School Bells: Options Magnet meeting Jan. 7

Options Magnet information Jan. 7 at WISD

An information session is planned for 7 p.m. Thursday, Jan. 7 at the Washtenaw Intermediate School District Teaching and Learning Center for students and families from Washtenaw County interested in learning more about the Options Magnet Program in The Ann Arbor Public Schools.
Students from Ann Arbor as well as throughout Washtenaw County can enroll in the program, which allows customized instruction and leads to a high school diploma.

It features alternative scheduling for students who need flexibility or want to select a variety of class types including online classes, a combination of online and face-to-face classes, small group seminars and one-on-one instruction.

The WISD offices are at 1819 South Wagner Road, between Liberty and Scio Church Road in Scio Township. Details: E-mail Susette Jaquette at or call 734-994-2026.

District chosen as state nominee for national award

ArtServe Michigan has selected The Ann Arbor Public Schools as its nominee to the Kennedy Center Alliance for Arts Education Network for the group’s National School Boards Association Award. Only one state school district is submitted from those nominated to represent the state.

The nomination was submitted by the district’s Fine and Performing Arts Coordinator Robin Bailey. The award recognizes outstanding support of the arts in education. The winning district from among the national nominees receives a plaque and a cash award of $10,000 to use for arts education programs. The recipient of the award will be announced at the 2010 National School Board Associations Conference and Exposition.  

KCAAEN works in partnership with the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts to support policies, practices, programs, and partnerships that ensure the arts are an essential part of American K-12 education. Details:

Clague students learn about differing abilities

On Dec. 9, Clague Middle School sixth-graders participated in Abilities Awareness Day. Clague support staff and Washtenaw Intermediate School DIstrict consultants coordinated six stations – physical, hearing, visual, cognitive, learning disabled/ADHD and autism – to simulate for students what it would feel like to have a different ability.
The following day, the students were given a post-survey and had a debriefing meeting to talk about what they had learned.

Carpenter, Pioneer students involved with concert

Twenty third-, fourth- and fifth-graders from the Carpenter Elementary School Chorus sang “We Are The World” under the direction of their music teacher, Laura Machida, at the 13th Annual Sacred Song Concert which raised almost $3,000 for the Washtenaw Interfaith Council for Immigrant Rights last month at Genesis-Temple Beth Emeth/St. Clare’s Episcopal Church.  Pioneer High School senior Sam Deschamps accompanied the concert on percussion.

Preschool hosts Food Gatherers distribution

The Pre-School and Family Center recently hosted a Food Gatherers distribution.  Chef Neil Murphy of Chartwell’s Food Service, the district’s food vendor, was on hand giving a cooking demonstration for families who came by to pick up their produce.  He developed a dinner menu of easy, inexpensive ingredients and distributed recipes for homemade chicken strips, carrots cut and baked to resemble french fries and sauteed potatoes.  In addition, he chatted with each parent, explaining how to choose kid-friendly foods that are healthy and easy supporting the district’s wellness efforts to encourage healthy eating.

Chartwells also is supporting a food backpack pilot at Mitchell Elementary School.  The company contributed backpacks and staff time to pack the food and deliver it to Mitchell to make the project possible.  According to Principal Kathy Scarnecchia, the first distribution went well and the school community is looking forward to the next one.

Homework help available at library

Free drop-in homework tutoring is available in the Ann Arbor District Library Downtown Branch Youth Department from 4-8 p.m. on Mondays, Jan. 11 and Jan. 25 and on Wednesdays, Jan. 13, Jan. 20 and Jan. 27. College students from the University of Michigan’s Circle K chapter will provide homework help to school-aged children and teens at no charge. The downtown branch is at 343 South Fifth Avenue.

Also, online homework help is available for grades three through adult (for assistance with elementary, middle and high school subjects, including advanced placement.) Visit the library Web site at Details: Visit or call 734-327-8301.
Free help offered for ACT/SAT testing

Free sessions are offered to students preparing to take the ACT or the SAT at the Ann Arbor District Library. Sessions at the Pittsfield Branch are offered in partnership with Kaplan, Inc. Details: 734-327-4200. The Pittsfield Branch is at 2359 Oak Valley Drive, Ann Arbor. Sessions include:
• How to approach test day with confidence.  Kaplan instructors will lay out strategies and suggestions for preparing for the tests from 7-8 p.m. Wednesday, Jan. 6.
 • Writing Test Tips, a road map for getting ready to write a dynamic response in a short amount of time, just in time for the March test date from 7-8 p.m. Wednesday, Jan. 13. 

Other items of note around the district:
Pioneer High School senior Kelsey Thompson and junior Emmy Guttman were recently named to the Midwest Regional Field Hockey Team by the United States Field Hockey Association.
Ann Arbor Public Schools psychologist Mary Spence has written a chapter on special education in a recently released book, “Principals and Practice of Child Adolescent Forensic Mental Health.”  It was her summer work in 2008.
Ann Arbor Ultimate donated $2,500 to the Ann Arbor Public Schools Rec & Ed Department to help cover recent renovation maintenance work on the fields at Scarlet Middle School. Patrick Reed, a director for the organization, gave the check to Director Sara Aeschbach at the Recreation Advisory Committee meeting on Dec. 1. Ann Arbor Ultimate has more than 450 players participate in its summer league and hosts leagues in all seasons and welcomes players of all levels. Details:

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