Thursday, August 30, 2007

Paying For Lunch Online = Meal Pay Plus, NOT Parent Online

Meal Pay Plus is the online breakfast and lunch program offered by the Ann Arbor Public Schools. This is a new program replacing Parent Online. You are still able to pay for student meals using your credit card or by calling a 1-800 number. You can combine payments for multiple students, access their accounts to monitor what they are purchasing and ensure they have sufficient funds in their accounts. An information flyer will be sent home with your student in their school packets including information on how to register and what the new program offers. Look for information on Meal Pay Plus soon!

Note: Please know that if you still had money left in your ParentOnline account, it has been transferred to Meal Pay Plus.

You can access Meal Pay Plus from the AAPS parents page too:

Nametags, PLEASE, on the first day of school

Please please please.....make sure students (especially our youngest ones) have name tags with bus numbers attached to their shirt/blouse AND their backpacks. The MLK staff will be in front of the school, by buses, and in the hallways to assist and make sure everyone gets to the right place. You might remind your child to ask questions to an adult at school if they are confused--or just ask for help getting to their classroom.

At the end of school, we'll dismiss kids in order:
1. Walkers will exit first. Parents should wait outside the front door or a spot you designate with your child.
2. King Care students will exit second and go directly to King Care.
3. Last, students who ride the bus home will be dismissed. Buses will not leave until we are sure everyone is in the right place . . . so the buses may be a little late coming home on the first day of school.

We're really excited to see your kids at MLK on Tuesday!

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Welcome Night for New Families

Bring your new to King student(s) to school tonight to hear a welcome message from Mr. Karr and the PTO, tour the building, find details about daily routines and discover other valuable information such as how to get a second slice of pizza at lunch time.

The fun starts at 7 PM! Hope to see you then.

Friday, August 24, 2007

Class Placement Information

Class placement information will be mailed to families on Wednesday, August 29. The letters families receive will also contain other important beginning of the year information. Please look for the letter in your mailbox.

As a reminder, the first day of school is a full-day on September 4.

Academic Games Teams Forming Now

Dear Parents of 4th and 5th Graders,

We would like to invite you to an informational meeting about the Academic Games program being offered for 4th and 5th grade students at King Elementary School. This meeting will be held Monday, September 17 from 7:00 to 7:30 PM in the King Multipurpose Room. Even if your children attended 4th Grade AG last year, please plan to attend.
Practice times have been set for Tuesday and Thursday evenings, from 7:00 to 8:00 PM, and will be held in the King School Music Room. Practices will begin for interested students in either 4th or 5th grade on Thursday, September 20th. Academic Games is sponsored by the King School PTO.
We look forward to meeting with you on Thursday the 13th.

Mike Vanek and Christy 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, On-Words, Presidents, and Propaganda.

Wednesday, August 22, 2007 after-school writing programs for kids

Below is a message I received from This organization has been helpful to many kids at MLK. Parents might consider looking into their opportunities this year.

826michigan is a non-profit organization that works with area youth ages 6-18 years old in tutoring, and creative and expository writing. Since we opened our doors in 2005, we have provided our services to hundreds of area youth. We hope that the coming 2007-2008 school year will be our best year yet. Please join us!

826michigan is one of seven "826"'s across the nation that serve youth at little or no cost. Chapters exist in San Francisco, Los Angeles, Chicago, Seattle, New York City and Boston. Please visit to learn more about the 826 family.

At 826michigan( our primary goal is to empower youth in their creative and expository writing and helping teachers inspire their students to write. 826michigan is a vibrant community of nearly 200 volunteers from all walks of life dedicated to assisting area youth with all things writing.

All of our services are offered free of charge to students: after school tutoring, writing workshops, in-school workshops. In the last year 2006/7, 826michigan completed over 150 in-school writing workshops and over 60 in-house workshops, tutored 15 students a day and published a literary journal, Vacansopapurosophobia, that consists entirely of student work. As well as working with AAPS, 826michigan partners with Ypsilanti Public Schools, Willow Run, Ozone House, In-Gear at EMU, among others.

We believe that the more fun a student has, and the more directly we speak to a student's interests, the more we can help students find the fun in learning. Students can come to 826 for help and inspiration for all kinds of things, from poetry to storytelling, writing songs to writing college entrance essays, finishing novels to starting haikus.
All of our programs are challenging and enjoyable, and ultimately strengthen each student's power to express ideas effectively, creatively, confidently, and in his or her individual voice. And best of all, all 826michigan events and activities are offered completely free of charge.

Please review our website( to learn more about how we might better serve Ann Arbor Public Schools. We look forward to helping in anyway, be it in-school workshops, creative writing ideas, or after-school tutoring.

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Information Especially For Parents

As I've been working on getting things organized and started at MLK, I've noticed several times how useful the parent page is on the AAPS website. New and old families alike will likely find answers to their questions. Check it out:

Lunch at MLK

Lunch will be served the first day of school in the cafeteria. The prices are as follows:
Regular lunch: $2.50
Reduced lunch: $0.40
Students may also bring their lunch from home. Milk may be purchased for $.50. It is preferred that payment for hot lunch is made by the week or the month; however, lunch purchases can be made the same day. The Ann Arbor Schools DOES NOT ALLOW STUDENTS TO CHARGE LUNCHES. If a student forgets their lunch or lunch money, we provide an alternative lunch for them.

Note: reduced price lunches are available for qualified students. If you wish to apply, please complete the enclosed application. 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 2006-07 school year are eligible to receive free or reduced meals on the first 10 days of the 2007-08 school year. Students who qualify for free/reduced lunch automatically qualify for free/reduced breakfast.

Fruits and Vegetable Snacks Only/Food Allergies

Snacks at school: Please send ONLY fruit and vegetable snacks to school until all food allergy plans can be evaluated and implemented at school. This is necessary to be responsive to the increasing number of medically sensitive situations with which we are faced.

Wellness policy: Beyond that, I also want to note the AAPS has adopted a new Wellness Policy that covers both nutrition education and nutrition standards. In particular, the policy states that foods of minimal nutritional value will not be served during the instructional day, including the meal service period. The effect of this policy will be seen in the food service program with new healthy food choices more prevalent than before. In addition, I strongly encourage families to consider healthy choices, such as non-food items, as part of birthday and classroom celebrations.

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

2007-08 Back To School Guide

The 2007-08 Back to School Guide has been posted to the district web site; you'll find a link to it on the Especially for Parents page. The Guide includes the bus schedule, registration schedules, and more. Hard copies of the guide are being sent to homes this week as well.

Monday, August 13, 2007

School Office Closed on August 27

The MLK School Office will be closed on Monday, August 27 and will reopen on Tuesday, August 28.