Juniors: Teacher Recommendation Information (Deadline 5/29)

Teacher Recommendation request period is closing May 29th (it opened May 18th)

Juniors will be notified of teachers’ decisions by June 5th

Next year, most of you will prepare applications for colleges, technical schools, scholarships, jobs or military service.  In support of these applications the high school is often asked to provide written recommendations for you in addition to academic records.  Because these recommendations are often needed in the fall, before senior year teachers will know you well, you should ask teachers from your junior year to prepare recomemndations for you.  Teacher recommendations are kept in Naviance.  Recommendations will be forwarded with each application you submit.

YOU MAY BEGIN ASKING TEACHERS FOR RECOMMENDATIONS beginning Monday, May 18, through Friday, May 29.  This is not a first come, first served contest.  Teachers will consider all requests they get before May 29 to be on-time requests.  They will respond to you by Friday, June 5th.  

If you are uncertain as to whether a particular teacher would be a good choice for you, try asking whether s/he would be able to write a recommendation that would be helpful to your candidacy.  

Your responsibilities in this process are described below: 

  • Ask two teachers from different departments if they would be willing to write recommendations for you.   Select teachers who know you well (even if you did not earn your highest grades in their classes).  Junior-year teachers are much preferred by colleges.  
  • If your recommendations will be used for competitive college admission, it is generally recommended that they be written by academic teachers: typically, one from an English, social studies or foreign language teacher, and one from a math, science, or engineering teacher.  If you are applying to a specialized program (e.g. arts, exercise physiology, business, etc.),  it makes sense to request a third from a teacher who has worked with you in that area.
  • Do not ask for more than two academic recommendations (not including the exceptions listed above).  If we learn that you did, all teachers involved have the right to cancel any agreement they make with you.

Again, you may wish to ask for an additional recommendation from a teacher in the arts or physical education, etc. if you are thinking about entering one of those fields. 

To make a request, you must:

Email your teachers with  the subject line:  TEACHER RECOMMENDATION REQUEST (YOUR NAME)

  1. Email each teacher from whom you will be requesting a recommendation.  Use the subject line:  TEACHER RECOMMENDATION REQUEST (YOUR NAME).  Some teachers may require additional information.  Be sure to ask what else they may need from you before they will agree to write a letter.  Pay close attention to each teacher’s instructions and be sure to do what they expect by their deadline.

       If you feel nervous about what to write in the request email, ask a friend, a parent or guardian,  and/or your counselor for support. Attach the completed Student Recommendation Information Form to each Recommendation Request

  1. Student Recommendation Information Form:  Attach a completed copy of your Student Recommendation Information Form to each Recommendation Request.   Be thorough in your responses.  Teachers can write a better letter if they know more about you.  You will also want to email a copy to your Guidance Counselor.  Many teachers will require a meeting with students and/or written information beyond the student Information form.  Be sure you know what teachers will require of you before they write your recommendation.  If you do not fulfill teachers’ requirements, there may not be a recommendation when you need it!

       Check the appropriate spot FERPA Waiver at the top of the form

  1. Be sure to check the appropriate box on the Student Information Form to indicate whether or not you are reserving your rights to see your letter as per the FERPA Act of 1974:

“Under the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act of 1974, a student may waive his or her right of access to letters and statements of recommendation received during the college application process which are used for admission and subsequent counseling purposes.”

A few colleges and universities have indicated that more credence is given to recommendations written when access rights have been waived; other institutions have indicated that they make no such distinction. Waiving or retaining your right of access is a personal decision, which should be made by each student and their family.  Note that some ARHS teachers require that students waive their rights of access.  

Have a Plan B for your teacher recommendation requests

  1. Be considerate with your requests.  The writing of student recommendations is a courtesy from your teachers and counselors.  Teachers may have a limit on the numbers of requests they accept so be sure to ask during the recommendation request week.  It may not always be possible to get your first choices.

        Enter your teacher recommendations in Naviance only AFTER a teacher has agreed to write for you

  1. After teachers agree to write for you, go into Naviance and under colleges/letters of recommendation, select your teachers from the dropdown list.  Naviance allows you to individualize recommendations by college.  Most of you will want both of your recommendations to go to all colleges.  Choose “all colleges” and amend it later if needed.  A Naviance request without an in-person conversation with a teacher is not a sufficient request.

      Make an appointment with you guidance counselor, or the college and career advisor for a school counselor recommendation

  1. Make an appointment to meet with your counselor this spring, if you intend to apply early, or next  fall. This should be at least three weeks before your first application is due, to discuss this recommendation.  All counselor recommendations are assumed to be confidential.  

  2. Open a Common Application account.  Write your user name and password in a secure and accessible place for future reference.  Then complete the Education section and the FERPA waiver section of the Common Application (you have to add one college or university to be able to complete this task.  The confidentiality status on your Recommendation Confidentiality Form and on your Common Application must match. 

  3. Then go to “Colleges/ Colleges I’m Applying to” in Naviance Family Connection and enter the e-mail address you use for the Common Application.  This will link your Common Application and Naviance so we can submit your transcript and recommendations.  

  4.  It will be your responsibility to see that your teachers upload your recommendations to Naviance in the fall.  Our internal deadlines for receiving teacher recommendations are Monday, October 19 for students with first deadlines on or before November 1, Monday, November 2 for students with first deadlines on or before November 15, and Monday, December 7 for students with first deadlines of January 1 or 15.   The guidance staff cannot “chase down” missing recommendations; that is your job.

Say thank you and remember to let your teachers know the decisions for the schools you applied to!

Your final task will be to extend your gratitude to your teachers and counselor for having taken the time to craft a letter on your behalf.  After you have made your college selection next year, write a thank you note.  Be sure to tell them about the choice you made.  

student teacher recommendation packet CL2021 Final.pdf
Your Friendly Neighborhood College and Career Counselor, Deidre Cuffee-Gray

Posted in Parent News

Seniors: Deadline Extended for Stanley Koplik Certificate of Mastery

The Stanley Z. Koplik Certificate of Mastery provides a four-year tuition credit to Massachusettspublic universities. The Koplik is awarded to students who at a minimum, have one score on thetenth grade MCAS in the Advanced category and the other two scores in the Proficient category, and who fulfill additional criteria. To receive the Koplik tuition credit, you must godirectly to a Massachusetts public university or community college in September directlyfollowing graduation from high school. The credit is good for eight consecutive semesters,provided that you maintain a 3.3 GPA.

If you are member of the graduating class of 2020 and received an eligibility letter and application last spring, you still have time to apply for this scholarship, as the deadline has nowbeen extended.Application forms and instructions, as well as additional information about the award areavailable at http://www.doe.mass.edu/scholarships/mastery/. Completed applications should be emailed to Cathy Tracy at tracyc@arps.org by June 15 th for submission to the state. If you are not sure whether or not you are eligible, Mrs. Tracy can confirm that for you.

 ******** IMPORTANT: If you submitted an application to Mrs. Tracy prior to the school’s closing,please contact her at the email address (tracyc@arps.org) to ensure your application packet is complete.

Posted in Parent News

SEPAC Meeting 6/5

Please join us virtually at our next meeting:

Friday, June 5, 9-10:30am

via Google Hangout:

use the link: https://meet.google.com/wjk-sgms-vqw

or join by phone: +1 402-295-5292 PIN: 833435933#

Please RSVP to sepac@arps.org with your phone number, so if we run into technical difficulties, we can attempt to address them and keep you informed; however, an RSVP is not required.

At this meeting we will vote for our 2020-2021 SEPAC Board.  The seats are uncontested.  Catherine Lodge and Heather Sheldon are nominated to serve jointly as co-presidents.  Sarah Weirich is nominated as secretary.  There were no nominations for vice-president and treasurer.  Please come give an “Aye!” to help make it official and to provide us encouragement as we look forward to next next year.  

As this is our last meeting of the 2019-20 school year, we will spend time choosing which events we would like to sponsor in the 2020-21 school year.  Please let us know by email or by attending the meeting if there are events from years past or ideas for new events you want to see make it onto our calendar for this coming year.  Examples of events that SEPAC has sponsored include: STARS to Special Education, Autism Awareness Night, Basic Rights Workshop, Meet & Greet SEPAC and Special Education Staff, Behavioral Interventions Techniques Workshop, and Introduction to Assistive Communication Devices.

At our last meeting we heard from Dr. Faye Brady about the district’s plans during school closure to notify all special education families concerning each child’s “remote service plan” which address goals as outlined in student IEPs. Dr. Brady also let us know that plans for extended school year are not settled as there are still many unknowns in terms of safety for reopening schools. IEP meetings are being held remotely, but there is a backlog and priority is being given to students who are transitioning to new schools in the fall. 

Through this closure, SEPAC will endeavor to continue to fill our role in advising the district about matters concerning our special education students.  Please email us at SEPAC@arps.org with any questions or concerns that you think SEPAC should be aware of. We will remain in contact with the Student Services office.

We are wishing all our district families much love, but especially our families for whom the school closure presents unique challenges.  Wishing you love, and patience, and strength.

Heather Sheldon and Catherine Lodge, SEPAC Co-Presidents


Email: sepac@arps.org

Website: www.arps.org/sepac

Posted in Parent News

Mark Your Calendars

May 28- AR[T]HS 2020 Virtual Exhibit

May 29th – Juniors: Last day to submit requests for Teacher Recommendation

May 29- Deadline for Students on IEPs to sign up for Summer School

June 5- ARPS SEPAC Virtual Meeting

June 5- Juniors will be notified of teachers’ recommendations decisions

June 5- Graduation Car Parade through Towns 3:00 PM – 4:40 PM (Not school sponsored)

June 5th- Graduation Ceremony Video premiere – 6:00 PM

June 18th- Last Day of Distance Learning

All other school events are canceled

Posted in Parent News

AEF Stars in Our Schools

As the end of the school year nears, we reflect on how proud we are of all our teachers, staff, students, and parents and their resilience in adapting to the unforeseen and unique challenges they faced this year. With that in mind, the Amherst Education Foundation (AEF) is excited to announce our Spring Stars in Our Schools fundraiser. Let our teachers and staff know how much you appreciate their dedication, hard work, and expertise! Please make your gift by Friday, June 19 and let us know if there is a teacher or staff member in Amherst, Pelham, Shutesbury, or Leverett that you would like to honor, and we will send them a recognition card. 
Now, more than ever, we are asking the community to come together and help AEF continue to provide grants to our schools that support the enrichment of their educational programs. We will not be hosting a spring event so we are counting on Stars in Our Schools to raise the funds we need to continue making grants next year. Your support is critical to our efforts and we can not achieve our mission without you! Please make your gift today. 
 Simply click below for the online form to recognize teachers and staff.
Participate in Stars in Our Schools
Or you can download this form to send by mail.
Posted in Parent News

ARPS Special Education Summer Services

Dear Parents/Guardians,
While ARPS waits for a determination from Governor Baker regarding the opening of schools during the summer, the District has been working on both options of remote summer services or school-based services as a result of the opening of school buildings during the summer.Due to the mandatory closure this March, the District is offering summer services to all students with IEPs. In order to develop summer plans to accommodate a significant number of students (whether remote or school-based), the District is asking for your response now to determine the number of students who will participate. Please take a few minutes to complete the information below and submit it no later than Friday, May 29th. If you sign your child up for summer services, please anticipate additional communication in the coming weeks. Thank you in advance for responding during this uncertain and stressful time.

Please note that some students have had or currently have extended school year (ESY) services in their IEP because the Team determined they would substantially regress during the summer months. While the Team may not have had the opportunity to make that determination again this year as a result of the Mandatory School Closure due to the Covid-19 pandemic, the District is offering special education services over this summer. The extended school year services that are being offered may be more (in some service areas) than those offered in the past or in the current IEP because the District believes that this amount of services not only will prevent substantial regression for your child but could also assist your child as they transitions into the next grade after having experienced a disrupted 2019-2020 school year.

For students who have not had or currently do not have extended school year (ESY) services in their IEP that is because the Team did not find that your child substantially regresses during the summer months. Despite that fact, the District is offering services over this summer as a result of the Mandatory School Closure due to the Covid-19 pandemic. The District believes that such services could assist your child as they transitions into the next grade after having experienced a disrupted 2019-2020 school year.

Dr. Faye Brady, Director of Student Services (bradyf@arps.org)
Ms. JoAnn Smith, Student Services Administrator (smithjo@arps.org)

Queridos Padres/Tutores,

Mientras ARPS espera una determinación del Gobernador Baker sobre la apertura de escuelas durante el verano, el Distrito ha estado trabajando en ambas opciones de servicios de verano a distancia o servicios basados en la escuela como resultado de la apertura de los edificios escolares durante el verano.

Debido al cierre obligatorio en marzo, el Distrito está ofreciendo servicios de verano a todos los estudiantes con Programas de Educación Individualizada (PEI). Con el fin de desarrollar planes de verano para acomodar a un número significativo de estudiantes (ya sea a distancia o en las escuelas), el Distrito está pidiendo su respuesta ahora para determinar el número de estudiantes que participarán. Por favor, tómese unos minutos para completar la información que aparece a continuación y envíela a más tardar el viernes, 29 de mayo. Si inscribe a su hijo/a en los servicios de verano, por favor anticipe comunicación adicional en las próximas semanas. Gracias de antemano por responder durante este tiempo incierto y estresante.

Tenga en cuenta que algunos estudiantes han tenido o tienen actualmente servicios de año escolar extendido (ESY) en su PEI porque el Equipo determinó que sufrirían una regresión sustancial durante los meses de verano. Aunque el Equipo no haya tenido la oportunidad de tomar esa determinación nuevamente este año como resultado del Cierre Obligatorio de Escuelas debido a la pandemia de Covid-19, el Distrito está ofreciendo servicios de educación especial durante este verano. Los servicios del año escolar extendido que se están ofreciendo pueden ser más (en algunas áreas de servicio) que los que se ofrecieron en el pasado o en el actual PEI, porque el Distrito cree que esta cantidad de servicios no sólo evitará una regresión sustancial para su hijo/a, sino que también podría ayudar a su hijo/a en su transición al siguiente grado después de haber experimentado un año escolar interrumpido durante el 2019-2020.

Para los estudiantes que no han tenido o no tienen actualmente servicios de año escolar extendido (ESY) en su PEI, esto se debe a que el Equipo no encontró que su hijo/a sufra una regresión sustancial durante los meses de verano. A pesar de ese hecho, el Distrito está ofreciendo servicios durante este verano como resultado del Cierre Obligatorio de Escuelas debido a la pandemia de Covid-19. El Distrito cree que tales servicios podrían ayudar a su hijo/a en su transición al siguiente grado después de haber experimentado un año escolar 2019-2020 interrumpido.

Dr. Faye Brady, Directora de Servicios Estudiantiles (bradyf@arps.org)
Sra. JoAnn Smith, Administradora de Servicios Estudiantiles (smithjo@arps.org)

Posted in Parent News

Recycle Your Textiles To Benefit ARPS

Many of us have been seriously spring cleaning during the COVID-19 pandemic. Recycle your old and tattered clothes, shoes, and linens and the Amherst PGOs can earn money — at no cost to you.

Bay State Textiles collects used clothing and other textiles. Stained shirts, single socks or sneakers, torn towels…just make sure they’re clean and dry. You can recycle boots, shoes, flip flops, stuffed animals, backpacks, pillows…anything that’s soft. 

Look for the large white donation bins in the parking lot at each Amherst school. The bins are still accessible while the schools are closed, and they are emptied every Friday. If a bin is full please don’t leave clothes outside the bin, but come back after Friday.

About 40% of the clothing that’s collected is still wearable and sent to developing countries. The rest is recycled and turned into fiber products and rags. The Amherst PGOs get paid by the pound so the more you donate, the more money we make!

Posted in Parent News