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School Zone: Amherst school staffer donates cash for new piano

Brian Ecclestone, who works at Amherst Regional High School in computers and tech support, has donated $1,000 for the purchase of a new piano for the school’s auditorium and ensemble practice spaces.

“I happen to know they are in need of a performance and rehearsal piano, that its use would be immediate, and it will last for many years,” he wrote in a note accompanying the gift. “I can think of no better way to say thanks to all the ensemble directors and all the student musicians for all their hard work, talent and dedication to the arts.”

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Baby boon: The federal Affordable Care Act may have helped the regional schools spend $24,000 less than anticipated on employee health insurance in the first quarter of this fiscal year.

The act allows young adults to remain on their parents’ plans until they are 26. “It appears that as a result, some eligible new hires may have elected to forgo the district’s insurance and remain on their parents’ plans,” according to Rob Detweiler, the director of finance.

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COLLEGE COACHES: Amherst College student athletes are serving as volunteer assistant coaches on the ARHS swimming, diving, indoor track and Nordic skiing teams this winter. More students from the college will be assistant coaches at ARHS next spring and fall, said Athletic Director Rich Ferro.

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HIGH ACHIEVERS: ARHS was among the 539 in the U.S. and Canada to be honored by the College Board for increasing access to Advanced Placement courses while maintaining or increasing the percentage of students earning scores of 3 or higher on AP exams. There were 46 schools in Massachusetts that were put on the Advanced Placement District Honor Roll.

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AND: There will be no classes at the middle and high schools next Monday because of a teacher curriculum day...The Regional School Committee will meet Tuesday at 7 p.m. in the ARHS library, with fees and an upgrade of middle school science facilities among the items on the agenda.

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