Wednesday, December 06, 2006

When should a child stay home from school?

From Mrs. Hamilton, our school nurse:

Children are most successful in school when they are present for as many school days as possible. However, children who are sick need to stay home if they will not be able to concentrate sufficiently for learning or if they may cause others to become sick.

To help reduce the spread of illness to students and staff, please keep your children home from school for the following reasons:
1. Fever--Your child should be fever free (without being medicated) for 24 hours before returning to school.
2. Rash--Check with your child's doctor before sending your child to school with a rash.
3. Vomiting--Your child may return to school after s/he has not thrown up for 24 hours and is back on a regular diet.
4. Diarrhea--If your child has had more than one loose stool in 24 hours, s/he needs to stay home to make sure they get enough fluids. S/He may return to school after being diarrhea free for 24 hours.
5. Colds--If your child's cough is frequent or severe and his/her nose is runny, it is likely that they do not feel very well and will not be able to concentrate sufficiently for learning. S/He also would benefit from more rest and fluids at home.
6. Doctor recommendation--If you have needed to consult a doctor concerning an injury or illness of your child, check with the doctor as to when your child should return to school. If you child has been prescribed an antibiotic, check to see if they to be on the antibiotic for 24 hours before returning to school.

When your child does stay home from school, please call the school office and let us know that s/he will be out and the reason for the absence. For some contagious illnesses, we send letters home to the appropriate classroom(s) and others we are required to report to the Washtenaw County Health Department (WCHD).

The AAPS follows WCHD guidelines for when students should stay home related to communicable diseases. The Communicable Disease Fact Sheets are available at:

Our entire staff works to provide a safe, healthy, and enriching environment for our children. Thank you for helping.

If you have any health-related questions, feel free to contact Mrs. Hamilton.

Disability Awareness Workshop Coming

On Monday, February 12th, all King fourth grade students will participate in the Disability Awareness Workshop. This program is a hands-on, activity-based workshop whose main purpose is to help students understand how difficult and complex daily living can be for individuals with disabilities. The program includes activities centered on an empathetic understanding of physical, speech, hearing, vision and learning impairments. The students participate in a wheelchair obstacle course, wear glasses that give them momentary vision impairments, experience speaking with an electric larynx and experience several reading disabilities. The goal is for the students to learn through this hands-on experience that people should be respected no matter how they may look, act, walk or talk.

Please consider volunteering on this day. We need 20 parent volunteers to help in the morning from 8:45 am until 12:15 pm, when the students have their lunch break. You are welcome to remain for the rest of the program (1 pm to dismissal). This should be a fun and meaningful experience.

You may have noted that the Ann Arbor Public Schools will be observing Parent Involvement Day (NAAPID*) on this same date. Although the two events are unrelated, this coincidence enables parents to participate in either or both enriching programs in a single visit to King School.

Thank you for contributing to the success of the workshop. Please contact us with any questions.

Amy Meltzer, 994-0393,
Kathy Grijalva, 332-3396,
King Parents coordinating the Disability Awareness Workshop

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

Parents--Thank You!

Just a quick note to say "thank you" for sharing your children with us. They are truly amazing!

We are all fortunate to live, learn, and work in such a wonderful community.

Student Safety Information

A few things to share or review around student safety:
  1. If an emergency situation arose and students needed to be evacuated from King, then teachers and staff would walk students to Glacier Hills Retirement Community off of Earhardt Rd. In that situation, students would only be released (as always) to their parent, guardian, or someone who is listed on the student's emergency card. In other words, if someone is not authorized to pick a student up, the student would not be released to them.
  2. Please make sure you sign in at the school office when you come to school. All parents and other visitors are required to wear a visitor's pass at school.
  3. I have once again noticed that pick up and drop off times at school are congested. This requires very careful behavior on the part of anyone picking up or dropping off. The most dangerous situation I've witnessed recently involved two students being picked up from the left hand lane of the front drive. Yes, that is what I said--someone actually picked up two students from the left hand lane. They stopped their car and motioned for their children to cross where cars are parking and pulling out--and then they stayed there until the children got in the car. Here are some of the possibilities of what could have happened:
    • students could have been hit while crossing front drive;
    • a collision could have occurred between two cars in the front drive while students entered the car;
    • a parked car could have pulled forward when the students entered the front drive striking the students.
We have more to think of around student safety than ever before. Please do your part to help.

Noon Time Volunteers Needed

FACT: We’ve already had more rainy lunch hours during the 2006-07 school year than we had the entire 2005-06 school year.

On rainy days (or very cold days) students do not go outside for lunchtime recess. Instead we stay inside to eat and have indoor recess. In the past indoor lunch recess has meant going to the gym, music room or library with a supervisor for games, an appropriate video, or time to socialize.

After noticing how many indoor noon hours we’ve had this year, I was recently approached by four parents, who were interested in supporting indoor lunch recess by being “on call” to come to school and assist with recess activities when it is raining or very cold (< 0 ºF actual temperature or wind chill). Having these “extra” volunteer supervisors has meant we’ve been able to offer a wider variety of interactive activities for students. It has been very, very nice!

At this point, these parents have successfully helped during three indoor lunch days, but we need more help. We would like to identify a cadre of parents who are willing to help on any given day from 11:40 – 1:05.

Would you like to be an on-call volunteer during lunch on rainy/very cold days (< 0 ºF actual temperature or wind chill)?

If you can help, please call Mr. Karr at 994-1940 or stop by the school office. Thank you.

Friday, December 01, 2006

Report Cards Today

Report cards will go home this afternoon with each child, reflecting their achievement at this point in the school year. It is my hope that report cards will be very helpful to parents in understanding their child's achievement at this moment (like a snapshot in time). I am also hopeful that the reports will help teachers and parents in understanding where a child needs to go next and where they need extra support. In other words, the report cards are also a tool that indicates next steps.

We realize questions may arise about the report cards and how to interpret them. I certainly encourage communication around this between parents and teachers. If you have questions, please feel free to call as always.

Thursday, November 30, 2006

Did you know . . . about Buses

According to the National School Bus Information Council, there is no safer way to transport a child than in a yellow school bus. Fatalities involving school bus occupants are rare events even though the nation's 450,000 school buses transport more than 24 million children every single day, completing complete nearly 9 billion student 'to and from school' trips annually.

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Photo From Linda Sue Park Visit

Thanks to Mrs. Rutila for sharing this photo of the assembly with Linda Sue Park.

And thank you to Ms. Park for a memorable visit to Martin Luther King Elementary School.

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

Online Math Resources

When directing your child's online experience, you might find the following resources helpful/useful:
These sites could be used whenever your child needs or wants some additional math experiences.

Monday, November 13, 2006

MLK's message remembered at memorial groundbreaking

WASHINGTON (CNN) -- Presidents, civil rights icons, celebrities and ordinary citizens gathered Monday on the National Mall, where construction is getting under way for a monument honoring the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr.

The monument will be built on a four-acre site near the Lincoln Memorial, where King delivered his famous "I Have a Dream " speech in 1963.

President Bush said that he was proud to dedicate the memorial to "the lasting memory of a great man." "Dr. King showed us that a life of conscious and purpose can lift up many souls, and on this ground a monument will rise that preserves his legacy for the ages," Bush said. "Honoring Dr. King's legacy requires more than building a monument. It requires the ongoing commitment of every American. So we will continue to work for the day when the dignity and humanity of every person is respected and the American promise is denied to no one."

Bush said that it was fitting to place the King Memorial between the monuments for Thomas Jefferson and Abraham Lincoln.

"By its presence in this place, it will unite the men who declared the promise of America and defended the promise of America with the man who redeemed the promise of America," Bush said.

President Clinton signed legislation that kicked off the project in 1996.

"The monument, however beautiful it turns out to be, will be but a physical manifestation of the monument constructed in the minds and hearts of millions of Americans, who are more just, more decent, more successful, more perfect because he lived," said Clinton.

Clinton also stressed the importance of King's nonviolent message in today's society.

"When the real battlefield is the human heart, civil disobedience works better than suicide bombings. Fighting your opponent with respect and reason works better than aspersion and attack."

Members of the King family also attended the ceremony, along with current and former members of Congress, writer Maya Angelou, Oprah Winfrey and civil rights leaders, including the Rev. Jesse Jackson and the Rev. Al Sharpton.

Construction of the $100 million monument is scheduled to be completed in 2008, 40 years after King was assassinated in Memphis, Tennessee.

Backers have raised more than $65 million, according to The Associated Press. Most of the funding has come from corporate donors including Tommy Hilfiger and General Motors.

The monument's design was inspired by King's stirring sermons and will feature flowing water that will match the cadence of his speech.

According to the memorial's official Web site, visitors entering the memorial will pass through two stones described as the mountain of despair to reach a third, the stone of hope -- echoing King's 1963 speech.

The line "with this faith, we will be able to hew out of the mountain of despair a stone of hope" will be carved into one side of the entry.

The other side will be inscribed with the words: "Let justice roll down like waters and righteousness like a mighty stream."

Former U.N. Ambassador Andrew Young, one of King's former lieutenants said that King's words were not important because he said them, but because he lived them.

The King Memorial will be the first monument to a black American on the National Mall.

Copyright 2006 CNN. All rights reserved.This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. Associated Press contributed to this report.

No Charging of Lunches

As a gentle reminder, the AAPS does not allow students to "charge" lunches. This means that when a student's lunch account does not have a positive balance, they will be given an alternative lunch (but they will still eat, of course).

To help families keep track of lunch account issues, we offer the following services:
  1. All families need to know they can keep track of balances and add money to lunch accounts at ParentOnline. Click here for more information.
  2. When there is a negative balance in a lunch account, reminders are sent out to families so they can take appropriate action.
If you have questions, feel free to call Mr. Karr.

Re: Returning the Rock

Dear Rocky,
I could barely sleep last night thinking over this difficult decision. Here's what I'm going to do: I'll buy the lunch for Mary on Monday . . . but I still want us to figure out the mystery. Help us understand what we're missing . . .

Below is my analysis of the clues given with my thoughts in red and italics.
Clue from October 20:
Find the one person who likes to rhyme,
And you'll get your rock in the nick of time.

Suspects: kinder teachers, librarian, first grade teachers, reading intervention teacher, music teacher, maybe 2nd grade teachers

For your precious little game, I do hope they win,
OSU the national championship . . . that is a sin.

Not Joyce Griffiths who graduated from The Ohio State University

You asked for a clue, I have given you many,
if you look close you'll find, ten maybe twenty.

Ten or twenty clues? What? Not sure where this multiplicity of clues are . . .

From October 22:
My team was in a very close battle this week but you got the wrong game. Think Orange.

Teams who wear orange: Tennessee, Texas, Auburn?, Clemson, Syracuse, Miami FL, Illinois, others?

On the weekend the clue was given the following orange teams were in close battles:

· Tennessee

· Nebraska who played Texas

This clearly points to Barb Vanek, a Cornhusker.

From October 27:
Some students have seen the rock but they know how to keep a secret. They have even participated in the great caper.

We know the original culprit is not a student.

What have I missed? Are the pictures you've sent real clues?

Anxiously awaiting my rock . . .
Kevin Karr

Linda Sue Park Visits King Tuesday

Newberry Award winning author Linda Sue Park will visit MLK this Tuesday! Students will all participate in an afternoon assembly with the author.

Click on the links above for more information.

Sunday, November 12, 2006

Fwd: Returning the Rock

This just in from Rocky Racoon. What should I do?

Begin forwarded message:

Mr. Karr,

Here we are, the week before the big game. I will live up to my end of the bargain and assure you that you will have your rock back before the OSU game. As long as you comply with my simple demands by the end of the week, I will return your rock on Friday. However, you should consider the fact that UM has won many tough games since I have had the rock. If I were to give it back and they lost, maybe it would have something to do with who was holding the rock. Could you ever forgive yourself?

So the situation is as follows. You can easily get your rock back, but are you superstitious? It is kind of a tough decision. I hope you make the right one. Please let me know. If you wish to obtain the rock, you must meet one demand per day. For Monday you must buy lunch for Mary (don't worry, this won't cost you too much money). Please take the night to think it over and let me know what you decide.

Yours Truly,

Rocky Racoon

Rocky and my rock . . .

King of Hearts 5K--Success and Fun!

Everyone had a great time this afternoon at the 3rd Annual King of Hearts 5K. The day started out with a performance by one of the bands from the Ann Arbor School of Rock followed by the Kid Dashes by grade level across the front lawn at King. The 5K main event began about 2:00 with close to 200 participants. I talked with several students who had never ran or walked 3.1 miles before today. They proudly walked across the finish line and were awarded with a medal which they wore proudly. Our fun was capped with food by area merchants and a performance by jazz musicians from our own Huron High School.

Many thanks to Mark Spieles and Cynthia Gur-Arie for making this event happen. Nice work!

Thursday, November 09, 2006

Lock-Down Drills

This year the State of Michigan has instituted two new emergency response drills in addition to ten fire and severe weather drills for all public school districts. These new emergency response drills are intended for schools to practice lock-down procedures in response to any exterior or interior intruder threat and are addressed in our school crisis response plan.

We are all highly aware of the most recent cases of school violence across our nation. It is important for a school district to anticipate and prepare for any type of incident. Our intent is not to alarm our students but to prepare them to respond when we initiate a lcck down. Just as our students have learned how to properly respond to fire and severe weather alarms, they also need to be aware of this added incident response.

Over the next few weeks our teachers will be discussing the lock down procedure. We will instruct students in an age appropriate way how they are to respond when we receive the lock down code over the school’s P.A. system. We will stress to students that there are very rare occasions when schools need to be locked down and that their safety is our number one concern. After every classroom has had this discussion we will conduct our first lock down drill. We will use this drill to assess our response and to review our procedures.

The district works very closely with our local law enforcement agencies. They advise us on our safety plans and help train us in our responses. Working together creates not only better responses but can in many instances successfully address any situation before it happens.

I will inform you after we conduct our first lock down drill. You are encouraged to have follow-up discussions with your students about the new lock down procedures and help to reassure them that events necessitating this response are rare occurrences.

If you have any questions about the new lock down drill or our school’s crisis plan please don’t hesitate to contact me.

Speaker on Food Allergies

Dr. Harvey Leo will be the guest speaker at the Lawton PTO meeting on Tuesday, Nov. 14, 2006 at 7:00 P.M. Dr. Leo is one of the doctors from the Allergy and Immunology Associates of Ann Arbor who specialize in the diagnosis and treatment of asthma and all immunological disorders. Dr. Leo also worked very closely with a 2005-06 district committee to develop the Food Allergy guidelines now in use by the Ann Arbor Public Schools. Please feel free to attend this informational session at Lawton.

Friday, November 03, 2006

No School--Monday, November 6

As a reminder, there is no school for students on Monday, November 6. This time is set aside for professional development and report card writing.

Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Rocky Beach

Is this a clue?

Monday, October 30, 2006

Cold Rock Clue

Not sure what this means but it was emailed this weekend:

This doesn't change anything for me. I'll be revealing my solution to this mystery (with supporting evidence) on Tuesday.

Friday, October 27, 2006

Rock Update: More Clues

Here are the most recent rock clues:

From Sunday, October 22: My team was in a very close battle this week but you got the wrong game. Think Orange.

From Friday, October 27: Some students have seen the rock but they know how to keep a secret. They have even participated in the great caper.

BREAKING NEWS: Based on the clues, I believe I have figured out who has my rock. I will reveal my case on Tuesday, October 31. Any sleuths who believe they also know the perpetrator of this dastardly crime, should turn the following into the school office no later than 9 AM on Tuesday, October 31:
  • Name of detective
  • Teacher of detective
  • A list of clues they used to solve the crime
  • Explanation of what the clues mean (optional for K, 1, and 2)
  • Perpetrator of crime

Wednesday, October 25, 2006

King Blood Drive on 10/26

The King Blood Drive sponsored by the King PTO will take place on Thursday, October 27.

To remind parents of this important PTO-sponsored event, the PTO will send students home with crowns today that advertise the blood drive.

If you haven't signed up yet, there is still time! You can sing up at You'll be asked to enter kes13 as our school ID.

Hope to see you there!

Friday, October 20, 2006

Rock Update - A Clue!

I received a clue as to the whereabouts of my rock. It came in the form of a poem, another genre of writing. Here is the clue:

I have your rock, I took it for fun,
Now it's a mystery, the game has begun.

You had to go out and involve the whole school,
My clues will be educational, it's really quite cool.

My first clue is this, it's really quite plain,
The man they call Seuss, has taken over my brain.

Find the one person who likes to rhyme,
And you'll get your rock in the nick of time.

For your precious little game, I do hope they win,
OSU the national championship . . . that is a sin.

You asked for a clue, I have given you many,
if you look close you'll find, ten maybe twenty.

I took your rock, it's as plain as can be,
And I still have it, 'cause I'm smarter than thee.

I'm not sure yet what this clue tells us. If you've got any ideas, you should write it down and give it to your teacher to take to the office.

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

Parts Of A Mystery

Because my special rock is missing, we are in the middle of a mystery at MLK School. It is also an opportunity for us to learn about mysteries as a genre that we can read--or even write!

When talking about mysteries with our children, we should try to identify the typical parts of a mystery. The following from might be helpful:

A mystery story has a certain outline that it needs to follow. It has specifics that relate to the characters, setting, plot, problem and solutions. First, characters should have a good physical description. The main character is the one who should get to the bottom of the mystery and solve the mystery. The main character(s) may make a mistake and get tangled into the plot. Other characters involved in the story assist or deter the main character in each of the mysteries stories. Next, the setting should be a familiar place where you can close your eyes and picture where the story is taking place. The setting creates interest and excitement. Next, your mystery should be filled with action and suspense. Something exciting should occur in the beginning to get the reader interested in the story. The mystery has a problem to solve, like who committed a crime or where something is hidden. Clues are embedded in the story and should be analyzed to solve the story. Finally, the solution should be believable. The clues must be included in the story with no surprises available for the reader to uncover. If you are interested in writing a mystery keep these key mystery elements in mind. As you read the individual pages about the selected mystery series you can see how the authors of famous mystery series use these elements too!

Monday, October 16, 2006

Last Known Picture Of Rock With Family

Here is a clear picture of my rock--when he was still at home with the family!

Great Winter Warm Up Starts

The King PTO annually sponsors several community action events including the "Great Winter Warm Up" which began today.

The purpose of the event is to help needy families in our area who may need warm clothing during the coming cold months. Those who would like to help can donate new or gently used coats, hats, gloves, boots and/or snow pants by placing them in boxes located outside classrooms and the school office.

For more information, contact your PTO Community Action Co-Chairs, Sassa Akervall ( and Lynne Schwank (

Rock Update #2

There were some interesting rock developments today. Before I give you the update, remember we are in the middle of a mystery. We have some clues. Maybe we can use the clues to solve the mystery.

Boys and girls--If you have any ideas on solving the mystery or if see any more clues, please let me know. Bring a note to the office.


Part 1: The rock below was on my desk today. It is definitely a clue but I don't know what it means.

Part 2: I received the following email from

Mr. Karr,
Wearing green and white today does not comply with our demands. This is unacceptable. Your defiance has upset us. You will be given new demands that must be followed by Friday or your rock will be painted scarlet and gray.

Hmmmm . . . very interesting. I see some more clues. Do you? Keep your eyes peeled. I need some help if we are going to solve this one. Thanks for your help!

Rock Update #1

I've received the picture below of my rock apparently on a playground. It is another clue!
Do you think it is the King playground?

The Case of the Missing Rock

Shortly after the Michigan-Michigan St. football game, Mr. Karr’s Michigan rock disappeared from the school office. Just to be clear, the rock is special because it has a special Michigan "M" painted on the front of it. It also has a painting of a Michigan State Spartan on the bottom of it. The Spartan looks like he has been flattened by the rock.

At first, it was unclear exactly what happened to the rock. Maybe it was accidentally thrown away OR was it stolen by a disgruntled Michigan State fan OR maybe someone liked it and “borrowed” it? I just didn’t know where my rock was. However, last week several clues emerged making it clear we have a mystery on our hands.

The first clue was a note from someone saying they had my rock and they would give it back if I did all of the following:
1. Wear green and white;
2. Bring chocolate to school;
3. Play “Who Let The Dogs Out” at the end of the school day.
These clues are peculiar indeed. They all give me some information about what might happen next and who might be behind this dastardly deed.

One thing is for sure: we've got a mystery on our hands at King School. I'll share more information as it is known.

Thursday, October 12, 2006

First Snow: October 12, 2006

Our official first snow of the school year occurred this morning as students were entering MLK. To the left is the snowy scene shortly after students entered. Can you believe that yesterday it was sixty degrees? Welcome to Michigan!

If you have watched the weather the past few days, you already knew the temperature was going to drop and that snow was a possibility. Unfortunately, I counted at least six students who were caught off-guard and were not dressed appropriately--they were wearing t-shirts. From the looks on their faces, I could tell they were surprised and uncomfortable!

Please let our snowy morning serve as a reminder to watch carefully what students wear as they leave home. It is wise to help students be prepared for a variety of weather. The essentials right now include a coat, hat, and gloves. When larger amounts of snow occur, snow pants and boots are required if students want to play anywhere off the playground asphalt.

Monday, October 09, 2006

MEAPs Begin

The Michigan Educational Assessment Program (MEAP) tests began today at King School. The tests involve our third, fourth, and fifth grade students. Third and fourth grade students take reading, writing and math tests. Fifth graders take a science test in addition to the three others.

Parents are reminded to help their children get a good night's sleep and eat a nutritious breakfast each morning before coming to school.

Personal Best Our Focus This Week

This week at school we are focusing on the Lifelong Guideline of Personal Best, which is defined to be the 18 Lifeskills below. Over time, we'll discuss the Lifeskills in more depth at school--and we hope you'll do the same at home.

  • Caring
  • Common Sense
  • Cooperation
  • Courage
  • Curiosity
  • Effort
  • Flexibility
  • Friendship
  • Initiative
  • Integrity
  • Organization
  • Patience
  • Perseverance
  • Pride
  • Problem Solving
  • Resourcefulness
  • Responsibility
  • Sense of Humor

Good Luck, Atulya!

MLK student, Atulya Shetty, will be competing in the World Youth Chess Championship in the country of Georgia from October 17 until 28. Track his progress at Good luck, Atulya! We're rooting for you!Link

Friday, October 06, 2006

Fridays Are Spirit Days At MLK

Every Friday is Spirit Day at MLK, and students are invited to wear something to show their spirit. For some this means they wear their favorite colors while others wear their MLK school t-shirts. I've also noticed quite a bit of maize and blue on Fridays this fall . . . . which is my preference for Spirit Day!

A friend of mine, who also works in an elementary school, recently sent the picture above. It doesn't look like this school would appreciate those who prefer maize and blue on Spirit Day. Whatever colors your child prefers, I do hope they'll look forward to Spirit Days at MLK.

Tuesday, October 03, 2006

Safety Review Letter

October 4, 2006

Dear Parents,

I am sure almost all of you are aware of the recent rash of violence in schools across our nation. I want to assure you that King School, with the support of the Ann Arbor district administration, is taking these recent incidents seriously.

We have reviewed our school safety plans and will continue to lock all non-essential doors, directing all parents and visitors through the side-door entrance. Please remember parents must enter the side door (closest to the parking lot and school office) during school hours. The front doors are locked except during drop-off and pick-up times.

Upon entering school during the school day, everyone is required to come to the office, sign in, and wear a visitor’s pass. If this does not happen, staff will approach visitors they do not recognize and ask them to report to the office.

While we see many of you daily, we need everyone to cooperate with this process.

I’d like to emphasize that we have not had any threats to our school or our district. We just want to remind everyone that we must remain alert and vigilant in implementing safety procedures at our schools. Working together we can maintain a safe environment for our children to learn and grow.

If you have any questions please feel free to contact me.


Kevin Karr

Drop Off Update

This morning I watched the drop off procedures at King closely. Here is what I saw:
  • Five buses dropped off approximately 200+ students safely;
  • Approximately 200 students waked OR got dropped off at school;
  • Cars entered the front circle in an orderly way;
  • No cars dropped off in the areas where orange cones exist;
  • One car was standing at the curb for an extended period;
  • TWO cars dropped off students in unsafe ways. One car dropped off a child six feet from the curb and another car pulled up to the curb at an angle. Both of these situations resulted in traffic flow being impeded by having cars stopped in the lane of traffic--as well as greater likelihood of an accident that could have resulted in student injury.
As always, we need to be cognizant about safety during drop off times. Please do your part and follow the drop off procedures: Drop off only in the front drive between 8:40 and 9:10; no standing or parking." Thank you!

Thursday, September 28, 2006

Walk Home With A Buddy

As we continue to examine our safety procedures at King, it has come up that some students walk home each afternoon by themselves. As part of our exit procedures at King, we are asking students who walk home to do so in pairs. We appreciate family support around this issue. Teachers are reviewing these practices with students.

Our intent in bringing this up is not to cause undue concern. We just want to encourage safe practices.

Monday, September 25, 2006

Lifelong Guidelines Update

For the past two weeks, we've focused on the lifelong guidelines of "Truthfulness" and "Trustworthiness." Typically teachers have at least one short activity per day to help students expand their understanding of a guideline. This can be a definition, an example, a role playing exercise, or even a "teachable moment"--an event that comes up in class that fits the guideline and is discussed with the guideline in mind.

The feedback about Lifelong Guidelines and Lifeskills from students, parents and teachers has been positive. However, if you are wondering what this is all about or if you have questions, please don't hesitate to ask your child's teacher or me.

For this week, we are focusing on "Active Listening." I hope you'll take a moment to ask your child what they've learned about active listening.

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

Student Goals and Writing Assembly

At the beginning of the school year, I asked our students to focus on a few important areas. These included the following:
  • Be the best reader you can be
  • Follow the Lifelong Guidelines and Lifeskills
  • Be the best writer you can be
As a way to kick off the school year and our focus on being good writers, we welcomed Mr. Jim Mitchell from Wisconsin at MLK today for an energetic assembly focusing on the "6 + 1 Traits" of good writing. These include:
  • Ideas
  • Organization
  • Voice
  • Word Choice
  • Sentence Fluency
  • Conventions
  • and Presentation
These are words and ideas that parents may be able to use at home also to understand and describe good writing.

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

Medicine At School

Dear Parents,

If you have children enrolled who have need of emergency medication(s), please bring the medication, alone with a completed physician and parent authorization forms, to the school office. Blank forms for the physician and parent authorization of the administration of medication at school may be obtained from the school office or click here. This process must be followed for all medications, including those that are "over-the-counter."

Thank you assisting in this very important matter.


Mazie Hamilton
King School Nurse
(734)994-8292 x52126

Picture Day Is Coming!

In case you missed it, picture day at MLK is on Friday, September 29. Every student will have their picture taken on that day. If parents choose to, they can also purchase pictures of their children. We will be sending home order forms describing the picture packages as well as pricing for all options.

Parents can pay for pictures can happen in one of two ways:
  1. Fill out and return the envelope attached to the picture day flyer with payment
  2. For convenience, parents can now select picture packages and pay for pictures online at
If you have questions, please call the school office. We are happy to help!

Friday, September 15, 2006

Yearbook Help Needed

Are you a parent who is all of the following:
  • Creative
  • Likes to take pictures
  • Wants to help with the school yearbook
This is an exciting opportunity to help make this year's yearbook the best one ever! Please call the school office and leave a message for Mr. Karr if you are interested.

Monday, September 11, 2006

Curriculum Night Reminder: We Want To See YOU!

September 11, 2006

Dear MLK families,

The MLK staff and I are looking forward to meeting all parents tomorrow evening at our annual Curriculum Night (Tuesday, September 12).

The schedule for Curriculum Night is as follows:
6:30 – 7:05 Classroom presentations
7:10 – 7:30 State of the School presentation in the multipurpose room
7:35– 8:15 Classroom presentations

While at Curriculum Night, please make sure you sign up for a parent-teacher conference.

Please note that Curriculum Night is a night set aside for teachers to present to parents. However, there is limited free childcare available through KingCare. If you are interested in childcare, please call KingCare directly at 994-4485.

With our first major evening event comes a reminder to follow our evening safety procedures which are explained by clicking here. Everyone must adhere to these procedures if we are going to have a safe event. Thank you.

We look forward to seeing you tomorrow evening.


Kevin Karr

Evening Safety Procedures at King

Due to the limited availability of parking at King, parents should plan to park in the neighborhood during evening events at King.

There is NO PARKING in front of the main entrance, by the fire hydrant, or on the left-hand side of the front circular drive.
Reason: The front drive is a fire lane and must be kept accessible for emergency vehicles. The fire hydrant area must also be kept clear.

Drop Off/Pick Up
The front entrance will be available for drop off and pick up ONLY. AT NO TIME SHOULD PARKING OCCUR IN FRONT OF THE SCHOOL.

Emergency Exits
Below is a map of the school with the arrows indicating emergency exits. Before you come to an evening event at King, please consider designating a place outside the building for your family to meet in the event that the building needs to be evacuated.

front of school

Tuesday, September 05, 2006

Welcome to the 2006-07 School Year!

September 6, 2006

Dear King Families,
On behalf of the King staff, I would like to welcome you to the 2006-07 school year. We hope your summer has re-energized you for an exciting year of learning and academic success for all students.

On the first day of school, we had an all-school assembly during which we introduced the Lifelong Guidelines and Lifeskills. The Lifelong Guidelines are:
• Trustworthiness • Truthfulness • Active Listening
• No Put-Downs • Personal Best
Personal Best is defined by the Lifeskills which include:
• Caring
• Common Sense
• Cooperation
• Courage
• Curiosity
• Effort
• Flexibility
• Friendship
• Initiative
• Integrity
• Organization
• Patience
• Perseverance
• Pride
• Problem Solving
• Resourcefulnes
• Responsibility
• Sense of Humor
It is our hope that you will use this same language in defining appropriate behavior. You will certainly hear more about the Lifelong Guidelines and Lifeskills in the upcoming months!

Last, I want to begin the year with a reminder that is not OK to park in the front of the school during pick up and drop off times. The rule is: Quick drop-offs and pick-ups only! Thank you for observing this important safety rule at King.

Let’s have a great school year! If you have questions, please ask us.

Kevin Karr

Wednesday, August 30, 2006

Academic Games at King School in 2006-07

I'm happy to announce that the King School PTO will sponsor an Academic Games team for 4th and 5th graders this year--for the first time ever! This exciting addition to our offerings is largely due to the efforts of the Vanek family. Please thank them for their efforts.

The text of an informational flyer from Mike Vanek shows below:

Dear Parents of 4th and 5th Graders,

We would like to invite you to an informational meeting about the new Academic Games program being offered for 4th and 5th grade students at King Elementary School. The meeting will be held Monday, September 11th from 7:00 to 8:00 PM in the King Multipurpose Room. This first meeting will be for interested 5th grade students and their parents. We will hold a separate informational meeting for 4th grade students and parents at a date to be announced later this fall. If your child attended King School last year and you were on the King PTO email list, you should have already received a message containing some basic information about the program.
At the beginning of the meeting, we will discuss our expectations with the students and introduce them to the game of Equations. Kids will then be dismissed to the playground, supervised by Mrs. Vanek, while Christy and I answer questions and distribute the tournament schedule to parents.
Practice times have been set for Monday and Thursday evenings, from 7:00 to 8:00 PM, and will be held in the King School Music Room. We look forward to meeting with you on Monday the 11th.


Mike Vanek

What is Academic Games?

Academic Games (AG) is a group of games designed to test and improve a student's knowledge in several different subject areas. There are games that cover math, English, social studies, and logic. The primary purpose of AG is to make learning fun for students. All too often it seems, students turn off to Math, English, or Social Studies because they are bored or not challenged by the material. AG helps to solve that problem by making learning about the subjects more interesting and fun. There is also the added motivation to do well in order to succeed in competition.

Which games do students play in AG? *

The first game students learn is Equations, a mathematics game created by University of Michigan Law Professor Layman Allen in the mid 1960's. Players use numerals and mathematical symbols on special dice to create a goal, and then try to come up with a solution before their opponents.

Similar to the popular card game, "Set", On-Sets is a game that involves Set Theory, where students must find groups of colors using set operations.

Linguishtik is an English Grammar game, where students must find a word, and place it into a particular type of sentence.

On-Words is a word game involving spelling, counting, grammar, phonetics, word roots, inflectional endings, prefixes and suffixes

Presidents is an American History game that tests students' knowledge of the American Presidents, and the events that happened during their presidencies.

In Propaganda, students learn to recognize and understand different techniques of persuasion

Wff N' Proof is a game of symbolic logic where students must construct proofs to prove logical arguments that they create.

In World Card, students must research a particular topic and create a reference book to be used in competitions.

(These brief game descriptions came from the Michigan League of Academic Games website:, where more information on games and rules can be found.)

* Our King Elementary students will be learning Equations, On-Sets, Presidents, and Propaganda.

Wednesday, August 23, 2006

Back To School Guide Available

The Ann Arbor Public Schools has mailed out a back to school guide to all families. It give a lot of information that will be helpful to new and old King families.

You can also download the guide at:

Monday, August 21, 2006

Lunch prices for 2006-07

Lunch will be served the first day of school in the cafeteria. The prices are as follows:
Regular lunch: $2.50
Reduce lunch: $0.40
Note: reduced price lunches are available for qualified students. If you wish to apply, please complete the application that was mailed to every household or request an application from the King office. Please fill out the application completely. The District uses family applications so only one application per household is needed. A new application is required every school year. Students who received free or reduced meals in the 2005-06 school year are eligible to receive free or reduced meals on the first 10 days of the 2006-07 school year. Students who qualify for subsidized lunch automatically qualify for subsidized breakfast also.

Friday, August 18, 2006

Instructional Hours at King

A typical school day at King will run from 8:48 - 3:42 this year. Please note the ending time for each day is now six minutes later than last year.

More at:

Monday, August 14, 2006

Monitor lunch accounts with ParentOnline

A breakfast and lunch payment program offered by the Ann Arbor Public Schools
  • Pay for student meals using your credit card from any computer with internet access
  • Pay-as-you-go or setup automated payments
  • Combine payments for multiple students
  • Access student accounts anytime, anywhere
  • Navigate easily with user-friendly screens
Safe and Secure
  • Eliminate need for children to carry cash or checks
  • Password protected account to keep information secure
  • Receive immediate confirmation via email
  • Ensure that funds are deposited accurately
  • Offers printable verification of transaction
Peace of Mind
  • Ensure sufficient funds are in student account
  • Receive low account balance reminder
  • View and print student activity and purchases
  • Access funds posted to cafeteria account within 24 hours

To register, please visit Please note that you will need your child's student ID number to register; if you do not know their student ID number, please contact the secretary at the school he or she attends.

For detailed directions on using the system, you can download a brochure about ParentOnline by clicking here.

Sunday, August 13, 2006

School office opens for 2006-07

The M. L. King School office will open on Monday, August 14. Parents who are new to the school community are encouraged to come to school after 1 P.M. to begin the registration process. Please click here for more information about registration.

Existing King families may be interested in looking over the AAPS Back To School Guide.

Sunday, July 30, 2006

Schools and Online Networking

Hello King families,

I hope summer is going well for everyone. It is for me. Nothing beats spending time with my family!
Coming up in August, I co-teach a graduate class for EMU. As part of the class, I've run across an online article that might be useful to parents. It is about websites that provide online social networking environments (like or It is important for parents to understand these environments because even fourth and fifth graders use these sites nowadays. It made me think of how different the issues are around raising and educating children than they were just five years ago.

Here is the link: or click here.

Looking forward to seeing you in the fall . . .

Kevin Karr

Monday, June 26, 2006

King Newsletter 6-5-06

June 9, 2006

Dear King Families,

As we begin to close this school year, I continue to be energized around the work we are doing to help kids at King learn. Looking over the growth that has occurred, I am amazed. I’m already looking forward to Curriculum Night next fall where I can share more of the details. Thanks goes to parents, volunteers, teachers—and all those who helped make this a successful year at King. I also want to express my thanks for the warm welcome I’ve received this year at King. I feel more a part of this great community every day!

Planning For 2006-07
It is about this time of the year that planning for next school year becomes more intense. This year is no exception. As I look at next school year at King, I am planning to start the school year with one less teacher than the 2005-06 school year, which is similar to what other Ann Arbor elementary schools are planning. This is a direct impact of the budget complexities the district is and has been facing. While it is not clear exactly how this will impact the grade configurations at King, it will mean about one additional student per class on average than this school year. As we move through the summer months, I will keep a close eye on enrollment. Ultimately, the number of students enrolled in each grade for next year will determine what changes are necessary. As in the past, you can expect a letter from me in late August with important information about the start of school including class placement information.

Ice Cream Social
WOW! The King PTO sure does know how to put on an ice cream social. The turnout was huge and the weather was great. My request for next year is that we somehow get some warmer water. It was really cold in there! And 7 out of the 10 kids who threw when I was “in the tank” ended up dunking me! I think we’ve got some future professional baseball pitchers at King.

Have a relaxing and productive summer!

Kevin Karr

Tuesday, January 31, 2006

Safety Procedures During Evening Events

Safety Procedures During Evening Events At King

RECOMMENDATION: Plan on parking in the neighborhood during evening events at King.

There is NO PARKING in front of the main entrance, by the fire hydrant, or on the left-hand side of the front circular drive.
Reason: The front drive is a fire lane and must be kept accessible for emergency vehicles. The fire hydrant area must also be kept clear.

Drop Off/Pick Up
The front entrance will be available for drop off and pick up ONLY. AT NO TIME SHOULD PARKING OCCUR IN THIS AREA.

Emergency Exits
Below is a map of the school with the arrows indicating emergency exits. Before you come to an evening event at King, please consider designating a place outside the building for your family to meet in the event that the building needs to be evacuated.