Rust Belt Market

Please join members of the AAW community at the Rust Belt Market on Saturday, June 18 starting at 11:00 am.  We’ve got an AAW alumnus playing on stage, and we want to have a big crowd come out and support the market.

Rust Belt Market is located on the corner of 9 and Woodward in Ferndale in the former GAP outlet store.  Parking is available behind the store or in the neighborhood.  This would be a great opportunity for an artist community to see the commitment that we at AAW are making to their community.  Making connections with working artists is one way that we can provide authentic learning opportunities for our students.

Change in Board Meeting Schedule

The next board meeting has been rescheduled for June 22, 2011.

AAW Senior in "Star Wars" related performance

AAW senior, Jake Rutkowski, a cellist with the Detroit Symphony Civic Orchestra, was part of a recent, exciting performance at Orchestra Hall. Follow this link for the "Battle of the Heroes" with the orchestra and The Ring of Steel Action and Stunt Troupe:

Development Director

Arts Academy in the Woods will employ or contract with a Director of Development for the 2011-2012 school year. Like all AAW stakeholders, the goal of the development director is to provide to AAW students the best artistic and academic educational opportunities in pursuit of the mission of the academy: Arts Academy in the Woods graduates the next generation of Artistic, Academic, Creative and Civic leaders. Download the full announcement here.

Yearbook Distribution

Yearbooks have arrived. Seniors attending the graduation dinner on Thursday will receive their yearbooks that evening. All remaining yearbooks will be distributed Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday immediately following the exams (at 11:20am).


Student performance showcase

Brett Wotherspoon performs at the April 20, 2011 Arts Academy in the Woods assembly.

Newsletter - May 27, 2011

Click to download AAW newsletter.

Placement Testing for Macomb Community College

If you are planning to attend Macomb Community College in the Fall and have already applied, you are highly encouraged to complete your Placement testing in May or early June to avoid long wait times that are common by July.  You will then meet with an Academic Advisor.  If you haven't applied, please do so as soon as possible.  For more information, go to

Spring Art Show

Please join us on Friday, May 20, from 6:30-9:00 at the 10th Annual AAW Spring Art show to view selected works in the following media: painting, drawing, printmaking, photography, multimedia, ceramics, sculpture, and jewelry.

spring art show
(Linocut by Joe Humphreys)

AAW Students and alumni participate in White House Poetry Event

Please join us for a special recognition of AAW students Joseph Verge and Julia Dammons on Friday, May 20 during our Senior Assembly at Arts Academy in the Woods.  Recently Joe and Julia took part in a celebration of poetry at the White House. Joseph read from “3-2-1 POW!” a work in which he described family tragedy and violence as part of a life that is like running a race.

"I’ve been running for sixteen years
Mushroom clouds of confusion and questions
Have been blocking my view
So I’ve been having to write success in my own future
And I have learned that the way to run is not determined by our shoes
But by the runner.”

AAW Alumnus Devon Magee also participated in the event.

Free Press Article

2nd Annual Spring Rendevouz Concert

Beyonce, Michael Jackson, Glee, Christina Aguilara! Those are some of the artists that will be represented at the second annual Rendezvous concert coming up on Thursday, May 19th and Friday, May 20th @7pm. The AAW Cafegymatorium will be transformed into a jazz club and you will see a variety of popular music performed by groups, soloists and our AAW house band. Tickets will be $5 and will include food and beverage provided by the AAW choirs. We hope to see you there Thursday, May 19th or Friday, May 20th @7pm.

Change to School Calendar

Dear AAW Parents and Guardians:

Friday, May 6

AAW is excited to announce that on Friday, May 6 the entire staff of AAW, selected board members, parents, and students will travel to the Toledo School for the Arts for a “learning visit.” TSA is one of the best Fine and Performing Arts High Schools in the Midwest, and we are so lucky to have this opportunity to learn from them. The purpose of this trip is to visit a school that has been in our shoes before and which has made positive improvement since then. Although I don’t anticipate that we will want to turn ourselves into a TSA, they should act as a benchmark of excellence for us. I’m really excited about this visit, and I’m glad representatives from Oakland University are joining us for this visit. If you are interested in joining us on this trip as a parent or student representative, please contact Becky in the office.

End of Year Calendar Changes

Due to the snow days and the Toledo field trip, AAW will finish the school year on June 8th. Final Exams will be held on June 3rd, 6th, 7th and 8th. If your family made plans based on the original schedule and your student will not be able to attend on the 7th and 8th, please call the office so that alternate plans can be made. Thank you for your flexibility as we balance what is best for the school with what the state requires of us.


Maxwell Spayde

"The Food I Eat"

The AAW choir students and Theater students from Wayne State will be performing "The Food I Eat" on Sunday, May 1st at 2pm at AAW. “The food I eat” is a play written by the students from Wayne State. The play was created using characters from 4 popular children’s books and is a comedy touching on nutrition.

Annual Spring Dance Concert

Our Annual Spring Dance Concert will take place on Thursday, May 12, 2011 at Warren Woods Middle School @ 6:30pm. Call time for students is 5pm. 

Tickets are $8.00/Advanced and $10.00/door and will be on sale from April 27th until 3:10 p.m. on May 11th.  Please see Mr. Long or Ms. Hopkins to purchase tickets.

Our Tech/Dress Rehearsal will take place on Wednesday, May 11, 2011 at Warren Woods Middle School from 4:00-8:00 p.m.  

4 p.m. call time for students.

Warren Woods Middle School- 13400 E 12 Mile Rd, Warren, MI 48088

2011 Senior Dance Concert

The Arts Academy in the Woods Dance Department presents the 2011 Senior Dance Concert “Lasting Impressions” featuring 13 original pieces from our graduating seniors.

Thursday, May 5, 2011, 6:30 p.m.
Arts Academy in the Woods (32101 Caroline St., Fraser, MI 48026)

$4.00/individual donation at the door.

The tech rehearsal will be held on Wednesday, May 4th at Arts Academy in the Woods from 3:30 p.m. until 5:30 p.m.  This rehearsal will be closed to parents, friends, and family.  Only choreographers, dancers, and teachers will be allowed in the auditorium during the rehearsal.

Services for Mrs. Pardue

There will be a memorial visitation for Mrs. Pardue on Wednesday at Kaul Funeral home in Roseville (27830 Gratiot Ave) 3-9 pm. Funeral Mass will be held at St. Raymond's in Detroit on Friday at 10 am.

Letter to the AAW Community, April 26

Dear AAW Family,

As many of you know by now, Shawn Pardue, our Special Services Director died this weekend as a result of complications of pneumonia.  This will be a difficult time for our students, faculty and staff.  We met with students this morning, and counselors will be available throughout the day to help our students, faculty, and staff cope with this great loss.  We will continue to have counseling available to help our students in the coming days.

Ms. Pardue’s death brings up many questions for our students about life, death and grieving. This would be a good opportunity to share with your child your beliefs about death and dying and offer support in the midst of his or her grief. AAW is a small, close-knit community, and Ms. Pardue’s death impacts all of us, even those who may not have been close to her. Your child may experience difficulty eating or sleeping.  He or she may also experience nightmares and fears about personal safety.  Likewise, your student may experience difficulty in concentration and be more sensitive than usual.  These are normal effects of grief and should pass within a short while.  If these symptoms are intense and last for a long period of time, please let us know.

We will let you know about funeral or memorial service plans as they become available.


Max Spayde

flower for shawn

Alumni Note

Dear AAW staff,

My life since high school graduation has been a whirlwind of events.  Three months after graduation, I was already enrolled at Henry Ford Community College in the Telecommunications program and had won a dance scholarship with Henry Ford’s Full Circle Dance Company.  Following this I continued to perfect my dance taking several master dance classes with the Joeffrey Ballet, Polobolus, and the Russian Ballet.  In 2010, I was again awarded another scholarship for dance.  Then things really begin to take off.

In 2010, I begin working as an extra in several movies and TV shows.  I have been in two episodes of Detroit 187, including episode 17 where I played a waitress on the show.  Although, my part was only three seconds, I enjoyed seeing myself on the screen. It was also great to work with the lovely cast. Michael Imperiolli is a great guy.   In addition, I have worked as an extra in several movies to include playing a student in the movie “LOL” starring Miley Cyrus.  This part required me to work very closely with Miley Cyrus.  Other movies include Vamps starring Sigourney Weaver and Alicia Silverstone and the Mechanical Man starring Topher Grace and Jenna Fisher.  Watch closely and you may see me dancing in the “Vamps” movie.

On March 20, 2011, I competed in the American Coed Pageant. After all of my hard work, I was crowned the new 2011 Miss Great Lakes Michigan Coed! I had a blast while competing and now I can finally call myself a princess. I have a lot of pageant responsibilities to include charity events, parades, community service, TV and radio, and lots more!

You can also catch me working with XSU Wrestling. Yes, I have taken on the role of training to be a wrestler. Things have been well for me at the company. I have trained in the ring with guys and girls. We have shows on Sundays at 5:30 in Warren, MI. Oddly enough, I get to practice my acting as most of wrestling is scripted. 

April 2, 2011, I have a photoshoot with Reule Clothing – my first modeling gig!

I know you're wondering if I'm still in school. Yes, I am. I'm a Telecommunications major at Henry Ford Community College. They have a wonderful program. My first year of college I made it on the Dean's List with a G.P.A of 3.6.  In January 2012, I am hoping to transfer to Walt Disney University in Orlando, FL. 

So as you can see I have been very busy. It is very hard work, but I am doing everything I wanted to do. AAW prepped me to be a performer and I am living out the dream. Thank you to all of the teachers for pushing me to be the best. 

Take care and love always, 

Teresa Alvarez 

AAW Students compete at State Solo and Ensemble

Congratulations to senior Jake Rutkowski and Freshman Lilly White for competing at State Solo and ensemble and earning a Superior rating.

Scholarship opportunity for students with Asthma

Do you have the will to win?  There is a new scholarship available to seniors who have asthma and have excelled in performing arts, visual arts, community service, athletics or science.  See Ms. Ura for an application.

ELA/Math Paraprofessional

Job Description

Arts Academy in the Woods is seeking a paraprofessional to assist with instruction in ELA and/or Mathematics for six class periods per day.  The paraprofessional must have (1) completed two years of study at an institution of higher education; (2) obtained an associate’s (or higher) degree; or (3) met a rigorous standard of quality and be able to demonstrate, through a formal State or local academic assessment, knowledge of and the ability to assist in instructing ELA and mathematics. The paraprofessional must have a secondary school diploma or equivalent.  Preferred experience includes working with high school aged children and thriving in an environment that embraces diversity of all kids.

Qualified applicants should forward a resume and cover letter to

Maxwell Spayde
Arts Academy in the Woods
c/o Rebecca Austin
32101 Caroline Street
Fraser, MI 48026

by way of and

Board Meeting March 24

AAW will have a school board meeting Thursday March 24 at 5:30pm.

Email slowdown at AAW

Due to a brief power outage and resetting our server, AAW was experiencing long delays this week in receiving email sent from outside the school. The problem was resolved Thursday, March 17. We apologize for the inconvenience and appreciate your patience as our staff works to get caught up and respond to the emails that have finally made through our system.

Early Dismissal on Thursdays

Starting Thursday, March 10, 2011 students will be dismissed at 2:12pm. This change is scheduled for every Thursday until the end of the school year.

Early Dismissal Dates:
March - 10, 17, 24, 31
April - 14, 21, 28 (7th is Spring Break)
May - 5, 12, 19, 26

AAW Spring Open House

AAW will be hosting a spring Open House for prospective families on Thursday, March 24 from 7:00-9:00pm. Please come out and bring family and friends and help spread the word about AAW. Light refreshments and entertainment throughout the evening.

Fundraiser at Ram’s Horn Tuesday, March 15th

Students will be showing off their musical and theatrical talents in the restaurant. 10% of the profit Ram’s Horn makes that night will be donated to AAW’s Model UN. We will also be raffling off baskets and running a 50/50 raffle. Please come join us and enjoy an evening showcasing AAW’s talent. This event will occur on March 15th, 2011, at the Ram’s Horn located on Utica Road in Fraser.

Changes to the Code of Conduct

AAW community members,

Over the last 8 months or so, I have worked with many members of our community to revise our code of conduct, specifically in regards to the appropriateness of our dress code, our policy on personal electronic devices (cell phones, MP3 players, iPads, netbooks, etc.), and our attendance policy.  As our students enter a changing world, it is important that we provide appropriate guidance to our students and leadership to our community.  Specifically, I wanted to emphasize that the purpose of a code of conduct is to provide to students the best possible learning environment.  I also wanted to eliminate from the code of conduct rules that restricted the privileges of students without providing a benefit to their learning environment.

In the fall of 2010, we convened a group of AAW stakeholders to give feedback on proposed changes to the Code of Conduct, and the proposed changes have undergone many revisions.  Although the official Code of Conduct will not be approved by the Board until the end of March, the Board has informally reviewed this section, and I feel comfortable now announcing these changes to the Code of Conduct.  Please follow these guidelines beginning immediately.

The following rules now allow hats, shoulder straps less than 1” wide, and flannel pants such as yoga pants or sweat pants.  For the accommodation of current fashion, we recognize that women often wear leggings under long shirts that can be confused with short skirts.  We have made the determination that leggings must be fully opaque, and no skin tone may be visible through the leggings.  This is not a change to procedure.

At the same time that we are leaders, our students need also to be leaders.  Students are at AAW to learn, to achieve in their art and academics, and to contribute to their community.  If our students use a relaxed dress code or relaxed policy on personal electronic devices as an excuse to lose focus on their primary goal of learning, I will not hesitate to recommend a return to previous rules.

IV.  Dress Code

While fashion changes, the reasons for being in school do not.  Students are in school to learn.  Any fashion (dress, accessory, or hairstyle) that disrupts the educational process or presents a safety risk will not be permitted.  Personal expression is permitted within these general guidelines.

If a student has selected a manner of appearance that is beyond mere freedom of expression and disrupts the educational process or presents risk to him/her self or others, he/she may be removed from the educational setting and asked to change clothes or be sent home.  This is at the discretion of the principal and/or his/her designee.

Personal Grooming

1) All students attending Arts Academy in the Woods shall be clean, neat, and well groomed.

2) Personal grooming shall be completed prior to entering the classroom.


1) Attire that poses potential harm to wearer or school property shall not be worn.

2) All clothing shall be neat and clean.

3) Slogans and designs shall be in good taste.

4)  Clothing will be considered to be in poor taste if it:

a) is obscene, libelous, indecent, or vulgar;

b) advertises any product or service not permitted to minors by law;

c) has the potential to be insulting or harassing;

d) does incite fighting or presents a likelihood of disrupting school or a school event;

5) The following attire is NOT TO BE WORN IN SCHOOL:

a) Midriffs

b) pants worn below hips

c) see-through blouses or low cut blouses

d) strapless tops or tops worn off the shoulder

e) Low-cut tank tops, such as those with low-cut necklines or low-cut armholes, are not allowed.

f) halter-tops

g) sunglasses (non-prescription) (Students must have a doctor’s note to be allowed to wear sunglasses inside the school.)

h) slippers or house shoes

6) Coats may only be worn at the discretion of the teacher and/or an administrator.

7) Skirts or shorts may not be higher than 3 inches above the wearer’s knees or be distracting to the learning environment.

8) Students officially representing the Arts Academy in the Woods in outside activities or events shall always dress according to the standards set by this dress code, and may be held to a higher standard than articulated in this dress code.

9) Violators may be reported by any student, teacher, administrator or the principal.

10) To cover other situations, if not covered by the above guidelines, the following policy will be used:  Attire that has the potential to distract from the teaching and/or learning situation of the student(s) shall not be allowed.

Any student found in violation of the dress code statement will be required to change clothing.  If no change of clothes is available, parents will be called and a request made for suitable clothing.  More than one violation of this code may result in detention and/or possible suspension from school.

3.  Personal Technology Devices

The use of personal technology devices in our society is robust and expanding.  When enforcing policies for the use of personal technology devices, Arts Academy in the Woods must first consider the effect of these devices on student learning.  Additionally, AAW must teach proper use of personal technology devices as career readiness training.  Finally, AAW must support students and families who use personal technology devices to facilitate efficient communication between family members.  Arts Academy in the Woods will enforce the following restrictions on personal technology devices.

· Use of personal technology devices during instructional hours will be allowed only at the discretion of the classroom teacher.

· Student use of personal technology devices shall be allowed during a limited window of non-instructional time to be determined by the AAW administration.

· Student use of personal technology devices shall not be allowed if it hinders student learning.

· Student use of personal technology devices shall not be allowed if it provides an unfair academic or artistic advantage to one student, or if it assists in academic dishonesty.

The current limited window of appropriate Personal Technology Device use is during lunch.

These windows are subject to revision.

Maxwell Spayde
Arts Academy in the Woods

Accepting Substitute Applications

Arts Academy in the Woods is hiring substitute teachers. Qualifications include a valid teaching certificate or completion of 90 credit hours at a four-year regionally accredited college or university. Experienced substitute teachers preferred.

Subs will, on most days, be called the morning of the day they will be working and might only work 2-3 days a month. If you are interested, please contact Becky at

Prom Dress Pick Up Days

Do you or someone you know need a dress for the prom? Come to Macomb Community College South Campus and pick out a gently used dress. For more information contact the Student Life & Leadership office at or 586-445-7446. There are 2 dates to choose from:

Tuesday, February 22, 2011
5-7 pm in SK-324


Saturday, February 26, 2011
11 am - 2 pm in SK-324

Senior Photos for Yearbook

The senior photos for the yearbook will be due on March 11. The photos should be 2 inches wide, 3 inches tall if you are supplying a photo for us to scan. If you are sending the photo through email, it should be 300 dots per inch. Turn in photos to Audrey Mantey, or email them to:

AAW Visual Art Students get gold awards at Scholastic

Three of Mr. Jacobi's art students recently received Gold Key awards for their portfolios from the Scholastic Art Awards. This is a large national competition that begins at the regional level. Our region is comprised of Macomb, Lapeer, and St. Clair counties. There were 32 portfolio winners from our region, meaning that we had virtually 10% of the winners from these three counties. The AAW students are: Lindsey Burcar, Celia Eddy, and Sydney Wright. Congratulations to these outstanding student artists!

Please visit the AAW 2D Art blog to see their full portfolios.

Lindsey Burcar
Lindsey Burcar

AAW Student Wins Award at U of M Model UN

Model UN class

Congratulation to the AAW 1st Semester Model UN team! Members Katherine Bacon, Maeve Eagle, Zak Heaton, Amari McGee, Kristina Mordarski, Jordan Nicholson, Bianca Taylor and Joe Verge proudly represented our school at the 26th Annual Univeristy of Michigan Model UN. Our students played the role of diplomats from the Republic of Indonesia as they debated topics ranging from natural resources and vaccine programs to military budgets and censorship.

In a courageous move, Kyrs Mordarski stepped into a vacancy in the UN Security Council, and with almost no preparation time represented France while debating the genocide in Darfur and North Korea.

Joe Verge went to the conference not as a country delegate, but as a member of the International Press Corps (IPC). Joe was everywhere at the conference, writing notes about debates, interviewing delegates and writing articles. Joe narrated and helped produce the video for the closing ceremonies. Joe won the IPC award for this year's conference, and when the award was announced at the closing ceremonies, the AAW team cheered wildly.

There are still openings for next semester's Model UN class and the Michigan State conference in March. Participation in Model UN earns a student 6 out of 20 points on many college applications, and it is a lot of fun.

For Second Semester at AAW, a New Emphasis on Timeliness

AAW is focused entirely on facilitating our students’ artistic and academic growth. In addition, we also know that we need to help our students learn responsibility and valuable workplace skills. We are concerned with the number of students that are not arriving to class on time, and we believe we could do a better job of teaching the workplace skill and civic responsibility of timeliness.

We believe the best way to help students learn timeliness is by recognizing appropriate behaviors and correcting inappropriate behaviors; in other words, we use both carrots and sticks to help kids grow. Starting January 31, AAW is implementing the following procedure to help kids learn timeliness.

AAW will recognize consistent timeliness in these ways:

  • Students who have perfect attendance for an entire week will earn a coupon good for a free school supply item or small food item.
  • Alternately, students may enter their coupon in a drawing for a $100 gift card to be raffled off at the end of each academic quarter.
  • Students who have perfect attendance for the month are invited to attend coffee and donuts with Mr. Spayde.

AAW will try to correct untimely behavior in these ways:

  • When a student is absent and the parents have not called us, we will call the parents. Expect the call within 24 hours, and also expect this call when your student is tardy.
  • Students who have 3 tardies in a week or 1 or more unexcused absences in a week are required to serve one hour of after school community service at AAW.
  • There are additional consequences for accumulated tardies and unexcused absences:

7th tardy or unexcused absence

  • one day suspension, or opt out by doing 4 hours of after school community service at AAW

9th tardy or unexcused absence

  • one day suspension, or opt out by doing 4 hours of after school community service at AAW;
  • in addition, students who exceed 8 unexcused tardies will not be allowed to participate in extra curricular activities for the remainder of the term. (Dances, clubs, non-curricular performances, etc.)

11th tardy or unexcused absence

  • 1 day suspension, or opt out by doing 4 hours of after school community service at AAW;
  • in addition, student will be subject to referral to truancy officers of Macomb County (4 hours community service opt out still available).

This is just an outline; the full tardy procedures will be posted throughout AAW over the next few months.  We hope that by implementing this procedure we can better teach our students the civic and workplace skill of timeliness.  Please contact Mr. Spayde if you have questions regarding the tardy policy, and we appreciate your support.

Dance Company Trip

The AAW Dance Company will be traveling to Los Angeles, California to attend the International Blacks in Dance Conference Jan 26-31, 2011.

Theatre Performance at AAW

Please join us for “It’s not you…it’s me.” & other performances by the Arts Academy in the Woods theater class!

Friday, January 21 @7pm in the AAW Auditorium

Admission: $5

First Semester Final Exam Schedule

Monday Jan 24: Normal length school day with shortened 1st - 6th hour classes and a final exam during 7th hour.

1st hour: 8:00 - 845
2nd hour: 8:50 - 9:35
3rd hour: 9:40 - 10:25
4th hour: 10:30 - 11:50
5th hour: 11:55 AM - 12:40
6th hour: 12:45 PM - 1:30
7th hour Exams: 1:40 PM - 3:10 EXAM

Tuesday Jan 25: School dismissed at 11:30 am

1st hour Exams: 8:00 - 9:30
2nd hour Exams: 9:40 - 11:20

Wednesday Jan 26: School dismissed at 11:30 am

3rd hour Exams: 8:00 - 9:30
4th hour Exams: 9:40 - 11:20

Thursday Jan 27: School dismissed at 11:30 am

5th hour Exams: 8:00 - 9:30
6th hour Exams: 9:40 - 11:20

Friday Jan 28: No school for students. Teacher Records Day.

Model UN Fundraisers

After the holidays as many people are reluctantly getting back into gear, the Model U.N. students at AAW are running full speed ahead. All semester long they have been studying international relations, speech making, debate and parliamentary procedure. Beginning next Thursday, January 13th, they, along with several hundred other high school students, will use their skills and knowledge in a four day simulation of the United Nations; it is called the University of Michigan Model U.N. and former students agree that it is a “life-changing experience.”

Please help us to cover the costs of the conference by coming to the Ram’s Horn Restaurant next Wednesday, January 12th, between 4:00 and 8:00 p.m. We’ll have music and song and raffles and a small portion of your meal will be donated to our group.

We would also appreciate any returnable cans or bottles that you have; we’ll save you the trip to the grocery store and redeem them for conference cash!


Financial Aid Night

AAW will be hosting a Financial Aid Night with a rep from the WSU Financial Aid Department to speak to our seniors and families on Wednesday, January 19 at 6:30pm.


AAW Recognized in Lansing

Award Ceremony

Shawn Pardue and Maxwell Spayde represented AAW as the school was honored at the November 30, 2010 Michigan Department of Education School Improvement Conference.  AAW was recognized for exemplary academic progress from 2006 to 2010.


Students Must Go to the Hang Out

Beginning January 3, all students will be instructed to go to the Hang Out at three-thirty or leave the building. Parents and the SMART bus will be informed to pick students up at the south entrance of the building (in the parking lot off of Masonic) after three-thirty.

Holiday Dance Concert

Please join the AAW Dance Department for our Annual Holiday Dance Concert. Friday, December 17, 2010 @ 3:30 pm in the AAW Auditorium $4.00/person.


Dear AAW Parents, Students, and Staff

Thank you for the opportunity to student-teach at the Arts Academy in the Woods under Mr. Jacobi in the Visual Arts Department.  I had a wonderful time and truly enjoyed getting to know the students and staff -- I will miss you all!
If you would like to stay in touch, and I hope you do, I can be reached via my personal email which is janezmcbride at


Ms. McBride
WSU Graduate Student

International Opera Soprano Visits AAW

Detroit native Betty Lane, a well-known international opera singer, taught a one-day workshop for choir students at the Arts Academy in the Woods.

3D Art: Outdoor Installation

Mr. Jacobi’s combined Advanced/Intermediate 3D Art class has created an art installation*, located outdoors amongst the row of trees that line the south side of our building. Jane McBride (Mr. Jacobi’s student teacher) directed this project, with much input from the students. Mr. Jacobi provided overall supervision. To get the full effect of this work of art, we recommend that you take a look in person - simply drive around the parking lot to the south side of the building (facing Masonic Boulevard). You can also see more pictures of this installation, located on the AAW 3D Art blog.

*"Installation Art" describes an artistic genre of site-specific, three-dimensional works designed to transform the perception of a space. – Wikipedia

Jail N Bail Fundraiser

Come out to FAPAPA's Annual Jail N Bail fundraiser on Wednesday, November 17.

In the past two years, FAPAPA has used Jail N Bail funds to purchase a sound system for the school, bolster assemblies and provide overhead projectors, classroom articles and various art supplies.

If you'd like to hang out with parents making Jail 'n Bail phone calls on
11/17, come to the gym between 3 and 6 p.m. We will tally donations, make calls for more donations, eat pizza and chat. Download a pledge sheet, and join us for the fun!

FAPAPA is a 501(c)3 non-profit organization, so their contribution is fully

We will NOT use the information you provide for ANY purpose other than
the 2010 Jail N Bail. We Promise!

Schedule Change

The half day scheduled for Wednesday, November 10 has been re-scheduled to Friday, December 3. There will be a FULL day of school for students next Wednesday, November 10.


Letter from the Principal

October 28, 2010

Dear Arts Academy in the Woods Community,

This afternoon at 12:45 pm, Arts Academy in the Woods participated in a coordinated lock-down drill with the Fraser Department of Public Safety which facilitated a county wide K-9 training initiative.  We have participated in this drill each of the past 3 years, and are proud of the relationship we have built with the law enforcement community in Macomb County.  We continue to participate in this drill every year because we believe that it produces a safer school environment for all of our students, faculty and staff members.

During today’s drill, K-9 units from throughout the Metro area came to AAW to practice searching for illegal drugs in our building. The goal of today’s drill is twofold.  Our first goal is to provide an opportunity for our law enforcement partners to train their K-9 units; our second goal is to identify students who are involved with drugs and provide them with the resources necessary to kick their drug habit and get clean.  In addition, we practice lockdown drills so we can be prepared if an intruder enters the school.  We appreciate your support for AAW as we continually strive to be a safe, drug-free school.

This event was not designed to play “gotcha” with our students.  We are

providing referrals to counseling and rehabilitation resources to the families of any student who was found to have drugs in their locker, in their vehicle, or in their possession.  We are also following up with families of these students to make sure that our students are getting the correct type of intervention before they are allowed to return to AAW.

We know that you have a choice of schools, and we hope that today’s drill will reassure you that you have made the correct choice for your child. If you have any questions about today’s events, please contact me at 586-294-0391 or at 


Maxwell Spayde
Principal, Arts Academy in the Woods

Choir and Instrumental Fall Concert

On Wednesday, October 27, the Choir and Jazz Band will be having a concert at 7:00pm - 8:30pm. Entry is free but donations will be happily accepted. Food and drinks will be provided for all who attend.

Report from the Principal to the AAW Community:
School Climate Reforms

A report from the principal can be downloaded here.

Model UN Conference

Congratulations to the six AAW social studies students who did our school proud at the Wayne State Model UN conference last Saturday. Special acknowledgement is owed to Kristina Mordarski and Maeve Eagle who were awarded Honorable Mention for their performance as delegates. Both students received Wayne State book bags as a prize.

Annual Education Report Cover Letter

August 15, 2010

Dear AAW Community Members:

We are pleased to present you with the Annual Education Report (AER), which provides key information on 2009-2010 educational progress for the Arts Academy in the Woods.  The AER addresses the complex reporting information required by federal and state laws. The school’s report contains information about student assessment, Adequate Yearly Progress (AYP) and teacher quality.  If you have any questions about the AER, please contact Mr. Spayde for assistance.  The AER is available for you to review electronically by clicking the link at the bottom of the following web site:,
or visiting the direct link at:
or you may obtain a copy from the office.

For 2009-2010, AAW made Adequate Yearly Progress (AYP) in English language arts and mathematics.  While we are pleased to have reached this important goal, we are continuously working to improve. We appreciate the continued support of parents, staff and our community in this effort.
State law requires that we also report additional information.

  • Arts Academy in the Woods accepts any student in grades 9-12 regardless of their experience in the arts.  Please see Ms. Becky in the office for information on the application process.
  • AAW has completed the School Improvement Plan (SIP) for 2010-2011.  The SIP can be found linked to the bottom of the general info page:
  • Our mission is to prepare our graduates to pursue the highest level of success in their post-secondary artistic, academic, vocational, and community lives.
  • AAW’s core curriculum can be obtained from Mr. Spayde’s office.  We are proud that our curriculum adheres to Michigan’s High School Content Expectations while also preserving the unique link between art and academics that embodies AAW.
  • For students in the class of 2010
    • 53% met ACT college readiness benchmarks in English.  This compares to a state average of 56%.
    • 18% met ACT college readiness benchmarks in Math.  This compares to a state average of 33%.
    • 36% met ACT college readiness benchmarks in Reading.  This compares to a state average of 40%.
    • 14% met ACT college readiness benchmarks in Science.  This compares to a state average of 25%.
    • 4% met ACT college readiness benchmarks in all subjects.  This compares to a state average of 19%.
  • 105, or 40% of our parents attend parent-teacher conferences.
  • 4 students, or 2% of AAW students, enrolled in postsecondary opportunities while at AAW in 2009-2010.
  • AAW offers 1 college equivalent course
  • 18 students, or 7% of AAW students, were enrolled in a college equivalent course in 2009-2010.
  • 5 students, or 27% of eligible students, received a score leading to college credit in a college equivalent course in 2009-2010.

We are proud of the results we have achieved with our students, and we look forward to even more success in the future.  With your help, AAW can become the best school in the metro area.


Maxwell A. Spayde
Arts Academy in the Woods

Construction near AAW

A few parents have put together some ideas of how to manuever around the construction zones which right now encompass most of the direct routes to school. Hope these help.

For Eastsiders:  Take Gratiot to Utica to Groesbeck and turn north (a right) on Groesbeck to Masonic which is the next light.  (Big cross walk above you at that intersection.) Turn left at Masonic, stay to the right, follow the curve and make a right on to Utica.  Almost Immediate left on Admiral side street.  Admiral will take you to Caroline and you'll see the school.  There is an old police car displayed on the corner of Utica at Admiral.  That is the street you need to go left at.

Or take Groesbeck to Masonic and turn west.  Follow the rest above from Masonic on.

For Westsiders coming East to the school: Utica East to Admiral Street. Turn Right onto Admiral and the next street will be Caroline, turn left onto Caroline and into the parking lot.

For Westsiders leaving FROM the school: This may seem like a round about way, but it steers you away from Utica and the Garfield area. Out of the school parking lot, Left onto Caroline, To the corner, go LEFT onto Admiral. Take Admiral down to San Bren turn right. Take San Bren to Kingston turn left. Kingston will take you to Fruehauf. Turn right onto Fruehauf which will take you to 14 mile. From there you can go left or right back to Utica Rd.

All Parent Orientation Meeting and Senior Parent Meeting

Please join us for one of these orientation sessions:

Wednesday, September 8, 6:30 – 8:00 p.m.
(Senior Parent Meeting, 7:00 – 8:00)


Friday, September 10, 8:00 – 9:30 a.m.
(Senior Parent Meeting, 8:30 – 9:30)

All parents will review the important information you need in order for you and your student to have a successful year. Senior parents will meet separately to discuss information specifically for parents of Seniors.

Please RSVP to Rebecca Billiet in the office for one of the sessions.  Email is the preferred method (, or you can call 586-294-0391.  If you get the office voicemail, leave a message indicating your family’s name and which orientation you will be attending.

Thank you!

Orientation for New Students

New students must attend both days of the New Student Orientation, September 1 and September 2.

  • Students will be in attendance from 8:00 – 3:10. 
  • Students do not need to bring a lunch. Lunch will be provided.

Phys Ed Instructor Opening

AAW is disappointed to announce that Earon Roth has submitted her resignation, as she is taking a full-time position in the Birmingham Public Schools.  Mr. Spayde spoke with her on Friday and wished her all the best.  Mrs. Roth's husband is taking a new job in Owosso, MI, and the Roth family will be moving to the western suburbs of Detroit. 

Mrs. Roth has always been a valuable member of the AAW community.  She cares for all students, and connected well with AAW students in particular.  She is a fun and energetic teacher who will bring valuable experience to Birmingham.  We will miss Mrs. Roth, and we wish her well in her new position.

The AAW Physical Education Job Posting to replace Mrs. Roth can be downloaded here.

Request for Proposal For Recruiting and Media Relations

AAW is accepting requests for proposals for a Recruiting and Media Relations position for the period September 23, 2010 – June 30, 2011. Download the complete Request for Proposal here. Resumes and proposals should be sent to Becky Billiet,  

AAW Foodbank Project: Something from Nothing

As a community outreach project and learning experience this year, the AAW Multimedia Department will be using the internet to demonstrate how much food we can donate to a local food bank at low or no cost to ourselves. The food we collect will be donated to Pop Kramer's Macomb County Veteran's Food Bank on 12 Mile Road between Groesbeck and Utica. From week to week the recommended stores and sale items will vary. You can get involved and track our progress here:

Donated so far: $76.20 retail value, out of pocket expense: $3.88.


Welcome Back Letter

Dear Students and Parents,

The dog days of August are upon us, which means that the beginning of the school year is just around the corner. Ms. Becky, Ms. Ura, Mr. Mitchell, Mrs. Mantey, Mrs. Pardue, Ms. Hall, Mrs. Wenson, Mr. Coon and I have been working diligently to prepare the school for our opening day. The floors are waxed, the schedules are set, and we can’t wait to see your face walk in our doors on the first day of school!

This year AAW achieved a significant academic goal and has turned a corner in our desire to be a top-notch Arts and Academic High School. AAW made “Adequate Yearly Progress” in both 2009 and 2010, which means that AAW will not be listed as a school in need of “improvement” by either the State or Federal Departments of Education. Although we will continue to strive for higher levels of achievement, this is an important milestone for us, and we should be proud of what the AAW teachers and students have accomplished. Congratulations on your hard work and success!

As always, we have a lot of information to pass on in preparation for the first day of school.  You should have received a mailing in which you will find:

  • 2010-2011 School Calendar
  • 2010-2011 Bell Schedule
  • Instructions on how to access your Powerschool account
  • Important information from Ms. Becky and Mr. Spayde
  • An invitation to help review and perhaps revise our school rules
  • A reminder about dress code, parking policies, and student drop off and pick up
  • Fee Statement (if applicable)
  • Immunization Exclusion (if applicable)

Please read the enclosed documentation closely.
Also, please complete the following included forms that need to be returned to the office.

  • Emergency Card
  • Student Directory Information Form
  • Acceptable Internet/Email Use Policy
  • Free Milk Application (Our federal and state grant monies are based upon data gathered on the Free Milk Application. Please, regardless of your income or desire to drink free milk, fill out this form, so AAW can get our fair share!)

As always, my door is open, and I look forward to seeing you in September.


Maxwell Spayde
Arts Academy in the Woods

New Parent Portal

AAW is in the process of converting to a new database to manage our school records. Beginning with the upcoming school year, we will be using PowerSchool, which includes student and parent access to student records. You should be receiving a letter in the mail with your student and parent userid's and passwords. This link should take you to the site:

Some of you may have received a letter with a link that began with http instead of https. We apologize for the confusion, and hope you will have patience with us as we work out the kinks in the new system.

Once the school year begins, you should be able to view attendance, missing assignments, and grades for yourself/your student.

AAW meets AYP

The Arts Academy in the Woods is pleased to announce that we made Adequate Yearly Progress in both the 2009 and 2010 testing cycles.  Additionally, AAW earned an EdYes grade of B for 2010.  Other Macomb County high schools that earned a B in 2010 include Dakota and Chippewa Valley, Fraser, Lakeshore, South Lake, Utica and Stevenson.  Although we strive to constantly improve, it is important to recognize our achievements. Congratulations to all our staff and students for their hard work.

Summer Admissions Info

Summer Admissions: Please call Mrs. Bolos-O’Neill at 313-886-3676 for more information about enrollment or to schedule a tour.

2010-2011 School Calendar

The calendar link has been updated for the 2010-2011 school year.