Weekly Updates from the Principal’s Office

Week of November 11, 2013

November is a busy month at Ellington Academy, following an exciting week of Homecoming festivities, when have Student Led Conferences. Our students have been preparing for more than a month lead their on conferences with their parents.  Click here to see a video sample of what Student Led Conference look like.  You should have receive your personalize conference invitation from your student in the mail.  Call the main office if you need to change your conference time. Below are a few benefits of using the Student Led Conference Process:

Student benefits

  • More accountability for their learning.
  • Helps students develop self-evaluation skills.
  • Strengthens student commitment to school work and learning.
  • Builds self confidence and self esteem.
  • Encourages communication between the parent, student, and teacher.
  • Strengthens communication and critical thinking skills.
  • Allows students to take an active part in their education.

Parent benefits

  • Increases amount of information provided to the parents.
  • Enables parents to learn more about their students’ learning and skills.
  • Provides an opportunity for parents to help their students set positive goals.
  • Allows parents to be an active participant in their students’ learning.
  • Eliminates waiting in line for a conference.

We look forward to seeing all of our parents during conference times, Wednesday (November 13) and Thursday (November 14) from 3:00-6:00p.m. and Friday (November 15) from 8:00a.m.-12:00p.m. Please meet in the cafeteria before you go to your conference classroom to get information before your student start. Our students have a half-day of school on Wednesday and Thursday, and NO SCHOOL on Friday.

Additionally, we have another field trip opportunity for our students to see the Broadway Grand Rapids: West Side Story. Students will attend this performance on Friday, November 15, 2013 at 8:00p.m.  This trip is available for students in the 8th and 9th grade. Permission slips are due on Wednesday, November 13, 2013; we will leave the school at 7:30p.m. to head to Devos Performance Hall downtown.

Monday, November 11, 2013

7:30a.m.      “Keep It Moving” Program

12:00p.m.   Community Campaign Lunch

3:45p.m.      Staff Meeting

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

7:30a.m.    “Keep It Moving” Program

8:00a.m.     Leadership Conference (All Day)

3:45p.m.      After School Program

5:00p.m.     School Board Meeting

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Half-Day, Dismissal at 12:45p.m.

7:30a.m.     “Keep It Moving” Program

9:00a.m.      Meeting with Mr. Ausua

3:45p.m.      After School Program CANCELLED

3-6p.m.       Student Led Conferences

Thursday, November 14, 2013

Half-Day, Dismissal at 12:45p.m.

7:30a.m.     “Keep It Moving” Program

9:00a.m.     Instructional Aide Meeting

3:45p.m.      After School Program CANCELLED

3-6p.m.       Student Led Conferences

Friday, November 15, 2013

NO SCHOOL for students

8a.m.-12p.m.  Student Led Conferences

1:00p.m.           IEP Meeting

Saturday, November 16, 2013

8:30a.m.     Saturday Academy (Cafeteria)


Week of November 4, 2013

This week is Homecoming!  Our students are encouraged to participate in the Spirit Week festivities.  Each day will be a theme day, and on Friday we will have a Pep Assembly and a Homecoming Party (9th graders only).  I will outline the theme days in my calendar below.

Last week was a busy week for us, as we only had four days of school. Our students are busy preparing for Student Led Conferences.  Parents your student has been preparing to talk to you about their academic progress and achievement during student led conference, on November 13-15.  You should have received a form to indicate your conference time preference, and this week will receive your formal invitation from your student.  We are looking forward to this experience; for many of our students this is there first time leading their own conference.

On Thursday, 21 students journeyed to the Devos Performance Hall to view the Opera of “A Street Car Named Desire”.  The students were so intrigued and engaged in this performance.  We had a wonderful time.  Thank you for sending your student to this event!  This show provided a new experience for our students.  Research tells us that exposure to new experiences for students in instrumental in increasing academic achievement.  Be on the look out for more opportunities for our student to get exposure to a variety of art genres.

Monday, November 4, 2013

Homecoming Theme: Blast from the Past (70’s, 80’s and 90’s Day)

7:30a.m.   “Keep It Moving” Program

12:45p.m.  Meeting with Instructional Aides

4:00p.m.    Staff Meeting

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Homecoming Theme: Hat Day

7:30a.m.    “Keep It Moving Program”

3:45p.m.    After School Program

5:30p.m.    GRAM Educator’s Night

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Homecoming Theme: Twin Day

7:30a.m.    “Keep It Moving Program”

9:00a.m.    Meeting with Mr. Ausua

3:45p.m.    After School Program

4:30p.m.    MS/HS Leadership Team Meeting

Thursday, November 7, 2013

Homecoming Theme: Wacky Tacky Day (mismatch clothes and crazy hair)

7:30a.m.    “Keep It Moving Program”

3:45p.m.    After School Program

Friday, November 8, 2013

Homecoming Theme: College & Sports Day

7:30a.m.    “Keep It Moving Program”

8:00a.m.     Campaign Meeting

9:30a.m.     Phone Conference

1:00p.m.     District Leadership Meeting

2:35p.m.     Homecoming Pep Assembly

4:00p.m.     IEP Meeting

8:00p.m.     Homecoming Dance in cafeteria

Week of October 28, 2013

Last week, we finalized all MEAP make up testing.  We won’t receive MEAP data until March 2013.  This was a huge task!  As we near November the weather is shifting and getting colder.  There have already been prediction of snow in the forecast in the last couple of weeks.  We have experience some snow-like weather (or sleet) last week.  Please dress your children appropriately with coat, hat, gloves and scarf.  Please do not allow your student to wear a blanket to school as a coat.  This is inappropriate for school and causes a distraction to the learning environment.  Each year we have community members donate hats, gloves and sometimes scarves.  Please let the office know if your artists could use any of these items.

This Friday, November 1, 2013 marks the end of the first marking period for students.  Friday is a professional development day for staff and NO SCHOOL for students.  You should have received a progress report for your student in the mail.  Students also saw there progress reports in advisory and had an opportunity to create a plan for making up any missing work in any class.  I want to remind parents that all teachers are available at 7:30a.m. every morning to help students with homework or to better understand the content of their class; as well as they are available after school by appointment to help students.

Upcoming Events:  This week Thursday is Halloween! We have heard from our students that having the Masquerade Ball on Halloween is a conflict for them because their families’ plans for the evening.  We have postponed the Masquerade Ball and will have information coming home with new rescheduled date and time.  This week we will also look forward to a field trip to the opera “A Street Car Named Desire” at Grand Rapids Symphony on Wednesday night, at 7:30p.m.  This trip will be open to 30 students, grades 6-9.  It is my desire to offer multiple opportunities for our students to be exposed to the arts in every form.

Monday, October 28, 2013

7:00a.m.      “Keep it Moving” morning program

8:30a.m.      Meeting with S. Culmer

10:00a.m.   Meeting with Cynthia Springer

11:00a.m.   District Assessment Planning Meeting

4:00p.m.     MS/HS Staff Meeting

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

7:00a.m.    “Keep it Moving” morning program

10:30a.m.   Meeting with J. Razor

10:45a.m.   Teacher Interviews

2:45p.m.     Teacher Interviews

3:45p.m.     After School Program

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

7:00a.m.    “Keep it Moving” morning program

9:00a.m.    Meeting with I. Ausua

3:45p.m.     After School Program

5:30p.m.    Volleyball Game vs. Lansing Christian (Away)

7:30 p.m.    Field Trip – Opera: A Street Car Named Desire at Devos Hall

Thursday, October 31, 2013

7:00a.m.     “Keep it Moving” morning program

9:00a.m.      Instructional Aides Meeting

3:45p.m.     NO After School Program (CANCELLED)

Masquerade Ball Postponed/Rescheduled

Friday, November 1, 2013

End of 1st Marking Period


Week of October 22

After 4 weeks of testing, we have finally completed our initial assessment season.  We have completed the NWEA-MAP progress monitoring assessment, as well as our mandated state MEAP test.  This week we will focus on make up testing for students who have had absences.  We hosted an impromptu assembly on Wednesday in the afternoon, to give a mental break to our student artists.  After 4 weeks of testing, I think we all needed a wind down, and did so with a staff vs student volleyball game.

This week we will get back to normal with our daily schedule and transitions.  I am asking parents to help with that transition by speaking with your student about integrity.  Integrity means doing the “right” thing or making the right choices, no matter who’s looking.  Our students artist sometimes feel peer pressure or sometimes forget “who they are” in the face of their peers.  I know that our students have great character and desire to be successful; this is what they have learned from their parents.  I would like to urge parents to review the characteristics of respect, responsibility, integrity and innovation, with an emphasis on INTEGRITY with their student this week.  My desire is to have a clean, safe, and orderly environment conducive to learning.  I have found sometimes as students get acclimated to a new school year, they are still trying to fit in, and haven’t become comfortable being who really they are. The search for identity is on.  I want our students to discover who they are uniquely, based on their own character, talents and beliefs, rather than trying to fit in.  Here at Ellington, I believe every student artist has a unique talent that fits here.  We are not interested in producing bricks (a cookie cut approach to being someone), instead we encourage every artist to be a stone (a unique person that fits in a special place, and that isn’t like others).  Everyone is creatively different, and uniquely wonderful in their own way.

Monday, October 21, 2013 

8:30a.m.     Meeting w/ S. Calmer

10:00a.m.   Classroom Visitations

12:00p.m.   Preparation for meetings

1:00p.m.     Assessment Review and Packing

4:00p.m.     Staff Meeting

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

10:30a.m.   IEP Meetings

3:45p.m.     After School Program

4:00p.m.     Interviews

5:00p.m.     Volleyball Game Ellington Academy vs Crossroads Charter vs West Michigan Christian

6:00p.m.    Success Breeds Success Night

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

9:00a.m.    Meeting with Mr. Ausua

3:45p.m.    After School Program

5:00p.m.    Interviews

Thursday, October 24, 2013

1:00p.m.   Academic Strategic Meeting

3:45p.m.    After School Program

4:30p.m.   Volleyball Game at Godwin Heights

Friday, October 25, 2013

10:00a.m.   Meeting w/ K. Haight – Willing to Wait Program

1:00p.m.    District Leadership Meeting

Saturday, October 26, 2013

9:00a.m.    Volleyball Invitational Tournament at Kelloggsville

Week of October 14, 2013

It’s been a busy couple of weeks as we have embarked upon our assessment schedule.  We have started our NWEA-MAP testing a couple of week ago, and have 15 more students to complete make-ups to be done with our first session of progress monitoring assessments.  Last week, we began MEAP (Michigan Education Assessment Program) Test.  We have two more days of testing for MEAP; this week Tuesday and Wednesday.  Additionally, we are in process of gathering benchmark data on our student artists’ reading fluency using the AimsWeb Fluency assessment in advisory.  This is a lot of testing for our student artists; however we hope to use this data to better meet the needs of our students and target individualized instruction where appropriate to improve their academic achievement.  Please feel free to call or email me about any of these assessment and their purpose.

The month of October is Bully Prevention Awareness Month.  I am becoming increasingly more aware of bullying incidences occurring at our school and have begun addressing these issues.  Talk to your child about bullying and determine if they have experienced bullying or if they have exhibited bullying behavior to others.  Bullying will be dealt with.  Our goal is to provide a culture at school where every students feels safe mentally, physically, and emotionally.  I have given the following consequences to students displaying bullying behaviors:  student mediation, parent meeting, joint-parent meetings, suspension, and dis-continued enrollment.  This month we will deliver a series of lessons, assemblies and events to discuss bullying and teach our student artists strategies to prevent and respond to bullying.  I have an open door policy for students, and want to encourage students to please notify me directly of incidences of bullying happening on campus.  Below are tips for parents to help their child if they are experiencing bullying:

Five Tips to Help Parents Prevent Bullying

Parents and guardians are among a school’s best allies in bullying prevention:

      • Talk with and Listen to Your Children Everyday Ask questions about their school day, including experiences on the way to and from school, lunch, and recess. Ask about their peers. Children who feel comfortable talking to their parents about these matters before they are involved in bullying are more likely to get them involved after.
      • Spend time at School and Recess Schools can lack the resources to provide all students individualized attention during “free” time like recess. Volunteer to coordinate games and activities that encourage children to interact with peers aside from their best friends.
      • Be a Good Example When you get angry at waiters, other drivers or others, model effective communication techniques. As Education.com puts it, “Any time you speak to another person in a mean or abusive way, you’re teaching your child that bullying is ok.”
      • Create Healthy Anti-Bullying Habits Starting as young as possible, coach your children on both what not to do (push, tease, and be mean to others) as well as what to do (be kind, empathize, and take turns). Also coach your child on what to do if someone is mean to him or to another (get an adult, tell the bully to stop, walk away and ignore the bully).
      • Make Sure Your Child Understands Bullying Explicitly explain what it is and that it’s not normal or tolerable for them to bully, be bullied, or stand by and watch other kids be bullied.

(These tips were adapted from materials by the National PTA andEducation.com.)

I also would like to encourage parents to discuss cyber-bullying with their children when using social networks like Facebook, twitter and Instagram.  These Social Media Networks have been block on our student accessible network here at school; however many of students have access at home.  I encourage parents to check your child’s Facebook page often, become a “friend” on your child’s Facebook page or disable their accounts.  I have listed a few starter questions to ask you child about Facebook or other social media networks they belong to:

Start a Conversation with Your Teen

  1. Do you feel like you can tell me if you ever have a problem at school or online?
  2. Help me understand why Facebook is important to you.
  3. Can you help me set up a Facebook timeline?
  4. Who are your friends on Facebook?
  5. I want to be your friend on Facebook. Would that be OK with you? What would make it OK?

Monday, October 14, 2013

7:00a.m.    “Keep It Moving” Morning Program

10:00a.m.   Meeting with Cynthia Springer

12:00p.m.   Parent Meeting

4:00p.m.    Staff Meeting

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

7:00a.m.    “Keep It Moving” Morning Program

8:30a.m.    Math MEAP Test (grades 6-8)

3:45p.m.    After School Program

5:00p.m.   Volley Ball Game (Home) Ellington Saints vs Big Rapids vs Well Spring Academy at 5:00p.m., cost

$3 for students/$5 adult (3 games)

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

7:00a.m.    “Keep It Moving” Morning Program

8:30a.m.    MEAP Test (grades 6 & 9 Social Studies, grade 7 Writing, grade 8 Science)

9:00a.m.    Meeting with Mr. Ausua

3:45p.m.    After School Program

Thursday, October 17, 2013

7:00a.m.    “Keep It Moving” Morning Program

3:45p.m.    After School Program

5:30p.m.    Lights ON After School Rally

Friday, October 18, 2013

Free-Dress Friday PINK OUT for Breast Cancer Awareness, cost $1 (prepaid) $2 (on the day off)

7:00a.m.    “Keep It Moving” Morning Program

Week of September 16, 2013

The first two week of school have gotten off to a good start.  We have had a wonderful time building relationship with our student artists.  Week 3, of our second year as a school comes with mixed emotions – excitement, pride, cautious.  I am excited because we have made some much progress in our policy, procedures and expectations.  Our student artists are already meeting expectations; they are carrying their planners, wearing their student IDs and prepared when they enter the classroom.  Our morning program, “Keep it Moving” is a huge success and we have started the year off strong.  I am filled with pride as we have begun a new journey in the Michigan High School Athletic Association (MHSAA) and our Lady Saints are already underway with the current volleyball season.  Our students have begun building community in advisory, and owning their place in the classroom (choir, band, dance, theatre, and Spanish). The Ellington Faculty is committed, passionate and submerge in creating a culture of success for our student artists; additionally five staff members are founding faculty (they started with us in year one, 2012-13).  Finally, I am cautious (or alert, calculative) in that I want to be laser focused on student achievement. Our parents and students have entrusted a huge responsibility of education in us, not to be taken lightly.  I am grateful for the opportunity to educate our students, and I want to be alert and aware of our data and the strategic approach at all times.  Everyday I engage our students, it is an honor and I am humbled by the task at hand.  I am looking forward to the growth and success for all of our student artists.

Many of our parents have submitted the paperwork to be a volunteer and we are looking to put them to work along our side, as we value the help and service of our parents.  Please contact us for volunteer paperwork, and to find out more about the 20 hour service requirement for parents.  I want to invite all of our parents to our first monthly Success Breeds Success Night on Tuesday, September 17, 2013 at 6p.m. in the cafeteria.  This month’s focus is on academic partnership between teacher and parent for the success of our students.  All parents that attend will be enter into a raffle to win a $25 gift card.

Monday, September 16, 2013

7:15a.m.  Keep it moving Program

3:50p.m.  Staff Meeting

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

7:15a.m.  Keep it moving Program

6:00p.m.  Success Breeds Success

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

7:15a.m.  Keep it moving Program

4:00p.m.  Girls Volleyball (JV) @ Big Rapids

5:00p.m. Dean Interviews

Thursday, September 19, 2013

NWEA Testing

7:15a.m.  Keep it moving Program

4:00p.m.  Girls Volleyball (JV) @ West Michigan Christian/Tri Unity Christian

5:00p.m.  Dean Interviews

Friday, September 20, 2013

NWEA Testing

7:15a.m. Keep it Moving Program

Saturday, September 21, 2013

8:00a.m.  Girls Volleyball (JV) @ Hesperia


Welcome to Ellington Academy

Ellington Color Logo

Welcome to Grand Rapids Ellington Academy of Arts & Technology.  This blog was created to keep staff, parents and students connected to information about Ellington Academy directly from the desk of the principal, Tamela Brown.

Check out our website for more information and updates, www.greaat.com.