Current Wednesday Packet Letter

  • Wednesday, April 17, 2019

    Dear families,

    Despite the persistence of cold weather, spring is here. There are many events on the horizon as we round the bend toward the end of the school year. Please see the building calendar, the athletic calendar, and communications from your child’s teacher for important information about camp overnights, performances, end of year celebrations, and field trips.


    At the end of this school year long time Open teacher, Mike Derhammer will begin to enjoy his well deserved retirement from classroom teaching. Mike has been with the Open School program for decades. His dedication to his students’ academic, social and emotional well being is unquestionable. There will be more time to pay tribute to Mike in the remaining weeks. When my daughter was in Mike’s room, there was a rocking chair that was painted and gifted to him by previous students. Painted on that chair were two words that are still true today. Those words are, “Mike Rocks!”

    Staffing Processes

    At this point in the year, we are just beginning to plan for next year’s staffing. There are a few processes that need to be engaged before we’ll know who might fill the vacancy created by Mikes’ retirement. For instance, current staff will be surveyed about placement interests. This may or may not result in internal moves between grade levels or even subject areas. We also engage in district level processes around staffing needs, and that process is just beginning. Pending any new information that arises, we will then work with Human Resources personnel to recruit, interview, and hire a new classroom teacher. Remember to turn in your goldenrod form about class placement for next year. The information you provide can also help us to know what qualities we might look for in a new teacher.  Please look for more updates as the school year winds down.


    Working for equity in schools can mean working to build a community free of barriers, biases, and disproportionality for each and every person regardless of personal characteristics and social circumstances. This work can take the form of teacher professional development, development of anti-bias curriculum, and courageous conversation. It also means looking at everything we do through an equity lens. This year, Ann Arbor Open School joined with other area schools in the Southeast Michigan Stewardship Coalition. The SEMIS Coalition mission is to  facilitate “school-community partnerships to develop students as citizen-stewards of healthy ecological-social systems.”

    Parents are welcomed and encouraged to attend this year’s Community Forum. The Forum is a “celebration of students' place-based learning efforts and community action, which will include:

    • Student-led workshops and presentations
    • Intergenerational community conversations
    • Highlights of the year from schools and community partners
    • Our annual SEMIS Coalition Awards and banquet”

    Last year, Ann Arbor Open and Community High School students presented on the multi-year work done by Denise’s and Cindy’s students to reestablish and mark a historic Indian trail through West Park.

    Last year, over 250 people attended the SEMIs Community Forum. To register for this year’s event on May 20, register here: (Registration closes May 10.)

    If you’d like to volunteer to support this year’s Forum, contact Chad Downs,, Karen Siegel,, or Lisa Voelker

    Follow this link for more information about the Community Forum:

    Follow this link for more information about the SEMIs Coalition:


    The window for contractors interested in doing the work for our lower playground closed on April 16th. If all goes as planned, the work will begin as soon as possible this spring. This will likely start after the school year is ended, with some chance that is could start sooner. We are actively seeking out ways to stretch our dollars through grants and donations of materials, skills, and labor. Keep an eye out for more Wednesday letter or school messenger updates. If you would like to be on the email list for the Playground Committee, email Karen at

    Bike or Walk to School Day - May 7th

    The Safe Routes to Schools Committee has designated May 7th as Bike or Walk to School Day. (The National Day is a day later, but three of our 5/6 classes will be at camp.) Families are encouraged to bike or walk to school. If your child rides a bus, we are arranging for buses to let students out a short distance away so they can join in the walk. (Some will still be dropped in the bus loop.) We’ll designate a couple other meet up spots for families don’t take the bus. We’ll be looking for volunteers to help coordinate the meet ups and to cheer kids on along the route. Email Chris at if you can help.

    Coffee with Karen & Chris

    Join us on Thursday, April 18 or Thursday, May 2,  from 8:30-9:30 am in the Library for some friendly conversation and a cup or two of coffee.

    New to the Lunchroom

    Welcome to Shay, our new lunch server. Shay’s been getting to know all the students for the past week. We are so happy to have her join us at Open.

    Lost and Found

    Lost and Found is bursting at the seams. We will be clearing out soon. Please check by for lost items or found items near the office and teacher work room.