Principal’s Update

July 29, 2017

Dear American Heritage Academy Families,

Welcome Back! I hope that everyone has had a restful summer and you are as ready as we are to embark on a new and exciting 2017-18 school year. Our Open House is on Monday August 7 th from 5:30 to 7:00 pm. We will be discussing key changes, signing up bus riders, passing out lunch applications and discussing field trips. See you then!

This summer Mr. Priest has been working extremely hard to beautify and update our campus. We have installed new playground equipment, solar panels and a new scoreboard (Thanks Bueler Family!) in the gym. Additional changes are coming soon as we dedicate ourselves to constant improvement.

We are still formulating our bus route for this year. If you need transportation, please let the front office know. We do our best to serve all of our families and we greatly value family input. Our school food program this year will adopt an offer vs. serve model which will create more choices for students. Just like last year, all of our meals are offered without preservatives and are made with whole wheat and healthy ingredients. Please encourage your children to try these healthy options. Don’t forget that our families in need will be able to qualify for either reduced or free breakfast and lunch through a very simple process. Once submitted, we can offer food the same day!

We again received a federal Title VI grant, which provides additional funds for our Native American students. This will allow us to provide added support and clubs. Last year we were able to hire a full time aide and offer summer school for the first time due to this grant!

As our community shares the successes of AHA, our enrollment continues to accelerate. We currently have a higher enrollment than last year and for the first time in several years we have started waiting lists in several grades. Please continue to share our successes with your friends and neighbors as we grow the right way. Word of mouth is our best advertising! We are committed to small classes, individual attention, knowing every child and being a bully-free school.

The following information will cover some of the most common questions or concerns from parents and students. Please take the time to review it and if you have any questions please email me at I love to hear from parents and I always return emails within 24 hours.

At AHA, we love extra-curriculars. Whether it be Mother’s Tea or Shakespeare Days, we continuously reach out to our families and the community. However, our kids also NEED strong, uninterrupted academic instruction that promotes higher-level thinking and questioning. This year, we will emphasize this by protecting CORE academic time each morning from 8 am until lunch. Some grade levels will engage in CORE lessons and instruction after lunch as in our continued dedication to prepare our children for the challenges ahead.

In that spirit, we will conduct all assemblies (aside from morning assembly) and all other activities after lunch as much as possible. How can you help? PLEASE schedule any and all pull outs for after lunch or on Fridays, including medical or other appointments. This will give all of our children the best chance for success. We understand that sometimes circumstances are beyond parent control, but we certainly appreciate your effort to protect CORE academic time! Thank you!

Our dress code sets AHA apart. There are a few minor modifications to our dress code this year. Close-toed shoes (no flips flops or sandals) ensure safety at PE and on the playground, and will be required at all times. No makeup is to be worn. Red, white or blue tights/leggings under skirts are the only approved colors. These are the main points of uniform emphasis this year.

Students may not color their hair. All polo shirts must have the AHA logo embroidered on the left side. Pants may not be tight. Please keep in mind we are an academy, a school of choice. Our uniform and dress code set the tone of respect, just like our armed services.

Our uniform provider has changed in order to save parents money. Please check our website to order. Also, we have second-hand uniforms on site. Sizes and availability depend on donations and utilization. Please consider donating clean, gently-used uniforms once your child has outgrown them in the front office. Thank you!

This year we say goodbye to Mrs. MarcAurele, Mrs. Negron and Mrs. Vojascek. We will miss them and wish them well. We are very pleased to welcome Mr. Romero to Title One, Mrs. McNally to Special Education, Mrs. Leon to 4th grade and Mr. Riffel to Middle School Math and Science. I feel confident that we have our best staff yet and we will meet your child’s needs better than ever.

Please do not plan appointments or vacations during our testing windows. The state gives us very little flexibility to make up tests. Our current testing windows are August 8-17, December 4-14, February 12-22 and May 7-17. AZMERIT is scheduled from April 16-30. These dates are also listed on our calendar. We do our best to complete all of our testing before lunch. So if an appointment is unavoidable please plan for after lunch. Thank you!

This year we are asking each parent to volunteer 20 hours to AHA over the course of the school year. That averages 2 hours per month per parent. Many of you donate numerous hours and we are so grateful! I will be sending out “jobs” periodically so that parents can choose how they want to help. Be on the lookout for those soon! Of course chaperoning field trips is an easy way to donate hours (fingerprint clearance required).

Part of AHA’s mission is giving back to the community and providing service. We believe that all who can, should serve in some way. Each grade level is encouraged to continue/develop its own unique community service project. If you know of an organization or group who needs service please contact us. Attendance and participation in school-day community service projects is considered part of our curriculum and is NOT considered a field trip or optional. If you do not wish your child to participate in community service projects during school time, please come by the office to discuss your options.

Thank you so much your continued support and dedication to our family here at AHA! Please contact me with any questions. I truly look forward to working with you this year!

Mr. Barnes

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