A Letter from Principal Jackson

Dear ARHS Community,

I am writing to let you know that after 26 years in public education, the last 15 in Amherst, I have made the decision to retire as of November 1, 2018.

Although the timing may seem less than ideal, I believe that, with the district about to undertake several major initiatives, among them Strategic Planning, this is actually an appropriate time for me to step down.

A school of ARHS’s caliber requires someone with the vision to shape a strong agenda for the future. At retirement age, I feel responsible to make room for new leadership.

As a school and district, our collective commitment to improve the life chances of all children has made my time in Amherst something of which I am only proud. I wish you all only the best as you continue this work.

Lastly, the community will hear shortly from the Superintendent about the leadership transition for the high school.

Thank you,
Mark Jackson

Estimada comunidad de ARHS,

Le escribo para informarle que después de 26 años en la educación pública, y los últimos 15 en Amherst, tomé la decisión de jubilarme a partir del 1 de noviembre de 2018.

Aunque el momento puede parecer menos que ideal, creo que, con el distrito a punto de emprender varias iniciativas importantes, entre ellas la Planificación Estratégica, este es realmente el momento adecuado para que me retire.

Una escuela del calibre de ARHS requiere de alguien con la visión de dar forma a una fuerte agenda para el futuro. En la edad de jubilación, me siento responsable de dejar espacio para un nuevo liderazgo.

Como escuela y distrito, nuestro compromiso colectivo para mejorar las oportunidades de vida de todos los niños ha hecho que mi tiempo en Amherst sea algo de lo cual estoy más que orgulloso. Les deseo a todos lo mejor a medida que continúen este trabajo.

Finalmente, la comunidad escuchará en breve al Superintendente sobre la transición de liderazgo para la escuela superior.

Mark Jackson

Posted in Parent News


The senior group photo will be retaken this Friday October 19th at 7:45 by Mr. Larcheveque. This one will be outside, behind the school on the Lacrosse field. All seniors please report directly there this Friday morning before 7:45. All teachers please be aware that the seniors in your A period classes will be arriving a little late that day. If any of them show up on time, please remind them about the senior group picture on the Lacrosse field. Thanks a lot to the seniors who requested the retake, Mr. Larcheveque, and everyone else for helping make this happen.

Posted in Parent News

Yearbook Gains Advisor

We are pleased to announce that Ms. Crystal Garrity has agreed to become this year’s yearbook adviser. Crystal is our new Guidance Office secretary. 
She brings to the yearbook position a wealth of experience with facilitating after-school programming, particularly in the arts. She is experienced with Photoshop, as well as guiding youth in how to use the software. 
Her current plan is to meet with the yearbook student staff weekly on Tuesdays from 3:00-3:35pm. 
We will be looking into streamlining the process and comparing a variety of vendors and templates to find the best fit.
This project will be student-led, and the end result will be based on their vision. 
If you have any questions, Crystal can be reached at 362-1720.
Posted in Parent News

ARPS Strategic Planning

Following is a message from Principal Mark Jackson:

This fall, the Superintendent and the Regional School Committee have initiated a strategic planning process, which will last for most of this school year.

The purpose of this process is to position the high school and middle school communities to establish improvement priorities for the next three to five years and develop plans to realize them.

Below are links to documents that describe the process in more detail. The specific dates and times for the Strategic Planning Committee meetings are listed in the FAQ document. The Planning Team Roster document also lists the various constituencies that will be represented on the Strategic Planning Committee.

Please see the attached documents for more information.

_ARPS Strategic Planning Team Roster.b
_FAQs_ Strategic Planning in Amherst.b
Proposed Timeline_ Communicating about strategic planning.b

Posted in Parent News

Statewide STEM Week at GCC

In efforts to boost interest and awareness of STEM education, Governor Baker and Lt. Governor Polito have announced that October 22nd-26th will be declared statewide STEM Week. In our efforts to promote STEM education here at GCC we are engaging in the week initiative through a series of events and activities. Please see the attached flyer for the list of major events and look for our social media presence (Twitter, Facebook, Instagram) through the hashtags #GCCSTEMweek #MASSSTEMweek #MASSSTEMweek18.

Kicking off STEM week, NASA Astronaut, Polymer Chemist, and GCC Board of Trustee member Cady Coleman will be joining us for a community presentation “How to Be a STEAM Player: Lessons from Space for GCC”. Please join us in the dining commons at 3:30pm for light refreshments and a time to mingle with Cady Coleman, followed by her presentation at 4pm.



>>This is a free community event — all GCC educators, students and surrounding community residents are welcome to attend. Please feel free to forward this email and flyer to your contacts.

Posted in Parent News

Senior Tidbits from Ms Ross

On the Common Application, use 229 for the size of the senior class. 

Several weeks ago we sent you a transcript worksheet at home.  Please look at it to be sure it is correct.  If there are errors, please see your counselor immediately.  If your counselor does not hear from you by this Friday, we will assume it is correct and will send your transcript as is to your colleges.  If you completed your English AP portfolio as a junior, your worksheet should show AP Portfolio complete under your English classes.  I am aware that this designation has been missing for some of you who earned it and have been reporting it as I notice it.  Please make a point of checking your own worksheet for accuracy.

Later this week, we will send letters to those of you whose MCAS scores may qualify you to receive a Massachusetts tuition discount via the Stanley Z. Koplik Certificate of Mastery.  Those of you who receive the letter will need to present an application and additional qualifying materials to Mrs. Tracy by late April.  25% of you will also receive a John and Abigail Adams scholarship letter.  This scholarship is an automatic tuition waiver.  If you do not get an Adams, but do get the Koplik letter, you will need to present additional evidence of Mastery in order to get a tuition waiver.  Read the Koplik letter carefully so you will know what to do.

FAFSA Night is next Thursday, October 25.  Come for less than two hours and leave with your FAFSA completed!  Look at previous Tidbits for the list of materials to bring.  Register in advance at fafsaday.org.  Also, get your FSAID (electronic signature) at fsaid.ed.gov before you come.  Tell your parent(s) to get one too!

Think about going to the Majors Fair at UMass, in the Mullins Center Concourse, on Wednesday, October 24 from 5:30-7:30 p.m.  You will learn about different areas of study available at UMass.  Many of these majors are available at other colleges too. UMass is a good place to find out about different fields.

You have the right to decide which, if any, SAT/ACT scores you want to put on your college applications.  Remember that some colleges do not require scores at all.  Colleges that do require scores may accept self-reported scores or they may need official copies of all scores before making decisions about you.  Be sure you know which colleges will require official scores.  If all of your test results will not be available before you submit your application, be sure to list the dates of the tests you would like them to consider.  They will wait to make judgments about your candidacy until they have all scores you have told them to expect.

On the Common Application, you must complete the Education section, complete the FERPA waiver, and put at least one college onto your college list before you can go into Naviance (Colleges I’m Applying To) to set up the match with the CA.   You will need to enter your CA e-mail address into Naviance.  When this is successfully completed, your documents will be able to transfer correctly from Naviance to your Common Application colleges.  If you do not match on the first try, check to see that your last name and date of birth match exactly in these two programs.  Be careful with spaces and hyphens.  See a Guidance secretary if you cannot achieve the match.

Some colleges will only accept one recommendation.  You must learn if this is the case at any of your colleges.  If you can only send one, you must indicate which one in Naviance under recommendations.  If you already told Naviance to send all recommendations to all colleges, you will need to change it ASAP.  See Mrs. Tracy in 309 or Miss Garrity in Guidance if you need help with this.

If you hope to invite a third, outside, recommender (someone who does not work at ARHS), through the Common Application, be aware that some colleges will allow that; some will not!  You can provide addressed, stamped envelopes for any college that will not accept the recommendation electronically.  Please DO NOT request any ARHS Arts teachers through the Common Application.

You should NOT wait until deadlines to try to submit your applications. Remember the first four letters of the word DEADline!  Assume that you might possibly have submission problems and be pleased if you don’t.  The Common App website and Naviance both have had problems on extreme high volume days!

Be sure to look at your essays after pasting them into the Common Application.  Formatting is sometimes lost.  If this happens in your case, you will need to make some repairs before submitting.

Essay day will be Thursday, November 8, during school hours.  If you would like some help with your essay, sign up with Miss Garrity.  Take advantage of this opportunity to get feedback from a trained Amherst College student.

If you want help completing your FAFSA on Sunday, November 4, you can attend a FAFSA Day workshop at either Holyoke Community College or Turners Falls HS.  At 1:00 p.m.  Register in advance at fafsaday.org.

If I have not met with you this year, please complete the Senior Questionnaire and make your appointments to meet with me.


Posted in Parent News

Help the PGO Earn Cash from Stop & Shop

stop and shopARHS runs one major fundraiser a year through the Stop & Shop A+ Rewards program. The program kicks off next week and it is a super easy way to raise money – at no cost to you! Last year ARHS earned over $12,000 from this free fundraising program that the PGO used to support many innovative and diverse school projects. All you need to do is register your Stop & Shop Card – online or by phone – and select ARHS as your school of choice.

ALL funds raised are used to support exciting projects proposed by our students and teachers.

If you have not done so, please take a moment to register your card. Note: you DO NOT need to re-register your card if your school selection(s) remains the same as last year.

Signing up to support ARHS is easy to do! Just follow these quick steps:

  1. Grab your STOP & SHOP CARD and locate the 13-digit number found on the back of the card. (Yes, many of us use our phone numbers at the store, but you need your account number to register online).
  1. Visit www.stopandshop.com and click REGISTER to create your online account. If you already have an account, click on SIGN IN (top right).
  1. Once you have logged in, click on My Account / Manage Your Account / Rewards and Savings, and then select ARHS (ID 05167) for A+ Rewards

OR….You can call Consumer Affairs at 1-877-366-2668 and select Option #1. If you can’t find your card or got your card under a different name, they can help you locate your card number.

Once you register your card, we earn CASH from your purchases at all Stop & Shop stores. Have relatives in New York or New England? Ask them to register and support ARHS, too!

Posted in Parent News