News & Blog

Family Newsletter – Jan. 22, 2016

Water Drive for Flint on Monday, Jan. 25 at Emerson

Drop Off Bottles/Jugs Curbside

Support the residents of Flint by donating water at Emerson School this Monday. Jugs of water and cases of individual water bottles will be collected by students at curbside drop-off and pick-up. Thank you to Emerson 5th grader Caroline Robinsonfor prompting Emerson’s participation in this county-wide initiative.
+ Learn more


Letter from the Head of School

Dear Parents,

Earlier this week, I had a uniquely Emersonian conversation during dismissal with one of our Middle School students. We were both standing at the curb, I with my stop sign and he with his backpack, when he turned to me and asked, “Do you agree with Marcus Aurelius that all things are opinions, and there aren’t actually facts?” We then engaged in a short philosophical discussion on the nature of matter, the existence of universal truths, and how age can affect pragmatism.

I share this story with you for two reasons. First—wow! There aren’t many middle schools where these types of conversation naturally spring up during dismissal. How wonderful to witness that our students are engaged in deep thinking about philosophy, and to see that they have the confidence to strike up conversations on weighty topics with adults.

Since then I’ve reflected on his question further, and wondered about the slippery nature of truth. We all have beliefs, honed by our personal experiences and prejudices, and often we equate these with truths. This is why it is so helpful to hold up our beliefs to the scrutiny of research and analysis. Not easy to do, but if we want to model this for our students, we need to engage in deep thinking ourselves and make our thinking visible, as Ron Ritchhart encouraged us in his presentation this week.

One belief that many of us have as parents is that we best prepare our children for success by actively engaging with them in their schooling. It stands to reason that increased involvement will result in students performing better—yes?

Actually, according to recent research, maybe not. In their groundbreaking meta-analysis, researchers Keith Robinson and Angel Harris reviewed over 60 studies of parental involvement and child success. They found no connection between the two, and even more interestingly, they discovered that at times, such involvement can work against children’s academic progress. As Dana Goldstein wrote in her bluntly titled article in the Atlantic, “Don’t Help Your Kids With Their Homework,” many well-intended parenting interventions can actually bring down test scores.

So what does work? The authors noted that there are some positive practices that parents can follow, such as reading aloud to young children, and talking to older children about their school activities. In general, though, their advice to us is that parents do best when they “set the stage and then leave it”—meaning, give students the space to thrive and grow, then allow them to do so.

Take care,

All School News and Info

No Bus Service on Monday, Feb. 1

Ann Arbor Public Schools, which provides bussing for Emerson Students, will be closed on Monday, Feb. 1. As a result, no bus service will be available for students on this day.

Lunch Order/Change Deadline is Today

Pizza Lunch Continues Unless Changes Made by Jan. 22

If you would like to make changes to your ESPO Pizza Lunch order, please do so by Friday, Jan. 22. Orders will continue as-is for the 2nd semester, starting Feb. 5, if no changes are made.
+ Email by Jan. 22 to make changes

What’s Cooking Orders Must Be Placed by Jan. 22

School lunches can be ordered for students, delivered Monday through Thursday, from What’s Cooking! LLC. New orders must be placed by Jan. 22 for the 2nd semester; first semester orders do not carry over.
+ Place your 2nd semester order with What’s Cooking! by Jan. 22
+ Detailed ordering instructions

ERB Testing Begins Monday for Middle School

Jan. 25 for Grades 6-8, Feb. 1 for Grades 4-5

During the weeks of Jan. 25–Feb. 5, 2015, all 4th-8th grade students will take the Comprehensive Testing Program (CTP) standardized tests published by Educational Records Bureau (ERB). Makeup tests will be held Feb. 8-12 for any snow days, illness, or bereavement.
+ Please see this comprehensive FAQ for more information about ERB testing

Financial Aid Applications Due by Feb. 15

Can Use 2014 W2 Information

All Financial Aid Applications for the 2016-2017 school year must be submitted by February 15, 2016. This allows your award to be included with your re-enrollment contract. You can use your 2014 W2 if your 2015 W2 information is not yet available.

Please submit your applications ASAP. Decisions about Financial Aid will be made immediately following the Feb. 15 deadline, and aid may not be available to late applicants.
+ More info about applying for Financial Aid
+ Apply for Financial Aid at

2016 Auction: Starry Night

Friday, March 11, 2016 at Barton Hills Country Club

If you have been considering contributing to the Emerson Auction, now is the time. To volunteer or ask questions, email Beth Anderson or call 665-5662 x305.
+ Auction info and forms
+ Donate an Item

Class Basket Deadline: Jan. 27 (contact grade class basket leaders)
Forms Deadline: Jan. 29th, delivery Feb. 24th

Consider what you might enjoy winning. Anyone can donate an item or get together with friends to donate a themed basket. Suggested items include:

  • Tickets (sporting, musical, theater, museum exhibits, special tours)
  • Meals (home cooked specialty foods, special location, catered, restaurant)
  • Kids’ Items (books, games, electronic games, toys, crafts, sports equipment)
  • Adult Items (night out, sports memorabilia, electronics, jewelry, clothing)
  • Get Away Time or Specialty Outings (spa, vacation, golf, specialty parties)
  • Restaurant Gift Certificates (any value)
  • Wine (donate a bottle valued between $25 and $100 for the wine pull)

+ Advertise in the Auction Catalog
Ad Deadline: February 8

+ Be a Sponsor
Help defray auction expenses with your cash donation.
Catalog Inclusion Deadline: Feb. 22

Girls on the Run Registration Now Open

For Emerson Girls in Grades 3–5

Girls on the Run inspires girls to be joyful, healthy, and confident using a fun, experience-based curriculum which creatively integrates running. It is open to Emerson girls in grades 3–5, and will run on Mondays and Wednesdays, 3:00pm-4:30pm, March 7th – May 20th. A 5K celebration will also be held on Sunday, May 15 at the U of M North Campus. The cost is $150
+ Register online by Feb. 15

Open Mic Night on Wednesday, Feb. 3

A stage for students, parents, and teachers to sing a song, play an instrument, read original poetry, perform a monologue, play as an ensemble, etc. Each performer has five minutes each to share your talents and passions in front of a laid-back and supportive audience of families from schools throughout the greater-Ann Arbor area.
+ Learn more and register at


Lower School News

ADMISSIONS: Middle School Experience Tour

Thursday, Feb. 11, 9:00am–11:00am, Starting in Arts and Innovation Ctr.

To understand what makes Emerson’s Middle School so special, parents should experience it in action. This Information Meeting will be during the day so parents can tour the school while it’s abuzz, see learning happening in classes, and ask faculty and staff questions.
+ Please email Jackie Ebels, Admissions Director, if you might attend

How to Prepare for Middle School

Tuesday, Feb. 23, 8:30am–9:30pm, Arts and Innovation Ctr.

Middle school can be a big transition, and this is an opportunity for parents to learn about what to expect, regardless of where your child will be attending. Topics will include adolescent neuroscience and brain development, how to support adolescents through this transition, technology use in adolescence, and the transition from a single homeroom to multiple classes with multiple teachers.
+ Please email Andy Zimmer, Middle School Director, if you might attend

Middle School News

Intersession Week 2016

Monday, Jan. 25–Friday, Jan. 29; Parents Invited

New this year, Middle School students will be taking part in a week-long immersion experience where they can identify, explore, and share their individual passions. It’s being called Intersession Week 2016, and it will take place Monday, January 25 through Friday, January 29th (intentionally coinciding with ERB testing).
+ Learn more


High School Info and Events

Community High School Orientations

Families interested in applying for Community High School’s freshmen slots should attend one of the five scheduled orientations. Applications will be available Jan. 4 and the application deadline is Friday, Feb. 5 at 4:00pm.
+ Learn more

  • Sunday, Jan. 24, 2:00-3:30pm at Scarlett MS
  • Wednesday, Feb. 3, 7:00-8:30pm at Community HS

Skyline Curriculum Night

Wednesday, January 27 at 4:30pm
Upperclassmen at Skyline will welcome incoming freshman and guide tours for parents and students. Families will learn about enrolling, core content, support services, graduation requirements, and more.
+ Learn more

Community News and Events

FGR Hockey Invites Middle Schoolers to Game

Saturday, Jan. 30, 3:30pm at Ann Arbor Ice Cube

The Father Gabriel Richard High School Hockey Team invites all Middle School students to come check out a game against Jackson Lumen Christi. Admission for students: Bring a canned good to support the Emergency Food Program through CSSW. Adults: $5. The new team locker room will be open for tours following the game.
+ Learn more