Two minutes at: Bach Elementary

Editor’s Note: This is one in a series of two-minute videos offering a quick glimpse into one of AAPS’ 32 schools. At AAPS, our vision is Every Child. Every Day. Every one fully sees, values, and celebrates each child for exactly who they are, the gifts and strengths they bring to this world.

Video by Jo Mathis/AAPS District News Editor

Full of the charm and character hard to duplicate in modern construction, Bach Elementary is an architectural gem in the Ann Arbor Public Schools. Located on the city’s Old West Side, the urban location allows walking field trips to downtown sites such as the Farmers’ Market.

The school is home to 343 Bach Bengals in grades Young 5’s through 5. It is named for former Ann Arbor Mayor Philip Bach, who served on the Ann Arbor School Board for an impressive 34 years.

The building was opened in 1861 as Second Ward School. Additions were constructed in 1879, 1899, and 1922.

In 1985, The Ann Arbor Board of Education’s Committee on Excellence of Education in AAPS recommended combining the open classrooms around the district into an Open School at Bach. The next year, Bach Open School was established as a central open school location for grades K-6, and in 1989, was modified to K-5.

Then in 1998, the Bach Open School community moved into the Mack Elementary Building, which was renamed Ann Arbor Open @ Mack. It was modified to include sixth graders as it grew year by year to become a K-8 school.

Teachers and families from the former Mack moved over to Bach, which returned to being a neighborhood school.

Some highlights of the school include:

  • The Trailblazers mentor program continues with 4th and 5th graders. Pioneer students come to school daily to assist their student with schoolwork. The program was established at Lawton Elementary School and has been recognized as an outstanding program by the Michigan Education Association. The Trailblazers program is in its nineteenth year at Bach.
  • Cross-grade level Buddies pair students for weekly activities centered on literacy, math, science, and the environment.
  • A majority of fifth graders serve on the school Safety Patrol, keeping students and parents safe at the start and end of every day.
  • Parent volunteers have established beautiful gardens on school grounds, including rain gardens, butterfly gardens and flower gardens
  • Service Squad includes twenty-five 4th graders who learn leadership skills through daily activities such as Library Helper, Kindergarten Helper, and Teacher’s Helper.


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