School Bells: Slauson students sew ‘Little Dresses’ for a cause

Slauson Middle School students have been sewing after school during the third quarter. Teacher Carol Mohrlock and paraprofessional Lisa Field, along with volunteer and retired Ann Arbor teacher Suette King, have offered an after-school club called “Little Dresses for Africa.”

Each Thursday, for one hour after school, students met to learn how to sew dresses and discuss social and economic issues of the world’s least developed nations. The club is called "Little Dresses for Africa."

Each Thursday, for one hour after school, students met to learn how to sew dresses and discuss social and economic issues of the world’s least developed nations.

“The students were energetic and eager to learn,” said Mohrlock. “They have shared how good it feels to help others while learning a new skill.”

Several club members have offered to “run the club” during the next school year and have been talking with their friends about joining this club.

“Little Dresses for Africa” is a nonprofit organization created to help send relief to the children of Central Africa. Simple dresses are made from pillowcases and distributed through orphanages, churches and kids camps throughout Africa.
One of the goals is to plant in the hearts of little girls that they are worthy.

To date, “The Little Dresses for Africa project has received 40,000 dresses including donations from 49 states and three foreign countries.

Slauson Middle School has contributed to the cause while teaching many students how to sew.

– Information for this story was submitted by Carol Mohrlock, a geography teacher at Slauson Middle School.

2 teachers receive Celebration of Excellence awards

Two Ann Arbor Public Schools employees have received Celebration of Excellence Awards from the Ann Arbor Board of Education and the PTO Council.  They were recognized on April 14. Burns Park Elementary third-grade teacher Molly Crankshaw and Huron High School teacher Robert Kokoszka earned awards.

Crankshaw was nominated for Outstanding Customer Service by Elizabeth DeRose: “I have had the pleasure of having two children go through her class; my daughter is now in fifth-grade, and my son is currently in her class.  Both children have shown tremendous growth, both academically and emotionally, and just really blossomed as individuals under her guidance.  She exemplifies excellent customer service by continually exceeding expectations, and her passion and dedication shine through in all that she does.”

Her classroom is a “structured, yet still fun, environment,” DeRose said in her nomination. “I volunteer frequently in her classroom, and am always pleasantly surprised to find the students working or listening respectfully.”

She identifies individual needs of each student and strives to make the students’ experiences at school positive, all with a sense of humor and caring.

Kokoszka, a teacher consultant at Huron for 29 years and chairman of the special education department since 1990. was nominated for Outstanding Customer Service by colleagues Linda Jeffries and Diane Rosenblum.

“He is an outstanding educator and a remarkable man, a teacher whose students come back to see him year after year, long after they have graduated,” they said in their nomination.  “Bob is the person his colleagues seek out when they need a wise perspective, professional advice, compassion and support. He is always ready to listen, no matter what he is doing.  He is a mentor to teachers, administrators, counselors, secretaries, and assistants.”

He serves as mentor, teacher, confidant and friend and is warm and compassionate, they said.

Volunteers in the schools appreciated

April is the month that volunteers throughout the United States are appreciated. This  year, April 18-24 was designated as National Volunteer Appreciation Week. That includes the many Ann Arbor community members who volunteer in The Ann Arbor Public Schools.

The district has more than 100 community volunteers and 250 business and organizational partners through the Partners for Excellence Program as well as many more parents who spend time each day helping students and teachers in the classroom, according to Norma McCuiston, coordinator for Community Partnerships and Projects for the district.

She encourages members of the community to thank the volunteers for their many hours of service. “Please take a moment during the remainder of this month to show how much their time and talent are appreciated,” she said.

School officials to discuss achievement gap on Thursday

A national shift on “college and career ready” focus has Ann Arbor Public Schools officials looking at ways to refine pathways to educational excellence for all students.

Members of the community, school board members, the superintendent and district staff will meet this week to review and interpret the latest standardized test scores.  Discussed will the the achievement gap that exists among diverse student population, the need for regular review and ideas around immediate and long-term solutions.

A meeting is scheduled for Thursday, April 29 from 7-9 p.m. at Peace Neighborhood Center, 1111 N. Maple Road, Ann Arbor. Refreshments will be served at 7 p.m., with the program starting at 7:10 p.m. and running to 8 p.m. A question-and-answer session will be conducted from 8-9 p.m. Details: 734-994-2200.

Click here for more student and staff achievements in Superintendent Todd Roberts’ “This Week in the Ann Arbor Public Schools.

The AAPS District News welcomes thoughtful comments, questions and feedback.

All comments will be screened and moderated.

In order for your comment to be approved:

  • You must use your full name
  • You must not use  profane or offensive language
  • Your comment must be on topic and relevant to the story

Please note: any comment that appears to be spam or attacks an individual will not be approved.