paid careful attention to busy streets and dangerous intersections to ensure students’ safety.  In addition, Massachusetts law requires motorists in both lanes on a two-lane roadway to come to a complete stop when a school bus is stopped for pick-ups and drop offs and has its lights flashing. The school bus driver will hold up traffic until all children exiting or entering the bus have safely crossed the street.   

For assistance in finding your child’s bus number, bus stop location, and pick-up and drop-off times, please contact your Principal’s office.  If you have questions about the selection of neighborhood stops, please contact Randy Sibley, Transportation Coordinator, at 362-1852. The Transportation Department appreciates your understanding and cooperation. 

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Does your student need to make a schedule change?

Counselors will be taking course change requests until September 3rd. Students can fill out the form connected to their counselor to request a change. PLEASE NOTE: Many electives are full at this time. We ask that students be flexible in exploring new topics that may not be their area of interest, and understand that the desired changes may not be able to be made.

Larcheveque Schedule Changes
Mucci-Ramos Schedule Changes
Balzano Schedule Changes
Zephyr Schedule Changes

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SEPAC meeting (attend virtually) Sept. 3

The Amherst Regional Public Schools Special Education Parent Advisory Council meets on Friday, Sept. 3 from 9-9:45 am. Interested families can join the virtual meeting via Google meet. Click here for the agenda and information on accessing the meeting.

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For seniors: information on post-ARHS planning

Since the August Futurist workshops had to be postponed, Ms. Cuffee-Gray provided the links below from recordings of the June Workshops; you might also find useful resources at – The College Essay Guy

You can use her virtual office for resources, and scheduling appointments, and she will also be in the cafeteria on Tuesdays for College & Career in the Caf! Office Hours (or outside), begining September 7th.

Futurist Series – College Essay

https://bit.ly/June2021CollegeEssay

Futurist Series – Common Application Nuts and Bolts

https://bit.ly/JUNE2021COMMONAP

Futurist Series – Yay! Naviance! Building Your List of Colleges

https://bit.ly/June2021YayNaviance

Futurist Series – Financial Aid FAFSA and Fun

https://bit.ly/June2021FAFSAndFun

Futurist Series – Diversity on Campus – Finding Your People

https://bit.ly/June2021DiversityOnCampus

Futurist Series – Planning a GAP Year

Sorry. No recording – here’s a great link.. https://www.gapyearassociation.org/

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Hurricane Boosters fundraiser

The Amherst Hurricane Athletic Boosters are a 501(c)(3) organization that supports all the ARPS Athletic programs governed by the athletic department (varsity, JV, Freshman, Club teams, and middle school teams).  Our purpose is to provide equitable support to all teams and activities, which impacts the entire community.

Our largest fundraiser every year is a golf open.  We were unable to host the open in 2020 due to the pandemic.  However, we are having our fundraiser this year on September 18th.  Funds from this fundraiser will go toward college scholarships, the new Hurricane Alley, support for teams such as HUDL and much more!

It’s a great time to socialize and support our student athletes.  Whether you are a golfer or just want to come enjoy some the social party, there’s something for everyone including:

  • Golf
  • Wildwood BBQ
  • Progressions beer/selzer (and non-alcholic options)
  • NEW Hurricane specialty drink
  • DJ Music from Ben Harrington
  • Raffle prizes including 2 tickets to a Celtics game + dinner, a long board skateboard, dinner at Bistro 63, yoga basket with Serenity Yoga package
  • or enjoy some games (cornhole, golf drive to hit the principal, and others)

You can learn more about the Boosters on our website and register for golf and/or the cocktail party.  

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Mark your calendar

Aug 30: First Day of School; Half Day

Sept 3: SEPAC meeting

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Free community COVID testing and vaccinations at UMass

UMass will continue this fall to offer free COVID tests for asymptomatic Individuals ages 4 and up. If your family used this service previously, please note that the format has changed a bit. You now pick up a testing kit (or more than one) at a desk in the Campus Center; you (or your student) then take the test at your convenience and drop it off at one of a few kiosks on campus. If you have already participated in their testing program, you simply fill out a label with your name and DOB for the sample tube; if you’re new to the testing program, you fill out one additional form to include with your first sample. More information on this service can be found here.

UMass is also still offering free COVID vaccines to anyone 12 and older, both by appointment and through a walk-up clinic. More information on their vaccine clinic can be found here.

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Welcome to the 2021-22 PGO Newsletter!

Welcome to the academic year 2021-2022, and the return of the ARHS PGO Parent News! Our newsletter will arrive in your inbox every Friday morning, packed with valuable information about events, deadlines, schedules, community events, sports news, opportunities etc… Our goal is to be a your one-stop shop for all ARHS news, so we compile many of the announcements you and/or your students receive from other school sources. Our ARHS Facebook page compiles items from this newsletter plus other timely announcements from the PGO; you can also find an archive of newsletter posts at the ARHS Parent Center.

If this is your first issue, we welcome you and hope you find it helpful. If you are the parent of a recent graduate and would like to unsubscribe, there is a link at the bottom of this email. If you were forwarded this email and wish to subscribe, click here.  https://arhsparentcenter.us1.list-manage.com/subscribe?u=b2b66ca8521c3307ea8f3499b&id=8a3d18f86b

Contact us anytime using this email address if you have something you would like to submit or a question to ask. We also want to take this moment to thank Becky Demling, who has passed on this responsibility after many years at the helm of the newsletter (often with other stalwart PGO members). Our best to everyone navigating the transition back to school!

Your PGO officers,

Ellen, Jennifer, Joy, Kate and Susan

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School opening info from Principal Sadiq

Hello,

I hope all of you are doing well and enjoying the summer.

The first day of school for students, Monday, August 30th, is rapidly approaching. As that day gets closer, my excitement about the new school year and everyone being back in the building grows. I imagine everyone will be wearing big smiles underneath their masks. 

As exciting as it will be to have everyone back in the building, it does also make me a little nervous. But, the precautions we’re taking, the current Covid numbers being low, and the number of fully vaccinated people in our area being high, do help to ease my mind. With that being said, we will still need to work together to keep all of us as safe as possible. These are a few of the safety precautions we will be taking at school: 

  • Everyone, except people who are medically exempt, will be wearing a mask indoors
  • Whenever possible we will keep students at least 3 feet apart 
  • Air purifiers and hand sanitizer are still in every classroom
  • Our 4 x 4 block schedule will cut down on the number of people students will be spending a significant amount of time with indoors 
  • Students will be eating lunches outside as much as possible 

One of the main reasons we made it through the spring with students in the building and no major Covid outbreaks, was due to the level of cooperation from our students and their families. With your continued support, we’re hoping to keep that momentum going. If there are any Covid cases in school, our local Department of Public Health will do a thorough job of contact tracing to minimize the spread.  

Other ways we are getting ready for school to start is to make sure that students feel welcome and prepared. This is a reminder that on August 24th from 8am-4pm, 9th and 10th Graders can pick up their school-issued Chromebook and schedule. They will also be able to take a tour of the school from 9am-12pm on August 24th. Please fill out the form to have your student added to the tour list. Students will also be given tours on the first day of school with their Advisory. 

The tours will be given by our 11th & 12th graders. All 11th and 12th graders not giving tours should come to the high school on August 25th anytime between 8am-4pm to get their Chromebook, schedule, and an unofficial copy of their transcript.  

We will be sending this information directly to students as well. Please email arhsoffice@arps.org or call 413-362-1700 with questions. Thanks and take care.

Talib Sadiq

Principal

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Welcome to the 2021-22 School Year from Superintendent Morris

Dear ARPS Families:

I hope the summer has been enjoyable and restorative for all of you since there were more opportunities for travel and gathering with family and friends over the past few weeks. This has been a particularly well-earned break for all of our staff, students and families this year.  As much as I have enjoyed the pace of summer, I am also thrilled to finally be welcoming our students back for in-person learning on Monday, August 30!

It has been 18 months since we first closed our buildings due to the pandemic, and we have weathered some extreme challenges together as a community.  I truly believe that these challenges can serve to make us stronger.  As we enter the 2021-2022 school year, I am confident that we will take what we have learned during these past months and use those lessons to support our students’ social, emotional and mental health. As we return, we are also prepared to protect everyone’s physical health with the Health and Safety Guidelines established for the beginning of the school year.  

One major change this school year is the new start times that were approved by the School Committee.  At the elementary level, students will attend school from 8:10 a.m. to 2:40 p.m. (preschool students will arrive at 8:30 a.m.)  At the secondary level, students will attend from 9:00 a.m. to 3:35 p.m.  Please remember that the first day of school will be a half-day for all students, meaning the elementary schools will dismiss at 12:30 p.m. and the secondary schools will dismiss at 1:20 p.m.  Our preschool and kindergarten students will begin school on Thursday, September 2, following student orientations. Elementary bus routes for the revised schedule are available at this link and secondary routes will be available on the website later this week.  Finally, you can find the full-year school calendar at this link.  

Enjoy these final days of the summer break!

Dr. Michael Morris

Superintendent

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2021-22 School Year Health and Safety Guidelines from Superintendent Morris

Dear ARPS Community:

We are excited to welcome back ALL of our students and staff for full-time, in-person learning in a few weeks! This will be our first in-person year with the new school start times approved by the School Committee last winter.  Student arrival will be at 8:10 a.m. at the elementary schools (8:30 a.m. for preschool students) with dismissal at 2:40 p.m.  Please watch for detailed information from school principals for families who plan to transport their children to and from school since the drop-off and pick-up times may differ slightly for them (as they did last year), given the high number of cars and limited drop-off and pick-up locations.  For those who have available space in their cars, carpooling will truly help with traffic at arrival and dismissal and may resolve the capacity and timing challenges of when students can be dropped off and picked up each day.

At the secondary level, school will start at 9:05 a.m., with dismissal at 3:35 p.m.  Early-release day dismissal times are 12:30 p.m. at the elementary level and 1:20 p.m. at the secondary level. I am also pleased to remind you that the federal program providing free meals (breakfast and lunch) for all students will continue during the 2021-2022 school year.

We continue to focus on the health and safety of the ARPS community.  To that end, ARPS staff have been working diligently to ensure that the physical environment in every building is cleaned, sanitized and arranged in accordance with the health and safety guidelines provided by local, state and national health experts.  That means we will be maintaining social distancing to the extent possible in our schools, consistent with guidance from the Centers for Disease Control (CDC).  At the elementary level, that will mean that classrooms, including those in the primary grades, will have desks instead of tables in the primary seating areas.  Additionally, we will continue to encourage outdoor learning. 

As noted in my letter to the ARPS community at the end of July, multiple organizations such as the American Academy of Pediatricians and the CDC have released recommendations on the topic of face coverings.  These recommendations include wearing face coverings indoors, including those who are vaccinated. The same guidance was provided to me by the Town of Amherst Health Director; ARPS Nurse Leader Robbin Suprenant; and a team of local physicians.  Based on that expert guidance, face coverings will continue to be required indoors and on buses for students and staff, regardless of vaccination status, at the start of the school year.* Face coverings will not be required while outdoors, but students and staff can opt to maintain face coverings all day if they so choose.  

The ventilation in indoor spaces across the district has improved significantly over the past 18 months.  Much like last year, we are using multiple measures to ensure proper ventilation, such as HEPA purification systems, opening windows when possible, and improving unit ventilators in the spaces where issues were noted when professionally evaluated.  I am glad to report that many of our large group spaces that were not accessible last year, such as several gymnasiums, auditoriums, and cafeterias, can be utilized this year due to improved ventilation in these spaces.

If there is a positive case of COVID in our schools, contact tracing will continue to be completed by the Town of Amherst Health Department, in conjunction with our talented nursing staff.  The Massachusetts Department of Public Health is slated to release specific school guidelines that will be implemented by the Health Department regarding topics such as quarantining.  Those guidelines will be shared with the ARPS community before the start of the school year.

The health and safety requirements outlined here are subject to change during the 2021-2022 school year as more information becomes available regarding local vaccination rates among staff, students, and the community; local case counts and community spread; and as additional guidance is received from public health authorities given the evolving status of the virus/variants.

Finally, The medical community has emphasized time and time again that vaccines are currently the best defense against COVID-19 and its variants, including Delta. If you are above the age of 12 and have not yet been vaccinated, I urge you to consult with your family medical practitioner about the advisability of vaccination. Unfortunately, our youngest learners are not able to be vaccinated at this time, so those who can be vaccinated need to do our part to keep them safe.  For more information about the safety and effectiveness of the Covid-19 vaccine, visit the Trust the Facts, Get the Vax website.  If you wish to schedule a vaccination, please visit the state’s Covid 19 Vaccine Finder Site

Sincerely,

Dr. Michael Morris

Superintendent of Schools

*Consistent with last year, masks are not required for individuals with disabilities that prevent them from wearing face coverings.

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Chromebook/schedule pickup and tours for new students

First, a reminder that the school needs your help figuring out who still has a school issued Chromebook and who will need one when school reopens. If you haven’t already done so, please take a minute to fill out this Chromebook survey

Students can pick up Chromebooks and course schedules (and for 11th and 12th graders, unofficial transcripts) at the following times:

9th and 10th Graders: Tuesday, August 24th 8am-4pm
11th and 12th Graders: Wednesday, August 25th 8am-4pm

School tours for new students will be available from 9am-12pm on August 24. 9th and 10th graders, and any students new to the district, sign up here to take a tour https://forms.gle/K9DfaqGPeRuAczZ2A  

Guidance Counselors will be available to help answer any questions students have about their schedule. They’ll be available from 9:00am – 12:00pm for 9th & 10th graders on Tuesday 8/24, and from 12:00pm – 3:00pm for 11th and 12th graders on Wednesday 8/25. 

Please feel free to email arhsoffice@arps.org or call 413-362-1700 with any questions.

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Fall sports registration deadline is TODAY (Friday, 8/20)

Go to this link to access registration.

Game Schedule
Practice Schedule
Athletic Webpage

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2021-2022 School Calendar

The 2021-2022 School Calendar has been approved by the School Committee. 

Key information about the 2020-2021 School Year calendar:

School will start on Monday, August 30th for students in grades 1-12 and will be a half-day.  Preschool and Kindergarten start on Thursday, September 1, 2021.

There will be no school on the day before Thanksgiving.

The projected last day of school is June 25, 2021. 

Please note that schools are required to provide 180 days of instruction

The projected last day of school, including five snow days, is June 23, 2022.  One weekday is deducted for each snow day not used, with the earliest possible last day of school being June 15, 2022. 

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Backpack Project: Last day is TODAY, 8/20

The Amherst-Pelham Regional Schools, Amherst Public Schools, and Pelham Public School are pleased to announce the annual Backpack Project event for the 2021-2022 school year.  The second and final day of this year’s event will be held outside the side entrance of Amherst Regional Middle School on Friday, August 20 from 9:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m..

Any ARPS student who needs a backpack is encouraged to stop by the event to pick one up.  Thanks to the generous donations of the Rotary Club and Cradles to Crayons, there are plenty of backpacks available.  For questions, please contact Mildred Martinez from the ARPS Family Center at (413) 362-1871 or email: martinezm2@arps.org.

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Congratulations to spring athletes

Some postseason sports news came in after our final spring newsletter. Congratulations to Boys’ Tennis on winning the Western Mass Championship!

Congratulations also to the Track and Field athletes who competed at the All-State meet: Bevin Montgomery-Behrt, Savior Robinson, Maddie Shea, Juliana Shepard, and Charlotte Staudenmayer.

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Mark your calendars

Aug. 20: Fall Sports Registration Deadline

Aug 20: Football & Golf Begin

Aug 23: Remaining Fall Sports Begin

Aug 24: Fall Sports Payment Deadline

Aug 24 · Futurist Series – College Essay 3–4:30pm

Aug 25 ·Futurist Series – Financial Aid/ FAFSA 9–10:30am

Aug 25-  Futurist Series – Diversity On Campus 3:00 – 4:30pm

Aug 26- Futurist Series – College Athletics 8–9:30am

Aug 26 –  Futurist Series – Naviance/ Building a Smart List 3- 4:30pm

Aug 30- First Day of School; Half Day

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Kendrick Park Playground Ribbon Cutting

Text: Join us  for Kendrick Playground Ribbon Cutting Event on Tuesday, August 24 at 10:30 AM

Join us for the ribbon cutting on your brand new Kendrick Park Playground! All are welcome. Remarks will be made by Amherst Town Council President Lynn Griesemer and Town Manager Paul Bockelman.

Date and Time: Tuesday, August 24th at 10:30 AM

Where: Kendrick Park Playground at 50 East Pleasant St. in Downtown Amherst, click here to view on map

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Have a Great Summer!

The ARHS PGO Board would like to wish everyone a very happy summer! This is the last ARHS PGO newsletter for the 2020-2021 School Year. It will be back with a new newsletter editors in mid-August.  Be well!

Your editor,

Becky

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ARPS Fall 2021-2022 In-Person Learning Survey

We are excited that we will welcome all of our students back into the buildings on August 30, 2021 (and September 2, 2021 for Pre-K and K students) for in-person learning and want to ensure that their return is a great experience. The purpose of the survey at https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/GMHDLG6 is to hear feedback, concerns and suggestions from our ARPS parents/guardians as we plan for the full return to in-person learning in the fall. Please take a moment to complete the survey to share your thoughts.  The deadline for completing the survey is Wednesday, June 30.

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ARHS Course Material and Technology Returns

ARHS course materials should be turned in at the teachers’ request or after your last class. You can also return materials from 8-5 on Fri (6/25). Chromebooks with chargers and cases will also be collected on this date.  Don’t forget to turn in your library books!!

Additionally, the Information Systems Department will be collecting students’ loan devices (Chromebooks, iPads and hotspots) outside the District Offices entrance of the Middle School on the following dates and times:

  • Friday, June 25 from 2:30-4:30 p.m.
  • Monday, June 28 from 3:00-7:00 p.m.
  • Tuesday, June 29 from 3:00-7:00 p.m.

Thank you, in advance, for your cooperation in getting these devices returned ASAP after school lets out for the summer!  All devices must be returned by June 29th.

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2021-2022 School Calendar

The 2021-2022 School Calendar has been approved by the School Committee. 

Key information about the 2020-2021 School Year calendar:

School will start on Monday, August 30th for students in grades 1-12 and will be a half-day.  Preschool and Kindergarten start on Thursday, September 1, 2021.

There will be no school on the day before Thanksgiving.

The projected last day of school is June 25, 2021. 

Please note that schools are required to provide 180 days of instruction

The projected last day of school, including five snow days, is June 23, 2022.  One weekday is deducted for each snow day not used, with the earliest possible last day of school being June 15, 2022. 

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Attn Rising Seniors

Members of the Class of 2022! Mark your calendars…
Are you a futurist? Are you planning for your future? Of course you are!!!
Here’s an opportunity to prepare for your Life After ARHS during the summer. Cross some things off your list! Take some time to GOBBLE UP some pieces of the college admissions pie (we will look at these topics and more during the school year as well).


Futurist Series – College Essay
Tuesday, August 24 · 3:00 – 4:30pm
Google Meet link: https://meet.google.com/geq-mskr-smp

Futurist Series – Financial Aid – FAFSA and FUN!
Wednesday, August 25 · 9:00 – 10:30am
Google Meet link: https://meet.google.com/yoe-qvdh-nur

Futurist Series – Diversity On Campus – Finding Your People
Wednesday, August 25 · 3:00 – 4:30pm
Google Meet link: https://meet.google.com/sen-oehf-vsq

Futurist Series – College Athletics – Come to Play
Thursday, August 26 · 8:00 – 9:30am
Google Meet link: https://meet.google.com/pih-xawo-fwj

Futurist Series – Naviance! Yay! Building a Smart List!
Thursday, August 26 · 3:00 – 4:30pm
Google Meet link: https://meet.google.com/fiv-sdem-jcq

Futurist Series – College Athletics – Come to Play
Thursday, August 26 · 8:00 – 9:30am
Google Meet link: https://meet.google.com/pih-xawo-fwj

Futurist Series – Naviance! Yay! Building a Smart List!
Thursday, August 26 · 3:00 – 4:30pm
Google Meet link: https://meet.google.com/fiv-sdem-jcq

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Fall Sports Registartion is Open

Fall registration is now open! Please click on the registration links below or go to the athletic webpage to register. Please note, for middle schoolers registering for field hockey or girls soccer you must register under high school registration. For middle schoolers registering for volleyball or cross country please register under middle school registration. All high schoolers register under high school registration (as well as middle schoolers registering for girls soccer or field hockey).

In addition a recent physical must be on file prior to participating in athletics. Please send physical to Robbin Suprenant, she can be contacted at suprenantr@arps.org .

If there are any sport modifications due to COVID, they are not out at this time.

Fall 2021 High School Sports Registration

Fall 2021 Middle School Sports Registration

Start Date(s): Football & golf August 20, 2021; all other sports August 23,2021

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