Current Wednesday Packet Letter

  • January 17, 2018

    Dear Families,

    Welcome to the new year!  

    As is often the case with new beginnings, there is also the challenge of letting go of old habits, objects, and situations that are no longer available or no longer serve us moving forward. Teachers are, by nature, ‘archivists’.  We are especially prone to holding on to things because they were once useful, or are attached to positive memories, or are valued resources in a resource scarce profession.

    One recent example of the joy and challenge of letting go is the multi cultural fair. The work and effort yielded amazing results this year. This marks my tenth multi-culti, and it was by far the most amazing and enjoyable one for me. In the days before, during, and after, I saw kids, parents, teachers all thinking, creating, problem solving, persisting and more!  In many ways this signature event showcased some of the strongest practices in our building. Here are just some of the indicators of highly effective practices that I observed:

    • Belief in the value of the work (by teachers, families, students)
    • High, but attainable academic and social-emotional expectations
    • Quality work that is expected and recognized
    • Effort and persistence are expected and recognized  
    • Confidence in ability is evidenced by teacher and students in language and behaviors
    • Expectation for all students to participate
    • Students play an important role in carrying out the routines of the day
    • Students know what to do, where to move
    • Clarity of lesson purpose with clear directions and procedures specific to the lesson activities
    • Students understand the content
    • Correct and imaginative use of language
    • Questions of high cognitive challenge, formulated by both students and teacher
    • Questions with multiple correct answers, or multiple approaches even when there is a single correct response
    • Rich discussions, with the teacher stepping out of the central, mediating role
    • High levels of student participation in discussion

    And, the act of creating, presenting, and then removing the work also teaches an important life lesson in the value of letting go, of moving forward, and starting work anew.  This is one of the many things that makes the Ann Arbor Open experience so wonderful.

    As TV producer, Norman Lear, was once asked what advice he would give to others looking for a long, successful career. He advised that three words guided him:  “Over and next....That’s over, what’s next?”  Well, up next week is another signature event.. Focus Studies!  Students finalized choices Tuesday. Staff members and volunteers have been working diligently to meet requests for schedules as much as possible. We begin next week! Your child’s teacher will be in touch with you about changes to the daily schedules to accommodate Focus Studies in the morning.

    I wish it were over, but it seems that influenza season is in full swing. Please help by encouraging healthy habits like washing hands, eating healthy foods, and getting enough rest.  (Refer back to the December 6 packet for more information and for guidelines of when to keep your child at home due to illness.)

    The window for applying to Ann Arbor Open, Community High School, and for in district transfers (for attending schools outside your attendance area, including the three comprehensive high schools) is open now through February 16. Once the window closes, there will be a random selection process to fill available spots. The final commit deadline will be at the end of February or early March.

    Calendar events:

    There are so many upcoming events, please refer to the Ann Arbor Open Calendar which can be accessed through our homepage (  Also, look for key dates in the communications from your child’s classroom teacher!

    As a reminder to parents of 8th grade students:

    Public Curriculum/Information Sessions for Incoming 9th Graders

    • Community Information Nights (parent/guardian and student must attend one)
      • Thursday, January 18, 2018 - 7:00pm at CHS
      • Sunday, January 21, 2018 - 2:00pm at Scarlett
      • Tuesday, January 30, 2018 - 7:00pm at Clague
      • Sunday, February 4, 2018 - 2:00pm at CHS
      • Tuesday, February 13, 2018 - 7:00pm at CHS
    • Huron – Thursday, February 1, 2018- 6:00pm General Meeting/Tours (Non-Pub to follow)
    • Pioneer – Tuesday, February 6, 2018 - 5:30 Non-Pub; General Meeting 6:00pm
    • Skyline – Wednesday, February 7, 2018 - Tours 4:30pm; 5:30 Non-Pub; General Meeting 6:00pm
    • Pathways - Thursday, February 8, 2018 - Open House 5:30-7:30pm
    • Community - Thursday, March 1, 2018 - Connect with Community Shadow Day

    Community High School Lottery

    *Parent/guardian MUST attend one information session, noted above.

    • Application Window - Tuesday, January 16, 2018 thru Thursday, February 15, 2018
    • Random Selection - Wednesday, February 21, 2018
    • Commit Deadline - Friday, March 2, 2018

    High School Visits to Middle Schools

    In addition to the public meetings listed above, each high school (CHS, SHS, HHS, PHS, Pathways and A2 Virtual) will present to 8th grade students at Ann Arbor Open during the school day. These presentations are intended for students only. Advisory teachers will communicate with students about the dates and times for the in-school visits.


    Karen and Chris


    **Please spread to word about our Parent Tours for New Families!  Parents can register by calling 734-994-1910**