News & Blog

Family Newsletter – Dec. 4, 2015

How to Bake a Cell in 4th Grade Science

Step 1 – Mix and knead your membrane to create a nice wall. 2 – Sprinkle your nucleus. 3 – Add chocolate chip vacuoles (white chocolate if you want your cell to be wilting). 4 – A generous helpings of M&M chloroplast. 5 – Every cell needs raisin mitochondria, even if you would prefer more chocolate. 6 – BAKE AND SAVOR YUMMY SCIENCE!
+ More photos on Facebook


Letter from the Head of School

John Huber ProfileDear Parents,

Throughout the fall, I had the pleasure of meeting with many of you in my weekly Coffees with the Head, hearing your thoughts about Emerson and offering my take on a wide variety of educational topics. I enjoyed these coffees greatly, and I thank everyone for taking time to meet with me. The final count: 200-plus cups of coffee brewed, 75-plus parents in attendance, and 18 hours of conversation.

I once shared with a fellow head of school that I’d be holding parent coffees, and he replied, “Why would you do that? They’ll be nothing but gripe sessions.” It’s a cynical viewpoint, and one not proven by my experiences here at Emerson. Overwhelmingly, our parents expressed great joy for our school. Receiving multiple accolades were our talented and caring faculty (first and foremost), our robust After School Program, our academics, our buddy opportunities, our focus on the whole child, and our multiple arts and athletic offerings.

Some new ideas have been borne from these conversations. For example, after receiving requests to hear more on gifted education and school counseling, we have invited both Dr. Jerry Miller and our own Carrie Berkley to speak with parents in upcoming ESPO meetings. Also, we piloted a new structure for Middle School fall conferences in order to allow parents to meet with more teachers, and we’ll be seeking to expand on this in the future. Finally, we introduced math clubs for grades 3–5 as a means of providing students with joyful exploratory math activities outside of the curriculum.

While there was high overall satisfaction, some topics resonated over multiple coffees as areas needing further consideration:

  • Lower School Curriculum Night – mixed opinion on the inclusion of students (some loved the engagement, others didn’t), but general agreement that parents wanted to hear the teachers’ voices more. Also, parents of multiple Lower School students still could not fully attend each child’s class, and our Specials wing was crowded.
  • Balancing Teachers’ Curricular Creativity with School-Wide Alignment – though our curriculum maps are available on the School’s website, and our faculty align with these, differences in activities and events lead to concerns about deeper curricular differences.
  • Looking Ahead to High School – a request to expand this into a separate evening event, and to bring 7th grade parents into the conversation earlier.
  • Math – many thoughts about pace, placement, homework, and enrichment.

I have shared these and other topics with our faculty and administrators, and I look forward to using them as a springboard for further school self-reflection and improvement.

As we look to the 2016-2017 school year, I’ll continue with these morning coffees, and I’ll seek opportunities to bring two grade levels together. This will allow for some cross-grade-level discussion, as parents in the older grade can share their experiences and knowledge with parents in the younger grade.

Take care,


All School News and Info

3 Students Make All-State Band & Orchestra

Will Perform at MMEC Conference on Saturday, Jan. 23

Congratulations to the three Emerson students who have been selected to perform in the All-State Band and All State Orchestra concert. More than 2,000 students from across the state of Michigan auditioned for the ensembles, and Joss Moss(saxophone), Ella Cunningham (Oboe), and Austin Zeglis (a contest-winning composition he wrote) were chosen to perform with about 350 other musicians at the DeVos Hall in Grand Rapids.

Get Your Musical Tickets Today: Seussical Jr.

Thursday, Dec. 10 at 7:00pm; Friday, Dec. 11 at 7:00pm; Saturday, Dec. 12 at 2:00pm

Students have spent months rehearsing and countless hours learning lines, choreography, and songs for this fun, all-ages musical. Tickets are going fast, and the entire community is invited (friends, family, neighbors, fans of great live theater). Get your before the shows sell out.
+ Tickets and more information about the show

Sign-Ups Open for the 2015 Geography Bee

Tuesday, Dec. 15, 11:15am–1:15pm in the AIC

All Emerson students in grades 4–8 are welcome to participate in the free, fun competition. Signing up is very easy: Students write their name and the letters “GB” on a piece of paper, then hand it to Lenny Dale any day between now and when he leaves school on Friday, Dec. 11. Understand that Lenny thinks kids should learn to deal with deadlines, and this one is firm. There is no ‘too early’, but there is definitely ‘too late’.

Bake Sale Earns $2,537 for Emerson Technology

Thank you to everyone who everyone who volunteered to bake, package, and sell items for the ESPO Bake Sale. This year, $2,537 was raised, and the funds will go to support new technology for Emerson students. Special thanks to Mary Kay Stevanus and Michelle Ferguson for chairing this massive, delicious event.

Lost and Found to be Donated on Thursday, Dec. 17

Please check the Lost and Found for any missing items before Thursday, Dec. 17. Any unclaimed items will be packed up and donated to a local charity.

Reminder: No Parking Curbside

Bus Access After School, Fire Lane for Emergencies

Please refrain from parking curbside in the fire lane in front of the school. The after-school bus needs access until at least 3:30pm, and emergency vehicles may need access at any time. Thank you for making the extra effort to park in a designated spot.

Wanted: Your Junk – Our Treasure

Linda’s Library Contest Prizes Needs Small Toys

What you consider excess is something our young readers hope to win. For the past 20 years, Linda has hosted a contest in the library that awards students with prizes for reading. Everyone wins, but prizes are running dangerously low. Please bring your unwanted toys (e.g. fast food toys, goodie bag toys, things your child has outgrown) to Linda, and she will ensure it makes a child very happy.

Upcycle Elective Will Repurpose Your Junk

Middle school students in the Upcycling elective need it. Below is a list of items students have requested for their upcycling projects (reusing discarded objects or materials in such a way as to create a product of a higher quality or value than the original).
+ See a list of requested junk

Auction Parent Packet Arriving Tuesday

Save the Date: Friday, Mar. 11 at Barton Hills Country Club

Your Emerson Auction Parent Packet will be sent home on Tuesday, December 8th via backpack mail. Invitations will be mailed in early February. We are looking forward to another fabulous evening that greatly benefits your children.
+ Contact Beth Anderson to learn more about the Auction

2016 Auction Leadership

  • Parent Director:  Barbara Hoffman
  • Acquisitions Co-Chairs:  Kris Evangelista and Shannon Stewart
  • Class Baskets Chair:  Stephanie Zabinko
  • Data Team:  Caroline Begola, Dana DeBord and Suzan Duenyas
  • Decorations Co-Chairs:  Christine Kim and Diana Rooks
  • Displays & Packaging Co-Chairs:  Kathy Akhoury,  Barbara Hoffman and Debbie Thom
  • Donation Pick up Chair:  Liz Tolbert
  • Raffles & Classroom Offerings Chair:  Elizabeth Caswell
  • Wine Pull Chair:  Hanna Song

Pancake Breakfast on Dec. 18

Food, Fun, and Service to Our Community

This annual pancake breakfast brings our students and community together around food and supports Emerson’s community service initiative. This year the funds raised will go to support Emerson’s community service efforts throughout the year, and any student who brings in one or more pair of unused pair of socks will receive $1.00 off their pancake breakfast. This sock drive will support the 2015 Toasty Toes Sock Drive current 4th grader Parini Rao and alum Anvit Rao have coordinated for several years.
+ More info

Community News and Events

Middle Schoolers Invited to Audition for TEDxYouth@AnnArbor

Auditions on Dec. 7, 9, 15, and 17

Does your student have an idea worth spreading? For the first time, middle school students can audition to be a speaker, host, or performer in the third annual TEDxYouth@AnnArbor event. Every high school in Ann Arbor participates in this incredible student-led, student-attended event.
+ Learn more and sign up to audition

Emerson Alum in Nutcracker with Dance Alliance

Sunday, Dec. 13, 2:00pm and 7:00pm at Saline HS

Looking for something festive and fun for family this holiday season? Emerson Alum Alexis Huczek will be performing in Flowers, Soldiers, Chocolate and Snow, as part of The Nutcracker, presented by the Dance Alliance. See these talented girls perform a holiday favorite on Sunday, December 13th at Saline High School.
+ Learn more

10 Students and Alums in Nutcracker with Ann Arbor Dance Classics

Dec. 12–13, Various Times

Emerson students and alums Jada Wooten, Danielle Stevanus, Olivia Hollenbeck, Gigi Hauptman, Ellie Kim, Amelia Lunde, Adelyn Mazak, Amy Pandofi, Ella Sinha, and Faith Pearson will be performing in The Nutcracker with Ann Arbor Dance Classics. Break a leg!
+ Learn more

Special Detroit Symphony Orchestra Ticket Offer

Saturday, Dec. 12, 11:00am

Celebrate the holidays with selections from Tchaikovsky’s The Nutcracker, festive carols, a sing-a-long with the Detroit Children’s Choir—all featuring the Detroit Symphony Youth Orchestra. Use the promo code “JOLLY” to receive $5 tickets to Santa’s Little Helpers!
+ Learn more

Emerson 2nd Grader and 8th Graders Performed in Ann Arbor Ballet Theatre Nutcracker

Friday, Nov. 27–Sunday, Nov. 29 at the Power Center

Emerson 2nd grader Chloe Eavy (playing Toy Bear) performed with 8th grader Kristen Umbriac (playing Girl and Mouse) in the Ann Arbor Ballet Theatre’s production of The Nutcracker at the Power Center for the Performing Arts.

Skyline Pom Clinic for 5th–8th Graders

Saturday, Jan. 30 (Register by Friday, Jan. 8)

Emerson alums Nia Moore, Lindsay Michaels, and Cammie Treiber are on Skyline Pom and invite 5th-8th graders for a pom clinic on Jan. 30.  Please register by Jan. 8.
+ Learn more