Wednesday, September 25, 2013

MPA Weekly update - 9/19/2013

In This Issue
Dates to Remember
Submit to the Newsletter
Dress Down Day Tomorrow!
Curriculum Night Schedule
FYI: Construction
Lost & Found
MAgazine Drive Info
Chess Club
OAGC Parents' Day Event
Bowling Event
Ski Club
Vote for MPA
Hot Lunch
Box Tops
Volunteer Spotlight
Parent Book Club
Kudos "Korner"
One Call Now!
Classroom Updates
September 19, 2013 Newsletter 
FYI: Dates to Remember
9/19 - Thursday - Curriculum Night
9/24 - Tuesday - Pizza Day!
10/2 - Wednesday - Girls' Basketball program info meeting (6pm)
10/6 - Sunday - Boosters' Bowl-A-Rama at Fairview Lanes, 3pm
10/10 - Tuesday - MPA parent book club, 4:30
10/25 - Picture Day
Quick Links
Sign up to receive MPA emails or confirm that we have your correct email  
Have Something for the Newsletter?
Information can be submitted via email for review and inclusion in the weekly update. Submissions are subject to Director approval.
Dress down day Friday (TOMORROW)!  
Congratulations to Menlo Park Academy students and staff who completed today's fire drill in 2.1 minutes!! They have earned a dress down day tomorrow, so leave those uniforms at home! 
Curriculum Night - TONIGHT!
Thursday, September 19 

Let's kick the new school year off right!  
Come meet your child's teachers, find out what's on the curriculum for the year, and meet other parents in your class.  There is no childcare provided.  Thursday, September 19 is the day - the schedule is below:
Grades K-4  
6:30-7:00 Curriculum Overview/General Meeting in Cafetorium
7:00-7:45 Class Visitation

Grades 5-8  
7:15-7:45 Curriculum Overview/General Meeting in Cafetorium
7:45-8:45 Class Visitation
Construction on Triskett Ave for the next 2 weeks!  
Construction on Triskett at both Harvey and Grapeland for next two weeks.  Your patience and flexibility are appreciated. Please look to the map below. We suggest you come up Grapeland Ave from Warren Rd.
Lost & Found  
Notice how that little guy over there is growing? --->
So is our Lost and Found department!  Parents, please make sure you label everything that comes to school that could possibly get left behind (backpacks, lunch bags, sweatshirts, jackets, books from home, etc.) with your student's name.  That will make it easier on everyone when you need to sort through the pile of stuff that's outside the Gym doors to find all those lost mittens and shoes.            
Don't Monkey Around - It's Magazine Drive time!
Chess Club Starts Friday
Come join the fun!
Menlo Park Academy is pleased to offer students in grades K-8 the exciting opportunity to learn and play the game of chess. No previous experience necessary - students start at their own level.
Instruction provided by Progress with Chess, a local non-profit organization with chess programs over 40 area schools and recreation centers. Sessions will include interactive lessons and structured open play in a supportive environment. Come join the fun!  The session begins Friday, September 20, and runs through December 13 (10 weeks). 
OAGC Parents' Day Event
Sunday, 9/22 from 3-6pm 
The Ohio Association for Gifted Children will be hosting an event on Sunday, September 22nd, from
3:00 p.m. to 6:00 p.m. (doors open at 2:30 p.m.).  It will be at the Hilton Easton, 3900 Chagrin Blvd., Columbus, OH 43219  This event will feature keynote speaker Dr. Colleen Boyle, who will speak on "Defying Expectations: The Social and Emotional Reality of Gifted Children."  Registration is $5 - please see the attached flyer for more details.
MPA Bowling Event
Get to know the MPA community 

Don't miss your chance to mingle with other MPA families at our upcoming Bowl-A-Rama on Sunday, October 6th at Fairview Lanes from 3-5 pm. Space is limited so make sure to send your forms/payments in ASAP. Cost is $5 per person and includes 2 hours of bowling, shoe rental, snacks and beverages. 

Please send in your form and payment (cash or check) made payable to MPA Boosters in an envelope labeled MPA Bowling.  Registration deadline is end of the school day on Friday, October 4th. Clickhere for the full flyer and reservation form.  
Plan Ahead, Skiers and Snowboarders!  
Ski Club will be back beginning in January
Skadi Ski Club will be back on the slopes of Boston Mills on Saturdays from 4pm-8pm beginning in January.  Club membership includes weekly skiing, five lessons, four extra passes for only $10 each and rentals if you choose.  Please visit program.html for more information or contact Kari Basiewicz at  See you on the slopes. 
Vote for MPA now and every week until September 21st here!
Share with your family and friends!!!

Hot Lunch Begins Tuesday 
This week's menu: Tuesday (9/24)- Pizza Day and Thursday (9/26)- Hot Dog Day! Please note that if you signed your child up but have not yet paid your amount due or arranged a payment plan, your child WILL NOT receive his/her lunch this week. If you have questions please email:
It's Box Top Season!
Who will support MPA most - the boys or the girls? 

Supporting MPA doesn't have to cost you anything - we gain valuable support when you send in Box Tops and labels from items you were already buying anyway!

Our goal for this school year is $2,000 which is 20,000 Box Tops Labels. Please see the attached informational flyer which lists the details of the Box Tops for Education program and the Box Tops for Education product list.

MPA Boosters are also collecting:
- Labels For Education, which earns items for MPA
- Tyson Project A+ Labels, which gives MPA 24 cents per label

All labels can be put in the Box Tops for Education collection bins located on both floors at MPA.  Please be sure to label your bag with the student name, grade, teacher, and whether they are a boy or girl (in case of gender-neutral names).  And don't forget to check the tally board in the school hallway to see whether the boys or girls are ahead this month!
Volunteer Spotlight
Highlighting the people who help keep our school great! 

This week we'd like to recognize the volunteers who have helped get the mobile library cart up and running this year.  They include:  Amy Hogg, Kelly Payne, Susan Mason, Tricia Barney and Janie Zell.  Whether they came in over the summer to cull our library books down to the "best of the best," wheeled the cart from classroom to classroom, or helped students find just the right book, all of these volunteers have helped encourage our young readers.  Thank you!
Speaking of Books ...
Parent Book Club dates and topics announced 

Interested in meeting some fellow parents of gifted students, and exploring some of the rewards (and pitfalls) to raising a gifted child?  Join the parent-led book discussion group, which meets on the second Tuesday of each month.
Facilitator: Dr. David Silverberg
Time: 4:30 PM - 5:30 PM
Location: MPA Counseling Office, 2nd Floor
Book: A Parent's Guide to Gifted Children, Webb, Gore, Amend, DeVries (2007) 

10/10     Chapter 1. Defining Giftedness
               Chapter 2. Characteristics of Gifted Children

11/14     Chapter 3. Communication: The Key to Relationships
 Chapter 4. Motivation, Enthusiasm, and Underachievement

12/12     Chapter 5. Establishing Discipline and Teaching Self-Management
 Chapter 6. Intensity, Perfectionism, and Stress
Kudos "Korner"
Celebrating MPA Students 

Congratulations to MPA 4th grader Brendan A., who has been accepted into The Singing Angels reserve chorus. Brendan has enjoyed music and piano classes for four years. This is his first year with The Singing Angels.  Bravo, Brendan!

If you have a student who should be recognized in the Kudos "Korner" send your information here. 
One Call Now!
 Automated Alert System Comes to MPA

One Call Now!
Menlo Park is going to utilize One Call Now to alert MPA families of late breaking news, school cancellations, and special invitations.  If you would like to update your information, please visit:  MPA Emergency Alert System  You will have the option to opt-in to receive text messages, and also the option to opt-out of all communications, at the end of the message.

Please contact Lynn Wilson if you have any questions about the One Call Now emergency alert system.
Classroom Updates
On September 24 and 26 the Nature Tracks traveling classroom will be on campus doing activities with our lower school students.

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Board Beacon Newsletter - Fall 2013

Menlo Park Academy Board Beacon
Fall 2013 Edition
In This Issue
Annual Survey Results
Facility Update
Biennial Budget Update
Development Survey Results
Other News
Other News
Did You Know?
School Digger ranked Menlo Park Academy as the #1 school district in Ohio!  Click here for more details.  Go MPA!

Join Our Mailing List

Board Member Highlight

Teri Harrison

Ms. Harrison is one of the school's founders and has served on the Board since the summer of 2008.  She is currently the Chair of the Board, and therefore is Chair of the Executive Committee as well as an ex-officio member of all other Board committees.  
Teri has worked with non-profits for over 15 years.  Most significantly she served as the General Advisor for her sorority's local collegiate chapter at Baldwin Wallace University for over 10 years. During that time she guided young women through leadership workshops, officer training sessions, and participated in several national training conferences.  She currently serves as a national officer for ZTA. She has also served on the planning committee and led the volunteer team for the survivor's program at the Northeast Ohio Race for the Cure.  
Teri spent over 10 years managing the messaging environment for a national law firm based in Cleveland, led a team of IT professionals for a large national bank for five years, and now works as a Messaging Design Engineer at Eaton.   She holds a BSBA in Marketing and Computer Science from Ohio Northern University.
Teri grew up in Lakewood and Bay Village, Ohio and now resides in Avon with her husband Chris and 2 children - Lexi (8th) and Jackson (5th).   The family also has 2 cats and a bunny rabbit.  She enjoys watching her children's sporting events, photography, scrapbooking, and jewelry making.  
Cartoon Character: Figment
Movie:  Steel Magnolias
Book:  "Born to Rise" by Deborah Kenny and "Mind in the Making" by Ellen Galinsky are new favorites.
City:  Anywhere in California
Color:  Purple
Restaurant:  Fujiyama
Candy/Snack: Twizzlers
Store:  Amazon
Game:  Euchre
Meal:  Salmon with teriyaki sauce or most any Japanese meal.
Music:  She likes it all, but Rock & Pop rise to the top. 
Sports Team:The Cleveland Browns
 "My dad used to take us all the time as kids. Fond memories of cardboard on the concrete under our moon boots, plastic bags on our feet before the boots, and icicle eyelashes. Once you've been through that, how could you not love the team?"
You can read more about all of our Board members here.

Board Beacon
Welcome back to school!  We are thrilled to have all the smiling children back in the building, bringing it to life.  We have begun year six with 350 students enrolled in grades K-8.   

In this update we are sharing some survey results, a facility update, details on the state's biennial budget, and enrollment news (we currently have a few openings so please share MPA with your friends).  

Annual Survey Results  
MPA is committed to the concept of continuous improvement.  As we forge our way down the path of creating and refining our school's programs, we value the input of our community members. 
Thank you to those who completed our annual survey.  We received a 46% return rate. The results of this survey help form our annual Strategic Plan that drives our short and long-term goals and objectives.
The most powerful statement is the number of parents who believe that overall, MPA provides an excellent education for all of its students.  An amazing 94% of respondents agreed.  
You can view a full summary of the results by clicking here. Thank you again for the time and energy that you contribute to MPA.
Don't forget that you can view all Board Policies online, as well as
visit our Board Portal to view meeting agendas & minutes.  Please remember that all of our meetings are open to the public, and we encourage our community members to attend.
Do you have thoughts on how we can better engage our community? Send them to

Facility Update
Four years ago when MPA moved to its current location and rented only the top floor, it was difficult to envision that by the 2013-2014 school year the school would be fully utilizing the entire building, have added two modular classrooms, and be considering how to gain even more space. 

In an effort to find the best facility solution in an timely manner MPA has hired CBRE, a commercial real estate agency, to be our "Tenant Representative" in the search for a facility solution. CBRE will research all available options based on MPA's current and projected needs, including the current facility with improvements, and report to the MPA board and administration a recommendation for facilities beginning with the 2014-2015 school year.
We look forward to continuing to share information with the community as we move through this exciting time in MPA's history.

Biennial Budget Update 
On June 30, 2014 Governor Kasich signed the FY14 and FY15 state budgets into law. In the months leading up to the passage of the final bill there was much speculation as to its effects on community  
school funding in general and from our perspective, concern about possible effects on MPA in particular.
The good news is that our funding has not been adversely affected. 
The new budget replaces the old state foundation payment with the Opportunity Grant. Of note, the new formula includes funds earmarked to help pay for facilities and for early literacy. 
While exact numbers using the Opportunity Grant formula have not been released, simulations created by the Legislative Service Commission show an expected net gain to MPA of $69,119 using June 2012 actual student numbers and funds. Adjusted for our targeted enrollment of 366 students, full day funding for all kindergarten students, and a projected significant increase in economically disadvantaged funds, MPA stands to see an even larger increase. Budgeting for 360 students, we anticipate total state funding of $2,406,543 compared to $1,674,843 in 2012 and $1,991,931 in 2013.

The federal sequester has had an adverse effect on both Title I and IDEA (Special Education) funding.  While Title I funding is a new and minor portion of our funding (approximately $5,000 this year), MPA will see a 41% decrease in IDEA funds this year from $64,948 in 2013 to $38,173 in 2014. MPA remains committed to identifying and servicing the needs of all our students despite this significant drop in federal funding.

Development Survey Results
Thank you to all of those in our MPA community who took the time to respond to the recent Development Survey.  Through this input, the Development and Community Relations Committee (DCRC) has gained insights and preferences on the fundraising activities that occur throughout the school year.  Based on this input, the DCRC is currently working to finalize this year's Annual Development Plan.  Following are the highlights from the survey:

  • More than half of the respondents to the Development Survey stated their preference that the number of fundraising events offered each year were three (3) or four (4) and the events that they are most likely to support are:  Quiz Night, Online Auctions, 5k Run/Walk, Item Sales and a School Carnival.  Currently, the following events are being considered and all need leadership and volunteer committee support:  Quiz Night in November, Winter Concert in December, Walk-a-thon in March and possibly a Talent Show in April or May.  The Item Sales and Browns Game Day volunteering will also continue.
  • The request for the demographic focus of events received an even split between family-focused functions where children are included and adult-only evenings; preferred costs were expressed at approximately $40 per person.  With this input, both types of events are to be offered, with a commitment to lower ticket prices.
  • As many comments regarding the fundraising activities at school functions (such as Holiday Concerts) have been received, input on what to include was solicited.  As more than60% of respondents agreed with these revenue enhancements, the live auction, silent auction and raffles will continue.  Based on input learned through comments provided, plans are being discussed to streamline the presentation, including limiting the number of live auction items.
  • Lastly, the question on a school-wide celebration for the achievement of fundraising goals was posed and the response was positive.  Based on this, work to exceed the annual fund goal and celebrate with students, parents and key stakeholders has begun.
Again, MANY thanks to all survey participants.  Your feedback is helping build a fundraising plan based on consensus.  Continued conversation is planned throughout the year, so your vital input is part of developing this critical philanthropic support for Menlo Park Academy.

JOIN US!  Please consider utilizing your volunteer hours on the development team!  Your help is needed at the Browns Concession Stand and the Annual Fund and Special Event Committees.  Email to join the Fundraising Team!

Enrollment Update
Enrollment News -  Many thanks to Lynn Wilson, Caroline Zito, and parent volunteers for all their hard work in processing this information during our enrollment period.

We still have a few openings in a few grades so if you know anyone who may be interested in learning more about how MPA can serve their gifted child's educational needs, please have them contact us

2012-13 Report Card
OAA Results -  The official results of the Ohio Achievement Assessment have been released.  Many of you may have seen the Plain Dealer article highlighting MPA's impressive performance. While we are not a school that "teaches to the test", it is always great to see our students perform well. 

The Ohio Department of Education (ODE) has implemented a new grading scale for the reporting, as well as grades for a Value-Add score.  The value-added score is not easy to measure in a growing school like ours (measuring different students from year-to-year).  It is also especially challenging for gifted students - see  this link for more information. You can view our full report card on ODE's web sitehere

Mrs. BW will be attending a session with Batelle for Kids, the organization responsible for the tests, as a start to gaining a better understanding of our results.  We look forward to continued updates on our progress as well as information on other assessment results and how we use this information to drive instructional adjustments.

Thank you for all that you do to ensure that 
Menlo Park Academy is a great success!
The Board Beacon is published four times each year and contains updates and news from MPA's Board of Directors.  If you have any suggestions for next topics, please send them to