May 12, 2023 - Superintendent's Update

The month of May is a busy time in the AAPS, with our students, staff and parents actively engaged in activities and events to wrap up a strong 2022-2023 school year. 

And it is also a time to recognize important events and members of our AAPS staff, including, National Jewish American Heritage Month, Teacher Appreciation Week, National School Nurses Day, and National Child Care Provider Appreciation Day.

2023-2024 Calendar

We are excited to share that the first day of school for the 2023-2024 school year is Monday, August 28th.

The opening week of the year will extend Monday through Thursday of that week, followed by Labor Day weekend: Friday, September 1st through Labor Day Monday. We return to begin week 2 of the school year on Tuesday, September 5th. 

Our calendar teams continue their diligent work on the full detail of the 2023-24 calendar, and we will share that information as soon as it is finalized.

National Jewish American Heritage Month

May is Jewish American Heritage Month, a time to recognize and honor the history of the rich contributions of Jewish Americans to the development of our nation. We pay tribute to the generations of Jewish Americans whose lives, fueled by faith, resilience and hope, contributed to a better future for our country.

This month, we take the opportunity in the AAPS to honor timeless traditions and heritage; Jewish Americans are highlighted in lessons and reading selections with our students across classrooms and in AAPS school and digital libraries. 

It is also important, during this observance of Jewish American Heritage Month, to note that acts of antisemitism continue to rise. In the AAPS, we stand strong against acts of hate toward anyone and recognize that antisemitism is not just a threat to the Jewish community - accepted hate, in any form, is a vital threat to our American society. You can learn more at about a national campaign designed to raise awareness about antisemitism, hatred against Jews and an effort to stand up against intolerance of any kind. 

We are a stronger school community as we honor, embrace and celebrate our diversity, continually create a culture of belonging for all and value the connections that unite us as an inclusive Ann Arbor community. 

The full message can be found here.

Teacher Appreciation Week

This week, May 8th -12th, we have celebrated National Teacher Appreciation Week, a time to recognize the commitment and dedication of our exceptional AAPS teachers. Teachers make a remarkable and profound difference for our students each day in significant, inspiring ways. Our students benefit tremendously from their learning experiences in our classrooms under the guidance of our extraordinary Ann Arbor Public Schools teachers.

We began this week by celebrating Teacher Appreciation through the beautiful voices of our AAPS students; I hope you enjoy this brief video

Research is clear; a quality teacher makes all the difference in student growth and learning, both today and across the arc of a child’s development and life. We understand that there has never been a more challenging time, yet there has never been a more important time to serve as a teacher. Our respect and gratitude continue for each teacher across our AAPS classrooms and the critical role our teachers fulfill in achieving our critical mission to care for, connect and serve our students and families. 

The full message can be found here.

National School Nurse Day

We joined with school districts across our nation in celebrating National School Nurse Day - a day designated to recognize school nurses who work as valued members of our school teams to support the whole child: health and wellness, learning and growth of all students.  This year, Governor Whitmer has also proclaimed May 10, 2023, as Michigan School Nurse Day.

During recent years, the responsibilities of the school nurse have become increasingly more significant and critical for our students, school teams and families, most especially those students and families for whom access to quality healthcare beyond the school setting continues as a challenge. 

Our highly trained school nurses are valued members of the AAPS team; our school nurse team continues to demonstrate care, consistency and commitment as they coordinate with public health agencies and provide real-time guidance on health and well-being. 

We recognize and thank our school nurses for their dedication in all they do every day for our children, their families and our colleagues, and hope you will enjoy this brief video in honor of our AAPS School Nurses. 

The full message can be found here.

National Child Care Provider Appreciation Day - Friday, May 12

We honor and appreciate our AAPS child care team every day in the AAPS, and we are especially proud to celebrate National Child Care Provider Appreciation Day today. 

Now, more than ever, we value the special individuals who work every day to provide healthy, safe and nurturing environments for children while their parents are at work or school. 

Our AAPS Before and After Care staff are the first to greet over 200 elementary students every day and the last to say goodbye. They are trusted adults who keep our children safe and support working families. This year, through intense recruitment and hiring efforts, we have been able to welcome 17 new staff members to the program, and we continue to offer before and after care at 10 district school locations. 

A parent whose child is enrolled in Before/After Care at Abbot recently sent this message to the staff: “Thank you so very much for all you do for our kids. They have such a good time at the aftercare program. At all times, I can see that the team genuinely cares about them and their well-being.” 

Thank you, AAPS Before/After Care staff, for your dedication, commitment and compassion.

AAPS Local History Mini-Conference

High school students across Ann Arbor came together last week for the first AAPS Local History Mini-Conference at the downtown Ann Arbor District Library. The students taking the History of Racism and Resistance Course are working on local projects around housing and schooling and the impact of race on these issues. The mini-conference gave the students a chance to learn from a historian, author and University of Michigan professor, as well as do research using original source materials.

University of Michigan Associate Professor of History and Women’s and Gender Studies Dr. Lakisha Simmons served as the keynote speaker for the event. Simmons talked with the students about her experience researching her book Crescent City Girls: The Lives of Young Black Women in Segregated New Orleans and other projects.

Through the History of Racism and Resistance class, students at Community High School are continuing their work on the 100th anniversary of Jones School and the decision to close the school in 1965. Huron students are learning more about the legacy of racial housing covenants in Ann Arbor and how the community responded to that. Pioneer students are studying Ann Arbor’s history of housing segregation, desegregation and gentrification. Pathways is looking into the history of who AAPS buildings are named after and what values they represent, and Skyline is focused on the history of our school boundaries and how those decisions were made.

AAPS Social Studies Department Chair, 6-12, Jared Aumen, shares that this first-time event is exciting, and it is amazing for so many from across the community to come together to help the students.

This video shares more about this exciting History Mini-Conference in the AAPS. 

AAPS Student Homebuilding Program

We were excited to celebrate with students and teacher Mark Valcine and the AAPS Student Homebuilding Program at their annual banquet on Thursday evening. 

Approved by the Board of Education in 1970, the partnership between the school district and the members of the Ann Arbor building community continues to build one house each year, and this year our students are building their 54th home. The program's Board of Directors oversees the build and finances. The school district provides the teacher, materials, transportation for students to and from the program each day and other resources making this an exceptional education-to-business partnership that many across the state and nation have emulated. 

For the 2022-2023 school year, the students are constructing a home at 300 Sedgewood Ln, Ann Arbor, and you can see more about this year’s house in this video

Listen & Learn Ann Arbor: A Community Conversation 

We are excited to continue engaging with our Ann Arbor community this spring in a conversation as we plan for the future of AAPS; we so appreciate hearing the valued input of our students, families, staff and community. 

We recently enjoyed conversations with students, staff and parents last Thursday evening at Huron High School, on Friday for Brown Bag Lunch at Traverwood Library, on Saturday team members joined En Nuestra Lengua Saturday School and on Monday evening at Mallets Creek Library. 

I am grateful for everyone who has taken the time to come and engage in conversation with us in person; this continues to be an extremely thoughtful community conversation with patterns and synchronicities emerging in each meeting. 

As we prepare to move forward in planning for our future together, to focus the work toward equity, inclusion and opportunity for all our students, we want to align our school district improvement and enhancement work with the direction, experience, needs and aspirations of our students, parents, staff and community. 

We hope you will join in one of the public meetings, participate in a parent group or school-based conversation and/or use our online ThoughtExchange survey to share your thoughts and see and respond to what others are saying. Link to ThoughtExchange here: Please note that this link is for students, families and community members. There is a separate link for AAPS staff that has been shared via staff email. 

AAPS Listen & Learn Dates

You can learn more information and keep updated on the progress of our Listen and Learn Conversation, including the announcement of public AAPS community meeting dates, here.

We are looking forward to upcoming Listen & Learn conversations, including events at the AAPS Newcomer Fair next week and: 

  • Friday, May 19th, 11:30 AM - 12:30 PM, Bring Your Own Brown Bag Lunch
    Veterans Memorial Park Meeting Room, 2150 Jackson Ave, Ann Arbor, MI

  • Monday, May 22nd, 6:00 PM - 7:30 PM at the AAPS STEAM/CTE Expo at Skyline High School, 2552 N Maple Rd, Ann Arbor, MI

  • Tuesday, May 23rd, 6:30 PM - 7:30 PM at AADL Pittsfield, 2359 Oak Valley Dr, Ann Arbor, MI

COVID Public Health Reporting Update

Although the federal COVID Public Health Emergency ended this week, school districts are required to continue reporting cases and outbreaks. If a child tests positive, parents should report cases here, and here is additional information on what to do if students, staff or volunteers have COVID. The AAPS Weekly COVID case dashboard and the biweekly outbreak report are available here. The Ann Arbor Public Schools 2022-23 Covid Guidance available here remains in place through the end of the school year. 

Communication from the AAPS

This week’s episode of the A2 Schools Podcast includes a stimulating and fun conversation with Fred Klein, President of the AAEA, in celebration of Teacher Appreciation Week. 

To stay up-to-date with daily updates and information on school and district activities, you may want to follow us on social media.

We are grateful for and value your partnership in working together to support our students, staff, schools and this beautiful Ann Arbor Public Schools community we share.


Jeanice Kerr Swift
Superintendent of Schools
Ann Arbor Public Schools