Current Wednesday Packet Letter

  • Monday, December 3rd

    Dear families,

    Happy December!  

    As we head into the end of calendar year, activities increase at home and at school.

    Students in classes are already diving into projects for Multicultural Fair. For families new to our school, MCF, is one our signature events. Classrooms select a theme for study, and then begin the work of transforming our entire school into a display of what they learned. In the next letter, I’ll send out more information about the actual night of MCF. The turnout is usually very large, and we’ll need to give you heads up on parking and how not to lose your family in the crowds.

    Here is a link to a video about the event (featuring many current and past faculty) so you can have a taste of what is to come:

    Lost and Found

    Our lost and found is bursting at the seams. To help reunite children with lost items, it would be very helpful if you would label each mitten, glove, scarf, swim bag, lunch bag (include teacher name), coat, snow suit, boot, et cetera.

    Support for Families

    Please know that if your child or your family is need of resource supports, the Ann Arbor Open community members feel honored to help. Whether this need is long term or short term, please let someone know. We have a strong network of supports in our school, school district, town and county. We can help with referrals to health care, mental health care, or other resource providers including food, clothing, shelter, and sometimes employment opportunities. In addition to Chris and me, your child’s classroom teacher (or any teacher); Kelly Maveal, Counselor; Kate Funk-Carter, School Social Worker are able to assist.

    NWEA & Report Cards

    You may receive notes about report cards and NWEA scores from district staff. These notes are sent out to all schools. Ann Arbor Open offers an alternative type of educations, and in accordance with that, messages about NWEA and reports cards sent to the entire district do not always apply to our school processes. We do have the option to use NWEA in a way that is consistent with our philosophy. That means that even if a teacher decides to use NWEA to provide an extra check on student progress, we keep that information in context with other qualitative and quantitative data. Most teachers here will want to look at that score in that context and won’t just want to send a home a report without having additional conversation with you. Please ask your child’s teacher if you are interested in knowing more.

    Attendance & Health Matters

    Our teachers prepare excellent learning experiences for your children that cannot be easily replicated outside of school.  So, it may seem odd that I am about to recommend keeping children home when sick. But, the more proactive we are as a community, we can stay healthier and enjoy better attendance if we follow some guidelines established by the Washtenaw County Health Department. Included in this week’s packet is a fact sheet that is also found on the Ann Arbor Public School's Nursing Services  website at :

    In addition, it is helpful to us to know if your child has particular symptoms or diagnosis when you call in to excuse the absence. Some families in our community include folks with weakened immune systems and are particularly vulnerable. We are required to track or report some specific symptoms and some specific diseases to our county health department. We never report this information in connection with your child's identity. The specific reporting requirements are explained in the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services Document, Managing Communicable Disease, in school found here:

    Please report any symptoms or specific communicable diseases to the main office. Again, your child's identity will not be formally connected with this health information beyond the main office or school nurse unless you give consent to share this information with others.

    Staying Healthy

    Remember to eat fruits and vegetables, especially as the abundance of sweets and treats increases this time of year, get plenty of rest, and wash hands!

    Washing hands not only reduces the spread of germs, but also helps to combat antibiotic resistance in the world.  This is great example of an individual action that has a global impact!

    From the Center for Disease Control:

    Preventing sickness reduces the amount of antibiotics people use and the likelihood that antibiotic resistance will develop. Handwashing can prevent about 30% of diarrhea-related illnesses and about 20% of respiratory infections (e.g., colds) 1,2. Antibiotics often are prescribed unnecessarily for these health issues 3. Reducing the number of these infections by washing hands frequently helps prevent the overuse of antibiotics—the single most important factor leading to antibiotic resistance around the world. Handwashing can also prevent people from getting sick with germs that are already resistant to antibiotics and that can be difficult to treat.


    Karen Siegel & Chris Curtis

    Ann Arbor Open Administrators