Three Free Parenting Workshops Offered This Week in the Valley & Hilltowns

Free Parenting Workshops

Taking Perspective: Talking to Children about Valuing Themselves & Others
6:30 – 8pm, Tuesday, April 27th in Northampton, MA (FREE)

How do we best talk with our children when they notice differences like race, gender, age, and abilities? In this workshop, we will explore both the child’s and parent’s perspective of differences and how to share values of respect and kindness, affirming people’s unique qualities and gifts. – Presenter, Marlies Zammuto has been an educator for over thirty five years, working with infants, children, families, early educators, employers and health and human service professionals in a variety of diverse settings, statewide, nationally and internationally. She has also recently become a certified life coach.

Funded through a grant to Sunnyside Child Care Center from the Webster Foundation & a grant to Northampton Public Schools from the MA Department of Early Education and Care.

Parenting Survival Skills: Getting Out of the House on Time
6:30 – 8pm, Thursday, April 29th in Northampton, MA (FREE)

This workshop will be facilitated by Kimm Quinlan and Rebecca Osborn. Kimm has worked in the Early Childhood field for 20 years. She has been a teacher, director, parent involvement coordinator, trainer and anything else you can think of! She is an excellent resource and facilitator. Rebecca Osborn, MSW, MPH, is currently in the role of Staff Development Director at The Overlook at Northampton, a Long Term Care facility in Leeds, MA. Background includes work in community health prevention, education, and evaluation both domestically and internationally

Presented collaboratively by The Overlook (sponsored by Masonic Health Systems of Massachusetts) and the Northampton Public Schools and Northampton CPC.

Both workshops will be held at the Bridge Street School Library in Northampton, MA. Free childcare is available. If you need childcare, please call Barbara Black, 587-1471 or

  • A third free parenting workshop, Budgeting for Your Family, led by Ed Sayer, Executive Director, Hilltown Community Health Centers, will be held on Friday, April 30th morning from 10:30am-12Noon in Huntington, MA. Ed will be talking to parents about budgeting techniques and financial planning. The focus of the workshop will be that budgeting and financial issues concern all of us, especially in these economic times. Information previously posted HERE.

Downing Hosts an Open Meeting in the Hilltowns on Friday, April 16th

Free Coffee & Open Conversation

To further his goal of being fully accessible to constituents residing in all 48 communities of his district, state Senator Benjamin B. Downing (D-Pittsfield) will bring his Coffee & Conversation program to the outer reaches of the district and visit Huntington on Friday, April 16th.

Downing hosts Coffee & Conversation – open public forums in rotating towns across his Berkshire, Hampshire and Franklin Senate District – on ten Fridays throughout the year.  After Huntington, Downing plans to bring the series to Rowe, Egremont, Hinsdale, Williamsburg, Otis and Cheshire.

On April 16th, Downing’s Coffee & Conversation will take place at the Huntington Public Library, located at 7 East Main Street from 2:00pm – 3:30pm. During that time, Downing will provide free coffee and be available for open, unscripted conversation to those interested in meeting with their state Senator face-to-face.

Friday Morning Parent/Child Series in the Hilltowns

Free Parent/Child Support Series in Huntington
Friday Mornings Beginning March 12th

Through a grant from the Massachusetts Children’s Trust Fund, the Huntington Health Center is teaming up with the Gateway Family Center to offer a free series for parents and their young children (ages 0-5 years). The series will run at the Gateway Family Center (9 Russell Road in Huntington, MA) on Friday mornings, 10:30 to noon, from March 12th to May 14th, 2010. Families are welcome to come for as many sessions as they’d like. Scheduled topics include Music with Your Child, Stress Reduction, Chat with a Pediatrician, and Budgeting for Families. Assistance with transportation is available. To register, call Lee at the Worthington Health Center, 238-5511 x155, for more information.


  • March 12thSurviving Siblings, Led by Lee MacKinnon, Parent Educator
  • March 19thMusic with Young Children, Led by Carolyn Mazel, Movement Together teacher.
  • March 26thCooking with (and for) Children, Led by Killeen Perras, WIC coordinator and “chef extraordinaire.”
  • April 9thStress Reduction , Led by Therese Herrick, RN and massage therapist.
  • April 30thBudgeting for Your Family, Led by Ed Sayer, Executive Director, Hilltown Community Health Centers.
  • May 7thHow Children Develop: What to Look for at Different Ages, Led by Naomi Rosenberg, Pediatrician, Hilltown Community Health Centers.
  • May 14th“And to All A Good Night:” Sleep Tips for Children and Adults, Led by Lee MacKinnon, Parent Educator

Gateway Regional School District to Consolidate Elementary Schools

Wendy V. Long of the Gateway Regional School District in Huntington, MA writes:

The Gateway Regional School Committee voted [Wednesday evening] to consolidate its five elementary schools, with all elementary students attending school at either Littleville Elementary School or Chester Elementary School in the 2010-11 school year. Blandford Elementary School, R. H. Conwell Elementary School and Russell Elementary School will close, and those buildings will be returned to their towns. The vote (13 in favor, 3 opposed) was taken at approximately 10:15 p.m., following a lengthy discussion and input from Gateway town officials and community members.

A total of 426 students currently attend the five Gateway elementary schools.

Educationally, the move will provide more opportunities for teacher collaboration and student groupings, reduce or eliminate multi-grade classrooms, reduce the number of staff traveling between schools, and improve the administrative support to the schools.

The motion also stipulated that the school committee “acknowledges and agrees that MSBA will be recouping funds from the district in the amount of $4,587,165 in annual payments of $327,655 for 14 years” for renovations to those buildings. Consolidation is expected to save the district approximately $485,000 in FY ’11 after paying MSBA.

For background information on this issue, please visit the Elementary Advisory Committee website.

“Making Waves” in the Hilltowns

Chester Theatre Company Presents: Making Waves
An Evening of Professionally Produced, Student Written One-Act Plays
November 20 and 21, 2009

Six student-written one act plays fitting the theme Making Waves will be presented on November 20 and 21 at the Gateway Performing Arts Center in Huntington, MA. This semester’s playwrights are Iris Delaney, Allison Garriepy, Jordan Roberts, Peter Rochford, Samantha Sawyer and Lily Wyand.

These are not your typical student plays. Written by sixth grade students at Gateway Regional Middle School, the plays are produced by The Chester Theatre Company, which teams professional actors, directors and designers with the student playwrights to help bring their creative visions to life. The program is now in its fifth year, and the latest evening of truly unique one-act plays – Making Waves – will be presented at 7 p.m. on each night. Read the rest of this entry »

Food Drive for Families in the Hilltowns

GRHS Student Council Sponsoring Annual Food Drive

The Gateway Regional High School Student Council is sponsoring its annual Food Drive to assist local families. Collections will begin on November 3rd and continue through November 19th. Students will bring donations to the cafeteria during lunch, where student council members will be available to collect items.

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Intergenerational Holiday Concert and Luncheon in the Hilltowns

GRSD to Host Elders for Holiday Concert and Luncheon

The Gateway Regional School District extends a warm invitation to area senior citizens for the Annual Holiday Luncheon and Concert at the Gateway Regional Middle/High School complex, 12 Littleville Rd. in Huntington. This event will be held on Wednesday, December 2, 2009 with a student concert in the performing arts center at 11:30 a.m. A holiday luncheon will follow at approximately1:15 p.m. in the cafeteria. This event is free of charge to all hilltown seniors.

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Parents Surveyed on Hilltown Elementary School Closings

New Computer Laptops Offered Hilltown Students & Community

Free Parenting Workshops with Jeanine Fitzgerald (Huntington & Amherst)

Jeanine Fitzgerald is offering a series of free parenting workshops
for parents of children birth to age 8.

Workshop:   Tips for Handling Children's Violent Play and Aggression (03/25/09)

Workshop:  Tips for Handling Children’s Violent Play and Aggression

  • Wednesday, March 25, 2009
  • 6-8pm at Huntington Middle/High School
  • Free

Should we ban or facilitate these types of play? This has been the great debate for years. This workshop will discuss the differences in these types of play, the pros and cons associated with them and the current research trends. Participants will learn effective techniques to combat aggression and violence.

Free on-site childcare for children 2 and over on a first-come, first-served basis with advance registration. Babies are welcome to remain with parents. Early registration recommended. Deadline: March 18th. To register, call Gateway Family Center Coordinator, Kim Savery at 413.667.2203 x3.

Mark your calendars now to save the date for this remaining workshop:

  • Monday, April 27th: Raising Better Problem Solvers
  • 6-8pm at the Amherst Family Center
  • Free

Raising Teens: 10 Tasks of Adolescence


A new report has been released by the Harvard School of Public Health entitled “Raising Teens: A Synthesis of Research and a Foundation for Action.” The purpose of the report was to heighten public attention to the risks before today’s American teenagers—from violence, mental illness, abuse, neglect, substance abuse, poverty and other factors.

“One of the most striking aspects of this crisis is how little we have involved parents as part of the solution.”

This week, we will look at The Ten Tasks of Adolescence: the ten key developmental milestones that teenagers must accomplish to become fully functioning adults. This information begins on page 9 of the report.

Read the rest of this entry »

Eco-Friendly Fundraisers

Recycling Program to Raise Funds

For-profit company EcoPhones is one of several companies that offer community groups and non-profits the opportunity to raise funds for their organization or group by collecting small electronics items to be recycled, including:

  • cell phones
  • DVD movies
  • video games
  • portable DVD players
  • laptop/notebook computers
  • MP3 players
  • video game consoles
  • digital cameras
  • digital picture frames
  • portable navigation and GPS devices

Click here to read the article Cell phone recycling for cash a win-win, or is it? on about these types of eco-friendly fundraisers being offered to such groups.

Local Fundraising Efforts

The Gateway Regional High School (Huntington, MA) Cheerleaders are raising money to help send the team to summer cheerleading camp and will be participating in the EcoPhones fundraising program by collecting the above mentioned items. There is a collection bin in the main entrance foyer of the Gateway Middle/High School complex to deposit donations. Collection will run through the end of the school year.

For more information email Karen Smith at, read the flyer, or go to the EcoPhones Website.

Other Eco-Friendly Fundraising Ideas

Recycling old cell phones and such isn’t the only way to have an “eco-friendly fundraiser.” Click here to read the article Finding Green Fundraisers on to discover other ideas and programs.

What if Spring Break was Cancelled?

It Could Happen to Gateway Regional Middle-High School Students!

[Huntington, MA] – Spring Break for Gateway Regional Middle-High School students and staff is scheduled for April 21 – 25, 2008. But not if the district incurs too many more snow days.

The 2007-08 school year calendar has school ending on June 26th if five snow days are used. Because of the way the dates fall in June, this leaves only two additional school days available (Friday June 27th and Monday June 30th) to make up for any additional snow days or days lost due to other events. Blandford Elementary School already has to make up an additional day because the school was closed due to a broken water main last fall.

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Updates from the Gateway Family Center in Huntington



The Gateway Family Center (GFC) is now registering families for our School Readiness program. This year, the group will meet on Tuesday mornings from 8:30 to 10:30, beginning on September 18. This program is designed to help preschool-aged children and their families prepare for school. It is limited to 10 families, with priority given to those who are not enrolled in other programs. The curriculum includes preliteracy, premath, science, language and social skills (along with a little bit of Spanish!) that are approached through a variety of art projects, games, music, etc.


GFC is also sponsoring a workshop entitled Keeping Our Children Safe, on Friday, September 14th from 10 – 12 at the GFC. This workshop will focus on recognizing and dealing with child sexual abuse.

Read the rest of this entry »

Night of Music in the Hilltowns

“Night of Music” Scholarship Fundraiser on May 25th

The Fifth Annual “Night of Music” fundraiser for the Crane Memorial Scholarship will be held on Friday, May 25th at 7 p.m. in the Gateway Performing Arts Center in Huntington, MA. Students, faculty, alumni and staff will perform a variety of music including blues, folk and rock and roll. Read the rest of this entry »

Annual Spring Concert – “The Dam”

Concert & Jazz Bands, and Concert & Show Choirs Perform at Spring Concert

The Gateway Regional High School Music Department will hold their annual Spring Concert on Thursday, May 17th at 7 p.m. in Huntington, and will feature the concert band, concert choir, show choir, and jazz band.

This concert marks the unveiling of a newly commissioned piece “The Dam”, composed by Allen Bonde of Mount Holyoke College. Bonde will accompany the chorus and student fiddler Leland Martin for this piece. Read the rest of this entry »

Hilltown Talent Show

Hilltown Talent Show in Huntington

Gateway Middle School students are presenting a talent show entitled “Talent Rocks” on Saturday, May 12 from 6:30 – 8:30 p.m.

The Blue and Gold Committee is organizing this event as a community service fundraiser. All proceeds will be donated to the afterschool program, which is facing declining funding under next year’s grant. All community members are invited to attend.

Read the rest of this entry »

Beanie Baby Drop off in Hilltowns

Beanies for Balad project

Beanie Babies are being collected for distribution to wounded children at the hospital at Balad Air Base in Iraq. Drop off locations in the hilltowns include:

  • Chesterfield – New Hingham School
  • Huntington – Huntington Library and the Trolley Shop
  • Williamsburg – Williamsburg Pharmacy
  • Worthington – Russell Conwell School, Worthington Library, Worthington Health Center
  • To find additional drop-off locations and to discover more about this project, read Sandra Contantine’s article, Beanie Babies Project.

Consolidating Hilltown Elementary Schools

Things happening in Huntington during the Hilltown Canoe Race

Hilltown Canoe Race – April 21st, 2007

Anyone planning to be out and about on the Saturday of the annual canoe races (April 21st) should plan to stop by at Gateway High School to check out a multitude of fundraisers that will be taking place to benefit class trips and school programs.

  • The Class of 2008 will be serving lunch by the Gateway cafeteria from 11:00am – 1:00pm.
  • The Class of 2009 will be holding a community tag sale in the cafeteria from 9:00am – 1:00pm.
  • Bring in your returnable bottles and cans, for the high school band’s annual drive. All redeemable bottles and cans will be accepted between 9:30 a.m. and 3:30 p.m.; just drive into the middle circle of the Gateway complex in front of the bandroom.
  • The band will also be selling advanced tickets for the pancake breakfast they are holding on May 12th—the Saturday of Mother’s Day weekend. Tickets will be $5 per person.
  • Other fundraisers to be held at Gateway on 4/21, include a bake sale to benefit the freshman class and a car wash (weather permitting) for the senior class.

10th Annual Seuss-abration

Western Mass elementary schools honor national Read Across America Day with Dr. Seuss

Gateway elementary schools held another successful “Seussabration”, to honor national Read Across America Day on March 7th. This is the 10th year that Gateway has participated in this event, which typically involves students, staff, parents and high school volunteers.

National Honor Society members from Gateway Regional High School visited classrooms and read to students at the Blandford, Chester, R. H.Conwell and Littleville Elementary schools.

In our area there are two great place to get a closer look at the work of Dr. Seuss. The National Dr. Seuss Memorial in Springfield, MA, and the R. Michelson Galleries in Northampton, MA. The R. Michelson Galleries exhibits many of Dr. Seuss’s original draws and limited editions. Both places offer an educational experience for children.

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Dental Outreach Taskforce Launched in the Hilltowns

Dental Outreach Taskforce Launched  
Did you know that approximately 400 children in the Hilltown Community Health Centers’ service area have never received any dental services?  Additionally, about 40% of area residents have gone without dental treatment in the last twelve months.  Hilltown Community Health Centers’ dental departments treat many children with gum disease and oral problems.  Many of these serious dental problems could be avoided with regular preventive dental care.  But what is the best way for all children to receive good dental care? 

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Valentine’s Day ’07

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