November, 2015

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Calendar Quick Notes…

  • Saturday, December 5th @ 7:00AM – Yard Sale!
  • Monday, December 7th – Mid-quarter 2 Progress Reports available online and sent home
  • Friday, December 11th @ 2:05PM – Holiday relay races Spirit Event
  • Friday, December 11th @ 6:30PM – Movie Night!
  • Monday, December 14th @ 8:00AM – 3-8th grade Spelling Bee
  • Week of December 14th – 5th – 12th grade semester 1 exams
  • Thursday, December 7th @ 6:00PM in the Cruzana Manor Ruins – Winter Celebration!  Join us for a wonderfully entertaining evening!
  • Monday, December 21st – Winter break begins – return to school on Thursday, January 7th!


OxFam Hunger Banquet

oxfam 2On Tuesday, November 10th, 3rd – 12th grade students and their teachers gathered in the Cruzana Manor Ruins for AZ Academy’s 9th annual OxFam Hunger Banquet.  Upon arrival, all guests were assigned to an income level – high, middle, or low – and this determined where they would sit and what they would each for lunch that day.

High income guests (15%), made greater than $12,000 a year, and sat at a table where they were served chicken, beans, rice, vegetables, and juice.  Middle income guests (35%) made from $800 – $11,999 a year, and sat in a chair and lined up for beans and rice and water.  Low income guests (50%) made less than $800 a year, and sat on the ground and served themselves a scoop of rice on a banana leaf.

Over the course of the event, the guests explored chronic hunger’s causes and effects, particularly in children.  They also looked at how we are all classified as a high income person, but we are very wasteful in our lives.  Ms. Paula focused on the mindfulness of caring for ourselves and our world by decreasing our consumption.  Finally, the guests learned about the refugee crisis in Syria, and how blocking delivery of food is being used by the fighting factions as a method of war.  Currently there are 7 million refugees inside of Syria who have been driven from their homes and have nowhere to go, and another 4 million have already left the country.

All in all, it was an impactful day and students committed to being less wasteful and to writing a letter to President Obama about their concern about the refugee crisis.  Although this is a controversial topic, it is important that our students practice empathy and compassion, and thereby feel that they can be impactful on a global scale!

18th Annual Thanksgiving Luncheon

On Tuesday, November 24th, AZ Academy’s faculty, students, and their families gathered for the 18th year in a row to break break at the school’s Thanksgiving Luncheon.  Director Paula Heller spoke about how we should live with an attitude of gratitude and offered up these tips:

1. Think of a person who has helped you in life. It may be a teacher, friend, parent, or mentor. Spend a few minutes reflecting on the ways they have helped you and the benefits you have gained as a result. Then write them a heartfelt card, call or visit them to tell them how their help has improved your life. If you are no longer in contact, write the card anyway and then keep it to remind you to feel grateful.

2. Take a walk in nature or in your garden. As you do so, think about all the ways that nature helps us to sustain life and feel happier and more comfortable. Focus on feeling grateful for the fresh air and water, the natural beauty of a flower, the peace that the ocean, lakes, or mountains give you, or the shade of a tree.

3. Think of somebody in your life that helps you on a daily or weekly basis: a partner, parent, best friend, beloved pet, boss, teacher, cleaner, or babysitter. Spend a week observing and focusing on all the different ways in which they make your life happier or more comfortable. Make a plan to do something special for them to show your appreciation.

4. As you sit down to dinner at night, think about the people who helped this food get on your table. This may include the farmer who grew the food, the workers who picked the crops, the drivers who transported it, the person who earned money to pay for the food, and so on.

5. Think about how you can live a life that conveys gratitude to the planet for all that we have. Don’t overuse water or electricity, recycle, buy sustainable products, donate to charity, volunteer to help the needy, work in an animal shelter, or clean up a natural area. Get involved in your community. Living responsibly and doing acts of service should help you feel good about your life and more aware of your connection to other living things.

To model expressing gratitude, Ms. Paula called up two representatives from Ocwen Financial Corporation, who presented the school with a $10,000 donation towards AZ Academy’s music program, and the entire school thanked them!  Then she called up parents who have demonstrated over the top volunteerism this year, and the entire school thanked them, too!

Finally it was time to eat, and visit with each other, and everyone had a wonderful time eating the feast prepared by Good to Chew, from the culinary program at C-TEC. It was a beautiful afternoon for an attitude of gratitude.  3 Big Claps – AZ!  1, 2, 3 – FIRED UP!

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Fall Festival Raffle

Thank you to everyone for supporting the Fall Festival Raffle sale. Our winners are:

  • Grand Prize – Richard Samuel – 7 Night stay at The Verandah, Antigua
  • 2nd Place – J Samson – Papered Crucian (Photo shoot, Sunset sail and essential oils)
  • 3rd Place – Luz Santos – Island Adventure (Jet Ski rental and ATV tour)

Other prize winners included jewelry from Crucian Gold, 1 Night stay at Hotel on the Cay, Aerial Tour of St. Croix by The Palms at Pelican Cove, oil change by TireXpress, and dinner at Dashi. All winners have been notified and can pick up their prize in the lower office from Ms. Angie or Ms. Patricia.

All the raffles sold by student were counted and the winners of the $5 concession credit, school day at the beach and gift certificate to a jeep tour from Tan Tan tours have been announced!

Yard Sale

yard saleThe yard sale will take place on December 5th from 7am – 12pm. We have lots of things planned for you to take part in. There will be vendors selling a variety of crafts, treasures, treats, and drinks. You name it, and you may just be able to find it there.!

Along with all that we have:

  • A car wash – because who has time to wash their own car! Sedans – $20, midsize SUVs and trucks – $25, and large SUVs and trucks – $30.
  • Breakfast with Santa – Santa arrives at 9am on big red, courtesy of our Richmond fire station. Breakfast will be available for $10 (Choice of Pancakes/French toast, scrambled eggs, bacon with juice, coffee or tea).

If you would like to volunteer at this event, please sign up in the lower office. The yard sale funds will support Mr. Renee’s homeroom class’s end of the year travel! Thank you for your support.

Spirit Event

Friday, November 13th, we had our Talent Show Spirit Event. Parents are always welcome to drop in on Spirit Events, because AZ has talent! The show started with hula hoop performances by Logan J, Nicolas E and Annabelle P. Annabelle sure was a crowd favorite, as Mr. Smith handed her two more hoops to twirl with the one she already had going. Annabelle won 2nd place in the talent show for the silver team.  Allegra F and Antonio C added a twist of gymnastics to the famous Whip and Nea Nea dance that you have been seeing around. Bilal M put on an electrifying performance and incorporated a slinky!

We had joke telling, magic tricks, amazing drawing and card games put on by the students. The talent came to a grand finale with an instrumental taken from Halo, performed on the Piano by Antonio L. Danny, Colin, Jesus and Jahzeel sure put on a show with some dance moves and juggling! The famous Whip and Nae Nae came back to make an exit with a blowout dance from Adalia V and Ashley S. The students were excited to get a surprise visit from our 2014 graduate Conrad Yanez, joining by Jesus F and Jordan H. Coming in at 3rd place, they even had the teachers and parents rocking. This was certainly not the last act, but it was the highlight that won the 1st place spot in the talent show. Alexis MK sang a great rendition of “Demons” by Imagine Dragons.

Oh, the Places You’ll Go…

Literacy is embedded into everything that we do at AZ Academy and, as always, it’s important to make learning fun!  Our young learners are focusing on reading skills, beginning with the basics of learning letter sounds and sight words, and then shifting to fluency and comprehension as they become more refined in their reading skills.  Accelerated Reader has proven to be a motivating tool for our students, striving to obtain a goal each grading period.  The children are working hard to read books and assess their knowledge of stories read using this computerized program.  It’s a proven fact that the more you read, the more successful you will become at reading.  The ultimate goal is to create lifelong learners and readers at AZ Academy and then – oh, the places you’ll go…

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Ms. Harris

What a Wonderful World

I have wanted to teach my 2nd and 3rd grade Spanish class the song, “What a Wonderful World,” because at the present moment our beautiful world is aching, and there are a lot of negative painful situations that it seems to be taking over.  But when we teach children ways to bring back love, joy, light and hope to their present lives and ours with their sweet, happy, fired up voices, things turn around and there is nothing but beauty and love. Many AZ Academy students have such a wonderful spirit full of light. Students singing beautiful positive songs can fire up AZ Academy’s future events and create or discover more talent within our little dragons.

Once they learn the song in English and a small part in Spanish, the class will be ready to perform for the wonderful AZ Academy audience!

Until then, watch this video of them rehearsing!

Ms. Veliz

Anchor Charts Everywhere!

ELA III is working on memoir. They have read several very short memoirs and now they are analyzing them. We have anchor charts up all over the room and all over the class website ( to help them learn.

ELA IV has been getting better and better at completing their homework. This is thrilling because it gives us more time in class to make learning fun. For example, Questions and Danswers (courtesy of Jimmy Fallon) has been a huge hit. We have both photos and video (click on the photo of Sirr and Kurtis) to prove it.

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Mrs. Eden

No Taxation Without Representation

Happy Thanksgiving!  I hope everyone has a fun family break planned.  We continue to read Sign of the Beaver in Literature, and just finished the nouns unit with a test.  The students did great!  All A’s and B’s on the test – nice job!  We also combined with Mrs. Melinda’s and Mrs. Sara’s classes to read through a play entitled, Mystery in the Library.  The students read different parts and tried to figure out who dunnit.  In social studies, we did a fun activity on taxation without representation.  Queen Izzy and tax collector Aidan ended up with all the “booty” and there were some unhappy colonists.  It was very interesting to see each student’s reaction to the taxes, how they were being treated, and how that affected their way of life.  Again, have a safe and happy break!

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Mr. Clark Dauner

Giving Thanks in 1st/2nd Grade

We have been very busy in the 1st/2nd grade classroom!  It is amazing to see how letters and sounds are starting to “click” to form words and sentences for first graders in ELA!  In second grade we are reviewing contractions and vowel teams.

First grade math is helping us get more and more fluent with addition and subtraction fact families, whereas second graders are exploring numbers to 1,000!

Of course we have been learning about the first Thanksgiving!  We read “Thanksgiving on Thursday” in The Magic Tree House series, watched a Brain Pop, Jr. video about the history of Thanksgiving, and we have shared things that we are all thankful for.  We are looking forward to our Thanksgiving Luncheon and having some extra days off from school to celebrate the holiday!!

Mrs. Jill Carter

Art News

IMGP4423This past month the art students have been busy learning all about textures and the color wheel. The younger students created rainbow collages with silhouettes of birds, animals, and robots. The Middle School students created accordion books with different themes incorporating color theory. Finally the High School students finished up the Texture unit with pen & ink animal drawings and have begun painting and learning how to mix colors. Don’t forget about Artsonia – each student’s online personal gallery. If you’d like to order any gifts for the holidays recommends that you place your orders by Dec. 11th. A portion of the sales from Artsonia goes back to the AZ Art program. Thanks for your support!

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Ms. Nicole Brown

Student “Bill of Rights”

AZ Academy is keen about its goal to develop the whole child. In light of this, a very interesting set of events took place at the high school this November, 2015.  Very insightful discussions took place on the question of respecting one another. Discussion groups were held with boys only and the girls met and discuss matter of concern to them. Out of those discussions has emerged a “BILL OF RIGHTS”. The Bill of Rights will form the basis of future discussions on respect. It was an eye opening experience for all involved.

Mr. Renee

Colorful Things We are Thankful For

The month of November has flown by so quickly. As soon as we took down and put away Lin Thomas photoall of our Halloween art, games and projects, it was time to start focusing on Thanksgiving. Down came the pumpkins and up went the turkey on our front door! We have been learning about the pilgrims and the very first Thanksgiving. We have been reading stories, doing finger plays and singing Thanksgiving songs. We played a game called “We are thankful for…” with turkey feathers of different colors which we pulled from a bag. We then had to think of something we were thankful for that was the color of the feather. We talked about all the things we were thankful for like our moms and dads, grandparents, food and our school. We are looking forward to our Thanksgiving gathering and sharing food with our families, teachers and classmates.

Besides Thanksgiving, we are up to the letter “Ll” in our “Letter of the Week”. We are also learning about insects, working on math skills, writing our names and numbers and so much more. Next month should be equally busy for us. Mr. Turkey will come down from the door only to be replaced by Santa or maybe Rudolph and all those reindeer!

Ms. Thomas

Geoboards and Scrabble – Enrichment!

Here are a few pictures of what AZ Academy does in its enrichment classes – learning while playing!

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Mrs. Melinda Moran and Mrs. Paula Heller

Charlotte’s Web and More

charlotteNovember has flown by in the third grade! As November is the month about giving and thanks, the third graders have been studying how communities interact and change, including the Native Americans and those who came together for the First Thanksgiving in social studies.  After studying how living things are classified, science has been all about ecosystems and how a change the affects them.  They experienced their first OxFam Hunger Banquet within our own community as a school and what it means to give back in any small way.  Even in language arts, they are reading Charlotte’s Web, a book about how a friendship between two unlikely animals rallies the barn community to save an innocent pig.  It has been a very explorative month to say the least! Have a fun and relaxing Thanksgiving break!

Mrs. Robel