Wednesday, August 28, 2013

First Day Eve

School Superintendent Maria Geryk welcomes crowd, Marta Guevara waits to translate into Espanol

A good sized crowd turned out on the town common late this afternoon for the 4th annual "First Day" back to school party celebration, a pep rally for students, family and school staff.

Parents are certainly in the mood to celebrate.

 Crowd listens to the Middle School Choir

The event was rescheduled to an earlier start time in response to the EEE mosquito paranoia which proved fortuitous as angry skies started threatening almost as soon as the event started at 5:00 PM and opened up into a downpour around 6:00 PM cutting the event short by a half hour.

Certainly not a harbinger of stormy things to come.

Wildwood Principal Nick Yaffe is excited about tomorrow

Mark Jackson, Amherst Regional High School Principal

Sam The Minuteman works the crowd


Walter Graff said...

I was gonna bring the boys but frankly that part of town is EEE and West Nile central in these parts and that many hot bodies making carbon dioxide, lactic acid and nonanal along with the moisture in the air and grass means mosquitoes at that hour too. The last thing I need is to get sick or my kids to get sick. Glad it was a success though.

Anonymous said...

We left when the bizarrely inappropriate rant from the young poet began. Yelling about the treatment of minorities at the hands of school staff, was a weird and really a poor choice for this event where we are celebrating the schools. Did any one read this thing beforehand? It was disturbing and scary for the smaller kids and I felt really bad for the teachers having to stand there with a smile on their face listening while being harangued as a group. What a disturbing and embarrassing thing.

Anonymous said...

It ain't Amherst unless there's a weird element.

Anonymous said...

Nice chatting with you Larry- wishing both of your girls a great first day of school :)


Larry Kelley said...

Thanks Jean,
They can't wait.

Anonymous said...

anon 10:08,

Should we consider that the rant was someone trying to make a point that is being ignored. I think the schools have a habit of saying how hard they work on equality and preaching equality excessively. From my kids perspective they are sick of hearing it when the actions they see by some people in the schools is in stark contrast to the ideological teachings of the schools. Kids can spot hypocrites a mile away. Maybe this kids has had enough and is not going to take it anymore?

Anonymous said...

how many students and families go to this event? crowd looks small in the pictures.

Richard Burns said...

a positive story! finally! just when i was thought you were becoming a grim blogger, you pull this out of your hat larry. cheers.

Anonymous said...

If the administration spent as much time worrying about educational content, as they do about Public Relations, the Amherst public schools would be second to none instead of second to last. Ok, so the last part of that sentence is a bit of hyperbole but you get the point.

Anonymous said...

If this story is positive does the peanut gallery have to be positive with comments too?

Anonymous said...

When did the schools start to need to hold a pep rally for the beginning of school?

Could it have been when two certain Amherst College professors started asking inconvenient questions?

Oh, sorry, I violated the code of silence.

Walter Graff said...

Since you have no identity here can you elaborate more on these questions and what they are about?

Anonymous said...

Anon: 1:22

How could you. (sarcasm) People pay no attention to the man behind the curtain. Our schools are wonderful. They serve every child everyday equally. Everyone leaves with strong academic skills regardless or race or socioeconomic status. Our children grow up life long learners, well adjusted, ready to question injustice at every turn, and well rounded.

I does not get any better than this. Come have some cool-aid and we can talk about how great it is to be here.

Anonymous said...

This is Anon 1:22, again:

You are so right, Anon 2:29.What was I thinking? What got into me? Everything is just wonderful at our schools and really needs no oversight. I should just leave them to our professionals.

Our school officials have told us: "There's nothing to see here, folks. Please move on."

I'm sorry, the need for a pep rally for our schools confused me.

Walter Graff said...

Did anyone experience the utterly ridiculous method they now use to release your child? 50 parents waiting for their children must now crowd around a small entrance where they must enter the building to sign their name.

After signing your name you are told you can wait around the table except that there is no room so they tell you to go outside.

Someone holds your child hand and leads them out and asks you if you signed in. You simply say yes and they hand you your child or another if you want.

Class lets out by 310 and the last parent gets their child 40 minutes later. WHAT AN AMAZING SYSTEM!

This is one of the most absurd, poorly conceived and disorganized things I've ever seen. There are far better ways of doing this if security is a concern. This is handled in a way that equals simply letting your child out of the school as was done up until the "new and improved" changes".

This tops my list of dumbest things being done in the Amherst school and today is only day one.

Anonymous said...


Can we assume this is an Elementary School. If so are they all doing this? It certainly was not that way a few years ago. Sounds crazy.

Anonymous said...

Pity the poor parent who is in a hurry to get their child. I know I would not have 30 minutes to waste picking up my kid from school. They better make changes in this new system or they will have many angry parents on their hands.

Anonymous said...

Funny about the two Amerst professors with their

inconvenient questions

Seems these two exited at their own


Walter Graff said...

Elementary school. Fort River. I can only imagine this is system wide but do not know. They have enacted a number of new things now that they paid a group of people $100k to walk around and time how many minutes kids miss learning, so eliminated Wed early dismissal. I saw a number of things today and had a few teachers role their eyes over some of the changes.

Another interesting one is that no one can enter the school before 8:30am because that is now the time used for teacher talks (used to be on that Wed.) and students are corralled in the front area until 8:45 and then allowed to tramped to their classes.

I did write the principal with a suggestion how to make dismissal less miserable. She has a tough job in a system that lacks a lot.

Saw Boston Mags top picks for Mass schools today. While really about Boston area and some pretty rich and well known areas, none had a per student cost anywhere Amherst. And none as in the red as Amherst either. Hmmmm...

Anonymous said...

Does anyone know what prompted the extreme security measures at the ES that walter is talking about. When my kids went to school we all stood out front chatted a while and found our kids through the mass of children leaving the building. That was a few years ago but I have not seen a reason why this was deemed so unsafe. Is Amherst getting paranoid? I thought we all lived in Mayberry.

Anonymous said...

12/14/12 happened

Anonymous said...

how is this new security system supposed to stop crazy people? Locking the doors, which happened long before 12/14 made a lot of sense. I really don't see anything, short of multiple security guards, improving the on the locked doors. Certainly a sign out system has no impact on crazy.

Anonymous said...

Can someone elaborate on the poet? Was he or she a scheduled event? Why would this frighten a child? anon:8/28 10:08 pm. What is even more frightening is the blindness to the racism that does exist, and is practiced daily in our schools~all of them. It has become so widely accepted, virtually invisible, that it is considered normal business as usual. Have any of you looked at the discipline reports~the disparity in punishments handed out based on a student's race, and income is inexusable! Honestly~wth is going on here? The Amherst College professors referred to thought their higher than thou knowledge was going to fix it all, and make everything better by closing down a high preforming elementary school, banning open enrollment within town, and redistricting so that the rich would be forced to sit beside the poor. Well guess what? It didn't work. :(