Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Incident at MLK - 10/30/2007

Dear MLK Parents and Guardians,

Today our school had to address a very serious incident where one student did not make it into school in the morning.

The incident immediately initiated a response procedure, which formally included MLK staff, district staff, and the Ann Arbor Police Department. In addition, many MLK parents helped in the search effort.

I am very pleased to report that the missing student was found unharmed and very close to school.

Your child may have seen police cars and/or a fire truck around MLK that were deployed during the search effort. Please reassure them, as we will, that they were in no danger and that we were only attempting to find a student who did not make it into school.

My observation: the response of the entire community was amazing! Immediately everyone rallied together to find the missing student. Thank you to everyone who helped in the search effort.

Please understand that because of privacy issues I cannot elaborate more on the incident but do know that our response process was praised by the police department, and the result was very positive.

Most of all, we are happy and very relieved that the child was found and is now doing well with the parents.


Kevin Karr

Monday, October 29, 2007

King of Hearts 5K a Success

The 5K run this year was awesome! Great weather, good friends, and fun times were what it was all about! Look below and see for yourself. :-)

Sunday, October 28, 2007

Trick-or-Treat for UNICEF

If your family participates in Trick-or-Treating, please consider the following from the MLK PTO:

The bright orange UNICEF box for trick treating arrived in your child's Friday folder this week. Developing responsible, caring and compassionate children is one of the most important jobs of a parent. This year, you can encourage these values in your children by having them participate in Trick-or-Treat for UNICEF. Encourage your child to bring the bright orange box with them as they travel through your neighborhood and ask for spare change or donations for disadvantaged children around the world.

Here are some ideas to encourage the values above:

-talk to your child about things that he or she probably takes for granted (easy access to food and clean water, school, medical help)

-tell your child about the lives of kids who live in other parts of the world

-discuss the many ways that UNICEF helps kids around the world (builds wells for clean water, immunizes children, builds schools, trains teachers, and provides school supplies)

Bring your orange box (filled with donations) to school by Monday November 5 and we will tally our school total and donate the coins in the local Coinstar Center machines, where donations go directly to UNICEF. Our school goal is $1,000! Make checks payable to USA Funds for UNICEF.

For more information on UNICEF visit www.unicefusa.org/trickortreat

Friday, October 26, 2007

American Heart Association Award

King School received an award today for its participation in the American Heart Association's Jump Rope For Heart last school year. The award was for the most improved school. King School increased their participation 525% from 2005-06 to 2006-07. Thanks you to Mrs. Arbour and Mrs. Knorr for their participation and leadership in this event!

Thursday, October 25, 2007

MRSA information from Michigan Dept of Education

Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus Aureus (MRSA)

Recent reports on the prevalence of MRSA, and recent unfortunate student deaths associated with MRSA have prompted much telephone activity and many questions regarding available data in Michigan. Additionally questions regarding available educational resources have been received. Individual case reports of MRSA are not reportable in Michigan; therefore prevalence rates for either Healthcare Associated –MRSA (HA-MRSA) or Community Associated –MRSA CA-MRSA) is unknown. Outbreaks, defined as "three or more culture positive cases in a facility or in a community that are epidemiologically linked where transmission/spread is plausible" are however, reportable to the local health jurisdiction.

MDCH has two educational brochures on prevention of MRSA and can be located as follows:

MDCH MRSA Prevention and Control Tri-Fold Brochure is available at:


MDCH MRSA Prevention and Control Poster is available at:


Treatment guidelines for CA-MRSA http://www.cdc.gov/ncidod/dhqp/pdf/ar/CAMRSA_ExpMtgStrategies.pdf

Massachusetts State Health- Schools and MRSA - also has translated materials for MRSA in a variety of languages:


Resource Update: 10/24/2007

The CDC has released a new website that will help answer many questions about managment of MRSA in Schools. The website is listed here below. This was not included on the HAN last Thursday, as it recently became available.



This is an update on what the Ann Arbor Public Schools is doing in regard to MRSA.

First, there are no reported cases of MRSA in the district. I am sharing information now so everyone understands what is being doing in regard to MRSA prevention and response-- if needed.

Custodial Services has been proactive about MRSA prevention issuing a disinfectant spray that kills the MRSA staph bacteria. This is being used by our custodians now to clean our gyms, cafeterias and restrooms.

In the case a true MRSA case is reported in an AAPS school, a response protocol is being developed now. This includes verification of the infection by the school nurse with the child's doctor. This is being done to prevent any confusion between a MRSA infection and another staph infection.

Outside of MLK, field turf areas are (and have been sprayed all season) with a disinfectant that kills MRSA.

More information about MRSA can be found by clicking here.

If you have any questions please call the school office.

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Please check lost and found before 11/2

Mr. Harris will empty the lost and found on November 2. If you are missing items, please check before then.

Teachers will also walk students by the lost and found and give an opportunity to check during the day :-)

Monday, October 22, 2007

Attention: Fifth Grade Parents

Dear 5th Grade Parents,

You may have heard or read about the recent news story concerning a security breach on the 5th and 6th grade MEAP writing test that occurred in another district in the state. The prompt for essay portion of the writing test in those two grades was mistakenly printed in that district’s local newspaper and its website. In order to assure fairness to all students and to protect the validity of the scores reported for the test, the Michigan Department of Education has determined that all 5th and 6th graders should be given a replacement writing prompt, regardless of whether they have already taken that portion of the test.

To prevent any other security breaches, the state has designated the morning of Wednesday, November 7 as the time when all 5th and 6th graders will take the replacement test, as the first school activity in the morning. Consequently, we will be administering the test at the time. The test is untimed, but is estimated to take about an hour for the students to complete. Students who are absent that day can make it up within the week that follows.

While it is unfortunate that our students will have to spend the time to take the replacement test, we will endeavor to have it run as smoothly as possible in order to provide fair and accurate scores for all of our students.


Kevin Karr

Friday, October 19, 2007

New Staff at MLK

Please join me in welcoming two fantastic additions to the MLK staff: Catrice Bridges and Meadow Snyder are two new teaching assistants working in our communications classroom.

If you haven't already, I hope you'll take a moment to stop by and introduce yourselves. :-)

Farm Fresh Friday at MLK

Rutabagas were on the menu today at MLK for Farm Fresh Friday! It was great to try something new!

3 on 3 Soccer

Late last year, the full-size soccer goals were removed at MLK (as they were at all AAPS elementary schools) due to safety concerns. Since then it has been a little hard to play soccer at MLK--until a couple weeks ago. That is when we began playing 3 on 3 soccer!

3 on 3 soccer is a game suggested by Curt Hinson in his book Games Kids Should Play At Recess, "Solutions For A Trouble Free Playground". The exciting parts of this game for our kids are:
  • everyone gets to play;
  • kids get to touch the ball more often during a game;
  • everyone knows and understands the rules.
So that parents know too, here are the rules of 3 on 3 Soccer at MLK:
Objective: Kicking; trapping; dribbling with feet; teamwork
Equipment: Soccer ball; four cones; four wiffleballs
Organization: Students form two groups of three. The cones are set up to represent goals, approximately 8 - 10 feet wide, with a wiffleball on top of each cone. The goals should be about 60 to 75 feet from each other. Each group designates one player to be the goalie and the other two players to be the offensive/defensive players. The goalies stand between the two cones at opposite ends of the field.
How to play: The two offensive/defensive players from each team attempt to get possession of the ball and try and kick it, knocking a wiffleball off the opponents cones. A point is scored when a wiffleball is successfully knocked off. The game is continuous. As soon as a goal is scored, the other team may get the ball and head up the field.
Lifeskills tip: The players on each team should switch places with the goalie every three goals or so.

King PRIDE--it shows!

Over the past few weeks, teachers and I have taken note of many, many positive events, routines and small acts of kindness taking place each day at MLK. Some examples:
  • Helping someone who fell on the playground;
  • Talking about the Lifeskills at home;
  • Comforting a new student who felt anxious the first time she rode the bus home;
  • Telling someone they did a great job;
  • Saying "thank you" to the teacher for holding open the door;
  • Inviting people to play who are by themselves;
  • Playing 4-square carefully and safely when less-experienced players are on the court;
  • Discussing King PRIDE in class and writing about it;
  • Cheering someone up who is feeling down.
These are all wonderful examples! I really appreciate everyone's hard work to make sure we all know how to treat each other during the school day. I hope parents will also continue to talk about King PRIDE at home and praise your children when appropriate. :-)

Thursday, October 11, 2007

Update on Measles in AAPS - 10/11/07

Dear MLK Families,
On Thursday, October 11 we were informed by the Washtenaw County Department of Public Health and the Centers for Disease Control new information on the cases of measles in Ann Arbor district.

Burns Park
The "index" or first case from Burns Park originally tested positive but the CDC confirmed there was a reporting error on their end and determined this case was a negative. Because of this reporting error this case is being retested by the CDC and we expect results in the next 24 hours. The Health Department and CDC have ruled out two other cases at Burns Park, but there are still two additional cases suspected pending test results. Students without proper MMR immunizations will continue to be out of school at Burns Park until October 29 or if they receive the MMR vaccination.

The suspected case has proved negative and all students who have been excluded from school are allowed to return on Friday, October 12.

The suspected case at Wines is still being investigated. Students excluded from class because of lack of immunizations are still not to return until October 29 or until they receive the immunization.

The case at Angell has been confirmed as positive by blood tests conducted at the U of M. The test is now being conducted by the CDC for further confirmation. Students who have been excluded at Angell will continue to be out of school until October 25 or until they receive the immunization.

We know that the information coming out through the media is complex but we continue to work directly with the Public Health Department and the CDC to ensure that all families have the most recent information available.

We will continue to send out reminders to AAPS families as we receive information from the CDC on any of the outstanding suspected cases.

If you have questions about your child's immunization status please contact your family doctor or you may contact the Washtenaw County Department of Public Health at 544-6700.

Kevin Karr

Tuesday, October 09, 2007

Update on Measles in AAPS - 10/8/07

We were informed on Monday, October 8 of another suspected case of measles at Angell Elementary directly related to the confirmed case at Burns Park.

Right now in the district we have one confirmed case of measles and three suspected cases (2 at Burns Park and 1 at Angell). All of these students were immunized and did have some type of direct contact with the confirmed case.

The Public Health Department is instructing all students at Angell who are not up to date on their MMR immunizations not be allowed back to school until they receive their immunizations or until October 29th.

At this time Public Health is not concerned with any outbreaks beyond these two schools. The Public Health Department continues to request that families who have not completed the two series MMR vaccinations for their children to do so and for those who are not immunized to seriously consider getting the MMR vaccinations. If adults are unsure of their immunizations status please take the time to contact your doctor. A booster shot for adults is available by contacting the Public Health Department or your doctor.

We will keep you updated on any further developments. We expect some sort of confirmation by the CDC later in the week.

King of Hearts 5K RUN 2007 Still Accepting Registration Forms - Extended Regular Registration

Dear King Families,

The 4th annual King Elementary School King of Hearts Family 5K Run is on Sunday, October 28, 2007! This family friendly event will take you through King School neighborhood. We would like to encourage you to send in your King of Hearts 5K Run Registration Forms. Regular registration is extended until Thursday, October 11, and will guarantee you King Family 5K Run Shirts.

Please call Christina Nedeltchev at 734-998-1499 with any questions.

Christina Nedeltchev
King PTO 5K Run Chair

Sunday, October 07, 2007

Still Time to Order Sally Foster!

King Families,

You can still order Sally Foster online for a few more days. Just go to www.sallyfoster.com and use our school's account: 253608.

Remember it's a fundraiser to help send all fifth graders to Space Camp this Spring.

Still not sure about ordering Sally Foster's great wrapping paper, candy, gift items and more? Click here to read some very persuasive letters written by King School fifth graders!

Questions? Please contact Cynthia Gur-Arie at cynthia@gur-arie.com.

Thursday, October 04, 2007

AAPS Measles Update

Dear MLK Families,

As you may know from media reports there is one confirmed case of measles at Burns Park Elementary with potentially two other unconfirmed but probable cases. The school district is working very closely with the Washtenaw County Department of Public Health and is following their established protocols. At this time there are no other cases reported at any other Ann Arbor Public School.

Measles is considered an eradicated disease. There are less then 100 cases across the U.S. each year this is why even one case is considered an epidemic and medical personnel act quickly when it is confirmed. You should know that the confirmed case and the probable cases occurred in children who had the complete MMR vaccinations. Public Health informs us that the vaccinations offers 99% protection. Because they were immunized the children who have the symptoms experienced very light cases of the disease.

The Department of Public Health has required that all students at Burns Park who do not have up-to-date immunizations or have signed immunization waivers to be out of school for 21 days based on the onset of the disease or until they receive the MMR immunization. This is to protect their health. The Department of Public Health is urging every child to be immunized with the MMR vaccinations.

Adults who work in schools and are unsure of their own immunization records may want to consider a booster shot. More information about this can be found HERE or by calling the Washtenaw County Department of Public Health.

The district will continue to keep us informed of any further developments which I will pass on to you.

Kevin Karr

Monday, October 01, 2007

Safety—Drop Offs and Pick Ups

The piece below is a re-post from last March. The concerns expressed around pick up and drop off times are still an issue for us today.

To address this, I know that some of you have seen my increased presence during drop-off and pick-up. I'll continue to use this strategy, but I know that parents safely monitoring their own drop off and pick up behavior is what is ultimately needed.

Reading below, please note the issues/concerns and what we can do to act in safer, more responsible ways during drop off and pick up.

My disappointment (from 3/4/07): several parents approached me recently to express dissatisfaction and disappointment with safety during drop-off and pick-up times. After watching in the front drive of the school on several occasions, I couldn’t agree more. Our problems during these times are serious and are on-going issues. We need to come together to address this NOW!

What’s wrong:
• Parents dropping off and picking up students from the left hand lane of the circle drive in the front of the school. This means students cross in front of other cars to get to and from the school.
• Driving too fast in the front drive of the school.
• Parking in front of the school during pick up and drop off. This is not allowed.

Popcorn Friday!

Popcorn Friday is a monthly PTO event where popcorn is distributed to students during lunch, free of charge to any student who would like it. This Friday will be our first Popcorn Friday of the year!

Thank you to the PTO and parent volunteers Mika Burch and Rachel Sabb for making this wonderful event possible.

REMINDER: Please help me in reminding students that no food is allowed on the school playground--which means all popcorn will need to be consumed in the cafeteria/multi-purpose room before kids go to recess.