Fort River Elementary School Khmer Transitional Bilingual Education (TBE) Program Records

Fort River Elementary School Khmer Transitional Bilingual Education (TBE) Program Records


The Fort River Elementary School Khmer TBE Program Records document the program and include many teaching materials used with Cambodian students in the 1980s and later as well as information about Cambodia and stories from Cambodian refugees who settled in Amherst.

Historical Note

The items in this collection relate to the Khmer TBE (Transitional Bilingual Education) program at the Fort River Elementary School in Amherst, Mass. Created in the early 1980s, the program assisted new Amherst residents from Cambodia as well as taught Amherst students about the culture of their classmates.

Scope and Contents

This collection includes teaching materials used in the Khmer TBE program, images and information about Cambodia, student work, recordings of school events, photographs, Cambodian cloth, and slides. Teaching materials include Cambodian folktales; workbooks created at Khao I Dang Refugee Camp in Thailand; materials used to teach newcomers about U.S. culture; materials used to teach Khmer, English, math, science, the alphabet, history, and culture; teacher resources; and 2 Khmer dictionaries.


6 linear feet (3 record boxes, 1 oversize box, 1 oversize folder)

Access Restrictions

This collection is open for research.


Transferred to Special Collections from Fort River Elementary School in 2019, with the approval of the Amherst School Committee and ARPS Superintendent Michael Morris.

Preferred Citation

(Folder Name), Fort River Elementary School, Khmer Transitional Bilingual Education (TBE) Program Records,
Special Collections, Jones Library, Amherst, Massachusetts. 

Processing information

This collection was processed by Cyndi Harbeson and Katherine Whitcomb in 2020.

Related Materials

Model of Khao-I-Dang refugee camp, housed in Special Collections


All books/booklets are in Boxes 2 and 3. Folders are arranged alphabetically by subject in a separate file box. Some materials were removed from binders and sorted into folders.

The four boxes are currently stored in the Harlan Fiske Stone Room.

Collection Inventory

Box Title/Description Date (if dated)
1 Cassette tape – Cambodia (National Geographic)

1 Cassette tape – Cambodian Mental Health
1 VHS tape – Cambodian Dance and Music Performance, Fort River School
1993 April 15 
1 VHS tape – “Life in a Cambodian Village”, “A Day on a Rice Farm”, “Battambong Market
1 VHS tape – (Title in Khmer)
1 VHS tape – “Judge Rabbit and the Tree Spirit”, “Biography Show
1996 April
1 VHS tape – “Part of My Soul: The Odyssey of a Child of Genocide” (NECN)
1 VHS Tape – “Vietnam and Cambodia: Children of Rice & Guns
1 VHS tape – “Monkey Dance
1 VHS tape – Cambodian New Year, Fort River
1 VHS tape – “The Khmer Historical Mural of Khao-I-Dang
1 DVDs and CD (in folder)

1 Film strip – Cambodia (National Geographic)
1 Bibliography of Cambodian materials

1 Cambodia: The Land and its People

1 Cambodian cloth - 2 pieces of Cambodian cloth, one fuchsia and one blue

1 Cambodian New Year Celebration Programs
2007, 2010
1 Cambodian New Year materials

1 Cambodian Oral History Project
1 Cambodia Review
1994 February-March
1 Children’s Art – Fish & Goddess

1 Focus Week Activities
1 Focus Week images & facts

1 Grade 2 Class Materials

1 Grade 6 Class Materials 
1 Images of Cambodia
1 Images used for displays and teaching
1 Images used to teach clothing and dance
1 Kaye, Dena – “In Awe of Angkor” article from Town & Country magazine
1 Khao-I-Dang Refugee Camp Model Description
1 Materials used to teach Amherst teachers about Cambodian culture

1 News articles
1 Other Voices– ARMS newsletter
1 Phok, Chhean – “My Quilt Story
1 Photographs
1 Postcards from Cambodian refugee families from Thailand camps
1 Pransky, Ken – 10 Bhat
Note: Ken Pransky was an ESL teacher at Fort River who taught many Cambodian children.
1 Pransky, Ken – “How Judge Rabbit Escaped from Farmer” (folktale rewritten by Pransky)
Note: Ken Pransky was an ESL teacher at Fort River who taught many Cambodian children.
1 Sam, Yang – Cambodian unit
Note: Yang Sam was the ARHS TBE teacher.
1 Sam, Yang – teaching illustrations
Note: Yang Sam was the ARHS TBE teacher.
1 Slides of Cambodian sights by Thiem Ung, Khmer TBE teacher at Fort River School

1 Stories written by Cambodian Fort River students

1 Swift, Peter – Notes on Cambodian used to create a teaching kit about Southeast Asia

1 Teaching materials - industries and crafts
1 Teaching materials – Pictures and history of Cambodia
1 Ung, Thiem – Folk tale written by Thiem Ung
Note: Thiem Ung was a Khmer TBE teacher at Fort River School
2 Teaching Materials
Note: Includes the book "Silent Temples, Songful Hearts" written by Sam-Ang Sam, the first Khmer TBE teacher at ARHS. The book was used as a reference to teach about Cambodian culture and arts.
3 Teaching Materials
4 (Oversize) Art – Khmer Countryside Lifestyle
4 (Oversize) Folk Takes & Instructional Guides
4 (Oversize) Handmade books: How I came to the United States by Sarean Bou; Being a Buddhist by Chhean Phok; Our Cambodian New Year by Fort River students
4 (Oversize) Illustrations – a Dance, Hanuman, and Mermaid
4 (Oversize) Images Used for Displays and Teaching
4 (Oversize) Khmer Shadow Puppet
4 (Oversize) News articles
4 (Oversize) Photograph
Map case Art – Khmer Scenery Painting