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School Zone: Middle school helps town hit by Sandy

The Regional Middle School has adopted Intermediate East School in Toms River, N.J., an area hard-hit by Hurricane Sandy. It is seeking donations of money and gift cards to send to the school. Teacher Denise Boyd is coordinating the effort and can be reached at boydd@arps.org. Checks can be made out to the Regional Middle School with Sandy Relief Fund in the memo line.

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NEW OFFERINGS: Amherst Regional High School has proposed two new courses for next year and the realignment of two others.

Art History, available to 10th- through 12th-graders, would span from prehistory to the present day. Advanced Printmaking would be the follow-up to the existing Printmaking course. Under the realignment, ninth-graders would have a health course instead of a physical education course next year, and in the following year 10th-graders would have a physical education course instead of a health course.

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CHOICE BENEFITS: The Amherst regional schools have 94 students who live outside the four district towns this year. More than half of them come from Hadley (35) and Belchertown (16) and others live as far away as Ashfield, Orange and Worthington.

The regional schools have had school choice students since 1999, while the Amherst elementary schools just started accepting them this year. Since 1999, there have been about 1,235 choice students enrolled in the regional schools, bringing with them over $6 million from their towns, said Kathryn Mazur, director of human resources.

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CHILI COOKS: The Fort River PGO welcomed six women athletes from the University of Massachusetts to a chili cook-off Dec. 5 to raise money to support the school library. There were 14 entries, and the winner was Suzanne Schilling, with Rebecca Hart the runner-up. The UMass athletes served as judges and stayed to read stories with children in the library.

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AND: ARHS ninth-grader Tosh Foerster has been named to the Governor’s Statewide Youth Council and will be reporting on Amherst issues...ARHS 11th-grader Georgia Nichols is collecting new and unwrapped toys, clothing, sports equipment, books, games and gift cards for the Amherst Survival Center, and they can be dropped off at the main office through this Friday.

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