PGO Meeting 10/24

The ARPS PGO will hold its Fall Public Meeting on October 24th from 4:00 to 5:00 p.m. at The Works. Following is the Agenda:

Individual School Updates
Election of President, Vice President, Treasurer, Secretary, Officer
Taxes and State Filings (including new rep payee)
Group Fundraisers
— UMACC (United Way)
— Giving Tuesday
— Florence Bank
— Amazon Smile
Other Business not anticipated by the chair

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Mark Your Calendar

Oct 25-27 – Theater Company Performance of The Three Sisters
Oct 30 – School Picture Make-Up Day
Nov 2 – Fall Social
Nov 3 – Senior District Auditions; SATs Administered at ARHS
Nov 6 – Curriculum Day- No School. State and Local Elections
Nov 8 – PGO Coffee with College Counselor Myra Ross 7PM
Nov 12 – Veterans Day (Observed) (No School)
Nov 14 – Winter Sports Information Night – 6:30 p.m. – ARHS Gymnasium
Nov 15- 17 – Theater Company Performance Briefs
Nov 16 – Deadline for winter sports registration
Nov 21-23 – Thanksgiving Break
Nov 26 – Winter sports begin
Dec 24-Jan 1 – Winter Break

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Don’t Miss the AEF Trivia Bee on 10/25

aefbeeOn October 25, 2018, enjoy a fun evening that includes costumes, raffle prizes, refreshments, an audience trivia game, and prizes.


Admission is FREE but we encourage donations benefiting Amherst Education Foundation and our public schools.

It’s back! We will have a youth-only Trivia Round before the main competition. Teams of players 14 years of age and younger will answer age-appropriate questions. Starts at 6 pm.

We are looking for businesses to sponsor our teams. Many businesses send their own teams, but we can also match your business with a team. Youth and Adult team sponsorships are $300, sponsoring a round is $600 and Event Underwriter is $1200.

If you’d like to play and don’t have a sponsor, we can help you out. We can match your team to a sponsor and we can even build a team for you to compete with. Our teams have a lot of fun! Contact Ken and Meg below.

Everyone! Even if you’re not competing, it’s a lot of fun to come and watch and you can participate in the fun audience round! The Youth Round is a great way to start off the night! We hope to see you there!

Ken LeBlond,
Meg Rosa,
Trivia Bee Co-Chairs

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Veterans Day Program | Remains of a War: Exploring WWI Battlefields

The Jones Library marks the 100th anniversary of Veterans Day with a special program presented by Libby and Ed Klekowski on Saturday, November 10, 2018 at 2:30 pm as they share their experiences in exploring some of the battlefields from World War I.

This Veterans Day marks the 100th anniversary of the end of World War I. Originally called Armistice Day, this November holiday was created to mark the signing of the agreement that ended World War I at 11:00 A.M., November 11, 1918. It became a federal holiday in 1938 and was renamed Veterans Day in 1954.

Libby and Ed Klekowski have been researching World War I for over ten years and have spent many hours walking through the battlefields of Verdun, the Meuse Argonne, and St Mihiel. Their work has resulted in three books and they have produced two WWI documentaries for public television. This special lecture will take the audience for a walk “on the wild side”, where the dross of war still litters the woods.

Books will be available for purchase and signing.

Free and open to the public.  For more information about this event, please contact Janet Ryan at 413/259-3223.

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Strategic Planning Process For the Regional Schools (with update links)

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.

FAQ                      Letter of Introduction                      Planning Team Roster

[Each document contains both and English and Spanish version]

If you are interested in becoming a member of the Strategic Planning Committee, please contact me at

El Proceso de Planificación Estratégica para las Escuelas Regionales

Este otoño, el Superintendente y el Comité Escolar Regional han iniciado un proceso de planificación estratégica, que durará la mayor parte de este año escolar.

El propósito de este proceso es posicionar a las comunidades de Superior e Intercambio para establecer prioridades de mejora para los próximos tres a cinco años y desarrollar planes para realizarlas.

A continuación, hay enlaces a documentos que describen el proceso con más detalle. Las fechas y horas específicas para las reuniones del Comité de Planificación Estratégica se enumeran en el documento de Preguntas Frecuentes. El documento de la lista del equipo de planificación también enumera los diversos grupos que estarán representados en el Comité de Planificación Estratégica.

Preguntas frecuentes       Carta de introducción        Lista del Equipo de Planificación

[Cada documento contiene ambas versiones en inglés y español]

Si está interesado en ser miembro del Comité de Planificación Estratégica, hágamelo saber. Puede enviarme un correo electrónico a


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National Merit Society Awards Announced

We are excited to share that a number of ARHS students have been recognized by the National Merit Society this year. Amanda Dee has been recognized as a semifinalist, and Adira Cohen, Timothy F. Demling, Giselle T. Hajir, Ethan O. Lebowitz, Emilio W. Levins Page, Yelena Y. Maher, Alana L. Sacks, Pearl E. Tulay, and Itai M. Zilbertstein have been named commended scholars.

Three students, Edith Oldham Barca, Susana Feldman, and Emilio Levins Page have also been named scholars in the 2019 National Hispanic Recognition Program.  Congratulations to all! You can read the press release here.

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Limiting Social Media Without Conflict

unnamed (1)Screen time for teens is a fact of life these days. According to a recent study from the Pew Research Center, teen cell phone access is at an all time high with 95% of teens reporting they own or can access a smartphone.

Banning technology won’t help prepare your children for their future. Instead, we recommend giving them limited access to screens, monitoring their activity, and having regular digital safety discussions together. Following is a free blog post from Smart

How to Limit Screen Time Without Conflict

We asked parents and educators what they were struggling with most when it comes to digital safety and an overwhelming number told us that it’s difficult to set screen time limits with their students. It’s important to help students build healthy screen time habits, but for many parents and educators that’s easier said than done.

Listen to this whole episode on our podcast:

Subscribe to our podcast on: iTunes – Google Play – Stitcher Radio – Spotify – Web Player

So, we asked 5 experts to share their best tips parents can use to limit screen time. In this post, learn how you can create a daily routine for your family, how to encourage your students to earn screen time, how to model positive behaviors, how to take a social media break, and more.

1. Build a daily routine for your family

Elizabeth Malson, President of Amslee Institute
Parents have a lot to manage and it’s easy for kids to get several hours of screen time a day. Depending on the age of the child, it may be challenging to switch from screens to activities. Don’t underestimate the power of a bored child, without a screen children usually find something to do, especially if they have a bin of toys, a set of legos, books, bikes, and other age appropriate activities. It may take a few weeks for the child to realize they need to find something else to do with their time. Reducing screen time can help children develop life skills, like how to self-regulate their use of media and have more time to advance academically.

To develop personal responsibility, accountability, and the importance of helping family members, introduce children to household management chores and teach them cooking, how to fold laundry, and cleaning. If the children are too young, instead of screen time, have them work on puzzles, builds lego sets using an instruction book, read out loud, complete supplemental workbook pages in an education binder, spell words, make up a song, or turn on the music and dance. When dinner, dishes, and other chores are done, go on a neighborhood walk or bike ride each night. During this time, talk about space, the stars, the forest, and stop to look at bugs and collect rocks. Following these steps can help build learning into your daily routine.

2. Challenge your student to take a one-week vacation/detox from social media

Josh Ochs, Founder of SmartSocial 
Teach students that social media can (and should) be utilized as a tool for good but that it is important to take breaks from time to time. Challenge your student to consider deleting their Instagram and/or Snapchat from their phone for one week (and take a social media detox/vacation). Before taking their “low tech vacation,” students can announce to their friends that they are focusing on school and that they can be reached by text directly. Then, help your student delete their Snapchat, Instagram, and any other time consuming apps from their phone for one week.

If your student doesn’t want to delete their apps, consider having them unfollow 100 people on Snapchat and/or Instagram. This will free them up to only follow people they are close with (and has been shown to reduce social media anxiety).

3. Kids should earn time on the internet instead of it just being given to them

Brittany Jean-Louis, LPC, A Freeman’s Place Counseling
Part of earning screen time is through creating a behavior modification system in which kids are required to do something (do chores, have a good behavior day at school, complete homework, etc.) to earn something (sleeping over a friend’s house, playing video games, getting on the internet, etc.). The behavior modification can be a chart created by parents and kids together. The chart can include at least 3 target behaviors (for example, complete wake up routine, attend school with no behavioral issues, come home and complete a chore, etc.). When those target behaviors are met the kid can earn screen time. Creating the target behaviors and even the amount of screen time that can be earned should be discussed as a family; kids will feel apart of this process which increases self-esteem and cooperation with something they have collaborated on. Parents should also use strength based language in discussing limits. For instance instead of saying “too much screen time is bad” a parent can say “we know how important it is for a kid your age to have access to the internet but we want to ensure that you are well rounded as a person. Therefore, we want to see you doing homework first and foremost, participating in an extracurricular activities and then having screen time.

4. Set hours and schedule social media blackout days to limit screen time

Justin Lavelle, Chief Communications Officer for BeenVerified
Not setting limits on technology usage is a big mistake. Many parents believe if kids are participating in age appropriate technology everything is fine. Studies show that some kids may have a propensity to become tech addicts. Kids who partake in too much tech time tend to be anxious, have a hard time making and keeping friends, and can develop low self-esteem. It is essential to set hours and schedule blackout days to keep kids involved in real life activities and relationships.

Listen to this whole episode on our podcast:

Subscribe to our podcast on: iTunes – Google Play – Stitcher Radio – Spotify – Web Player

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