Current Wednesday Packet Letter

  • Dear Ann Arbor Open School Families,

    Welcome to the 2018-19 school year!  I hope your child is excited to return to school on Tuesday, September 4th.  I look forward to having a school filled with their positivity and enthusiasm.   You will see some new members of our staff family.  Please help me in welcoming:

    • Cedric York - 5-6 teacher - Cedric worked at Haisley Elementary and King Elementary for six years where he taught 3rd, 4th, and 5th grades. For the past two years, he has been on leave teaching in Genoa, Italy. He not only grew up in Ann Arbor, but right here in our neighborhood. In fact, he attended Mack School (before it was the home to the Open School), Slauson and Community High School. Cedric holds a Bachelor degree, a Master’s degree in Economoics from Eastern Michigan University, and he holds a second Master’s degree in Education from the University of Michigan. Cedric is filling the position vacated by Leslie Lawther who retired last year.
    • Lexi Schneider - Music - Lexi taught vocal music for the last 4 years in the Des Moines, IA area, most recently for Des Moines Public Schools at Ruby Van Meter School. Ruby Van Meter School serves students from 6th grade to age 21 who have significant disabilities. Lexi attended Wartburg College, where she earned a Bachelor degree in Music Education. While at Wartburg, she traveled with the Wartburg Choir performing throughout the United States including the White House and in seven European counties. She has a Master’s degree in teaching with an endorsement in ESL from Morningside College

    Other changes include:

    • Andrea Fitzgibbon - Andrea will join our SISS (Student Interventiona and Support Services) Team as .5 Occupational Therapist. Our previous OT, Lauren Boesen, will be serving students elsewhere in the district.
    • Melissa Poli - We are sad to be without Melissa for the 18-19 school year. She will be teaching in other buildings for the upcoming year.
    • Peter Ways - We are happy to have Peter return to full time. His return means that 7/8 students will be able to take an elective with Peter in the afternoon.
    • Kelly Maveal - Kelly joined us last year as our counselor, filling a part time position long held by Allan Loeb. (Mr. Loeb now works with all AAPS students as part time counselor with A2 Virtual.) Over the summer, we learned that Kelly will be with us full time this year! With a full time counselor, Ann Arbor Open will be able to grow a comprehensive counseling program in the areas of academic, career and social/emotional development. Her primary program focus is students in grades 6, 7, and 8, but our K-5 students may also get to know her better now that she is a full time member of our staff.

    The following information is important to keep our students safe, our parents informed, and our building activities well organized.  Please consider saving this correspondence for future reference.

    Door cameras and school-entry procedures - Similar to last year, our doors will automatically lock after the day has begun and will remain locked until 2:45pm.  If you arrive during the school day please press the button, smile for the camera, and let our office staff know the reason for your visit.  Upon recognition you’ll hear the door click open, then please proceed to the office to check in.  We appreciate your patience as there are a myriad of reasons an office staff member may need a minute to buzz you in.

    Because our exterior doors lock at 4:00pm it is incumbent upon the staff of Rec & Ed classes, club advisors, coaches, and/or classroom teachers to clearly articulate a plan for student pick-up after 4:00pm.  At 4:o0pm our office professionals depart and our exterior and interior doors lock. When and where staff will coordinate student pick-up must be communicated independent of the main office.

    Immunizations - Our goal is to maintain a healthy environment for students and staff.  Please be sure that your child's immunizations are up to date by the start of school.  More than a State mandate, the vast majority of our Open families hope for a high immunization rate.  All Kindergarten, 7th grade, and new students at any grade MUST provide proof of immunization before September 4th. Please bring the immunization records to the school office between the hours of 7:30am and 4:00pm. For information about free/low cost immunizations, how to get a waiver, and more, visit the AAPS immunization page: http://a2schools.org/Page/8151

    Communication - Please bookmark:

    • Ann Arbor Open School website (a2schools.org/aaopen)
    • Ann Arbor Open Coordinating Council (aaopencc.org) Both websites house information about upcoming events and opportunities for involvement.  Additionally, you can follow our Twitter feed at @A2Open. We will continue to email biweekly newsletters called “Wednesday Packets” and post them on our website.  Please take a moment to read or scan the Wednesday Packet. There will be school forms you’ll need to fill out and return to school within this packet.  If your computer and/or printer access is limited please inform our office (994-1910) and we’ll happily send home paper copies.

    Parent Coffees - On the first day of school our AAOCC will host a Parent Coffee in the media center. (Thank you Roos Roast for generously donating delicious coffee!!)   After you drop off your children for their first day of school, please come meet fellow parents and enjoy some breakfast items with a handful of our staff.  Teachers need time that first day to greet their classes and to establish relationships and routines, so we’ll keep our socializing in the media center. You will have ample time to visit your child’s classroom and volunteer a little later.  Busy on the first day of school?  No worries, you will have time to meet with the principals, other staff, and parents during future events, “Parent Coffees” and AAOCC meetings.  We look forward to fluid communication and ongoing conversation.

    Another great opportunity to socialize with families will happen at our Back to School Picnic. This year our picnic will be held on Thursday, September 6th at 6:00 pm on the school grounds.  Bring a picnic dinner and come meet the other families in your children’s classes. This is a very informal and enjoyable way to greet the new school year.

    Curriculum & Instruction - Please mark your calendar for this year’s Curriculum Night on Thursday, September 13th from 6:00-8:30pm.  This is a vital time to visit your child’s classroom, hear from their teacher, converse with AAOCC representatives, and meet with me. Families will visit K-4 classrooms from 6:00-7:00pm,  5-8 classrooms from 7:30-8:30pm.  Chris & I will host a general welcome for all families from 7:00-7:30pm.

    Let’s start off the year with good habits! Instruction and morning meetings begin promptly at 8:19am. The first bell rings at 8:14am and classes start at 8:19am. Students who arrive at school after 8:19am are considered tardy and must sign in at the office before proceeding to class.  The first 15-20 minutes of each day are crucial to setting the mood and direction of the day. While you may not always see the work that goes into planning this time, I can assure you that teachers have thoughtfully planned relationship building activities, organizational skill building, and other important full-class goals. The missed connections for the tardy students matter, and the disruption to the classmates who have arrived on time can be significant. Please make timely arrival a high priority for your family.  We need every student in class by 8:19am. This year we dismiss at 3:22pm.

    Drop-off & Pick-up - When you visit the AAOCC website you will see both written procedures and a very clear map for traffic flow on our grounds. Please review and follow them in order to ensure the safety of our students! Most importantly – do not enter the parking lot through exit lanes, do not exit your car when in the drop-off lane, and do ensure your child expeditiously exits your car curbside.

    FREE Morning Care - To help improve our tardy rate, traffic patterns, and to meet the needs of our families, we are keeping our free “Morning Care” in the building. Beginning on the first day of school these are the choices for where students may gather before the first bell rings at 8:14am:

    • Beginning at 7:30 am, all families and students may either wait outside until the first bell rings at 8:14 am or enter the building and proceed directly to the auditorium. Abbey Woodman & Barb Stratman will work an early morning shift providing supervision, quiet morning activities, and a safe gathering place for students who prefer an inside waiting area.
    • The library, hallways, and front lobby are NOT available for before-school gathering.
    • Children who eat breakfast at school may proceed to the cafeteria to eat breakfast anytime after 7:55 am. Once students are in the cafeteria, they must remain in the cafeteria or in the auditorium until 8:14 am. ALL breakfast must be eaten in the cafeteria and should not be carried to classrooms. Food service ends at 8:14 am.
    • Chad Downs will supervise Morning care or “Open Gym” on Tuesdays and Thursdays from 7:30-8:14 am, allowing students to participate in activities in the gymnasium. Open gym will begin the second week of school.

    Knowing that you can drop off your child any time after 7:30am should  alleviate the traffic crunch that occurs from 8:00 am-8:15 am. Please remember the rules about cars and buses. ONLY buses may drop off on the Brooks side of the building. No matter the time or location of your child’s class, cars may ONLY drop off on the Red Oak side of the building. This is for everyone’s safety – please follow this rule.

    Class Placements - Class lists for our homerooms are included in this email.  Our class placement policy includes the statement, “No classroom changes are made during the first two weeks of school, nor will changes be discussed before that time.” This practice is in place not only at Ann Arbor Open, but districtwide, and we will adhere to it as directed. We have made every effort to create class groupings that meet the needs of our students and staff, and that will ensure every opportunity of a successful school year.  Having opted for this letter to arrive electronically we will send home a packet of important papers on the first day of school.  Forms that must be returned will be printed on goldenrod-colored paper.

    Peanut/Tree Nut and Other Food Restrictions -  Please remember that we have students with severe nut allergies. Common areas of the building are “Nut (Peanut & Tree Nut) Restricted Areas.” No unwrapped foods containing nuts or peanuts may be in these areas. For classrooms where specific practices are in place, your teacher will let you know the required guidelines. Please be sure to let your child’s know if your child has any food restrictions due to medical need, religious or personal preference.

    LUNCH CHANGES
    In order to ensure safety of children with severe nut allergies and to reduce congestion and noise during lunch, we will continue to have two separate eating areas at lunch, however this year we will reverse the use of the two spaces. Specifically, students with nut allergies who bring food from home will eat in the cafeteria. Students bringing lunch who do not have food allergies will report to the auditorium and eat lunch in the auditorium. All of our cafeteria prepared lunches are prepared without nuts, so this lunch may be eaten in either the auditorium or the cafeteria.  After lunch is over, the auditorium floor and tables will be cleaned.

    Cafeteria Lunches - If purchasing a lunch, please provide money for your child’s lunch on the first day of school. You may pay by cash or check (made payable to AAPS Food Service).  Lunch costs $2.50, breakfast costs $1.00, and milk costs $0.50 when purchased alone.  Alternatively you can add money to your child’s child’s cafeteria account at www.mypaymentsplus.com/ You will need your child’s student number to register.  If you don’t know their number you will find it on the label of the packet sent home on the first day of school.  A monthly cafeteria menu will be sent home in backpacks.  Additionally, menus and nutrition information can be accessed at http://a2schools.nutrislice.com/

    Applications for free & reduced price lunch will be sent home on the first day of school.  Alternatively, you can complete the form online at http://meals.aaps.k12.mi.us/. You must submit a new application every year even if your family has qualified in the past. Please apply if there is any question about whether your family is eligible for this confidential support. Free or reduced meals do not begin until paperwork has been processed, so turn in the paper form or fill it out online ASAP.

    After-Care - Our school offers an after-school childcare program. Please call 994-2300 (ext. 238) for information. To speak to childcare staff within our building, dial 994-8998.  Please note the after-care program has moved from the lower level to the main level classrooms 201 and 203.  Because after-care staff must closely watch their participants after school on the lower playground, we ask that families not congregate on the lower playground after the school day ends.

    WIDA Screener for ELL Students - At the time of enrollment in the Ann Arbor Public Schools, a Home Language Survey was completed. It is used to determine whether the student’s native language is one other than English, or whether another language is spoken in the student’s home. If either circumstance is true, the student will be assessed to determine English language proficiency. As required by the State of Michigan, the students will be assessed using the WIDA Screener.

    Students who do not achieve a proficient level on the assessment are eligible for EL services. Parents/guardians of eligible students who want to decline EL services must request a “Decline Services” form from their school’s EL teacher or counselor. For students who are English Language Learners, our fall screening window is now open.  Screening all high school students before the end of August, allows us to be sure that we are offering the appropriate supports for all students to be successful in the classes. Students  are now able to register for the WIDA Screener using one of the links that will be here: https://www.a2schools.org/Page/10083

    Medications - If your child requires prescription or over the counter medication during the school day, there are very specific guidelines in place. Please stop by the office for details. Children are not allowed to carry their own medications without prior permission from you, your doctor and the Principal. The AAPS School Nursing Services website has forms and additional information.

    A Voluntary Student Accident Insurance policy is available to cover injuries that may happen during school time. Please consider subscribing to this if you do not have family health insurance. Be aware that district insurance does not cover student injuries during the school day. Brochures for the plan are available in the office.

    I know this is a great deal of amount of information to digest at one time.  Please keep this document for reference, and let us know if you have any questions or concerns at 994-1910.   We  look forward to a great new school year!

    Sincerely,

    Karen Siegel & Chris Curtis

    Ann Arbor Open Administrators