Ann Arbor Back to School Guide
It may only be July, but it is not too early to start thinking about Back to School. We are in the process of updating this article for the 2019-2020 school year. As more information is released, we will continue to update the article.
2019-2020 Back to School Guide
I used to hold off on Back to School information until August. However, with Back to School sales starting already I know many people have questions before 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 8th grade this year, so this is our ninth back to school season.
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 – Calendar & School Day
- School Supplies & Donation Drives
- Back to School Events – New Back to School Events (8/16)
- Child Care
- Extra Curricular Activities
- Enrolling in AAPS
- Food Service – Updated Menus (8/30), Free & Reduced Meal Links (8/19)
- Bus Service – Updated with 2019-2020 Routes (8/20)
- Fundraising – New Section (8/16)
- More Information
Upcoming Sponsored Events
Ann Arbor Public Schools published their 2019-2020 calendar in June. Please make sure to take note of these in your planning. Also included in the article are the school day times.
Check out more information on School Supply Lists and Supply Drives . Basically, there is no required supply list. Students are asked for backpacks and lunch boxes. Some schools do send out requested item lists and in older grades sometimes there are suggestions for upgraded supplies.
Ann Arbor Back to School Events
Updated 8/16 – Additional Meet & Greet/Popsicles on Playgrounds/Playdates added
Each of the Ann Arbor schools holds a Curriculum night (or Capsule Night at the High School level). Some Elementary Schools hold welcome back social events. The Middle and High Schools also hold registration in late August. Dates are still being announced, but our Back to School Events article is up to date with information as of July 28.
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 outside providers). 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.
School Break Camps
On days off from school, camps are offered by many local organizations. These camps are usually not announced until late August, early September – once summer camps end. Our School Break Camp Guide is filterable by days off. It currently lists 2018-2019 programs, but will be updated for 2019-2020 as programs are announced.
It may be in the 80s in August, but it is never too late to start planning for Snow Days. Gone are the days of listening to the radio and waiting for your school to be announced. Ann Arbor Public Schools shares closures on social media and through School Messenger. We typically receive texts and phone calls – often at 5-5:30a.
There are usually a few options for snow day child care. Snow day camps are usually offered by both Flipside Art Studio and Wide World Sports. Some after school programs or daycares are open on school days with priority given to currently enrolled families.
Extra Curricular Activities
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). Rec & Ed mailed the booklet for fall classes home in early August and has updated their website. I find the website easier because it is organized by school rather than by class.
Some class examples are chess, dance, robotics, language, art, and more.
Rec & Ed Sports
Rec & Ed Team Sports are a great way for your elementary (or older) child to learn sports in a relaxed environment. Teams are typically divided by school so your child can play with some classmates. From first through fifth grade, my daughter played Rec & Ed Soccer which is offered in fall and spring. Recently she has played Rec & Ed Softball. Rec & Ed Sports are:
- 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. 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 – UPDATED (7/28)
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.
A final round of both In-District Transfer and School of Choice will be open from August 9-23. The deadline to apply is 5p on Friday, August 23. Applications are not processed in the order received. Spots are available at most AAPS schools, although not in all grades. Schools currently without openings are Ann Arbor Open, Lawton, Community HS, and Pioneer High School.
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 2019-2020. 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 have 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. It also remembers your information year to year so you do not start from scratch each year.
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.
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.
Food Service – Menus, Fees, Payments
Cafeteria menus for September are now posted on the AAPS Website. Elementary lunches are unchanged from last year at $2.50. Lunches at the Middle and High Schools are $3.50. Breakfast is $1.25 at the elementary level and $1.50 at the middle and high school level.
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.
Forms are currently available in other languages. For 2019-2020 forms are currently available in:
- Japanese (the text says 2018-2019, but if you follow the link the form says 2019-2020)
Food Service Payments
Cafeteria payments are done through accounts managed by MyPaymentsPlus. There are two ways to load money to your child’s account – online or by sending money to school. There is a $2 fee when loading money online. You can load your child’s account for free by sending cash or a check into school.
When my daughter frequently bough lunch, I would load a large sum at one time and just pay the $2 fee. When she switched to only occasionally buying lunch, I periodically send a check to school.
Bus routes for each school are available on the District’s website. The website was updated with the 2019-2020 routes on August 20th. The route schedule is subject to change the first week of school as enrollment and bus ridership stabilizes.
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, or a simple restaurant night. Some of the most successful fundraisers are ones that reach out beyond the school community.
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
Each student in the Ann Arbor Public School receives an email address and Google Account. As a middle schooler, my daughter uses the Google Apps to create and turn her documents.
Each August the passwords are reset. In the past, my daughter would receive her new password when school started. This caused issues for some students who regularly used their school email addresses. For 2019, as a parent I received her new password through School Messenger.
If your child uses their school email account, be sure to check your email for their new password.
Traditionally 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. 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. Other schools also have this information available at back to school events like popsicles on the playground.
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 2019-2020 school year.
Personally, I wish we had received notification that it would be shut down. I am hoping I will still be able to see the 2018-2019 school year when it is turned back on.
The staff at various schools should be in the office each weekday starting mid-August. The central office at Balas is staffed throughout the summer.
Do you have other questions about Ann Arbor Back to School? Add them to the comments here or on Facebook.