News & Blog

Family Newsletter – Oct. 20, 2016

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October 20


Inspired Food Forests Designed by Students

Students in the Permaculture elective are working together to design food forests—a source of food that mimics what would naturally be available in our climate. It’s an ambitious task, but they’ve risen to the challenge and are already presenting some outstanding concepts.
+ See more photos

Letter from the Head of School

Our Brains Are Working Against Us

Dear Parents,

John Huber ProfileIt isn’t easy to make a thoughtful decision. And that includes something as straightforward as picking the right Halloween costume.

Next week, many of our students and faculty will be dressed in costumes as part of our Halloween celebration. A number of our parents will come in costume as well (and thanks to them for volunteering!) But as much as I enjoy the fun of dressing up in a costume, I do get a little stressed out about selecting the right outfit. Should I go for funny? Topical? Scary-but-not-too-scary? And is my costume offensive in any way?

Interestingly, our brains try to keep us from thinking too hard about such decisions. There’s a beautiful chart I came across last week, categorizing over 170 inherent cognitive biases. Each day, our brains are faced with too much information, not enough meaning, limited capacity, and a need to act quickly. So trying to think deeply, one’s Halloween costume choice may not seem worth the effort.

And yet, if we don’t think carefully, we may end up stereotyping, and we might assume that what we find appropriate will be acceptable for others. For example, is it ok to change one’s skin color to a different shade? (Somewhere I once read that if you do decide to change your skin color as part of your costume, it’s safest to pick a color found in gummy bears, rather than people.)

To that end, I recently came across Ohio University’s, We’re a Culture, Not a Costume, campaign. It’s an important reminder that some costumes create barriers, and that we should take the time to be thoughtful in our choices.

So, after much thought, I’ve decided to dress up as James T. Kirk from Star Trek. Makes sense, given how often I get mistaken for Chris Pine.

Happy Halloween,

– John Huber

All School News and Info

Test of Parent Alert at 2pm on Friday

Expect a Text Message and Phone Call

Please be aware that we will be testing the Parent Alert system on Friday, Oct. 21. This system is only used to notify parents of urgent matters, like school closures and critical situations. Parents will receive a text and phone call at the mobile phone on file in RenWeb. If you do not receive an alert, please contact the Lower School or Middle School office to update your contact info.

10:00am Late Start on Tuesday, Nov. 1

Childcare is Available Beginning at 7:30am

Thank you for keeping our teachers on the cutting edge by making time for professional development opportunities like this. Please be patient and take extra caution during curbside drop-off as Lower School and Middle School families will be dropping off at the same time.

Emerson Soccer Wins Championship!

Dramatic Tournament Victory, Season Champs

By Coach Lenny: The Emerson middle school soccer team wrapped up their season Saturday as they hosted the AAIAA tournament. Top seed by virtue of their perfect regular season record, Emerson had a bye Friday, and started Saturday’s play against Washtenaw Christian…
+ Read more about the dramatic tournament finale

Allergy Alert: Halloween Carnival Food

Food Ingredient and Nutrition Info Available

Food is available to students during the Halloween Carnival. To minumize the risk to students with allergies, the following ingredient and nutrition information is available.
+ Food Nutrition Info
+ Ingredient List

Volunteers Needed for Halloween Carnival

Sign up early to secure your preferred spot

Halloween is quickly approaching and plans are underway for our ESPO Halloween Carnival on Friday, Oct. 28! This is such a fun event for the kids (and adults), but we need lots of help. There are many ways to help—donating items, spending time helping decorate, and helping on the day of the carnival.
+ Contact Christine Kim with questions
+ Sign up to help!

Emerson Book Fair is Around the Corner!

Sunday, Nov. 13. 5:00pm–8:00pm at Nicola’s Books

The book fair is a wonderful family event that supports the Emerson library as well as classroom book collections. 25% of proceeds from the event go to support the Emerson library.  So please, mark your calendars, gather up your family and join us for an evening of delightful student performances, refreshments and shopping!  More details to follow….

Wanted: Your Junk – A Child’s Treasure

Linda’s Library Contest Will Use Small Toys as Prizes

Each day before and after school, the library has many children do Linda’s contest, which matches her jewelry to events of the day. Each child who enters wins a small prize which was donated by someone like you. 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.

Auction 2017 is Now Underway!

Save the Date: Friday, Mar. 10, 2017

Thank you to all of the parents who attended this week’s Auction Kick-Off meeting. Many have already stepped up to fill important roles, but volunteers are still needed to chair committees, serve as a leaders, or to be Auction Ambassadors. We hope you will get involved and join the fun!
+ Learn more and volunteer

2017 Auction Leadership

  • Parent Director: Diana Rooks
  • Honorary Chairs: Christine and James Kim
  • Acquisitions Chairs: Kris Evangelista and Katherine Arst
  • Class Baskets Chair: Elizabeth Caswell
  • Data Team: Caroline Begola, Dana DeBord, Suzan Duenyas
  • Decorations Chair: Corina Mazak
  • Displays & Packaging Chair: Kathy Akhoury
  • Donation Pick up Chair: Liz Tolbert
  • Raffles & Classroom Offerings Chair: Open
  • Wine Pull Chair: Hanna Song


How Schools Can Soften The Blow Of Sixth Grade

Advisory, Grade Level Collaboration, Social-Emotional

In a follow-up to the story about 6th graders doing best in K-8 schools, Association for Middle Level Education Director Dru Tomlin was asked how schools could make the transition easier. His suggestions include making time for grade level teachers to meet, social-emotional learning, and an advisory system—all part of Emerson’s Middle School.

According to Tomlin, “Another structure that is imperative, I think, is something called advisory or advisement…That’s the environment in which young adolescents flourish: When they feel like they have a personal connection and someone who really cares about them.”
+ Read the full story on NPR
+ Read the study in the American Educational Research Journal

Girls’ Friendships & Drama: How to Support Your Daughter, by Dr. Tim Jordan

Tuesday, Nov. 1, 7:00pm in the Arts and Innovation Ctr

In this webinar, parents will become aware of the pressures on girls today and the hidden culture of girls’ relationship aggressions. Parents will take away new skills to help girls handle conflicts directly and effectively; know and express their emotions in healthy ways; handle teasing and “mean words”; speak with authority, be unafraid of making mistakes; and become strong leaders. This session is for parents of girls ages K-12.

Coffee with the Head of School Dates

By Grade, 7:30am–9:30am on the Dates Below

Parents are invited to start the school year with a cup of coffee and candid conversation with Head of School John Huber. It’s a great opportunity to meet John, and to share whatever is on your mind—the good and the bad.

To accommodate working parents, these coffees will begin at 7:30am (complimentary childcare available, reservations required). Come early and leave by 8:30am, or arrive at the normal school start time and stay through 9:30am.

  • 8th Grade: September 16
  • 7th Grade: September 23
  • 6th Grade: September 29
  • 5th Grade: October 7
  • 4th Grade: October 21
  • 3rd Grade: October 27
  • 2nd Grade: November 11
  • 1st Grade: November 18
  • Kindergarten: November 21

Thank You to Parents for the Feast!

This time last week, teachers were wrapping up a long day of classes and about to start a long night of parent-teacher conferences. Without time to leave for dinners, our incredibly generous parent body stepped up to feed our teachers, filling their bellies and warming their hearts. THANK YOU!

Community Activities

Give Leftover Candy to Operation Gratitude

Donation in Commons and Fish Bowl Oct. 29–Nov. 7

Operation Gratitude is a non-profit, volunteer-based organization that sends care packages to the Military and First Responder Communities. The organization’s mission is to say “Thank You” and express it’s appreciation of the American people to all who serve. Last year the Emerson community donated more than 100 pounds of candy, and organizers Lucas and Lance Caswell hopes to beat that this year. Donation bins will be in the middle school commons and the fish bowl Oct. 29 through Nov. 7.
+ Contact Lucas Caswell with questions or for more info

‘Tween Girls’ Portrait Campaign Needs Volunteer Models

Proceeds to Ronald McDonald House of A2

Emerson parent Cheryl Hall, of Cheryl Hall Photography, is seeking girls ages 9 to 11 to be photographed for a “Tween Girls” book, with proceeds benefitting Ronald McDonald House of Ann Arbor. Each Participant will receive a fine art 7×5 portrait.
+ Learn more or contact Cheryl Hall at

Cyber Awareness and Internet Safety Forum: What Families Need to Know

Thursday, Oct. 20, 7:00pm at Forsythe Middle School

95% of teenagers use the internet. Understand how to use it safely. This session is intended for parents and caretakers and will address online predators, sexting, digital reputations and other relevant issues.
+ Learn more

Mindful Parent Workshop: Mindful Games that Reduce Stress in Our Youth and Ourselves

Thursday, Oct. 27 in Birmingham or Saturday, Oct. 29 in Ann Arbor

Several Emerson faculty and staff will be attending the workshop for professionals, and families are encouraged to attend the parent workshop. In this talk, Susan Kaiser Greenland, renowned author and teacher of mindfulness, will offer us information about true and tested mindfulness practices we can apply to help reduce stress in our children and cultivate the essential life skills of attention (A), emotional balance (B) and compassion (C).
+ Reserve your tickets

Trimathlon Community Event

Sunday, Nov. 5 at 9:00am

Mathnasium of Dexter will host a fun math competition open to all students who are in grades 2, 3, 4 and 5.
+ Learn more

Social Security Retirement Basics Event

By Key Bank on Tuesday, Nov. 15 at 4:30 in the AIC

Key Bank’s Bob Hartnett was employed by the Social Security Administration for more than 40 years. He will share his insight into Social Security at this free event for the Emerson community.
+ Learn more