Monday, November 24, 2014

SLIDESHOW: Singaporeans visit Challenge Island after school class

Jenna Bacolor, Executive Director, Rec & Ed

Finally, it was my turn! After touring several AAPS middle and high schools, on Nov. 13 the Singapore delegation visited one of Rec & Ed's after school elementary STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Art, Math). I was happy to show off!

Challenge Island is a new class that we're offering in partnership with Challenge Island - Ann Arbor. The curriculum uses a fun framework -- survival on Shark Tooth Island -- to engage children in hands-on, project-based learning around STEAM concepts.

Thursday's class started with an interactive lesson on the concept of flotation. Students learned the terms "buoyancy" and "hull" (as in hull of a ship) and how hull shape affects flotation. The instructor showed them various objects (an apple, golf ball, leaf and a penny) and asked the kids to guess which would float and why. 




After the lesson, students got into their teams and worked on three challenges around floatation. The students soon forgot about the visitors watching and focused intently on their tasks. The teams chanted numbers as a team member dropped pennies into their boats.

Rec & Ed's Winter After School Classes -- including STEAM offerings like Challenge Island -- will be posted here on Dec. 1. On-line registration begins Dec. 15 and classes begin in January. 

How does Rec & Ed relate to the Toyota-funded AAPS Singapore exchange program? Learn why I traveled to Singapore with the AAPS delegation in July. I also wrote about what I learned that can be applied to Rec & Ed programs in my "insider" blogs: Singa-blog 1, Singa-blog 2 and Singa-blog 3.


Wednesday, November 19, 2014

First Steps Adds Parent Library to "Jump Into Speech" Classes

Marj Hyde, Guest Blogger and First Steps Coordinator

Have you ever thought about how children develop language? Those early words and phrases are not only adorable to hear, but also critical for later school success. 

Last year First Steps-Ann Arbor, a division of Rec & Ed, teamed up with AAPS Speech and Language Pathologist Marie Stroud to create a new class called Jump Into Speech. The class is for any toddler, age 15 to 24 months, and their parent or caregiver. Each of the 7-week classes offers specific shared activities that encourage toddlers to use new words and increase their communication skills. Best of all, it's fun for toddlers and their parents!

The original class was so popular that Marie and her First Steps collaborator, Ann Stalhandske, added 2 more classes this year: Jump Into Speech for Two (22-30 months) and Jump Into Speech with Friends (28-38 months).

Why do parents like these classes?

"I know that I am more vocal with my daughter just acknowledging what she's doing and we sing more songs. It's fun and I saw definite results," said one parent of a 2 year old. 

"I'm more conscious of the types of questions I ask my son," another parent commented. "It was valuable to learn the hierarchy of processing questions. [Jump Into Speech for Two] helped me learn more about how to speak to him to initiate dialogue that is meaningful."

We know the Jump Into Speech classes empower parents to make a difference when helping their child learn to talk. 

We asked ourselves what would make Jump Into Speech even more helpful? 

Answer: a library of books for parents to use at home with even more fun activities to support speech! 

Thanks to a Great Ideas grant from the Ann Arbor Public Schools Education Foundation, this library will become a reality. Beginning in January 2015, Jump Into Speech classes will include books to borrow filled with strategies that work at home to increase successful communication.

"We think having a special selection of books for parents will be great and we're so excited that AAPSEF is supporting this!" said both Marie and Ann. "Thank you so much!!"


Marie Stroud, Marj Hyde and Ann Stalhandske with their
grant award certificates.

Want to learn more about the Jump Into Speech classes or First Steps? Contact me (Marj Hyde) at 734-994-4949 or by email. You're also welcome to attend one of the upcoming First Steps orientations

We welcome all Ann Arbor families!


Monday, November 17, 2014

SLIDESHOW: Rick's Run for Kids event photos

Over 400 youth and adults braved the cold Saturday morning to participate in Rick's Run for Kids. Our family-friendly 5K run/walk honored the memory of Rick Dekeon, beloved teacher and coach, and raised over $6,000 for Rec & Ed's youth scholarship fund. 

Check out event pictures here!




Thanks to all who participated and volunteered to make Rick's Run for Kids a success! Event sponsors helped make the event happen: Chartwells K12, Cottage Inn Pizza, Mast Shoes, Office Depot Max, School Board Trustee Glenn Nelson, and the AAPS Physical Education Department. 

Miss the event and still want to donate? Click here and choose "Donations" at the top.

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Rec & Ed posts job opportunities in Lifelong Learning & School Age Child Care

This week, Rec & Ed posted six positions in our Lifelong Learning and School Age Child Care divisions. Candidates who are passionate about serving youth and adults in Ann Arbor and possess the critical skills needed are encouraged to apply.

See all of the postings here

These positions are the result of several months of organizational analysis and redesign. We realized that we need to organize our work differently to meet our school district and community needs more effectively in a 21st century world. 

We're proud of our decades-long history of promoting wellness, building community and being inclusive. This legacy is an important part of Ann Arbor's history that we aim to continue and grow for many years.

To view individual job postings, click on the titles below.


School Age Child Care


Rec & Ed's School Age Child Care program provides before- and after school care to students in 18 Ann Arbor Public Schools elementary buildings. SACC provides a safe, child-centered environment where children can grow socially and intellectually. The SACC staff enhance the connections between the school day and the child care program by complementing the school day curriculum with fun activities.  

School Age Child Care Manager

School Age Child Care Supervisor

School Age Child Care Site Specialist


Lifelong Learning


The Lifelong Learning division provides educational and personal growth programs for adults and children in the greater Ann Arbor community. Youth enrichment programs include after school classes and camps for children to explore art, drama, STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Math), yoga, chess, and many other areas.  

Adults in the community enjoy Lifelong Learning's programming, including personal growth, fitness/wellness, hobbies, art and dance classes. Lifelong also provides adapted classes and programs for teens and adults with disabilities.

Adult Enrichment Supervisor


Youth Enrichment Supervisor  


School Break/Summer Camp Specialist

All of the above postings may be viewed via this link


Monday, November 10, 2014

Singapore delegation begins AAPS visit with music, River Rats and a STEAM project

Jenna Bacolor, Executive Director, Rec & Ed

It's been four months since a delegation of teachers and administrators traveled from Ann Arbor to Singapore. Seeing the familiar faces of our Singapore colleagues walk off the bus at Huron High School this morning, however, made it seem like just yesterday. (BTW - I blogged about my experiences traveling on the Toyota-funded study trip this summer.) 

For the next ten days, it's our Singaporean colleagues' turn to visit us. They arrived at Huron High School to the sounds of the symphony band and a warm welcome from students, Huron and district administrators and the River Rat mascot. Representatives from Toyota and the Institute for International Education are part of the AAPS visit as well.

The Huron symphony band's "Fanfare for the Common Man"
sounded terrific under the arch.

Many of our Singapore colleagues wanted to
take a photo with the River Rat.

Huron students led tours to the marketing class and student-run
store, among other classes.
Later in the afternoon, the Ann Arbor STEAM PLC (professional learning community) met with the Singapore delegation to share and learn together. Tom Pachera of Skyline and Bill Van Loo of Northside STEAM facilitated an engineering lesson for us to work on in small groups. As our internationally mixed groups of educators worked together, the room went from a somewhat awkward silence to animated conversation and laughter. 


Science teacher Christia West,  Rec & Ed youth enrichment
supervisor Ivy Juan, and Community High School Dean Marci Tuzinski
react to our vehicle's...uh...performance.

The team made changes to the prototype. While we
didn't get it to work in the time allotted, we had
a lot of fun trying. 

The Singapore delegation will be visiting several Ann Arbor schools this week and next. I'm excited to welcome them to a STEAM-related Rec & Ed after school class on Thursday. Look for more pictures from that visit later in the week!