April, 2014


AZ Academy                                                     The Fire Burns Within!

AZ Academy champions the whole child using differentiated small-group instruction in a safe and nurturing environment, thereby inspiring students to reach their full potential.

Quick Notes

  • 3rd – 12th grade mid-quarter 4 progress reports were sent home today!
  • Spirit Week and Beach Day Next Week – As the final Spirit Event in the Blue vs. Silver year-long competition, all of next week is dedicated to celebrating our school spirit!  Monday – Thursday have dress-up themes, and then Friday is Beach Day, where parents are welcome to join us.  Check out the Spirit Week flyer 2014 that was sent home today.
  • Re-scheduled Yard Sale – With a rainy forecast predicted for this Saturday, the Yard Sale, Car Wash, and Crucian Breakfast have been re-scheduled for Saturday, May 24th!
  • Middle School & High School Exams – the last week of May are the middle school and high school exams, which count as 20% of the semester 2 grade.  Please check out the calendar to see which exam is scheduled for what day!
  • Graduations and Awards Ceremony – the end of the school year is right around the corner, which means it’s time for Kinder, 4th, and 8th graduations and AZ Academy’s Awards Ceremony.  Scheduled for Wednesday, June 4th from 9:00 am – 12:00 pm, plan on attending because it is always a great time!  Note that this is a half day, with students dismissed immediately at the end of the ceremony.
  • 2-4th graders did the Mexican Hat Dance at closing today – watch it here!

Jail or Bail

24 members of the St. Croix community reported to Jail on Saturday, April 26th to do “hard time for a good cause.”  Serenaded by the AZ bands, jail birds were arraigned by guest judge Senator O’Reilly in between sets.  Charges were read by the bailiff, the jail birds were quizzed by the judge, and in the end they were all found guilty and sent to jail to raise their bail money!  Once they were all arraigned, the staged a jail break and ran down the boardwalk to go flaunt their freedom in front of the Go To St. Croix webcam, but the bailiff quickly reigned them in and dragged them back to jail - watch it here!


Warren Mosler and Sonaya Coffelt are arraigned by Judge Nellie


Melinda Moran is charged with teaching evolution to students by District Attorney Clark Dauner

A special thank you to all of our jail birds, our volunteers, and our donors.  So far we have raised over $25,000 for AZ Academy’s Scholarship Fund, a worthy cause!

AZ Quest

The 2014 AZ Quest was a hit!  Beginning with AZ’s traditional Closing Ceremony, high school students lead a copy dance and then parents joined in the fun by leading one, too!  Honor roll and citizenship students were honored for their 3rd quarter efforts and then the middle and high students of the month were drawn from our Caught Being Good raffle students enjoy every month.  Then we played musical chairs with 40 students and teachers, which was hysterical!

Fawaz keeps his eyes on the chairs!

Fawaz keeps his eyes on the chairs!

Bella peruses books at the Scholastic Book Fair

Bella peruses books at the Scholastic Book Fair

Jesse tests the properties of rocks

Jesse tests the properties of rocks












After Closing Ceremony, everyone was dismissed to explore the happening in each classroom – from eating fractions in Mrs. Crowther’s room to playing math games from around the world in Mrs. Torres’s room – there was a wide-variety of activities for students and parents to experience.  Also, classes began giving performances at the pavilion, which included pre-K – 1st graders singing, “The Planet Song” while rotating around the sun to high school biology students making DNA out of licorice and marshmallows and giving the audience an color blindness tests.


2nd grade focuses on protecting the Earth


The Earth & Space Science class studies volcanoes


Jordan and Fawaz model DNA with candy


The afternoon would down with awesome performances by the AZ Bands – 1 Measure, 5 Beats (middle school) and Chained Freedom (high school).  They were entertaining with songs like…

Float On by Modest Mouse

Sunday Morning by Maroon 5

Haitian Divorce by Steely Dan

Some Kind of Wonderful by Grand Funk Railroad

Kryptonite by 3 DOORS DOWN

Pumped Up Kicks by Foster the People

Then, as the event ended, the bands quickly packed up and headed to Christiansted to play their second event of the day – Jump Up.  Crowds gathered and cheered them on and even the Mocko Jumbies joined in and dance with the crowd!

I Need a Dollar by Aloe Blacc – special guest appearance by Hector!

Some Kind of Wonderful by Grand Funk Railroad - special guest appearance by Mocko Jumbies!

All in all, it was a great day for AZ Academy – GO DRAGONS!

Teacher Appreciation Week

AZ Academy’s teachers and staff were showered with appreciation this week to honor the incredible job they do here at our school.  On Monday, they got to pick whether they wanted a super raft that doubles as a chair or an over-sized beach mat.  On Tuesday, they had a bagel and lox breakfast hosted down at the café, and on Wednesday they received a gift certificate to Undercover Books.  Then on Friday, they received a certificate of appreciation and were treated to a feast for lunch in Ms. Paula’s office.  Thank you to all of the parents that sent in items for this – they really appreciated a grown-up lunch together to finish out this important week of recognition!

From Webelos to Boy Scouts!

On Saturday, May 24, 2014, the Webelos II will be crossing over to Boy Scouts Troop 34. They have done many activities to earn this rite of passage. For example, they received their scientist achievement, learned to put oil in a car and how to rotate the tires, swimming, and wall climbing. They had to participate in a camp out at Shell Island as an honorary Boy Scout for a weekend, as well as attend an official Boy Scout meeting. For volunteer work, the Scouts collected food and money for My Brother’s Table. Each Scout has worked very hard throughout their years of scouts. I am proud to say that each Webelos II scout has earned “The Arrow of Light” award. This award is the highest achievement that a Cub Scout can earn.  AZ’s Troop 34 would like to welcome Logan, Jordan, Adrian, and Cooper to the troop.

Rain Forest Fun!

The second grade class extended our study of the earth with a focus on Earth Day and the rain forest.  The students have been learning about actions that they can take to keep our earth clean and are now experts at reducing, reusing, and recycling.  I often find the children cleaning up trash on the AZ campus to do their part in helping to save our world.  We have been focusing on the crisis that is happening in rain forests and how this habitat is in trouble.  Our class read The Great Kapok Tree and each child chose a character in a Reader’s Theater based on saving the rain forest.  We were proud to share our performance with you at AZ Quest!

 Serious about IOWA’s Tests in Middle School

Happy 4th quarter everyone!  Hard to believe, but we’re on the final stretch for this school year.  April and May are filled with activities like the book fair (dates to be announced), Jail or Bail, AZ Quest, and of course our annual standardized testing.  The literature classes are continuing to review grammar rules, write as often as possible, and read in the classroom.  Congratulations to all the 7th and 8th grade students who took their Iowa tests with me.  I was proud at how they handled themselves during testing, and how seriously they took the test.  Thank you parents for your encouragement to them, and your help with keeping their routines at home in place.  Biology class started a new unit recently on DNA and molecular genetics.  Life Science class is looking at the theory of evolution, when and how does it occur, and the adaptations over time that different organisms display.

As always, please feel free to contact me with any questions or concerns.

Mr. Clark Dauner, cdauner@azvi.org

Blasting into Space with Pre-K -1st

Prek -1st April Hot TopicsThis month we did a unit on the Solar System just in time for the moon eclipse that showed itself on Monday April 14, 2014. Among all the exciting activities, we learned that stars shoot up solar flares and they give the planets heat and light. For art we made the planets from papier mache that were on display for the AZ Quest.

We read the book “The Adventures of Bertle B Bug” and “The Case of the Missing Space Slugs”. It’s about Bertle a small insignificant garden janitor bug and a few unlikely friends who are plunged into an adventure of intergalactic proportions after agreeing to help the crew of a crashed spaceship……the kids made their own spaceships with aliens in them and wrote their adventures about visiting the planets. We hope you got the opportunity to stop by 3A to read the students’ stories at AZ Quest!

We Are Cooking in Geography!

We’re cooking up something great in World Geography!  To culminate our unit on European geography each student chose a country and researched a recipe for a finger food that they could bring to the class.  There was a plethora of yumminess going on in our classroom! There were the decadent Serbian hazelnut coconut balls that Colby made, or the cinnamon sugar fried apples that Shanice made.  It wasn’t all about desert though, Skyla made Italian Pizza Balls (I am definitely trying this one at home!)  Kurtis made a yummy Greek feta and olive spread that he served with pita chips and Mateo brought some awesome mussels from Spain. There were so many wonderfully delicious things I wish I could name them all.  Hopefully this has sparked an interest in our students to explore different cuisines and keep on cooking!

Torres April photo 2 Torres April photo Torres photo 3

What’s happening in High School and Middle School Language Arts?

Do you know what MLA stands for?  When was the last time you wrote a report and had to include a bibliography?  For many adults, it was way back when they were in college or maybe as far back as high school.  Because many of our sources are from the internet, that page is now called a Works Cited page since bibliography refers only to books and other paper publications.  And MLA? MLA stands for Modern Language Association and is the format we use at AZ Academy for all papers on the middle and high school levels.

Creating a Works Cited page has never been so easy.  Students are encouraged to start their Works Cited page as soon as they start researching.  They still need to gather some basic information about the source they are using for their research, but formatting is a breeze.  Once a source is read and notes taken, the student simply inputs the information about the source (author, title, publisher, URL, page number(s), etc.) into http://www.easybib.com/ and EasyBib will format it.  The student then copies and pastes the citation into their Works Cited.  What could be simpler?  No more guessing where comas go, or if the information is in the correct order.  The only task left for the student is to put the entries into alphabetical order!

Students use a modified MLA formatting for setting up their hand written papers – First and last name, full date, class, and assignment all in the upper left hand corner of our paper. Essays are double spaced.  Formal typed papers must be double spaced.  All typing must be in Times New Roman 12pt font. YouTube has several really good videos demonstrating how to format your research paper using MLA standards.  AZ students are also expected to use MLA formatting for citations within the body of papers.

Students are taught these methods in Language Arts, Career Guidance and Personal Growth classes.  They are expected to use MLA formatting in all areas of study where a research paper is assigned.  You can help by becoming familiar with MLA formatting and reminding your student that they are required to use it whenever research is done. The purpose of citations is to give credit to the person from whom a researcher got information.  To leave out citations is plagiarism.  But that’s for another day.

AR Reading – There’s an App for That!

Have you ever been at the bookstore picking out books for your child and wondered, “Is that in my child’s ZPD range?”  First of all, if you are not sure what “AR” and “ZPD” mean, let me fill you in. Students at AZ Academy participate in the Accelerated Reader (AR) program. Students take a standardized, computerized reading test three times a year.  Based on their performance, each student is given a zone of proximal development (ZPD) range. This is the reading level range from which a student should be selecting books for optimal growth in independent reading without frustration. Throughout the year students independently read books within their ZPD range and take online quizzes to determine their comprehension of each book. The standardized tests not only determine ZPD range, but they hopefully show growth in reading throughout the year.

While AZ Academy has a role in finding your child’s ZPD range, you can have a role in finding books for him/her to read within that range. First, find out your child’s ZPD range. You can get that information from your teacher. Next, find out the book level of the book in which your child is interested. This is easy on the Scholastic book order forms because the book level is listed at the end of the book review. Just look for the capital letters AR. The number following it is the book level. If you are at home, you can go to www.arbookfind.com to find the book level.

But, what if you are shopping at Undercover Books?  There are two apps to help with that.  One is LevelFinder 4.0 and the other is Good Books Lookup.  LevelFinder ($1.99) allows you to search for a specific book by title and/or author.  You can also do a general search by punching in your child’s ZPD level.  This will lead you to a list of books that would be an appropriate independent reading book for your child. The friendly staff can then let you know if any of those books are in stock, and, if not, they can order them for you.  Good Books Lookup ($0.99) has more options for finding your book.  You can search by title, author, or ISBN; you can browse appropriate books by selecting grade level and topic; or you can scan the barcode on a book.  In addition, you can keep a list of favorites for the next time you are shopping. While I like both for different reasons, I find Good Books Lookup to be – in the words of my children – “glitchy.” I use both on my iPhone with IOS 7.0 and find them to be invaluable.

Dulcie Crowther, Learning Support Specialist

Hot Topics Logo designed by former AZ Academy student, Morgane Deighan, 2013