Wednesday, March 14, 2012

MPA Newsletter 3/14/2012

MPA Newsletter, 3/14/2012

Development Information

So, do you ever buy gas?  Shop for groceries?  Eat at a restaurant?  Of course you do!  Wouldn't it be convenient if you could take care of those things and raise money for the school at the same time?  You bet!  That's why the Scrip gift cards are such a great idea.  You order your gift cards through the school, MPA gets a percentage of the purchase price, and everybody is happy.  You can find more information on the program at  (editor's note: Did you know you can use the Giant Eagle gift cards to buy OTHER gift cards at the grocery store, which may earn you FuelPerks and gives you access to some cards you can't find online?  My personal goal this month: use Giant Eagle cards to buy Visa or American Express gift cards so I can eat cash-free at Chick-Fil-A and Jimmy Johns.)  Scrip card orders for this month are due Tuesday, March 20th. 

Have you checked the expiration date on the Box Tops you're saving?  Many expire on March 31st!  Yes, EXPIRE!!  Send them in by Mon 3/27 so the Box Tops coordinator can get them ready and sent in before the expiration date.  Don't forget about the Box Tops classroom competition!  Wondering what individual reward may be coming up?  Nothing in the works as we get ready for the classroom rewards in May.  If you have a donation or idea for a raffle prize, please contact the Box Tops coordinator at  Thank you!

Time for the weekly Annual Fund mention ... have you made a pledge?  If so, thank you!  Now it's time to start thinking about actually PAYING those pledged amounts.  Checks made payable to MPA (with Annual Fund in the note section) can be sent to Tanya Reno via Thursday folders or any other school communications.  Please make sure that it's obvious who the check is from so we can properly credit your family for the donation.  And don't forget that you can pay online, too: just click the "Donate" button on the bottom right of the school website homepage at .

Thursday, April 5th, will be our annual MPA Walk-A-Thon.  Students will be walking laps to raise money for the school.  This is a great way to get your extended family involved in our fundraising - print out the attached form, give Grandma or Aunt Susie a call, and see how much you can raise!  Students who raise more than $50 will receive a special edition MPA t-shirt.  Each homeroom will have a specific fundraising goal, and all classes who meet their goals will be able to participate in a Pajama Day later this year!  So grab those sneakers (and checkbooks) and let's get walking!

Quiz Night is coming up - have you started getting together your team of eight adults to tackle our trivia challenges?  The event is Saturday, April 28th, at Brennan's (13000 Triskett Road).  Tickets are $40 per person and include hot and cold appetizers, non-alcoholic beverages, dessert, and one door prize ticket.  There will be a Chinese raffle and silent auctions for prize baskets ... plus some awesome trivia action!  Stay tuned for more information and ticket sales.  And don't worry if you don't have enough people for a team - we'll be happy to help form a team for you. 

Student Information

Welcome to new Kindergarten student Carol Burgess!  We're so glad to have you join your sister Dorothy here at MPA!  And welcome to Rita Elsea, who joins our faculty as our full-time intervention specialist.  She moved back to Ohio this year after honing her skills in Chatanooga, Tennessee.  When she's not working with students in K-8, she might be found in her office across from the computer lab upstairs. 

Thank you for returning the forms we needed to apply for the increased e-rate discount for our utilities.  We have received sufficient response to qualify for the discount ... so all those little pieces of paper will be saving us big money!  Thanks for taking the time to return them.

It's official - all after-hours entry to the school (including Edison Club pick-ups) will be done through the door that connects DIRECTLY to the gym.  It's not on the same side of the building as the usual entrances - it's around the left corner of the building and down some stairs.  There's a buzzer and everything, so if you need to get into the building after 4pm, try that door first.

Tryouts for the spring basketball league begin this Friday, March 16th, from 4:30-6pm at the Kamm's Corner YMCA.  Boys in grades 4-6 can come tryout to be on the team, which will have practices every Friday this spring at the Kamm's Corner YMCA, and Games every Saturday from March 24-May 5 at the Lakewood YMCA.  The only cost for parents will be a team t-shirt (which is waived if your son was on the team this winter and can reuse his shirt).  Contact Coach Littlejohn at to let him know your child will be attending the tryout on Friday, or call him at 216-287-8786.

Did you know ... that if you pack a carbonated beverage for your kid for lunch, and then the kid swings their lunch bag around and drop-kicks it down the hall and slams it down on the lunch table, chances are pretty good that the soda is going to foam up all over the place and ruin their lunch when they open it.  True fact!  Isn't physical chemistry awesome?  So please, think twice before sending in the fizzy beverages - or at least warn your kids to handle their lunches more gently on days when they bring a Coke with their lunch.

Please remind your children that the student handbook they (supposedly) read and signed off on at the beginning of the year specifically says that students are not permitted to use phones, i-anythings, or other technology during school hours without the EXPLICIT permission of a teacher.  The tech gadgets need to stay in backpacks during the school day.  Sorry, kids, but the volunteers are NOT going to be falling for "But my teacher said it was okay to play Plants vs. Zombies on my iPad during indoor recess!" anymore.

Monday, March 19th, will be the MPA band and strings concert.  The musicians will perform for the other students at an assembly at 2pm that day, and later for family and friends at 6:30pm.  Parents are welcome to attend either (or both!) of the performances.

Here's the buzz: homeroom teachers are conducting qualifiers this month to identify which four students from each classroom will be competing in the spelling bee on April 27th.  Good luck to all of the students who hope to participate!

CALLING ALL INVENTORS!!!    Invention Convention is Saturday, April 28, 2012!  The Invention Convention inspires students to create and problem solve while developing inventions. It differs from science fairs in that the focus of the curriculum is to recognize simple to complex problems that individuals face everyday and follow them through the process of creating solutions to them.  Specific information about the contest and what is involved in preparing for it can be found on the Invention Convention website ( I suggest that parents of interested students read through the evaluation guidelines ( to see what will be expected of students to help them decide whether they want to take part.  This year, Menlo Park may register a maximum 4 students for this eventAfter reading through the guidelines, if your child is interested in participating, please email Karen Peacock at  You will then be provided with the next steps for your child to try and earn a spot in the competition.  

Make a note on your calendar - Field Day will be Friday, June 1st, at Lakewood Park.  We'll be calling for volunteers later, but for now - time to request the day off of work so you can come watch or help out!  And while it seems like it's a long way away, you might as well set aside Sunday, August 26th for next year's back-to-school picnic.

Speaking of next year ... check out the attached school calendar for details of the 2012-2013 school year.  Some highlights:
  • Parent-teacher conferences will be about mid-way through each trimester, rather than at report card time, as they were this year.
  • Thanksgiving break will be a full week.
  • A Winter Respite 4-day weekend has been added in February. 
  • And a last-minute whoops! edit: There will be no school on September 29 or 30 during the next school year, regardless of what the calendar shows.  

Volunteer Information

Wondering whether we need help with lunch or recess on a particular day?  Be sure to check to see if we're fully-booked or desperately in need of extra hands for any particular day.  And thanks for your help!

Calling all parents!  We're looking for volunteers to help with the Walk-A-Thon on Thursday, April 5th.  We'll need folks to help keep track of laps, corral the kids (we're walking outside, weather permitting), do recordkeeping, and so on.  Contact Kay O'Donnell at if you'd like to help out.

Calendar Highlights:
·  March 15 (Thursday) Prospective Board candidates are invited to attend a Question & Answer session with Board members at 6:00pm at the school.
·  March 16 (Friday) - No school for students - inservice day; Spring basketball league tryouts at Kamm's Corner YMCA from 4:30-6pm
·  March 19 (Monday) - Photo make-up, club and candid day; Strings and Band Concert at MPA at 6:30
·  March 20 (Tuesday) - Fourth Grade field trip to Rock and Roll Hall of Fame
·  March 21 (Wednesday) - First Grade field trip to Great Lakes Science Center; Middle School gardening elective field trip to the Galleria "garden under glass"
·  March 21-23 (Wednesday-Friday) - Fifth Grade field trip to Camp Fitch
·  March 24 (Saturday) - Power of the Pen regional competition in Sandusky
·  April 5 (Thursday) - Walk-a-Thon; New Board member elections will be held at the regular Board meeting
·  April 6-16 - No school for students - spring break and inservice days
·  April 20 (Friday) - Lego Olympiad at LCCC
·  April 23-27 - OAA standardized testing
·  April 26 (Thursday) - Seventh and Eighth Grade field trip to see Romeo and Juliet
·  April 27 (Friday) - School-wide Spelling Bee
·  April 28 (Saturday) - Quiz Night; Invention Convention
·  April 30-May 4 - Eighth Grade field trip to Washington D.C.; Sixth and Seventh Grade field trip to Mohican
·  May 10-11 - Fourth Grade field trip to COSI in Columbus
·  May 17 (Thursday) - 3:30 - 5 pm K-4 Carnival Sponsored by Student Council
·  May 18 (Friday) - 6:30 - 8:30 Middle School Dance
·  May 21 - 25 Student Council Sponsored Spirit Week
·  June 1 (Friday) - Field Day at Lakewood Park
·  June 3 (Sunday) - Crushers baseball game
·  August 26 (Sunday) - Back to School picnic at Lakewood Park
If you've got something you'd like to share with the school - a need for volunteers for your school event, an exciting achievement your child has made outside of school, or anything else you think MPA parents should know about - send the information to Gretchen Woods at  The submission deadline for the weekly newsletter is each Wednesday at noon.

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