Friday, April 29, 2011

Presidents on display

Ever wonder what happened to Dr. Hronek's Presidents display?  Go to the Westlake Porter Public Library before the end of April you will see an even bigger collection - three times larger than the previous version, and filled with many artifacts and books about the Presidents.  It's a great spring activity for those of you who can't get to Washington, D.C.!

Field Day!!!!!

The PTO will be running this year's Field Day May 25th at Lakewood Park.  Kids will be taking buses from school to the park in the morning and returning to school before dismissal - it's like a field trip for the whole school!  MPA is even providing lunch for the kids, so that's one less brown bag you need to pack this year.  It's sure to be a great day of sun, fun, and healthy competition. 

Running events for more than 200 kids takes a lot of planning and a lot of volunteer manpower - but it's also a LOT of fun!  Volunteers are still needed to help make this a fun - and safe - day for the kids.  If you can volunteer the day of the event, or help with planning or gathering materials beforehand, please contact Melissa Schill at as soon as possible.

(Just a reminder - all students must have a 2011 MPA field day shirt for this event so they can be assigned to the proper team.  Please contact the school immediately if you have not ordered your student's shirt yet!)

PTO update

Just to show you that every little bit helps ... with the MPA points at Giant Eagle the PTO was able to purchase 12 potato sacks, many frisbees, lots of playground balls and basketballs, and a play parachute. With Campbells points we were able to purchase a DVD/VHS combo player, a economy size coffee machine (makes up to 30 cups) and a karaoke machine for the kids. And we have earned $1,387 for the school this year just by cutting boxtops!  Thanks so much to everyone who has contributed!

News from the library

Thanks to all those who bought books at the Book Fair - your purchases helped us purchase 85 new books, including some sure-to-be-popular science and sports books (and, finally, a complete set of Percy Jacksons!).  Check out the library's corner of the MPA site to find a list of new books, some reading suggestions for second- and third-graders, and the updated wish list.  If you're interested in volunteering in the library either now OR this fall, please contact Katherine Bryk at  

Also, please be aware that all MPA library books will be due the week of May 9.

Classroom update - Mrs. Timko

Well....we had yet another successful field trip to the Cleveland Museum of Art!!  The kindergarteners were VERY well-behaved and the docents (museum tour guides) were very impressed with the overall behavior and knowledge of our gifted students!  I was a very proud teacher (once again!).  

I must thank Mrs. Nealis (Jackson's mom) again for arranging this educational experience for us.  A special thank you to our AWESOME chaperons who joined us:  Mrs Sapong (Jenna's mom) and Mr. Kim (Young's dad).  Our trip was successful, in part, due to your initiative and willingness to assist our friends when necessary.  Thank you!!  

We were also lucky enough to have our fabulous art teacher, Ms. DeCapite, and our wonderful teaching assistant Mrs. Venero (Mrs. V) join us and supervise one of the groups.  We greatly appreciated them being there with us as well!  Ms. DeCapite then had the students work on a reflection of our field trip in Art class that afternoon.  She plans on displaying their work in the hallway once they're completed.  

Thank you to everyone who made today's trip a wonderful experience for all who attended.  The children LOVED the culture-filled experience and are looking forward to exploring the museum more in-depth with their families if/when the opportunity arises. 

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Golf Scramble, Dinner and Auction May 21 at Sweetbriar Golf Course in Avon Lake

Menlo Park Academy is hosting its 2nd Annual Golf Scramble, Dinner & Auction on Saturday, May 21, 2011. Please bring your friends and family to participate in this event by golfing, attending dinner only, or by purchasing one of the remaining sponsorship opportunities!

Join the MPA community as we celebrate the end of our 3rd successful school year, while raising much needed funds to continue providing a challenging and rewarding education for Northeast Ohio’s gifted learners.

Sponsorship or Registration Questions?

Contact Dawn Watson at 440.670.3284 or email

Click here for the downloadable brochure that was sent home in the Thursday folders.


Classroom update - Mrs. Belko

Michael Ferrari, author of Born to Fly, conducted writing workshops with students on Friday, April 15th.  Mr. Ferrari discussed how to develop main characters and minor characters, plots and subplots.  Mr. Ferrari will join us again at our Young Author's night celebration on Thursday, May 19th.  

Our writing workshops are in full swing.  Recently the 5th-7th grade students have participated in a variety of free-writing/brainstorming sessions in class.  First, they were assigned the task of observing a unknown character to help develop their observation skills.  Students were also given a sensory image sheet.  This exercise was intended to help students visualize a scene they could incorporate into their stories. In class we have discussed the importance of developing characters and determining what the main character wants.   I have provided the students with several different methods (free-writing, mapping, free-thinking) to assist the students in framing their stories.  Students were also given story maps to plot out their story events. This serves as rough outline for their story.  A portion of each period is devoted to writing, discussing the craft of writing, listening to examples of exemplary writing, and participating in critique groups.

I have given students the option of writing a picture story book or a longer work (novella).  Students who chose the picture book are expected to have illustrations to accompany their books.  These illustrations should help to tell the story.  There should be a minimum of ten spreads.  This includes pictures and writing.  They are also required to illustrate a book cover.  Longer pieces of writing must have a book cover and two illustrations.  

"The Courageous Spirit" is the theme this year.  Attached below you can find a copy of the writing rubrics and a more detailed description of the theme.

Classroom update - Mrs. Tigue

Our third graders began a Cleveland Study on Wednesday, March 2.  We will be reading about the evolution of Cleveland using text titled "Cleveland: From Wilderness to City."  We will also be reading the historical novel "Carry Me Home Cuyahoga."

On Friday, May 6th, we will head back downtown to Heritage Park, where Lorenzo Carter's cabin sits.  He and his family were the first to settle in Cleveland.   This will be an all day trip and students will need to pack a brown bag (disposable) lunch. We will leave MPA at 11:00AM and return at 2:30PM.

We're also looking forward to our overnight field trip to Cleveland Metro Parks Zoo, May 7-8. 

Classroom update - Miss Cerankowski

Happy Spring!  It appears that April showers bring May flowers is true!  It seems as though it’s been raining more in the past two weeks than it has all year.  The students have been patient with indoor recess and I’ve been trying to add extra fun, out-of-your-seat activities so students can release some of their energy.  We made habitat mobiles in science class while practicing our music for the spring concert.  I was able to have a sneak preview of all the fun songs that students are so excited to sing! 

In math class we postponed our capacity unit and wrapped up our number sense unit first.  Students revisited the skill of regrouping and borrowing with three and four digit subtraction.  We also practiced for and participated in the Noetic Math Competition on April 14th.  Students were encouraged to do some above-level thinking and put forth their best effort, and they did a great job!  This past week we started our measurement unit and have done some hands-on activities.  Students have been estimating the length of different items around the classroom and then measuring to see how close they were to the actual length.  It’s been exciting to see students estimate closer and closer each time we do it.  We will continue with measurement and then move onto our capacity unit in the coming weeks.

In Language Arts we have been receiving and sending our pen pal letters to Sycamore School in Indianapolis.  They even sent us a picture of their whole class holding the flower pencils we made for them!  It was neat to put a face to the pen pal that each of the students have been writing to.  We have also started our Young Author books during our writing time.  Students have really taken off with this and it was impressive to read how creative students really are when given an idea and are able to run with it.  Students were encouraged to write a circle story, in which the story started in one setting, the character went on a variety of adventures, and then ended up in the same setting as the beginning.  We read examples of circle stories like If You Give a Mouse a Cookie and other versions in class to help students get an idea of what a circle story is.

We are taking a break from spelling this week and are continuing with a few word study units from our Sadlier-Oxford vocabulary workshop books.  It's been neat for students to learn new words and their definitions.  They've been practicing putting the words comprehensively in a paragraph and finding synonyms and antonyms for each of the words.  

The students continue to work in their “flower” groups for reading and are almost through with the current book they're working on.  The tulip group wrote a monologue of one of the farmers, Bean, from Fantastic Mr. Fox.  They've also worked together as a group to write a persuasive essay of why four specific animals cannot live in the same habitat.  Next, they will be building a model of the storehouse, as described in the book.  The daisy group has been busy practicing literature circle skills.  This week they practiced being an illustrator and summarizing what happened in a specific part of their current book.  The rose and sunflower groups have been practicing their fluency as they read in small groups.  This week they also created an invitation for Winn-Dixie's party.  I couldn't believe how wonderful they each turned out!

In Science we are wrapping up our plants and animals unit.  Students just made animal and habitat mobiles.  They had to think of different habitats and then draw animals that belong in each of the habitats.  We drew, colored, cut, and hung our completed drawings from a hanger.  They are hanging in our classroom, come check them out!  We will be concluding our unit with animals with a trip to the Cleveland Zoo on May 9th.  Our last unit of the year will be energy and motion.  We will learn about paths of light, how sound and heat are produced, and different types of energy.

Upcoming Events
5/5 Pizza Day
5/9 Field trip to the zoo
5/15 Spring Concert
5/16-5/18 IOWA testing
5/19 Field trip to Playhouse, CATS
5/21 Golf Scramble
5/25 Field day
5/28 Crushers Game

Special Thanks to...
Audrey's mom for putting together our Spring party
Valerie's mom for preparing our carding elective

Miss Cerankowski    

Menlo Newsletter - we need your help!

Dear parents, volunteers, and educators:

Great things are happening at Menlo!  The problem is, no one knows about them!  Let's get the word out.  Gretchen Woods is trying to get out a newsletter for Menlo sometime very soon.  Could you please give us a short paragraph about what's happening on your volunteer team, and upcoming event, a need you have, something great that you received a donation for, etc????
We can get it formatted, proof it, and make it look great ..............And you get the credit for your teams submission...........just give us some text to work with.  Keep it simple and short -- you don't need to write more than a paragraph.  If you need to give more info we can create a link for people to click on and get more information or download a brochure, etc.  (golf scramble)

Connie Lindemann
Operations Director
Menlo Park Academy
14440 Triskett Road
Cleveland, OH  44111

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

B-W Conservatory Outreach Summer Music Programs - Last week to sign up!

This is the LAST WEEK the B-W Conservatory Outreach is accepting applications for middle school Summer Music Programs! Applications are available online and are due by May 1st! Feel free to give us a call with any questions at 440-826-2365.

Music Theatre Camp – Sunday, June 26 through Friday, July 1, 2011 Students who would like to enhance their singing, acting and movement skills should check out Music Theatre Camp! Group classes, as well as music theatre workshops and master classes with guest artists, including B-W Alumnus, Dominic Roberts who performed in Mary Poppins on Broadway, will be a part of this fun filled week.

Band Camp – Sunday, June 26 through Friday, July 1, 2011 Students who play woodwind, brass or percussion instruments are invited to join instrumentalists from across the state for a week of music and fun. Band camp offers the opportunity to play in one of three bands, jazz ensemble, chamber music and sectionals.

String Camp – Saturday, June 18 through Thursday, June 23, 2011
Violin, viola, cello and bass students will have an opportunity to play in one of 4 orchestras, chamber music ensembles, and sectionals with other students from across the state, and beyond.

Piano Camp – Saturday, June 18 through Thursday, June 23, 2011 Calling all piano students in grades 4 – 9 who have studied piano for at least 9 months! Piano Camp students will receive two 30-minute private lessons and have daily supervised practice sessions. In addition, piano students will participate in piano duet, music theory and music elective classes taught by B-W Conservatory faculty.

Find more information on our website:

Arts Fair - A Great Success!

The 1st Annual Menlo Park Academy Arts Fair was held April 10, 2011 and was a wonderful time for all! Created to highlight the students talents in the arts, specifically the visual arts and performance, the event was created and run by a small team of parent volunteers co-chaired by Melanie Nealis and Jill Milenski and supported by Ms. DeCapite (art teacher) and Ms. Leib (music teacher).

Adults and children listened intently to the youthful sounds of 24 musicians performing on piano, violin, trumpet, drums, flute and voice throughout the building, hallways, library and the gym stage. Crowds could also be found gathered around a dancer, poet, and some hip hop dancers/musicians.

"Wax Figure Artists" were stationed throughout the school in a "frozen" position" until you drop a coin into their box. They would then come alive and tell you something about themselves and give you the opportunity to guess who they were portraying. These students had chosen to research and dress up as a famous artist or composer and included artists such as Leonardo da Vinci.

Artwork from all art classes and electives were beautifully arranged throughout the building and is still on display for all who visit the school. The day came to an end with an ice cream social and many smiles. Plans are already underway for the next years event with hopes to incorporate the "Wax Figure Artist" element into the school's curriculum and involve even more students.

Lego Olympiad results

A big thanks to all the parents, volunteers, and teachers who made the LEGO Olympiad not only a success but also an extremely fun and exciting day! We had 86 students attend the event, and 8 teams won awards in the Open Build Division. 

Please join me in congratulating the following Menlo students who placed in the event:

1st Place, PreK-Grade 1
Team 5

Katie Love
Olivia Schauss
Linsay Homolka
Claire Coleman
Eliza Wegner

3rd Place, PreK-Grade 1
Team 4

Bradley Hofstetter
Maura Ingraham
Lilly Ross
Michael Smith

1st Place, Grade 2
Team 7

Ben Dawson
Jakob Syracuse
Stavros Ananiadis
Isaac Hubbard

1st Place, Grade 3
Team 11

Gabe Payne
Matt Harrington
Sam Peacock
Ryan Sluder

3rd Place, Grade 3
Team 12 (pictured at right)

Kelsey Watson
Carolyn Homolka
Elizabeth Coleman
Taylor Heckel
Noelle Harrington

1st Place, Grade 5
Team 17

Zasca Ristianto
Kehley Coleman
Teresa Szczecinski
Alexandra Harrison
Delilah Stack

2nd Place, Grade 6
Team 23 (WWII-Era Tank)

Nicholas Hiti (Euclid - pictured at right)

1st Place, Grade 7
Team 20 (Amusement Park with Shooting Gallery)

Quintin Kovach (Westlake)
John Antolik (Cleveland Heights)
Aidan Harrington (Avon)
Fox Milenski (Lakewood)

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Cleveland Area Student Wins First Place in Worldwide Youth Art Competition

Experts from around the world gathered from April 11-15th at the International Academy of Astronautics Humans in Space Symposium to examine current human space exploration knowledge, plan future human space flight goals, and discuss working together to create the “Next Golden Age of Human Space Flight.”

In conjunction with this event, children ages 10-17 from every country were invited to submit their ideas about the future of human space flight and why it is important via visual, literary, musical or video art.

Ten year-old, Kehley Coleman, was awarded the Humans in Space Symposium Youth Art Competition Award for her literary submission entitled “The Journey to Space”. She was awarded first place in her age group in the Short Story subgenre and second place in her age group overall. Her short story was selected from 550 entries from around the world and was announced at the Humans in Space Symposium opening ceremony at NASA-Johnson Space Center.

Coleman is a 5th grade student at Menlo Park Academy in West Park and resides in Avon. She stated, “I really enjoyed writing the story. I just took what I know about space and what I know about writing and combined the two.” Her story can be seen at the Youth Art Online Gallery at

Monday, April 18, 2011

Now hiring: Lunch and Recess Aides

Duties include but are not limited to; assisting children with their lunches, clean-up, monitor lunch and recess times, ensuring the safety and security of the children and maintaining an orderly environment.  Must be dependable and have a positive attitude and the ability to work well with students, administrators and staff.  Must undergo a background check/fingerprinting to work in a school. Employment subject to successful completion of background check.

This job requires a high school diploma.   Pay scale is $8.50-$10/hour depending upon experience.  Please send resume and letter of interest to

Marketing Team Notes

Looking for volunteer opportunities that don't require a trip to school during the day?  Have we got a deal for you!

The marketing team still has a number of projects that you can help on before the end of the school year.  We could use help with press releases, managing our facebook account, developing a video for use on the website, finalizing website updates, graphic work for brochures, copy for the newsletter, photography, and more.

If you are interested in helping with anything in particular, please contact team lead Jeff Gibeault.  You can reach him at

Recruitment Request

Through lots of hard work by many people, most MPA classrooms are full or have a waiting list for the 2011-12 school year.  However, we still have openings in next year's 7th/8th grade class.

An ad inviting personal tours will appear in the western edition of May's Cleveland's Family Magazine.  If you know any families with an eligible older middle schooler, invite them to come in for a private tour.

Jeff Gibeault, marketing team lead

Monday, April 11, 2011

The Science Department's New Grow Camp

I am pleased to share with all avid gardeners and lovers of the outdoors an exciting addition to our MPA science facilities. Delivered this afternoon from the Gardener's Supply Company ( is a new greenhouse that can accommodate dozens of plants of all sorts.

The timing for this is particularly good as the 4th grade is currently studying plants and the 5th grade is learning about ecosystems. Called the "Grow Camp", this sturdy 4'x8' greenhouse is fully collapsible so that it can be moved and stored if necessary. The base is made of rot-proof polypropylene and the plastic cover can be replaced with netting in the summer to let air circulate freely while keeping out pests.

With this new gardening site we now can conduct growth experiments, learning about the effects of pH, fertilizers, moisture levels, etc. on plant growth while also growing healthy vegetables for lessons on nutrition and planning a healthy menu. All we need now are a few enthusiastic volunteers who would like to help with gardening projects and general maintenance of the garden. If you are interested in helping out or have tools or seeds you can donate or share, please let me know. I hope to get the garden together and filled with soil by the middle of the month so we can have fresh lettuce by the end of the school year!
Happy Spring!
Janeth Eby
Science and Health Educator
Menlo Park Academy
14440 Triskett Road
Cleveland, OH 44111
(440) 478-5556 (cell)

Education is not the filling of a pail, but the lighting of a fire. - William Butler Yeats

Friday, April 8, 2011

Kindergarten Update

We are currently hard at work as young authors working on our non-fiction book project.  We have learned how to select a topic of interest and then research important information about the chosen topic and then learned how to document that information through note-taking and drafting.  We have become experts on many conventions of non-fiction print and are readily applying these conventions to our individual book writing.  We are so excited to engage in this process and we can't wait to see the final results!

Both Kindergarten classes enjoyed a terrific field trip to the Botanical Gardens this past Friday.  We spent all day at the Gardens exploring plants (the parts that make up a plant, their various uses, etc.) in various surroundings (such as a Madagascan Spiny Desert and a Costa Rican Cloud Forest).  The children were given the opportunity to record their findings in the various environments-they drew the different leaves, stems, roots, and flowers that they saw in each location.  

The students were also given the chance to make their very own terrariums using plastic bottles!  These terrariums are completely self-contained and do not need any additional water in order to help the plant grow-the different elements create enough evaporation and condensation to allow for optimal growth to take place.  

We ate lunch at the Botanical Gardens and finished our day there with some time in the children's garden!  

A great time was had by all who attended...thank you to our chaperons who took the time out of their busy day to attend our field trip with us! 

As we look ahead to the coming weeks, here is what we have to look forward to:
  •  Friday, April 15th:  LEGO Olympiad at LCCC for those students who previously registered
  •  Wednesday, April 27th:  Field Trip to the Cleveland Museum of Art!

Mrs. Courtney Timko
 (with photos by G. Woods)

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Columbus Children's Theatre Visits Menlo Park Academy

Columbus Children's Theatre is coming to Menlo Park Academy on Tuesday, April 12th! In the morning (9am), they will be performing Magic, Mystery, and Mayhem, a performance based on six original stories created by students in Ohio grades K-6. Later (1pm), they will be performing The Three Little Pigs.

For more information on the group, please visit their website at

They have a great way of describing their very entertaining events!

MPA musicians entertain seniors, warm hearts

Tuesday the musicians from MPA did a beautiful job performing for the audience of seniors at the day care center.  The violin ensemble performed the first set of pieces, the choir performed their pieces and the violin soloists closed the program. The audience received them warmly and the students performed with grace and poise!  

After they performed, each student went into the audience to say a personal greeting to each senior, many students shaking their hands and offering a warm word.  It was such a joy to see them interacting with the seniors and so appreciated.  Thank-you so much for your support and for helping the students practice their music and to get their instruments to school, both for the elective classes, rehearsals and the performances.

There was one senior in the audience that had lost her ability to speak, due to dementia.  Most of the time, she sat still in her chair, staring forward and unresponsive.  When the children performed, she was smiling and tapping her foot gently.  Afterwards, she sat still again, staring and not able to speak.  For one hour today, the children were able to give this lady so much joy, despite the progression of her dementia.  It made me, once again, aware of the importance of music in stimulating memory and emotions.  Music has been used as a powerful tool in therapy with people with Alzheimer's type dementia. Music was today, for our MPA musicians and for the seniors at this facility, a universal, multi-cultural, multi- generational language.

Musically yours,

Ardis Billey

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Burrell Observatory Open House at Baldwin-Wallace College Friday April 15 at 7:30pm The Milky Way Galaxy: Our Own Personal Island Universe by Dr. R. Earle Luck

Dr. Luck is Warner Professor of Astronomy at Case Western Reserve University. The Lecture will held in the “Center for Innovation and Growth” (CIG). After the lecture the Burrell Observatory will be open for viewing, weather permitting. This is a free lecture and no reservations are required. The CIG is located the east side of Front Street, north of Bagley at 340 Front St. Parking is available next to and behind CIG and adjacent to the observatory off of Fifth Ave West. Questions? Contact the observatory director at or the Department of Physics and Astronomy at 440-826-2312.

Friday, April 1, 2011

Stand up for Gifted Children in Ohio!

State Budget Impact on Gifted Education Funding/Hearings Scheduled for April 6 and April 8

Yes, Menlo Park Academy has gifted all day, every day; however, 1) charter school funding may be at risk, and 2) many of our children will rely on public high schools after MPA. We all need to take action and advocate for our children's future!

The executive budget for education has folded district gifted funding into the basic aid formula, essentially wiping out dedicated gifted funding to districts for gifted children. The Ohio House will be hearing testimony on special education, career technical and gifted education on April 6 in Room 116 at 2:30 at the Statehouse. The committee will be hear all public testimony on Friday, April 8 in Room 114.

For more information about how you can testify or to contact your legislators about these cuts, please go to