Ann Arbor Back to School Guide

nchI’m breaking my own rule on not sharing Ann Arbor Back to School information until August. Since Ann Arbor Public Schools released their 2017-2018 calendar and new bell schedules last week and I am starting to see questions from incoming parents, I decided not to wait for August.

Since Ann Arbor Public Schools is the largest school system in our area (and where my daughter attends), I am starting to compile information for Back to School. My daughter is entering 6th grade this year, so this is our seventh back to school season.

Ann Arbor Back to School - Information for Ann Arbor Public Schools

I know when I was the parent of a child ready to start Kindergarten in AAPS, I was desperate for information. So for new parents here are the key facts that I have learned the last five years and a summary of the information that is currently available. I will continue to update the information below as more information becomes available.

Quick Links to Content in this Guide:


School Schedule

Ann Arbor Public Schools has published their 2017-2018 calendar. Also, for 2017-2018 the start and end times have been adjusted for all grade levels. Please make sure to take note of these in your planning.

Ann Arbor Back to School - 2017-2018 Ann Arbor Public School Calendar & Bell Times

This year the later start time option for High School Students goes into effect with enhanced morning transportation options. If you have a high school student, they need to explore this with their counselor.

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Bus Schedule

Ann Arbor Public Schools has released their 2017-2018 bus schedule! With the changes in the school day listed above, bus times have shifted as well. Glaring errors in the bus schedules have been fixed (drop-offs before school ends for A2 STEAM and AA Open).

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Food Services

Check out the September Menus. The elementary menu has some new items on it this year – Philly Cheesesteak, Baked Potato with Chili, Chicken and Waffles to name a few. Plus, returning favorites (for my daughter) like French Toast Sticks and Grilled Cheese & Tomato Soup. The printable menu has returned to the one page design with all lunches on the front and breakfast on the back. It is definitely much easier to read.

Buying lunch. I know for us, we waited a week or two before my daughter bought lunch when she first started at her school. It was easier at first. There are two ways to add money to your child’s lunch account. You can do it online (for a fee) or send in money. When my daughter frequently bought lunch, I would add $100 to the lunch account online when needed (2-3 times a year). Now, I add $25 via check and it lasts for at least half the year. 

  • By Check: Make payable to Ann Arbor School’s Food Service. Send in to school with your child’s name on it. For ease, I also add her school, grade, and teacher. The is particularly important if your child has a common name.
  • Online: Online payments are made by My Payments Plus. You will need your student’s id number to add them. I know you can find this information on a past report card. My guess is that it is also on the info snap forms.

The 2017-2018 online and paper applications for free and reduced lunch are now available (Note the ’17-18 form is only available in English. The ’16-17 form can be used for other languages). The online version will be released soon.

School Supplies

There is NO supply list for Ann Arbor Public Schools elementary schools. They ask that you send your child with a backpack and a lunch box if they will be bringing lunch from home. Some teachers will make suggestions, and usually not until the middle of elementary school. My daughter’s school also has a bulletin board for teacher requests throughout the year.

Backpack & Lunch Box

A Backpack should be large enough to fit your child’s snow pants, hat, gloves, shoes, and lunch. My daughter brings her snow pants to school daily in the winter. Even when there is not snow on the ground, they keep her warm (& somewhat dry/clean when snow starts to melt). She also brings a change of shoes for wet or snowy days so that wet boots can be left outside of the classroom to help it stay dry and cleaner. A lunch box/bag and ice pack is also helpful if your child will be bringing lunch from home.

I definitely recommend buying a quality backpack that is built to last. I’ve heard of character backpacks not lasting a school year. On the other hand, my daughter has used her Lands End backpack and lunch box for 3 years each. Her second one would have gone for a 4th year, but Lands End ran their backpacks 50% off last week so she got an upgrade.

Ann Arbor Back to School - Lands End Backpack

As a matched set, my daughter’s lunchbox attaches to the outside of the backpack and doesn’t take up space inside the bag. Her first set lasted for 3 years (Kindergarten through second grade). They are still in great condition. However, she outgrew the pink heart pattern and benefited from a larger size bag. This will be the 4th year (3rd-6th grade) for her second set and it is still in great condition. Be sure to look for discount codes before you order. Also, I found Lands End customer service very helpful in telling me what color the monogram thread was in the picture. My daughter ordered a teal backpack and we weren’t sure which monogram color (yellow or chartreuse) was used in the sample.

I’ve seen some questions on sizes. My daughter started with the Lands End small for K-2. A folder was a tight fit, but we made it work. For 3-5 she had a medium Tech Pack. Her new one for 6th is an XL Tech Pack.

If your backpack/lunch box do not connect directly, a friend recommended a carabiner clip. While they can start the year with the lunchbox in their backpack, by the time winter rolls around with snow pants there won’t be much room.

Suggested Supplies

The first time we had a teacher suggest supplies was in 3rd grade. Regular pencils are provided in the classroom. At back to school night, he mentioned that some kids prefer the mechanical pencils and can bring their own. My daughter has been using mechanical pencils that she brings from home since then.

The Best Ever School Supply

Ann Arbor Back to School - DeskmateHer 5th grade teacher recommended a “Deskmate” which is a storage clipboard. They had a few extra that previous students had left behind if you didn’t provide one and your child wanted to use one. These things are wonderful! I wish my daughter had one the entire time in school. They are perfect for doing homework on the go – writing surface, storing the homework, storing the pencils, etc. And as a bonus, they don’t bend in the backpack like a paper folder. (You will need a larger backpack to accommodate this. My daughter’s Medium TechPack from Lands End barely fit the deskmate.)

Where can you find this awesome product?: Learning Express is my recommendation. They have ones that are decorated (or can be decorated). My daughter’s (with her name digitally removed) is to the right.

She started the year with a plain gray one that I ordered from Amazon. The suggestion arrived the last day that Free Prime Shipping would get it to me for the first day of school. Before placing the order, we checked two office supply stores locally and did not find what we wanted – theirs were metal, side opening, etc. I never thought to look at Learning Express until I saw her friends with them.

Home Use

While there is no need to buy supplies to send to school, you will likely need some supplies at home, particularly in the upper grades. Back to School sales are a great time to stock up on school supplies to use at home. I always buy my crayons and glue sticks for the year at back to school sales. Now that my daughter is getting older (Sixth Grade), I will also be buying mechanical pencils, pens, loose leaf paper for homework, and other basic school supplies.

My daughter and I actually had an argument about loose leaf paper the other day. I was mentioning I should get some for this year. Her argument was that she still had some and we should wait until it was needed. I showed her the price difference between list price and Back to School sale price, so she understood why we are buying now.

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Extra Curricular Activities

Before & After School Child Care

Ann Arbor Rec & Ed runs School Aged Child Care with offerings at 18 elementary schools (Burns Park, Lawton, and King use an outside provider). Signup is now available on the Rec & Ed website. Programs can reach capacity, so I suggest signing up as soon as you know your schedule.

We have not utilized the Before or After School Care. As a volunteer with my daughter’s Science Olympiad, I saw a definite advantages to using the after-school program at your child’s school. Children check in with child care, then attend a after school activity (Rec & Ed Classes, Science Olympiad, Scouts, etc) and return to child care after their activity.

After School Classes

Rec & Ed also offers after school classes at most of the district’s schools. My daughter has taken a few classes after school and loved them. As a parent who usually picks up from school, after school classes are extremely easy since I just pick up later (and as a bonus I don’t have to wait through the pickup line). I will update you when the information is available.

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More Ann Arbor Back to School Information

Ann Arbor Back to School Paperwork

In 2015 Ann Arbor Public Schools switched to InfoSnap to manage paperwork electronically. After some initial mis-communication, the system worked very well. As the parent of a returning student, I received a link in May/June to update my information for 2017-2018. I am sure that this information will be sent out to anyone who has not yet filled out the forms in the next few weeks.

My friends with multiple children praised the system for ease in not having to write forms for each of their children. The information was able to transfer to multiple children.

Once the school staff returns, there will be computers available for parents who need internet access to complete forms. The Ann Arbor District Library is also a great place for parents to access the internet for school information.

Back to School Guide

The Ann Arbor Public Schools Back to School Guide is typically a great resource for parents once it is available online. They were released very late this year. Also included in the Back to School Guide is the Rights and Responsibilities Statement including the new Bullying/Cyberbullying Policy.

Class Assignments

Traditionally 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. Last year, they switched to sending class assignments electronically. Personally, I much prefer this method since it isn’t dependent on your mail delivery or being on vacation. Some schools send just your child’s teacher assignment. Other schools send the full class list.


School Staffing

The staff at various schools should be in the office each weekday starting August 14. The central office at Balas is staffed throughout the summer. New principals were announced for Ann Arbor Open, Forsythe, Lakewood, Mitchell, Pathways to Success, Slauson, and Tappan last week.


Immunizations (or waivers) are required for students entering Kindergarten, 7th grade, and any new AAPS student. AAPS has partnered with UM Health System in the Regional Alliance for Healthy Schools (RAHS) to hold immunization clinics. The clinics will be at Scarlett Middle School. Call ahead for an appointment to minimize wait times. Services are free to students, although insurance will be billed for students who have insurance.

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Ann Arbor Back to School Events

There are several Ann Arbor Back to School events that you will want to mark on your calendar once they are announced.

Curriculum Nights

Curriculum Nights typically happen in mid-September. These are a night for parents to meet with their child’s teacher in a group. We typically sign-up for one-on-one conferences at the Curriculum Night. I’ve included dates with the Back to School Events below.

Elementary Back to School Events

Different Elementary Schools host different back to school events. Some announce class assignments at their Meet the Teacher Events, others have a popsicles on the playground event, others have a picnic either before or the first week of school. If your school has announced a date, let me know and I’ll add them here.

  • Abbot
    • Tuesday, August 29 – Popsicles on the Playground
    • Tuesday, September 12 – 6:30-8p Curriculum Night
  • Allen
    • Wednesday, August 30 – 5p Meet & Greet on the Playground (unless it rains)
    • Tuesday, September 19 – 6-8p Curriculum Night
  • Angell
    • Tuesday, September 19 – 6-7:30p Curriculum Night
  • Ann Arbor Open
    • Thursday, September 7 – Back to School Picnic
    • Thursday, September 14 – 6-8:30p Curriculum Night
  • A2 Steam
    • Thursday, September 14 – 6:30-8p Curriculum Night
  • Bach
    • Tuesday, September 12 – 6-8p Curriculum Night
  • Bryant/Pattengill 
    • August 29 4-6p – Popsicles on the (Bryant) Playground
    • Tuesday, September 19 – 6:30-8p Bryant Curriculum Night
    • Tuesday, September 12 – 6:30-8p Pattengill Curriculum Night
  • Burns Park
    • Tuesday, September 19 – 6:30-8p Curriculum Night
  • Carpenter
    • Tuesday, September 12 – 6:30-8p Curriculum Night
  • Dicken
    • Tuesday, August 29 – 4-5:30p Meet & Greet
    • Tuesday, September 19 – 6:30-8p Curriculum Night
  • Eberwhite
    • Friday, August 18 – 2p Popsicles with the Principal
    • Monday, August 28 – Teacher Assignments
    • Wednesday, August 30 – 4p Meet & Greet
    • Tuesday, September 12 – 6-8p Curriculum Night
  • Haisley
    • Wednesday, August 30 – 4:30-5:30p Haisley Hello
    • Tuesday, September 12 – 6:30-8p Curriculum Night
  • King
    • Tuesday, September 12 – 6-8p Curriculum Night
  • Lakewood
    • Wednesday, August 30 – Meet & Greet – Come meet the New Principal & greet your teacher. The event will be in the early evening. Exact time coming soon.
    • Tuesday, September 19 – 6:30-8p Curriculum Night
  • Lawton
    • Tuesday, August 29 – Chalk it Up
    • Wednesday, August 30 – Lawton Meet & Greet
    • Tuesday, September 19 – 6-8p Curriculum Night
  • Logan 
    • Wednesday August 30 – Class List sent via Email
    • Thursday, August 31 – 3:30p New Family Orientation 
    • Thursday, August 31 – 4-5:30p Welcome Back Meet & Greet with popsicles
    • Monday, September 18 – 6-7:30p Curriculum Night
  • Mitchell
    • Wednesday, August 30 – 6p PTO Welcome Back Picnic
    • Tuesday, September 12 – 6-8p Curriculum Night 
  • Pittsfield
    • Wednesday, August 30 – 5:30-6:30p  Family & Staff Meet & Greet on Playground
  • Thurston
    • Wednesday, August 30 – 5:30-7p – Welcome Back Meet & Greet
    • Tuesday, September 19 – 6-7:30p Curriculum Night
  • Wines Elementary
    • Wednesday, August 23 – 6p New Family Orientation
    • Tuesday, August 29 – 6p Kindergarten Meet the Teacher
    • Wednesday, August 30 – 3p 1st-5th Meet the Teacher
    • Tuesday, September 12 – 6:30-8p Curriculum Night

Middle & High School Registration & Curriculum Nights

Middle and High Schools typically hold registration events the last week of August.

  • Clague Middle School
    • 7th Grade – Wednesday, Aug. 23rd in the morning
    • 8th Grade – Wednesday, Aug. 23rd in the afternoon
    • 6th Grade – Thursday, Aug. 24th in the morning
    • Makeup – Thursday, Aug. 24th in the afternoon
    • Curriculum Night – Thursday, September 14 – 6:30-8p
  • Forsythe Middle School –
    • 8th Grade – Monday, August 28 8-9:30am
    • 6th Grade – Monday, August 28 10-3:30p
    • 7th Grade – Monday, August 28  12:30-2p
    • Curriculum Night – Thursday, September 14 – 6-8p
  • Scarlett Middle School – Tuesday, August 22 – Finalize Registration, Turn in Residency & Immunization Documents, Receive PowerSchool Login, Tour School
    • A-C Last Names 8:30-9:15a
    • D-G Last Names 9:15-10a
    • H-K Last Names 10-10:45a
    • L-N Last Names 10:45-11:30a
    • O-S Last Names 1-1:45p
    • T-Z Last Names 1:45-2:30p
    • Curriculum Night – Thursday, September 14 – 6:30-8p
  • Slauson Middle School
    • Tuesday, August 29 – Open House for All New Students
    • Thursday, September 7 – Curriculum Night 6:30-8p
  • Tappan Middle School – Fall Information Day on Wednesday, August 23rd
    • 6th Grade – 8:30-10a
    • 7th Grade – 10-11a
    • 8th Grade – 11a-noon
    • Curriculum Night – Thursday, September 14 – 6-8p
  • Huron High School
    • Capsule Night – Monday, September 18 – 6:30-9p
  • Pioneer High School
    • Capsule Night – Wednesday, September 13 – 6:30-9p
  • Skyline High School
    • Capsule Night – Wednesday, September 13 – 6-8:30p
  • Community High School
    • Capsule Night – Tuesday, September 19 – 6-9p

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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 Boundary Map and the Street Lookup.

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. Staff will be at the schools beginning in mid-August. The District Office is open all summer for questions.

School of Choice & In-District Transfer

Ann Arbor Public Schools is opening an additional window for School of Choice and In-District Transfer beginning on Tuesday, August 1 through Friday, August 25. With School of Choice students who live outside the boundaries of Ann Arbor Public Schools can apply to attend an Ann Arbor Public School. With In-District Transfer, students can apply to attend an Ann Arbor Public School other than the one they are zoned for based on where they live. There are limited slots available for both School of Choice and In-District Transfer. The applications list which schools and grades at those school have availability.

High School Course Selection

High School students have to select their course. Ann Arbor Public Schools has released both a High School Course Selection Guide and a Searchable List of Classes.

Other Questions

Do you have other questions about Ann Arbor Back to School? Add them to the comments here or on Facebook. If you wish to remain anonymous, you can also ask me a question via email or send a message through our Facebook page.

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Anna Mae

Anna Mae owns & operates Ann Arbor with Kids, a website dedicated to Family Activities in Ann Arbor. My husband and I moved to Ann Arbor in 2003 and our daughter joined the family in 2006.

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