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Public Records Request for Larry Kelley: Could I please get any emails exchanged between former

Superintendent Maria Geryk and the Amherst School Committee, Amherst Pelham Regional School
Committee or any individual member of either School Committee between March 1st and September
14th 2016.
Date: Thu, 19 May 2016
From: Maria Geryk <gerykm@arps.org
To: sarah dolven <sdolven@gmail.com, Sarah Dolven <DolvenS@ARPS.ORG
Hi Sarah,
I'm wondering if you were able to meet with me tomorrow or early next week.
I would appreciate the chance to catch up on things.
Best,
Maria
Date: Thu, 19 May 2016
Subject: Re: ARMS principal selection process
From: Maria Geryk <gerykm@arps.org
To: Vira Douangmany <douangmanyv@arps.org
Cc: Trevor Baptiste <baptistet@arps.org, Sarah Dolven <dolvens@arps.org, Kathryn Mazur mazurk@arps.org
Dear Vira,
As you may be aware, the amount of turn over at ARMS and Fort River has been a challenge for a number of years.
Given the previous principal searches only provided a handful of candidates, going through a search at this time of the
year is not recommended. Patty Bode is an exceptional educator who is widely supported by the faculty and staff at
ARMS. At this point, it makes sense to provide stability for our staff. Feedback from Faculty/Staff and families
regarding this decision has been very positive. The appointment of principals is within the purview of the
superintendent and does allow me to appoint rather than posting and searching. In addition, our contracts do no
include language regarding positing for administrators. While appointing a person is not routine, we review each
vacancy and make the best determination. I am happy to meet to share more information with you regarding the
process, however a public discussion at the SC is not recommended as it will only risk destabilizing the transition of
Marisa/Patty which must be handled thoughtfully.
Please let me know if you would like to meet.
Best,
Maria
On Wed, May 18, 2016 at 6:45 AM, <douangmanyv@arps.org wrote:
Dear Maria,
While I think the selection for ARMS interim principal may be excellent, her caliber is getting overshadowed about
the issue of process and parent involvement.
I am copying the chair and vice chair so we can take this up at the next school committee meeting.
Thanks!
Vira Douangmany Cage
Amherst School Committee
Term 2015-2018

cell: 413.461.6386
On May 18, 2016, at 6:40 AM, douangmanyv@arps.org wrote:
Dear Maria,
While I think the
Vira Douangmany Cage
Amherst School Committee
Term 2015-2018
cell: 413.461.6386

From: Maria Geryk <gerykm@arps.org


Date: Tue, 2 Aug 2016
Subject: Re: Joint SC Meeting 8/9
To: Laura Kent <kentl@arps.org
Cc: Sarah Dolven <dolvens@arps.org
Hello Laura,
Thanks for connecting. Is there a way that we could connect by phone?
Maria
On Tuesday, August 2, 2016, Laura Kent <kentl@arps.org wrote:
Good Evening Maria,
Hope you are well, the committees will be having a Joint School Committee (ASC, RSC, PSC) meeting this coming
Tuesday 8/9 @5pm and are hoping you will be able to attend. We would like to complete our Superintendent
Evaluation for 2015-2016 and to get an update regarding beginning of school initiatives (First Day Celebration,
Project Backpacks, etc.)
I am planning on sending the agenda to Debbie Westmoreland to disseminate by tomorrow and would appreciate
your input on any additional agenda items. Please get back to me by noon so I can finalize it, thanks!
Best,
Laura
SULLIVAN
Date: Tue, 31 May 2016
Subject: Re: Thank you
From: Maria Geryk <gerykm@arps.org
To: MARTA GUEVARA <guevaram@arps.org
Cc: Monica Hall <hallm@arps.org, Yaldira Brown <browny@arps.org, Florence Bakuli <bakulif@arps.org,Stephen
Sullivan <sullivans@arps.org, Sharri Conklin <ConklinS@arps.org, Linda Gianesin <GianesiL@arps.org, Paul Wiley
<wileyp@arps.org, Georgia Malcolm malcolmg@arps.org
It was wonderful teamwork
On Mon, May 30, 2016 at 2:34 PM, MARTA GUEVARA <guevaram@arps.org wrote:
That's what we do. One for all and all for one. Happy to support these wonderful student-centered activities.

On Friday, May 27, 2016, Monica Hall <hallm@arps.org wrote:


Hello Everyone,
On Tuesday evening, we were pleasantly surprised after the Black Scholars Rising Celebration to see a clean cafeteria!
We did not plan for a clean-up crew as well as who would help to serve the food. Carol and I appreciate you stepping
in to ensure our students and families had an opportunity to fellowship with each other and have a wonderful meal.
I know I may have missed someone in this email. Please let me know if I have because we would like to thank
everyone who stepped in right on time.
Thank you for all you do!
Monica P. Hall
Director of Equity and Professional Development
Amherst-Pelham Regional Schools
170 Chestnut Street
Amherst, MA 01002
Phone: (413)362-1810
Date: Thu, 12 May 2016
Subject: Re: Date of Amherst/Regional SC Meeting
From: Maria Geryk <gerykm@arps.org
To: Katherine Appy <AppyK@arps.org, Trevor Baptiste <BaptisteT@arps.org
Cc: Anastasia Ordonez <ordoneza@arps.org, Emily Marriott <MarriottE@arps.org, Laura Kent <kentl@arps.org,
Phoebe Hazzard <hazzardp@arps.org, Stephen Sullivan <SullivanS@arps.org, Vira Douangmany
douangmanyv@arps.org, Michael Morris <MorrisM@arps.org,
Debbie Westmoreland westmorelandd@arps.org,
Sarah Dolven <DolvenS@ARPS.ORG
Dear Trevor and Katherine,
I would respectfully request that we meet on either Monday 5/23 or Thursday 5/26. District Staff have been in the
midst of attending five Town Meeting days to date and will be back for Amherst next week. It would be incredibly
helpful to give Amherst School Committee members and district staff a break from meetings next week. In addition, I
didn't realize when when we discussed the date at Tuesday's meeting that I and several members of my staff will be in
Boston presenting at a state conference regarding our equity work on the 16th and 17th. I appreciate your
consideration of either of these alternative dates.
Sincerely,
Maria
On Wed, May 11, 2016 at 12:51 PM, Debbie Westmoreland westmorelandd@arps.org wrote:
Hi Everyone:
I've been asked to get input from everyone regarding a potential change in the date of next week's joint Amherst and
Regional meeting that was discussed last night. Since we will not know the final resolution of the
AFSME negotiations by that time, would it be amendable to the committee to meet on Tuesday, May 31 (both Amherst
and Region) instead? That will keep the 24th open for folks to attend the Black Scholars Rising event, but allow you to
consider and confirm the AFSME contract ASAP after negotiations conclude.
Please email me to let me know ASAP.
Thanks,
Deb
-Debbie Westmoreland

Assistant to the Superintendent


170 Chestnut Street
Amherst, MA 01002
(413) 362-1823
Date: Wed, 9 Mar 2016
Subject: Re: Subcommittee Meeting
From: Maria Geryk <gerykm@arps.org
To: Stephen Sullivan <sullivans@arps.org
Cc: Sean Mangano <manganos@arps.org, Rick Hood <hoodr@arps.org,
Katherine Appy
katherineappy@gmail.com, Trevor Baptiste <baptistet@arps.org, skulas0919 <skulas0919@aol.com
Sorry to hear that Stephen- Hope that you are all ok.
Best,
Maria
On Tue, Mar 8, 2016 at 5:28 PM, Stephen Sullivan <sullivans@arps.org wrote:
Sorry everyone I am having some major family issues and can't make either meeting
Shannon's dad
On Mon, Mar 7, 2016 at 7:36 AM, Sean Mangano <manganos@arps.org wrote:
Hi all,
Just a reminder that there is a subcommittee meeting tomorrow evening at 5PM in the ARHS library. The agenda will
be to review the FY15 audit.
Thank You
-Sean Mangano
Director of Finance
Amherst Pelham Regional School District
Amherst & Pelham Public Schools
170 Chestnut Street
Amherst, MA 01002
Phone: 413-362-1812
Date: Mon, 16 May 2016
Subject: Confidential
From: Maria Geryk <gerykm@arps.org
To: Trevor Baptiste <BaptisteT@ARPS.ORG, Sarah Dolven <DolvenS@ARPS.ORG, Stephen Sullivan
<SullivanS@ARPS.ORG, Katherine Appy <AppyK@ARPS.ORG, Phoebe Hazzard <hazzardp@ARPS.ORG, Anastasia
Ordonez <ordoneza@arps.org, Laura Kent <KentL@arps.org, Vira Douangmany <douangmanyv@ARPS.ORG, Emily
Marriott <MarriottE@ARPS.ORG
Cc: Debbie Westmoreland <WestmorelandD@ARPS.ORG, Michael Morris <MorrisM@ARPS.ORG
Dear School Committee Members,
Marisa Mendonsa notified me on Friday that she will be resigning from her position as Principal of Amherst Regional
Middle School on June 30th, 2016. We will miss Marisa as a member of our principal group and our District
Instructional Leadership Team. I thank Marisa for her strong instructional leadership and her unwavering focus on
the best interest of our students. I wish her the best as she pursues other opportunities.

I have appointed an interim Principal for the upcoming school year. Patty Bode taught in the Amherst and Regional
schools for many years, most recently in the Middle School. For the past several years, Ms. Body has been teaching
educators at the college level, and as an arts integration specialist in the Springfield Public Schools.
We will be in touch shortly with more information regarding our next steps. This information has been shared with
Faculty/staff, and information will be sent to families this evening.
Sincerely,
Maria
Date: Thu, 26 May 2016
Subject: Re: Meeting next steps
From: Maria Geryk <gerykm@arps.org
To: Emily Marriott <marriotte@arps.org
Thanks Emily- I have an appt set with Marta, Monica, and Lisa on Tuesday to talk about next steps!
Maria
On Mon, May 23, 2016 at 11:34 AM, Emily Marriott <marriotte@arps.org wrote:
Maria,
The list is very comprehensive - I can't think of anything that you missed. Thanks for hearing my thoughts. I look
forward to seeing how we can find ways to use the current situation to make progress.
Take care,
Emily
On Fri, May 20, 2016 at 4:34 PM, Maria Geryk <gerykm@arps.org wrote:
Dear Emily,
Thanks so much for meeting today to talk.I appreciate your willingness to share your thoughts, and I appreciate that
you took so much time out of your day to hear my perspective.
Here are the notes that I took regarding the questions to explore and possible next steps:
1. Talk with Pat Romney, Monica Hall, and Lisa about bringing parents together as a community for a
dialogue/activity to gather thoughts/suggestions. It would also be helpful to discuss how families can talk with their
children regarding diversity. Invite Emily and Dan to a planning session.
2. Recognition that our equity professional development for all of our faculty and staff is ongoing. We will consider
what the next steps should be for the upcoming school year.
3. Consider how we build community in classrooms at the start of the year to support all students- include a focus on
similarities/differences.
4. Does second step and our bullying curriculum provide enough opportunity for our students to work on prosocial
skills or do we need to supplement?
5. Could we consider connecting with classrooms in Amherst for activities over the course of the year?
6. How to clarify communication expectations between school and families? When should this conversation happen
with staff so we can hear their thoughts for the upcoming school year?
7. Consider with faculty/staff how we create meaningful connections between families and classroom teachers- this
relationship is critically important. We can learn from one another and families about what works well.
8. How do we create a more supportive orientation process for SC members?
I will share items from our discussion with Lisa, Pat, Monica, and Marta so that we can move forward. I will be sure to
share that our conversation was in a spirit of collaboration, and was in support of Pelham School and the faculty/staff.
Please let me know if I missed anything.

Thanks again,
Maria
Date: Thu, 17 Mar 2016
Subject: Confidential: Update on Situation at Pelham School
From: Maria Geryk <gerykm@arps.org
To: Trevor Baptiste <BaptisteT@ARPS.ORG, TLuce SchoolComm <LuceTSC@ARPS.ORG, Emily Marriott
<MarriottE@ARPS.ORG, Darius Modestow <ModestowD@ARPS.ORG, Daniel Robb <RobbD@ARPS.ORG
Cc: Michael Morris <MorrisM@ARPS.ORG, Debbie Westmoreland <WestmorelandD@ARPS.ORG, Kathryn Mazur
<mazurk@arps.org
Dear Pelham School Committee:
I am writing to share information concerning a situation at Pelham School. As you know, the confidentiality of our
families is paramount so I am sorry to have to provide details that would normally be kept private; however, the
parent has chosen to file a formal complaint with the School Committee so I am obligated to share the following
information.
On Tuesday, March 15, I served Aisha Hiza, a school choice parent at Pelham School, with a stay-away order. This
action followed months of escalating issues. Ms. Hiza has been unhappy with the schools response to a conflict
between her daughter and another child and has been highly critical of her childs teacher and Principal Desjarlais.
She addressed her concerns through highly charged phone calls, emails and personal interactions with school staff
and administration. On November 19, 2015, Ms. Desjarlais, Marta Guevara, Faye Brady and I met with Ms. Hiza and
reached a mutually agreed upon communication plan that would enable issues to be addressed in a respectful,
productive manner. This plan was implemented and appeared to work well for approximately six weeks.
Unfortunately, Ms. Hiza did not consistently adhere to the agreed upon plan before communication reverted back to
prior patterns. In addition to highly-charged communications with school and district staff, Ms. Hiza made statements
and comments to, and about, Ms. Desjarlais that raised safety concerns.
Last week, Ms. Hiza lodged five formal complaints with the Central Office, which were investigated by Kathryn Mazur
in her role as Human Resources Director. Of the five complaints, Ms. Mazur found four to be unfounded and the fifth
complaint has been addressed. Shortly after these findings were reported to Ms. Hiza, the district received credible
information which expressed serious concerns about the safety of the students, staff, and administration of Pelham
School. Given the potential risk, Amherst Police Lieutenant Ronald Young and Pelham Police Chief Thomann were
consulted. They advised that a stay-away order be issued to Ms. Hiza as per safety
protocol.
Our goal is always to work in partnership with parents/guardians in every way possible to address concerns. issuing a
stay-away order is a step that would never be taken lightly or without careful consideration; however, the safety of
our students and staff must always be given highest priority. Please note that this stay-away order does not preclude
Ms. Hizas child from attending Pelham School where she remains enrolled at this time, and we will continue to
provide educational information consistent with student records requirements. We have enacted our safety protocols
at Pelham School, and Pelham police have increased their vigilance.
Maria
Date: Mon, 16 May 2016
Subject: Re: time to meet?
From: Maria Geryk <gerykm@arps.org
To: Emily Marriott <marriotte@arps.org
Hello Emily,
I look forward to meeting this week to talk. I could meet either tomorrow after 2 or Wednesday at 8:30 or 12:00.
Let me know if any of these work for you.
Best,
Maria

On Mon, May 16, 2016 at 9:08 AM, Emily Marriott <marriotte@arps.org wrote:
Hi Maria,
After the last Regional SC meeting we spoke briefly about meeting soon. If you have time I would like to meet with
you this week to talk about the school surveys and other recent events. Tuesday or Wednesday would work for me.
Please let me know if you have time on one of those days. If not, I will also have time on Thursday or Friday, but my
schedule is not quite so flexible.
Thanks so much!
Emily
Date: Thu, 19 May 2016
Subject: Re: Black Scholars Rising
From: Maria Geryk <gerykm@arps.org
To: Phoebe Hazzard <hazzardp@arps.org
We can keep this between us
On Thursday, May 19, 2016, Phoebe Hazzard <hazzardp@arps.org wrote:
Hmmm...can you tell I don't really want anyone to know? :)
On Thu, May 19, 2016 at 12:00 PM, Maria Geryk <gerykm@arps.org wrote:
excellent- I would love to see that!!
On Mon, May 16, 2016 at 11:08 PM, Phoebe Hazzard <hazzardp@arps.org wrote:
I'm doing a Pineapple Dance class and we have a performance. It's a little embarrassing, but I'm committed!
On Mon, May 16, 2016 at 3:22 PM, Maria Geryk <gerykm@arps.org wrote:
Dear Phoebe,
Thanks so much for letting me know that you are unable to attend. We will take lots of pictures and write a follow up
story. What play are you rehearsing for??
Maria
On Mon, May 16, 2016 at 11:03 AM, Phoebe Hazzard <hazzardp@arps.org wrote:
Hi Maria,
Unfortunately, I'm committed to attending a rehearsal at the same time as the Black Scholars Rising celebration. It
sounds like a wonderful event and I would very much like to be there to support it. I'm sorry to miss it.
Best,
Phoebe
Date: Fri, 1 Apr 2016
Subject: Fort River Principal - Confidential
From: Maria Geryk <gerykm@arps.org
To: Katherine Appy <AppyK@ARPS.ORG, Vira Douangmany <douangmanyv@ARPS.ORG,
Phoebe Hazzard
<hazzardp@ARPS.ORG, Anastasia Ordonez <ordoneza@arps.org, Anastasia Ordonez anastasia.ordonez@gmail.com,
Laura Kent <KentL@arps.org, "lduffy8@gmail.com" <lduffy8@gmail.com
Cc: Michael Morris <MorrisM@ARPS.ORG, Debbie Westmoreland <WestmorelandD@ARPS.ORG
Dear Amherst School Committee Members,

Please find the attached letter from Fort River Principal Bobbie Finocchio. Ms. Finocchio is sharing with faculty/staff
and families later today that she will be moving closer to her family, and therefore has submitted a letter of
resignation effective June 30th. We are fortunate to have worked with Ms. Finocchio for the past two years, and know
that staff, students,and families will be sorry to hear this news. We wish Ms. Finoccio well in her move and in her
future endeavors. We will be post a position today for this position.
Sincerely,
Maria
Date: Thu, 2 Jun 2016
Subject: Re: Meet?
From: Maria Geryk <gerykm@arps.org
To: Phoebe Hazzard <hazzardp@arps.org
Hi Phoebe,
I would be happy to meet- How about Tuesday at 10?
Hope you are well.
Maria
On Wed, Jun 1, 2016 at 9:34 PM, Phoebe Hazzard <hazzardp@arps.org wrote:
Hi Maria,
Would you be available to meet with me next week? I have time on Tuesday morning between 9:30 and 12:30 and
Thursday afternoon between 12 and 2:30. Let me know if you have any openings during those windows.
Thanks!
Phoebe
Date: Sat, 21 May 2016
Subject: Fwd: Request for comment: Douangmany Cage pledges support for Aisha Hiza
From: Maria Geryk <gerykm@arps.org
To: Trevor Baptiste <BaptisteT@ARPS.ORG, sarah dolven <sdolven@gmail.com,
Katherine Appy
AppyK@ARPS.ORG, Phoebe Hazzard <hazzardp@ARPS.ORG, Tara Luce <LuceT@ARPS.ORG, Darius Modestow
<ModestowD@ARPS.ORG
Hello,
I don't know anything about this issue and wanted to let you know that I will not be responding to Amanda.
Maria
---------- Forwarded message ---------From: *Amanda Drane* <adrane@gazettenet.com
Date: Saturday, May 21, 2016
Subject: Request for comment: Douangmany Cage pledges support for Aisha Hiza
To: Maria Geryk <gerykm@arps.org
Maria,
I'm writing something up on Vira's pledge to support Aisha Hiza in regards to the stay away order you issued. Is there
anything you'd like to say in response?
Many thanks,
Amanda
Amanda Drane

Staff writer, Daily Hampshire Gazette


Cell: 413 464 2859
@AmandaDrane https://twitter.com/AmandaDrane
Date: Mon, 29 Feb 2016
Subject: Re: Parent concern
From: Maria Geryk <gerykm@arps.org
To: Phoebe Hazzard <hazzardp@arps.org
Cc: Michael Morris <morrism@arps.org
You bet!
On Mon, Feb 29, 2016 at 11:27 AM, Phoebe Hazzard <hazzardp@arps.org wrote:
Okay, thanks very much, Maria.
Best,
Phoebe
On Thu, Feb 25, 2016 at 3:56 PM, Maria Geryk <gerykm@arps.org wrote:
Thank you Phoebe for sharing this concern. I know that a parent contacted Marisa and the Dean (Talib) about this
concern. Talib has spoken with the mom and Marisa is calling back as well. This is a district form that's been in place
for many years, with a general liability clause from the attorney. This form is used widely, and the parent would have
signed it last year for trips as well. The difference is that this trip (ice skating at UMASS) did have an additional form
from UMASS. If the mom is not comfortable after her discussion with Marisa, she can give Debbie a call and someone
from the district office will be happy to meet with her.
Thanks again,
Maria
On Thursday, February 25, 2016, Phoebe Hazzard <hazzardp@arps.org wrote:
Hi Maria and Mike,
I wanted to give you a heads up about a concerned parent who just contacted me. She is the mother of a middle school
student and was very worried about a waiver that she needed to sign in order to allow her son to attend a school field
trip to the Mullins Center. She was upset that the form was very lengthy and required her to sign off on what she
described as any sort of harm that could come to her son and even if, in her opinion, it was the result of negligence.
She was concerned that parents would feel pressure to sign the form because otherwise their kids would not be able
to go on the field trip with the rest of the class. My sense was that she wanted to know who wrote the form, why it was
so comprehensive, why no administrator had signed off on it, and if the trip was particularly dangerous.
I encouraged her to contact those organizing the trip and the principal, and she said that she had tried but hadn't
been able to get in touch, and she is concerned that this is a larger district issue. She also told me that she has had
other issues in the past feels some discomfort. It sounds like she doesn't use email. I am going to encourage her to
contact the superintendent's office as the next proper channel. I'm not sure she will, but I wanted to let you know
should you get a call.
Best,
Phoebe
Date: Thu, 19 May 2016
Subject: Re: Update from Maria on FR Principal Search
From: Maria Geryk <gerykm@arps.org
To: Laura Kent <kentl@arps.org
Cc: Debbie Westmoreland <westmorelandd@arps.org, Anastasia Ordonez <ordoneza@arps.org, Katherine Appy
<AppyK@arps.org, Phoebe Hazzard <hazzardp@arps.org, Vira Douangmany <douangmanyv@arps.org, Michael
Morris <MorrisM@arps.org, Kathryn Mazur <MazurK@arps.org

You are very welcome LauraMaria


On Wed, May 18, 2016 at 2:45 PM, Laura Kent <kentl@arps.org wrote:
Thank you very much for this update and bringing the committee up to speed! I really appreciate it.
Laura
On Wednesday, May 18, 2016, Debbie Westmoreland <westmorelandd@arps.org wrote:
*Maria asked me to forward the following update: --Deb*
Dear Amherst School Committee Members:
I want to provide you with an update on the Fort River principal search, as well as some background about why there
was only one finalist.
As soon as Bobbie submitted her resignation, the district posted and advertised the position. On April 5, Fort River
families received a letter outlining the search process and inviting them to participate on the search committee (this
letter was sent to the School Committee in the April 8 update). As was the case when Bobbie was hired, there were
only a few applicants (8 in this instance). The screening committee, which included parents, staff, and administration,
identified and interviewed four semi-finalists. Each of the four also met with me and participated in written exercises
to evaluate their skills, their writing ability, and their ability to respond to a school-based situation. Based on this
information, Diane Chamberlain and Patty Bode were selected as finalists for the position.
Late last week, Marisa resigned from her position at ARMS effective June 30. This resignation was announced by
Marisa to the MS staff this past Monday afternoon. Understanding that it is very late to conduct a search for a new MS
principal and given her successful background at the Middle School, Patty Bode was approached about the possibility
of her becoming Interim MS principal. Patty was incredibly receptive to this, and I believe she has a unique ability to
pull the MS staff and community back together after the recent turmoil.
With Patty out of the pool for Fort River it was our hope that an additional finalist could be added for Fort River. We
have been conducting a search for a Wildwood Assistant Principal due to Linda Gianesins upcoming retirement, so we
re-reviewed the applicants for that position to see if there were candidates in that job pool who should be considered
for the Fort River principalship. Doreen Cunningham was invited in for an interview with the FR Screening
Committee, which unanimously agreed that she should be invited as a finalist. In speaking with her references,
Doreen appears to be an exceptional and experienced administrator. Her strengths in SE administration, teacher
evaluation and student discipline are phenomenal according to her current supervisor.
As of Friday, we had a pool of two finalists for Fort River: Doreen Cunningham and Diane Chamberlain. Over the
weekend, Diane withdrew from the process citing personal reasons leaving us with only one finalist. Based on staff
and parent feedback, we have decided to postpone the forum and reopen the search. Today we will repost and
readvertise the position with an application deadline of June 6. We will reconvene the Screening
Committee to review these applicants and invite some in for interviews. Doreen has been notified that she will
remain a finalist. Hopefully, we will be able to conduct a Public Forum during the week of June 13 or 20.
Best,
Maria
Date: Thu, 19 May 2016
Subject: Re: I am a parent of a child at Fort River and I think you have a serious problem here...
From: Maria Geryk <gerykm@arps.org

To: Brian Scully <brianrscully@gmail.com


Cc: Katherine Appy <AppyK@arps.org, Michael Morris <MorrisM@arps.org, Anastasia Ordonez ordoneza@arps.org,
Laura Kent <KentL@arps.org, Vira Douangmany <douangmanyv@arps.org, Phoebe Hazzard <hazzardp@arps.org
Dear Brian,
Email does not seem to be working for us Brian as you are misreading my intentions. Again, I offer to meet if that
would interest you.
Maria
On Thu, May 19, 2016 at 2:54 PM, Brian Scully <brianrscully@gmail.com wrote:
Hi Maria,
Thank you for a very well documented outline of the hiring process which looks like a good one, exactly as I assumed
it would be in my prior email. What a shame that it didn't continue after Step 11.
Step 12. Recognize that one candidate was not sufficient to bring to the community and do the additional work of a
second search to provide 3 qualified candidates.
I think it speaks very poorly for you that you have lamented that your hopes were dashed when the community didn't
choose "to meet with one exceptional educator" as you hoped. Clearly, nothing has been learned from this situation
and just as clearly, it is not possible for you to admit a mistake was made and a poor decision was enacted. Two very
forgivable things, IF recognized.... but to somehow imply that the parents were not willing to meet with the only
choice you presented is a very lame attempt to shift the blame for a problem that never needed to happen.
It is not unusual, in my life experience, to see that when a person who has been in a position of power over others for
a long time, starts to feel that they know better than the people they serve... and that an admission of a mistake is not
possible. This does not bode well for future decisions that will come from your office and I am glad that you were
kind enough to allow the School Committee members to see how this situation has been handled and viewed by you.
It is not a sign of weakness to admit a mistake was made. It is, however, a sign of arrogance when a person in a
position of power cannot see that.
Thank you
Brian Scully
Date: Thu, 19 May 2016
Subject: Re: I am a parent of a child at Fort River and I think you have a serious problem here...
From: Maria Geryk <gerykm@arps.org
To: Brian Scully <brianrscully@gmail.com
Cc: Katherine Appy <AppyK@ARPS.ORG, Michael Morris <MorrisM@ARPS.ORG,
Anastasia Ordonez
<ordoneza@arps.org, Laura Kent <KentL@arps.org, Vira Douangmany <douangmanyv@ARPS.ORG, Phoebe Hazzard
<hazzardp@ARPS.ORG
Brian - Quite simply, the process was as follows:
1. Late March - Bobbie resigns
2. March 29 - Position posted and advertised. Application deadline posted as 4/29. Screening Committee sought
3. April 29 - Screening Committee meets and members provided access to electronic applicant pool of 8 applicants
4. May 9 - Screening Committee meets with 4 semifinalists
5. May 9 - Two semifinalists identified by Screening Committee; Diane Chamberlain and Patty Bode.
6. May 12 - Screening Committee reconvenes to consider Doreen Chamberlain and decision to bring her back as
finalist with other two finalists.
7. May 13 - Marisa Mendonsa informs Superintendent of resignation
8. May 13 - Diane Chamberlain informs Superintendent of withdrawal from pool
9. Weekend of May 14 - HR Director assesses Bode's interest in MS position due to history at ARMS
10. May 16 - Bode accepts interim MS principal position
11. May 16 - Mendonsa announces resignation to staff

Result is that there is one finalist for Fort River School. To be clear -At no time was Ms. Cunningham told that as single
finalist, she would be appointed as principal of FR. Nor was the community ever led to this conclusion. It was hoped
that our community might be willing to meet with an exceptional educator.
I appreciate you sharing your perspective, however it seems we see this situation differently. Please let me know if
you would like to meet.
Best,
Maria
On Thu, May 19, 2016 at 12:58 PM, Brian Scully <brianrscully@gmail.com wrote:
Hi Maria,
Thank you for replying to my email. I appreciate your offer to me to come in for a conversation with you about the
hiring process but my complaint and the complaint of a lot of the other parents was not that we did not understand
the hiring process or that we disagreed with the process... we were upset about the decision making that was a result
of the process. We were upset at the poor judgment exercised when you found out you only had one finalist. Rather
than going back to the drawing board, keeping that one finalist and going out to bring in more potential applicants and
to bring the community 3 finalists, the decision was made to just go with the one. That was a very bad decision. And
as I said in my email, if this were some large expenditure of town funds for a building project or some other sort of
business relationship the town was going to embark on, there is no way town government would have given the
community the choice of only one bid. In fact, this WAS and IS a business relationship and an expenditure of town
funds for the position of Principal. Common sense and at least a concern for an appearance of fairness and impartiality
would have directed most reasonable executives or administrators toward doing the search again. Yes, more work...
and yes, not fitting in with your timetable. Well, my experience is that life rarely pays attention to timetables set by
people. People have to adjust their timetables to the real-world life situation that is in front of them.
The bottom line here is that, on paper, there is probably a good hiring process in place... the problem was that there
was little if any good personal judgment exercised when things didn't go quite as planned. And rather than take the
more difficult road of admitting the search was not successful in giving the Fort River community 3 good finalist
candidates, the decision was made to just try and ram it through with the one that was left. THAT is what angered and
disappointed most parents, including me. We parents and the wonderful teachers at Fort River try and teach our kids
that the best way to live is to work hard, try to achieve goals, not be afraid to fail, not be afraid to admit failure when it
happens and to try again until they eventually succeed. That lesson is good for kids and adults.
Don't be afraid to admit a failure... people will understand that. All of us try and fail at something almost every day...
but we don't try to let it slip by and see if no one notices or objects, especially when it affects other people. At least I
hope that those of us in any position of authority or safety or responsibility do that. And that is what myself and I'm
betting many other parents were angry about.
And finally, you must have realized that the Fort River community was right because you went back to your original
plan... to search out good candidates and find 3 good finalists to present. If you felt the community was wrong, I can't
imagine why you would have changed your plan.
The time may come where I am forced to speak out publicly and in person... truthfully, I was prepared to do that at
the Forum tonight had it taken place. I am by nature a very private and almost shy person... but when it comes to
standing up for my kid and other kids, I will always speak out and on the occasions when I am wrong about
something, I will admit it publicly and apologize. I was not wrong about anything in this situation and neither were
the other parents. This was such an easy problem to have avoided. It was a self-inflicted wound and I hope that
some lessons were learned. I certainly learned a lesson, as did other parents... we are going to be watching the
decision-making that affects Fort River School much more closely and we will be very vocal when we either don't
understand something or disagree strongly with something.
Thank you
Brian Scully
On Thu, May 19, 2016 at 11:54 AM, Maria Geryk <gerykm@arps.org wrote:

Dear Brian,
Would you be able to come in and talk about your concerns? In terms of the hiring process, there is a screening
committee comprised of families, faculty, and district staff who determine who will be interviewed. They also
determine who will be put forward to the community for consideration. It sounds as though a conversation might be
helpful.
Best,
Maria
On Tue, May 17, 2016 at 3:41 PM, Brian Scully <brianrscully@gmail.com wrote:
Hi to Ms Geryk, Mr. Morris, Ms. Arpy, Ms Douangmany, Ms Hazzard, Ms. Kent, and Ms. Ordoneza, (hope I didn't miss
anyone.)
I am a parent of a child at Fort River and I think you have a serious problem here. And I am betting that a lot of other
parents are going to tell you that you have a serious problem.
It appears that the Superintendent or School Committee or whoever makes these decisions clearly wants only THIS
candidate to get the job. Sounds like it happened a few years ago this way too. Interesting. If this was a service that a
company was going to provide to the town... building something, fixing something, any type of service, there would be
MULTIPLE bids insisted upon and if a town administrator tried to push through only one bid, for whatever reasons,
my guess is they would be called on the ethics of that. The simple solution here is to allow the candidate that they
have chosen to continue to be one of 3 finalists... but go back out into the world and find 2 more great candidates. If
she is the best, then she will no doubt be the clear choice. But I don't think our school superintendent is too busy to
do a little hard work here and earn her salary. And by hard work, I am being generous because it really only involves
running a few advertisements or engaging a personnel agency to encourage more applicants. Several choices is the
only fair way to pick the best candidate. And hell, the Pepsi Blindfold Taste test always included other sodas so you
could pick Pepsi fair and square. I think the
Town of Amherst School Department is at least as respectable as Pepsi... isn't it?
Brian Scully
Date: Tue, 31 May 2016
Subject: Time to meet?
From: Maria Geryk <gerykm@arps.org
To: Trevor Baptiste <BaptisteT@ARPS.ORG
Hi Trevor,
Do you want to find a time to get together to talk? Let me know and we'll figure something out.
Take care,
Maria
Date: Tue, 8 Mar 2016
Subject: Re: Draft Agenda for March 8 RSC Meeting
From: Maria Geryk <gerykm@arps.org
To: Kathleen Traphagen <traphagenk@arps.org
Cc: Debbie Westmoreland <westmorelandd@arps.org, Trevor Baptiste <BaptisteT@arps.org
You bet. I will email both in advance of the meeting. I believe the calendar is in the Google folder, but I'll take a quick
look. I will also update it today with the new items for future meetings.
Thankfully you were able to find a good place for your parents. I know how stressful it is to be caring for a parent and
trying to navigate the system. Take care of yourself.
Best
Maria
On Tuesday, March 8, 2016, Kathleen Traphagen <traphagenk@arps.org wrote:

hi M
thanks - could you and/or Trevor please clarify that with Stephen and Kip. Also unfortunately I won't be able to make
it tonight as I am in Westwood with my parents. My mom got discharged from her skilled nursing facility and we are
scrambling to get her into assisted living with my dad, in the meantime she needs 24-hour care. The good news is we
found a very good place for them to move into, but we need to get the apartment furnished and do the paperwork, etc.
all while taking care of her at same time. So I am very sorry about that.
Deb could you email me the SC calendar?
thanks!
Kathleen
On Thu, Mar 3, 2016 at 11:57 AM, Maria Geryk <gerykm@arps.org
Hi Kathleen,
I would love to have these two items in April where the agenda is wide open, and it would give me time to invite
Matt's students. Tuesdays meeting addresses budget, capital, and many policies. We think the 8 policies may take up
to an hour to discuss.
I hope that is ok with you?
Maria
On Wed, Mar 2, 2016 at 5:44 PM, Kathleen Traphagen <traphagenk@arps.org wrote:
hi D, M and T
can we get the middle school students to come and present on Columbus day issue? Stephen would like this.
Further, Kip wanted to discuss Kathy Mazur's report on consolidation which we never really did. should this be on?
On Wed, Mar 2, 2016 at 3:23 PM, Debbie Westmoreland westmorelandd@arps.org wrote:
Hi Trevor and Kathleen:
Maria and I put together a draft agenda for next Tuesday's Regional SC meeting. Please let me know ASAP if it looks
OK, or any changes, so I can post it.
Thanks,
Deb
-Debbie Westmoreland
Assistant to the Superintendent
170 Chestnut Street
Amherst, MA 01002
(413) 362-1823
From: Maria Geryk <gerykm@arps.org
Date: Tue, 14 Jun 2016
Subject: Re: time to meet
To: Laura Kent <kentl@arps.org
Cc: Trevor Baptiste <BaptisteT@arps.org
Hello Laura & Trevor,
I could meet in the afternoon on the 27th.
Thanks so muchMaria
On Tue, Jun 14, 2016 at 1:49 PM, Laura Kent <kentl@arps.org wrote:

Hi Maria and Trevor,


Do either of you have availability on Monday June 27? There may be potential for me to join later in the day for a
meeting on June 22 if the following Monday doesnt work. I will be away on the 23-24.
Thanks!
Laura
On Jun 13, 2016, at 6:34 PM, Maria Geryk <gerykm@arps.org wrote:
Hello,
I'm wondering if we can find a time later next week to meet. Our last day is the 21st and leading up to that is
unbelievably busy. It would be great if we could meet after the last day. Would that work for you two?
Best,
Maria
Date: Thu, 17 Mar 2016
Subject: Fwd: March 22 School Committee Meeting
From: Maria Geryk <gerykm@arps.org
To: Trevor Baptiste <BaptisteT@ARPS.ORG, Kathleen Traphagen <TraphagenK@ARPS.ORG, Katherine Appy
<AppyK@ARPS.ORG
Debbie sent this information to Max as requested by Katherine Appy. It would be helpful if someone could clarify for
Max that I didn't have any role in this language, but rather the product is a result of the SC conversation. As I have
stated, I am happy to clarify information for families and staff. This is not being blocked in any way by administration.
As you know, I have supported challenging the state regarding the use of high stakes testing.
Maria
---------- Forwarded message ---------From: Debbie Westmoreland <westmorelandd@arps.org
Date: Thu, Mar 17, 2016 at 5:03 PM
Subject: Fwd: March 22 School Committee Meeting
To: Maria Geryk <GerykM@arps.org
---------- Forwarded message ---------From: Max Page <milomaximpage@gmail.com
Date: Thu, Mar 17, 2016 at 3:59 PM
Subject: Re: March 22 School Committee Meeting
To: Debbie Westmoreland <westmorelandd@arps.org
Debbie,
Thanks. Ill be there.
The draft resolution is completely unacceptable and will result in a public battle which I will heartily engage in. This
was written with a bias against opt-out, written with bureaucratic fears in mind, with no respect for parents rights,
and a clear indication that teachers do not have free speech rights.
If the Superintendent, who clearly had a major hand in this, would like to call me, fine. 413-219-7633. But starting
tomorrow Ill be working to get both school committees to reject this, using the press and any other methods I can
muster.
I am very, very disappointed that the opt-out groups sincere efforts to craft a resolution that was reasonable was
shunted aside in favor of this awful resolution.

Max
On Mar 17, 2016, at 3:39 PM, Debbie Westmoreland <westmorelandd@arps.org wrote:
Hi Max:
I wanted to be sure you know that the Regional School Committee meeting next Tuesday, March 22 will begin at 5:30
instead of the usual time of 6:00p.m. The committee wants to finish their business in time for members to attend the
Candidate's Forum scheduled for 7:00 p.m. at Amherst Town Hall. The MCAS opt-out resolution is the first agenda
item. Attached is the version of the resolution that the committee will be considering. Katherine Appy asked that I
forward it to you.
Best,
Deb
Debbie Westmoreland
Assistant to the Superintendent
170 Chestnut Street
Amherst, MA 01002
(413) 362-1823
Max Page
Professor of Architecture and History
Director of Historic Preservation Initiatives
University of Massachusetts
151 Presidents Drive
Amherst, MA 01003
mpage@umass.edu
Date: Thu, 19 May 2016
Subject: Re: ARMS principal selection process
From: Maria Geryk <gerykm@arps.org
To: Vira Douangmany <douangmanyv@arps.org
Cc: Trevor Baptiste <baptistet@arps.org, Sarah Dolven <dolvens@arps.org, Kathryn Mazur <mazurk@arps.org
Dear Vira,
As you may be aware, the amount of turn over at ARMS and Fort River has been a challenge for a number of years.
Given the previous principal searches only provided a handful of candidates, going through a search at this time of the
year is not recommended. Patty Bode is an exceptional educator who is widely supported by the faculty and staff at
ARMS. At this point, it makes sense to provide stability for our staff. Feedback from Faculty/Staff and families
regarding this decision has been very positive. The appointment of principals is within the purview of the
superintendent and does allow me to appoint rather than posting and searching. In addition, our contracts do not
include language regarding positing for administrators. While appointing a person is not routine, we review each
vacancy and make the best determination. I am happy to meet to share more information with you regarding the
process, however a public discussion at the SC is not recommended as it will only risk destabilizing the transition of
Marisa/Patty which must be handled thoughtfully.
Please let me know if you would like to meet.
Best,
Maria
On Wed, May 18, 2016 at 6:45 AM, <douangmanyv@arps.org wrote:
Dear Maria,

While I think the selection for ARMS interim principal may be excellent, her caliber is getting overshadowed about
the issue of process and parent involvement.
I am copying the chair and vice chair so we can take this up at the next school committee meeting.
Thanks!
Vira Douangmany Cage
Amherst School Committee
Term 2015-2018
cell: 413.461.6386
On May 18, 2016, at 6:40 AM, douangmanyv@arps.org wrote:
Dear Maria,
While I think the
Vira Douangmany Cage
Amherst School Committee
Term 2015-2018
cell: 413.461.6386
From: Maria Geryk <gerykm@arps.org
Date: Mon, 13 Jun 2016
Subject: time to meet
To: Laura Kent <KentL@arps.org, Trevor Baptiste <BaptisteT@arps.org
Hello,
I'm wondering if we can find a time later next week to meet. Our last day is the 21st and leading up to that is
unbelievably busy. It would be great if we could meet after the last day. Would that work for you two?
Best,
Maria
Date: Thu, 17 Mar 2016
Subject: Re: resolution
From: Maria Geryk <gerykm@arps.org
To: Max Page <milomaximpage@gmail.com
Cc: Michael Morris <MorrisM@arps.org, Trevor Baptiste <BaptisteT@ARPS.ORG, Kathleen Traphagen
<TraphagenK@ARPS.ORG, Katherine Appy <AppyK@ARPS.ORG
Dear Max:
I am unclear what is meant in your email by radio silence and about not being invited to the Regional School
Committee meeting. The discussion of the opt-out resolution was added to the agenda at the last moment before
posting at the request of School Committee member Kathleen Traphagen. I had no information other than a request
to add it, and I was unaware that you expected to be personally invited to the meeting on this agenda item that was
added by the School Committee. The agenda was posted well within the 48 hour period required by Open Meeting
law so the information was available that the topic would be discussed. In addition, I had no hand in drafting the
revised resolution that was sent to you. It was revised based on input from the Regional School Committee members
during their discussion of the issue. The discussion can be viewed at:
https://amherstmedia.org/content/amherst-pelham-regional-school-committee-0=3-08-16.
I have no problem with students opting out of MCAS testing, which has always been my stance on this issue. I find it
troubling that you would jump to the conclusion that I am somehow trying to silence you or any parent/guardian,
student, or staff member on this issue (or on any other issue for that matter), especially when there is a distinct lack of
evidence to support that significant claim.

Maria
On Thu, Mar 17, 2016 at 4:11 PM, Max Page <milomaximpage@gmail.com wrote:
Dear Maria and Mike,
In case Debbie doesnt get the message to you: the resolution that you have clearly had a hand in crafting is
completely unacceptable, and bears no resemblance to what I proposed and was discussed to wide approval at the
Amherst School Committee a month ago.
Now I understand why I wasnt invited to the regional school committee meeting, and why I have received radio
silence when trying to find out what was going on with the resolution.
I worked in good faith to craft a resolution that was fair, after having spoke with you, Mike, about it. The Amherst
School Committee seemed to like it very much. I then worked on a few edits with Katherine to address
some concerns. But what is now being presented to the school committee is a completely neutered version of an optout resolution. It still makes it so that a third grader must opt him or herself out of testing. It biases people by making
specious arguments about the impact of opt out on the schools. It says absolutely nothing about the free speech rights
of our teachers, which was one of the main reasons I came before you. The absence suggests that in fact you want to
encourage fear in teachers about how they speak about opt-out, and that you intend to punish teachers who discuss
the issue with their students or with parents.
I am really stunned by this turn of events.
My number is 413-219-7633.
All the best,
Max
Max Page
Professor of Architecture and History
Director of Historic Preservation Initiatives
University of Massachusetts
151 Presidents Drive
Amherst, MA 01003
mpage@umass.edu
Date: Tue, 29 Mar 2016
Subject: Re: School Costs
From: Maria Geryk <gerykm@arps.org
To: john@simmermusic.com, Katherine Appy <AppyK@ARPS.ORG
Cc: Trevor Baptiste <baptistet@arps.org
Hello John,
Thanks so much for reaching out to seek information regarding per pupil costs. This is an ongoing, and complicated,
issue which is often raised at this time of the year. Given the complexity of state reporting categories, I'll ask Sean
Mangano, Director of Finance, to answer your question. If you two set up a time to meet, I'm happy to join you as well
to clarify staffing and expenses.
Best,
Maria
On Mon, Mar 28, 2016 at 3:17 PM, <john@simmermusic.com wrote:
Dear Superintendent Geryk and Mr. Baptiste,

Thank you for your hard work on behalf of our students. I am a town meeting member from precinct 10 who is trying
to understand the nature of expenses in our community. My question to you is how are the per pupil costs in Amherst
(as listed on the DESE website) almost $5,000 more than they are in Longmeadow one of the more comparable
districts in the area? I would greatly appreciate any assistance you could provide me with in helping to better
understand this difference between the districts. Thank you.
Sincerely,
John J. Michaels
Date: Thu, 17 Mar 2016
Subject: Re: LSSE License Agreement
From: Maria Geryk <gerykm@arps.org
To: Sean Mangano <manganos@arps.org
Cc: "Hechenbleikner, Peter" <Hechenbleiknerp@amherstma.gov, "Aldrich, Sonia" <aldrichs@amherstma.gov, Trevor
Baptiste <baptistet@arps.org
Thank you all
On Thu, Mar 17, 2016 at 10:57 AM, Sean Mangano <manganos@arps.org wrote:
Hi all,
The agreement has been signed by both the school committee and the select board. I have sent a copy off to DESE for
final approval but that should not be a problem based on my communications with them.
I'll send a copy of the agreement to the town today.
Thank You
-Sean Mangano
Director of Finance
Amherst Pelham Regional School District
Amherst & Pelham Public Schools
170 Chestnut Street
Amherst, MA 01002
Phone: 413-362-1812
Date: Thu, 3 Mar 2016
Subject: Re: Draft Agenda for March 8 RSC Meeting
From: Maria Geryk <gerykm@arps.org
To: Kathleen Traphagen <traphagenk@arps.org
Cc: Debbie Westmoreland <westmorelandd@arps.org, Trevor Baptiste <BaptisteT@arps.org
Hi Kathleen,
I would love to have these two items in April where the agenda is wide open, and it would give me time to invite
Matt's students. Tuesdays meeting addresses budget, capital, and many policies. We think the 8 policies may take up
to an hour to discuss.
I hope that is ok with you?
Maria
On Wed, Mar 2, 2016 at 5:44 PM, Kathleen Traphagen <traphagenk@arps.org wrote:
hi D, M and T
can we get the middle school students to come and present on Columbus day issue? Stephen would like this.
Further, Kip wanted to discuss Kathy Mazur's report on consolidation which we never really did. should this be on?

On Wed, Mar 2, 2016 at 3:23 PM, Debbie Westmoreland <


westmorelandd@arps.org wrote:
Hi Trevor and Kathleen:
Maria and I put together a draft agenda for next Tuesday's Regional SC meeting. Please let me know ASAP if it looks
OK, or any changes, so I can post it.
Thanks,
Deb
-Debbie Westmoreland
Assistant to the Superintendent
170 Chestnut Street
Amherst, MA 01002
(413) 362-1823
Date: Tue, 3 May 2016
Subject: Re: Fwd: Regional Agenda Draft
From: Maria Geryk <gerykm@arps.org
To: Trevor Baptiste <baptistet@arps.org
Cc: Debbie Westmoreland <WestmorelandD@ARPS.ORG
Trevor,
Thank you for your opinion. I'll ask Debbie to place the topic of Policy on the agenda under new and continuing
business.
Maria
On Tue, May 3, 2016 at 11:46 AM, Trevor Baptiste <baptistet@arps.org wrote:
Maria
I hope you have fully recovered from your sickness. I trust Mike passed on my regards. As you know policy is
completely within the perview of the committee. Non compliance with MGL is not a requirement for us to review our
policies. We will be talking about policy at our next meeting. As such I expect some description of a policy discussion
on our agenda to avoid the implication we are trying to violate OML. Gini's opinion would be on the legality of a policy
we craft, not on whether or not we discuss what our intentions are for our district and and assign our policy
subcommittee with the task of codification. We must work together for the continued success of our school system. If
you are feeling well enough we can meet so you can understand the impetus behind our review of certain policy. I
have had this conversation with Mike and am willing to have it with you. Today or tomorrow at 4:30 are both fine and
give us plenty of time to put out the appropriate agenda.
In service
Trevor
On May 2, 2016 2:55 PM, "Maria Geryk" <gerykm@arps.org wrote:
Dear Trevor:
Ive attached an updated draft of the Regional SC agenda for next Tuesday. Youll note a couple of changes from what
you discussed with Mike:
1.
The superintendent evaluation is not on the agenda because, contractually, the evaluation is done in June. The
process has already been discussed at all three committees in September, goals were voted by the committees in
October, the mid-cycle evaluation was presented/discussed in January, and the formal evaluation is scheduled for
June. Since the new members are not participating in the evaluation (per SC vote), the process

should not need any additional discussion at this time. I am, however, providing a memo with background to all SC
members via email later today.
2.
The policies you proposed having on the agenda are also not on the new draft. I understand that you planned to
reach out to Gini for an opinion prior to putting discussion of a policy around stay away orders on the agenda.
Regarding the policy governing SC engaging with staff members, such a policy is already on the books, and I believe it
is well within MGL regulations. I would like to have Ginis legal opinion on both of these matters before they are
included on any agenda.
Thank you.
Maria
Date: Thu, 19 May 2016
Subject: Re: Update from Maria on FR Principal Search
From: Maria Geryk <gerykm@arps.org
To: Vira Douangmany <douangmanyv@arps.org
You are very welcome Vira. The members of the screening committee are:
*Central Office*
Kathryn Mazur
Michael Morris
Marta Guevara
Damany Gordon
*Fort River Staff*
Ruth Killough-Hill
Stephen Lott
Nicole Singer
*Fort River Parents*
Nancy Stewart
Mary Foulk
Lisa Soloweij
Shawn Fortin
Best,
Maria
On Wed, May 18, 2016 at 2:40 PM, <douangmanyv@arps.org wrote:
Dear Maria,
Thank you for responding to the feedback from community members.
Please list the hiring committee members please for the FR principal.
Thank you!
Vira Douangmany Cage
Amherst School Committee
Term 2015-2018
cell:413.461.6386
Date: Thu, 31 Mar 2016
Subject: Re: Delivery Status Notification (Failure)
From: Maria Geryk <gerykm@arps.org

To: Vira Douangmany <douangmanyv@arps.org, Debbie Westmoreland <WestmorelandD@ARPS.ORG


Dear Vira,
Thanks so much for letting me know that this bounced back. I'll ask Debbie to check into what happened and to send it
out to the SC members. This looks like a really important panel discussion based on our upcoming discussion.
Thanks for sending it along.
Maria
On Thu, Mar 31, 2016 at 7:41 AM, <douangmanyv@arps.org wrote:
Hi Maria,
This was bounced back to me when I attempted to email the school committee group.
Wanted to let you know! Thanks!
Vira Douangmany Cage
Amherst School Committee
Term 2015-2018
cell:413.461.6386
Begin forwarded message:
*From:* Mail Delivery Subsystem <mailer-daemon@googlemail.com
*Date:* March 30, 2016 at 3:48:36 PM EDT
*To:* douangmanyv@arps.org
*Subject:* *Delivery Status Notification (Failure)*
Delivery to the following recipient failed permanently:
schoolcommittee@arps.org
Technical details of permanent failure:
Google tried to deliver your message, but it was rejected by the server
for the recipient domain arps.org by aspmx.l.google.com.
[2607:f8b0:400c:c06::1a].
The error that the other server returned was:
550 5.2.1 The email account that you tried to reach is disabled.
h65si1963127uad.208 gsmtp
Date: Wed, 30 Mar 2016 15:48:34 -0400
To: SchoolCommittee <schoolcommittee@arps.org
Content-Transfer-Encoding: 7bit
Mime-Version: 1.0 (1.0)
Dear School Committee colleagues,
Please make sure to include our newly elected members and share with your respective local committees these
opportunities for networking, training, and advocacy provided by our membership with the Massachusetts
Association of School Committees. Website below.
Thanks!
Vira Douangmany Cage
Amherst School Committee
Term 2015-2018

cell:413.461.6386
Date: Thu, 2 Jun 2016
Subject: Re: your statement to the Select Board
From: Maria Geryk <gerykm@arps.org
To: Vira Douangmany <douangmanyv@arps.org
Dear Vira,
Please know that my door remains open.
Best,
Maria
On Thu, Jun 2, 2016 at 10:23 AM, <douangmanyv@arps.org wrote:
There is really nothing I would say privately that I do not have the option to say openly.
Vira Douangmany Cage
Amherst School Committee
Term 2015-2018
cell:413.461.6386
On Jun 2, 2016, at 10:19 AM, Maria Geryk <gerykm@arps.org wrote:
Dear Vira,
I was forwarded your email to the Select Board. Would you like to meet to share your concerns?
Maria
Date: Thu, 19 May 2016
Subject: Re: single candidate Fort River principal search
From: Maria Geryk <gerykm@arps.org
To: Katherine Appy <appyk@arps.org
Cc: Vira Douangmany <douangmanyv@arps.org
Hello,
Just wanted to mention that when Monica was hired, she was one of three finalists. I will check to see if Kathy has
responded to Ms. Leonard's email yet.
Maria
On Wed, May 18, 2016 at 11:00 AM, Katherine Appy <appyk@arps.org wrote:
Vira,
Please see the response sent to SC today re the process ( which was described in our April update) and how things
will proceed from here. It's unfortunate that two of the finalists either dropped out or took another
position. In response to parent and teacher feedback, the search is being reopened. There is not a SC role here,
therefore this is not an appropriate agenda item. We could ask the Supt to include a brief update on the search during
her Supt update.
Best,
Katherine
Sent from my iPhone
On May 18, 2016, at 10:15 AM, douangmanyv@arps.org wrote:
Hi Maria and Katherine,
We should have some discussion time around this at our next meeting.

Best,
Vira Douangmany Cage
Amherst School Committee
Term 2015-2018
cell:413.461.6386
Begin forwarded message:
*From:* Deborah Leonard <dleeleonard@gmail.com
*Date:* May 18, 2016 at 9:54:02 AM EDT
*To:* appyk@arps.org, douangmanyv@arps.org, hazzardp@arps.org,
kentl@arps.org, ordoneza@arps.org
*Subject:* *single candidate Fort River principal search*
Dear School Committee,
Please read the letter I sent to Mike Morris regarding the status of the principal search for Fort River.
You should know that he has answered my letter by saying that he has forwarded my email to Kathy Mazur and
deferred any further response to her.
Deb Leonard
ORDONEZ
Date: Mon, 16 May 2016
Subject: Re: Request for Meeting
From: Maria Geryk <gerykm@arps.org
To: Laura Kent <kentl@arps.org
Cc: Debbie Westmoreland <westmorelandd@arps.org, Anastasia Ordonez <ordoneza@arps.org
Hi Laura and Anastasia. The follow up on one topic is unfortunately not necessary. We should meet for the other
topics. I'll ask Debbie to find a time.
On Monday, May 16, 2016, Laura Kent <kentl@arps.org wrote:
Hi Maria,
I wanted to reach out and see if we could plan a meeting for early next week to follow-up on some of the meetings this
past week regarding the middle school and what we have discussed in the previous meetings. Let us know a time that
is convenient for your schedule. Hope all is well!
Thanks,
Laura
On Apr 29, 2016, at 12:49 PM, Maria Geryk <gerykm@arps.org wrote:
Hello,
Debbie is out of the office today, however I'm sure we can find a time to meet early next week. Would you like to
suggest a time?
Maria
On Fri, Apr 29, 2016 at 11:10 AM, Laura Kent <kentl@arps.org wrote:
Hi Debbie,
Hope youre enjoying your Friday, I wanted to follow-up and see if we were able to find a time to meet with Maria to
discuss below. Thanks!

Laura
On Apr 26, 2016, at 9:47 AM, Anastasia Ordonez <ordoneza@arps.org wrote:
Hi Maria,
I hope you had a quiet(er) week last week with the schools on break! My boys were climbing the walls with boredom;
as usual, we all miss school when it's out. :-)
I'm reaching out to see if we can schedule a meeting with you to discuss some of the concerns we mentioned
regarding the middle school and general communications during our last meeting. I'm copying Laura Kent on this
email, as she had also expressed an interest in discussing these topics together.
Please let us know what works for your schedule.
All the best,
Anastasia
510-590-8471-- cell
Date: Mon, 16 May 2016
Subject: Re: Confidential
From: Maria Geryk <gerykm@arps.org
To: Anastasia Ordonez <ordoneza@arps.org
very true
On Mon, May 16, 2016 at 4:13 PM, Anastasia Ordonez <ordoneza@arps.org wrote:
It's irresponsible, and attention grabbing.
On Mon, May 16, 2016 at 4:09 PM, Maria Geryk <gerykm@arps.org wrote:
That is so incredibly sad that I send out an email that says "Confidential" and it is up on the blog within an hour.
Maria
On Mon, May 16, 2016 at 3:52 PM, Anastasia Ordonez <ordoneza@arps.org wrote:
Looks like someone already leaked it to Larry Kelly?: http://onlyintherepublicofamherst.blogspot.com/
On Mon, May 16, 2016 at 3:21 PM, Anastasia Ordonez <ordoneza@arps.org wrote:
That is too bad, Maria. I had hoped for a different outcome but understand that this is probably best right now. Thank
you for letting us know.
Best,
Anastasia
On Mon, May 16, 2016 at 2:58 PM, Maria Geryk <gerykm@arps.org wrote:
Dear School Committee Members,
Marisa Mendonsa notified me on Friday that she will be resigning from her position as Principal of Amherst Regional
Middle School on June 30th, 2016. We will miss Marisa as a member of our principal group and our
District Instructional Leadership Team. I thank Marisa for her strong instructional leadership and her unwavering
focus on the best interest of our students. I wish her the best as she pursues other opportunities.

I have appointed an interim Principal for the upcoming school year. Patty Bode taught in the Amherst and Regional
schools for many years, most recently in the Middle School. For the past several years, Ms. Body has been teaching
educators at the college level, and as an arts integration specialist in the Springfield Public Schools.
We will be in touch shortly with more information regarding our next steps. This information has been shared with
Faculty/staff, and information will be sent to families this evening.
Sincerely,
Maria
Date: Thu, 23 Jun 2016
Subject: Re: Topics provided last year to SETF
From: Maria Geryk <gerykm@arps.org
To: Anastasia Ordonez <ordoneza@arps.org
Cc: Laura Kent <KentL@arps.org
You are very welcome. You absolutely can share.
Maria
On Thursday, June 23, 2016, Anastasia Ordonez <ordoneza@arps.org wrote:
Thanks, Maria. This is helpful. Can I share this list with the SETF at our next meeting?
Anastasia
On Thu, Jun 23, 2016 at 1:42 PM, Maria Geryk <gerykm@arps.org wrote:
Hello,
I just realized that I never sent you the list we discussed in our prior meeting. This is the list of topics that were sent
to the SETF prior to the start of this school year for their consideration.
Best,
Maria
KENT
Date: Wed, 13 Jul 2016
Subject: Re: Evaluation 7/18?
From: Maria Geryk <gerykm@arps.org
To: Laura Kent <kentl@arps.org
Laura
I watched the meeting tonight and was quite surprised and concerned throughout. . I will need to speak with my
attorney before discussing any adjustment to our agreed upon process.
Maria
On Wednesday, July 13, 2016, Laura Kent <kentl@arps.org wrote:
Hi Maria,
I wanted to check and see if you will be able to attend the meeting on July 18th (currently scheduled for our retreat)
to discuss the Superintendent Evaluation in public session. Please let me know at your earliest convenience and if
you have prior commitments, when would be the first availability to schedule an additional meeting to complete the
evaluation.
Thank you so much for your cooperation with this process!

Laura Kent
Date: Wed, 15 Jun 2016
Subject: Fwd: Update request regarding Participatory Action Research Policy status
From: Maria Geryk <gerykm@arps.org
To: Laura Kent <KentL@arps.org
Cc: Debbie Westmoreland <WestmorelandD@ARPS.ORG
Hello Laura
We received a request for this information from an SETF member. I will send this out to SC in my Friday memo.
Thought you might want to share it with Vira and Anastasia prior to the meeting tonight. It would be great if you could
ask that future requests come through the SC.
Thanks
Maria
---------- Forwarded message ---------From: *Faye Brady* <bradyf@arps.org
Date: Wednesday, June 15, 2016
Subject: Fwd: Update request regarding Participatory Action Research Policy status
To: Katie Lazdowski <klazdowski@gmail.com
Cc: Michael Morris <morrism@arps.org, Maria Geryk <GerykM@arps.org
Good morning Katie,
Attached is a document with the information to date on the policy passed this fall regarding participatory action
research. I hope this information is helpful for the committee to review.
Have a good day.
Faye
Dr. Faye Brady
Director of Student Services
413-362-1834
On Tue, Jun 14, 2016 at 10:01 AM, Katie Lazdowski <klazdowski@gmail.com wrote:
Hello Ms. Brady and Ms. Geryk,
I am following up again having sent my initial request May 31st. Please provide an update today so that it can be
shared tomorrow at the SETF meeting.
I greatly appreciate it. Best, Katie
ORIGINAL MESSAGE
I am writing as a member of the School Equity Task Force to inquire about the current status of the policy that was
passed by the school committee last year (2015) (below) regarding the participatory action research that would be
conducted in the district schools. Please provide a detailed account as to who is participating in this work, the current
status of the work, and who I can get in touch with re: how participants have been notified and recruited, the
participants training about Participatory Action Research, etc. Any information you have is appreciated. I would be
happy to meet about the subject as well.
On Fri, Jun 10, 2016 at 3:09 PM, Michael Morris <morrism@arps.org wrote:
Hi Katie,

I passed along that timeline request.


In future correspondence on this topic, please email Maria Geryk, Superintendent of Schools, and Faye Brady,
Director of Student Services. They are cc'ed for your convenience.
Have a great weekend,
Mike
On Fri, Jun 10, 2016 at 1:13 PM, Katie Lazdowski <klazdowski@gmail.com wrote:
Great Mike, thanks. Please provide it to me by Wednesday for purposes of sharing it with the SETF. Best, Katie
On Fri, Jun 10, 2016 at 12:04 PM, Michael Morris <morrism@arps.org wrote:
Hi Katie,
I have been in touch with some of our team members who are a bit closer to this work than I am. Progress has been
made since the policy was passed in November with more developed plans for next year. I think we should be able to
send something to you next week.
Best,
Mike
On Wed, Jun 1, 2016 at 9:36 AM, Katie Lazdowski <klazdowski@gmail.com wrote:
Great, thanks Mike!
On Jun 1, 2016 8:59 AM, "Michael Morris" <morrism@arps.org wrote:
Hi Katie,
Thanks for your email and I hope you are doing well! I'll get back to you soon re: your email; I will need to check with
a few folks here about progress on this front.
Best,
Mike
On Tue, May 31, 2016 at 10:45 AM, Katie Lazdowski <klazdowski@gmail.com wrote:
Hi Mr. Morris,
I hope you are doing well and that you and your family had a nice long weekend.
I am writing as a member of the School Equity Task Force to inquire about the current status of the policy that was
passed by the school committee last year (2015) (below) regarding the participatory action research that would be
conducted in the district schools. Please provide detailed account as to who is participating in this work, the current
status of the work, and who I can get in touch with re: how participants have been notified and recruited, the
participants training about Participatory Action Research, etc. Any information you have is
appreciated. I would be happy to meet about the subject as well.
Thank you very much, Katie Lazdowski
Policy

"The Amherst, Pelham and Amherst-Pelham Regional School Districts will administer ongoing Participatory Action
Research (PAR) that utilizes both quantitative and qualitative methodologies to examine perceptions, attitudes and
behaviors in an effort to explore issues related to the ARPS school environment and community. The School
Committee directs the Superintendent, or his or her designee, to utilize PAR which reflects the input of stakeholders
who experience the school culture firsthand, and thus who are most knowledgeable about the particular context (e.g.
teachers, students, staff, administrators, parents, alumni)...."
-Michael Morris
Assistant Superintendent
Amherst, Pelham, and the Amherst-Pelham Regional School Districts
413.362.1807
www.arps.org
Date: Fri, 24 Jun 2016
Subject: Fwd: My superintendent eval
From: Maria Geryk <gerykm@arps.org
To: Katherine Appy <AppyK@ARPS.ORG, Darius Modestow <ModestowD@ARPS.ORG, Laura Kent <KentL@arps.org
Cc: "Gtate@MHTL.Com" <Gtate@MHTL.Com
---------- Forwarded message ---------From: <douangmanyv@arps.org
Date: Friday, June 24, 2016
Subject: My superintendent eval
To: Maria Geryk <gerykm@arps.org
Hi Maria,
Please provide a copy of what I submitted online for your evaluation. The method did not allow users to save a copy
for our own record.
Thank you!
Vira Douangmany Cage
Amherst School Committee
Term 2015-2018
cell: 413.461.6386
Date: Thu, 2 Jun 2016
Subject: Fwd: don't know if anyone wants to comment about Vira's request to the Select Board
From: Maria Geryk <gerykm@arps.org
To: Katherine Appy <AppyK@ARPS.ORG
---------- Forwarded message ---------From: Diane Lederman <ledermand@repub.com
Date: Thu, Jun 2, 2016 at 9:21 AM
Subject: don't know if anyone wants to comment about Vira's request to the Select Board
To: "gerykm@arps.org" <gerykm@arps.org
Cc: Debbie Westmoreland <WestmorelandD@arps.org
Good morning, you've all probably seen Vera's post and and request, I'm pasting here in case you haven't seen it.
But do you have any comment about this, she is asking the Select Board take a stand and said she is concerned about
liability.
Let me know either way if there will be a comment. I will be writing something on her request today.
Thanks, Diane
From: douangmanyv@arps.org

Sent: Wednesday, June 1, 2016


To: Select Board
Cc: Matuszko, Michele; pelhampolicema@yahoo.com; townofpelham@comcast.net; Human Rights Department
Subject: Parent's stay-away order recommended by police, Amherst Superintendent of Schools Maria Geryk says
PLEASE FORWARD TO EACH MEMBER:
Dear Amherst and Pelham Officials,
I hope my message reaches each and everyone of you who dare to extol Black Lives Matter and yet remain silent on a
crisis disturbing our community.
Are we in the deep Jim Crow South? Is this really happening that everyone is remaining silent while our local police in
our respective communties are implicated by the words of our schools' district leader? In this case silence is an
endorsement, if you have something different to say, you must speak up, at least let the public know you are seeking
legal counsel or under legal advisement. Sharing with you the latest news...
Disclaimer: The superintendent's views and allegations described in this article have not been authorized by this
Amherst-Pelham Regional School Committee member nor the body. Further, statements made by the superintendent
suggesting police collusion are particularly concerning.
DIANE LEDERMAN, reporter
Springfield Republican/Masslive.com
1860 Main St. Springfield, MA 01101
dlederman@repub.com (413) - 530-1570
Twitter: @diled
Date: Wed, 1 Jun 2016
Subject: Fwd: Parent's stay-away order recommended by police, Amherst
Superintendent of Schools Maria Geryk says
From: Maria Geryk <gerykm@arps.org
To: Katherine Appy <AppyK@ARPS.ORG
---------- Forwarded message ---------From: <douangmanyv@arps.org
Date: Wednesday, June 1, 2016
Subject: Re: Parent's stay-away order recommended by police, Amherst
Superintendent of Schools Maria Geryk says
To: Alisa Brewer <avbrewer@gmail.com
Cc: Trevor Baptiste <baptistet@arps.org, Katherine Appy <appyk@arps.org, "Maria Geryk (ARPS)" gerykm@arps.org,
Debbie Westmoreland <schoolcommittee@arps.org, "Deborah B. Radway (TOWN)" <radwayd@amherstma.gov,
Select Board Amherst Group Email Address <SelectBoard@amherstma.gov,
"Chief Scott Livingstone (TOWN)" <livingstones@amherstma.gov
Thanks for asking for clarification. My email does not represent the body, just my own point of view.
I am acting in my capacity as an individual school committee member elected by the people.
Vira Douangmany Cage
Amherst School Committee
Term 2015-2018
cell:413.461.6386
On Jun 1, 2016, at 2:13 PM, Alisa Brewer <avbrewer@gmail.com wrote:
Dear Vira-

Please clarify: I see you say in this email that the Amherst-Pelham Regional School Committee has not authorized the
superintendent's statements. Has the Amherst School Committee or Amherst-Pelham Regional
School Committee authorized you to contact the Amherst Select Board on this issue, by taking such a School
Committee vote or coming to consensus?
Thank you.
Take care,
Alisa
Date: Thu, 19 May 2016
Subject: Re: single candidate Fort River principal search
From: Maria Geryk <gerykm@arps.org
To: Katherine Appy <appyk@arps.org
Cc: Vira Douangmany <douangmanyv@arps.org
Hello,
Just wanted to mention that when Monica was hired, she was one of three finalists. I will check to see if Kathy has
responded to Ms. Leonard's email yet.
Maria
On Wed, May 18, 2016 at 11:00 AM, Katherine Appy <appyk@arps.org wrote:
Vira,
Please see the response sent to SC today re the process ( which was described in our April update) and how things
will proceed from here. It's unfortunate that two of the finalists either dropped out or took another
position. In response to parent and teacher feedback, the search is being reopened. There is not a SC role here,
therefore this is not an appropriate agenda item. We could ask the Supt to include a brief update on the search during
her Supt update.
Best,
Katherine
Sent from my iPhone
On May 18, 2016, at 10:15 AM, douangmanyv@arps.org wrote:
Hi Maria and Katherine,
We should have some discussion time around this at our next meeting.
Best,
Vira Douangmany Cage
Amherst School Committee
Term 2015-2018
cell:413.461.6386
Begin forwarded message:
*From:* Deborah Leonard <dleeleonard@gmail.com
*Date:* May 18, 2016 at 9:54:02 AM EDT
*To:* appyk@arps.org, douangmanyv@arps.org, hazzardp@arps.org,
kentl@arps.org, ordoneza@arps.org
*Subject:* *single candidate Fort River principal search*
Dear School Committee,

Please read the letter I sent to Mike Morris regarding the status of the principal search for Fort River.
You should know that he has answered my letter by saying that he has forwarded my email to Kathy Mazur and
deferred any further response to her.
Deb Leonard
Date: Mon, 27 Jun 2016
Subject: Fwd: Trevor Called
From: Maria Geryk <gerykm@arps.org
To: Laura Kent <KentL@arps.org, Katherine Appy <AppyK@ARPS.ORG, Darius Modestow <ModestowD@ARPS.ORG
---------- Forwarded message ---------From: *Sasha Figueroa* <figueroas@arps.org
Date: Monday, June 27, 2016
Subject: Trevor Called
To: Maria Geryk <GerykM@arps.org
And will be emailing you for a chance to connect.
-Sasha Figueroa
Administrative Assistant to the Assistant Superintendent
170 Chestnut Street
Amherst, MA 01002
Tel. (413) 362-1807
Fax (413) 549-6108
Date: Wed, 20 Jul 2016
Subject: Re:
From: Maria Geryk <gerykm@arps.org
To: Katherine Appy <appyk@arps.org
Nope. This is perfect.
On Wednesday, July 20, 2016, Katherine Appy <appyk@arps.org wrote:
Here is the Amherst School Committee version. Do you need the Region as well?
On Wed, Jul 20, 2016 at 11:16 AM, Maria Geryk <gerykm@arps.org wrote:
Thanks
Date: Wed, 20 Jul 2016
Subject: Re:
From: Maria Geryk <gerykm@arps.org
To: Katherine Appy <appyk@arps.org
Cc: Debbie Westmoreland <WestmorelandD@arps.org
Thanks
On Wednesday, July 20, 2016, Katherine Appy <appyk@arps.org wrote:
I'll find it today and send it along. Won't be til this afternoon.
K
Sent from my iPhone

On Jul 20, 2016, at 10:40 AM, Maria Geryk <gerykm@arps.org wrote:


Would you send me a copy of what the SC voted regarding not lifting the cap on charter schools.
Thanks
From: Maria Geryk <gerykm@arps.org
Date: Thu, 28 Jul 2016
Subject: Re: Back to school stories for Gazette
To: Scott Merzbach <smerzbach@gazettenet.com
Cc: Michael Morris <morrism@arps.org, Mark Jackson <jacksonmk@arps.org, Derek Shea <shead@arps.org,
Nick Yaffe <YaffeN@arps.org, appyk <appyk@arps.org
great
On Thu, Jul 28, 2016 at 10:38 AM, Scott Merzbach <smerzbach@gazettenet.com wrote:
11:30 a.m. Tuesday works for me.
See you then,
Scott
On Thu, Jul 28, 2016 at 10:33 AM, Maria Geryk <gerykm@arps.org wrote:
How about Tuesday at 11:30 in my office?
On Thu, Jul 28, 2016 at 10:30 AM, Scott Merzbach <smerzbach@gazettenet.com wrote:
Story is not due until Aug. 11, but I have to file a week from tomorrow because I will be on vacation after that.
Scott
On Thu, Jul 28, 2016 at 10:23 AM, Maria Geryk <gerykm@arps.org wrote:
Hello Scott,
Let's find a time to meet over the next week or so. What is your timeline for the story?
Maria
On Thu, Jul 28, 2016 at 10:17 AM, Scott Merzbach <smerzbach@gazettenet.com wrote:
Good morning I'm interested in getting details about new programs and initiatives at the elementary, middle and high schools,
information about leadership changes at the schools and any other changes, such as building improvements, that will
greet students when they return to school for the fall semester.
Thank you for your time and assistance. I'd be happy to call or drop by in the coming days if that is an easier way to
get this information.
Scott Merzbach
585-5253
smerzbach@gazettenet.com
Date: Mon, 2 May 2016
Subject: Re: Senior Center
From: Maria Geryk <gerykm@arps.org

To: Michael Morris <morrism@arps.org


Cc: Katherine Appy <AppyK@arps.org
Sounds great Mike- thanks
On Mon, May 2, 2016 at 3:38 PM, Michael Morris <morrism@arps.org wrote:
Hi Katherine and Maria,
Are you comfortable if I reach out to the Amherst Senior Center about a possible Bld Project meeting there--based on
the CEO of the MSBA's suggestion a few weeks ago? It appears to be Nancy Pagano as the key person--I do not know
her but I'm happy to reach out.
Thanks!
-Michael Morris
Assistant Superintendent
Amherst, Pelham, and the Amherst-Pelham Regional School Districts
413.362.1807
www.arps.org
Date: Tue, 29 Mar 2016
Subject: Re: School Costs
From: Maria Geryk <gerykm@arps.org
To: john@simmermusic.com, Katherine Appy <AppyK@ARPS.ORG
Cc: Trevor Baptiste <baptistet@arps.org
Hello John,
Thanks so much for reaching out to seek information regarding per pupil costs. This is an ongoing, and complicated,
issue which is often raised at this time of the year. Given the complexity of state reporting categories, I'll ask Sean
Mangano, Director of Finance, to answer your question. If you two set up a time to meet, I'm happy to join you as well
to clarify staffing and expenses.
Best,
Maria
On Mon, Mar 28, 2016 at 3:17 PM, <john@simmermusic.com wrote:
Dear Superintendent Geryk and Mr. Baptiste,
Thank you for your hard work on behalf of our students. I am a town meeting member from precinct 10 who is
trying to understand the nature of expenses in our community. My question to you is how are the per pupil costs in
Amherst (as listed on the DESE website) almost $5,000 more than they are in Longmeadow one of the more
comparable districts in the area? I would greatly appreciate any assistance you could provide me with in helping to
better understand this difference between the districts. Thank you.
Sincerely,
John J. Michaels
Amherst DESE Link
http://profiles.doe.mass.edu/profiles/finance.aspx?orgcode=06050000&orgtypecode=5&
Longmeadow DESE Link
http://profiles.doe.mass.edu/profiles/finance.aspx?orgcode=01590000&orgtypecode=5&

Date: Mon, 28 Mar 2016 10:46:16 -0400


Subject: Re: opt out problems
From: Maria Geryk <gerykm@arps.org
To: Michael Morris <morrism@arps.org
Cc: Rick Hood <hoodr@arps.org, Max Page <milomaximpage@gmail.com, Trevor Baptiste <baptistet@arps.org,
Katherine Appy <appyk@arps.org
Thank you Mike
On Mon, Mar 28, 2016 at 10:36 AM, Michael Morris <morrism@arps.org wrote:
Dear Rick,
Thanks for your email. The procedures around what students will do to opt-out of the MCAS/PARCC are consistent
across schools in all three districts.
I will send a separate email to Max, as I am not in agreement with some points he made about our conversation on
Friday.
Best,
Mike
On Sat, Mar 26, 2016 at 5:09 PM, Rick Hood <hoodr@arps.org wrote:
Hi Maria & Mike,
In response to Maxs email below: the SC resolution was silent about when the notice that a chid does not wish to take
a test is given to the school by the child/family.
In a previous Max had said the statement Mark Jackson had made on the subject was clear and a good one (see
bottom of this email). Note that in this message the time of notification is at the time of the test, not before.
The problem with the [alleged] response from the Middle School Principal is the* "from a parent or guardian"*
portion of this: "*Your child will still be handed a test and at that point they can hand over the note, from a parent or
guardian."*
I think Marks 1-6 (below) is super clear, so I suggest that is recommended to Principals as the text of what they
should say, or simply send it to be posted from central office.
Thanks!
Rick
*"Good Morning:There has been lots of buzz throughout the elementary and middle schools about students opting out
of taking MCAS. Here's is my distillation of the district's position in the event a students opts out of taking this week's
tests: 1. If a student says something like: 'I don't want to take the test'. The proctor's answer should be 'ok'. No
pressure, no recrimination, no trying to get them to change their mind. 2. A hall monitor should be called and the
student removed. Gently3. They should be escorted to their locker so they can get their work and then they should be
assigned to the cafeteria for the duration of the testing period. 4. Student's guidance counselor should notify parents
about their child's decision. 5. if a student brings an opt out note from home, follow # 3 and disregard #4.6. Lastly, if a
student begins the test, and then decides to opt out, same process. Note: their test will be scored. Thanks,Mark"*
On Mar 26, 2016, at 1:04 PM, Max Page <milomaximpage@gmail.com wrote:
There seems to be a problem with the arps server, so I am trying to send this to each one of you individually.
Max

Dear School Committee Members,


I want to thank you for the unanimous resolution you passed last Tuesday. It was a fair statement that reassured
parents and educators about their rights. I commend the Superintendent for posting it immediately on the schools
website and sending it out in her letter to families. I rested easy that while it took far too long to get to this point, at
least we got there.
For a day.
Alas, implementation has been very frustrating. Parents who had already chosen to opt their children out of these
tests were pleased with the resolution promptly wrote to the principal at the Middle School and was told in effect,
nothing has changed: Your child will still be handed a test and at that point they can hand over the note, from a parent
or guardian.
Is this what the school committee intended when it voted unanimously to allow parents to opt their children out
"*either by a statement or a note from parents or guardians****? *
The district is apparently leaving it up to school principals to decide how this intention is conveyed, where the kids
will go who choose to opt out, and what alternative activity will be allowed. On the first point, was it not plainly
evident that the purpose was to allow for a parental statement or note the way we do anything else to the principals
office, including in advance of an event?
I appreciate Mr. Morris openness to talking about this issue--we have spoken at length twice in the past month,
including yesterday. But I am befuddled by the bureaucratic mindset of the district administration. A month ago Mr.
Morris was adamant that DESE insisted that only students themselves can opt out--no parent can be involved in this
decision, nor convey the decision of the family. Now apparently the district administration thinks that what you
passed was good, and that it is perfectly acceptable for a parent to write a note. But they are now equally adamant
that on the issue of WHEN the note is given, DESE is definitive: it can only be at the moment the test is handed to the
student.
What calamity will befall the district if it allows a note to be given in advance, I am still not sure. But surely in passing
the resolution you were facing west, to your community, to respond to a concern, and not east, to DESE, with its
shifting and confusing regulations."
Mr. Morris has said that he will review the tape of the school committee meeting to see if it is possible to read into
words (or maybe body language?) what was intended by the committee. This has to feel ludicrous to us all. Certainly,
the group that wrote the original resolution did not feel we needed to, not did we want to, write out the specific,
minute-by-minute procedure for the principals to follow We believe in the superintendents right and responsibility
to fairly implement the policies of the school committees. It seemed crystal clear what statement and note meant.
We started this process a month and a half ago. Now we have one day (Monday) before the MCAS/PARCC hybrid is
given to students.
*Today (Saturday), the opt out group will meet at 4 pm at the Jones Library, in the Woodbury Room. * Parents are
confused about exactly what will happen on Tuesday morning, in large measure because there are shifting and
different procedures in each school. You are all welcome to come and help clarify the situation for us.
All the best,
Max
Max Page
Professor of Architecture and History
Director of Historic Preservation Initiatives
University of Massachusetts
151 Presidents Drive
Amherst, MA 01003

mpage@umass.edu
http://maxpage.us/ <http://www.maxpage.us/
Sites of Conscience article
<https://savingplaces.org/stories/sites-of-conscience#.VhVuGhNViko,
Preservation Magazine, Fall 2015
-Michael Morris
Assistant Superintendent
Amherst, Pelham, and the Amherst-Pelham Regional School Districts
413.362.1807
www.arps.org
Date: Thu, 17 Mar 2016
Subject: Fwd: March 22 School Committee Meeting
From: Maria Geryk <gerykm@arps.org
To: Trevor Baptiste <BaptisteT@ARPS.ORG, Kathleen Traphagen <TraphagenK@ARPS.ORG,
Katherine Appy <AppyK@ARPS.ORG
Debbie sent this information to Max as requested by Katherine Appy. It would be helpful if someone could clarify for
Max that I didn't have any role in this language, but rather the product is a result of the SC conversation. As I have
stated, I am happy to clarify information for families and staff. This is not being blocked in any way by administration.
As you know, I have supported challenging the state regarding the use of high stakes testing.
Maria
Date: Fri, 18 Mar 2016
Subject: Re: resolution - Max
From: Maria Geryk <gerykm@arps.org
To: Rick Hood <hoodr@arps.org
Cc: Katherine Appy <appyk@arps.org
Hi Rick,
I heard from Katherine that you two spoke about the resolution. Are you all set?
Maria
On Fri, Mar 18, 2016 at 10:53 AM, Rick Hood <hoodr@arps.org wrote:
Hi Katherine & Maria,
The attached has his original draft, and our new one with markup from me.
I spoke to Max. He has 2 concerns:
1. Make it clear that educators can discuss opt-out right with students and parents if they chose to, without fear of
any repercussions.
The blue portion in his draft is he part he is concerned about. The red portion is something I added that may address
that. The key to me is underlined:
*"Educators who choose to discuss the right to opt-out with their students or with parents shall not be subject to any
form of retribution by anyone in the Amherst public schools.*
who choose its up to them whether they want to or not
the right to opt out - can only discuss the right to opt out, not to encourage or discourage.

2. He wanted to be clear that parents have a say. he suggested using the word family so that it is not saying parent or
student, so I suggest this:
*"Consistent with prior practice, students families who choose to exercise their a students right to opt out of these
assessments will not be subject to any form of negative consequences from the school district.*
Change are in green in the attached.
See if you think these changes OK. I think #2 is probably fine, but not = sure about #1.
Thanks,
Rick
Rick Hood
413-320-3611
On Mar 18, 2016, at 9:39 AM, Richard Hood <rick@flowmediadesign.com wrote:
Hi Max,
Yes I saw that ands I just re-read it. I see this:
*"This version does not acknowledge that parents/families have the right to opt out. It goes back to the specious idea
that students themselves -- even third graders -- will have to opt themselves out. It removes all
reference to the rights of educators to discuss the issue with students and their parents. That removal suggests that
in fact the district does not want to reassure educators about their rights to free speech and does not want to assuage
fears expressed by several directly to me that they could be fired or otherwise punished for even discussing the
issue with students and their parents.*
"parents/families have the right to opt out ah OK, the rewrite says "Students, in consultation with their families,
have the right to opt out
I dug more into this and man, there is some conflicting stuff out there.
*"State law (G.L. c.69, s.1I) requires that all students who are educated with Massachusetts public funds participate in
a statewide student assessment program under the direction of the Board of Elementary and Secondary Education
("Board).* from: http://www.doe.mass.edu/news/news.aspx?id=3D14573
But then there is acknowledgement that a student may refuse:
*"If the building principal has provided this information to the parent and student and the student still refuses to
participate in the state assessments, the principal should see to it that the student is engaged in an alternate
educational activity and is not distracting other students during the testing period. In some cases it may be
appropriate for the student to be removed from the testing room. The test administrator's manual will include
instructions for reporting a student's refusal to participate. *also from:
http://www.doe.mass.edu/news/news.aspx?id=3D14573
*"Parents may not legally refuse their child's participation in MCAS tests.* from:
http://www.doe.mass.edu/mcas/overview.html?faq=3D7
*"Is opting out illegal?*
*No. State law says the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education must give tests to all students. But the
law does not say every student must take those tests and it does not provide for any penalties to students
who refuse, or their parents.=E2=80=9D* from: http://www.citizensforpublicschools.org/the-facts-on-opting-outof-mcas-o=r-parcc/

Which is correct? This is pretty confusing.


Ill call you around 10:15
Thanks,
Rick Hood
413-320-3611

On Mar 18, 2016, at 9:08 AM, Max Page <milomaximpage@gmail.com wrote:


Hi Rick,
Thanks for your note. Did you see the email I sent to both school committees yesterday evening? There seems to be
one email address to reach both the asc and the rsc. Perhaps that's a mistake and you didn't receive it. But I think I
address some of your thoughts in that email.
Let's talk if possible -- 413-219-7633. I'll be available in an hour.
Max
Max Page
maxpage.us
Deafening Silence -- Photographs of Mussolini's Legacy in Rome
http://www.blurb.com/b/6101667-deafening-silence
On Mar 18, 2016, at 8:16 AM, Richard Hood <rick@flowmediadesign.com wrote:
Hi Max,
Thanks for sending that. They are both short, so I just pasted them both below for reference.
The two major differences I see in the message of each draft are:
1. The rewrite contains information about the possible effect to the district of opting out, and that passing MCAS is a
requirement for graduation.
2. The rewrite does not contain the language about dialogue between teachers, students and parents about this.
There are lots of wording changes, including changing high-stakes tests
to state-wide standardized tests such as MCAS and PARCC (because a final exam could be considered to be a "highstakes test"), but I believe the only change to the message are the above I mention.
My personal opinion on this:
My beef with state-wide standardized testing is is simply that there is too much of it. I want some form of
standardized testing to give me something to use to compare our district with others, and to measure our own yearto-year progress, even though I know that they are not good measures if you look at individual kids (some kids just do
not do well on those kinds of tests). But the amount of testing needs to be cut by may be 2/3 or so. My other beef is
that PARCC is a stupid reinvention of the wheel, whose only purpose is to make money for some testing companies,
and to keep some government employees busy with hearings, implementation and
all kinds of other BS.
I do not think opt-out is a good way to protest high-stakes testing- which is some peoples goal - unless the effort was
so large that most of the students in the state opted-out and so would force the state to take notice. Otherwise, opting
out will just hurt school districts where many students opt-out.

So-I want the information about the possible effect to the district of opting-out to be in there. My concern is that if you
simply tell parents their kids can opt out, with no other information, why would they not say oh OK, then I wont have
my kid take the test then. I also want the info about MCAS being required for graduation, so parents dont confused,
thinking maybe that requirement got dropped.
As far as the language about "dialogue between educators, students, and their parents, I dont recall why that was
taken out. Paragraphs 3, 5 and 6 of your draft was all about that. I will suggest something to put back
about that.
Question: why was dialogue such a big part of your draft? It seems like the message is simple and does not require
much discussion - students are free to not take the test if they dont want to. Perhaps you mean general discussion
around high-stakes testing, as opposed to discussion around opting-out?
Thanks,
Rick
Rick Hood
413-320-3611
*Proposed Resolution from the Amherst-Pelham Regional School Committee*
Given concerns we have heard, the Amherst-Pelham Regional School Committee seeks to reassure our community of
the following:
Parents have the right to opt their children out of taking high-stakes tests.
Open dialogue between educators, students, and their parents is a foundational belief of this school system.
Therefore, parents and students who choose to exercise their right to opt out of high-stakes tests will not be subject
to any form of retribution by anyone in the Amherst public schools;
Similarly, educators who choose to discuss this important issue with their students or with parents, in class, in
parent-teacher conferences, in community meetings or other social and professional settings, shall not be
subject to any form of retribution by anyone in the Amherst public schools.
We are pleased to reaffirm that free speech is fundamental right of all who are part of our educational community,
and ask that the Superintendent affirm this resolution and distribute it to educators, parents, and
students.
*Proposed Resolution from the Amherst/Regional School Committee *
Students, in consultation with their families, have the right to opt out of state-wide standardized tests such as MCAS
and PARCC.
Consistent with prior practice, students who choose to exercise their right to opt out of these assessments will not be
subject to any form of negative consequences from the school district. Opting-out may have negative implications for
the accountability level of the school and district, but not for grades of any individual student. High School students
should be aware that Massachusetts regulations dictate that a passing score on the MCAS is a graduation requirement.
This resolution is neither to support nor discourage students from opting out of state-wide assessment, but affirming
that the districts prior response to opting-out will continue into the future.
On Mar 17, 2016, at 9:18 PM, Max Page <milomaximpage@gmail.com wrote:
Hi Rick,

Thanks for reaching out. Attached is what I submitted to the regional school committee back on February 9. I believe
this incorporates some concerns I heard at the Amherst School Committee meeting and which I then worked on with
Katherine Appy. For example, I added in the line about reaffirming our (the districts) belief in free speech (so that it
was clear that no one is accusing the district or its leaders of acting badly in the past) and added in the word choose
so that it was clear that educators do not have to speak about the issue if they dont want to. I am also open to saying
something like Families may opt their children out if that somehow helps out with what I think is an unwarranted
fear that saying parents would bring the wrath of Chester on us. I had thought I had assuaged Mr. Morris concerns
about this.
Anyway, I am glad to discuss if you would like. My cell is 413-219-7633.
All the best,
Max
On Mar 17, 2016, at 8:47 PM, Richard Hood <rick@flowmediadesign.com wrote:
Hi Max,
Can you send me a copy of your original?
Ill work on comparing it to the draft we got and try to fix.
Thanks,
Rick
Rick Hood
413-320-3611

On Mar 17, 2016, at 5:13 PM, Max Page <milomaximpage@gmail.com wrote:


Maria (and the rest of the group ccd on this message),
The resolution as written bears no resemblance to the one discussed by the Amherst School Committee a month ago,
which I presented, and which seemed to have wide approval on the committee. Common decency and respect for
community members would suggest that dramatic revisions would at least be run by the makers of the original
resolution.
But far more importantly is that the resolution does not address the key concerns that our group brought before you
when I presented the resolution to the committee a month ago. It is apparently written by lawyers with only DESE in
mind, and will do nothing to assure parents, students, and teachers about their rights to opt-out to engage in free
speech around this important issue.
This version does not acknowledge that parents/families have the right to opt out. It goes back to the specious idea
that students themselves--even third graders--will have to opt themselves out. It removes all reference to the rights of
educators to discuss the issue with students and their parents. That removal suggests that in fact the district does not
want to reassure educators about their rights to free speech and does not want to assuage fears--expressed by several
directly to me--that they could be fired or otherwise punished for even discussing the issue with students and their
parents.
I am quite concerned that this is the document that will be presented to the joint school committees. I hope it will be
changed before Tuesday. I and others will most certainly be there.
This began as a very friendly effort to get a reasonable resolution passed. It was not an endorsement of opt-out, but
simply a reassurance to all involved that we can have this debate openly and without fear of retribution. I came to
you, to Mr. Morris, and to the school committee in good faith.
Sincerely,

Max
On Mar 17, 2016, at 5:01 PM, Maria Geryk <gerykm@arps.org wrote:
Dear Max:
I am unclear what is meant in your email by radio silenceand about not being invited to the Regional School
Committee meeting. The discussion of the opt-out resolution was added to the agenda at the last moment before
posting at the request of School Committee member Kathleen Traphagen. I had no information other than a request
to add it, and I was unaware that you expected to be personally invited to the meeting on this agenda item that was
added by the School Committee. The agenda was posted well within the 48 hour period required by Open Meeting
law so the information was available that the topic would be discussed. In addition, I had no hand in drafting the
revised resolution that was sent to you. It was revised based on input from the Regional School Committee members
during their discussion of the issue. The discussion can be viewed at:
https://amherstmedia.org/content/amherst-pelham-regional-school-committee=-03-08-16.
I have no problem with students opting out of MCAS testing, which has always been my stance on this issue. I find it
troubling that you would jump to the conclusion that I am somehow trying to silence you or any
parent/guardian, student, or staff member on this issue (or on any other issue for that matter), especially when there
is a distinct lack of evidence to support that significant claim.
Maria
On Thu, Mar 17, 2016 at 4:11 PM, Max Page <milomaximpage@gmail.com wrote:
Dear Maria and Mike,
In case Debbie doesnt get the message to you: the resolution that you have clearly had a hand in crafting is
completely unacceptable, and bears no resemblance to what I proposed and was discussed--to wide approval-- at the
Amherst School Committee a month ago.
Now I understand why I wasnt invited to the regional school committee meeting, and why I have received radio
silence when trying to find out what was going on with the resolution.
I worked in good faith to craft a resolution that was fair, after having spoke with you, Mike, about it. The Amherst
School Committee seemed to like it very much. I then worked on a few edits with Katherine to address some
concerns. But what is now being presented to the school committee is a completely neutered version of an opt-out
resolution. It still makes it so that a third grader must opt him or herself out of testing. It biases people by making
specious arguments about the impact of opt out on the schools. It says absolutely nothing about the free speech rights
of our teachers, which was one of the main reasons I came before you. The absence suggests that in fact you want to
encourage fear in teachers about how they speak about opt-out, and that you intend to punish teachers who discuss
the issue with their students or with parents.
I am really stunned by this turn of events.
My number is 413-219-7633.
All the best,
Max
Max Page
Professor of Architecture and History
Director of Historic Preservation Initiatives
University of Massachusetts

151 Presidents Drive


Amherst, MA 01003
mpage@umass.edu
http://maxpage.us/ <http://www.maxpage.us/
Sites of Conscience article
<https://savingplaces.org/stories/sites-of-conscience#.VhVuGhNViko,
Preservation Magazine, Fall 2015