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The Ann Arbor PTO Thrift Shop is located at 2280 S. Industrial Highway. The shop sells furniture, clothing, books, home goods, electronics, craft supplies and more.
By Tara Cavanaugh
The Ann Arbor PTO Thrift Shop’s mission is to support the schools. And three times each year, its support comes in the form of a small but valuable slip of paper: a check.
On Jan. 29 the shop distributed $50,020 total between all 33 of the Ann Arbor Public Schools (see comprehensive list below). The money supports enrichment opportunities for students in the form of field trips, sports clubs, academic supplies, camps and plenty more.
“It’s exciting to celebrate a great year in 2012 and immediately start another with this kind of vigorous funding,” said Ann Farnham, the shop’s executive director. ”What a couple of high notes for our shop and for our AAPS community.” Continue reading →
Megan Franzen’s kindergarten class at Bach Elementary.
Will you have a kindergartener in the Ann Arbor Public Schools in the 2013-2014 school year? Then make sure to get to the information sessions, called Kindergarten Round-Ups, that start in just a few weeks. The sessions are listed alphabetically below by school. All kindergarten classes are full-day.
If you have questions about which school your child should attend, please call 994-2200 or go to the district’s web site and click on the “Especially for Parents” link to log in your street name to find out your child’s elementary school.
Some schools have planned activities for students and/or optional child care for Kindergarten Round-Ups. Please contact the individual schools for more details. Continue reading →
In just eight weeks, a group of second and third graders at Allen Elementary have improved their reading skills by one or two levels.
These students were having a hard time with reading, but now they seem to love it. So what made the difference? Their reading buddies.
Reading buddies are volunteers who spend an hour with one, two or three students. The one-on-one attention and friendship helps the students love to read.
“They’re reading books that are a little harder for them than they normally would be reading,” said Carol Clyde, Allen’s Title I teacher. “This program has really helped them improve their attitude toward reading.” Continue reading →
Burns Park was built in 1923. A school that old isn't prepared for all the internet, cabling and electrical demands of the 21st century.
By Tara Cavanaugh
Burns Park Elementary looks like an idyllic old fashioned school from the early 20th century. The brick building boasts huge paned windows, crown moldings and alcoves. Surrounding oak trees only add to the charm.
But this pretty little picture turns nightmarish for a technology expert who wants to update the school to 21st century technology. Why is that? Burns Park, like most schools in the district, is more than 50 years old. Schools that old need renovations before they can support any upgrades.
What kinds of renovations do they need? Mechanical, electrical and environmental renovations, says Randy Trent, executive director of physical properties for the Ann Arbor Public Schools. Continue reading →
Each lesson, the U-M student teacher selects elementary students to lead the class in song. These four third-graders led the class in singing the Spanish alphabet on Tuesday, March 6 at Bryant Park.
By Tara Cavanaugh
Twice a week, third and fourth grade classrooms at AAPS elementary schools make a transformation that changes everything: no English is allowed. Only Spanish.
The transformation is part of an educational partnership between AAPS and the University of Michigan. U-M students step into AAPS classrooms and give a 30 minute, Spanish-only lesson. The goal of the immersion lesson, called the Ann Arbor Language Partnership (or A2LP for short), is to give students a foundation for learning language skills.
A wall of color adorns the front hall at Allen Elementary School thanks to the artistic endeavors of every child in the school.
Fourth- and fifth-graders with Allen Elementary art teacher Debra Campbell, who helped students create the artwork that was made into tiles and used in a mural in the front hallway.
Flowers, fish, snails, trees and other gifts of nature are depicted in the all-school project, which has 396 tiles in all and was unveiled during the last week of school.
The tile mural was the idea of parents Amy and Brodie Burris and Lanette and Keoki Williams, who worked with art teacher Debra Campbell to plan and create the masterpiece. The work will be tied into the school’s 50th anniversary celebration in the fall as a special project, said Principal Joan Fitzgibbon.
“It was a huge undertaking,” Fitzgibbon said. “The important thing is showcasing the student talent and the fact that every kid is represented up there.”
Students created artwork in Campbell’s class on 8” x 8” squares. The drawings were then sent to Square 1 Art, an art fundraising company that creates the tiles and also can put student artwork on mugs, T-shirts and other items that are sold to parents, with a portion of proceeds coming back to the school.
The Allen Parent Council paid for every child’s artwork to be made into a tile and the additional fundraising sales helped to defray the cost of the tile mural, which cost about $3,800 total.
A contractor was hired to put up a board and frame and the four parents laid out the tiles, installed them and grouted them to a beautiful finish; they also painted the background wall red to make the tile mural pop, Fitzgibbon said. Having the tile on the board will allow the artwork to be moved should there ever be renovation in that portion of the school, she added.
Williams, who has children in the fifth and third grades at Allen, said it has been fun to see the students stop at the wall and find their own tiles. “The thing I’m most proud of is every child is represented,” she said. “That was the reason we funded it.”
Kindergarteners did sunflowers, first graders fish or snails, second graders butterflies, third graders flowers, fourth graders winter trees and fifth-graders branching patterns. “We just drew inspiration from different things,” Campbell said. “Kids naturally enjoy nature so that’s a hook.”
Allen student Eric said he enjoyed the trees-in-the-winter theme. “I enjoyed doing mine,” he said. Classmate Cloe, said she gained inspiration from looking at photo. “I like how everyone’s turned out really different,” she said.
Kiele, another young artist, said she “liked the idea of the branching pattern and the different ideas you could do off of it.” And student Cam said his favorite part of the project, was the ability to use bright colors individually to create the large, finished project.
Included in the Allen display are tiles in memory of Fitzgibbon’s father and also of Robert Kooistra, the grandfather of an Allen student, who had volunteered numerous hours at the school as an unofficial gardener, beautifying the school grounds. He passed away in January.
Joan Fitzgibbon hopes to be a resource for the Ann Arbor Public Schools as the district looks ahead to possibly expand its foreign language offerings in the future.
The Allen Elementary School principal recently returned from a trip to China, where she visited a variety of schools in different parts of the country as part of a cultural exchange through the Confucius Institute at Michigan State University – a Chinese language and culture education program.
Joan Fitzgibbon, principal from Allen Elemenary, on her China trip.
In December, Fitzgibbon traveled with 15 other principals and administrators from Michigan and 400 from around the country on her trip, and has been sharing her experiences with Allen students since she returned. She said she hopes to be a resource as the district moves ahead to consider teaching other languages.
“It was the best experience I have had in 23 years as an educator,” she said. “It was so enriching. This was great for a lot of reasons … but also to recognize that we have a really good education system.”
On a recent visit to Andrew Sargent’s third-grade class, she told students that Mandarin Chinese is one of the languages being considered as part of the district’s World Language initiative – a partnership with the University of Michigan School of Education.
“From the time they enter third grade, they learn English,” she said, speaking about the Allen students’ counterparts in China. “ Wouldn’t that be something – for you to learn Mandarin Chinese?”
Ann Arbor launched the World Language initiative as part of the district’s Strategic Plan in the third grade last year, expanding it to the fourth-grade this year with plans to expand into the fifth grade in 2011-12. The language currently being taught is Spanish, but school officials in Ann Arbor and at U-M have said they would like to expand it to other languages in the future.
On that topic, Fitzgibbon said she hopes to have a discussion sharing her experience in China. Because others on the trip were farther along in getting Chinese immersion programs in their schools and districts, Fitzgibbon said she is pleased to have the professional contacts and networks to call upon for Ann Arbor.
Fitzgibbon told Allen students their delegation was welcomed enthusiastically. “We felt like we were rock stars – everybody was so nice and happy to see us,” she said.
One of the schools visited was in the Chongqing Province where she toured a new secondary school campus with 6,000 students where 70 percent of the students stay overnight in dormitories through the week.
Chinese children go to school from 7 a.m. to 6 p.m. each day, Fitzgibbon said, getting a two hour lunch when they are encouraged to “get outside and get some fresh air.”
The average student-teacher ratio in China was 50-to-1, she said. Showing students a photo of an 11th grade class in one school, she noted that the total class had 1,000 students compared with the 60 in the third-grade at Allen.
Also, each school she visited had a specialty. For example, she said one was known for their calligraphy, another did paper cutting. Middle and high school students focus on science and technology.
She challenged Allen students to ask themselves “what makes Allen different?” and said she’d like to develop a theme for their school.
In a blog post about her trip, Fitzgibbon said: “We received warm welcomes lots of hugs, were shown well rehearsed and beautiful performances, and excellent students creating their specialized craft. At the first primary school this was paper cutting! We then saw a performance by kindergarteners, third-graders and the dance troupe. We truly were treated like royalty. Overall, the students were like any students. Full of excitement, eager to meet us and kids.”
In addition to Chinese schools, the group visited the Lama Temple, the Confucius Temple, saw a museum in Beijing that had the Olympic Torch on display and spent time at the Great Wall and Tiananmen Square and the Forbidden City.
She told students that the Forbidden City has 980 buildings and 8,700 rooms, allowing the Chinese emperor to move about. “The enemy never knew where he was staying,” she said. Another fun fact: The Forbidden City also has a 15-foot deep concrete floor, laid in a crisscross pattern, so that the enemy could not tunnel from below and gain access.
Fitzgibbon has created an Allen school blog that also has a link to her Fitz’s China Adventure blog. Visit http://www.blogger.com/profile/01153677485714689176
Schools celebrate the life, birthday of Martin Luther King Jr.
From AAPSNews Service
Buildings around the Ann Arbor Public Schools celebrated the Martin Luther King Jr. Day national holiday of Jan. 17 with activities in classrooms and assemblies for students. Some have already taken place and others are scheduled for the coming week.
Schools and public buildings throughout the country are closed today, Jan 17, in honor of the slain civil rights leader.
Following are some of the events around the district shared with the AAPSNews:
Clague students take multi-week journey
Students and staff at Clague Middle School have celebrated Martin Luther King Jr. Day with a multi-week celebration. Starting with a contest in December, it culminates with a display wall the week after their MLK Program. Some of the activities at Clague include:
• Contest: Students depict a theme in an essay, poem, poster, mixed media, or original creation. The school had 53 entries this year. The theme: “Life’s most persistent and urgent question is what are you doing for others?”
Students at Dicken Elementary hear music from Vincent York & Jazzistry, teaching them about the culture and history of jazz music.
• Mini-lesson on character: During Jan. 14 advisory, students received a character trait button to wear and brainstormed ideas of service in “an action plan.” They will have a week to perform the service – details of each student’s plan will be put on a common wall near the school office.
• MLK program: The school’s annual program on Jan. 14 was a collaborative effort of the staff and students. Music students performed, did choral readings and Powerpoints, and awarded the winners of the contest that began in December. Top winners receive a pizza lunch and a trip to the Sphinx concert in Ann Arbor.
Carpenter hosted all-school event honoring Dr. King
The Carpenter Elementary School community honored Martin Luther King Jr. during a Community Meeting on Jan. 10. Students sang “What Can One Little Person Do?” and “He had a Dream” and “He Wanted to Have the Same Freedom” under the direction of Laura Machida. Rebecca Archer’s third-graders read about Dr. King and performed “We Thank You Dr. Martin Luther King, Today and Everyday” and fourth-graders from Kelsey Cook’s, Marilyn Freeman’s and Ramona Sankovich’s classes performed “We Shall Overcome” on their recorders. Principal Ron Collins, reflected on Dr. King’s message and encouraged students to practice the messages of peace and getting along.
Expanding the MLK experience at Lawton and Northside
Julia Gold’s third-grade class at Lawton Elementary School did an all-class project passing on gifts of kindness during the week leading up to MLK Day. The class kept track of these acts by passing a “kindness card” to the student who received the act of kindness. The card was passed along to another student with each new kindness act. At week’s end the class counted how many acts were accumulated and hearts were hung for each.
Also at Lawton Fourth-graders at Lawton Elementary did an MLK musical performance for their school on Friday and first-grade teacher Kerry Krause planned to read “Martin’s Big Words” to her students, have students read a book about MLK from Enchanted Learning together and write about a dream that they have for the world.
Teachers at Northside Elementary School did a variety of classroom activities including A schoolwide assembly on Jan. 12 which included Janice Smith’s kindergarteners singing “Different Means Special,” fourth-graders singing “Something for You” and Susan Ulrey’s and Rebecca Coleman’s first-graders performing at the assembly, among others. Here are some other Northside activities:
• Rose Ann McGarty’s kindergarteners heard “A Picture Book of Martin Luther King Jr. and followed up with worksheets and writing assignments about respect. Fifth-grade reading buddies interviewed the young children and were comparing their lives to MLK’s.
• Evengeline Burgers’ kindergarteners also read aloud to her class and did an interdisciplinary activity reading “The Shape Story,” with the theme “that they can make beautiful things if they all work together.”
• In Sandra Chang’s kindergarten class, students read “Happy Birthday, Martin Luther King”, saw a video clip and did a time line paper looking at the events in his life.
• Second-graders in Jennifer Wade’s class had daily discussions of civil rights, equal rights and watched a video about King and created books about his life.
• Fourth-graders in Dianne Baker’s class read and wrote about King’s life, heard the “I Have a Dream” speech, posted bullet points of King accomplishments in the classroom entry and did other activities.
• Media Specialst Jeri Schneider has read King biographies and historical fiction relating to his work and civil rights. Fifth-graders created slides of King quotes that she edited together to use in the all-school assembly.
• ESL teacher Ana Taylor had special stations for students to rotate through including books on tape, writing activities, vocabulary to reinforce what they have learned about King and how his ideas shape and connect with life today.
Friday programs lead up to today’s MLK national holiday
Vincent York & Jazzistry performed at Dicken Elementary to help the school celebrate MLK Day. The school’s Recess Singers (group of first- through fifth-graders who practice at lunch) performed a song about equality to open the event. York also spent time with small groups of students by grade level on Jan. 11 and Jan. 12, offering a closer look into the instruments and their history that he uses during the all-school assembly.
Allen Elementary students hosted an all-school assembly with narration by Principal Joan Fitzgibbon and fifth-graders doing a presentation of “I have a Dream” with narration and songs.
Ann Arbor Open @ Mack hosted a MLK Day assembly celebrating the life of Martin Luther King and tying in the theme of bullying. The program pointed out how King was treated as he tried to bring a peaceful change in civil rights and stressed that every student should feel safe, welcome and valued. A theme: “We celebrate Dr. King today and we think about how all of us can become peacemakers. Everyone at Ann Arbor Open is a member of our community.”
All grades at Bryant Elementary School participated in an assembly with poems, songs, skits, choral readings and student artwork highlighting the Life of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.
At Eberwhite Elementary, the school celebrated MLK Day with an all-school assembly. The school sand three songs grouped by grade level (K-1, 2-3 and 4-5) and a few classes read poems, did a MLK life timeline and shared facts about King and the Civil Rights Movement.
Special invitation from EMU
Several students from Dawn Richberg’s class at Skyline High School were among area students performing at Eastern Michigan University’s Student Center Auditorium on Sunday, Jan. 16. The afternoon program featured the EMU Gospel Choir, Harambe Youth Drummers, PURe Dance Ensemble, Tiana Marquez, Primal 1 Ensemble and Inspirational readings by area teens. The event was one of several scheduled by EMU from Jan. 13-18 as part of this year’s “Their Footprints … Our Legacy.”
Thursday, Jan. 20
10:30 a.m. – Abbot Elementary School will host the Bright Star Touring Theatre production of “Struggle for Freedom,” a 45-minute production that honors the Civil Rights movement by celebrating moments of the struggle. The life and work of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. provides the backdrop to recreated scenes of events such as the Montgomery bus boycott, the March on Washington and the Woolworth sit-ins. Visit www.brightstartheatre.com
Friday, Jan. 21
Stone High School’s Intergroup, led by Shaenu Micou, plans an all-school assembly today in honor of Martin Luther King Jr..
1:30 p.m. – “Sadie’s Spectacular Saturday,” Burns Park Elementary Auditorium. A character-ed production with imaginative costumes that make this play a favorite among young audiences while teaching good judgment, kindness, friendship and respect. Visit www.brightstartheatre.com
2:30 p.m. – “Struggle for Freedom,” Burns Park Elementary Auditorium. Bright Star Touring Theatre, a professional touring theatre company performed this production that celebrates the life and work and Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. in the context of the American Civil Rights movement. The theme: One person can change the world. Visit www.brightstartheatre.com
Friday, Jan. 28
2:30 p.m. – Each Bach Elementary School student will have a chance to recite a poem and sing songs that honor Dr. King’s memory in this culminating assembly. The focus will be on peace, getting along with one another, positive conflict resolution and building friendships.
NAAPID (National African American Parent Involvement Day)
This Washtenaw County NAAPID program is scheduled for Monday, Feb. 14 at Saline High School Center for the Performing Arts, 1300 Campus Parkway, Saline. Students from throughout Washtenaw County, including Ann Arbor, participate in this event, which is scheduled each year for the second Monday in February. A poster contest is under way with the deadline scheduled for 3 p.m. Friday, Jan. 21. Information about the contest can be found by downloading a PDF here. This year’s event theme: “Parent Involvement 365 = Student Success.”
Dave Corsa’s third-graders and their parents took a virtual trip to Japan on Nov. 17 without leaving their classroom at Allen Elementary School.
Student's in Dave Corsa's class at Allen Elementary share information about their school with peers in Japan.
Using Skype, the class interacted in a videoconference with Okurayama Elementary School in Sapporo, Japan. The event took place 6:30 p.m. Ann Arbor time, when it was 8:30 a.m. – the start of the school day – for the Japanese children. All families from the class were invited to participate.
The classes shared pre-arranged information about their schools and were also allowed to ask each other questions.
Corsa, who has traveled to Japan several times and visited this school in 2006, said he went over some cultural background about Japan an shared some basic language with Allen students in preparation for the event. They also brainstormed as a class as to what they should talk about with their peers in Japan.
Corsa said a few more videoconferences are planned before the Japanese students end their school year in April.
Below is a short video clip from the 45-minute event:
UPDATED: The Ann Arbor Public Schools PTO Council Advocacy Committee has rescheduled a meeting originally set for Thursday morning. The group will now meet on Tuesday, April 20 at 10:30 a.m. at the Balas Administration Building, 2555 S. State St., Ann Arbor.
The committee continues its work, preparing for communitywide activities to raise awareness about decreasing school funding as well as organizing meetings with key players who can make a difference at the state level.
The next meeting of the group will be Thursday, April 15 from 9 a.m. to 10:30 a.m. at the Balas Administration building, 2555 S. State St. Any parent or community member interested in advocating for better school funding is invited to attend.
The agenda includes: finalizing talking points for the group, setting a schedule for talking with current legislators and rolling out first district advocacy activity.
Details: Contact Donna Lasinski at email@example.com or call her at 734-997-7265.
Related links: Ann Arbor PTO Council Ann Arbor Parents for Schools Michigan Parents for Schools SOS Michigan
2 community budget meetings this week
Two community budget meetings have been scheduled to discuss the proposed 2010-11 budget for The Ann Arbor Public Schools. Members of the community are invited to attend these meetings. The new fiscal year begins July 1 for the district. The Ann Arbor Board of Education must adopt a balanced budget by June 30, 2010.
• What: Discussions about The Ann Arbor Public Schools 2010-11 budget proposals.
• Meetings are scheduled for 6:30 p.m. at these locations:
Monday, April 12 at Pioneer High School’s Little Theater, 601 W. Stadium Blvd.
Tuesday, April 13 at Huron High School’s Little Theater, 2727 Fuller.
Allen students raise dollars for reading project
On March 25, Allen Elementary School hosted a Pasta Dinner for students and families serving more than 600 people, thanks to the Pioneer High School kitchen and to Zingerman’s and Panera for their bread donations. A subset of the “Big Ten” Jazz combo from Community High School provided complimentary entertainment and student writing was on display for families to enjoy. The event also celebrated the all-school goal of reading 500,000 minutes during March is Reading Month with the theme of “Read to Feed.” Students raised enough money to purchase a heifer for a family in need through Heifer International.
Community High team wins at mock trial state tourney
On Saturday, March 27, Community High School’s Mock Trial Team A won the state championship in the Michigan High School Mock Trial Tournament. Ten teams competed in the state finals. Team A had finished in first place during the Michigan High School Mock Trial Eastern Regional Tournament on March 13.Community’s team defeated the defending state champions, Kalamazoo Central in the final round. They now advance to the National High School Mock Trial tournament in Philadelphia, May 6-9.
“A” team members include: Shadi Ahmadmehrabi, Savannah Dix, Mira Fishman, Jacob Garber, Michelle Grifka, Jack Kausch, Max Lewis, Michael Savage, Elise Wander and Garrett Wood.
Community High School’s Team B also participated in the state finals, having placed third in the Eastern Regionals. Team “B” members are: Zack Bayoff, Sara Burakoff, Cooper DePriest, Isaac Fink, Rianna Johnson-Levy, Julia Karr, Leah Penner, Eli Sugerman and Kelsey Teribery.
Alternates are: Josh Fendrick, Sonya Kotov, Nikila Lakshmanan and Matt Morehouse. Coaches are: Cheryl Grace, Griffith Dick (attorney coach) and Billie Ochberg (drama coach).
Huron BPA chapter takes 44 awards at state
Huron’s Business Professionals of America Chapter won 10 state championships and brought home 44 awards – including 20 first-place honors – from the 2010 BPA State Leadership Conference, held in Grand Rapids, Michigan, March 18-21. Twenty-four Huron students qualified for the National Leadership Conference to be held in Anaheim, California May 5-9.
Staff members Diane Stocker-Bendersky, Christy Garrett, Scott Hunter, Dorothea Bryant, and student teacher Jonathan Cook led 41 Huron students through the BPA State Leadership Conference. Chapter Adviser Karen Eisley was recognized for her 25 years of dedication and service to the BPA Organization. Scott Hunter was recognized for 10 years of service and dedication.
A list of all the winners and their winning contest can be found at the Huron BPA Web site.
The Web page design team of Tom Tang, Maria Chen, Amy Liu and Bruno Postigo created a Web site advertising next year’s NLC in Washington, D.C. See it here.
Huron student team wins 4th in Web design competition
The two-man team of Bruno Postigo and Zubin Kan won fourth place in the Web Design competition on March 27, 2010 at the University of Michigan Dearborn campus in the Engineering/Computer Science Experience competition.
Teacher/adviser Diane Stocker-Bendersky and pre-student teacher David Rogggennbuck (Eastern Michigan) took four teams to participated in the day-long competitions in Engineering, Web design, and Programming. Other Huron teams and their events included:
Team No. 1 – Victoria Wu and Renee Philson participated in the Engineering Competition where students designed, built, tested and raced a small ‘robotic’ vehicle. Team No. 2 – Maria Chen and Heemyung Hwang also participated in the Engineering Competition.
Team No. 3 – Daniel Yang and Tom Tang participated in the Computer Programming
Competition where they focused public attention on the next generation of computing professionals as they pursue
Art exhibit features the work of Ann Arbor students
Artwork from Ann Arbor Public Schools students in grades kindergarten through five will be showcased at the Ann Arbor District Library this spring. Both two-dimensional and three-dimensional art in many mediums will fill the display cases and cover the walls of the library’s art display areas from April 17 through May 26. Details: 734-327-4555.
Community High jazz combo wins at invitational
Maxed Out!, a Community High School Advanced Jazz Combo was one of three combo winners at the Western Michigan University 30th Jazz Invitational in Kalamazoo on March 13. The Community High combo is made up of students Max Bowen, Max Hully, Jud Branam, Aidan Cafferty, and Spencer Johnson. All five of these students also won outstanding soloist awards at the invitation. Bowen, who plays guitar, was named runner-up for the top soloist of the entire festival.
Other CHS jazz students who won outstanding soloist awards were Kyle Morrison, Alex Patten, Ken Ball, Josh Fendrick, Will Smith, Leif Gearhart-Hall, Paul Smith, Sophie Tulip, Jake Johengen, John Schneider, Catrin Dowd, Erez Levin, Don Gozzard, Adam Olshewski, Milan Griffes, and Ben Pernick.
The Jazz Ensemble Program is under the direction of CHS faculty member Jack Wagner.
Library hosts College Night
The Ann Arbor District Library hosts College Night on April 15 at the Traverwood Branch. A special evening with three college application experts will take place from 7-8:30 p.m. Community High School counselor John Boshoven is joined by Deb Merion, founder of Essay Coaching, and Geraldine Markel who specializes in helping students attain academic success on tests and in the classroom. The three have co-authored the book “College Admissions: From Chaos to Control.” This event will include a book signing. The Traverwood Branch is at 3333 Traverwood Drive, Ann Arbor. Details: 734- 327-4200.
UNDER THE SEA – Pittsfield Elementary School hosted a special Under The Sea-themed welcome event for in-coming kindergarten students and their parents on March 24 in the school Media Center. Story time, exploratory activities, and games were hosted by kindergarten teachers Jen Duman and Cathy Babcock with help from Media Specialist Joyce Followell. Children worked at sensory tables, art stations, and technology centers using Kid Pix. The event was one of a series of welcome dates designed to help incoming kindergarteners become accustomed to their new school. Pictured is a large mural created by Babcock's kindergarten class provided a colorful reef for some imaginative play fishing. Student volunteers from the 5th grade, hidden behind the mural, attached blue, red, and yellow to fishing lines. Each fish caught entitled the fisher to a prize from blue, red, and yellow prize buckets. (Photo courtesy, Ann Farnham)
The Ann Arbor Board of Education is scheduled to hear a report Wednesday, Feb. 17 from school administrators, wrapping up information gleaned from recent community budget meetings. The meetings, held in January around the district, were scheduled to gather suggestions from members of the public about ways to trim expenses or increase revenue in the district. An online survey also gathered feedback from the public.
The information is expected to be used as the school administration puts together a recommended budget for the district’s fiscal year starting July 1. A recommended budget will be brought to the board on March 24; it must adopt a formal budget in June.
Some of the areas suggested by school officials are negotiated staff wage reductions, privatizing custodial and transportation services, consolidating busing operations with other Washtenaw school districts, making changes with alternative high school programs at Stone School and Roberto Clemente Center and charging participation fees for athletics. Also considered are the elimination of teaching and administrative posts and looking at alternative approaches to things such as media center services, as the district works on a budget shortfall estimated at $21 million heading into the new fiscal year that begins July 1.
The open houses will be:
• Tuesday, Feb. 16 from 1-3 p.m. at Scarlett Middle School, 3300 Lorraine Street.
• Wednesday, Feb. 17 from 9 a.mm. to 2 p.m. at Stone High School, 2800 Stone School Road.
The open houses are to celebrate February as School Based Health Center Month. The Regional Alliance for Healthy Schools has school-based health centers providing services to six Ann Arbor Public Schools as well as buildings in the Ypsilanti and Willow Run districts. The Ann Arbor schools include Stone High School, Scarlett Middle School and Bryant, Carpenter, Mitchell and Pittsfield elementary schools.
The track will now be dubbed Westfield-Sleeman Outdoor Track and the gymnasium Lillie Gym. The track is named both for Sleeman and longtime girls track coach Bryan Westfield. Westfield’s name was added to the track in June; the names of Sleeman and Lillie were added by the school board this month.
All three have served the district for more than 40 years.
The board accepts nominations to name facilities, or portions of facilities, after employees with extraordinary service.
Allen Elementary gets grant to create butterfly garden
This spring, in addition to the school’s annual cleanup day, the Allen Parent Council will organize a planting day.
The council organizes twice-yearly cleanup days. At these events, volunteers including students, parents and staff maintain the existing nature area by removing invasive species, planting native plants and shrubs and spreading wood chips. The Ann Arbor Public Schools demonstrates its support by supplying wood chips and disposing of waste material after each work day.
Maintaining and enhancing the nature area helps Allen to remain certified as a Michigan Green School. In the past, Allen students, parents and teachers have helped plant seeds at the wet meadows in Buhr Park, which adjoins the Allen property. The school is also in close proximity to County Farm Park, operated by Washtenaw County. Together, these sites provide a diverse habitat and corridor for native plants and butterflies.
For more information, contact Joan Brush of the Allen PTO at 734-973-9161.
Donetta Brown honored for excellence
Huron High School office professional Donetta Brown received a Celebration of Excellence Award this month by the Ann Arbor Board of Education. She was nominated for Outstanding Customer Service by coworker Sharon Brown.
“Ms. Brown provided support to a peer who was suffering from a serious illness, treating her as if she were her own family,” the nomination read. “She has been a source of comfort and assistance that has gone above and beyond the “outstanding customer service” category. She has truly earned distinction as a loving hero.”
The awards are given throughout the school year and are sponsored by the Ann Arbor Board of Education and the Ann Arbor Public Schools PTO Council.
“I am totally thrilled and honored to perform with the orchestra. It’s a dream come true,” she said.
Flesher lives in Ann Arbor where she studies violin with Solomia Soroka. She started playing the violin at age 4 and over the last 10 years has played in several local ensembles and in symphony orchestras at Interlochen and Blue Lake – where she was one of the youngest members as well as a concert master of both. She plays regularly with a string quartet.
In addition to being a violinist, Flesher is a pianist and singer. A top academic student, she has received many honors including first place at both the Forsythe and Southeast Michigan Science Fairs last year. In 2008, she traveled to Japan as a student ambassador with the Hikone Exchange Program. She also plays soccer on the Michigan Jaguars premier team.
Tickets for the performance are available at the door or online. Cost: $10 for adults; $5 for seniors 65 and older; $25 for a familly of four or more. Details: 734-507-1451.
Schools raise money to help Haitians
A number of Ann Arbor schools have raised money for Haiti.
• The Lawton Elementary School Service Squad collected $1101.50 through the “Every Cent Counts” fundraiser. Money will be donated to the American Red Cross.
• Greta Barfield’s CI students at Huron High School exhibited collected donations during lunch hours in the cafeteria bringing in $475.
• Burns Park Elementary School students in Jewel Charlise Walters class hosted a fundraiser of stickers, pencils, pens, books and small toys raising $2,182.29 for Haitian relief. They donated $1,396 to The Red Cross which was matched by TCF Bank. The remainder, $786.29, was donated to Doctor without Borders.
• Thurston Elementary School students raised $739.59. Money was raised through a bake sale in Julie Vanderhoff’s third grade class, special donations from Margaret Goodly’s and Sherry Powers-Murphy’s classrooms and a school-wide coin drive orchestrated by the Thurston Student Council.