Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Back-to-School Newsletter, August 30, 2011

Many thanks to the volunteers who made the Back-to-School Picnic such a success – we couldn’t have registered and fed close to 500 MPA students, family members, staff, and teachers without all of your help!  And thanks to all the volunteers who participated in the Open House this week.  Whether you helped usher families through the open house or came in for the school day volunteer training, you’re part of what makes MPA a success.  Thank you – and be sure to report your volunteer hours online here!

If you haven’t had a chance to look over the volunteer information for this year, now’s the time to get started!  You can find the position descriptions, FAQs, and sign-up forms on the MPA website here.   All families must choose their volunteer positions by the first volunteer team meetings, which will be held Thursday, September 8th, at 6:30 at MPA.  BCI checks will be available onsight at MPA through Security Hut from 5:30pm-7:30pm to coincide with the volunteer meeting. Cost is $48.49 and you will need your driver's license.  Please note:  Cash only, they do not accept credit cards for payments.  The BCI only takes a few minutes to complete.   If you haven't had your BCI yet, please take advantage of this convenient way to attend the meeting AND get your BCI completed

Last minute back-to-school info:
Dismissal for Students who are Walkers:  As noted in last week's newsletter, students who are designated as walkers can be picked up at the door on the side of the school building.  Students WILL be dismissed the same time as buses and cars: 3:15pm.  Please do not walk with your child through the parking lot.  For the safety of everyone, please utilize the sidewalk between the church and school buildings and walk to Triskett Road. There are sidewalks on Triskett, Orchard Park and Grapeland that can be utilized for your walk home. 
  • Milk service begins on the first day of school for grades 1-8 and will begin on Friday for Kindergarteners.  If your family has not returned your form yet but would like to participate in the milk program, please contact Lynn Wilson at MPA as soon as possible about the availability of this program.
  • For parents of students who are car riders: please place the carpool sign on the lowered car visor on the passenger side of your car when you come to pick up the student.  Parent volunteers need to be able to read the sign from a distance to help facilitate loading the cars.  You may need to use a binder clip or a rubber band to help hold the sign in place.
  • Car riders who have not been picked up by 3:45pm will be sent to the Edison Club after school program, incurring all standard Edison Club usage fees.
  • Kindergarten parents: 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!
  • Mrs. Scheuer, Technology Teacher, and Chris Whitman, a parent volunteer, will be forming teams for the First Lego League (FLL) competition for 5th, 6th, 7th and 8th graders shortly after school resumes. They are also looking to recruit parents to either coachadditional teams or co-coach our two teams (no experience required!!).  Look for a flyer in the first Thursday folder for details!
  • We’d like to start electives for all grade levels as soon as possible this fall.  Electives will be held on Wednesday for all grade levels, as well as on Thursday and Friday for students in grades 5-8.  Dr. Bouchard will be coordinating this program, so please contact her with your topic ideas (and grade level) as soon as possible.  You can e-mail her directly at Lorraine.bouchard@menloparkacademy.com.
  • MPA will not be continuing last year’s Wizard Store reward program.  Thank you for all of your past donations of items for the Wizard Store, but the office will not be able to accept further donations of these types of items.  If you have small items you’d like to donate, please contact your student’s teacher to see if they can use them as part of any classroom reward system they may be using this year.
  • This year gym class will be held twice a week, beginning with the first week of school!  Here’s the current schedule for gym class, so you’ll know which days your child needs to wear “gym appropriate” clothing:
o   Monday: Mrs. Timko’s Kindergarten, all classes in grades 1-3.
o   Tuesday: Mrs. Snyder’s Kindergarten, all classes in grades 4-8.
o   Thursday: Mrs. Rokas’ second grade class, all classes in grades 4-8.
o   Friday: All Kindergarten classes, all first grade classes, Mrs. Cerankowski’s second grade class, all third grade classes.
Dress down days will be held on most Fridays.  As in past years, please send $1 to school in your family’s Thursday folder for each student who wishes to participate in that week’s dress down day.

Speaking of gym clothes and dress down days, many families have contacted the school with questions about the changes that were made this year to the school dress code Here are answers to a few FAQs that came up over the past few weeks:
  • On days when the student participates in gym class, students may wear either standard dress code appropriate clothes (i.e. knee-length shorts) or “gym” clothes such as athletic shorts, sweatpants, or leggings.  If the student wears baggy “basketball-style” shorts, or very short athletic shorts, the student will be expected to either cover them up with standard dress code pants, or QUICKLY change into and out of the gym shorts before and after gym class.  MPA does not have any locker rooms, so students who need to change for gym class will do so in the restrooms.  Students may wear sweatpants, long exercise pants, or leggings all day on gym days – it’s just the really baggy or very short shorts that will need to be covered up or exchanged for standard pants.
  • On days when the student participates in a field trip, a solid LIGHT BLUE color collared shirt should be worn.  This shirt can be long sleeve or short sleeve, have a turtleneck shirt underneath it or a sweater over top of it – but the main shirt should be light blue and have a collar.  Some field trips may require different dress (for example, a trip to go hiking and stream stomping); if this is the case, the teacher(s) leading the field trip will communicate this to students and parents prior to the field trip.
  • On dress down days, the following types of shirts are prohibited: shirts with spaghetti straps, and shirts with words or images that condone improper or disrespectful behavior or have images that are inappropriate for school.  Shirts with appropriate words or images are permitted


    Important dates:

  • Thursday, September 1st – Half day of school for kindergarteners, full day for other students.  Kindergarten students attend from 8:30 to 11:30 am, with one parent or other adult invited to stay from 8:30-9:15. Kindergarteners must be picked up at 11:30, which is just before lunchtime. 
  • Friday, September 2nd – Partial day of school for kindergarteners, full day for other students.  Kindergarten students attend from 8:30 am to 1 pm, which includes lunch and recess.  Kindergarteners must be picked up at 1 pm.
  • Monday, September 5th – Holiday – No School
  • Tuesday, September 6th – Full day for all students
  • Thursday, September 8th – Volunteer Meeting, 6:30pm at MPA with Dr. Bouchard and Mrs. Lindemann, 5:30-7:30pm BCI Checks at MPA. 
Fun fact:
MPA has 285 students enrolled for the 2011-2012 school year.  That’s so many we have THREE lunch and recess periods to accommodate everyone!
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