August 23, 2023
Welcome to the 2023-2024 school year! This is my fourth year here at Ann
Arbor Open, and, so far, each year has been better than the last. Here’s
looking forward to continuing the trend! My returning 6th graders grew so
much last year and I look forward to seeing them welcome and lead our 5th
graders as we welcome them into room 257–yes, it’s true–we get to stay
Though curriculum night is coming up Wednesday, September 14th, I know it’s
nice to get some information before the first day. As we begin the school
year we will be focusing most of our time on community building. This first
week there is nothing your child needs to bring to school other than a lunch
(if not eating the school option), snack and water bottle.
I do my best to respond to emails quickly. Please email me at
firstname.lastname@example.org any time with questions, concerns or anything I
need to know about your child or family. If you don’t hear from me within 48
hours, feel free to give me a nudge. It’s not unheard of for email to get
mysteriously lost! If it’s time sensitive during the school day, please call the
office so they can make sure I get the message promptly.
Looking ahead to the school year in general, I’m excited to welcome our
newest 5/6 team member, Kayleigh Robb! She and I will be meeting and
figuring out exactly how we’ll be teaming this school year. We will definitely
be partnering for math instruction and are both looking forward to
integrating our classrooms in other creative ways. We’ve already had the
opportunity to connect and are committed to being a dynamic, united team. I
am also fortunate to have a student teacher with me, Nicole Pumarada. See
below for an introduction letter and to learn more about her!
I’m aware that there is still anxiety for some of us as we enter a new school
year. Be gentle with yourselves and your children. As part of our
classroom family, you and your child are important voices and, together, we
will learn and adjust to ensure that our kids are happy, healthy, engaged and
growing-- academically, emotionally and socially. I know that some of you
(and your children) are also ready to jump in with both feet and feeling
nothing but excitement. I’m so grateful that we’ll have some of that energy
in our classroom as well!
Above all else, my priority this year and every year is to create a safe space
for all students. As this is my eightteenth year, you’d think I’d be a pro by
now! But, instead of feeling like I’m more prepared, every year I am more
aware of all that I don’t know. Every child should feel seen at school and
know that their life experience is as valued and respected as every other
student’s. No matter how hard I try, I still make missteps. Sometimes it’s
making an unconscious assumption, other times it’s unintentionally leaving a
perspective out of a conversation or being unaware of something
significant to a particular culture. As a lifelong learner, I thank you in
advance for bringing these missteps to my attention so that I can continue
to grow and make our classroom an even safer and more inclusive place.
I look forward to meeting all of you/seeing you again throughout this year.
Please enjoy these last few days of summer break and I’ll see you on Monday!
August 23, 2023
Hello! My name is Nicole and I am excited to be student teaching
with Johnny at Ann Arbor Open this semester! I will be in the
classroom fulltime from the first day of school until before
Thanksgiving break, possibly longer. Throughout the semester, my
role in the classroom will change, but in general, I will be
supporting Johnny, conducting small group activities, and
eventually leading lessons independently.
A little about me: I am earning my Masters of Arts in Teaching
degree through Eastern Michigan University. My major is special
education with a concentration on learning disabilities. Although I
am just now starting my teaching career, I have been teaching
kids for 10 years—in schools, summer camps, gymnastics facilities,
I feel so lucky to have been placed at Ann Arbor Open. Though
Monday will be my first day meeting students at the school, from
what I’ve heard from AAO students I’ve met at other jobs and from
my interactions with AAO staff so far, I can tell that Ann Arbor
Open is a place where students’ wellbeing and personhood are
honored and nourished.
I look forward to getting to know you and your children this
I’m sure we will learn a lot from each other!
Johnny Thompson absolutely loves being a 5/6 teacher at Ann Arbor Open! It is her fourth year here, fifth in the district and nineteenth year in education. The majority of those years were spent teaching fourth and fifth grade at Honey Creek Community School, a progressive Ann Arbor school, chartered by the WISD. Before Honey Creek she lived in North Carolina and taught at-risk youth in a Wilderness Therapy Program (Eckerd Youth Alternatives). She grew up on the west side of the state, attended Western Michigan University for her Bachelor's Degree and, after settling down in Ypsilanti, attended Marygrove College for her Masters in reading. In her free time she enjoys exploring nature, reading, playing volleyball, writing and playing with her own kids (both of whom are at Open, one in first grade and one in seventh). Each year she participates in NaNoWriMo, a November writing challenge, and is excited to have published a novel in 2019. She hopes to help her students explore and discover their own passions and reach the goals they set for themselves.