• This Week @ A2 STEAM

    Posted by Meg Fenech on 10/25/2020

    Good evening A2 STEAM families,

    Despite the cool temperatures, grade-level playdates are still taking place on the A2 STEAM playground.  (Disclaimer: These are not school or PTO-organized.)  I bring up these playdates because it’s so important for kids to engage in free play with peers and to enjoy the outdoors.  It was great to see parents enjoy PE/gym class last week.  Thank you to Mr. Willard for organizing our annual Bring Parents to PE week.  We hope to create additional opportunities for parents to engage in your child’s educational experience during remote learning, and we invite ideas you may have.  Most importantly, we implore all parents/guardians to engage with your child’s teacher.  Be sure you’ve signed up for a parent/guardian-teacher conference.  As always, we thank you for your partnership and resilience during these challenging times.  Staff, students, and parents continue to astound with their patience and understanding.   

    NWEA TESTING -  As mentioned last week, we’ll be doing mandated math and reading assessments this week for K-8 students.  Your child will experience modified schedules this Tuesday and Thursday, please look for these details in your child’s teacher’s bulletin. We want to assure you that this should NOT be in any way a stressful event for your child.  Generally, we find our students enjoy online testing—they are used to it and know that it’s simply a chance to “show what you know”, which helps to inform the teachers of what needs to be taught.  If you notice this is creating stress in the home, please email me directly at fenechm@aaps.k12.mi.us 

    Finally, a special request during this time, we ask that you create some distance between yourself and your child during the assessment.  It’s natural while at home for students to look to you for guidance and support.   However, in order to get the most out of this opportunity teachers need to see what students are able to do independently.

    SUPPLY DISTRIBUTION -  On November 4th or 5th we ask that families come up to A2 STEAM to pick up supplies.  This will likely be the last distribution for quite some time, so we thank you in advance for finding the time.  (Our staff also LOVE being able to see our STEAM families!)  Here’s the form to select a date and time.  Thank you! 

    ELEMENTARY -  supplies include an art kit for all elementary students and the second Everyday Math Journal, for some grades.  There are miscellaneous items being distributed at certain grade levels.  For example, K-4 families will receive another printed set of QR codes and grade 5 students will receive their instruments!

    MIDDLE SCHOOL - We have kits for students in grades 6-8 taking art in Quarter 2, and for 6th grade students taking PLTW in Quarter 2.   (Mr. Parnes or I will email all families to whom this applies.)

    RETURNING UNWANTED SUPPLIES - Some families have let us know that they don’t need the various supplies distributed last month.  If your family has composition books, index cards, etc. that will go unused, feel free to return them to us and we’ll use them in the future.  (Like other distributions prior, please leave these items in your truck and we will collect them in a contact-free way.) 

    ONLINE SAFETY & SECURITY - The Securly Parent Portal Opt-In Pilot Program is NOW OPEN!  The AAPS Instructional Technology Department is launching a new program to help families manage their child’s online safety while using school-issued devices at home. The new tool is called Securly.   The Securly web filter provides FREE parental controls for school-issued devices through an “opt-in” parent portal. The portal gives parents the ability to:

    • Check Online Activity - Allows parents to view their child(ren) recent searches, websites visited, and videos watched on their school-owned device(s).

    • Customize Rules - Lets parents customize web filtering rules when school devices are in the home.

    • Pause Internet Access - Parents can use the Home app to turn Internet access on or off with a single tap when the device is away from school.

    • Get Weekly Email Reports - Every week, parents receive a snapshot of their child’s online activity, directly to their inbox.

    To learn more about this pilot program, please check out this Securly Parent Portal Fall 2020 Pilotdocument and sign up to participate with this AAPS Securly Parent Portal Opt-In Pilot Google Form. Lastly, here’s the Securly Parent Portal FAQs.

    LITERACY WORKSHOPS this Tuesday, Oct 27  -  Looking for ways to help boost your child’s love of reading? Need ideas for offline games and activities to help build your child’s reading toolkit? Please attend the A2 STEAM Literacy Night on Tuesday, October 27th. Tricia Guest, our A2 STEAM Literacy expert, will share engaging activities for at-home literacy practice, how to help your child select “good fit books,” as well as model how to access digital features from MyOn and AADL.        Y5-Second Grade: 6:30-7:00pm          Third-Fifth Grade: 7:00-7:30pm              Zoom link https://a2schools.zoom.us/j/93891084137or the Meeting ID: 938 9108 4137           If you have any questions, contact guestP@a2schools.org 

    MIDDLE SCHOOL CLUBS -  We are happy to be able to offer 12 clubs for our middle school students!  Club offerings are accessible here.   Because some clubs start next week, please have students sign up hereas soon as possible.   We hope each and every middle school student signs up for AT LEAST one club. 

    AAPS TECH SUPPORT -  For questions about devices or a WiFi Hotspot, please email family_techsupport@aaps.k12.mi.us. Here’s a Student Mobile Device Hotspot Form; we are also in partnership with Comcast Essentials. Live technical support is available, 7:30 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. at the AAPS Parent Help Desk, 734-997-1222. For Spanish call 734-997-1246.

    CONNECTIONS+ GUIDELINES & TIPS -   AAPS has created a guide to support families who have created learning groups for AAPS students. The guide includes hints and tips, safety information and free community resources.  View the Connections+ Guide here. 

    FREE ACADEMIC RESOURCES & SUPPORTS -  A number of local groups and organizations are offering free academic support for AAPS students. These free resources are primarily provided by U-M students and community volunteers. View Free Academic Support Resources Here. 

    TUTORING SUPPORTS FOR STUDENTS  -  Are your children in need of extra support with their work?  Please see this list of tutoring supports for students.

    RESOURCES FOR SUPPORTING YOUR CHILD -  Please see this SISS Resources Site!  This site provides families with access to evidence-based and AAPS-approved materials, resources, and tools.  

    On the Horizon

    • 10/27 - Literacy Workshops

    • 11/3  - No School (Please vote!)

    • 11/4 & 11/5 - Distribution Days 

    • 11/19 - PTO meeting, 7pm 

    • 11/25 - 11/27 - No school

     

    Notes from PTO:

    PTOC Board of Education Candidate Forum: Our PTOC Rep., Sonia Chawla, prepared this excellent summary of last Monday’s Q & A with the Board of Ed candidates.  PTOC is also providing a link to video clips of the event.

    Grade Level Meet-ups! Here's the standing weekly schedule thus far. All are on the back playground at A2 STEAM, unless otherwise noted.

    • Y5/Kindergarten - Tuesdays 4:30-6:00 — on the front (Y5/K/1) playground

    • 1st Grade - Sundays 3:00-5:00

    • 2nd Grade - Fridays 3:30-5:30

    • 3rd Grade - Tuesdays 4:30-6:00

    • 4th Grade - Mondays 4:00-6:00

    • 5th Grade - Thursdays 4:00-6:00

    • 6th Grade - Wednesdays 2:00-4:00

    • 7th Grade - Wednesdays 4:00-6:00

    • 8th Grade - Wednesdays 12:00-2:00

    These are not sponsored by the PTO, and masks are MANDATORY.

    Comments (-1)
  • This Week @ A2 STEAM

    Posted by Meg Fenech on 10/18/2020

    Notes from Administration

    ART SUPPLY DISTRIBUTION - We’ll organize another supply distribution the week of November 2nd that will include art supplies for all Y5/K-5 students, 5th-grade instruments, and 6th-grade art & PLTW materials.  If your family needs additional resources, please contact us at fenechm@a2schools.org or stidham@a2schoools.org  

    • If you have unwanted school supplies from the last distribution (e.g. folders, notebooks, markers) we will collect unwanted items.  We will store these items for A2 STEAM students who need them - whether in 2020 or 2021. 

    PARENT-TEACHER CONFERENCES - We strongly value our relationships with parents and the keen input they can offer teachers.  Please be sure to sign up for a conference with your child(ren)’s teacher. 

    LITERACY WORKSHOPS  - Please mark your calendar for Tuesday, October 27th for a literacy-focused workshop held by A2 STEAM staff, for A2 STEAM families.  Click this flyer for details. 

    ELECTION DAY - Staff and students will not have school on election day, Tuesday, November 3rd.  (Wednesday, November 4th will continue to be an asynchronous day of learning.)

    SISS RESOURCES- This site provides staff and families with access to evidence-based and AAPS-approved materials, resources, and tools to support neurodiverse and neurotypical students.

    TUTORING SUPPORTS - Are your children in need of extra support with their work?  Please see this list of tutoring supports for students

    CONNECTING TOGETHER: An AAPS Parent/Guardian Support Group - Join us for twice-a-month drop-in support groups for parents and guardians of AAPS students. Groups meet on the 2nd Tuesday (7:30-8:30PM) and 4th Thursday (1-2PM) of the month. Connect with other parents to find support and get ideas about how to face the challenges of 2020. Please register here. Join us THIS Thursdays, 10/22 from 1-2pm.

    TECH TIPS for TWEENS & TEENS - Parents/guardians are encouraged to observe your child’s virtual social life.  Remember, you can use their login credentials to check their: 

    • AAPS email inbox, sent items, and trash

    • Zoom “chats”

    • To view their online browsing history using the Chrome browser, simply press “command Y” to view the history of website visited. 

    HELPFUL LINKS ON THE AAPS SITE

    PBS RESOURCE - Talking to Young Children About Race and Racism

    Children are never too young to learn about diversity. As young as 3 months old, they may look differently at people who look like or don’t look like their primary caregivers. As parents and caregivers, we must have confidence in ourselves and in our children — that we, and they, can handle tough topics and tough situations. We must understand that our role is to be honest, specific, and trustworthy as we raise the next generation to confront racial injustice.  Please visit https://www.pbs.org/parents/talking-about-racism for tips, resources, and a new half-hour program  to help you have a meaningful conversation with young children about race, racism, and being anti-racist.

    On the Horizon

    10/27 - A2 STEAM Literacy workshops (see above) 

    11/3  - No School (Election Day)

    11/19 - PTO meeting, 7pm 

     

    Notes from PTO:

    A2 STEAM PTO Facebook Group - join our community to share online.  

    Washtenaw County DHHS is accepting applications for its annual Holiday Assistance Program until Thursday, October 22nd.  Due to the COVID-19 pandemic and the continued closure of the DHHS office, we are strongly encouraging applicants to submit their completed applications to: MDHHS-Washtenaw-Holiday-Assistance@michigan.gov

    • The Washtenaw County DHHS Holiday Assistance Program provides holiday help to families with children (under age 18) and senior citizens (over age 65) served by Washtenaw County DHHS. Those who receive Assistance Payments benefits (Medicaid, Food Assistance, Cash Assistance, Child Day Care, etc.) are invited to complete this application. Applicants will be asked to provide their DHHS case number to verify eligibility.

    • DHHS Foster children are served by a separate Holiday Assistance Program. Foster parents should contact their Foster Care Specialist for additional information.

    • Because this is not a DHHS entitlement program, there is no guarantee an applicant will be served based solely on the submission of an application. If we are not able to match an applicant to a donor, we will work with the applicant to make a referral to another agency or program. The availability of sponsors, type of donations, and the number, type, or value of gifts provided is not guaranteed.

    Grade Level Meet-ups or play dates @ A2 STEAM. 

    • Y5/Kindergarten - Tuesdays 4:30-6:00 — on the front (Y5/K/1) playground

    • 1st Grade - Sundays 3:00-5:00

    • 2nd Grade - Fridays 3:30-5:30

    • 3rd Grade - Tuesdays 4:30-6:00

    • 4th Grade - Mondays 4:00-6:00

    • 5th Grade - Thursdays 4:00-6:00

    • 6th Grade - Wednesdays 2:00-4:00

    • 7th Grade - Wednesdays 4:00-6:00

    • 8th Grade - Wednesdays 12:00-2:00

    These are not sponsored by the PTO, and masks are MANDATORY.

    Comments (-1)
  • This Week @ A2 STEAM

    Posted by Meg Fenech on 10/11/2020

    Notes from Administration

    Thank you for attending our recent Curriculum Night.  If you missed our welcome presentation, you can access the slideshow here.  More importantly, if you missed your child’s classroom presentation, be sure you’ve received the information from your child’s teacher.  On the horizon, you can expect your child’s teacher to reach out to families to schedule a parent-teacher conference. These one-on-one conferences are so important to us - we value your partnership and insights. 

    DISTRICT DEVICE POLL - If you did NOT pick up a district-issued iPad or MacBook for your child(ren), PLEASE complete this short form.  It’s important for us to know who does not have an AAPS device that’s loaded with our apps. 

    CONNECTING TOGETHER: An AAPS Parent/Guardian Support Group - Twice-a-month drop-in support groups for parents and guardians of students in AAPS. Groups meet on the 2nd Tuesday (7:30-8:30 PM) and 4th Thursday (1-2PM) of the month. Connect with other parents to find support and get ideas about how to face the challenges of 2020. Pleaseregister here. Last year, parents who participated in an AAPS parent support group consistently reported that they found it helpful, and appreciated hearing from and connecting with other parents going through similar struggles. Join us starting October 13th! (Flyer)

    SHELF SERVICE - The Ann Arbor District Library (AADL) is now offering Shelf Service for all patrons. https://aadl.org/shelfservice  What is Shelf Service? This is a brand new service parents/kids can use to request books.  Instead of having to know a specific title to reserve a book, a reader can visit the link above and request a book by genre, topic, and/or grade level.  A friendly librarian will select a bag full of books for the reader so the parents can go pick it up. While our A2 STEAM and AAPS libraries remain closed while providing many digital options for our students, we are happy to support the AADL and get paper books in the hands of our students. If you need assistance with this service or getting a library card, please contact Tricia Guest, Literacy Expert, at guestp@aaps.k12.mi.us

    Reminders: 

    • REPORTING ABSENCES - In lieu of calling in absences via phone, please use the  ATTENDANCE FORM. When your child is going to be absent, please complete this form by the start of the school day.  

    • SCHOOL DIRECTORY -  Please bookmark this link so you can reach out to fellow A2 STEAM families via email or phone.  We hope this proves helpful for making social connections between kids and parents alike. 

    • RESOURCES - Looking for support or assistance with food, housing, health care and more? The AAPS Community Resource page lists free resources available to students and families.

    On the Horizon

    10/12 - Indigenous Peoples’ Day (Resource for parents)

    10/15 - PTO meeting, 7pm

    10/19-10/23 - Bring PE to Your Family Week!  (Details forthcoming from Mr. Willard)

    11/3  - No School (Election Day)

    11/19 - PTO meeting, 7pm 
     

    Notes from the PTO:

    Grade Level Meet-ups! Here's the standing weekly schedule thus far. All are on the back playground at A2 STEAM, unless otherwise noted.

    • Y5/Kindergarten - Tuesdays 4:30-6:00 — on the front (Y5/K/1) playground

    • 1st Grade - Sundays 3:00-5:00

    • 2nd Grade - Fridays 3:30-5:30

    • 3rd Grade - Tuesdays 4:30-6:00

    • 4th Grade - Mondays 4:00-6:00

    • 5th Grade - Thursdays 4:00-6:00

    • 6th Grade - Wednesdays 2:00-4:00

    • 7th Grade - Wednesdays 4:00-6:00

    • 8th Grade - Wednesdays 12:00-2:00

    These are not sponsored by the PTO, and masks are MANDATORY.

     

    October PTO Community Meeting - Thursday, October 15 @ 7PM.  Instructions for zoom login at a2steampto.org

    Professional Organizer and STEAM parent Molly Boren will give a brief presentation with tips on how to organize your child’s workspace for at-home school. 

    A2 STEAM PTO Facebook Group - join our community to share online.  Check out the chicken thread with lots of photos from the return of the STEAM 5th grade chickens.

    Downtown Trick-or-Treating Cancelled this Year, but...

    Unfortunately, for safety concerns, Ann Arbor's Downtown trick-or-treating is cancelled this year.  But never fear, there are a lot of other great things going on to celebrate autumn and Halloween with Downtown!!  

    • Lots of fun activities with the Library, including a costume and pumpkin contest

    • Cherry Republic has a scavenger hunt all month

    • Halloween Le Bon Macarons

    To see the full list of fun happenings and ways to support downtown this Fall season visit the Main Street Area Association webpage

    The Fall season of Dekeon’s Running Club (formerly known as Cross Country Kids) has begun, but there's still time to join in! Please register via this form.

    What: Dekeon’s Running Club (DRC), a community-based program originally started by Rick Dekeon, and since carried on at A2STEAM by parent volunteers, to encourage a love of running. For this fall season, we’ll be encouraging kiddos to be active, whether that is running, dancing, walking, playing a sport, doing yoga, walking a dog, or otherwise.

    Where: Your home, yard, a park, anywhere you can find room to move.

    Who: Open all A2STEAM students. (The DRC is generally for the elementary-aged kids at STEAM, with the thought that they can transition to traditional cross country in middle school, but since nothing is normal right now, we’d love to let any students participate that want to.

    When: Whenever your kiddo(s) make time to move! (At reasonable times, of course, we are not encouraging running breaks during a teacher’s lecture!) 

    Cost: Free. There is normally a nominal participation fee, this fall season will be free, but there will still be plastic feet! (A popular part of the regular DRC that kiddos would get at practice!)

    Comments (-1)
  • This Week @ A2 STEAM

    Posted by Meg Fenech on 10/4/2020

    Notes from Administration

    Congratulations, A2 STEAM families, we made it to October!  No doubt, it's been a stressful school launch but we are so impressed with the resilience and perseverance staff and students alike show us each and every day.  #A2Perserving!  Thank you in advance for completing the Parent Climate Survey that Dr. Swift emailed to families on Friday.  We want to know as a district, and definitely at the building level,  how we can improve and strengthen our work this fall.  Students in grades 3-8 will receive a student survey this week from their homeroom teacher so we can hear from our most important stakeholders.  

    If you need to find information from past “This Week @ A2 STEAM” emails, you can find them posted at https://www.a2schools.org/Page/2274   

    ELEMENTARY CURRICULUM NIGHT - Tuesday, October 6th.  Administration will host a virtual welcome session at 5:30pm, followed by grade-level presentations offered at 6:00pm and 6:45pm.  Additionally, our SISS, EL, and literacy staff are hosting office hours AND we have Tech Support available.  Please click here for times and links. 

    SUPPLY PICK-UP - Last week it was such a treat to see hundreds of families during school supply pick-up.  If you couldn’t make it last week, we’ll be distributing Wednesday morning between 9:30-11:00am.  

    IPAD TIPS  - While families cannot remove any apps from our school devices, you can rearrange this.  It might prove helpful for our youngest students to have just a few important apps (e.g. Schoology, Clever, SeeSaw) on their home/first screen.  (Explanation here if you’re not sure how to rearrange apps.)   If you’d ever like to “lockdown” your child’s iPad, restricting them to one app, consider using “guided access”.  Guided Access limits your device to a single app and lets you control which features are available. (Directions here.)

    REMINDERS:

    • REPORTING ABSENCES - In lieu of calling in absences via phone, please use the  ATTENDANCE FORM. When your child is going to be absent, please complete this form by the start of the school day.  (When we don’t know why kids are absent, we worry and we end up having to interrupt your day with a phone call from the office.) 

    • SCHOOL DIRECTORY - Thanks to the hard work of Carrie Bank, our school directory is ready in record time!  Please bookmark this link so you can reach out to fellow A2 STEAM families via email or phone.  We hope this proves helpful for making social connections between kids and parents alike. 

    • RESOURCES - Looking for support or assistance with food, housing, health care and more? The AAPS Community Resource page lists free resources available to students and families.

    On the Horizon

    • 10/6  Elementary Curriculum Night, 5:30-7:30pm

    • 10/7  Student Count Day

    Notes from the PTO:

    We’re on FaceBook!  Join our parent-parent conversations at www.facebook.com/groups/a2steampto  This is also a good place to share playdate ideas. 

    The Fall season of Dekeon’s Running Club (formerly known as Cross Country Kids) will begin on Monday, October 5th and will run through Monday, November 30th. Please register via this form.

    What: Dekeon’s Running Club (DRC), a community-based program originally started by Rick Dekeon, and since carried on at A2STEAM by parent volunteers, to encourage a love of running. For this fall season, we’ll be encouraging kiddos to be active, whether that is running, dancing, walking, playing a sport, doing yoga, walking a dog, or otherwise.

    Where: Your home, yard, a park, anywhere you can find room to move.

    Who: Open all A2STEAM students. (The DRC is generally for the elementary-aged kids at STEAM, with the thought that they can transition to traditional cross country in middle school, but since nothing is normal right now, we’d love to let any students participate that want to.

    When:  Whenever your kiddo(s) make time to move! (At reasonable times, of course, we are not encouraging running breaks during a teacher’s lecture!) 

    Cost: Free. There is normally a nominal participation fee, this fall season will be free, but there will still be plastic feet! (A popular part of the regular DRC that kiddos would get at practice!)

    Community Opportunity

    A2tor offers Free After School Classes and Workshops to Students

    Starting in October, A2tor will offer Classes and Workshops to students on a variety of topics.  A2tor is a program started by Ann Arbor high schoolers to provide free virtual tutoring and other educational programming opportunities for Ann Arbor/Ypsilanti area middle and elementary school students.

    A2tor October Groups Students will register at the beginning of the month for these sessions and will receive the link to attend weekly classes that build on each other throughout October.  Please sign up here

    Reading Groups (K-8 grade)- These classes are meant to foster a love of reading. The tutor and students will read a book together, then the tutor will lead a fun discussion or activity related to the book.

    Mental Math Practice Group (3-8 grade)- Students will have fun playing games to strengthen fluency with basic mental math skills. The class is great for students just starting their math journey, as well as students interested in improving their speed and confidence in core math skills.

    Fractions Practice (4-6 grade)- Students will have fun playing games and doing activities to gain confidence working with fractions. This month, the class will be focusing on the basic concept of fractions.

    Homework Help- This group provides a structured time for students to do their homework and ask questions about their work or other content from class as needed.

    Homework Help for Spanish Speakers- This group is the perfect time for Spanish speaking students to get help from a fellow spanish speaker. Students will work on homework and ask questions about their work or other content from class as needed.

    Interested in a group? Please sign up here

    A2tor Weekly Workshops: Oct 5th

    Students will sign up for these writing and art workshops week by week. Sign up for the week of October 5th here.

    Writing- Each week, there will be a different writing project meant to foster creativity and enjoyment of writing for students of all ages.

    Art- Each week, the tutor will lead students in a different art project.

    Please share this information with anyone who you think might benefit.  Interested in a workshop? Sign up for the week of October 5th here.

    Comments (-1)
  • This Week @ A2 STEAM

    Posted by Meg Fenech on 9/27/2020

    Notes from Administration

    We couldn’t be more proud of how well students, staff and parents are adapting to our virtual learning environment.  While not ideal, our remote milieu is currently the safest means of teaching and learning, and overall, it seems that our school community is faring well.  Sure, there will be times of frustration, but the same can be said if learning was in-person. We hope the moments of technology-based frustrations are abating.  If not, please let us know!  We do not want connectivity, missing badges, or Schoology confusion to be a barrier to learning.  Behind the scenes teachers are doing what they’d do in a face-to-face environment, they are tweaking their instructional approach based on feedback from kids and parents.  Soon, the district will systematically survey parents to gather input about remote learning.  In the meantime, and always, please never hesitate to ask questions and offer suggestions.  We value your partnership.  

    SCHOOL DIRECTORY - Thanks to the hard work of Carrie Bank, our school directory is ready in record time!  Please bookmark this link so you can reach out to fellow A2 STEAM families via email or phone.  We hope this proves helpful for making social connections between kids and parents alike. 

    SUPPLY DISTRIBUTION - Every AAPS student will receive a school supply kit containing the basic supplies they need for the school year.  These kits are being distributed at A2 STEAM this Tuesday and Wednesday from 3:30-6:30pm. Select your pickup time on THIS FORM. Please contact Mrs. Fenech (fenechm@a2schools.org) or Mrs. Stidham (stidham@a2schools.org)if there are additional items that your child(ren) could benefit from to be successful virtually this year. 

    • Please have a paper with your child(ren)’s name and grade in your front window.

    • If you have school materials to return, please place them in your trunk. (Also, if you have any necessary enrollment documents and/or immunization records, we will collect/copy them at this time. Our OP, Ms. Szuszman would have emailed you directly if items were still outstanding.) 

    • NEW:  USED BOOK COLLECTION - When we are distributing school supplies, we are also collecting book donations!  We invite you to bring gently used picture books and chapter books for ages 5-14. We will organize the donations and get books in the hands of other A2 STEAM students sometime this fall.

    ZOOM AUTHENTICATION - Thank you to the many families who helped their children find their Zoom account invitation in their school Gmail account.  Rest assured, the staff authenticated the remaining accounts so we should soon be ready to use the secure links that teachers have set up through Schoology. 

    MIDDLE SCHOOL CURRICULUM NIGHT - Thursday, October 1st.  Each grade’s core team of teachers will present, followed by elective teachers.  7th grade sessions will run from 5:30-7:30pm,  6th grade sessions will run from 6:00-7:00pm, and 8th grade sessions will run from 6:30-7:30pm. 

    ELEMENTARY CURRICULUM NIGHT - Tuesday, October 6th.  Administration will host a virtual welcome session at 5:30pm, followed by grade level presentations offered at 6:00pm and 6:45pm.  Next Sunday we will share the Zoom links. 

    VIDEO ON, PLEASE - While it is certainly not mandated, we LOVE to see kids in our Zoom classrooms.  It helps build classroom community, it strengthens peer-peer connections, and it really helps teachers gather non-verbal instructional feedback.  If possible, please encourage your child to keep their camera turned on as much as possible.  :) 
     

    On the Horizon

    • 9/28  Yom Kippur

    • 9/29  Supply pick-up @ school, 3:30-6:30pm

    • 9/30  Supply pick-up @ school, 3:30-6:30pm

    • 10/1  Middle School Curriculum Night, 5:30-7:30pm

    • 10/6  Elementary Curriculum Night, 5:30-7:30pm

    • 10/7  Student Count Day

    Notes from the PTO

    • Spirit Wear Pickup!  If you ordered spirit wear, it will be available for pickup during the supply pickup times.  If you cannot make it to one of the supply pickups, please email kellyekipp@gmail.com to make other arrangements.

    • Box Tops!   Do you have a bag of boxtops that's been hanging out on your fridge for 6 months?  Put them in your trunk and we will collect them at the supply pickup.  Most boxtops are now electronic, but there are some stragglers out there.

    • Stickers!  Did you want another A2 STEAM car sticker?  They are available for a $1 donation.  Email pres@a2steampto.org or they will be available at the October pickup event.

    • Meet-ups!  Several parents have organized grade-level meetups using the A2 STEAM PTO Facebook group.  These are not sponsored by the PTO, and masks are MANDATORY.  Here's the schedule for next week. All are on the back playground at STEAM.

    3rd Grade - Tuesdays 4:30-6:00

    4th Grade - TBD

    5th Grade - Thursdays 4:00-6:00

    6th Grade - Wednesdays 2:00-4:00

    7th Grade - TBD

    If you don't see your child's grade level listed, it doesn't take much effort to organize one.  Just pick a time that is not already taken and post in the Facebook group with a disclaimer that it is not PTO sponsored and masks are mandatory.

    Comments (-1)
  • Today @ A2 STEAM - (Date CHANGE for supply pick-up)

    Posted by Meg Fenech on 9/22/2020 6:00:00 PM

    The only thing that is constant is change. ”― Heraclitus    What an apt quote for the 2020 year!

     Because of COVID-related delays, the school supply material kits are NOT going to be ready this Thursday and Friday.  Instead, we need to move the pick-up dates to next Tuesday (9/29) and Wednesday (9/30).   So, please fill out THIS REVISED FORM so we can adequately prepare and staff the supply distribution days.  We want ALL families to obtain these resources so if transportation is a barrier, please tell us in the form.

    Consequently, because we'll be busy handing out supplies, we are moving our Elementary Curriculum Night to Tuesday, October 6th.  (Our middle school Curriculum Night will remain Thursday, October 1st.)

    Thank you for staying flexible with us!   We are genuinely appreciative of our supportive families and agile staff. 

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  • This Week @ A2 STEAM

    Posted by Meg Fenech on 9/21/2020

    Notes from Administration:

    We hope your first full week of virtual learning went smoothly. It was great to connect with so many families during our two PTO meetings last week to hear helpful tips and praise for our amazing A2 STEAM teachers! Thank you for being patient and understanding as we navigate this new form of schooling together. We completely understand that it isn’t ideal or easy for anyone, but it is clear that we have a strong community that is supporting each other at A2 STEAM. Just as we would do in the brick and mortar classrooms, our staff have spent the last two weeks learning about your child(ren) and their individual needs, while also building a classroom community to learn and grow together this year. All students are still working on building their stamina, not just with curriculum content, but also with Zoom and Schoology. Although this beginning of the year feels much dfferent virtually, the smiles and laughs shared through the screens reminds us that we are connecting and caring for each and every child. This week you should notice that we are adding more content areas (Science or Social Studies in Elementary), as well as more rigor to their assignments. As we move to the full Schoology launch this week, you will also see more asynchronous lessons and activities posted for Wednesdays and afternoon independent work time. Please reach out to us or your child’s teacher if you have questions. Also, the AAPS Family Tech Support Hotline will continue to be available at 734-997-1222 (Monday- Friday 7:30am-7:30pm) or via Email: family_techsupport@aaps.k12.mi.us for your tech needs. 

    SUPPLY DISTRIBUTION - Every AAPS student will receive a school supply kit containing the basic supplies they need for the school year. Please visit this site to learn more about the supply kits and what they contain. We will also be distributing elementary math journals and other workbooks, 6th grade PLTW kits, and some math support munipulatives for younger students. We also hope to provide paper books to any family that needs access. These kits are being distributed at A2 STEAM this Thursday 9/24  and Friday 9/25 from 3:30-6:30pm. Select your pickup time on THIS FORM. Please contact Mrs. Fenech (fenechm@a2schools.org) or Mrs. Stidham (stidham@a2schools.org)if there are additional items that your child(ren) could benefit from to be successful virtually this year. 

    **PLEASE COMPLETE THE FORM** In an effort to help families get their children connected socially, we urge you to complete this form by September 21st.  This form has questions pertaining to permissions (e.g. can we post student work online), but more importantly, it will populate a school directory.  We are eager to help parents connect with one another, so please let us know what information you’re comfortable sharing in our school directory.  Even if you don’t want any information shared with our A2 STEAM, we need EACH AND EVERY FAMILY to complete the form.  Thank you!!!

    GMAIL ACCOUNTS, ZOOM AUTHENTICATION, AND SCHOOLOGY PARENT ACCESS CODES - AAPS recently emailed parents (on Thurs 9/17) their child’s log in credentials to Google, along with your Schoology Parent Access Code. Middle School students have already begun using Schoology last week, and our goal is to have all K-5 students active on Schoology by the end of this coming week. However, to ensure privacy, we need your help to authenticate your child’s AAPS Zoom account. The instructions to this can be found HERE. 

    REPORTING ABSENCES - In lieu of calling in absences via phone, please use the  ATTENDANCE FORM. When your child is going to be absent, please complete this form by the start of the school day.  (When we don’t know why kids are absent, we worry and we end up having to interrupt your day with a phone call from the office.) 

    FREE YOUTH PROGRAMMING FROM REC & ED - Ann Arbor Rec & Ed staff are excited to announce a new line-up of FREE online and in-person classes for AAPS preschool - 8th graders.  The AAPS/Rec & Ed goal is to provide a variety of fun, physically active experiences with opportunities to see classmates, safely, in person. From yoga to soccer, and martial arts to dance, we have something every child will enjoy. A complete listing of programs was made available at www.aarecedonline.com just this past Friday. 

    Locations, Days, and Times - Classes will be in different locations each week to cover as many schools as possible throughout the district. Programming will run from Wednesday, September 23rd through Saturday, November 7th. Wednesday classes will be scheduled between 1:30 pm - 5:00 pm and Saturdays will have classes within two sessions: 9:00 am - 12:30 pm and 1:30pm - 5:00pm. 

    More information on in-person Rec & Ed activities:

    • In-person programs will be held outdoors, weather permitting. Due to time constraints, programs canceled due to weather conditions may not be rescheduled. 
    • The Rec & Ed COVID-19 Health and Safety Protocol will be available to read prior to registration. This protocol contains important information, including that masks are required for everyone in attendance at a Rec & Ed activity, including youth participants, coaches, parents, and Rec & Ed staff. 
    • Parents are urged to sign up for the classes assigned to their child’s school. This will allow your child to see classmates and ensure that programs are available to all children across the school district. 

    Rec & Ed is still offering a range of affordable fee-based classes for youth and adults as well. Visit aarecedonline.com for more information. 

    On The Horizon

    9/29 - Curriculum Night for Elementary Classes - 5:30-7:30pm. Administration will host a virtual welcome session at 5:30pm, followed by grade level presentations offered at 6:00pm and 6:45pm. Look for more information and Zoom Links in next Sunday’s weekly email. 

    10/1  - Curriculum Night for Middle School - 5:30-7:30pm. Administration will again host a virtual welcome, then parents will follow their child’s schedule, attending all classes via Zoom for 15 minutes. 

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  • This Week @ A@ STEAM

    Posted by Meg Fenech on 9/14/2020 8:00:00 AM

    Notes from Administration:

    Week one has come and gone, and I continue to be more and more impressed with our students each day. I know this is not easy, I know it’s not where we want to be, but our A2 STEAM Phoenix are building stamina, and becoming more independent and engaged each day.  I think this is a testament to kids’ desire to learn and most certainly our hardworking staff.  Thank you for exhibiting grace with our staff as we navigate the new terrain of synchronous online learning.  We appreciate your patience and understanding.  I’m sorry if your family had technical challenges during our first week.  Some technical related issues have been identified and our teams are responding. When challenges are presented our team members will continue to problem solve in real time.  Please let us know what barriers stand in your way. We are committed to connecting with, and caring for, each and every student. 

    SCHOOL DIRECTORY - In an effort to help families get their children connected socially, we urge you to complete this form by September 21st.  This form has questions pertaining to permissions (e.g. can we post student work online), but more importantly, it will populate a school directory.  We are eager to help parents connect with one another, so please let us know what information you’re comfortable sharing in our school directory.  Thank you!

    SCHOOL THIS WEEK -  Students have full days of school this week. Full instruction begins in the content areas and with specials/electives classes. (Generalized virtual schedule HERE.) 

    WEDNESDAY IS ASYNCHRONOUS - Students report to their homeroom/advisory for their morning meeting at 8:20am. Around 8:50am students begin asynchronous remote learning. Students access lessons and participate in independent learning tasks anytime during the day. 

    • Coming soon - FREE Rec & Ed Fall Youth Classes.  Youth recreation programming will include a variety of activities like sports, yoga, and fitness. These opportunities will be offered on Wednesdays and Saturdays,  focusing on active recreation, while supporting healthy social emotional development.

    TECH HELP OPTIONS:

    • A2 STEAM help via phone - 734-994-1958 from  8:00-10:00am

    • AAPS Help Desk Students & Families Virtual Help Desk 734-997-1222, Monday- Friday 7:30am-7:30pm

    • Email family_techsupport@aaps.k12.mi.us 

    SCHOOLOGY & QR CODES - Elementary families should have received a letter from school with your child’s QR codes or “badges” for easy login access to Clever and Schoology.  If you did not receive it, please email your child’s teacher and they will get you their codes. (In addition to using the QR codes/badges, you can also use your child’s AAPS google account to log into Schoology.)

    ATTENDANCE - Students are expected to fully participate in the virtual learning program. To ensure student success and continuity in reaching the learning targets, we will need your support to make sure students are consistently present and on time for class. We understand that sometimes absences are unavoidable and tech glitches are a reality.  

    - In lieu of calling in absences via phone, we hope this new ATTENDANCE FORM proves helpful for families and staff.  We’ll also link it on the website.  This is a new protocol for us so if it doesn’t prove user-friendly, we’ll revise it. When your child is going to be absent, please complete this form by the start of the school day.  (When we don’t know why kids are absent, we worry and we end up having to interrupt your day with a phone call from the office.) 

    On the horizon

    • 9/14  First full day of school, 8:20am - 3:13pm (learning will be synchronous and asynchronous)

    • 9/15  PTO meeting (evening option) 7:30pm

    • 9/16  PTO meeting (daytime option) 2:30pm 

    • 9/17  Constitution day

    • 9/18  *** Rosh Hashanah

    Notes from the PTO: 

    - SPIRIT WEAR orders END at midnight. Order your t-shirts and other gear here: http://bit.ly/steamspirit 

    Join us at one of our upcoming Zoom A2 STEAM Community Meetings (PTO):9.15.20 | 7:30pm | Zoom Link and / or 9.16.20 | 2:30pm | Zoom LinkCome join us to hear what's going on in our school community, and voice your opinion. We want to hear it!  Meeting ID: 786 020 8413 Passcode: steam

    - Questions for the PTO? Fill out this form

    - Join us on Facebook!       https://www.facebook.com/groups/a2steampto/

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  • This Week @ A2 STEAM

    Posted by Meg Fenech on 9/7/2020 8:00:00 AM

    Good morning A2 STEAM families,

    It was wonderful to connect with families during last Thursday’s Meet and Greet sessions, our staff loved meeting their new families.  If you were unable to attend, that's alright, as staff have fun activities planned throughout the week that will build community and foster relationships. 

    Thank you for reading this lengthy email in advance of school.  I will endeavor to return to the pattern of emailing families each Sunday. These "This Week @ A2 STEAM" messages have three components - notes from administration, dates on the horizon, and notes from the PTO.

    NOTES FROM ADMINISTRATION

    FIRST DAY OF SCHOOL - Your child will use the same Zoom link as we used Thursday evening, to attend school on Tuesday at 8:20am.  Here are the Zoom links.   All you need tomorrow is Zoom, not Schoology or Clever.  Remember, this week only - students will have school Tuesday-Friday from 8:20-11:30am. 

    SCHOOLOGY & QR CODES- Sometime this week, elementary parents will receive a letter from school with your child’s QR codes or “badges” for easy login access to Clever and Schoology.  Some letters were mailed Friday, so you should receive them by Wednesday.  We do not need Schoology until later this week, so please keep the letter and QR codes in a safe place.  Rest assured, classroom teachers will teach parents and students alike how to utilize Schoology, our new learning platform.  The district has compiled helpful Schoology videos and parent resources HERE.  

    TECH HELP DESK - We are committed to supporting families with accessibility.  You can access help from A2 STEAM staff and/or the district’s help desk.  Options: 

    • A2 STEAM help via Zoom - https://a2schools.zoom.us/j/92394037615 

      • This Zoom help desk will be open 8:00-10:00am, Tuesday-Friday

    • A2 STEAM help via phone - 734-994-1958 

      • The phones will be answered  8:00-10:00am, Tuesday-Friday

    • AAPS support

    DEVICE DISTRIBUTION (Last call) - If your family could not attend last week’s pick-up windows there will be an additional device distribution on Wednesday, September 9th.  Please sign-up HERE if you still need an iPad or MacBook. (If you are having difficulty with device pick-up due to work constraints or transportation limitations, please email keelingj@aaps.k12.mi.us so we can arrange for delivery.) 

    ATTENDANCE  - Students are expected to fully participate in the virtual learning program and attendance-taking is compulsory for teachers. To ensure student success and continuity in reaching our learning targets, we will need your support to make sure students are consistently present and on time for class. We understand that sometimes absences are unavoidable.

    FREE & REDUCED LUNCH APPLICATION

    • Free and Reduced Lunch Applications are available HERE!   You can apply online or request a hard copy of the application to be mailed to you.  If your student(s) was approved for Free or Reduced Lunch last year (2019-2020), that application is only good for only 30 days after the first day of school.

    • AAPS will continue to serve breakfast and lunch at the distribution locations as long as school is remote.

    WELCOME NEW STAFF

    • Patricia Guest - Mrs. Guest is our new Building Literacy Expert (BLE), replacing Ms. Waanders who is teaching for A2 Virtual Academy.

    • Sarah VanLoo - Mrs. VanLoo joins us part-time to teach Project Lead the Way (PLTW).  (Mr. VanLoo and Mr. Luxon remain on staff.)

    • Emily Bawol - Mrs. Bawol will serve as our Y5/K-grade 2 art teacher.  Students will remember here from the winter when she served as our long-term art substitute. 

    BELL SCHEDULE - This general schedule will be personalized by homeroom teachers after they get to know their students, and are able to set the cadence of their teaching.  Note:  We begin full-days of learning on Monday, September 14th, including electives and Special Area course. This week school hours are 8:20am-11:30am

    COMMUNITY RESOURCES  - Looking for support or assistance with food, housing, health care, and more? The AAPS Community Resource page lists free resources available to students and families. Visit the Community Resource Page today. This page is frequently updated.

    AAPS SCHOOL CALENDAR - For your planning, click HERE to access the 2020-21 school year calendar.

    STUDENT SUPPLY KITS -  AAPS has ordered materials for students at each grade-level. Supply kits will be distributed during or after the third week of school. The distribution of AAPS instruments for students needing one will be scheduled for distribution during this same week.
     

    ON THE HORIZON

    • 9/8 First day of school, 8:20am start time.

    • 9/8 Parents/guardians are invited to socialize with other parents and school administration at 2:30pm Zoom link

    • 9/8-9/11 - The first week of classes will run from 8:20-11:30am.   Students will meet in their homeroom/advisory class to get oriented to Schoology and build a classroom community.  We won’t have K-5 specials or full-length middle school electives until 9/14.

    • 9/14 -  First full day of school, 8:20am

    • 9/15  PTO meeting (evening option) 7:30pm

    • 9/16  PTO meeting (daytime option) 2:30pm 

    FROM THE PTO

    • If you didn’t receive a PTO handout during device distribution, you can access it at https://www.a2schools.org/Page/16419  

    • Remember, the PTO is hosting our typical “first day of school coffee” at 2:30pm tomorrow.  We look forward to getting families connected to one another.  Zoom link

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  • Important End of Year Announcements

    Posted by Meg Fenech on 6/12/2019 4:00:00 PM

    As our school year nears completion, we are finishing strong and at full speed!  In the next 1.5 days of school we’ll sign yearbooks, honor the 8th graders, host the ice cream social, and hold a schoolwide assembly.  Behind the scenes, teachers will be finalizing report cards, completing evaluation paperwork, tweaking class lists, and packing up their classrooms.  In the office, we are busy with end-of-year details and simultaneously planning for 2019-20. Many of us will spend next week in workshop geared at social-emotional needs of our students, supporting LGBTQ+  students, and strengthening our pedagogy. Later this month we’ll also embark on the highly consequential task of hiring a few new staff.

    Some bittersweet news about Brandy Wales -  while we are sorry Ms. Wales is leaving AAPS for a technology integration specialist position, we are happy her talents will be used to strengthen the practice of scores of educators.  This year Ms. Wales was an impressive instructor of computer science for our students in Y5/Kindergarten through 4th grade. We are so very fortunate that James Luxon is eager to fill this role.  Mr. Luxon will be sorely missed on the Kindergarten team. Hopefully we can post this job vacancy soon in order to fill his large shoes. This summer we also need to find a replacement for Kate Sood.  We are thrilled Ms. Sood is taking a yearlong leave in order to care for the baby she’s expecting in the fall. Congratulations to Ms. Sood! In addition to hiring two lower elementary classroom teachers, we also have a vacancy in PE/Health as Ms. Lete will not return to A2 STEAM in the fall.  We are also saying goodbye to our two part-time reading interventionists.  Ms. Mustapha will no longer be split between two schools next year, but we weren’t able to secure her full-time at A2 STEAM.  And Ms. Schwehm, who joined us this winter, will be moving out of state. We thank you both for helping our students access the world of learning and literature, by teaching our youngest students how to read.  Lastly, Ms. Jan Hannah is unlikely to return to our SISS team in the fall.  Teetering on the edge of retirement, Ms. Hannah is weighing her options for the 2019-20 school year but I would be remiss if we didn’t share her likely departure.  Ms. Hannah, you will be missed!! Thank you for your hard work, professionalism, and the love you shared with our middle school students.

    Please reach out to me if you have an interest in joining one of our hiring committees.  We always invite parents, and often students, to participate in the important selection process.  

    As the year comes to a close, please be sure to:

    • Reclaim items from the lost and found.  (All remaining items will be donated to charity after Friday.)
    • Payoff any outstanding cafeteria account balances. (Please contact Mrs. Fenech or Mrs. Stidham if you have concerns or questions.)
    • Pick up any remaining medications from the office.  (All medications will be disposed of after 6/18.)
    • Check with the main office (994-1958) if you’d like to purchase a yearbook. We have a handful of yearbooks left to sell for $15.  
    • Check your child’s report card on Friday in order to celebrate areas of growth.

    We would like to thank everyone for an incredible and engaging school year.  We could not be a success without the multitude of contributions our families make to the school.  Most especially, we thank you for the opportunity to share in the lives of your wonderful children.  We wish you a summer filled with free-play, experiential learning, and family fun!

    Sincerely,

    Meg Fenech & Brooke Stidham
    A2 STEAM Administrators

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