Yearbook Distribution

Yearbooks will be distributed at lunch on Tuesday June 5. Any students, including graduated seniors, who aren't able to pick them up at that time can pick them up at the office at their convenience or at the BBQ on June 14.

Finals Week Schedule

Here is the schedule:
June 11 Period 7 exam, dismissal at 3:10 pm
June 12 Period 1 and 2 exams, dismissal at 11:20
June 13 Period 3 and 4 exams, dismissal at 11:20
June 14 Period 5 and 6 exams, dismissal at 11:20; join us after school for the BBQ!


Our hangout supervisor Ms. Karen Jurko has a son participating in our graduation ceremony on June 1.  The hangout will close at 5:00 pm on June 1 so Ms. Karen can attend graduation.

The hangout will close at 1:00 pm on June 12, 13 and 14.  Please make arrangements for your students on those days.

AAW Alumni riding 3,000 miles for charity

AAW alumni Josh Stokes will be starting a 3 month 3,000 mile bike ride on June 5th from Detroit to San Diego. He will be playing music along the way while attempting to raise 50,000 dollars for St. Jude Childrens hospital.

Show up to support him at one of his upcoming performances:

  • Fri, June 1st, Mt. Clemens Fair 1pm. Josh Stokes Acoustic by Arts Academy in the Woods.
  • Fri, June 2nd, Mt. Clemens Fair 6pm. Stokes and Folks for St. Jude by Arts Academy in the Woods.

Artist-in-Residence at AAW – Diane Kramer

For the first time, AAW is hosting an artist-in-residence. Please join us in welcoming visual artist Diane Kramer to our community! Ms. Kramer (a.k.a. “Ms. D”) describes her art as being “conceived from within and rooted in intuition”. As a painter, sculptor, and mixed media artist, Ms. D incorporates a wide range of materials and processes in her work. Her art has been in numerous exhibitions around the US and overseas as well. A Michigan native, Ms. D’s academic credentials include a BA, MA, and MFA from California State University. As an instructor, she has worked with students of all ages in a number of different venues around the country, and has worked as an art therapist as well. Ms. D is really excited about working with AAW visual art teacher Mr. Jacobi and his students.

Please take a moment to visit both her personal website and also the blog that she has created to document her experience at AAW.

AAW at the Mount Clemens Art Fair

Arts Academy alumni will be performing at the Mount Clemens Art Fair June 1st - June 3rd.

Friday June 1st:

12 noon:  Carmel Liburdi, acoustic guitar & vocals
1 pm:  Joshua Stokes, acoustic violin
2 pm:  Jacquleen Alex - Pop Vocals
3 pm:  Sterling Orlowski, Broadway, Big Band & Swing vocals
5 pm:  Charlie Taylor, Irish & Scottish Folk
6 pm:  Benjamin Malcolm, rap, hip-hop & rock
7 pm:  Charlie Taylor, Irish & Scottish Folk
8 pm:  Alesha Nicole, jazz, funk & R&B

Saturday June 2nd

11 am:  Rosco & Friends
12:30-3 pm:  School of Rock Band
3 pm:  Chris Barr & Arthur Murray Dance, Ballroom dance
4 pm:  Carmel Liburdi, acoustic guitar & vocals
5 pm:  Joseph Verge & InsideOut , Spoken Word
6 pm:  Joshua Stokes, pop indie, piano
7 pm:  Alesha Nicole, jazz, funk & R&B

Sunday June 3rd:

12 noon:  Charlie Taylor & Larry Larson
1, 2 & 3 pm:  Puppetry & Magic
4-6 pm:  School of Rock Band

AAW students will also be manning a booth for children's crafts. The Art Fair is located in Downtown Mount Clemens, at the Anton Art Center, 125 Macomb Place, Mount Clemens, MI 48043.

Please Vote: Congressional Art Contest!

AAW student Zach Meyer has entered a “Congressional Art Contest” and has submitted a painting to Candice Miller’s office. Most of the applicants entered through their high school, but he entered through the district that he lives in. One of the prizes will be called “fan favorite” and the winner will be decided by how many people vote (or “like”) the picture on facebook.

The voter will need to click on Zach's painting (“Daughter Earth”) and click “like.”
This link takes you directly to Zach's picture:

Facebook Link
The voting needs to be done by May 16!

AAW Annual Spring Dance Concert

Our Annual Spring Dance Concert will take place on Wednesday, May 23, 2012 at the South Lake High School Auditorium @ 7:00pm. Call time for students is 4:30 pm. 

Tickets are $10.00 and will be on sale beginning April 23rd.  Please see Mr. Long or Ms. Hopkins to purchase tickets.

Our Tech/Dress Rehearsal will take place on Tuesday, May 22, 2012 at SouthLake High School from 4:00-8:00 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.

4 p.m. call time for students.

South Lake High School is located at 21900 East Nine Mile Road, St. Clair Shores, MI 48080

AAW 2012 Senior Dance Concert

The Arts Academy in the Woods Dance Department presents the 2012 Senior Dance Concert featuring 17 original pieces from our graduating seniors.

Thursday, May 24, 2012, 6:30 p.m. at
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 Thursday, May 24th at Arts Academy in the Woods from 2:00 p.m. until 5:00 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.

AAW Rendezvous Concert

Please join us Tuesday, May 22nd for the 3rd annual Rendezvous Concert. There will be food, beverages and a night full of popular music and a live band. Doors open at 6pm and admission is $5 for students and $10 for adults.

AAW Spring Art Show

Please join us on Thursday, May 24, from 6:00-9:00 at the 11th Annual AAW Spring Art show to view selected works in the following media: painting, drawing, printmaking, photography, multimedia, ceramics, and sculpture.

AAW: Memorial Day Parade

Join AAW as it participates in the Sterling Heights Memorial Day Parade on Monday, May 28. We have registered as the Arts Academy in the Woods Soldier Memorial Project and will be carrying posters that the graphics classes compiled of the Michigan soldiers lost in Iraq and Afghanistan wars. Students, friends and families are encouraged to join us.

AAW families should park at Heritage Junior High School at 37400 Dodge Park Rd at 8am and take the free shuttle bus to the staging area at City Hall by 8:30am. The Memorial Day activites begin at 9 a.m. at city hall and the parade begins at 10a.m.

The parade route ends at Heritage Junior High where our cars are parked.

To sign up to participate or for more information, please contact Audrey Mantey with the names of the participants at (586) 294-0391 or at

AAW Urban Lights Dance Concert

Please come support your fellow AAW dancers as they perform in Marygrove College Dance Company’s Urban Lights Dance Concert.

Friday, April 13th                        7:30pm

Saturday, April 14th                     2pm & 7:30pm

Sunday, April 15th                       4pm

AAW Alumni Carmel Liburdi Live on 101.9 

Carmel Liburdi will be doin a live interview and performance on May 5th at 3:20 PM on 101.9 FM WDET.

Senior Vocal Recital

The Arts Academy in the Woods Vocal Departments presents the 2012 Senior Vocal Recital this Thursday, May 10th. Students will be performing one classical piece and one popular music selection of their choice.

Thursday, May 10, 2012, 7pm @ Arts Academy in the Woods

Admission is free.

Yearbook Deadline: May 6

We will be using the same yearbook publisher as last year ( To register on the website, you must use your unique registration link from the emailed yearbook invitation to get logged into the AAW yearbook properly. If you need a new invitation emailed, please see or email Ms. Mantey with your full name. If you are a parent, also include your student's name so your account is linked to the right student.

Once you log into the site, you have the option to upload photos and lay them out in a 2 page spread that will print only in your copy of the yearbook. This is a great way to ensure that pictures of you and your friends are included in your yearbook. You could also include photos of your artwork or performances. The first two pages are included at no additional charge, additional custom pages can be purchased for a small fee. When your custom pages are completed, make sure to press the Print Ready button.

The cost of the yearbook is $28.94. You can order the book after the deadline, but you will incur an additional $8 shipping cost since it won't be sent with our bulk order. Depending on when you order it, it may or may not arrive by the end of the school year.

A.A.W. Presents: Choir and Instrumental Concert

Arts Academy in the Woods will be showcasing their choirs, guitar ensemble and the jazz band beginning at 7 pm. Please come out and support the students!

Thursday, April 19th, 7 p.m. in the Cafegymatorium

Michigan College Goal Sunday

Michigan College Goal Sunday: Join us on February 12th* and 13th, 2011 for a chance to get money for college. There are 30 locations in Michigan to go, so we will see you there!

*Select locations ONLY

AAW Open House

Thank you to everyone who attended our Open House.  We had 69 families attend to experience all that AAW has to offer a student.  Several filled out applications and fifteen signed up to shadow a student.

If you haven’t visited yet, please contact the school to sign up for a shadow day to follow a current student for the entire school day and become familiar with AAW, the teachers and students.
Remember, early enrollment ends April 20th so sign up now and become an AAW student.

Shrine Circus Music Director Visits AAW

Shrine Circus general manager and music director offers insight on music careers to Arts Academy in the Woods band students.

In many respects, circus music is similar to incidental music in dance, musicals, and opera. In other respects, it’s quite different, reflecting a tradition of entertainment and culture that draws on ethnic as well as classical music.

Larry Solheim, a musician, composer, and music director for TZ Productions, the production company that produces the Detroit Shrine Circus, will offer some tricks of the trade to  band students at the Arts Academy in the Woods on Tuesday, March 27, at 12:30 p.m.

For over 35 years Solheim has worked in the traveling entertainment field as a performing artist, composer/arranger, conductor, educator and production manager. He began playing trumpet at age 14 in various big bands and theater productions. Ultimately, Solheim became lead trumpet with the prestigious McDonald All-Star Jazz Ensemble.

A graduate of the University of Minnesota in Jazz Studies and the Berklee College of Music in Boston, Solheim studied classical, jazz, pop, theater and sacred music. He developed skills as a teacher, high school jazz ensemble director, and conductor for numerous theater productions.

While at Berklee, Solheim performed with the Berklee Tower of Power ensemble, Studio Lab Band, and Recording Band. He also studied with the theater ensemble, gaining experience playing current and classical theater scores. He ultimately was invited to join Boston’s White Heat Jazz Orchestra.

Solheim served in the U.S. Army Band of New England for six years, as trumpet soloist and section leader, as well as lead trumpet with jazz and rock groups.

He eventually got an opportunity to perform, then lead, a circus band. “I took the circus band quickly into new directions by adding high-tech electronics, computers, and an extensive MIDI playback system to supplement the already great live musicians. This made quite an impression after which I was asked to join full-time for an entire tour.”

Solheim is in his 23rd year with TZ Productions, serving as music director and general manager. He is currently staging the Detroit Shrine Circus in Detroit and Port Huron.

RENT (School Edition) Presented by AAW

Arts Academy in the Woods is proud to present a version of RENT that is faithful to the original script but has been specifically designed with high school production concerns in mind.

RENT: School Edition is based on the Pulitzer and Tony award winning musical, one of the longest running shows on Broadway shows.

Set in New York City’s gritty East Village, the revolutionary rock opera RENT tells the story of a group of young artists struggling for success and acceptance while enduring the obstacles of poverty, illness and the AIDS epidemic.

Ages 12 & up recommended, due to the mature themes of the musical

For two weekend performances
Friday - March 23
Saturday - March 24
Friday - March 30
Saturday - March 31

Tickets available at the office or at the door
Cost: $10
Doors are at 6:30
Performances at 7pm

Yearbook Deadline Extended

Our yearbook publisher, Treering, sent out emails this morning stating the deadline for purchasing yearbooks was yesterday, March 13th. However, we are extending the deadline to a later date; orders for the yearbook are still being accepted.

Choral Festival Results

Chorale received a high-end rating of “Good” on March 13, which was only points away from an excellent. The Concert Choir and Madrigals blew the judges and audience away with their performance. The Concert Choir and Madrigals performed as one ensemble and received an "Excellent" rating. They were only a a few points away from a perfect performance score and will be moving onto state competition. One of the judges told Ms. Vidal that he ordered a CD of our performance to share with his own choir!

Cross-Curricular Activities at AAW

Students at Arts Academy in the Woods recently engaged in a cross-curricular art project, combining drawing, photography, and dance. 2D Art students have been doing figure drawing from live models, dance students have been posing, and photography students have been taking pictures of the project. The students all seemed to really enjoy combining forces on the project. You can see photos of the students working on this project at the 2D Art blog.

2d dance collaboration
Photo by Jessica Hanselman

Matrix Theatre Performance

The Matrix Teen Company invites the AAW community to a special matinee performance of their original production "The Skin I'm In" on Friday, March 9. "The Skin I'm In" explores the ideas of race, gender, sexuality, language, ethnicity, and other cultural barriers, and how these can divide and unite the community.

The Matrix Theatre is located at 2730 Bagley, Detroit, MI 48216.

Schedule for March 6-9

Students should arrive by 7:45 am on each day they are scheduled to test.  Breakfast will be provided by FAPAPA in the cafeteria.  Thank you so much to FAPAPA for arranging breakfast.

On Tuesday, March 6, Sophomores and Juniors are scheduled to test.  All students are anticipated to be finished with testing by 12:45 pm.

On Wednesday, March 7, Freshmen and Juniors are scheduled to test.  All students are anticipated to be finished with testing by 12:00 pm.

On Thursday, March 8, Juniors only are scheduled to test.  All students are anticipated to be finished with testing by 11:30 am.

Please join us for parent teacher conferences on Wednesday afternoon from 1-3pm and 5-7pm, and Thursday from 3:30-5:30pm.

Friday, March 9 is a day off for everyone.  Please consider attending “The Skin I’m In” at our partner the Matrix Theater Teen Company.  More information will be forthcoming regarding that opportunity.

Model UN Fundraiser

Please join us at Chilis in Roseville on Thursday, March 8 between 5 and 11pm. 10% of your order will go to support the Model UN class. You must bring a copy of the fundraiser flier with you. You can get one from Ms. Bucci, or pick one up at parent teacher conferences Wednesday or Thursday evening.

Chilis is located on Gratiot just north of Masonic Blvd, at the Macomb Mall.

Violin/Fiddle Workshops at AAW

AAW Graduate Josh Stokes will be offering vioin and fiddle group lessons at AAW after school on Thursdays, beginning March 1, 2012. If you need to borrow an instrument, there are some available. Contact Josh for more information at Josh tours with Kid Rock and plays at many local venues, and does studio session work at Harmonie Park Studios.

Students at AAW had a chance to hear Josh perform at the Feb 3 assembly along with Jamie Burnham on guitar. You can also hear Josh jam out with Jamie and his band Lies Unknown (reunion show) on Feb 25 at an all ages show at the Emerald Theatre in Mount Clemens.

AAW Student wins Gold Key in Scholastics

AAW Visual Art student Anthony Chirco recently competed in the Scholastic Art Awards, and has received a Gold Key award for his portfolio. Anthony also received two additional Gold Key awards for two of his paintings. Scholastic is highly competitive, so this is a real accomplishment. Anthony is equally adept in 2D and 3D art-- drawing, painting, ceramic sculpture, and even glass. Congratulations, Anthony! You can view his whole portfolio at the AAW 2D Art class blog:


Semester Grades are online

Second Quarter (Q2), Exam (E1) and Semester (S1) grades are now uploaded to Powerschool (in the grade history section). Report cards will be mailed out on Thursday.

Dance Department Performance

Friday, January 20th the dance department will present works choreographed by Intro to Dance, Modern Dance I and Choreography students. The show will be held in AAW’s cafegymatorium at 3:30pm. Tickets are $4 at the door. Please come and support our dance students.


"Campsite Chaos"

Friday, January 13th the Intro to Theatre class will be performing the play "Campsite Chaos." Campsite Chaos is a one-act comedic love story that continues to be interrupted by different fairytale characters. Two different casts will perform the play, as well as short scenes and monologues.

The first show is at 6pm with cast B and the second show begins at 7:30 with cast A. Tickets are $5 and can be purchased at the door.

Evening of the Arts

evening of the arts

AAW will be hosting an Evening of the Arts Program, featuring performances by the dance, instrumental music and vocal departments, with exhibitions by the visual and multimedia departments. Please plan on joining us at the Detroit Music Hall on Dec 16, at 7:30pm.

AAW Multimedia Exhibit in Trader Joe's

(photograph by Jaya Evans)

Multimedia students have an ongoing exhibition at Trader Joe's in Grosse Pointe. The current theme for the exhibit is "fall colors." Work is on display in the store in two locations; in the main part of the store and by the drinking fountain in the back of the store. The store is located at 17028 Kercheval St. Please stop in if you have a chance, and let the staff know that you appreciate that they are showcasing our artwork.

AAW Students Intern at Anton Art Center

Four AAW multimedia and visual art students have earned quarter long internships at the Anton Art Center in Mount Clemens. Senior Rhyan Frost and junior Catherine Smith will be doing off-site internships, working on graphics and web design for the Art Center. Senior Alexandra Radhs and junior Mary Capicchioni have on-site internships, working directly in the gallery and contacting artists. Be sure to congratulate these students if you see them around, they are all very excited to begin their internships.

AAW Exhibit at the Anton Art Center

Anton Art Center Photo
(Paintings by Anthony Chirco)

AAW multimedia and visual art students, and selected alumni currently have a show at the Anton Art Center in Mount Clemens in the Petitpren Community Gallery upstairs. It runs through the afternoon of November 8. The Art Center is located at 125 Macomb Place.

Anton Art Center Photo 2
(Photography by Daniel Rutkowski, Jaya Evans, and Zachary Meyer)

Gallery hours are:

Fri 10am–6pm
Tue-Thu, Sat 10am–5pm
Sun 12–4pm
Mon Closed

If you are in the Mount Clemens area this weekend, please consider visiting the exhibit.

Glee Give a Note Contest

About the contest:
Great music is all about teamwork. That’s why these three champions - Fox, Ryan Murphy (the creator of GLEE), and the National Association for Music Education- have joined together through GLEE Give A Note to fight for struggling programs all across the country.

GLEE Give A Note will support music education by awarding $1 million dollars in prize money to music programs in jeopardy throughout the United States.

In this difficult economy, state legislators and school districts are trying to cope with serious budget woes by slashing education funding— music programs are often the first to go.

How to vote:
The Glee voting system only accepts one vote per day per IP address. If you're voting from your school computer lab, chances are that all the computers use one IP address so only one vote can be registered for the day. But don't forget to return the next day to vote, or better yet, cast your vote when you get home!
- Vote on your computer!
- Vote on your phone!
- Share the link with family and friends so they can all vote!
Arts Academy in the Woods

Fall Open House, Thursday Nov 17

(Photo by James Irvine)

AAW will be hosting an open house for prospective and current families, Nov 17 at 7pm. The evening will feature an overview of our school, student performances, and a chance to tour the classrooms and meet the teachers.

Explore Test for Freshmen is rescheduled

The Explore Test originally scheduled for October 12, 2011 will be rescheduled for a later date. There will be no school on Oct 12 for freshmen, sophomores or seniors. Juniors taking the PSAT will still be taking that test as scheduled.

AAW Student is Finalist in Art Contest

Sophomore Zachary Meyer has placed as a finalist in a “My Feenix Art Contest.” The challenge was to create flat art of “Feenix the gargoyle,” a character from the book Blood Trinity, written by Dianna Love and Sherrilyn Kenyon. The first place student winner will receive a 16gb iPad, a $50 gift card, and a Belador gift package. If Zachary wins, the school’s art department will receive $500 and the library will receive copies of Love’s books. ( link to finalists' art work)

Multimedia Student Contributes to Heidelberg Project

On September 16th, Audrey Mantey's Multimedia class visited the Heidelberg Project in Detroit. Student Angela Ulinski was invited by founder and artist Tyree Guyton to contribute a polka dot to the painted street.

School Improvement Plan is Online

AAW has completed the School Improvement Plan (SIP) for 2011-2012.  The SIP can be found linked to the bottom of the general info page.

Annual Education Report

We are pleased to present you with the Annual Education Report (AER) which provides key information on the 2010-2011 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. Further information is available in the Fall 2011 AER cover letter, and the AAW Fall 2011 AER Annual Report.

AAW Supporters

You may have seen the recently released "Top-to-Bottom" ranking of all of Michigan's schools.  Along with the "EdYes" grades and "AYP", this is another way to measure our public schools.  Well, the rankings were released on Friday, and AAW has a lot of which to be proud!

Arts Academy in the Woods ranked in the 87th percentile of all Michigan public schools for student achievement and improvement on the list released on Friday.  AAW is also the highest ranked Macomb County high school on this list.  Additionally, AAW received an overall "B" in the latest "EdYes" evaluation, and has made AYP (Adequate Yearly Progress) for three years consecutively.  

Before we get ahead of ourselves, we have to remember that there are many ways to measure a school, and no one set of statistics can tell the entire story about what we do.  For example, the formula for creating this list may change next year, and we may plunge in the rankings.  Additionally, we still have a number of internal goals which we want to reach, like integrating creative thinking into all of our instruction, and creating authentic performance and exhibition opportunities for our stuents.  And we also don't want to forget the importance of our unique, excellent art programs and all they bring to our community.

However, today is a day for celebrating our accomplishments!  Teachers and students at Arts Academy in the Woods have been working diligently for over 5 years to increase the academic achievement of our graduates, and this ranking validates that work.  Congratulations to all the AAW Teachers, Staff Members, Students, Alumni, Parents and Supporters for doing the hard work necessary for AAW to earn this recognition.  Well done!

Max Spayde
Principal and CEO
Arts Academy in the Woods

Sub applications being accepted

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 may work from few days per month to a few days per week, and on most occasions will be called in without advanced notice. If you are interested, please contact Becky at


NEW Student Orientation

Wednesday, August 31 and Thursday, September 1 8:00 am – 3:00 pm

• Students new to AAW are required to attend the New Student Orientation. Students must attend BOTH days.
• Lunch will be provided.
• Fun activities will be scheduled during these two days allowing your child to meet other new students, review AAW school policies, and to become familiar with the building and their future classrooms.

Letter to Students (Mailed Home)

Dear Students and Parents,

I sincerely hope you have enjoyed your summer, and that you are excited to return to AAW or join us for the first time. The teaching staff and Board of Directors have been working to prepare for your return to AAW, and I am very excited about the potential for AAW’s growth this year.

I’d like to make clear my appreciation for all the hard work the Board and staff have done on behalf of the school this year. Their commitment is impressive and admirable.

AAW continues to make significant academic and artistic progress, and we have a number of initiatives we are planning to roll out this year. Here are some highlights of our success:

• AAW made Adequate Yearly Progress for the third year in a row, confirming that our emphasis on a rigorous curriculum and top-notch instructional strategies is paying off for our students.

• AAW hired Marc Melton as Development Director for the 2011-2012 school year. Mr. Melton previously served as the Development Director for the Michigan Non-Profit Association and Lutheran Child and Family Service of Michigan. Mr. Melton will work with the AAW administration to expand the base of support that AAW can count on and provide more performing and exhibition opportunities for our students. Please warmly welcome Mr. Melton when you meet him.

• AAW has agreed to collaborate with members of the Oakland University community toward creation of a unique arts-integrated curriculum that combines the best of standards-based education with the four arts disciplines while offering experiential opportunities for students in the arts. Additionally, OU and AAW continue to explore ways we in which we may be able to formalize our relationship and provide mutual support.

With our focus moving from budget cuts and year-to-year planning in the mid 00’s to growth in 2011 and beyond, this is a very exciting time to be associated with AAW.

As always, we have a lot of information to pass on in preparation for the first day of school. In this mailing you will find (included in home mailings):

2011-2012 School Calendar
• 2011-2012 Bell Schedule
• An invitation to “new student” and “all parent” orientations
• 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!)

Finally, we’ve started using Facebook and Twitter as ways to communicate quickly and effectively with you. We post our events and announcements on this page, and by using these resources along with and, you should have all the information you need to stay up-to-date. Please follow us at the following twitter and facebook addresses:
• @aawmich
• @maxspayde
Enjoy the remainder of your summer, and I look forward to seeing you in September.

Maxwell Spayde
Arts Academy in the Woods

Summer Message

AAW will be closed during the month of July. The office will reopen on Monday, August 1.

Are you interested in enrollment? Please download the Student Registration Form on the Application link at the top of the page.

August Placement Dates and Registration Deadlines

Monday, August 22 Placement  

Friday, August 26 Placement     

In order to participate in either of the above two placement dates, all registration materials must be turned into the office either on or before the corresponding registration deadline.

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.

2010-2011 School Calendar

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