Wednesday, August 15, 2012

MPA Newsletter, 8/15/2012

Hold on to your hats, folks, this is a whopping big message ...
In this edition: homeroom assignments, counseling, Edison Club, and volunteer opportunities galore!  And don't forget, the first day of school for grades 1-8 is Monday, August 27th.

School Information:

Supply Central: Save your child's back muscles for toting books later this year - drop off their school supplies on Wednesday, August 22.  The classrooms will be open and teachers will be available to meet their students from 1-2pm and again from 5:30-6:30pm.  It's a great way for kids to get a look at their new seat assignments, connect with old friends for a few minutes ... and avoid having to lug three boxes of tissues and 5 million pencils on the bus on the first day of school.  Those elusive black folders (required on many grades' school supply lists but strangely difficult to find in local stores) will be available for purchase at that time, so if you haven't found any yet, don't despair!  We've got your black covered!

Turn On, Tune In, Drop OffWednesday, August 22 is also the best time for parents to drop off any medications (Epi-Pens, inhalers, etc.) students may require during the school day.  Come in from 1-2pm or from 5:30-6:30pm and meet with Lynn Wilson in the office with all your medication forms, action plans, and medications.  The medication administration form is attached to this message, and must be signed by the child's doctor and accompany medications in their original packaging.  Avoid the hassle of bringing medications on the first day of school, and get it done early!  Questions?  Don't hesitate to contact Mrs. Wilson at

Basketball Bonanza: Just in case you missed the school's announcement, the MPA Basketball camp has been rescheduled as follows: 
  • Wed 8/22/2012 11:30 AM-4:30 PM
  • Thu 8/23/2012 11:30 AM-4:30 PM
  • Fri 8/24/2012 9:30 AM-3:30 PM
The camp will still be held at the Olmsted Falls Community Center. There are still three spots available, so contact Coach Willie for more information or to register.

Once You Pop: Our back to school picnic will be held at Lakewood Park on Sunday, August 26 from 4:00-6:30.  This year we will have a DJ, crafts, face painting and more.  Hot dogs, lemonade, and ice-cream sandwiches will be provided.  Please bring a dish to share, plates/cuttlery, lawn chairs, frisbees, and of course your family!  In order to make sure we don't end up with 40 different kinds of coleslaw and no chips, we're requesting that the different grade levels bring different foods to share:
  • k-1  Desserts
  • 2-3  Chips/Pretzels
  • 4-5  Salads/Side Dish
  • 6-8  Fruit
Special bonus: Thanks to Mrs. Eby's over-the-summer education, if you bring your own Pringles can, Mrs. Eby will show you how to make it into a solar hot dog cooker.  Let's hope for sun that day!  We can't wait to see what other surprises she'll cook up for us this year!

Driving Details:  The Back to School Picnic is also the place to pick up the car signs that must be displayed on your car's windshield when picking up children from the car line.  Look for the table at the event, snag your signs, and keep them handy in your car(s).  (Editor's note: I've found it's easy to use a large rubber band to keep the sign in place on my passenger seat visor ... just flip the visor down when you enter the car line, and you're ready to go.)  Please contact the school if you need additional signs to share with other drivers in a carpool, for example.  Car line procedures will remain the same this year as they were last year - more info on that in a future message for new families.  All students who are being met at the "walker" door must be picked up before the door is closed at 3:20pm each day.  Any students not met by that time will be available for pick up from the car line in the main parking lot.

Staggering Back to School:  This year we will once again be easing the Kindergarten students into the school year by offering them a different schedule for the first few days of school.  More information is being sent directly to parents of Kindergarten students, but here's a quick breakdown for all the rest of us:
  • School begins on Monday, August 27th for grades 1-8 only - K students get the day off.  
  • Tuesday, August 28th, K students will attend a partial day from 8:30am-11am, with one parent or other special person staying for part of the time to help them adjust to the classroom.  K students will need to be picked up before lunch that day, but should bring a snack to eat in class.
  • Wednesday, August 29th, K students will have a slightly longer day, arriving for a regular drop-off between 8am and 8:30am (no parents or guardians in the classroom, please!), and staying through lunch and recess.  Please pack both a snack and a lunch for them on Wednesday.  They'll need to be picked up at school at approximately 1pm.  
  • Thursday, August 30th, the Ks will be ready for their first full day of school!  Please pack two snacks (one for morning, one for afternoon) and a lunch for Ks on that day.
  • Friday, August 31st and Monday, September 3rd - no school for grades K-8 (teacher in-service and Labor Day)
  • Tuesday, September 4th - Regular schedule for all students K-8.

Student Counsel : Dr. Sylvia Rimm and Dr. Susan Rakow will be working with MPA this year to provide support for students on topics related to growing up gifted.  Dr. Rimm speaks and publishes internationally on family and school approaches to guiding children toward achievement, parenting, and the lives of teenagers.  Susan Rakow is a tenured Clinical  Associate Professor in the Department of Curriculum and Foundations at Cleveland State University; she is committed to helping schools and teachers to attain the twin goals of excellence and equity by meeting the needs of all of their students, including those with gifts and talents.  Dr. Rimm and Dr. Rakow will be on campus one day a week throughout the school year.  In addition, they are offering evening sessions for new-to-MPA families to discuss ways to help your child adjust to the unique atmosphere that Menlo provides.  Sessions will be held from 6:30-7:30pm at MPA on the following days:
  • Monday, August 27th - New Kindergarten Families
  • Tuesday, August 28th - New to MPA Grade 1-3 Families
  • Thursday, August 30th - New to MPA Grade 4-8 Families
Both parents and/or gaurdians are encouraged to attend the appropriate session based on grade level.  Light refreshments will be served.

Something Gifted This Way Comes: This year our 5-8 grade students will start the day off in an advisory period.  Advisory is a structured 30 minutes in small groups where students can develop a nurturing relationship with an adult in the building. Community building is a key component, but students will focus on issues such as organization, giftedness, community service, and more.  Organization will be a major advisory focus during the first trimester as staff help to build skills necessary for a successful educational experience.  Students will be asked to visit their lockers four times daily (before advisory, before/after lunch, and end of day).  Limiting transitions will increase student time on task.  Teachers will help to ensure that students know what they need for the day during the advisory period.  Use of planner will also be key in this process.  Students are expected to have their planner with them in all classes.  Parents are encouraged to check student planners daily for teacher communication and homework information.  Be on the lookout for monthly updates on Advisory topics throughout the year.

Is Your Child Going Clubbing?  Edison Club, MPA's before- and after-school care program for the working families of MPA, is designed to be more than just babysitting for the children.  It includes time for homework, snacks, play, and even some outside enrichment resources.   A parent meeting for all families who have registered for Edison Club will be held on Tuesday, August 22nd after supply drop off.  Two sessions will be held in the multi-purpose room at 2:30 and 7:00 to go over new policies and procedures and to complete the necessary emergency forms.  If you have registered a child in Edison Club, please plan to attend.  If you are unable to attend this meeting, please contact Katie Gerba.  If you have not already registered, you will need to do so by completing the attached form and mail it to Katie Gerba at 1116 Richmar Drive, Westlake, OH 44145. Please do not send these forms through school.  If you indicated Edison Club on your transportation form during school registration, you MUST still complete an Edison Club registration form. To clarify, you are not registered for Edison Club until you have completed the attached Edison Club registration from. You can email any questions to  In the meantime, please be aware of the following changes to Edison Club policies:
  • Edison Club is no longer able to take responsibility for any child who is not registered. If a child is not registered he/she will be sent to the office to await pick up.
  • Students who participate in scouts and other after-school clubs will NOT need to register for Edison Club to stay afterschool on their meeting days.    Children must report to the adult in charge of their club immediately after school.  It is the responsibility of parents to arrange pickup at the end time for clubs/meetings. 
Hopeful Hoopsters: After the triumphant 2011-2012 seasons, the MPA boys' basketball program is looking for additional recruits!  Boys in grades 4-8 (and their parents) who are interested in joining the basketball team can meet with Coach Willie Littlejohn on Saturday, August 25, from 11am-12pm at MPA.  At the meeting he'll be discussing his coaching philosophy, training, possible fees, tryouts, and the upcoming season.  If you have any questions or are unable to attend this informational meeting, contact Coach Willie at 216-287-8786 for more information.

Don't feel left out, ladies!  We are exploring options for additional athletic teams and want to gauge interest in a girls’ volleyball league for students in grades 4-8.  If you would be interested in assisting with the research and organization of a team for MPA, please let Mrs. B-W know.  In the meantime, Spirit Volleyball in Avon is having open gym this summer on Monday & Wednesday evenings from 6-8pm.  Cost is just $3.00 per session.  It’s a great opportunity to see if your daughter likes playing.  

Covering the Curricula:  MPA parents, your voice has been heard!  This year we'll be having TWO Curriculum Nights, allowing parents with children attending multiple grades to focus on each child's education individually.  The upper school (grades 4-8) Curriculum Night will be Tuesday, September 11, from 6:30-8pm.  Grades K-3 will meet the following evening, Wednesday, September 12, from 6:30-8pm to discuss their curricula.  Please note that these meetings are primarily intended for PARENTS - so please try to arrange for babysitting, especially for younger siblings and students.  Feel free to contact Mrs. B-W if you have any questions about what to expect during these important meetings.

Parent Planning: Parents of 5th grade students who will be participating in this year's Camp Fitch trip must attend a mandatory information meeting on Tuesday, September 4th, from 6-7pm at MPA.  This trip is fast approaching, and we've got a lot of information to cover, so please make every effort to attend.

Parent Pre-Planning: Parents of 8th grade students who will be participating in the DC trip this year must attend a mandatory information meeting on Tuesday, September 11, from 6-6:30pm at MPA.  We'll talk about scheduling, and fundraising, and what to expect from the trip - you don't want to miss it (and since it's just before the Upper School Curriculum Night, you don't really have an excuse to miss it, anyway!).

Volunteer Information 

Are you a grill master, a party-planning maven, or an amateur artist?  Can you tape up signs, unload boxes, or mix lemonade?  If so, please consider volunteering at the MPA back to school picnic!  We need people to set up the MPA supplies and signs, work the grills, paint faces with Mrs. B-W, and help at the craft table.  If you can help with any of these jobs, please plan to arrive at 3pm on Sunday, August 26th, at Lakewood Park.

The MPA STEM (Science, Technology, Math and Engineering) Enrichment Team is seeking volunteers in all areas, including Grades K-4 Math Night, Grades 5-8 Career Night, website development, electives, and new initiatives. You don't have to have expertise in math or science, just a desire to help advance our goal of enriching STEM education at MPA. Please contact Grant Henson at to express interest. The team will meet during the first week of classes at a time convenient to as many participants as possible. 

Electives are a fun way to share your knowledge of practically ANYTHING with the students at MPA.  We've had parents teach everything from time management skills and stress reduction techniques, to computer programming and Shakespeare for Kindergarteners!  We're particularly interested in finding someone to teach a personal finance class, a first aid class, an arts and crafts class, etc.  This year, electives for the upper school (grades 4-8) will be on Fridays, from 1:15-2pm and 2-2:45pm.  The schedule for grades K-3 is still being finalized - we'll share it when it's available.  Electives will start during the second week of school.  If you hope to teach an elective at any time during the coming school year, you'll need to attend the mandatory meeting on Wednesday, August 29th, at either 9am or 6:30pm.  We'll go over classroom behavior, some agenda outlines you can use, and how to submit for materials reimbursement.  If you have any questions before the 29th, contact Jenn Ingraham

Parents of last year's Kindergarten class:  Remember how confusing and odd the first day of school was last year - for you, not your child?  And remember how we had the coffee hour so you could talk with the previous year's Kindergarten parents to get the scoop on what to expect during the year?  How would you like to help out with that this year, acting as a mentor for the incoming Kindergarten families?  If you'd be willing to hang out at the Dunkin' Donuts and talk with the new Kindergarten students' parents while the students "go solo" at school for a few hours on their first day, please contact Gretchen Woods at

Calling all Cleveland Browns Fans!  Here is your chance to support the Browns AND Menlo Park Academy.  MPA earns money based on our concession sales for each home game.  Last year we earned over $16,000 for the school!  Training for the Cleveland Browns Concession Stand Fundraiser is currently underway.  Never attended a training session?  No problem. See available training dates below or visit and click on the volunteer corner link to sign up.   Attended a training session in the past?  You will just need to attend a refresher course this year.  Additionally, we are looking for 2-3 people interested in Leader training.  Returning volunteers should bring their Stadium ID to the training session if they still have it.   If you have any questions, contact the event chair, Chris Harrison, at  

Thursday, August 16, 2012 - Training for Returning Concession Volunteers (have worked in the stand before)
Tuesday, August 21, 2012 - Training for New Concession Volunteers (never worked in the stand before)

The MPA Boosters needs YOU! The purpose of the Boosters is to provide support for the educational and recreational needs of the students of Menlo Park Academy.  The Boosters also provide various community building opportunities for the students, their families and faculty. We are looking for candidates to fill the role of President, Vice President, Secretary and Treasurer.Keep your eyes & ears open, more information will be coming and will be discussed at the Back to School picnicWe will be having our first meeting on Thursday, September 20th at 6:30pm. Candidates will be voted on and elected at this time. 
Student Information

Congratulations to MPA student Wayan C., who was recently selected to join the Cleveland Orchestra Youth Orchestra's bass section for the 2012-2013 season.  Wayan is one of only 3 eighth graders to win a chair in the 97-member orchestra.  Way to go, Wayan!

Wednesday, August 22
Supply and Medication Drop Off
1:00-2:00 and 5:30-6:30

Wednesday, August 22
Edison Club Meeting (participating families)
2:30-3:00 and 7:00-7:30

Saturday, August 25
Boys Basketball Orientation Meeting

Sunday, August 26
Back to School Picnic, Lakewood Park

Monday, August 27

First Day of School for grades 1-8

Monday, August 27
Dr. Sylvia Rimm, New Kindergarten Families

Tuesday, August 28
First Day of School for Kindergarten (partial day)
Dr. Sylvia Rimm, New 1-3 Grade Families

Wednesday, August 29
Kindergarten has partial day
Elective Volunteer Training (Mandatory)
9:00-10:00 or 6:30-7:30

Thursday, August 30
Kindergarten has full day
Dr. Sylvia Rimm, New 4-8 Families
Friday, August 31
Monday, September 3


Tuesday, September 4
5th Grade Camp Fitch Meeting (Mandatory)

Tuesday, September 11
8th Grade DC Trip Meeting (Mandatory)    
Upper School (4-8) Curriculum Night
Wednesday, September 12
 Lower School (k-3) Curriculum Night
Thursday, September 20 Boosters organizational meeting, 6:30pm

P.S. - No, I didn't forget to include it, I just like to make you suffer in suspense ... Homeroom placements will be sent by e-mail around 3pm this Friday, August 17.

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