Back to School 2020-2021 is one of the most unusual ones in memory. We are heading back to school virtually in Ann Arbor. This virtual Back to School has a whole new set of Back to School information, questions, and plans.
AAPS Virtual Learning Options
When discussing Virtual Learning Options, there are two key terms that AAPS is using to describe the virtual learning options.
Ann Arbor Public Schools offers three learning options for the 2020-2021 School year. A2 Classroom Connect and A2 Student Link are combinations of synchronous and asynchronous learning that are linked to your enrolled school. A2 Virtual= is asynchronous, online learning. In A2 ClassroomConnect, once AAPS is ready to resume in person learning students will be able to return to the classroom on a hybrid basis. A2 Student Link will remain fully online. Parents were asked to commit to A2 Student Link or A2 Classroom Connect for at least a semester. At the elementary level, parents were encouraged to make the selection of A2 Classroom Connect or A2 student Link for the year to avoid the need to change teachers.
Parents were asked to return their choice for their children in early August. If the district did not hear from you and was not able to make contact, they assigned students to A2 Classroom Connect.
A2 Classroom Connect & A2 Student Link
While in the fully virtual model, A2 Student Link and A2 Classroom Connect are basically the same. The only difference is whether a family intends to return to in person learning when it is an option.
In both A2 Classroom Connect & A2 Student Link, students are assigned a classroom and teacher in their enrolled building. Learning will include synchronous time followed by asynchronous learning within each learning block throughout the day. Synchronous learning will only be held on Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, and Friday. Wednesday will be a day for asynchronous learning. Rec & Ed will be offering FREE enrichment classes on Wednesdays for PreK-8th grade.
A2 Virtual+ is almost completely asynchronous. It is self-paced independent learning. You are assigned an A2 Virtual+ teacher and will have a weekly meeting with your teacher. While it is asynchronous, it is mostly online with videos and activities to complete.
A2 Virtual+ has been offered as a high school option for years with limited offerings at the middle school for acceleration. This year A2 Virtual it is being offered as a full enrollment option for Young 5s through 12th grade.
As in years past, high school and middle school students will have the option to take one or two classes from A2 Virtual+ in place of corresponding classes in their enrolled high school.
Return to School
A2 Classroom Connect will transition to in person learning with a hybrid model where half the class attends on Monday/Tuesday and the other half on Thursday/Friday. If you choose A2 Classroom Connect your child will be able to stay virtual all week if you are not ready for your child to return when in person learning begins.
Get more details on When it is Safe to Return to School as more details are released.
The 2020-2021 Schedule has finally been released. This includes both the school calendar and the daily schedule..
Check out the Ann Arbor Public Schools 2020-2021 calendar . Please make sure to take note of these in your planning. Also, remember that Wednesdays are asynchronous learning days (and would be a great day to schedule appointments).
With virtual learning, the 2020-2021 schedule is more complicated than other years. Suddenly parents need to know more about the school day than when it starts and when it ends. Now they need to know when lunch is and when different classes start. AAPS has shared the School Day Schedule for each level. Expect to get more details on the elementary school day form your child’s teacher.
Ann Arbor Back to School Events
This year’s back to school events are mostly being held and announced at the school level. However, the big back to school event is Tech Distribution for the 1:1 devices being provided this year. Additionally, each of the Ann Arbor schools holds a Curriculum night (or Capsule Night at the High School level). Our Back to School Events article includes details on Tech Distribution (happening now), district wide information sessions, and which events to look for from your child’s school.
School Supplies are completely different for 2020-2021. The main supply that each student will need is their device that the district is providing.
Students in Young 5’s through 1st grade will receive iPads. Older students will receive Chromebooks. Initial pickup on these devices is August 31-September 3. Additional pickups will be offered once school begins.
The district is also working with families to ensure that every family has access to internet. If you do not have high speed internet, they are working to sign families up for Comcast Essentials. where that is an option. When that is not an option, they have Kajeet hotspots to provide for families.
The district is purchasing a digital library that will be accessible via OverDrive (just like the AADL digital library). They also have purchased a digital leveled reading library.
My daughter’s high school has said that they will be providing text book pickup in September.
The district will also be providing other supplies such as art and science supplies, notebooks, etc. These distributions will be co-ordinated at the building level and will be repeated throughout the year to replenish and rotate as classes move through different units.
For my high school student, we were told that the first distribution would happen after drop-add ends so they don’t have to swap books and supplies if a student changes their schedule.
Extra Curricular Activities
Rec & Ed Classes
Rec & Ed typically offers a wide variety of after school classes for elementary and middle school students. This year, they will be offering classes on Wednesday and Saturdays. These classes will be free and limited to families enrolled in AAPS. The classes will be a mix of outdoor gatherings (when weather and coronavirus restrictions allow) and virtual classes. The catalog will be published in mid-September.
Rec & Ed Sports
Rec & Ed Team Sports will not be offered in Fall 2020. Hopefully by spring, they will be able to offer sports again.
The typical sport schedule is
- Soccer – Boys & Girls Young 5’s to 8th Grade
- Field Hockey – Co-Ed Grades 3-6
- Volleyball – Co-Ed Grades 4-9
- Basketball – Boys & Girls Grades 2-5
- Basketball – Girls & Boys Grades 4-8, Co-Ed HS Grade 9-10, Co-Ed HS Grades 11-12
- Indoor Soccer – Girls & Boys Young 5s-5th Grade
- Soccer – Boys & Girls Young 5’s to 8th Grade
- Field Hockey – Co-Ed Grades 3-6
- Flag Football – Co-Ed Young 5’s-8th Grade
- T-Ball – Young 5-K
- Baseball – Boys Grades 1-8
- Softball – Girls Grades 1-8
Enrolling in AAPS
Finding My School
Are you new to the area and not sure which Ann Arbor Public Schools you are zone for? AAPS offers two handy ways to look this up. There is the the Street Lookup or the Boundary Maps – (Elementary), (Middle), (High School)
Enrolling in your Assigned School
You can pre-enroll in your child’s assigned school online. After completing the form, the district will review it and set you up in InfoSnap to finalize the enrollment. You will also need to bring proof of residency, birth certificate, immunization record, and other required documents to the school. Right now they are accepting paperwork at the Tech Distribution. Some documents may also be able to be emailed to your school’s office professional.
School of Choice & In-District Transfer
School of Choice and In-District Transfer are similar, but not the same. School of Choice is for students who live outside the boundaries of Ann Arbor Public Schools. In-District Transfer is for students who live in the district boundaries to apply to a school within the district other than their zone school. There are limited slots available for both School of Choice and In-District Transfer.
Both In-District Transfer and School of Choice is closed for the 2020-2021 school year..
Immunizations (or waivers) are required for students entering Kindergarten, 7th grade, and any new AAPS student. Immunizations are extra important with COVID-19 to minimize any illnesses that may be similar in symptoms. Remember to re-schedule any appointments that were missed due to CVOID-19 closures.
Food Service – Free & Reduced Meals, Meal Distribution
AAPS hopes to be able to continue to distribute meals on an emergency basis as they have since school closed in March. However, that requires a waiver extension they have not yet received. In case they do not get the waiver, they do encourage everyone who needs hep with meals to complete the Free & Reduced Meal Application.
AAPS is hoping to add additional evening pickups for foods so students and families do not miss time from their synchronous learning classes to pickup meals at distribution locations.
Free and Reduced Meal Application
Families with financial need can fill out an application for Free and Reduced Meals. The online application is now available and is the fastest way to apply for the program. The paper version of the application is also available now. Paper applications will also be available at PEACE Neighborhood Center, CAN locations, and Avalon Housing Locations.
Forms are currently available in other languages. Forms are currently available in:
School Fundraisers are a regular occurrence. Whether it’s for the school as a whole, a particular initiative (like the Eberwhite Playground), a sports team, or a club, opportunities abound. I love the creativity of some of the fundraisers like Easter Egg Delivery, Christmas Tree Pickup, Parents Night Out, bottle/can returns, or a simple restaurant night. Some of the most successful fundraisers are ones that reach out beyond the school community. Fundraising is likely to be a challenge in 2020-2021 while maintaining social distancing.
To help schools with their fundraising, they can add events to our calendar and they are all summarized in our Support School Fundraisers article.
More Ann Arbor Back to School Information
Student Google Accounts & Passwords
Each student in the Ann Arbor Public School receives an email address and Google Account. Each August the passwords are reset. Updated passwords for 2020-2021 were sent to all AAPS parents on August 30.
Be sure to check your email. They will also need this password to sign into their ChromeBooks and Schoology.
When my daughter started school, elementary class assignments were sent out by mail the week before school started with forms that needed to be filled out, school specific information, lunch menus, and more. A few years ago, they switched to sending class assignments electronically. For 2020, they are sending the information electronically. I would expect to receive them this week (August 31-September 4). If your elementary school is planning a virtual back to school event, I would expect to have them before that.
I have heard that Middle and High School schedules will be loaded into Power School on September 3 by 3p. My 9th grader is eager to see her elective and see if she has any friends in any of her classes.
As the parent of a middle school student, Power School is an important tool. I can see my daughter’s schedule, track her assignment status, and get her final grades. It is currently shut-down for the changeover to 2020-2021 school year.
School staff is mostly working virtually this year. While they are checking voice mail, email is probably a better way to reach them this year.
Do you have other questions about Ann Arbor Back to School? Add them to the comments here or on Facebook.