As-Salamu Alaikom!


ACA TIMES - WITH US, BY US, FOR US


SEPTEMBER NEWSLETTER

Our ACA Motto: 

We are ACA. We empower our community with knowledge, spirit and service."



“My Lord, increase me in knowledge”



An Important Message From the ACA PE Department: 

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    Please stop sending students to school with junk food (cookies, candy, chips, etc.) for snacks. Processed foods that are high in sugar, salt, and oil/fats are harmful to our students overall health and well being. Students will be given Merits (tokens for good choices and behavior) during snack time if they eat something healthy. Natural foods that are straight from the earth and have not been altered in any way are considered healthy.  This includes any fruit, vegetable, nut/seeds in their original form. Packing healthy foods for your child will save you money because they're generally far cheaper than packaged snacks, and they will also save you time in the kitchen because they do not require preparation. But most importantly, your child will adopt healthy habits which will benefit them now and in the long run. Thank you!  


What Does A.C.A. Mean to Me?

A Middle School Perspective

Written by Caitlin Boyce, Middle School Teacher | Contributions from A.C.A. Middle Schoolers

What does A.C.A. mean to me? This was the prompt I gave my middle schoolers last week. I knew it would be an enjoyable free-write assignment and help them conceptualize their place in their school community, but secretly, I needed some inspiration for my own writing task: a segment in the school newsletter.

I’m new at the school, after all, so my reflection would surely be less insightful than a student’s, whose opinions as both an insider and long-timer might offer much-needed authenticity.

I told the students the task would be anonymous, and I’m keeping my promise to them. Creating a shield of anonymity gives students the permission to reveal the good, the bad and the ugly without fear of authority retaliation. (Theoretical example: “How dare you say your English teacher is disorganized?!” I might gasp over the pile of books, pens and paperwork cluttering my desk. This situation is avoided with anonymous feedback.)

I had hoped for inspiration to do my own writing, but I can’t do justice to the students’ own work. As you read, remember that middle schoolers are at a developmental phase of natural rebellion, so their thoughts may be more critical than older or younger students. That being said, our students are our most important stakeholders as it’s their futures we hold in our hands every single day. Whether a parent, teacher or concerned community member, we have a lot to gain by opening our ears to our students. Remember, these students opened up about the good, the bad and the ugly – and sometimes the downright hilarious. Read with an open mind. Without further ado, here you have “What Does A.C.A. Mean to Me: A Middle School Perspective.”

 “A.C.A. has been a home for me. It’s been a place of happiness, my shelter. It’s not as if I love school subjects or anything like that. It’s that I love the people inside it.”

  “I’ve grown here. I’ve smiled here. I’ve laughed here. I’ve gotten angry here. I’ve frowned here. But I’ve always loved it here, and nothing can change that. Except maybe math.”

 “If I had to describe the school in several words, it would be: religious, devotion and caring.”

 “In my opinion, A.C.A. is an amazing school because it has lots of amazing staff and helpful students.”

“A.C.A. brings mixed feelings, similar to any school.  You like it, you hate it.”

·         “In general, A.C.A. is good at keeping an Islamic environment during prayer time. It needs to grow in cleanliness.”

 “When I’m at school, I feel bad for myself because I have to do meaningless and endless homework.”

“Some teachers pick favorites.”

·      “A.C.A. makes me feel even more concerns about my future than I already did. Racism spreads through this school.”

·         “One thing that A.C.A. is different in is that the school not only gives you the opportunity to learn and understand the four core subjects, but they also give you the chance to open your knowledge even further with Arabic, Islamic Studies and Quran.”

“When I’m at school, I feel dirty and gray.”

 “A.C.A. is different from other schools, that’s for sure. When I’m at school, I feel safe because in other schools I have a feeling some Muslims don’t get treated kindly because of how people think of us today. And I hate the fact that I get stared at everywhere I go outside of school because of the hijab. In A.C.A., we all wear hijab since it’s the school’s uniform.”

“One of the things I don’t like about A.C.A. is that teachers don’t notice bullying.”

·         “I feel like school should start later and end earlier. We need organized periods. For example, on Tuesday we have double science and double math.”

“When I arrive at school every morning, I think, ‘Yay, another long, long day at school.’ And usually it’s longer than I think.”

“If I had to describe A.C.A. in three words, those words would be (send help please).”

“First of all, I am not going to say something corny like ‘A.C.A. is my second home,’ or, ‘My class is my second family.’ Ahem – I already have a home and a family, thank you very much. A.C.A. has this special atmosphere, an aura of sorts. You can feel that it’s different. It’s honestly just a great place to be. A.C.A. may not be my second home, nor my second family, but it’s striving to be a model school, and it’s doing a pretty good job at it.”

Our students’ observations have merit. As much as my teacher instinct is to tell the students what to do, believe and feel, I recognize their individuality and want to give a voice to their experiences.  I hope there’s something we can all take away from these insights. Although I’m the teacher, every morning when I walk into the classroom I remember: I have a lot to learn from my students.

 

 Why Your Child Needs to Read More Books

Written by Nicole Nanny- ACA Curriculum Specialist

In 2010, the Annie E. Casey Foundation published a KIDS COUNT special report, Early Warning: Why Reading by the End of Third Grade Matters. The report drew links from a failure to read proficiently by the end of third grade to persistent academic difficulties to failure to graduate from high school on time to economic success later in life.

 

This report’s findings have been confirmed by new research again and again over the past 7 years, highlighting the fundamental and critical importance of reading to success in life.

 

Do you know if your child is reading at grade level?

 Talk with your child’s teacher. Learn about the information contained in your child’s results on the MAP Assessment, one of the most valid and reliable measures of student progress available today. Don’t make assumptions about your child’s reading level. Get the facts.

 

Now what?

Armed with your child’s reading level, there are many ways you can support your child’s growth in reading. Below are just a few suggestions. Talk with your child’s teacher for more.

1.      Reading just 15-20 minutes a night (or on the way to school in the car) can have dramatic effects on your child’s reading level. Better yet, have your child read out loud to you on the way to school!

2.      Get a library card and make a trip to your local library at least twice a month. With your child’s reading level and interests in mind, local librarians are particularly skilled at finding books that will hook and keep your child’s interest.

3.      Talk to your kids. Yep, that easy. Drown your kids in language.

4.      Model the importance of reading by reading yourself.


Coming up: 

ACA WINTER FESTIVAL!
Assalamu ‘alaikum, ACA Families and Friends:
Please donate towards the festival cost. No amount is too small. 
Donors who donate at least $100 will have their names written on the rides 
(unless they opt out). Donation can be made individually, or by a group of 
people.

*3 IN 1 SPORTS THROW $279.00
*MODULAR BOUNCE HOUSE $129.00
*HAMSTER BALLS W/TRACK $495.00
*GENERATOR-LARGE 3 OUTLET $150.00
*ADRENALINE RUSH EXTREME 
OBSTACLE COURSE $745.00
*POPCORN MACHINE $100.00
*PETTING ZOO & PONY RIDE $1000.00
*GAME TRUCK $700.00
*SPIN ART, MINI GOLF, 
FISH BOWL 
$200.00

Saturday, December 16, 2017 11 a.m. – 4 p.m.
7810 S. 42nd Place, Phoenix, AZ 85042




Better Together