Monday, September 22, 2014

46th Annual Abbot Run-a-Thon Fundraiser is Oct. 11

Each year for more than four and a half decades, Abbot students have raised funds for their school by collecting pledges for laps run. This is one of our most popular and longest running (pun intended) events, and to make new participants feel at home, we've created a small list of answers to frequently asked questions.

When is this year's Run-a-Thon?

The 2014 Run-a-Thon will be held on October 11 from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., rain or sine on the Abbot back field. 
What is the Run-a-Thon?

The Run-a-Thon is a fundraiser for all students, teachers, friends and family who want to collect pledges  for Abbot. Participants will earn a ribbon, trophy or medallion for making laps around the Abbot field. Parents can walk with their kids or help out as a lap counter, concession helper, or water monitor. Everyone is encouraged to do his or her part to help Abbot.

Do I have to participate?

No, but if you don’t, you’ll miss out on a lot of fun! This is a great family day for the Abbot community. The class with the highest participation percentage will earn a pizza party for their class!

Do I have to run?

No. You may walk as many laps (approximately 8 laps/mile) as you wish during the 9 a.m.-4 p.m. Run-a-Thon. You may walk or jog with friends or family, but please don’t bring any pets!

How many sponsors do I need?

Collect pledges (per lap or flat amount) from as many people as you can to raise money for Abbot. You must have at least one sponsor and at least $10.00 in pledges to earn a medallion or trophy.

Do I have to stay the whole time?

No. You may start and stop anytime during the 9am-4pm Run-a-Thon. If you need to leave and come back (due to soccer, etc.) you may continue when you return. Just keep your pledge sheet and give it to the next lap counter assigned to you.

How will I know the number of laps that I have completed?

A lap counter will be assigned to you and keep track of your laps. Just make sure the lap counter sees you each time you finish a lap. Cones will be set up to show you the lap course.

Will there be food?

Yes, there will be bagels, donuts, fruit and hot and cold beverage for sale all day.  At 11 a.m. we will start selling pizza as well so your family will be able to stay at Abbot through lunch, if you wish.  Or feel free to bring your own picnic lunch to enjoy on the school grounds.

How do I keep track of my pledges?

Pledge forms will be sent home with students on Monday, September 22.  Obtain as many pledges as you can and bring your form with you to the Run-a-Thon.  Pledge money needs to be collected and turned in to the office during the two weeks following the Run-A-Thon.

What can parents do?

Many volunteers are needed to make Run-a-Thon a success, and this is one of the easiest and most fun ways to help your child's school. Volunteer shifts are as short as a half hour, although you are certainly welcome to help for a longer period if you can. Email Committee Chair Martha Hannah at to let her know what time you will be available to help. 

Where can I find more details or get questions answered?

Email Committee Chair Martha Hannah at  

Who makes the Run-a-Thon possible?

You do along with our business partners. A special thank you to our "All Star" level sponsors. They are:

Chelsea Rhone LLC

McNamara Orthodontics

Taxi Cab Kids

Election Update

The November 4 election will have two important local government items on the ballot that Abbot parents and teachers should be aware of: 
  1. The Board of Education election 
  2. The possible annexation of Whitmore Lake Public Schools
The Abbot PTO encourages you to exercise your right to vote on these issues, and there are several great local events where you can learn more about them. 

The first is on Tuesday, Oct. 14 at noon when a community forum on the possible annexation of Whitmore Lake Public Schools will be held at the Downtown Ann Arbor Public Library. Additional forumns will be held on:
  • Tuesday, Oct 21. at 6:30 p.m. in the Huron High School cafeteria 
  • Thursday, Oct. 23 at 6:30 p.m. in the Pioneer High School cafeteria annex 
If you can’t attend one of these forums, visit the AAPS web site to read the FAQ’s and the latest updates. 

In addition, on Monday, Oct. 20, at 6:30 p.m., all PTO members are invited to the PTO Council’s annual Launch Party: Election Edition at Haisley Elementary. There you can mix and mingle with AAPS administrators and stay for a Board of Education Candidate Forum. The event features a free buffet by Chartwells and music from the Community High Jazz Band.  

Monday, September 8, 2014

The Abbot Vision for "Lead. Care. Inspire."

The chosen theme for Ann Arbor Public Schools for the 2014-2015 school year is "Lead. Care. Inspire."

Before the first day of school, the Abbot faculty and staff met to brainstorm what these words will mean for them and the Abbot Elementary School community.

The results show the exceptional dedication of the team leading our students' education.



  • Good modeling
  • Positivity
  • Clear focus/expectations
  • Respect
  • Lead through serving/role modeling
  • Taking the initiative
  • Staying Engaged
  • Ongoing Conversation/Communication
  • Courageous conversation -- holding each other accountable
  • Willing to make mistakes, share them and listening
  • Flexible, open minded
  • Sense of humor, respectful
  • Sacrifice individuality for the betterment of the group
  • Delegate
  • Organized
  • Confident


  • Active listening
  • Being genuine
  • Smiling
  • Body language
  • Greeting
  • Eye contact
  • Asking personal questions and making personal connections
  • Observing strengths/talents
  • Culture of comfort
  • Being available
  • Appropriate tone
  • Supporting after-school activities
  • Showing vulnerability
  • Personal positive reinforcement
  • Seeing personal interests in classroom


  • Confidence
  • Enthusiasm/excitement
  • Modeling: Language, Action and Seeing the Possibility
  • Exposure: New ideas and cultures
  • Goal setting: Building on personal best
  • Sharing
  • Emotional connection
  • Relating to others
  • Dedication/Involvement
  • Evolving
  • Kindness

PTO Members Give Abbot Fresh Look

The freshly painted front steps and newly planted front garden flowers.
Before school began this year, a crew of Abbot PTO volunteers gave up much of their Labor Day weekend to clean the school grounds, removing weeds, planting flowers and putting fresh coats of paint on the front steps, curbs and other areas of the building. 

More than 30 hours of time were donated by the team lead by Abbot Beautification Committee Chair Molly Mason. 

If you missed this opportunity to lend a hand, don't worry. Molly says that work will be continuing both inside and outside the building leading up to the annual Run-a-Thon fundraiser on October 11. Look for signups for future Beautification Committee work events going out by email and posted on our Facebook page and this blog. 

Our wildlife habitat after extensive weeding and cleaning.
We are grateful to all of our Labor Day weekend volunteers, including Martha and Tom Strait, Jeff Mason, Kiirsa P, Robin Skiba Myler, Becky Winkler, Corinne Shafer, Birgit von der Lidth, Gillian Miller and several others. 

Introducing our Newest Abbot Faculty/Staff Members

There are some new faces around the halls at Abbot this year. Principal Pam Sica asked the new faculty members to introduce themselves.

Susan Hoover: I have been teaching music in the Ann Arbor Public Schools for over 20 years.  I earned my music degree at Eastern Michigan University.  I have a wonderful husband and three great kids.  In the summer I spend my time as the musical director for Centerstage Productions drama camp and on the beach of Lake Huron!   I like reading, walking my dog, and volunteering my time monthly at a respite night for families of special needs kids.

Kristina Ruthven: I am pleased to return to Abbot this year to teach Art. I believe that all students can have creative success in the Art classroom. Every student in my Art class will have the opportunity to experiment with different mediums and learn useful techniques to further their ability to communicate through the visual arts. I have a Bachelor’s of Fine Arts degree from Eastern Michigan University, and I am a working artist. I sell my blown glass at local art fairs, and I also enjoy weaving on my hand-crafted Pendleton loom. When I am not teaching and making art, I spend as much time as I can with my family and pets. I enjoy hiking, camping and swimming in Michigan’s fabulous fresh water lakes. I also take pleasure in tending to my backyard vegetable garden.   Please visit my blog for more information.

Nelda Murphy:  I have been working as a School Social Worker for the past 18 years.  My background is in clinical social work and mental health services. I am also a certified mediator and a certified Doula.  In my spare time I like to read, spend time with my family and dogs, hold babies, and be in nature.  My motto for living a good life is: Breathe deeply, Laugh often, Dance EVERY day, Listen Actively, Do more, Need less, Be thankful, and Simply BE!

Kathy Pantolin: I have been working in the Ann Arbor Schools for fifteen years as a speech language pathologist. I most recently worked at Wines and Lakewood elementary schools and am excited to join the Abbot staff! I live in Chelsea with my husband, two girls and many animals.

Cathy Murphy: I look forward to joining the Abbot community!  This is my 12th year working as a school psychologist in AAPS. This year I will be servicing King Elementary and Clague Middle schools in addition to Abbot. I previously spent seven years as a school psychologist in the Cincinnati area.  I also have 11 years volunteer experience facilitating children's grief groups. I am spending the first few months of the school year on maternity leave with my new daughter.  I also have a three year old son.   I enjoy spending time with my extended family and friends, cooking, reading, and playing soccer.