Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Silent Auction Almost Here!

Dear King Families,

In case you’ve somehow missed it, the 3rd King Silent Auction will kick off at 4 PM this Sunday, April 29. This exciting fundraiser offers a wide array of donated goods and services including condominiums, cooking classes, parties, hotel stays, gift certificates—and much, much more. The complete catalog for the silent auction is available at
The event is open to all, so if you would like to share the link above with someone who isn’t typically part of the King School community, please feel free. It is even possible for out of towners to bid by proxy! Special thanks goes to Laurie Barnett,Terri Brodkey and Amy Cell who are chairing this event and have done professional level work in making all happen. Thanks also to the many volunteers who are working before, during, and after the event to make it all happen.

Two reminders:
1. Evening activities at King are family events. Parents and guardians are responsible for the close supervision of their children. Children cannot attend without a supervising adult.
2. Please follow all safety procedures during evening events at King. This includes no parking in the front of King School. Please plan on parking in the neighborhood during the evening of the silent auction.

If you have questions, please feel free to ask.

Kevin Karr

Sunday, April 22, 2007

Top Ten Reasons To Block Out 4 - 8 PM This Sunday

Top 10 Reasons
to block out 4-8pm Sunday, April 29 at 4-8pm
in your PDA and family calendar now!

10. Photo opportunities galore during the Science Olympiad award ceremony!
9. Feast on multicultural fare provided at reasonable prices from Evergreen, Qdoba and Shalimar!
8. Bid on over 150 incredible, must-have-at-any-price items!
7. Children’s Mystery Bags!
6. Bid on fun events including the ever popular King Community Party, Mom’s Night Out and new this year – a Poker Party!
5. Science Displays and activities to entertain and enrich!
4. Wii system raffle! You won’t have to stand in line for days!
3. Try to win lunch with a friend and Principal Kevin Karr -- in a limousine ride to a fun Ann Arbor restaurant!
2. Get to know families and teachers in your King community even better!
1. Two words – Balloon Animals.

Follow up to: A special day at MLK

An email received this weekend:
This is great, Kevin. I can tell you when I got home from work, my
first grader, could not wait to tell me all about it. And, one part of the
story was -- "he came because lots of kids wrote letters!"
This is exciting! It is great to hear that kids are making a connection between writing and accomplishing something.

Friday, April 20, 2007

A Special Visitor at MLK

We had a special visitor at MLK today . . .

It started with a knock on my office door and an urgent message saying that help was needed in the gymnasium. It was an emergency! Of course, I responded running down the hallway into the gymnasium where Mrs. Arbour said "come this way," moving towards the multipurpose room.

As I entered the multipurpose room I didn't find an emergency. I found the excitement of a blue and gold filled arena.It was a birthday surprise . . . for me. It was very nice; it felt very special. We sang songs, had happy birthday wishes, and there were even gifts! I was truly stunned!

But it wasn't over yet. The most exciting part was still to come!

This year, the focus of our school improvement has been writing. We would like our students to become better writers, and our teachers and the School Improvement Team has been working on this . . . so it was very appropriate that our students wrote letters to invite a special guest to visit MLK. Here is one of the letters, written by Rachel, a fourth grader at MLK.

Dear Coach,
I am writing to you from King Elementary School. You know my gym teacher, Mrs. Arbour. You're probably wondering why I am writing to you. I have to keep this letter top secret because we don't want my nice, caring, fun principal to know about this letter.

Do you want to know why? You guessed it! Mr. Karr (who says you're his long, lost cousin . . . Karr . . . Carr . . . get it?) well anyway his dream as a boy (and still now), is to meet YOU! His birthday is April 26th.

Now, I know you are a very busy person, but if you could take some time out of your day to come to my school, it would be greatly appreciated. It's okay if you say no . . . I'm shocked you would even have time to read this letter! I want to show Mr. Karr that children can help each other too. But I can't do that without you!

So if you could come to my school and surprise my principal that would make me and my school very happy, not to mention my principal.

Sincerely a Fourth Grader,


P.S. Don't contact King Elementary School. Remember it's a top secret mission and a surprise for Mr. Karr

What happened next was the result of all of the letters written by MLK students. Mrs. Knorr told me that I needed to sing the greatest fight song ever written which, of course, is "The Victors." Now I'm a good sport, but I don't always sing on pitch . . . so I said to would do it--if everyone helped me out. Everyone agreed and we started singing. It sounded pretty good with all of my great back up singers.

Then an amazing thing happened. As I was singing, a special guest at MLK began walking up behind me. Everyone could see him but me. As we finished singing "The Victors," I felt a hand on my shoulder. When I looked up, I saw Lloyd Carr, the coach of the Michigan football team!
I couldn't believe it! The letters written to Coach Carr persuaded him to come and visit MLK. It is hard to believe it happened. I want to thank all of the boys and girls for their effort in being the best writers they can be! Nice work! And keep it up! We're going to be the best school of writers anywhere!

I also want to thank the MLK teachers and staff. They are a wonderful, dedicated, and talented group of educators. I really appreciate working with such a fine group of professionals.

Last, but not least, thank you to Lloyd Carr for taking the time to be a part of MLK today. It was a wonderful birthday visit that helped us reinforce the power of writing. GO BLUE!

Thursday, April 19, 2007

Do You Want to Help Your Kids With Writing This Summer?

The King School Improvement Team presents a
Parent Writing Workshop

by the EMU Writing Project!

This event will be held on three dates for the convenience of our parents at MLK:
Choice #1: Wednesday, May 2
Choice #2: Thursday, May 10
Choice #3: Tuesday, May 15

7:00-8:30 pm
King Media Center

Parents will:
*Explore “best practices” in teaching writing
*Learn practical ways to encourage
your kids to write
*Talk with experts who are parents, too

The presenters:
Cathy Fleischer (Ph.D. University of Michigan, 1990) is a professor in the EMU English department where she coordinates the English Education program and teaches courses in both English education and Written Communication. She writes and presents extensively on literacy education. She is the mother of two teenage sons.

Kim Pavlock (MA, Eastern Michigan University, 1997) is the Family Literacy Coordinator for the EMWP. She teaches first-year writing at EMU. Additionally, she presents literacy workshops for families and professional development workshops for teachers and administrators. She is a mother of three children, ages 8, 12, 14.

Lori Loewer (MEd, National Louis University, Illinois, 1993) is a former elementary teacher and currently a guest teacher in South Lyon. She has two children, ages 8 and 10.

Each session is limited to approximately 40 people. If the date you selected above is overbooked, you will be contacted. Babysitting will be provided by King Care, courtesy of the King PTO.

To sign up, please return the form that came home with your child OR call the school office at 994-1940.

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Virginia Tech

A couple thoughts to share regarding the horrific events at Virginia Tech this week and how to address your children's concerns.

1) If the kids are discussing it, you need to discuss it. If you don't, you send the message that it is too horrible to discuss, and that is terrifying to children. What kids imagine is worse than the facts.
2) Stick to the facts. There are lots of rumors and unfounded stuff out there. Stick to what is known and say "we don't know" for the questions that don't have answers.
3) Emphasize that this is a big deal because it is unusual. Kids don't have the perspective we do as adults that what makes the news is the rare, not the common.
4) Everyone deals with fear and related feelings in their own way. Some kids don't want to talk about it. Some kids do. Some seem "inappropriate" in what they say. Respond to the feelings and not the content.
5) Don't dwell on it. When the main facts and feelings have come out, it's time to get on with your regular routine. Make sure kids know you're available to talk later if they want.
6) Short term normal reactions to this sort of thing include changes in appetite and sleep. It may also turn up in children's artwork and in conversations about other frightening or sad things they have experienced. All of these things should fade as time goes on. If they don't, you may wish to consult your pediatrician or someone in the mental health field. Please let us know at school if we can help.

Also, I, like many, was struck by Nikki Giovanni's poem which she read at the memorial yesterday in Blacksburg. It shows below.

We are Virginia Tech.

We are sad today and we will be sad for quite awhile. WE are not moving on, we are embracing our mourning.

We are Virginia Tech.

We are strong enough to know when to cry and sad enough to know we must laugh again.

We are Virginia Tech.

We do not understand this tragedy. We know we did not deserve it but neither does a child in Africa dying of AIDS, but neither do the invisible children walking the night to avoid being captured by a rogue army. Neither does the baby elephant watching his community be devastated for ivory; neither does the Appalachian infant killed in the middle of the night in his crib in the home his father built with his own hands being run over by a boulder because the land was destabilized. No one deserves a tragedy.

We are Virginia Tech.

The Hokier Nation embraces our own with open heart and hands to those who offer their hearts and minds. We are strong and brave and innocent and unafraid. We are better than we think, not quite what we want to be. We are alive to the imagination and the possibility we will continue to invent the future through our blood and tears, through all this sadness.

We are the Hokies.

We will prevail, we will prevail, we will prevail.

We are Virginia Tech.

Thursday, April 05, 2007

Animals at MLK

Over the past month, several incidents involving animals at school have prompted several questions about what is appropriate. The questions include the following:
  1. Can dogs/rabbits/hampsters/gerbils/cats come to school? Can my dog come to school for the morning?
  2. My child is scared of dogs. Aren't dogs supposed to stay off of school grounds?
  3. Can I walk my child to school with my dog?
The answers to these questions show below but before the answers, please know that my car license plate does not say "DOG HTR." :-) The answers are intended to reflect a focus on student needs and safe, clear practices.
  • Answer to Q1: It might be OK for an animal to come to school for a short period of time that is prearranged with the classroom teacher. However, it might also inappropriate based on the individual needs in the classroom. In all cases, a plan with the classroom teacher is necessary before any animal comes to school.
  • Answer to Q2: Dogs should not generally be on school grounds when the school is being used for school activities (including KingCare and evening PTO activities). When school is not in session, the community is welcome to use the walking track and other areas provided the area is kept clean of pet waste.
  • Answer to Q3: If you walk to school with your child and dog, please know that some are afraid of the presence of dogs (yes, even your docile dog). Please feel free to walk your child and dog to the school boundary, but please also be aware that the closer you are to the school building, the greater the anxiety for some.

King Elementary School Clean Up

Many hands make light work, and King School needs people who care about how our school looks to come and help beautify the grounds. There are leaves to rake, mud mounds to remove, mulch to put down, bushes and trees to prune, litter to be disposed of properly, etc. While giving a helping hand, you can catch up on positive school and neighborhood topics. Bring gardening gloves, 5 compost bags, and any of the following tools such as a rake, shovels, pruners, and/or push broom. It would be great to get this all done in one day and then enjoy what nature has in store for us . . . spring trees blossoming out, newly planted bulbs smiling in the sun, green grass and leaves on the trees, laughter from kids at recess, balls being kicked up high . . . Oh my . . . can't wait.

Meet outside the north entrance of the school. Hope to see you there!

submitted by: Linda M. Ryan, PTO Landscape Chair