Thursday, July 28, 2011

What’s coming up on the calendar?

Saturday, August 6th Classroom cleanup scheduled at MPA building – volunteers needed!
Monday, August 22nd – Classroom assignments will be e-mailed to parents
Sunday, August 28th –       Back-to-school picnic at Lakewood Park , 5 – 7 pm
                                          Edison Club – Mandatory 20-minute orientation at 6 pm at picnic
Monday, August 29th        1-3 pm Open house to meet teachers and drop off school supplies (optional)
        Training (in the gym) for those interested in daytime volunteers jobs such as helping in the classroom, lunchroom, or playground. Choose one training time: either  1pm-1:45pm or 2-2:45pm in the gym. 
Wednesday, August 31st – First day of school for 1st-8th graders
Thursday, September 1st – Half day of school for kindergarteners, full day for other students
Friday, September 2nd – Partial day of school for kindergarteners, full day for other students
Monday, September 5th – Holiday – No School
Tuesday, September 6th – Full day for all students
A copy of the full 2011-2012 school year calendar can be found on the “Communication Central” page of the Menlo Park Academy web site.
One last tip for parents of new students … please review the MPA dress code and supply lists (both online at ) before doing your back-to-school shopping.  School uniforms sell out quickly in the mall and discount stores, especially in the kindergarten sizes, so it’s best to start looking early rather than be stuck trying to scrape up polo shirts on August 29th.

What can you do to help?

As we all know, families of students at Menlo Park Academy are expected to volunteer at least 10 hours a month to help improve the school experience for our students. 
It’s never too early to get started on your hours for this year – over the summer we need everything from maintenance/facilities help in the school building to paperwork help that can be done at home or in the school office.
Immediate needs include help for the classroom clean-up scheduled for Saturday, August 6th.  If you can move desks, wield a bottle of glass cleaner, or shelve books, we need you!
Later this summer we’ll be sending out more information of the kinds of volunteer opportunities available during the school year, including leading electives, organizing fundraisers, and helping out with lunch or recess duty.  We’ll also be holding a training session on Monday, August 29th, for volunteers who are interested in working during arrival, lunch, recess, or dismissal.  Contact the school if you’d like to find out more or be included in the training.

Who are the new teachers?

As our school continues to expand, so does our list of highly trained faculty and staff.  We’ll be sharing more detailed information about our newest teachers later this summer.  In the meantime, please join us in welcoming the following teachers to Menlo Park Academy this year:
-          Ashley Schroeder and Doug Thompson, 1st grade
-          Kym Rokas, 2nd grade
-          Eamon O’Donnell, 4th grade
-          Julie Kubek, Middle School mathematics
-          Leslie Weber, Middle School social studies
In addition, several returning teachers will be taking on new responsibilities.  Shanon Kneidel (reading intervention) will also be teaching 5th Grade language arts this year, and Carol Scheuer (technology and mathematics) will be working as an IT coordinator for the school, as well as teaching K-12 technology.
Finally – and maybe most importantly, as far as the students are concerned – NO, we have NOT finished the classroom assignments yet.  Teachers will be e-mailing their class lists to their students’ parents on August 22nd.   Please respect the fact that many, many factors are considered when placing children with teachers, and we are unable to honor any requests for placement with specific teachers.

What's the plan for the staggered start for kindergarteners?

Starting Kindergarten can be an overwhelming experience for both the child and the parent.  In order to make for a smooth transition, we will follow this schedule for Kindergarten:
-          Wednesday, August 31:  NO SCHOOL for incoming kindergarten students.
-          Thursday, September 1:  Kindergarten students attend school for 1/2 day in the morning. Students arrive 8:00-8:30 am.  School starts at 8:30 am. One parent (or other adult) is invited to take the student into the classroom and stay for a fun activity from 8:30 – 9:15 am, at which time the adult will be dismissed.  The Kindergarten student should be picked up at 11:30 am, which is just before lunch.
-          Friday, September 2:  Kindergarten students attend school for the morning (arrival 8:00-8:30 am) AND stay for lunch/recess. Adults should pick the students up at 1:00 pm.
-          Monday, September 5:  Holiday:  NO SCHOOL.
-          Tuesday, September 6:  Typical FULL day for kindergarten students (arrival from 8:00-8:30 am, dismissal at 3:15 pm).
So, kindergarten parents, what are you going to do on the day your child is in school for only three hours?  Several parents of past kindergarteners have volunteered to lead a coffee hour September 1st at the local Baskin Robbins/Dunkin Donuts (16204 Lorain Avenue, Cleveland - (216) 812-3865).  If you have questions about what to expect as the parent of an MPA student, want to make suggestions about how to make the process easier on future students, or just need a shoulder to cry on while your baby has his or her first day of school, this is the place to be.  Drop by the store between 9:30 am and 11 am – we hope to see you there!

Does your student qualify for busing?

Sorry, we can’t answer that question for you – but here’s what we know:
Busing is coordinated by the local school districts our students would attend if they weren’t enrolled at MPA.  In order for your school district to provide busing, MPA must be within a 30-minute bus ride from the district and there must be a minimum number of students from that district attending the school.  Last year, the districts which provided  busing included AvonAvon LakeWestlake, Sheffield, North Ridgeville, and Olmsted Falls.  Since enrollment from each district changes every year, past busing is no guarantee of service for the following year.
Please contact your local school district’s busing or transportation department directly to inquire whether busing will be available for your child this year.  If you are still in need of busing assistance, please call MPA and speak with Nancy Colby, our student data administrator.  Nancy has extensive experience in the transportation department of a Westside school district and can give you further information regarding how to communicate with your district.  

Who needs a background check?

The policy of Menlo Park Academy is to require all adults volunteering directly with students to be chaperoned by a staff member or teacher unless the adult has undergone a background check (BCI).  That means that if you want to chaperone a field trip, teach an elective, or even volunteer for playground duty, you should complete a BCI.  We’d like to have as many parents as possible available to volunteer, so please consider completing the BCI even if you don’t currently plan to work directly with students.  You never know when you might change your mind!
Returning volunteers are in luck – BCIs don’t need to be renewed each year, so if you’ve already had one run it is still valid.  But parents of new students – and other adults who have not volunteered directly with students in the past – need to have the background check completed.
There are a variety of locations which offer this service, including many local police departments.  Menlo Park Academy has had good luck with receiving BCIs quickly from the following companies:
- Security Hut Inc., 18614 Detroit Avenue, Lakewood, OH 44107  216-226-0461  M-F 9am – 5pm
- Confidential Solutions, 14701 Detroit Avenue #256, Cleveland, OH 44107 216-228-3394  T-F 10am – 5pm
One final note: if your family is new to the school and you have a completed BCI that is less than a year old, you can apply on the Ohio Attorney General’s website to have a certified copy sent to MPA: .  The cost is $8 for the copy.  Please make certain to have it sent directly to MPA.

Thursday, July 21, 2011

A playground made of ... magazines?

That's right, the new playground equipment - purchased with money from the magazine subscription fundraiser - was installed and is ready to use (if it ever cools off!).

Thanks to all the volunteers who made this possible - the kids are going to be sooooo happy to see the new toys when they come back in a few weeks!

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Paperwork! Paperwork! Get your paperwork here!

Well, summer's half over already, and it's time to start getting ready for an awesome 2011-2012 school year at MPA!

As a reminder, enrollment paperwork must be turned in to the school in person next week according to the following schedule:

– Monday, July 25th, New Students & Incoming Kindergarten.
– Tuesday, July 26th, Last names A-L
– Wednesday, July 27th, Last names M-Z
– Thursday, July 28th, Make up day for New Students & Incoming Kindergarten
– Friday, July 29th, Make up day for anyone that was missed

Please bring all of the enrollment forms, required documents and the balance of the $500 activities and materials fee to the school’s office at 14440 Triskett Rd, Cleveland OH  44111.  If you are unable to pay the balance of the $500 fee by this time, you must contact Operations Manager, Connie Lindemann at to make alternative arrangements.

The enrollment forms can be found online here; please remember that you must also bring proof of residency that includes your family's name and current address (Current Utility Bill (no older than 60 days), Homeowner or Tenant Insurance Policy, or Municipal Income Tax Bill (RITA) - a driver's license is NOT acceptable!).

A couple of other links that might be helpful to parents of new and returning students alike:

Class supply lists
Dress code
2011-2012 School calendar

And, because we know it's the number one question all the students have right now ... NO, we don't have the classroom assignments finished yet!  Look for the class lists to be emailed from you child's homeroom teacher on August 22.  Until then, please respect that classroom assignments have a lot of thought behind them, and we CANNOT honor requests for placements with specific teachers.