Wednesday, August 29, 2012

MPA Newsletter, 8/26/2012

It's another fact-filled week here at MPA Newsletter Central, so be sure to read carefully to learn more about girls' basketball, volunteer opportunities, who does what on the administrative team, and a whole lot more!

Focus on the First Week of School:

Don't forget: Our back to school picnic will be held at Lakewood Park TODAY, 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/cutlery, lawn chairs, frisbees, and of course your family!  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: If you bring your own Pringles can, Mrs. Eby will show you how to make it into a solar hot dog cooker.  

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).  Please contact the school if you need additional signs to share with other drivers in a carpool, for example.  

Mrs. B-W would like to extend special thanks to all the volunteers who helped get the school ready for the upcoming year.  Whether you moved furniture, cleaned windowsills and lockers, helped configure computers, registered students, or worked in an ongoing volunteer position, we thank you for all you've done to make the classrooms safe, clean, and orderly.  A extra-big thanks go out to Sandy Howlett, who single-handedly moved much of the furniture in and out of the classrooms to accommodate the carpet cleaning.  Way to go, Mrs. Howlett!  Hope you've got all those hours recorded in the volunteer database :)

Parking advisory: There will be a funeral held at St. Mel's church on Monday, August 27th.  This should not disrupt carline, but if you are coming into the school to volunteer, you will need to use street parking so as not to disrupt the funeral parking or spaces left available for our kids to use during recess.  Thank you for your understanding and patience on Monday!

Mrs. B-W and Mr. Kennedy will be monitoring students each day during arrival from 8-8:30am.  This will allow teachers to prepare for the day and give the students a chance to interact with the directors daily.  Because they will be focusing on the students during this time, Mrs. B-W and Mr. Kennedy will not be available to speak with parents during morning arrival.  If you wish to discuss any matters with them, please schedule a time to come in (or contact them by phone or e-mail).

Monday is the beginning of this year's seemingly endless parade of fruit cups and string cheese and yogurt.  Parents: we know that packing lunches is a hassle, but please keep the following in mind as you're stuffing that lunch bag: ONLY PACK FOODS FOR YOUR CHILD THAT ARE EASY TO OPEN.  Especially during the first few weeks of school while everyone is getting used to the routine, it can be hard for the lunchtime volunteers to get to every child that needs help peeling open a fruit cup or tearing the top off of a Go-Gurt.  And since we do not have a dedicated kitchen with food service, it is also important to pack all the utensils and napkins your child may need - we don't always have extra spoons or forks available.  Your assistance with this will help keep your child full and happy all throughout the school day!

Parents of incoming Kindergarten students:  We know the first few days of school are tough - for both you and your student.  That's whyseveral parents of last year's Kindergarten students have volunteered to meet with you to give you the skinny on what to expect this year, both academically and emotionally, from parents who have been there themselves.  What sort of work will the kids be doing?  How long did it take the kids to stop being freaked out at lunchtime?  Do you REALLY need to volunteer for the school?  All these questions and more will be covered during our Kindergarten Parent Coffee Hour on Tuesday, August 28th, from 9:45-10:45am at the Dunkin' Donuts at 16204 Lorain Ave.  We'll make sure to be finished in plenty of time for you to pick up your student at school at 11am.  If you have any questions about this event, please contact Gretchen Woods at

MPA needs your help during the school day to provide a welcoming and safe environment for our students.  Jobs include morning welcoming, lunch/recess help, afternoon car line, and much more.  If you are interested and available, check out our Doodle at to schedule a shift.  Please remember that all volunteers working with students need a BCI check - please contact Caroline Zito ( if you need guidance on where BCI checks can be completed.

One immediate need: Help is needed to organize and fill Thursday folders this year.  Volunteers work every Thursday from 9:00am -12:00pm to get much-needed information home.  Contact Heidi Simon at if you can help weekly, or even just once in a while.

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!  We know this is a challenging time of year for everyone, but the situation is critical.  Please help, even if you are not yet trained.  You will have support.

At this point, we are willing to offer parents who volunteer at the concession stand on 8/30/2012:
  1. Double volunteer hours
  2. Dress down for the entire 2nd week of school 
  3. An early out (after half-time)
  4. All the food you can eat
  5. Camaraderie
The start times are not set in stone so if you can help but can't come until later, just let us know.  You can contact our team lead, Chris, at 216.375.2117 or Please click the following link to reserve your spot for the fun: THURSDAY 8/30:

Now is the perfect time to begin planning what ELECTIVES you might like to teach to students of any grade level at our school. We are especially looking for people to teach during the first trimester of the year, which runs through November 15, 2012.  If you are interested in learning more and helping out with this important part of our curriculum (and getting some volunteer hours while you get to know the kids at school!), please plan on attending the mandatory meeting Wednesday, 8/29/2012 at 9am or 6:30pm. This meeting will cover classroom behavior, expectations, what to do in case of…, who to contact when not available to teach, how to get reimbursed for supplies, agenda forms, and evaluations.  If you have any questions before the 29th, contact Jenn Ingraham at

Longer-Term Information:

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. For example, the first event the Boosters are planning is an October Fall Fest day at Patterson's Fruit Farm in Chesterland.  Now is a great time to get in on the ground floor of this great team - make a difference for the school and have a great time doing it!  We are looking for candidates to fill the role of President, Vice President, Secretary and Treasurer.  People interested in running for these positions can send their names to to be added to the list of candidates.  The first Boosters meeting will be on Thursday, September 20th at 6:30pm. Candidates will be voted on and elected at this time. 

Calling all Cleveland Browns Fans!  We also need volunteers to staff our concession stand for ALL of the Browns' home games this year.  Ready to sign up and volunteer?  Upcoming regular game dates are below - visit to sign up (all games are 1pm game time pending NFL Flex schedule changes - volunteers begin arriving at 9am)

One important job of our new Boosters group - they're going to be in charge of the collection of Box Tops 4 Education this year!  As an incentive to get those box tops in early, the Boosters are offering a bakery treat (made by our volunteers!) to any student who sends in at least 25 Box Tops 4 Education by 9/30/2012.  See the attached files for collection forms and a description of the program.  Be sure to label your bag, envelope, or collection page with your child's name, grade, and homeroom teacher.  Stay tuned for the 2012-2013 Homeroom Challenge - it is still in the planning phase!  MPA also collects Labels for Education, Tyson A+ labels, and Coke Rewards (which can be entered by individuals at home then donated to Menlo).  Box Tops for Education and Labels for Education have many non-food products, like office supplies, plastic bags, and even clothing!  Clip and send them in to school and Menlo earns more! 

Basketball notes:  Coach Littlejohn met with interested families for boys' basketball this weekend.  If you were unable to make the meeting, no worries.  Please contact Coach Littlejohn at and he'll get you all the information you need.

MPA's own Ms. Theiss is excited to coach a girls' basketball team this year!  We have located a league and are getting organized. An informational meeting will be held in early October, so keep your eyes open for upcoming details. If you'd like more information, or would like to help organize the team, contact

With so many changes to the Administration of MPA, it may be hard to know who to call when you have a question about the school.  Here's a rundown of who is most likely able to answer various types of common questions:
  • Mrs. B-W (440-925-6365): K-3 Discipline, Instruction/Enrichment, Gifted Services, Special Education, Edison Club
  • Mr. Kennedy (216-539-2081): 4-8 Discipline, Counseling, Volunteers
  • Lynn Wilson (440-290-5424): Attendance, Early Dismissal, Medical Issues, Forms
  • Nancy Colby (216-586-3746): Enrollment, Transportation
  • Caroline Zito (216-502-4637): Fees, BCI Checks
  • Michael Shamblin (216-539-0422): Technology, Progress Book


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.


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)
K parent coffee hour, 9:45-10:45 at Dunkin Donuts on Lorain Road
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

MPA in the Community:
MPA teacher Mrs. Padrutt says, "I would love to add a blurb in the next newsletter about my upcoming gallery show.  It's called Pathways, and I'm collaborating with another local artist named Julie Cikra.  Pathways is an mixed media, autobiographical examination of the routes and pathways we travel. The exhibition reveals the exploration of the backroads and paths less traveled in order to reach goals and to grow.  Lots of my pottery, paintings, and mixed media pieces will be displayed and sold.  There is an opening reception September 7th, but the show will be on display all month.  The gallery is located at BAYarts, 28795 Lake Rd. Bay Village, OH 44140."

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