News & Blog

Family Newsletter – May. 8, 2015

The view from 90,000 feet up, in the stratosphere.

A Stunning View From the Stratosphere at 90,000 ft.

Courtesy of the 8th Grade High Altitude Weather Balloons

Launching a high altitude weather balloon was an incredible feat for our 8th grade scientists, who each have a new appreciation for the engineering, teamwork, precision math, meteorology, communications, and even search and recovery it takes to be successful. But these views from space and the science experiments were worth it.
+ See more photos
+ See photos of the launch on the 8th grade HAWB site


Letter from Jerry

Jerry the SluggerHello Parents,

The phrase “warm and fuzzy” is often a descriptor of something that is without substance or not worthy of serious consideration, but I want to tell you nothing could be further from the truth today at Emerson.

As you first grade parents already know, today was Cuddly Animal Day in first grade. Despite our best efforts to restrain ourselves, several administrators “borrowed” some of the most cuddly guests for a quick hug and a shot of security. The well worn look on all these stuffed animals reinforced the belief that we all need a secure place and a means to settle into that warmth, regardless of our age.

Second on the “warm and fuzzy” agenda today is the announcement you will find below that celebrates the retirement of some of the most wonderful colleagues anyone in this school business could hope to work with. While it is certainly sad that we are bidding goodbye to Lee, Nancy, and Pat, we know how fortunate we have been to work alongside such exceptional people over these many years. Please join me in recognizing the outstanding faculty and staff below, celebrating their years at Emerson, and wishing them the best.

Last, and certainly not least, is the warm glow of affection we are still feeling three days after the Teacher Appreciation Luncheon. Your outpouring of wonderful food, festive decorations, and all that support is a priceless gift to us that means so much more than being pampered on this one day each year. Thank you for your efforts and for the wonderful show of appreciation.

Please enjoy this weekend, and I hope you are able to find your own warm and fuzzy place.


Jerry Loewen
Head of School


All School News

Goodbyes to Retiring Faculty and Staff

Lee Horvath, Building and Grounds Director

Lee HorvathMaintaining several thousand square-feet of hallways, classrooms, and grounds, while always taking the most care of the adults and children inside, is a monumental task, and something Lee has done exceptionally well for the past 15 years. He has captained several building projects, including the most recent classroom and Arts and Innovation Center addition, and countless other projects that often go unnoticed.

“The best part about being here has been the people, who are so friendly, warm, appreciative, and interesting. Emerson is like a family to me. I’ve always tried to help people realize their dreams, as they relates to the building and grounds. I’ve found a lot of achievement and accomplishment here, and the hardest thing about leaving Emerson is wishing I could have done more.”
— Lee

Nancy Laitner, Learning Support and Teacher

Nancy LaitnerMany of our school’s earliest pictures include Nancy. She has given 29 years of her life to Emerson students, as both a teacher and a learning support specialist, and she will retire at the end of this one. Nancy’s wisdom and effectiveness with her colleagues, with parents, and with her students is one to which all of us will aspire.

“I’ve had one of the best jobs in the country working with Emerson School’s children and interacting with like-minded educators. Students here are enthusiastic, passionate, intellectually interested, and engaged in their own learning; they seek me out to share discoveries like diphthongs, schwas, or Latin roots in books they’re reading. I’ve always believed in our school’s mission to help, to nurture, and to support each student to grow and reach his/her potential, and being a part of Emerson School has given me a great deal of pleasure.”
— Nancy

Pat Petiet, Middle School Science

Pat PetietPat has made learning science at Emerson an active and hands on adventure for the past 23 years. Her love of science, Emerson School, and middle school students, coupled with her wide ranging interests, have made her a foundation around which our middle school has flourished.

“I wouldn’t have gotten up at 6:00am in the morning for the past 23 years for anything but the joy of teaching. Part of me wishes it could go on forever, but I know this is the right time. I appreciate that Emerson has always given me the freedom and flexibility to create a curriculum that connects with students—it still does—and I can’t think of anywhere else I’d have rather taught.” 
— Pat

3 Medal Winners in 2015 National Japanese Exams

Congratulations to the Emerson students who earned medals in the 2015 National Japanese Examinations (NJE)!

  • Gold: Randie Jo Evans
  • Silver: Lukas Jonsson
  • Bronze: Ben Chambers

+ More info

Jan Walker Recovering From Broken Knee and Foot

Lower School Computer teacher Jan Walker took a spill at Emerson last week, and the unfortunate outcome was a broken foot and patella (knee). She is disappointed and misses her students, especially with the end of the year approaching, but her doctor says short-term immobilization is the key to her recovery and she will be out for at least the next couple weeks.

Send Jan Some Love

If you would like to send some words of encouragement to Jan, or a silly internet video to make her laugh, please email her at

Open Mic Night - May 27 at 6:30pm

Perform at Open Mic Night

May 27, 6:30pm – 7:30pm, on Emerson’s New Stage

Emerson’s first Open Mic Night was a big hit, so we’re doing it one more time before the school year ends. Anyone can perform, including students, alums, parents, and teachers. Performers will be given five minutes each to sing a song, play an instrument, read original poetry, perform a monologue, play as an ensemble, etc.—let your talent be your guide.
+ Learn more about Open Mic Night and sign up

Watch Out for Ticks

Springtime in Michigan means many things – beautiful flowers, warm breezes, cool rain… and occasionally, ticks. During past springs, the tick typically seen in or around Emerson’s nature center has been the American Dog Tick, the most common tick found in Michigan. This is not the kind of tick that carries Lyme disease. Spring is an active time for these critters, so checking your child for ticks after they have played outdoors is always recommended this time of year.
Art Music Night Performers

Art Music Night: Grades 4-5

What a performance by our 4th and 5th graders! The artistry on display, from the beautiful voices in the Chorus, to the musicianship and singing about Pandora’s Box and the Jolly Mon, to the art on the walls and in display cases, it was a night to remember.
+ More photos of the performance
+ Photos of the artwork

Jerry with Deputy Sheriff Ken Smith

Missing HAWB Returned by Sheriff

When a GPS transmitter malfunctioned on one of the high altitude weather balloons, it went missing for days until the Washtenaw County Sheriff made a special delivery. The balloon was found in Ypsi and returned on Tuesday.
+ See photos of the surprise return

Teachers ready to feast

Thank You Parents For The Cinco de Mayo Lunch!

What a treat! Thank you to ESPO and all of the parents who provided food and volunteered to make faculty and staff feel so loved. A special thanks to Diana Rooks, Christine Kim, and Michelle Weaver for chairing the event.

Depression and Anxiety Resources

One of the parents who attended the U of M Depression Center’s session at Forsythe Middle School said it was very informative, helpful, and enlightening. The resource document, with information about support systems, managing stress, and dealing with anxiety, is linked below.

Emerson School also has a full-time School Counselor, Carrie Berkley, and an exceptional Learning Support team.
+ Depression Center Resource
+ Contact Carrie Berkley

Middle School News

Skyline Open House for Incoming 9th Graders

Thursday, May 7, 11:00am – 1:30pm

All incoming freshmen and parents are invited to attend.

Skyline Soccer Looking for Incoming 9th Graders

The Skyline Soccer coach is putting together a list of incoming freshmen boys who are interested in trying out for the team (freshman, JV, and varsity). Strength/conditioning training and scrimmages start after school gets out in mid-June. If you have an 8th grade boy who is planning to attend Skyline and is interested in trying out, please email Mark Haddlesey to be added to Skyline Soccer’s distribution list.
+ Email Mark Haddlesey

Community Events

Free Pony Rides at Cedar Ridge

May 9 and 10, 1:00pm – 4:00pm

Emerson Student Amelia is providing free pony rides, at her stable at Cedar Ridge Equestrian Center, on May 9th and 10th from 1:00pm – 4:00pm. It is part of a service project for the Cedar Ridge Pony Club.
+ Email Renee Burgess for more info

12 Emerson Students Star in YPT’s Mary Poppins

May 15 – 17 at Power Center for the Performing Arts

Young People’s Theater’s production of Mary Poppins will feature 99 young people, including Emerson students Julia Ammer, Emily Cooper, Benjamin Faulkner, Lydia Hall, Emma Hudson, Kyra Kahana, Sophia Kleer, Lauren Nishi, Gabby Pacifico, Aydrey Weizer, Violet Weizer, and Hannah Ziegler. Tickets go on sale April 6.
+ Learn more

Students Invited To Review Pre-Released Books

Meeting on Sunday, May 17 at 2:00pm at Nicola’s Books

Nicola’s Books is looking for avid readers at Emerson School to read copies of books before they come out and write short reviews. Students’ literary opinions will be posted on Nicola’s Facebook page, our website, and on our Twitter feed, and reviewers get to keep the books.
+ More info
+ Contact Nicola’s Books for questions at 734-662-0600

1 Mile Kazoo Fun Run for Ypsi Symphony Orchestra

May 23 at 1:00pm at Frog Island Park

Join Emerson 5th grader Julian Toogood and parents Hanna Song and Peter Toogood in a fun run to benefit the Ypsilanti Symphony Orchestra. You will earn your YSO kazoo when you cross the finish line.
+ More info