Principal Jackson’s Latest Podcast

Principal Mark Jackson discusses the March 14 vigil and student walkout.

To listen to the podcasr, click here.

Posted in Parent News

National Honor Society Announcement

Attention Juniors/Seniors! Emails went out to your school email if you have met the eligibility requirement, with the most recent report card, to apply for membership in the National Honor Society. If you are new to NHS, you are invited to submit an application to be a 2017-18 ARHS NHS Member. The ARHS Robert Frost Chapter of this organization recognizes students who have a cumulative grade point average of 3.3 or higher and demonstrate excellence in the areas of leadership, character, and service.

The email you received contains a classroom code to join the ARHS NHS Google Classroom. If you would like to apply for membership to the NHS for this school year, all the information can be found in this classroom.
If accepted, NHS meetings are the first Thursday of each month in Room 117 @ 3 p.m.
Further information about the NHS can be found on their website:
Questions? Email Mrs. White at

Posted in Parent News

Update on Wednesday’s Student Walkout

Dear ARHS Parents and Guardians,

I’d like to provide the community with a brief update on today’s student walkout.

At 10 am, I would estimate that approximately several hundred students gathered in our west parking lot. They were joined by many faculty, staff and community members.

This segment of the walkout was solemn in tone. ARHS students took turns reading the names and a brief description of each of the 17 victims of the Marjory Stoneham Douglas High School shooting. This concluded with a moment of silence.

At this juncture, students made a decision: many returned to class while others proceeded to the Town Commons to continue the rally. For me, this was one of the day’s high points. For the students who returned to class, I assume it would have been easier to allow themselves to be swept up in the momentum that propelled the group headed into town. That they returned to class shows a level of intention that I find admirable. That their choice was respected by their peers only added to the significance of the moment.

At the Commons, there were several speakers, one of which was our state representative, Solomon Goldstein-Rose. The group then returned to campus, arriving about 11:20.

The role of the Amherst Police Department is important to note. They blocked traffic at various points between school and the Commons and generally kept watch over the ARHS group. Their presence was reassuring.

I also want to acknowledge the ARHS faculty and staff. This was a day with lots of moving parts. And, yet, they made it look like school, continuing with instruction while also providing room and support for the day’s agenda.

Lastly, in a word, I was very proud of our students. On a host of fronts. They thought through the day’s logistics; they took strong, informed stands on issues of great importance; and, they respected the right of everyone to make decisions consistent with their own beliefs.

A good day’s work.

Thank you.

Mark Jackson

Posted in Parent News

Fort River School Building Committee Update

In the spring of 2017 Amherst Town Meeting voted to move forward with a feasibility study of the Fort River Elementary School. The goals of the study are to evaluate the site and building in order to determine what are the possibilities for improvement. The School Administration asked for, and Town Meeting approved, up to $250,000 to accomplish this task that should include a structural analysis, initial schematic designs, and implementation of a “community engagement process”. The committee work is anticipated to take approximately 12 to 18 months.

The Fort River School Building Committee is committed to communicating with the public about its progress and getting a great deal of input along the way to inform decisions. Members of the public are welcome to attend the meetings, the location of each meeting will be published in the town website . Public comment is welcomed at the beginning of the meeting or via email at The public is encouraged to visit the committee’s website ( where documents, schedule, agendas, minutes, and other information are available. Additionally, meetings are recorded and will be broadcast by Amherst Media.

If interested in regular email updates, the public can opt-in to our list-serve by signing up on our website. A copy of these email updates and other documents will be kept on the website and in a binder at Jones Library so that anyone can access our documents and notes. Community listening and information sessions will be scheduled at key points of the process.

Posted in Parent News

Snow Delay/ Cancellation Determination Process

Dear ARPS Community:

Given the high level of interest in how weather-related delay and cancellation decisions are made, I thought it would be helpful to share the process that we use.

First, I would like to acknowledge the large impact that a change in schedule imposes on families. I fully understand how a snow day, delay, or early release schedule has many unintended consequences on family and working life for those in the ARPS community.

Our transportation system involves a network of four separate bus companies who transport students aged 3-21 in three counties, eight separate school districts, in a wide range of towns where the weather and road conditions are very different.

Transportation Organization

We have a complex system of drivers/bus companies that, surprisingly, optimizes our finances and operations.  Some of our buses and vans are owned by the district and are driven by ARPS employees.  We also utilize the Five-Star Bus Company for routes in Amherst and Pelham.  Our Regional routes in Shutesbury and Leverett are covered by the Kuzmeskus Bus Company; they also manage the routes for the Shutesbury and Leverett Elementary Schools, which are autonomous districts with their own separate School Committees and a shared Superintendent, Jennifer Haggerty (who also manages the elementary schools for the towns of New Salem, Wendell, and Erving).  Finally, we utilize the Vanpool company to transport students with specialized transportation needs and we also provide transportation support for students attending multiple vocational schools across three counties in the area, which each have their own Board of Trustees and Superintendents.

Our Towns

A frequent response on either a day when a weather related delay/cancellation has occurred (or has not occurred) isthat a different call should have been made based on the weather in a specific location. I want to acknowledge these responses as fully appropriate and reasonable.  

For instance, on the snow day on March 8, all locations and roads in the Town of Amherst were cleared in time for a two-hour delay to be appropriate. However, the road conditions in several other towns were not safe for travel as per their Highway Departments. Likewise, community members from towns with higher elevations and more dirt roads have expressed concerns about the road conditions near them on days when we have not canceled or delayed the opening of school.

The reality is that on any given day, winter weather varies widely between the four towns of the Region.  The range in snowfall amounts from the highest elevations in Pelham, Leverett and Shutesbury are often quite different from those in lower elevations in Amherst.  We try to do our best to balance the different weather and road conditions across the four towns of the Region when making these decisions.  We do our best to make the best decision for all of our students with the information we have at about 5:00 AM, which usually (but not always) predicts what the conditions will be several hours later.

The Process

Our Transportation Coordinator, local DPW/Highway Departments, Shutesbury/Leverett Superintendent Haggerty, and myself are in contact about weather forecasts the day before any winter weather event.  If there is high certainty on the forecast, we have attempted to inform the community of delays/cancellations the night prior if at all possible. When it is not possible, this same group begins communicating at 4:45 in the morning about current conditions.  If we cannot receive assurances about the safety of bus travel to all four towns in our Region by the time buses are scheduled to depart to pick up our secondary school students, we assess whether a delay or cancellation is warranted.  If the reports we receive indicate that the roads will not support safe transportation by 8:30 AM (when our Regional buses depart on days when we have two-hour delays), we cancel school.  Student and bus safety is the primary factor in the decision-making process.

All decisions are made by 5:30 AM, because we know such decisions impact families in significant ways and some of our employees need to leave at that time to get to work.  We update our automated phone line with delay/cancellation information (362-1898), contact local media outlets (22News and Western Mass News), and update the ARPS website ( with this information.

Please feel free to contact me if you have any questions about weather-related transportation concerns.  We appreciate your patience and understanding of the process that is required when making weather-related decisions in a geographically diverse and expansive region and with a complex network of transportation providers.

I hope you have a wonderful weekend,

Dr. Michael Morris

Superintendent of Schools

Amherst, Pelham, and the Amherst-Pelham Regional School Districts

Posted in Parent News

Support the ARHS PGO by using Amazon Smile

Amazon is tripling the donation amount to 1.5% when customers make their first eligible purchase from March 12 – 31. This is a great opportunity to increase Amherst Regional Public Schools Parent Guardian Organization’s AmazonSmile if you use
For additional details about the promotion, visit the promotion detail page.
Posted in Parent News

Basic Rights in Special Education Workshop

Please note that the Basic Rights in Special Education Workshop scheduled for 3/12/2018 has been rescheduled. Details below:

Basic Rights in Special Education.  Monday March 19, 2018 @ 5:00 PM, ARHS Library.  Please mark your calendars and join us for this informative workshop for parents and professionals.

RSVP to or call (413) 687-4255.

Tenga en cuenta que el taller de derechos básicos en educación especial programado para esta noche, 12 de marzo de 2018, ha sido reprogramado. Detalles a continuación:

Derechos básicos en educación especial. Lunes 19 de marzo de 2018 @ 5:00 PM, Biblioteca de ARHS. Por favor marque sus calendarios y únase a nosotros para este taller informativo para padres y profesionales.

RSVP a o llame al (413) 687-4255.

Basic Rights in Special Education Workshop – English

Basic Rights in Special Education Workshop – Spanish

Posted in Parent News