Initiatives for Excellence Programs Funded in 2011-12:
Arts and Humanities
Elementary Enrichment Facilitators: $23,000. Elementary school enrichment coordinators will provide the staffing infrastructure necessary to develop and implement of enrichment programming across all elementary schools . They will seek to strengthen our schools by offering guidance, resources and communication to faculty about enrichment activities. Each elementary school cluster is served by one professional who evaluates enrichment activities at the individual schools, meeting with principals and teachers. Most schools prefer to have the enrichment be during the school day rather than before or after school, but programs remain at the discretion of the schools. To learn more about the Elementary Enrichment Framework, click here.
Fifth Grade Instrumental Music Program: $4,000. The Ann Arbor Public Schools have earned several Grammy Awards over the years for music programs at Huron and Pioneer High Schools. Part of the reason for such renowned success is the fifth-grade instrumental music program in the Ann Arbor Public Schools where every student plays and is coached in a musical instrument throughout the year. The Foundation is proud to support this district-wide program with funding support for repair and maintenance of instruments. This program will impact the fifth-grade instrumental music program this year (1,186 students) and for years to come.
Music Together Program at the Ann Arbor Preschool & Family Center: $8,000. The Music Together Program engages children in learning in core developmental areas such as language, cognition, social/emotional and motor. Children imitate sounds, syllables, words and/or actions while learning rhythm, patterns and tone. Teachers participate in each session to carry over songs and patterns into classroom routines. Children also receive materials to take home and share with their families, which increases family engagement in learning. 273 students age 3-5 years will benefit from this grant.
Math and Science
Environmental Science Program Funding Support for Field Trips: $23,133. The philosophy of the Science and Environmental Education Program is to support and enhance the curriculum with "out of classroom" educational experiences stressing knowledge, characteristics, interrelationships, stewardship and an appreciation of our natural resources. The Environmental Education Program was founded in 1960 and the Planetarium Program was founded in 1956. The Argus Planetarium at Pioneer High School is the oldest known public school planetarium in the US. Specific field trips are funded for all first graders(1,318) to experience Examining Winter Animals at Kensington Metropark; and for all third graders (1,253) to experience the Argus Palnetarium.
Air Tracks for Physics: Up to $59,000. The Foundation was fortunate to be the recipient of a $50,000 gift from IMRA America. IMRA’s gift will be used to purchase Air Tracks physics equipment for each of the six Ann Arbor high schools offering physics. The Air Tracks equipment will allow about 900 students who take physics each year to conduct dynamic experiments to illustrate a variety of physics concepts. With an anticipated functional life of up to 10 years, some 9,000 students will benefit from this investment. Total cost for district-wide upgrades and distribution is estimated to be $59,000. Inspired by a challenge gift from the local branch of Dykema, Harvest Dinner attendees pledged the remaining $9,000 within 5 minutes!
Early Childhood Education
Music Together at the Ann Arbor Preschool: $8,000. This program engages our youngest learners in core developmental areas such as language, cognition, social/emotional and motor. Children receive materials to take home and share with family, increasing family engagement in learning. The Music Together Program has shown great benefits across the programs that participated lasi year. Preschool is a program with high expectations with regards to curriculum and instruction, therefore, any and all programs incorporated into our school day must show relevance to curriculum and student outcomes. Music Together has done this through research, on site observation, and classroom participation data. Research across other Head Start Centers has show significant growth on the Creative Curriculum Developmental Checklist, in not only cognitive and motor areas, but also in language and social skills.
College and Career Readiness
ACT’s PLAN Assessments: $13,000. In 2006, Governor Jennifer Granholm signed a new law that created new graduation requirements called the Michigan Merit Curriculum. As part of this new law, the Michigan Merit Exam (MME) now includes an ACT component; and the MME is now a graduation requirement for Ann Arbor students. The ACT’s Educational Planning and Assessment System is an integrated series of assessment and career planning programs designed to help students increase their academic readiness for college. The following are benefits from using ACT’s system: increased educational achievement; students take more college preparatory courses in high school; increases students’ college readiness; promotes educational and career planning; promotes college readiness of underrepresented minority students; and promotes educational achievement in college, college enrollments and retention in college. The PLAN assessment will be administered to all 10th grader (1445). Guidance counselors will coordinate parent meetings to assist in interpretation of results.
** Update 3.1.12 For the 2012-2013 academic year the State of Michigan will pay the cost of all students across the state take this exam. Read State Communication here.
Additional Grants Where Most Needed
MyAccess for Middle Schools: $25,000. Students in grades 6-8 will use MY Access! with English Language Arts classes on at least 4 essays during the school year. This will include the MY Access! Pre-Test in the Fall and the Post-Test in the Spring, as well as 2 additional writing assignments throughout the year of the teacher's choosing. MEAP writing scores continue to correlate positively with use of MyAccess at the Middle School level.
SchoolMessenger: $11,386. SchoolMessenger serves all Ann Arbor students and their families a well as the entire staff. SchoolMessenger is a web-based program that allows the district to get information via email or phone dialing to all constituents within 5 minutes of dialing. The program keeps parents apprised of attendance data, school lunch accounts and important time-sensitive information about security issues at schools, weather delays, etc. Nearly half of the districts school PTOs use SchoolMessenger as their main communication tool.