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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 →
Jason Bowling helps his son work through a ThinkStretch exercise during the last work session on Aug. 21
By Tara Cavanaugh
With the new school year just around the corner, students will soon be talking about how they spent their summers.
In addition to vacations and pool time, Bryant Elementary students will be able to say they worked hard to keep their academic skills strong.
Bryant Elementary participated in the Summer Thinkstretch program for its third year. The program provides workbooks, calls for structured work/play dates on school playgrounds, and also supplies students with medals in the fall based on how much work they finished. Continue reading →
You can learn about starting seeds, pulling weeds, the life cycle and the compost pile. Now that spring is in full swing, Tappan Middle School students are learning all that and more at the Tappan Garden. Continue reading →
The Board of Education voted to open 170 seats for Schools of Choice at its March 7 meeting. This means that more students have the option to request to attend a new district school. In the previous two years of Schools of Choice, the district opened up 150 seats. Continue reading →
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.”
Event will honor or benefit 3 members of Bryant/Pattengill community
The Bryant/Pattengill schools community will be hosting a bone marrow registry drive on Saturday, Jan. 22 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at Bryant Elementary School, 2150 Santa Rosa, Ann Arbor to honor or benefit three members of the Bryant/Pattengill school community:
Deb Horn, Wife of Doug Horn, Pattengill’s fifth-grade band instructor, who received a cord blood transplant last year.
Sofia Robinson, a Tappan Middle School sixth-grader, and former Pattengill student, who received a bone marrow transplant from her brother, Tevis, a Pioneer High School student, earlier this month.
Frank Porta, husband of Dori Porta, a teacher clerk at Bryant, who continues to wait for a bone marrow match.
The registry drive is open to the entire Ann Arbor community. The National Bone Marrow Donor Program is in need of donors from all ethnic backgrounds. Potential donors coming to the drive will be asked to complete a basic health questionnaire and swab the inside of their cheek to provide a sample for tissue typing.
There will be written materials from the “Be the Match” organization and volunteers on hand to answer questions about giving marrow should you be identified as a potential match. More information is also at the website www.marrow.org
Tax-deductible gifts are also being accepted to “Be The Match” and envelopes will be available at the drive. Any donations will help to cover the cost of testing the samples collected at the drive.
Learn more about how Ann Arbor youngsters spend outdoor time learning in school gardens.
Student-made garden markers for the Burns Park School Garden.
Marianne Rzepka’s June 20 “Seeds & Stems” column in The Ann Arbor Chronicle takes readers to three Ann Arbor Public Schools school gardens: Ann Arbor Open @ Mack, Burns Park and Bryant elementary schools. “There’s a lot to learn from growing a garden, and a lot of Ann Arbor’s schools are finding that out,” her column begins. Click here to visit the site and read the full story.
Rzepka, a former reporter for The Ann Arbor News and Detroit Free Press, writes her gardening column regularly for The Chronicle. She lives in Ann Arbor.
The AAPSNews also featured Burns Park and Northside elementary gardens in an article. Click here for that story.
Shhhhh. You’ll wake the fairies in Kathleen Wright’s classroom.
Lakewood Elementary kindergarteners take a field trip to see the fairy doors of Ann Arbor.
Kindergarteners speak in hushed tones as they build fairy habitats with assorted shoeboxes, coffee containers, Band-Aid boxes and lots of glitter.
The project is the culmination of studying habitats – animal, human and fairy – with their teacher who, along with her illustrator husband, Jonathan, shares life in Ann Arbor with the fairies, also known as the little people.
This should not be confused, of course, with the term “kidpeople,” which is how Kathleen Wright refers to her young students at Ann Arbor’s Lakewood Elementary School, which she says “helps build class spirit.”
But, we digress … back to our fairy story.
The Wrights first “discovered” miniature fairy doors around downtown Ann Arbor in 2005, leaving journals in which visitors have written and drawn pictures. And, although the tiny entryways have become a fixture to many who visit, to Wright’s kindergarteners, a recent trip to view the doors was new and magical.
A special shirt is worn for visiting the fairy doors.
Parent Christopher Cerda said his daughter was so excited that she spent the evening before the tour making her own fairy house. On the tour, she sported a special fairy shirt.
“She just can’t get enough of it,” said Cerda who was one of a dozen adults who came on the field trip this month.
Kathleen Wright has a special “in” with the fairies: Her artist-designer husband, Jonathan, is the author of the 2007 “Who’s Behind the Fairy Doors?” and operates the Urban-Fairies.com Web page that chronicles the urban doors that have been in Ann Arbor since 2005. Together, the two are writing fairies-themed storybooks, and creating an “Urban Fairies Field Journal” as their next projects.
During the recent trip downtown, the group ended the morning at Sweetwaters Café where Kathleen Wright is filling cupcake holders with miniature cookies, raspberries, the tiniest of other treats and plastic thimbles with “fairy lemonade. “This is as much fun for me as for them,” she noted.
Retired Ann Arbor teacher Jan Brimacombe came on the trip with her grandson who is in Wright’s class. “It’s been fun for me to get back with kindergarteners and reconnect,” she said. Brimacombe taught at Bryant Elementary School for 20 years.
Cerda said Wright and the staff’s approach at Lakewood Elementary has inspired him. “It’s a joy to see so many teachers and staff in the district work so hard to make a great experience for the kids,” he said. “It’s heartwarming.”
Students work on fairy habitats in their classroom.
Kathleen Wright said the fairies and other elfin beings have been part of how she keeps learning magical for her students.
Fairies, leprechauns, unicorns and other fantasy beings have been a fascination of Wright’s since a trip to her family’s homeland of Ireland at the age of 4. Her childhood was spent with the joy of being allowed to explore her thoughts freely, she said.
She met Jonathan while attending the University of Michigan and the two married 22 years ago. The first fairy door entered the picture while Kathleen ran a preschool in their home; Jonathan found just the spot for the tiny door which inspired the young students. “They wrote, they created things. It was hugely popular from the get-go,” she said.
One thing led to another, and pretty soon, Jonathan created more fairy doors at businesses downtown. He left guest books at each location, inviting visitors to write and draw in them. He used original illustrations and his interpretations of them for his “Who’s Behind the Fairy Doors?” book.
Kathleen Wright’s life evolved from 15 years of preschool teaching into professional storytelling and, eventually, to her life in the Ann Arbor classroom 11 years ago and, now, her involvement with the fairy project which she ties into her teaching.
Throughout it all, she has had a love of literacy and a general love for words. As she puts it: “The gift of gab – I’ve put it to use.”
In Jonathan Wright’s case, “I was steeped in the arts” having a father who loved to draw and a mother who was immersed in music. “I was always encouraged when I was drawing something,” he said.
As for the fairies? The Wrights stress that they’ve never seen them.
Kathleen and Jonathan Wright
Kathleen and Jonathan Wright in her classroom at Lakewood Elementary.
Occupations: Kindergarten teacher at Lakewood Elementary and freelance graphic designer and illustrator, respectively. Both have been part of creating the fairy doors around Ann Arbor and chronicling them in writing and illustrations. She is a professional storyteller and also does training and workshops for teachers. She has a track on the Ann Arbor Storytellers’ CD Signature Stories. Education: They attended the University of Michigan together. Ages: Both are 49. Residence: The city of Ann Arbor. Family: Two daughters, Samuelina, 16, and Delaney, 14. Pets: A rather large Yorkie named Popeye. Community service: Much time is devoted to chronicling the fairy doors in books and stories and following the journals that visitors write in and the gifts that are left for the fairies by visitors. Monetary donations left for the fairies are given annually to the Food Gatherers. Favorite books: Both enjoy picture books and have a collection of them around the house. Recent favorites of Kathleen’s have been Kelly Corrigan’s “The Middle Place,” Patrick Taylor’s “Irish Country” series, and “The Guernsy Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society” by Shaffer and Barrows. Life philosophies: “If you’re gonna do something, do it with gusto! – Kathleen Wright.
“Imagination is key to the fairies and that should be integrated into one’s life too.” – Jonathan Wright. Find the fairy doors:urban-fairies.com/