Superintendent’s update from 1/7

For a pdf version of the ARPS Update, please click here.

Para obtener una versión de la actualización de ARPS en español, haga clic aquí.

Para uma versão do ARPS Update em português, clique aqui.

Welcome back from the winter break!  We were so excited to welcome our students back to school on Monday.  Thank you to everyone who continues to practice the mitigation strategies we have all become so familiar with over the past months–it truly makes a difference in our ability to keep in-person learning going.  On the topic of masks, all ARPS schools now have KN95 masks available for students who do not bring them from home.  Simply put, these masks filter the air dramaticallybetter than other types of masks, and we encourage their use during the school day to keep our students and staff safer.  The next-best option is wearing a surgical mask under a cloth mask.  Finally, the last acceptable option is wearing a surgical mask, which we have available as well. 

While we have not had to cancel school due to COVID since the break, we did see a considerable increase in cases reported to us from that time.  Some have asked for clarification about when students or staff can return to school if they have tested positive.  This chart from MA Department of Health/DESE provides clear guidelines.

As a reminder, if you have been notified by your school nurse that you are an in-school close contact of someone diagnosed with COVID, you may request a free rapid test by emailing closecontacts@arps.org.  Arrangements will be made for you to pick up the test (via contactless pick-up) at the Central Office.  Rapid tests are not available for out-of-school close contacts.  Unvaccinated student close contacts are required to quarantine for a minimum of 5 days after exposure and cannot return if they have any symptoms of COVID.

One last thing to note is that the District is discontinuing the email notifications when there is a positive case in one of the schools.  Instead, we ask that you follow our COVID Case Dashboard, which is updated daily.

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Local vaccine/booster clinics for students

A vial of SARS-CoV2 COVID-19 vaccine in a medical research and development laboratory. Science 3D illustration.

This information was shared with district families in an email on 1/11. While the first clinic listed is happening today (Friday, 1/14) please read on for information about other options.

The Centers for Disease Control now recommends that all individuals ages 12 and up receive a booster shot if their second shot was received more than five months ago. Booster shots provide significantly more protection from the omicron variant, which is now dominant in the United States.  Below are local opportunities for your child to receive a booster shot.

The Amherst Health Department is hosting a vaccine clinic for booster shots only for students age 12 and over this Friday, January 14 from 2:00-4:00 p.m.  The clinic will take place in the Amherst Regional Middle School gym.  If your child is 12 years old or older, received their second shot more than 5 months ago, and needs a booster shot, you can sign up for the clinic at: https://home.color.com/vaccine/register/townofamherst?calendar=9f1491de-a11b-44ad-9bbd-7c2a49cee740

If you are unable to get one of the limited number of appointments at Friday’s clinic, the Amherst Health Department offers clinics each Thursday at the Bangs Center in downtown Amherst.  The clinic for this Thursday (January 13) has several appointments left; you can register your child for that clinic or a future clinic (if that one fills up) at https://home.color.com/vaccine/register/townofamherst?calendar=1647d54b-9340-4d5b-865f-e8c15dedb323.  

In addition, there will be booster appointments available at the second-dose clinic scheduled at Amherst Regional High School on Wednesday, January 26 from 3-6 pm.  To register your student for a booster at this clinic, complete the form at https://forms.gle/EgCMU9RP62XbcpEe7 and you will be assigned an appointment time.

Los Centros de Control de Enfermedades recomiendan ahora que todas las personas de 12 años en adelante reciban una vacuna de refuerzo si su segunda vacuna se recibió hace más de cinco meses. Las vacunas de refuerzo proporcionan una protección significativamente mayor frente a la variante omicrón, que ahora es la dominante en Estados Unidos.  A continuación encontrará oportunidades locales para que su hijo reciba una vacuna de refuerzo.

El Departamento de Salud de Amherst está organizando una clínica de vacunas de refuerzo sólo para los estudiantes de 12 años o más este viernes, 14 de enero de 2:00-4:00 p.m. La clínica se llevará a cabo en el gimnasio de la Escuela Secundaria Regional de Amherst.  Si su hijo tiene 12 años o más, recibió su segunda vacuna hace más de 5 meses y necesita una vacuna de refuerzo, puede inscribirse en la clínica en: https://home.color.com/vaccine/register/townofamherst?calendar=9f1491de-a11b-44ad-9bbd-7c2a49cee740

Si no puede conseguir una de las limitadas citas en la clínica del viernes, el Departamento de Salud de Amherst ofrece clínicas cada jueves en el Centro Bangs en el centro de Amherst.  La clínica para este jueves (13 de enero) tiene varias citas restantes; usted puede registrar a su niño para esa clínica o una clínica futura (si esa se llena) en https://home.color.com/vaccine/register/townofamherst?calendar=1647d54b-9340-4d5b-865f-e8c15dedb323.  

Además, habrá citas de refuerzo disponibles en la clínica de segunda dosis programada en Amherst Regional High School el miércoles 26 de enero de 3 a 6 pm.  Para registrar a su estudiante para un refuerzo en esta clínica, complete el formulario en https://forms.gle/EgCMU9RP62XbcpEe7 y se le asignará una hora de cita.

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COVID testing resources

With the current rise in COVID cases in the local community, we know many families are finding it challenging to sort through different testing options and to find the tests they need. The PGO has put together a resource sheet about local, accessible options for COVID tests. We will update this sheet if new information becomes available.

Con el actual aumento de los casos de COVID en la comunidad local, sabemos que a muchas familias les resulta difícil encontrar las diferentes opciones de pruebas y las pruebas que necesitan. El PGO ha elaborado una hoja de recursos sobre las opciones locales y accesibles para las pruebas de COVID. Actualizaremos esta hoja si se dispone de nueva información.

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Senior photos

Reminder! Senior Photos are due 1/31! Please send jpegs (or any questions) to garrityc@arps.org! Need a photographer? Yearbook students are available to take portraits during lunch hours, plus blocks, and after school!

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Thank-you Thursdays

We know it’s been a long and tough year for teachers and staff – and it’s only January! We would like to show the ARHS staff how much we appreciate them with Thank-You Thursdays – an opportunity for ARHS families to provide treats to get them through the day. If you are interested in providing some treats (either purchased or made), you can sign up to do so and see additional details here.

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Workshop on social media and teen mental health

The ARHS clinician team is offering a workshop for parents and guardians on February 8th and 15th. Click here to see a full-size version of the flyer and registration link.

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Mark your calendar

Jan 17: MLK Day (no school)
Jan 19-20: Early release days for 1st semester/2nd quarter exams
Jan 21: Teacher work day (no school)
Jan 24: Quarter 3 starts

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Note from the principal about graduation survey

Hello,

I hope that 2022 is off to a healthy and happy start for all of you and your families. I wanted to share the results of the survey that was sent to our seniors and their families, about where to have the 2022 Graduation Ceremony. A total of 256 votes were cast, 151 (59%) for The Mullins Center and 105 (41%) for The Pines Theater. So, we will be moving forward with preparations to have the Graduation Ceremony at The Mullins Center on Friday, June 10th, 2022. We are all hoping that Covid will not force us to have to change these plans. We will keep you updated about that as Graduation day gets closer. 

Take care,
Talib Sadiq, Principal

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Health and safety updates

Since there were so many important health and safety updates over the past week or so, we have compiled them all into one google doc you can access here. Note that when school resumes after the Friday snow day, students will be required to wear surgical or KN95/N95 masks during the school day, and masks will be provided for students who don’t have easy access to those types of masks. Details are in the document.

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PGO grants for students and teachers

It’s time for Student and Teacher Grants!

Thanks to everyone who helped make our first Maroon Envelope Fundraiser a success! We blew past our goal and raised over $3500 for Student and Teacher grants. 

If your student is involved in an ARHS club please encourage them to submit a grant request with their advisor’s approval.  The deadline is February 14; here’s the link to the application (note that this form is only accessible to people with aprs.org email addresses, e.g. students and staff).

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For seniors

Information about a range of post-ARHS planning tools, sent out by Ms. Cuffee-Gray in an email on 1/4, can be found in this google doc.

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Mark your calendar

Jan 8: Amherst-Pelham Regional School Committee Meeting
Jan 11: Amherst School Committee Meeting
Jan 17: MLK Day (no school)
Jan 19-20: Early release days for 1st semester/2nd quarter exams
Jan 21: Teacher work day (no school)

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Wishing you a safe and restful break!

The ARHS PGO newsletter will return on Friday, January 7. In the meantime you can check our Facebook page for any time-sensitive announcements.

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Superintendent’s update from 12/17

For a pdf version of the ARPS Update, please click here.

Para obtener una versión de la actualización de ARPS en español, haga clic aquí.

Para uma versão do ARPS Update em português, clique aqui.

I am pleased to share that we have begun a district-wide review of our elementary math program for grades K-5, an action that has been called for by many educators and families who have expressed concerns about the efficacy of our current curriculum.  It is likely that I will recommend to the Amherst and Pelham School Committees that we adopt a different math curriculum at the end of this process.  Any new curriculum selected would be implemented beginning Fall 2022. An update on the make-up of the Math Review Committee, work done to-date, and upcoming events in the review process is included in the newsletter below.

Last week, I shared the approved school calendar for the 2022-2023 school year; however, there was an error in the date of Yom Kippur.  Thank you to the ARPS community member who spotted the error and alerted us to it!  The corrected calendar is included in this week’s newsletter.

Since next week is a short one, this will be the last ARPS Update before the winter break—and a new calendar year—begins.  I want to take this opportunity to thank all of the ARPS community for the ways in which we have worked together to realize our goal of returning to, and maintaining, in-person learning.  Vaccines and our mitigation strategies of mask-wearing, hand washing, pooled testing and social distancing have helped keep our community safe and learning together.  Thank you to everyone for all you have done from August to now to maintain a safe learning environment for our students.

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Two important reminders for seniors

Seniors, remember to send your senior photos by email to Miss Garrity at garrityc@arps.org! The deadline is January 31st!

If you are applying to college for January 1st, please note that Miss Garrity will only be working on the 29th and 30th. Make sure your deadlines are listed correctly and that you’ve requested transcripts. If you applied ED but have been denied or deferred and are now applying to other schools, let Miss Garrity know ASAP if you have not already. Email her with any questions and she will respond on the 29th.

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Two easy ways (one free!) to support the all-district PGO

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

FLORENCE BANK COMMUNITY CHOICE GRANTS — VOTING CLOSES DEC 31
In past years, the ARPS PGO has received close to 100 votes & over $1,400 per year. Yay!  The grant money went towards classroom support, special projects, field trips & more.

This year, the PGOs of the ARPS PGO (Crocker Farm, Wildwood, Amherst Middle School, & Amherst High School) are campaigning jointly again to maximize our votes. Each Florence Bank account holder is can vote once for the community organization of their choice; if you are an account holder, please consider voting for “Amherst Regional Public Schools PGO”, the name of our joint non-profit. There are 2 easy ways to vote: (1) Online – Visit https://www.florencebank.com/vote to cast a vote online for the “Amherst Regional Public Schools PGO”. (2) Paper Ballot.  Ballots are available at any Florence Bank location.

———————————————————————–
ANNUAL UMASS AMHERST COMMUNITY CAMPAIGN (UMACC) FOR UMASS EMPLOYEES IS NOW UNDERWAY 

The UMACC program lets UMass employees donate to charitable organizations via paycheck, as little as $1 per pay period. UMass employees can signup with their UMass NetID at http://www.umass.edu/umacc/loginPlease consider signing up today & giving to the ARPS PGO.  The ARPS PGO’s UMACC number is 15250. 

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Mark your calendar

Dec 24-Jan 2: Winter Break
Jan 5: ARHS vaccine clinic
Jan 6: No school

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Note from the principal

Hello,

There are still a significant number of students who are coming into the building after 9:05. These students are walking in from the parking lot, so they are either driving themselves or getting dropped off by their family. We have been making announcements over the loudspeaker at 9:05 letting students and teachers know that anyone entering the classroom after 9:05 is tardy. We have also adjusted the Senior Exam Exemption start date. The date seniors will start accumulating absences and tardies that will disqualify them from being exempt from exams has been moved from Monday, February 28, 2022, to Monday, January 24, 2022. January 24th is the first day of the second Semester. Please help support our attempts to get students to school five or ten minutes sooner. Those five or ten minutes at the beginning of every day add up to a lot of missed instruction and disruption to the classes they enter late.  Thank you for your support.

Take care,
Talib Sadiq
Principal

Click here to see details of the 2022 Senior Exam Exemption.

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Superintendent’s update from 12/10

For a pdf version of the ARPS Update, please click here.

Para obtener una versión de la actualización de ARPS en español, haga clic aquí.

Para uma versão do ARPS Update em português, clique aqui.

Many area school districts have seen spikes in the number of COVID cases in the past two weeks, consistent with the large increase in positive cases across the state and region since Thanksgiving.  While our cases have not spiked as dramatically as some, we have also seen an increase from 11 cases for the whole month of November to 10 cases so far in December.  It has been reported in most districts, including ours, that many of these cases can be traced to indoor, unmasked, out-of-school activities such as sleepover parties.  As a district, we will continue to observe all of our COVID prevention strategies including masking indoors and maintaining social distancing in order to minimize the risk of in-school spread, which has proven successful at preventing in-school transmission.
 
As a reminder, three in-school COVID testing programs became available in our schools beginning in October: 

  1. BINAX TESTING:  The Binax testing program makes in-school rapid Binax testing available to students or staff who become symptomatic for COVID AFTER arriving at school (anyone who is symptomatic prior to arriving at school must stay home and be tested outside of school).
  2. POOLED TESTING:  Pooled testing combines the tests of multiple people within a school (most pools include 8 to 10 people).  If the pool tests positive, the people within that particular pool are then tested individually.  It is a particularly efficient and effective way to identify asymptomatic Covid cases. 
  3. TEST AND STAY: Test and stay is a testing program for unvaccinated students who are identified as close contacts of a person who is confirmed to have COVID.  With test and stay, the close contact is tested daily and allowed to remain in school so long as they test negative.  Now that vaccines are available to children age five and older, the test and stay program is ending as of December 23 for students in grades K-12.  When school resumes on January 3, any unvaccinated student in those grade levels identified as a close contact of a COVID-positive person will be required to follow quarantine requirements.  Test and stay will continue to be available to students in preschool since those children are not eligible to receive the vaccine. 

Many families provided consent for their children to participate in the COVID testing programs when they began in October.  If you did not and would like to participate in Binax and/or pooled testing, the link is https://www.cic-health.com/consent/ma?district=Amherst-Pelham for anyone who still wishes to sign up. Enrolling provides consent for both programs. For questions about the testing program or signing up, please reach out to your school nurse.

As always, we continue to encourage everyone who is eligible to be vaccinated to do so since it is the most reliable way to protect your own health, as well as the health of those around you.  Booster vaccines for ages 16+ are available through the Amherst Health Department, and a clinic is scheduled for December 23 and elsewhere in our area. Vaccine appointments for children age 5-11 are most readily available in Springfield at this link.
 
Finally, the Regional School Committee approved the school calendar for the 2022-2023 school year at their meeting this Tuesday.  I am happy to be able to share this a few months earlier than usual to assist families and staff with planning for next fall.  A copy of the calendar is included below.

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COVID testing update

It is not too late to add your student to the pooled testing program at ARHS! If you have not given consent for your student to be tested weekly and would like to do so, you can do it here. If you have any questions about pooled testing, you can reach out to the school nurse. The school will not be doing pooled testing the week of Dec. 20 but will resume on Jan. 3.

Free COVID testing for asymptomatic adults and children over 2 is still being offered by the Town of Amherst; detailed information about where to pick up and drop off tests is provided on the town website. Note that there will be a pause in testing from Dec. 24-Jan. 2; the last time you can drop off tests for processing before that break is 9:00 am on Dec. 23.

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COVID vaccine clinic January 5

The State will be at ARHS on January 5, 2022 for a covid vaccine clinic from 3 – 6 pm.  Click here to register for a vaccine appointment (more information about this clinic will come from the superintendent’s office).

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PGO Grants program for ARHS

The water bottle filling station pictured here was funded by a previous round of grants from the PGO. Our Maroon Envelope fundraiser to provide money for these grants to students and teachers will be active through Dec. 31. Please consider a contribution of ANY size by Venmo @ARHS-PGO or donate by credit card or check. Thanks to all those who have contributed so far! 

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Does your student need a winter coat?

Still don’t have a winter coat? Guidance has many coats in a variety of colors, styles, and sizes available for those in need. Stop by anytime between 7:45am and 3:45pm!

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Jobs and more

Is your student looking for a job, volunteer opportunities, scholarships, or summer programs? Check out the Guidance Office’s Opportunities Page to find a variety of resources and opportunities!

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Senior photos

Senior Photos should be emailed to Miss Garrity at garrityc@arps.org by January 31st! Don’t want to pay a photographer? Yearbook staff are offering free senior photo shoots! Sign up for a time slot using this Google Form! https://forms.gle/AcSBgwR3mgRzD9BYA

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For seniors: FAFSA support

Seniors who are applying to colleges and need help filling out financial aid forms (FAFSA and CSS profile) can get help at two upcoming sessions sponsored by FAFSA Day (click on the link to register):
Tuesday, January 18, 2022  6:00 – 8:00pm 
Sunday, February 20, 2022  2:00 – 4:00pm
FAFSA Day is a non-profit, volunteer driven program providing free assistance to students and families seeking to complete the FAFSA (Free Application for Federal Student Aid). If you have questions about  completing the FAFSA, please call FAFSA Day weekdays at (800) 449-6332 (9:00 am – 4:00pm) or email fafsaday@gmail.com

If you want to work on these forms by yourself, here is a checklist for the FAFSA, and here is a set of slides that gives an overview of the process.

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AEF Winter Stars in our Schools

Is there a teacher or staff member that has made a difference in your child’s life this year? Say “Thank You!” by making a donation to the Stars In Our Schools Campaign in honor of them and the Amherst Education Foundation (AEF) will send a note of gratitude on your behalf, thanking them for all their hard work and dedication. The money raised will help us continue to make grants available in support of teachers and staff in Amherst, Pelham, Leverett and Shutesbury. Please visit amhersteducationfoundation.org/stars and make your gift today!You can also read about previous grants awarded by going to amhersteducationfoundation.org/grants Click here to see a flyer for the program.

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Mark your calendar

Dec 23: Early Release Day
Dec 24-Jan 2: Winter Break
Jan 5: ARHS vaccine clinic

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Message from the Principal

We wanted to make sure that families had this important, but disturbing, information. Earlier in the week the Baystate ER treated two high school youth who smoked marijuana before school, which unknown to them, ended up being laced with fentanyl. These links describe similar incidents that are thought to have taken place recently in Michigan, Vermont and Connecticut.

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PGO grants program

The metal T-square being used by the student in this photo was purchased with an Art Department PGO grant in 2019! You can still contribute to the Maroon Envelope fundraiser to support this year’s grants to students and teachers. Venmo @ARHS-PGO or donate by credit card or check. Please help us enrich our high school in ways most needed. 

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Environmental Action Club presents Reusable Week

At Amherst Regional High School we are committed to sustainability and environmental action. This is why The Environmental Action Club at ARHS is organizing a reusable week where our students will be encouraged to do the right thing and create less waste. During the week of December, 13-17th students will participate with the theme of the day whether it be wearing a reusable mask, bringing a reusable water bottle, or bringing utensils for lunch. Each time your student participates they get entered into a raffle for a chance to win gift cards to local businesses like Antonio’s and Go Berry. If you want to take small steps towards sustainability and have a chance at some delicious food, participate in Reusable Week at ARHS! 

Monday  Wear a reusable mask day! 

Tuesday  Bring your reusable water bottle

Wednesday  Reusable lunch day, bring lunch from home, or reusable utensils

Thursday  Wear a Hand-Me-Down or thrift-ed piece of clothing

Friday Bring it all together: Mask, Water Bottle, Utensils, Thrifted Clothes. 

We appreciate you encouraging your ARHS student to participate in this fun event, and hope it serves as a good reminder of the small steps we can take to help our planet!

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Superintendent’s update from 12/3

For a pdf version of the ARPS Update, please click here.

Para obtener una versión de la actualización de ARPS en español, haga clic aquí.

Para uma versão do ARPS Update em português, clique aqui.

On Wednesday evening we were fortunate to welcome Dr. Cornel West to ARPS as the first speaker in our Evenings with ARPS series, via a live stream event on YouTube. Dr. West is a prominent intellectual who serves as the Dietrich Bonhoeffer Professor of Philosophy and Christian Practice at Union Theological Seminary and holds the title of Professor Emeritus at Princeton University. He has also taught at Union Theological Seminary, Yale, Harvard, and the University of Paris. Dr. West has written 20 books and has edited 13. He is best known for his classics, Race Matters and Democracy Matters, and for his memoir, Brother West: Living and Loving Out Loud. For our ARPS event, which can be viewed here, Dr. West shared his insights on education in these difficult times and answered questions posed by members of the ARPS staff.  Next Wednesday, December 8, we look forward to welcoming Joseph “Dr. J” Mathews, Ph.D, author of Things I Wish My Teacher Knew About Me: Memoir of a Disengaged Student.  The livestream will begin at 5:00 p.m. and will be available here.

We were also incredibly fortunate this week to have the second dose vaccine clinics for those students who had their first dose at our on-site clinics three weeks ago.  These clinics, which were provided by the Amherst Health Department, and the one held onsite at ARHS for all students and community members, which was provided by the state’s mobile vaccine clinic, have resulted in a significant portion of our students age 5 and over being either partially or fully vaccinated.  I am happy to share some pictures below of students declaring “I am fully vaccinated!” after receiving their second dose this week.  Those who received their first dose at the clinic held at ARHS will be able to receive their second dose at the same location on Tuesday, December 14.  Thank you to everyone who helped make these clinics happen and who supported our children throughout the process!

Finally, I want to remind families that the test and stay program for unvaccinated students who are found to be close contacts with someone diagnosed with COVID is ending when we break for the winter holidays.  As of our return to school on January 3, 2022, unvaccinated students who are identified as close contacts will be required to quarantine following the standards set by the MA Department of Health.

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Coats available

Thanks to all of your help with the coat drive, any ARHS student who needs a winter coat can visit Ms. Garrity in the Guidance Office to pick one up. These are new or like-new coats, freshly laundered, in a range of sizes.

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Yearbook news for seniors

1. Reminder that senior photos are due on January 31st! Email them to Miss Garrity at garrityc@arps.org. Want a photo taken by yearbook staff instead of hiring an outside photographer? Email Miss Garrity to sign up for a time slot!

2. Please fill out this survey to let us know what you want included in the yearbook! https://docs.google.com/forms/d/e/1FAIpQLSfeOXFQuPj7xyCH9XQvoiNXyR7NVSy4W1xCDyYb95M1XLiFog/viewform?vc=0&c=0&w=1&flr=0

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For seniors: Scholarship information

From Ms. Cuffee-Gray’s email 12/9:

How are you going to pay for college? Get started now

The Big Y Scholarship – https://www.bigy.com/Community/Scholarships

Courtesy of MEFA…
December Deadlines https://www.mefa.org/blog/scholarships-with-december-deadlines
January Deadlines https://www.mefa.org/blog/scholarships-with-january-deadlines2

Scholarship Coming Up –
MY FAVORITE!!! Save the Date https://communityfoundation.org/students/scholarships/

Scholarship search engines: try Fastweb and Going Merry

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Read the Graphic online

The latest issue of The GraphicARHS’s school newspaper, is live. This issue includes lots of student analysis of our current schedule, reflections on pandemic schooling, new-teacher features, and many other great news, sports, opinion, and club stories! Thank you so much for reading and supporting the work of journalists and editors at our ARHS. (Students who write an email to barber-justs@arps.org, sharing a story they enjoyed and why will be entered in The Graphic’s winter raffle and could win a great prize!)

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Mark your calendar

Dec 14: Amherst School Committee Meeting
Dec 14: ARHS Vaccine Clinic (2nd doses–see Superintendent’s update)
Dec 16: Regional School Committee Meeting/Budget Forum
Dec 23: Early Release Day
Dec 24-Jan 2: Winter Break

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You can still give to the Maroon Envelope fundraiser

Did you miss the chance to give to the ARHS Grants Program on #GivingTuesday? You’re not alone! We would like to raise a wee bit more money for student and teacher grants, so we are keeping the fundraiser open until the end of the year.  We promise this is the only ask we’ll make until this spring.

In past years, the PGO has given grants for art supplies, hanging periodic tables, ELL books, visiting speakers and performers, water bottle filling stations and other environmentally-focused initiatives, and much much more.

Donations of *any amount* are gratefully accepted – $5 from ten families is just as helpful as $50 from one family! You can Venmo @ARHS-PGO or donate by credit card or check. Please help us enrich our high school in ways most needed. 

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Coat drive thank-you

The PGO is grateful to everyone who donated coats so our students can stay warm outside this year; we also want to acknowledge the various community members who helped out in the following ways:

Collection sites were coordinated by Mia Cabana at the Jones Library, Joan at the Chamber of Commerce, and Kyle at Greenfield Savings Bank on University Drive.

Nina at Shine Laundromat donated washing time; JC Penny of Hadley donated all the coat hangers; and Hartford Cleaners donated clear bags to go over the coats.

Finally, the PGO officers are very grateful to Nancy Johnson for doing all the work to make this coat drive a success! Please let your student know that if they need a coat, they can see Ms. Garrity in Guidance to get one.

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Yearbook news for seniors

1. Reminder that senior photos are due on January 31st! Email them to Miss Garrity at garrityc@arps.org. Want a photo taken by yearbook staff instead of hiring an outside photographer? Email Miss Garrity to sign up for a time slot!

2. Please fill out this survey to let us know what you want included in the yearbook! https://docs.google.com/forms/d/e/1FAIpQLSfeOXFQuPj7xyCH9XQvoiNXyR7NVSy4W1xCDyYb95M1XLiFog/viewform?vc=0&c=0&w=1&flr=0

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For seniors: MA College Application Celebration

This is an event that has admisisons officers virtually visiting with ARHS seniors for admissions interviews. Students apply using the college’s institutional application beforehand, sumbit an essay, submit a transcript request via Naviance. In some instances seniors will receive an Instant Admit, in others, they will have a quick read of admissability – Express Admissions. Apply to up to THREE Colleges or Universities.

To prepare for the ARHS MA College Application Celebration  :                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                           1.   Research and decide which colleges and universities you want to apply to! Fitchburg State University, Framingham State University, GCC (Greenfield Community College), Hampshire College, HCC (Holyoke Community College), MA Art, MCLA (MA College of Liberal Arts), STCC (Springfield Technical Community College), WNEU (Western New England University), UMASS Boston, UMASS Lowell, Westfield State University, Worcester State University, 

2.  Review and complete the MCAC Questionnaire to sign up for interview slots;

3.  Complete your application and submit 2 days prior to your interview;

4.  Request your transcripts and recommendations via Naviance 2 days prior to your interview;

5.  SHOW UP at your interview!!!

See Ms. Cuffee-Gray for more information. Questionnaire will be ready on Tuesday.

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Athletics update

Congratulations to the boys’ and girls’ cross country teams for placing 10th and 14th, respectively, in the Division II state championships on Nov. 20!

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Mark your calendar

Dec 8: Early Release Day
Dec 23: Early Release Day
Dec 24-Jan 2: Winter Break

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PGO fundraiser ends this coming Tuesday

The ARHS PGO’s One Ask, Please Give! MAROON ENVELOPE FUNDRAISER to support our Student and Teacher Grant Program ends on Giving Tuesday, 11/30. Your gift in any amount will fund grants for art, science and other classroom supplies outside the school budget; yearbooks and field trips for students eligible for free and reduced lunch; visiting speakers; and student-led clubs.

Please consider donating anything from $5 to $500 – you can Venmo @ARHS-PGO or donate by credit card or check. Thank you for helping us reach our goal!

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Superintendent’s update from 11/19

For a pdf version of the ARPS Update, please click here.

Para obtener una versión de la actualización de ARPS en español, haga clic aquí.

Para uma versão do ARPS Update em português, clique aqui.

I want to recognize that this week, November 13-15, is Transgender Awareness Week, which GLAAD notes is “a week when transgender people and their allies take action to bring attention to the community by educating the public about who transgender people are, sharing stories and experiences, and advancing advocacy around the issues of prejudice, discrimination, and violence that affect the transgender community.” The activities of Transgender Awareness Week precede Transgender Day of Remembrance, which is observed on November 20 as a way to commemorate all of the transgender people lost to violence each year. At ARPS, we stand proudly with the transgender members of our community as allies and friends.

Next week will be a short one with only two school days before the holiday break. Before you head into the holiday, I want to remind you that the State Mobile Vaccine Clinic is happening after school on Tuesday, November 23.  It takes place from 3:00 to 5:30 p.m. at the Amherst Regional High School gym and is open to all students age 5 and up, as well as to all adults.  If you or your child needs your first or second dose, or if you are an adult who needs a first, second, or booster dose, please sign up here. We are thankful that the state is making the vaccine available to our community members at all of our schools. In addition to vaccines, the CDC has issued guidance on how to have the safest possible holiday travel and gatherings, which can be found at this link.

Finally, based on guidance from Amherst Health Director Jennifer Brown and ARPS Nurse Manager Robbin Suprenant and the broad availability of vaccines for the K-12 student population, ARPS will be ending the Test and Stay program for unvaccinated students who are identified as a close contact to a COVID-positive person.  As a result, unvaccinated students found to be a close contact will be required to follow standard quarantine protocols.  The only exception is that Test and Stay will remain in place for children in the preschool population who are not old enough to access the vaccine at this time. This change will begin on January 3, 2022 when we return from the winter holidays. 

Best wishes to everyone for a safe, restful break!

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For seniors: a few quick tips for college applicants

From Ms. Garrity’s email before break:

Naviance has a new (and frustrating) feature called “One and Done” where it sends your transcript and school info to every school on your Common App list all at once, instead of individually. It does NOT send your teacher recs automatically. If you’re getting emails from schools you have later deadlines for saying these recs are missing- they are NOT. I will be sending them, along with your updated transcripts, closer to your deadline listed. Also, you will be unable to remove schools from your list if any information has been sent; if you need to get a college off your list, please email me the name of the school and I can manually remove it.

PLEASE take a few moments now that Powerschool has reopened to review your Q1 grades and check for any mistakes. If there is a mistake, please contact your teacher immediately AND let me know there is an error so I know not to send your grades to colleges until it’s fixed! In the meantime, you can ignore all emails from colleges saying “your senior year grades are missing.” 

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Mark your calendar

Nov 29: First day of winter sports practice
Dec 8: Early Release Day
Dec 24-Jan 2: Winter Break

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Message from the principal about drop-off

Hello,

During the past few weeks when families are dropping their children off in the morning, some people have been blocking the buses from pulling off and double parking during the drop-offs. This is creating an unsafe situation for those students and unnecessarily delaying the buses. Please drive past the barricade near the gym entrance before you stop to let your children out of the car. Thank you for your help with this. Take care

Talib Sadiq

Principal

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Superintendent’s update from 11/12

For a pdf version of the ARPS Update, please click here.

Para obtener una versión de la actualización de ARPS en español, haga clic aquí.

Para uma versão do ARPS Update em português, clique aqui.

This week’s vaccine clinics for students ages 5-11 at Crocker Farm, Fort River and Wildwood were hugely successful!  The second dose clinics for those who were vaccinated this week are scheduled on November 30 for Wildwood, December 1 for Crocker Farm and December 3 for Fort River.  Families will receive a confirmation email from the Health Department a week before the follow-up clinics, which will take place at the school sites with each students’ appointment at the same time as the first doses.  

We scheduled this week’s clinics at the schools, at the end of the school day, in order to assist families in accessing this service for their children with as few barriers as possible. Of the 152 students who received the vaccine, a large percentage were from historically underserved communities, including 52% who qualify for subsidized lunch, 29% English Language Learners, 29% students with special needs, and 72% who identify as students of color.  Thank you to Interim Amherst Health Director Jennifer Brown and her staff for their assistance in providing access to the COVID-19 vaccine for our 5-11-year-old students.  Thank you also to all of the wonderful ARPS staff members who provided encouragement and support to the students receiving their vaccinations and to State Representative Mindy Domb for being on-site to cheer on our students.

While a number of students were able to be vaccinated this week, we know that many families who want to access the vaccine were not able to.  I am pleased to share that another clinic has been scheduled for Tuesday, November 23 from 3-5:30 p.m.  This clinic will be provided in partnership with the state of Massachusetts Mobile Vaccine Clinic and will be held in the gym at Amherst Regional High School.  The great news is that it will be open to ANY STUDENT OR STAFF MEMBER from the age of 5 or older who needs first, second or booster doses!  You can sign up for this clinic at this link.

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Support the ARHS Grants Program for Giving Tuesday

The ARHS PGO’s One Ask, Please Give! MAROON ENVELOPE FUNDRAISER is already halfway to our goal. This is a month-long initiative to support our Student and Teacher Grant Program. We promise that this will be the ONLY ASK the PGO will make until spring ’22 graduation and teacher appreciation events.

Our goal is to raise $3,000 by #GivingTuesday to fund grants for art, science and other classroom supplies outside the school budget; yearbooks and field trips for students eligible for free and reduced lunch; visiting speakers; and student-led clubs.

Please consider donating anything from $5 to $500 – you can Venmo @ARHS-PGO or donate by credit card or check. Please give now so we can reach our goal by #GivingTuesday, November 30 and enrich our high school in ways most needed. Thank you for helping us reach our goal!

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