Juniors- Get Your College Essay Done!

Subject: Registration for college essay boot camp (w/ action item for you)

Hi ARHS Juniors!

This June, we’re excited to offer students the chance to join a one-week college essay boot camp delivered by Ethan Sawyer, AKA the College Essay Guy.

ARHS students can join his summer essay boot camp from June 1st – 5th at no cost.

Quick info on College Essay Guy:

Ethan wrote the current bestselling book on the personal statement, College Essay Essentials

He’s well-regarded in the college admissions field and is considered one of the go-to resources on college essays

His website has hundreds of free resources for applying to college

He has a cool podcast!

This syllabus maps out what Ethan will cover during the boot camp.

This 1-minute trailer gives a sneak peek into the boot camp and the Choose Your Own Adventure Essay Tool:

And yes, Ethan’s five-year-old daughter painted two of his fingernails Carolina blue.

Can’t make the boot camp? Session recordings will be available to all who sign up. 

Here’s how to register for the boot camp:

A.) Go to this registration page.

B.) Enter your name and email.

C.) You’re done! Put the date and time in your calendar, and keep an eye on your email with next steps and instructions for accessing the live webinar.

The live boot camp sessions will be held on June 1st, 3rd, and 5th. You can join for either the 10:00-11:30am Pacific Time session OR 4:00-5:30pm Pacific Time session (whichever fits your schedule).

Thinking of you all,

Your Friendly Neighborhood College and Career Advisor

Your Friendly Neighborhood College and Career Counselor, Deidre Cuffee-Gray

Posted in Parent News

Support the ARHS PGO Through AmazonSmile

amazon-smileIs your household doing any online shopping through Amazon? Did you know you can earn money for the ARHS PGO with each Amazon purchase. Enroll in this passive fundraising to earn money for the Amherst/Amherst Regional School PGOs while you shop!

Shop at smile.amazon.com/ch/46-4510327 and Amazon donates to Amherst Regional Public Schools Parent Guardian Organization.

To select our as your permanent charity, go to https://smile.amazon.com/ Click Your Account -> Your Amazon Smile -> Change Charity button. Search for “Amherst Amherst Regional Public Schools Parent Guardian Organization” -> Click Select.

Posted in Parent News

Final Email for Seniors from the College Counselor

Class of 2020!

I didn’t have the opportunity to see you this week as you pick up diploma folders, don and doff cap and gowns, line up your decorated cars, strike a fabulous pose, and dance through your awsome Class of 2020 signs on the Commons.

Sadly, a significant back injury is slowing me down.  That reality doesn’t make me any less greatlful for having had the opportunity to have met you this year. You have made my first year at ARHS a delight. I have truly had fun working with you.

If you get stuck along you know you can email your school counselors, Ms, Garrity, Ms. Tracy and/or me. if you end up in a pickle find us. We care for you and, in these extraordinary circumstances in this era of COVID 19 the entire ARHS school community is rooting for you. Do not ever hesitate to come back and ask for help.

Here’s a poem my advisor stuck in my sweaty palm nearly thrity eight years ago at my own high school graduation somewhere off in Connecticut. It’s in my office. Just doesn’t get old…

Arguably, it was a guy named Max Ehrmann wrote it. But that is actually up for debate…

No matter what, if you hold on to a line or two for the rest of your life, you’ll do okay.

Be Well.

With  Great Care,

Your Friendly Neighborhood College & Career Advisor – Ms. Cuffee-Gray 


Go placidly amid the noise and the haste,
and remember what peace there may be in silence.

As far as possible, without surrender,
be on good terms with all persons.
Speak your truth quietly and clearly;
and listen to others,
even to the dull and the ignorant;
they too have their story.
Avoid loud and aggressive persons;
they are vexatious to the spirit.

If you compare yourself with others,
you may become vain or bitter,
for always there will be greater and lesser persons than yourself.
Enjoy your achievements as well as your plans.
Keep interested in your own career, however humble;
it is a real possession in the changing fortunes of time.

Exercise caution in your business affairs,
for the world is full of trickery.
But let this not blind you to what virtue there is;
many persons strive for high ideals,
and everywhere life is full of heroism.
Be yourself. Especially do not feign affection.
Neither be cynical about love,
for in the face of all aridity and disenchantment,
it is as perennial as the grass.

Take kindly the counsel of the years,
gracefully surrendering the things of youth.

Nurture strength of spirit to shield you in sudden misfortune.
But do not distress yourself with dark imaginings.
Many fears are born of fatigue and loneliness.

Beyond a wholesome discipline,
be gentle with yourself.
You are a child of the universe
no less than the trees and the stars;
you have a right to be here.
And whether or not it is clear to you,
no doubt the universe is unfolding as it should.

Therefore be at peace with God,
whatever you conceive Him to be.

And whatever your labors and aspirations,
in the noisy confusion of life,
keep peace in your soul.

With all its sham, drudgery, and broken dreams,
it is still a beautiful world.
Be cheerful. Strive to be happy.

Posted in Parent News

Updated Graduation Info for Seniors

Senior activities culminate on June 5th

On Friday, June 5th our community will celebrate our 2020 ARHS Graduates with a parent sponsored Senior Car Parade at 3:00 PM – 4:40 PM.

1. Professional photographs from Wednesday’s celebration will be available to purchase at the following address:

Commencement Photos/GradImages

1348 Main StreetTewksbury, MA  01876



2.  By 1pm on Friday, June 5th the link to livestream the ceremony for people who cannot access Amherst Media will be available on the Amherst Public Schools website and on the Amherst Media website and Facebook Page.   The link to access the ceremony on local channel 15 is 

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

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

Senior Graduation News From Guidance

Hey Seniors!

So, yes. This is my penultimate email from Naviance to you. Yup, next to last…

I hope you are hanging in there and finishing up your last assignments, AP exams, and the like. You have weathered the final spring of your high school career, and I hope you are taking good care of yourselves and those you care about. Boy, was this spring wierd! I’m definitely thinking about you.

If have any snafus or snaggles, be sure to communicate with your guidance counselor and teachers sooner than later buckaroos! Communication is key to problem solving!


Cool celebration of ARHS seniors on Instagram – send your photo and your future plans and you’ll be celebrated with a post. Don’t be shy. Instagram.com @ [arhs_seniors_2020] Senior Class of 2020


I have heard that the fanfare of getting your lawn signs and yearbooks delivered was a ton of fun! Yipee! I also saw the whole nation celebrated you on Saturday night at #GraduateTogether. Plus, a prom is going to happen on May 22nd (prom.mtv.com). Whoot, whoot! Celebrate! (And be sure to register to vote!)

The Final Senior Survey

We need all senoirs to complete their Class of 2020 Final Senior Survey – this is one last thing we are requiring you to do (remember the LIME GREEN FORMS – just a memory!). This is important for us to track your plans and send final transcripts. Please take 15-20 minutes to complete the survey. We’ll be reminding you when you come to pick up stuff next week on the 26th too.

Community College Applications

If you are considering community college, but have yet submit your application, here’s what you need to do:

  1. Submit Application to GCC, HCC, STCC
  2. List the school you are applying to on your FAFSA – MA deadline was May 1st
  3. Request that ARHS send your transcript in Naviance

Please contact me, or Ms. Garrity if you need any assistance!

Posted in Parent News

Class of 2020 Graduates- 5/27 Parade and Video 6/5

classof2020_patch__55499.1493326854ARHS Graduation 2020 will be on 5/27.  Following is important information:

Day 1 May 26 (Students MUST have a face covering to enter the building – No Exceptions)

  • By alphabet and scheduled time Seniors will turn in Chromebooks and all assigned textbooks/materials in the Main Gym.
  • Seniors will receive Cap/Gown and Stoles along with Senior Awards in the Small Gym and leave the building.

Day 2 May 27 (Students MUST have a face covering to enter the building – No Exceptions)

  • By alphabet and scheduled time Seniors will have a picture professionally taken, (face covering will be removed), in the designated area with their Diploma. Upon taking their picture Seniors must put face covering back on and leave the building area.


We are arranging for Amherst Media to produce the video and do the following,

  • Pre-recorded video speeches of the Superintendent, School Committee Chair, High School Principal, Class President, and the Valedictorians (9), ​These will be done individually on May 27th in the Auditorium. In order to process this portion of the video, The Class President and 9 Valedictorians along with the last person to receive their diploma, for the turning of the tassel, will have a separate selected time for their picture to be taken so that the video personnel can have them together but safely apart from one another.
  • The awarding of diplomas which will consist of the picture that was taken professionally over a “Pomp and Circumstance” soundtrack.
  • It will be important to know if parents want a picture of their child with the cap and gown and diploma so that the photographer can send out information. The same will apply for those who may want a video copy from Amherst Media.
  • The video will air on June 5th, 2020 at 6:00 p.m on ACTV and the Amherst Media YouTube Channel https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCECEesweX78OaddZ1V3yaTA
  • Amherst Media will not be able to provide a DVD copy.
  • Programs for the ceremony will be made available.
  • We have been given permission from the Town of Amherst to have a banner across South Pleasant St. from May 23- June 6, 2020. Also graduate pictures will be made into a yard sign honoring their commencement and will be placed on the Town Common. Each family should have received a communication via School Messenger for permission.

Graduación de ARHS 2020

Día 1- 26 de mayo (Los estudiantes DEBEN tener una mascarilla para entrar en el edificio. No hay excepciones)

  • Por orden alfabético y a la hora programada, los estudiantes de 12º grado entregarán las Chromebooks y todos los libros de texto/materiales asignados en el gimnasio principal.
  • Los estudiantes de 12º grado recibirán la toga y las estolas junto con los premios de los graduados en el gimnasio pequeño y saldrán del edificio.

Día 2 – 27 de Mayo (Los estudiantes DEBEN tener una mascarilla para entrar al edificio, No hay excepciones)

  • Por orden alfabético y a la hora programada, los estudiantes de 12º grado se tomarán una foto profesional, (se quitará la cubierta de la cara), en el área designada con su diploma. Una vez tomada la foto, los estudiantes deben volver a cubrirse la cara y abandonar el edificio.


Estamos haciendo arreglos para que Amherst Media produzca el video y haga lo siguiente,

  • Discursos en video pregrabados del Superintendente, el Presidente del Comité Escolar, el Director de la Escuela Superior, el Presidente de la Clase, y los Valedictorians (9), Estos se harán individualmente el 27 de mayo en el Auditorio. Para procesar esta porción del video, el Presidente de la Clase y los 9 Valedictorians junto con la última persona que recibió su diploma, para el giro de la borla (tassel), tendrán un tiempo seleccionado separado para que se les tome una foto para que el personal del video pueda tenerlos juntos pero separados con seguridad uno del otro.
  • La entrega de los diplomas consistirá en la foto que se tomó profesionalmente sobre una pista de sonido de “Pompa y Circunstancia”.
  • Será importante saber si los padres quieren una foto de su hijo con la toga y el birrete y el diploma para que el fotógrafo pueda enviar la información. Lo mismo se aplicará para aquellos que quieran una copia de video de Amherst Media.
  • El video saldrá al aire el 5 de junio de 2020 a las 6:00 p.m. https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCECEesweX78OaddZ1V3yaTA
  • Amherst Media no podrá proporcionar una copia en DVD.
  • Los programas de la ceremonia estarán disponibles.

Se nos ha dado permiso del Municipio de Amherst para tener una gran pancarta en la calle South Pleasant del 23 de mayo al 6 de junio de 2020. También las fotos de los graduados se convertirán en un cartel de jardín en honor a su graduación y se colocarán en el centro del pueblo. Cada familia debe haber recibido una comunicación a través de SchoolMessenger para el permiso.

Posted in Parent News

Juniors: Teacher Recommendation Information

Teacher Recommendation request period is May 18th – May 29th – early requests are not permitted

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

ARPS SEPAC Meeting on 6/5

The ARPS SEPAC will meet on June 5, 2020 from 9:00 a.m. to 10:30 a.m.

LIST OF TOPICS: ARPS Special Education Parent Advisory Council Meeting (SEPAC) Representing: Pelham Elementary, Amherst Elementary, and Amherst Regional Schools as well as students out of district.

Join with Google Meet using the link: https://meet.google.com/wjk-sgms-vqw or by phone +1 402-295-5292 (PIN: 833435933)

Meeting is open to all in the community!

Executive Board Meeting Agenda:

  • Approve Minutes.

  • Presentation by Facilities Supervisor on addressing ADA deficiencies.

  • Vote for 2020-21 SEPAC Board. Nominations for Treasurer: none.

  • Nominations for Secretary: Sarah Weirich.

  • Nominations for Vice-President: none

  • Nominations for President: Catherine Lodge and Heather Sheldon jointly as Co-Presidents. 2020-21

  • School Year Event Planning

  • 2020-21 School Year Outreach Planning

  • Updates from Dr. Brady, Director of Student Services/Special Education.

  • Updates from School Committee Liaisons.

  • Next Meeting Agenda Planning.

  • Public Comment.

Posted in Parent News

Mark Your Calendars

May 25- Memorial Day

May 26- Seniors Only-Return School Materials and get Cap and Gowns (As Scheduled)

May 27- Senior Graduation Photos Taken (As Scheduled)

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

Donate Your Gowns to Gowns4Good


Gowns4Good connects graduation gowns to healthcare workers in need of personal protective equipment (PPE) in the fight against COVID-19.


Posted in Parent News

List of Open Area Businesses

Here is the updated list of area establishments that are open for business (as of 5/19):

Link: https://docs.google.com/document/d/1MSBFnv08nc7yap2TmBgmyLyUfzEwLixoc1updNS8jxU/edit

Posted in Parent News

Face Masks Available For Amherst Residents

masks with machineAre you in the Town of Amherst and in need of a mask for you or a family member? The Town-Wide Initiative:  Masks4All! can help! Call us at 413-259-3002 or fill out the quick form online at www.amherstma.gov/getinvolved

The mission for Masks4All is to ensure that anyone who would like a mask doesn’t have just one, but two one to wear while the other is washed. We now have a new norm of social distancing and a new order from the Governor requiring the use of face masks or face coverings in public places. The demand for masks is on the rise. We need your help now to make and distribute masks to our neighbors. Ensuring every person who needs a mask has access to a mask, especially our most vulnerable populations. Please join our initiative by making masks and or donating materials. Masks4All is a “Neighbor helping Neighbor” Initiative. The truest spirit of Amherst. Please Get Involved!

*Masks are not required to be worn by children under the age of 2.*

Other resources:

  • How NOT to Wear A Mask
  • Best Materials to Make a Mask
  • CDC Guidelines


Masks by Anika Lopes Millinery

Posted in Parent News

Free Math Tutoring On Zoom

Juniors and seniors majoring in mathematics from UMass Amherst’s Education Club and Math Teaching Club will be offering free drop- in math tutoring for Amherst High School students via  Zoom. Feel free to join with your friends for group tutoring or join a breakout room for one on one tutoring!

For more information, please see their flyer:  Free Math Tutoring

This is not a school sponsored event.

Posted in Parent News

ARHS Theater Co presents the 35th Annual Student-Written Play Festival Tonight!  

Friday, May 15th, 7:00 pm, Youtube https://youtu.be/t0QpWhp7WD0

20 short plays in under two hours, all written and directed by ARHS students.

We’re taking the show to a virtual stage to share an evening of short plays.  Youtube:  https://youtu.be/t0QpWhp7WD0

Posted in Parent News

Grading Information

Parent_Student Communication #1

Parents/Guardians and Students, 

We hope that all is well with your families and loved ones. These past few months have been challenging to all in our school as we have transitioned from traditional instruction settings to a virtual environment where instruction has been in either asynchronous or synchronous modes of delivery. In addition, since March 13, 2020, we were given the recommended directive from DESE to grant a Credit/No Credit status for student work for the remainder of the school year in all credit bearing courses. This is important in high school because all courses have a credit bearing status.

There has been significant thinking and feedback from staff related to how to apply this status of Credit/ No Credit. After much discussion, we have shared several examples for clarity with our teaching staff, taking in consideration a multitude of factors that could affect a child’s performance. The Superintendent along with the ARHS administration has set a high bar for all students to be able to determine No Credit. We believe that all efforts must be exhausted for all students in order to assist in their success. There will be close monitoring of students who will receive Credit and No Credit. The status of No Credit will be applied primarily to students who were at risk of failing prior to March 13 and despite the efforts of multiple staff members, have not been successful at completing the requisite work during this time of Distance Learning. For any student at risk for receiving no credit, both the student and their parent/guardian(s) will be contacted to inform them of this possibility well before the end of the school year to provide time to shift focus and achieve credit for the course(s).

A major theme in this situation has been the understanding that many of our students have multiple responsibilities that could have influenced their participation in distance learning, such as expanded hours at employment where they were considered an essential employee and/or becoming a caretaker for younger siblings. Furthermore, the situation has been stressful for many students and our primary goal this spring, as it will be in the Fall when students are hopefully back in school, is to advance their learning given this interruption to the educational experience for all students. As was stated earlier this has been a challenging and yet a very amplified time in helping all of us to understand the complexities of delivering instruction to an entire comprehensive high school community. However, as we move forward to next school year there are takeaways to assist us in determining the best process, procedures, and structures to deliver instruction. Once again thank you for your support. 


Padres/tutores y estudiantes,

Esperamos que todo esté bien con sus familias y seres queridos. Estos últimos meses han sido un reto para todos en nuestra escuela, ya que hemos hecho la transición de los entornos de instrucción tradicionales a un entorno virtual donde la instrucción ha sido en modo simultáneo y no simultáneo. Además, desde el 13 de marzo de 2020, se nos dio la directiva recomendada por el DESE de otorgar un estatus de Crédito/No Crédito para el trabajo del estudiante por el resto del año escolar en todos los cursos con créditos. Esto es importante en la escuela superior porque todos los cursos tienen un estatus de crédito.

El personal ha reflexionado mucho sobre cómo aplicar este estatus de Crédito/No Crédito. Después de mucha discusión, hemos compartido varios ejemplos para mayor claridad con nuestro personal docente, tomando en consideración una multitud de factores que podrían afectar el rendimiento de un estudiante. El Superintendente junto con la Administración de ARHS han establecido unos parámetros muy exigentes para determinar si un estudiante NO recibe créditos. Creemos que todos los esfuerzos deben ser agotados con el fin de ayudar a todos los estudiantes en su éxito. Habrá una estrecha vigilancia de los estudiantes que recibirán crédito y no crédito. El estatus de No Crédito se aplicará principalmente a los estudiantes que corrían el riesgo de fracasar antes del 13 de marzo y que, a pesar de los esfuerzos de varios miembros del personal, no han tenido éxito en completar el trabajo requerido durante este tiempo de Aprendizaje a Distancia. En el caso de que un estudiante corra el riesgo de no recibir ningún crédito, se comunicarán con él y con sus padres o tutores para informarles de esta posibilidad mucho antes de que finalice el año escolar, a fin de que tengan tiempo de cambiar de enfoque y obtener créditos para el curso o los cursos.

Un tema importante en esta situación ha sido la comprensión de que muchos de nuestros estudiantes tienen múltiples responsabilidades que podrían haber influido en su participación en el aprendizaje a distancia, como el aumento de las horas de trabajo, en el cual se les consideraba un empleado esencial, y/o convertirse en cuidadores de sus hermanos menores. Además, la situación ha sido estresante para muchos estudiantes y nuestro objetivo principal en esta primavera, como lo será en el próximo otoño cuando se espera que los estudiantes vuelvan a la escuela, es avanzar en su aprendizaje dada esta interrupción de la experiencia educativa para todos los estudiantes. Como se dijo anteriormente, este ha sido un desafío y, sin embargo, un tiempo muy amplificado para ayudarnos a todos a entender las complejidades de brindar la instrucción a toda la comunidad de la escuela superior. Sin embargo, a medida que avanzamos hacia el próximo año escolar, hay maneras de ayudarnos a determinar los mejores procesos, procedimientos y estructuras para impartir la instrucción. Una vez más, gracias por su apoyo. 


Posted in Parent News

Important Info for Seniors

2020Challenging times call for a creative commemoration. Here’s the info on cleaning out lockers, getting awards and diplomas and ways we will celebrate you this graduation: ARHS 2020 Flyer FINAL (1)

Posted in Parent News

Should I Consider Deferring? Semester or Year?

May 19th at 12:15 until 1:00 PM
Join Your Friendly Neighborhood College & Career Advisor and members of the guidance team for a discussion about the pluses and minuses of deferring a semester or a year for college. We won’t have all the answers, we want to be a “think partner” with members of the Class of 2020 and their families who are considering deferring due to COVID 19.
Google Meet Nickname “ARHSCollegePlanning2020” at meet.google.com
Posted in Parent News

Attn: Juniors from the ARHS College Counselor

Hello Class of 2021 –

Please find a listing of college planning opportunities below to support your college planning process –

College Planning Workshops

Thrive, More Just Survive the College Planning Process – Week of May 18th – TBD Panel of ARHS seniors

Common Application Workshop on May 26th – 2:30 – 3:30 Google Meet Nickname “ARHSCollegePlanning2021” (https://meet.google.com/)

Teacher Recomendation Process – Stay Focused and Engaged in Your Junior Courses!

Stay tuned for details on May 15th.

Please do not make requests in Naviance before your teacher agrees to write a recomendation

Recommendations request process will be outlined on May 15th via Naviance.

Check Out College Board’s Opportunity Scholarships – earn funds during your college search


Video https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2CPku32bj5I&feature=youtu.be

Posted in Parent News

AP Exams Continue Next Week

This year’s AP Exams will be exclusively online.  Security protocals for the exams require all students worldwide to test at the same time.

The College Board made other changes to this year’s exams, including changes to timing, format, and content and skills covered. For the latest information, go to our AP Coronavirus Updates site: visit AP Exam Schedule 2020 for course-specific information or Taking AP Exams Online to learn more about how you’ll take exams this year.

The CollegeBoard is allowing students to wait until the actual day of the AP exam(s) they are signed up for to decide if they want to take it or not. Students DO NOT have to notify anyone about their intentions. On the assigned test day, students can either logon and take the test, or not. Refunds for the students who don’t take the test will be issued once we’re back in school.  


Exam Start Times: Eastern Time: 12:00 p.m. Eastern Time: 2:00 p.m. Eastern Time: 4:00 p.m.
Fri, May 15 Art History United States History Computer Science A
Mon, May 18 Chinese Language and Culture Biology Environmental Science
Tues, May 19 Music Theory Psychology Japanese Language and Culture


Italian Language and Culture

Wed, May 20 German Language and Culture English Language and Composition Microeconomics
Thurs, May 21 French Language and Culture World History: Modern Macroeconomics
Fri, May 22 Comparative Government and Politics Statistics Spanish Language and Culture
Posted in Parent News

Free Career Skills Workshops

Free Career Skills Workshops are available to all Amherst High School Students through Connecting Activities and The Collaborative for Educational Services. Matt Rigney is hosting this series of  workshops which will include topics like resume writing, cover letters,  interviewing, and much more. There are also  “meet the pro” sessions where students can hear directly from professionals in different fields. The Career Skills workshops happen live on Wednesdays at 4:00 pm and the Meet The Pro sessions happen live on Thursdays at 4:00 pm.

If students are interested in attending the live workshops, they should contact Matt directly by emailing him at mrigney@collaborative.org. If they cannot attend the workshops live, students can access past sessions on the CES website anytime here:   https://www.collaborative.org/programs/alternative-education/school-work/stemwork/career-skills-workshop-series. Topics covered so far have been resume and cover letters, which are available on the website. There have also been three “meet the pro” sessions which have included a Biomedical Engineer and a Chemical Engineer, and a Plant Biologist which are posted. Next session will be a Behavioral Neuroscientist. If students have an interest in hearing from someone from a specific field, they can request this directly to Matt through email.

Posted in Parent News

From the Jones Library Director

Jones Library staff have been fielding questions about how patrons can access the Library’s physical collection.

While we agree COMPLETELY that access to reading material is essential to influencing our quality of life, at the present time, it is the job of public libraries across the state to help stop the spread of COVID-19, and to support Governor Baker’s stay-at-home order, which has been extended to May 18, 2020.  The more that people come into contact with other people (and with high-touch surfaces), the higher the risk, thus our priority must be to encourage staff and patrons to stay safe at home.

Let the library come to you!

In the meantime, if you have access to a device and the Internet, we encourage you to make use of our electronic resources such as:

• our databases including Valueline , Morningstar , Consumer Reports , and ancestry.com  

• streaming movies in Kanopy , streaming classical music in Naxos , and eMagazines through RB Digital ;

• eBooks and eAudios through Overdrive/Libby and TumbleBooks ;

• and educational and recreational software such as Muzzy , Gale Courses , Creativebug , and Artistworks .


You can also:

• watch our weekly live author interviews on Facebook ;

• participate in our weekly teen art and cooking challenges ;

• participate in our Munson Memorial Library Zoom book discussions;

• participate in our youth social media photo challenges ;

• and participate in our weekly Ukulele Strum-Alongs with Julie Stepanek.


And if you call or email us , we can:

• issue you a library card;

• answer your reference questions and help you access our digital collections;

• help students with their homework ;

• and provide you with personalized reading lists .

All for free!

Please follow us on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter to see what we are up to.  We are also posting our programs to our event calendar found on the library’s website at www.JonesLibrary.org .  


When we re-open…

When the time is right, the library will re-open for business.  Staff are super excited about being able to get back into the buildings and being with their patrons!  But when it is time for re-entry, it will have to occur in a phased manner.  The American Library Association, Massachusetts Board of Library Commissioners, and Massachusetts Library System are all working with experts on the safest ways for libraries to reopen.  The Jones Library will follow the science; the phases may look like this:

  • First, we imagine that staff only will come back to the buildings. They will work in staggered shifts, they will wear masks and gloves, and remain socially distant.
  • Next, the return of materials will begin.  We will keep them in quarantine for at least three days, before returning them to the shelves.
  • At some point, curbside pickup will begin.  Patrons will place Holds online or by phone, then staff will check out the items, and bring them outside to patrons.
  • When it is safe, patrons will return to the inside of the buildings. We envision limiting the number of patrons in the buildings at once; having plexiglass shields at the service desks; not allowing computers or in-person programming right away; and constant disinfection of surfaces and bathrooms.  We are also considering having separate open hours for vulnerable populations.
  • Eventually, the use of computers and meeting rooms will be allowed, as well as in-person public programming.

At this time, we have no idea what the timeline for this phased approach would be.

Thank you so much for your support!  We look forward to seeing you in person soon!


Best always,


Sharon Sharry

Library Director

The Jones Library

Posted in Parent News

Letter from Principal Jones Re: Graduation

May 4, 2020


We would like to thank all of you in the support that has been provided during this historic and unique time in the life of your child. The impact of this pandemic has prevented your child from experiencing a rite of passage of high school commencement. Since our departure on March 13, 2020, we had been hopeful that your child would have the opportunity that comes once in a lifetime. Upon receiving word of the closure of school for the remainder of the year we initiated our contingency plan for a virtual commencement. We took into consideration the safety of all students while at the same time honoring their accomplishment. There has been widespread support from many groups in the community to make this disrupted celebration as honored as possible. Attached to this letter are the initial informational details for Commencement 2020 at ARHS.

The process for departure of our Seniors begins on May 26th, 2020, with students returning textbooks, Chromebooks, and other related materials. Students will receive their cap and gown along with any Senior Awards that they may have earned. We will have a scheduled stagger arrival for the Seniors on this day. There will be more detailed information forthcoming as we get closer to this date.

On May 27, 2020, once again we will have a scheduled stagger for Seniors to take a professional picture in their cap and gown along with their diploma. These pictures will be included in the virtual commencement ceremony. It is required that all students must wear a face mask, no exceptions. They may take their mask off for their picture.

The Valedictorians and Salutatorians will be announced on May 22, 2020. In addition, we are working on a date for Seniors to collect any personal belongings that they may have left in their locker. Attached to this letter is an informational sheet that highlights the events of May 26th and May 27th, 2020.



Gene T. Jones, Jr


4 de mayo de 2020

Estimados Padres,

Nos gustaría agradecerles a todos ustedes el apoyo que nos han brindado durante este momento histórico y único en la vida de su hijo/a. El impacto de esta pandemia ha evitado que su hijo/a experimente el Ritual de Graduación de la Escuela Superior. Desde nuestra partida el 13 de marzo de 2020, teníamos la esperanza de que su hijo/a tuviera esta oportunidad que se da una vez en la vida. Al recibir la noticia del cierre de la escuela por el resto del año iniciamos nuestro plan de contingencia para una graduación virtual. Tomamos en consideración la seguridad de todos los estudiantes y al mismo tiempo honramos sus logros. Hemos recibido un amplio apoyo de muchos grupos de la comunidad para que esta celebración interrumpida sea lo más honrada posible. Adjuntos a esta carta están los detalles informativos iniciales para la graduación de ARHS 2020.

El proceso de salida de nuestros estudiantes de 12° grado comienza el 26 de mayo de 2020, con los estudiantes devolviendo libros de texto, Chromebooks y otros materiales relacionados. Los estudiantes recibirán su toga y birrete junto con cualquier premio que hayan ganado. Tendremos una programación escalonada para la llegada de los estudiantes de 12º grado en este día. Habrá información más detallada a medida que nos acerquemos a esta fecha.

El 27 de mayo de 2020, una vez más tendremos una programación escalonada para que los graduandos se tomen una foto profesional con su toga y birrete junto con su diploma. Estas fotos se incluirán en la ceremonia de graduación virtual. Se requiere que todos los estudiantes usen una mascarilla, sin excepciones. Pueden quitarse la máscara para su foto.

Los “Valedictorians” y “Salutatorians” serán anunciados el 22 de mayo de 2020. Además, estamos trabajando en una fecha para que los estudiantes de 12º grado recojan sus pertenencias personales que puedan haber dejado en su casillero. Adjunto a esta carta hay una hoja informativa que destaca los eventos del 26 y 27 de mayo de 2020.


Gene T. Jones, Jr.


Posted in Parent News

Counselors Corner

Join us Friday, May 8th at 2:15 PM to watch Sherry Balzano & Karen Peters present “Parenting During Anxious & Uncertain Times”. This video will provide tools and strategies to maintain connection & well being for parents within the distri. The video can be reached at this link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sKCMyH-N03A

Posted in Parent News

ARHS Teachers: We Miss You All!

Staff made the following message for students on the Google Classroom


Posted in Parent News

AP Exam Schedule

This year’s AP Exams will be exclusively online.  Security protocals for the exams require all students worldwide to test at the same time.

The College Board made other changes to this year’s exams, including changes to timing, format, and content and skills covered. For the latest information, go to our AP Coronavirus Updates site: visit AP Exam Schedule 2020 for course-specific information or Taking AP Exams Online to learn more about how you’ll take exams this year.
The CollegeBoard is allowing students to wait until the actual day of the AP exam(s) they are signed up for to decide if they want to take it or not. Students DO NOT have to notify anyone about their intentions. On the assigned test day, students can either logon and take the test, or not. Refunds for the students who don’t take the test will be issued once we’re back in school.  

Exam Start Times:

Eastern Time Zone

12:00 p.m 2:00 p.m.  4:00 p.m. ET
Mon, May 11 Physics C: Mechanics Physics C: Electricity and Magnetism United States Government and Politics
Tues, May 12 Latin Calculus AB


Calculus BC

Human Geography
Wed, May 13 Physics 2: Algebra-Based English Literature and Composition European History
Thurs, May 14 Spanish Literature and Culture Chemistry Physics 1: Algebra-Based
Fri, May 15 Art History United States History Computer Science A
Mon, May 18 Chinese Language and Culture Biology Environmental Science
Tues, May 19 Music Theory Psychology Japanese Language and Culture


Italian Language and Culture

Wed, May 20 German Language and Culture English Language and Composition Microeconomics
Thurs, May 21 French Language and Culture World History: Modern Macroeconomics
Fri, May 22 Comparative Government and Politics Statistics Spanish Language and Culture

Get Ready for Exam Day

Dear Parent/Guardian,

AP® Exams start next week, and we want to make sure your child is prepared to take their exam(s) online. View the full list of exam dates and times. Please help your child learn when exams will start in your time zone.Dear Parent,

Your child should plan to set aside 80 minutes for each exam. They’ll need 30 minutes to sign in and enter some personal information before the exam starts. And the exam itself will take 50 minutes, which includes time to submit their responses. There are some differences in the exam format across AP courses. Please make sure your child reviews course-specific information for their exams.

Your child will need their AP ID to access the exams. This will be provided on their e-ticket so they can have it handy on test day.

To get your child ready for test day, be sure they complete an AP Exam Day Checklist (.pdf/513.39 KB) for each exam they’ll be taking and use the demo to see the exam experience.

5 Steps for Your Child to Get Ready

Now: Try the exam demo.
Now: Complete exam day checklist.
Now: Verify their email.
2 Days Before Exam: Locate their e-ticket.
Exam Day: Check in 30 minutes early.

View Demo and Key Information

What’s Next?

Two days before each of your child’s AP Exams they’ll receive an email with their unique exam e-ticket that includes their AP ID. This e-ticket should not be shared with others. The link included is how they’ll take their exam during the exam testing window. They should join their exam 30 minutes before exam time. Please make sure they check their email 48 hours before each of their exams.

Test Security

During the exam, your child may not collaborate with any person in any way, and their work must be their own. There are strict protocols in place to prevent and detect cheating, including the use of plagiarism detection tools. Students who give or receive aid will face consequences, including score cancellations, bans from future AP and SAT® exams, and notifications to college admissions offices.

Learn More

For more info about this year’s AP Exams, check out our frequently asked questions. You can also review the AP Exam Terms and Conditions, which your child will need to accept on exam day.


Advanced Placement Program


Posted in Parent News

ARPS Friends of Performing Arts Meeting 5/12

Spring 2020 Meeting
Tuesday, May 12, 7 PM via Zoom

Now, more than ever, the performing arts at ARPS need your support!  
Join Zoom Meeting
Meeting ID: 811 8770 3566  Password: 2Yb9PF

Activities and accomplishments during our first two years:
*Co-sponsorship of PGO fundraising efforts for high school auditorium lighting
*Support of the student-led ARPS FPA Valentine’s Gala, which raised significant money for 2020 spring ensemble trip scholarships
*Musical SOS: community outreach to help the 2020 musical recoup losses due to Covid-19 cancellation
*Coordination of event bake sales
*Official 501 (c)(3) status
*Usher and chaperone recruitment for performances
*2019 April calendar fundraiser
*2019 Spring musical water sales

This is our last meeting of the school year, and it’s an important one.  Come to hear updates on our fundraising and to elect officers for the 2020-2021 school year.

Do you know a parent of a performing arts student who might be interested in pitching in?  Send them the link! New members warmly welcomed.

Contact Terri Geffert (tlgeffert@gmail.com)
or Richard Weinberg (richard555@comcast.net)

ARPS FPA Mission Statement:  The Amherst Performing Arts Boosters is a nonprofit organization of parents, guardians, students and community members committed to supporting high-quality education in performing arts at Amherst Regional Public Schools. We believe that all students should experience the transformative power of the performing arts.  In partnership with the Performing Arts program directors, our goal is to provide financial and logistical support to and advocate for continued investment in the Performing Arts Department.

Posted in Parent News

Pioneer Valley Excellence in Teaching Awards Honor ARPS Teachers

The Pioneer Valley Excellence in Teaching Awards program annually honors Western Massachusetts educators and seeks to motivate teachers at all stages of their careers to aspire to excellence.

The Amherst Regional Public School winners are:
Kelsey Geer Amherst Regional School District Pelham Elementary School
Kristen Iverson Amherst Regional School District Amherst Regional High School
Natalie Rodriguez Rivera Amherst Regional School District Fort River Elementary School
Victoria Munroe Amherst Regional School District Wildwood Elementary School


Posted in Parent News

Free Career Skills Workshops

Free Career Skills Workshops are available to all Amherst High School Students through Connecting Activities and The Collaborative for Educational Services. Matt Rigney is hosting this series of  workshops which will include topics like resume writing, cover letters,  interviewing, and much more. There are also  “meet the pro” sessions where students can hear directly from professionals in different fields. The Career Skills workshops happen live on Wednesdays at 4:00 pm and the Meet The Pro sessions happen live on Thursdays at 4:00 pm.  If students are interested in attending the live workshops, they should contact Matt directly by emailing him at mrigney@collaborative.org. If they cannot attend the workshops live, students can access past sessions on the CES website anytime here:   https://www.collaborative.org/programs/alternative-education/school-work/stemwork/career-skills-workshop-series. Topics covered so far have been resume and cover letters, which are available on the website. There have also been three “meet the pro” sessions which have included a Biomedical Engineer and a Chemical Engineer, and a Plant Biologist which are posted. Next session will be a Behavioral Neuroscientist. If students have an interest in hearing from someone from a specific field, they can request this directly to Matt through email.

Posted in Parent News

Mark Your Calendars

May 8- “Parenting During Anxious & Uncertain Times” video 2:15 PM

May 11- May 22- AP Exams Administered Online

May 12- Juniors: College Essay Writing Workshop –  2-3 pm

May 12- ARPS Friends of the Performing Arts Spring 2020 Meeting- 7 PM via Zoom

May 15- deadline for 9th Grade Course Registrations to be submitted

May 19-
Thriving, Beyond Surviving In College panel for Class of 2020/2021 -2:00-3:00 pm

June 5th- Graduation Ceremony Video premier -6:00 p.m

June 18th- Last Day of Distance Learning


All other school events are canceled

Posted in Parent News

Amherst Survival Center Services

Thank you to everyone who has contributed so far! 
Dear Community,
I hope you and yours are safe and well. For those of you who are grieving, my heart is with you. As we navigate this painful time, I continue to be inspired and overwhelmed and brought to tears (at least four times a day) by the generosity and beauty of people coming together, caring for each other, and giving in so many ways.
Kevin Gutting, Daily Hampshire Gazette

Effective Monday 5/4 our onsite open hours will begin at 12 noon (instead of at 11am). Lunch, produce, bread, and food pantry pick-ups will be available onsite Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Friday from 12-3pm.  

While a bit counter-intuitive, we are reducing onsite open hours in order to provide more food to more people! As I’ve shared, we have been preparing and serving 50% more lunches than before COVID-19, and over the last two weeks have been running out. Due to social distancing, we can only have a few people in the kitchen or packaging groceries for delivery at any one time. This extra hour will allow us to prepare and serve up to 200 lunches per day, prepare more deliveries for additional families, and we are confident we can still serve the same number of people onsite.
Volunteer writing on box of groceries
Groceries for the first delivery to Ware
We have partnered with area organizations to rapidly scale grocery delivery to area residents. Getting to the Center is really hard for some. Some can’t make it due to their own health risks, others can no longer borrow a car or get a ride, and many no longer have childcare. We expect to deliver groceries to between 400-600 people this month!   Organizations such as the Amherst Senior Center and Big Brothers Big Sisters are delivering groceries we package to their clients. And starting last Friday, we are also delivering pre-boxed groceries to area apartment complexes where staff, such as those from Hillside Apartments (Ware) and Wayfinders (Amherst and Hadley), will facilitate doorstep delivery and outdoor distribution. We also offer pre-scheduled curb-side pick-up for individuals in high risk categories for COVID-19.
If you need food, please come. If you can’t get here, please contact us. This crisis is impacting all of us, including many families who are struggling economically in a way they never have. We are here for everyone. We are open. We have food. If you have questions, please reach out. We would be honored to help.
Paper grocery bag and sign that reads Kids Boost_ 1 boost bag_ 1 butter_ 1 shelf milk_ 1 drumstick_ 1 bread
Kids boost, providing extra groceries to all families with kids

If you can give, please do. We have been astounded by the generosity all of you have shown so far. It is your gifts that have allowed for the increase in our operations to date. We continue to scale up to provide more food, and trust that this amazing community is in this with us.

Groceries on table
Part of a food pantry monthly shop
Lastly, a huge thank you to our Mask Makers! We have given out more than 500 masks to participants, and are still collecting and distributing more.  Want to sew? Wonderful. See here for more info. And THANK YOU to the amazing sewers for your beautiful, colorful protective gear!
In solidarity,
Lev Ben-Ezra, Executive Director
For up to date information about our programs and safety measures, please see www.amherstsurvival.org/COVID19 
Posted in Parent News

Project Earth Through Multi-Arts

Multi-Arts invites young people to participate in PROJECT EARTH, 
and contribute in the creation of a play exploring Earth’s healing journey.
The project will be a theater production with instrumental music to premiere in the summer of 2020.
We will have FOUR meetings on Saturdays at 11 AM, by Zoom.
“Even from stuck inside, or from a walk down my street, I can see the changes. There are less planes in the sky, less smoke in the air, and less trash in the grass. PROJECT EARTH is a celebration and investigation of how a community can come together to pave the way for a healthier planet. We want to tell a story about our relationship to the world and the hope we have for it. We will use poetry, art, movement, and music from the Multi-Arts family, inspired by Carl Sagan’s “Pale Blue Dot”.” Maia Kinney-Petruch, lead playwright 
Posted in Parent News

School (Buildings) Closed for the Reminder of 2019-2020 School Year

Dear ARPS Families:

Governor Charlie Baker has announced that all schools in Massachusetts will remain closed for the remainder of the 2019-2020 school year.  This was an anticipated decision based on the projected curve of COVID-19 cases across the Commonwealth. ARPS will continue to utilize Distance Learning 2.0 for the rest of the spring semester.  Discussions are ongoing regarding ways in which end-of-year milestones can be celebrated, including graduation for the Class of 2020. I will continue to share more information as it becomes available

We will follow-up with continued updates on this site.


Michael Morris, Superintendent

Posted in Parent News

Distance Learning 2.0 Family Survey 

In last Friday’s weekly ARPS Update  newsletter, the Superintendent shared an online survey the district is doing to get feedback on Distance Learning 2.0 and how it’s going for families and students.  Your feedback will help ARPS make updates and provide support as needed.  To complete the survey: 

Note: For parents with multiple ARPS students, you answer the survey once, but can give different answers to individual questions based on different children’s experiences.

Click here to take the survey.

Additionally, the Superintendent said: “Some families have expressed concern about the effect of the school closure on students’ academic progress and the impact it will have in the 2020-2021 school year.  I want to assure our families that the District is taking these concerns into account in planning for the beginning of the new school year.  There are no plans to retain students since they will be supported in catching up on both their academic and social/emotional learning when the new year begins.  In the meantime, students are strongly encouraged to participate fully in the Distance Learning 2.0 work being provided by their teachers. At the High School level, students will receive credit for their courses based on their work prior to the school closure and their participation in distance learning.”

Posted in Parent News

Virtual SEPAC Meeting on 5/1

There will be a virtual SEPAC meeting on 5/1/20 at 9:00 am.  The agenda will be:

Approve Minutes

Impacts of School Closure for Special Education (Questions encouraged).

Delivery of services as outlined on IEP’s.

Scheduling and logistics of IEP team meetings.

Extended School Year (summer programming for SpEd).

Nominations for SEPAC Board (for vote at 6/5/20 meeting).

Preschool Programming.

Updates from Dr. Brady, Director of Student Services/Special Education.

Updates from School Committee Liaisons. Next Meeting Agenda Planning.

Public Comment.

Join using url: meet.google.com/gif-ewmi-knj or join by phone: +1 260-577-6929 (PIN: 203375528)

Posted in Parent News

ARPS Budget Process Update

With drasticly declining fiscal projections throughout our Commonwealth, the Regional School Committee is reopening the 2020-2021 budget process.  The Town of Amherst will host a financial indicators meeting with the Town Council, School Commities and Library Trustees on Monday, May 11 at 5:30 PM.  The Regional Budget Hearing is planned for Tuesday, May 12 at 6:30pm.
To provide input, email schoolcommittee@arps.org.  The deadline for input is 3PM.
The Amherst Schools budget hearing will be on Tuesday, May 19 (meeting start time is 6:00pm).
Posted in Parent News

Managing Children’s Emotional Health Info Session

Last Friday, the district hosted an insightful session with ARPS school counselors from the Elementary, Middle School and High School levels.  The discussion focused on managing the current situation, emotional health and well-being, and your children.

You can see the recorded presentation here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZMoc7jXvZyc

Posted in Parent News

Attn Juniors- College Info from Ms Cuffee-Gray

Hello Class of 2021 –

Please find a listing of college planning opportunities below to support your college planning process –

College Planning Workshops

Common Application Workshop on May 5th – 3:30 – 4:30 RSVP Link – https://calendly.com/cuffee-grayd/common-application-overview-for-juniors

College Essay Writing Workshop – May 12th – Time TBD

Srive Virtual College Exploration 4/27-5/8

Monday, April 27 – Friday, May 8, 2020
With over 100,000 student registrations for the Strive Virtual College Exploration Week, StriveScan has expanded the program two more weeks: Monday, April 27 – Friday, May 8.
Registration for students and counselors is open!

The program features:

  • 200+ college information sessions

  • Institutions from 37 states across the country

  • Monday, May 4 is dedicated to opportunities at international universities

  • Day and evening options

  • Free and open to students nationwide

Boston Globe Discussions

The Boston Globe is looking at what education looks like in the times of COVID 19 https://mailchi.mp/bostonglobe.com/what-if-schools-remain-closed-students-join-us-for-a-discussion-on-wednesday-402190?e=7b554adaa2

Check out the student discussion on April 28th in the article (there is a link to participate)

Life After ARHS Junior Planning Meeting

Meet for your “Life After ARHS Planning Meeting” with Ms.Cuffee-Gray this spring (a parent or gaurdian must attend) –

Here’s the link – https://calendly.com/cuffee-grayd/junior-college-planning-meeting

MEFA – Massachusetts Education Financing Authority Webinars

College Admissions – May 21st https://www.mefa.org/webinars/college-admissions-8/

College Admissions (Spanish) https://www.mefa.org/videos/family-webinar-series-college-admissions-spanish/

Search and Manage Scholarships  May 27th https://www.mefa.org/webinars/search-manage-scholarships-with-mefa-pathway/

College Financing – mefa.org/videos/family-webinar-series-college-financing/

College Financing (Spanish) – https://www.mefa.org/videos/family-webinar-series-college-financing-spanish/

Understanding FAFSA – https://www.mefa.org/videos/understanding-the-fafsa-2/


Your Friendly Neighborhood College and Career Counselor, Deidre Cuffee-Gray

Posted in Parent News

Attn Seniors: Brief Reminders from Ms Cuffee-Gray

A number of MA State schools have May 1st deadlines –

Framingham State University – https://www.framingham.edu/

Worcester State University – https://www.worcester.edu/

Salem State University – June 1st https://www.salemstate.edu/admissions

Fitchburg State University Rolling Admissions – https://www.fitchburgstate.edu/admissions/undergraduate/

UMASS Boston – May 15th – https://admissions.umb.edu/

Open Admission (except selective programs) – please check with the college admisisons office for placement testing information

Greenfield Community College – https://www.gcc.mass.edu/admissions/

Holyoke Community College – https://www.hcc.edu/admission

Springfield Technical Community College – https://www.stcc.edu/

If you missed the college decision conversation that we sponsored at ARHS MEFA has some great webinars –

After the College Acceptance – https://www.mefa.org/videos/family-webinar-series-after-college-acceptance/

Comparing Loan Options – https://www.mefa.org/videos/family-webinar-series-comparing-loan-options/

College Financing – https://www.mefa.org/videos/family-webinar-series-college-financing/

College Financing (Spanish) – https://www.mefa.org/videos/family-webinar-series-college-financing-spanish/

Feel free to set an appointment to check in with me if you have questions. If the times do not work, please email me and we’ll figure it out.

Here’s the link – https://calendly.com/cuffee-grayd/senior-college-planning-assistance

Please remember to enter the decisions from the colleges you have applied to in Naviance!

I know there have been discussions about graduation and the like. I am definitely thinking so much about how you, as seniors in high school, have been affected.

With Care and Respect,

Ms. Cuffee-Gray

P.S. The Boston Globe is running a series on how COVID 19 has affected school –



Your Friendly Neighborhood College and Career Counselor, Deidre Cuffee-Gray

Posted in Parent News

AP Exam Info

Dear Parent,

Here’s important information to help guide your child through the AP® Exam day experience.

New Resources

AP Exam Day Checklist: Your child should complete this checklist (.pdf/513.39 KB) for each AP Exam they’ll be taking this year, and keep it next to them on test day.

Explainer Videos: New videos are available to give your child quick, easily accessible information about the test day experience and what they need to do to prepare. Additional videos will be posted to this playlist soon.

AP Exam Demo: On May 4, your child will be able to practice submissions through the exam demo, which will give a click-through practice for the different ways to submit responses to this year’s AP Exams.

We encourage all students to take this important preparation step. This will help your child avoid technical difficulties on the day of the exam. The demo will be generic across subjects, and not a practice exam. See below for info on a specific video and demo for world languages exams.

AP Prep Week: Next week, the online AP Classes and Review Sessions will focus on the exam day experience and sample exam questions.

Two Days Before Exams: Your child will receive an email with their exam e-ticket 48 hours before their exam. Be sure to help your child check what time their exams will start in your time zone.

Portfolio Submissions Due: AP Computer Science Principles, Seminar, Research, and Art and Design submissions are due by May 26, 11:59 p.m. ET.


Information for World Language AP Exams

The world languages exams will be administered using a new dedicated app—the AP World Languages Exam App (WLEA). Students taking these exams must use this app on smartphones or tablets, not on laptops or desktop computers. This free app will be available for download from the Apple App Store and Google Play Store the week of May 11. We’ll email students and their teachers to let them know when the app is available to download. Visit our site for more details.

Accommodations details for the above exams are also available now.

If you’re unsure whether your child can access the app, or if your child doesn’t have a device, you can fill out this survey as soon as possible so we can help support your child (applicable to U.S./U.S. territories)


Information for AP Music Theory Exams

Before exam day, students will need to print or hand-copy the 2020 Music Theory Answer Sheet and have access to an audio recording app or software. Please see more information on the website.

Posted in Parent News

SAT New Test Dates and Registration Info

The College Board has announced that SAT administration will be on Saturday, September 26, 2020. This date will be for the SAT only, in the United States and internationally, with no SAT Subject Tests™ available. Sunday testing for religious reasons will be on September 27.

Registration for the 2020-21 SAT administrations will open in May. At that point, June registrants will be able to transfer their seat to a 2020-21 administration. All other students in the high school class of 2021 who don’t have SAT scores will also have early access to register for the August, September, and October administrations. This includes students who had registered for March or May and had their registrations canceled and refunded. We’ll email during the week of May 26 with the exact date that registration opens.

Our top priorities are the health and safety of students. Please note we’ll only move forward with the administrations if it’s safe to do so from a public health standpoint.

If you have questions, call Customer Service at 866-756-7346 (domestic) or +1-212-713-7789 (international). We’ll also regularly update our webpage with information.

Thank you for your understanding. Our thoughts are with you during this unprecedented time.


College Board

Posted in Parent News

MIAA Announcement on Spring Sports

In accordance with Governor Charles Baker’s announcement last week that Massachusetts schools will be closed to in person learning for the remainder of the school year, the Massachusetts Interscholastic Athletic Association (MIAA) regretfully has cancelled all 2020 spring sports and spring tournaments.

The decision by the MIAA Board of Directors was difficult, disappointing, and one that was deferred for several weeks as Association staff, Association members from the Tournament Management Committee (TMC) and the Board worked aggressively to construct optional structures to save the opportunity for our MIAA 80,000 student-athletes to enjoy a spring season.

Despite this disheartening but unavoidable action, it is paramount to applaud our constituents, principals, athletic directors, coaches and student-athletes for their positive power of example and cooperation during this unprecedented crisis. The “life lessons” inherent in the games we play will be our resiliency to provide mental and physical strength to focus on the discipline and teamwork to make a difference in the challenging chapters in the Game of Life. #OneTeamOneMIAA

Stay Well.

Posted in Parent News

Virtual programming for teens at the Jones Library

Teens and tweens (ages 11-17) who participate in our virtual programming will be entered into a weekly raffle to win a $5 gift card to Antonio’s pizza. Each week there will be multiple opportunities to participate! This week you can earn up to 4 raffle entries:

  1. Fortnight Art Challenge: Make a comic! Every two weeks we come up with a new art challenge. The current challenge is making a comic. Choose your favorite medium (pencil, ink, digital, etc) and make a comic. It can be a single panel or a comic strip. It can be about COVID-19 or anything!
  2. Quarantine CuisineWhat’s cooking? What kinds of meals are you making while stuck at home? Are you enjoying any local takeout? Email photos and a brief description and we’ll share in on our social media to help inspire other teens!
  3. Coronavirus Novels: Book reviews Are you reading any good (or bad?) YA novels or graphic novels in your free time? Send us a quick review! It can be written or recorded. We want to hear about what you’re reading!
  4. Fortnight Art Challenge: Throwback! Complete any of the previous art challenges (book cover remix, peep art, a view from your window) and email us your artwork!

Email submissions to teens@joneslibrary.org and include your full name and age to be entered into the raffle. One lucky winner will be chosen each week and emailed a gift certificate for some delicious local pizza! Follow along with our virtual programming over on our Teen Instagram and watch out for bonus opportunities to get a raffle entry.

Posted in Parent News

Kendrick Park Playground Update

The Town of Amherst is designing a playground for the children of Amherst, to be located in Kendrick Park.  The Planning Department, LSSE and DPW staff are working together to prepare a design, with input from the public.  During the summer of 2019 the Town of Amherst applied for a PARC grant from the Commonwealth of Massachusetts and was awarded $400,000.  In the fall CPAC (Community Preservation Act Committee) and the Town Council voted to match this grant with about $260,000 from town funds to build a playground that will serve Downtown Amherst.   Despite the covid-19 pandemic, work is proceeding, and LSSE and the Planning Department want to hear from you before a design is finalized in the next couple of months!  Please see
https://www.amherstma.gov/3527/Kendrick-Park-2020 for more information, including the preliminary design that was presented to the Planning Board  in March, 2020, and a link for submitting comments.
Posted in Parent News

Amherst Blue Light Luminaria in support of our Front Line Workers

The Amherst Business Improvement District (BID) invites the public to join them in honoring first responders, emergency services personnel, and  essential service worker with a town center drive-though event on Friday, May 8.

The Luminaria lights will be lit by 8 p.m. in downtown. Community members are encouraged to drive through and honk horns in appreciation of our EMTs, restaurant workers, hospital staff, teachers who are teaching online, service workers, shop owners, mechanics and everyone working to keep us healthy, fed, educated and safe.

Community members are encouraged to celebrate townwide and suggest that wherever you are driving to and from to please give a honk (or a bell-ring if you’re on a bike)!

Questions can be directed to: Gabrielle Gould,  Executive Director of the BID at  gabrielle@amherstdowntown.com

Posted in Parent News

What’s Open?

What's Open?

This “Open for Business” list compiled by the Amherst Area Chamber of Commerce & Amherst Business Improvement District (BID) lets community members know what services are available in the community as businesses adapt to the COVID-19 situation.

View and Share the “Open for Business” List  »

Posted in Parent News