The Pez Press

Friday, November 20th

A note from Mr. Pez

West Maple Families,

I want to thank you for participating in our Parent Teacher Conferences this past week. I hope that you were able to hear about your child’s progress thus far and gain further insight into their learning.

Next week is a short week for us as we prepare to enter into our Thanksgiving recess. This time of year, I am always reminded of the wonderful lessons that our staff works on with our children around the theme of gratitude. As I reflect on my gratitude, the first thing that comes to my mind is the community of learners we have here at West Maple. Our staff, students and families are amazing and have done a wonderful job of working together during this tumultuous year as we are living through this Global Pandemic. The saying that “It takes a village” has never meant more than it has this year.

Due to the shortened week next week I am sending my newsletter today, and also because there is a lot of information to share.

Enjoy your weekend,

Mr. Pez

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Picture Pick-Up and Retake Day

Student school pictures have arrived!

  • Pictures can be picked up at West Maple between 7:00 AM and 7:00 PM Monday 11/23 and Tuesday 11/24
  • Pictures are in the vestibule sorted by grade, teacher and alphabetically by student last name.
  • You may enter the vestibule by using code 3219# on the days/hours listed. Or ring the buzzer between 7:30 AM and 4:30 PM
  • Picture Retake Day is January 6th- Details will follow later in December

West Maple Student Directory Drawing Contest!

It is a long-standing tradition at West Maple to have a contest to design the cover art for our school directory. To enter, have your child draw an appropriate picture in the space below and follow the directions listed.

1. Include the words West Maple Directory 2020-2021 our school phone number 248-851-2667 and your child’s name and grade in the space below with the drawing.

2. Use a very dark pencil or black ink (black and white drawing only)

3. Email to Mrs. Varda at by Monday, November 30, 2020.

PTA Dues and Room Parents

Room Parents:

Volunteers still needed in: Fantazian, VanDoornik, Roth, West, Broz, Sammons, Balent, Delgado, Haines, Crooks, Brownrigg

Room Parents are the liaisons between parents, teachers, and the PTA regarding school activities. They encourage the social connection that makes West Maple such a vibrant and engaged community. One of the most vital roles to maintaining an inclusive, positive and emotionally rewarding experience for our families is that of the Room Parent​. It’s also fun as you will be able to meet and collaborate with the different room parents for the other classes in your grade. See the attached flyer for more information.

If you would like to volunteer, ​please complete the form below and email to Tracie Fienman

PTA Dues:

We wanted to provide a reminder about PTA dues as we are well below our normal membership and think some may have forgotten. This year for the first time we are completely online. You can join PTA and pay dues at Your dues support our programming, teacher and facility grants, and include a physical school directory and access to the online directory. Once you have joined, you can also download the Membership Toolkit app for easy access to the directory on your phone. Please see the flyer below for an idea of what our PTA supports at West Maple.

If you have questions please contact Amanda Albritton at

We thank you for all you do for our school and all our kids,

The West Maple PTA

NWEA Reports

The district NWEA scores have arrived and will be coming home to you through the U.S. mail at by the end of November. All students, BVA and Hybrid, will be receiving these letters with their scores. In addition, on the document below, I have included a Family Guide to assist with understanding the NWEA scores.

Please be looking for your child’s scores in your U.S. mail.

Coffee with the Counselor

Coffee with the Counselor

Wednesday, December 2, 9:30 AM

Topic: Building Resilience


(Repeat from October 21)

Upcoming Half Days

December 9, 2020- P.M. Cohort attends in the P.M./A.M. cohort participates in their hybrid virtual schedule in the P.M.- Neither cohort has lessons in the A.M.

February 4, 2021- P.M. Cohort attends in the P.M./A.M. cohort participates in their hybrid virtual schedule in the P.M.- Neither cohort has lessons in the A.M.

Fall Virtual Book Fair

Our kids need personal libraries at home, classroom libraries at school and a robust school library available to meet everyday needs. This year we are hosting a Follett eFair to give you access to books your kids will love and as a way to support our School Library funding for great books. You can also help build classroom libraries by purchasing books from teacher wish lists.

The link below will give you access to our fair starting November 9 through November 24. You may share this link with family and friends who would love to purchase books for your student.

Online Book Fair

How-to-Shop Video

Virtual Learning Advice from Mr. Gurganus' Class

West Maple Families,

Last week for World Kindness day, I wanted to get my families more involved/connected with the community and I thought it would be nice to have a list of helpful tips or advice from the BVA families to share with the other families who are moving back to virtual learning.

Please see below some of the advice, tricks, or tips that have worked for their families during our virtual learning experience. Thank you for your kindness and support!


John Gurganus

2nd Grade BVA Teacher

West Maple

  • A basic visual checklist of tasks will help keep some children focused. It allows them to see the full scope of what they have to accomplish and what steps to take. The child would check off each task with you as it's completed and receive a reward at the completion of the tasks.

  • We have a two-story house. When we leave the upstairs where our son's classroom is, we use walkie-talkies so he doesn't have to leave class to ask for things.

  • A dedicated, distraction-free room helps our child focus.

  • I play with our child during every break. It's our belief that what kids miss most are social interactions, so I make sure to "become a kid" with him during school hours.

  • With our child home all day, on school days we put very few rules on him around the house except mutual kindness and mutual respect. We recognize that kids are essentially trapped in the house with us, and we want him to feel like his feelings and needs matter equally to ours, because they do.

  • I want him to understand that school is just as important at home as it was in West Maple. So I become the assistant to a manager at an office. I ask him what he'd like to drink, I call him sir, I deliver his order. He gets the vibe. He feels my sense of importance about it.

  • Remember, your second grader is a child and may be distracted if toys are in the room, and I suggest that you monitor the room during each class and not expect the teacher to manage your child.

  • I keep a timer for breaks and lunch time. It is important to be on time for each class.

  • Virtual playdates.

  • Investing in some office file organizers to separate folders and work books or packets according to class has proven to be super helpful for us. Everything is easy to find.

  • Although we’re home, we pre-pack snacks and lunches. This saves time during breaks and lets us prioritize getting outside. Our kids really need to move, and backyard recess helps them stay focused.

  • We set up an “office,” and we only use the space during school hours. Separating school (focus time) and home (relax and play time) has been helpful in setting the right tone for different parts of our day.

  • Prepare something special for lunch on specific days. For example, my son loved to eat pizza at school on Wednesdays so we still do that at home. Also, on Fridays, he can pick a treat to go with his lunch.

  • If you can afford an area that is specifically dedicated to school, that would definitely help.

  • It would be helpful for parents to encourage their kids to clean up and organize their working space. The area where my kids work is very messy by the end of school. I used to let them take a break and then ask them to go and get their working space ready for the following morning. Now they just do it on their own, without me asking them to.

  • I think that it is very important to try and be positive in the current situation….very difficult as this has affected everyone, one way or another. The kids pick up on our emotions and attitudes towards a situation and tend to copy it.

BPS Saturday School

We are happy to announce that the BPS Saturday School will once again be operating throughout the school year to offer academic support and tutoring for all BPS students grades K – 12. Although we are currently operating virtually as a district, BPS Saturday School takes place every Saturday (excluding holidays and breaks) throughout the school year. Saturday School is normally hosted in the media center at Berkshire Middle School, but we are now operating virtually through Zoom from 9:00 a.m. until 11:00 a.m. each Saturday on the following dates:

November: 21
December: 5, 12, 19
January: 9, 22, 30
February: 6, 27
March: 6, 13, 20
April: 10, 17, 24
May: 1, 8, 15, 22

The BPS Saturday School Coordinators will be working together with Groves’ NHS students as well as Oakland University student teachers to provide tutoring through Zoom and the use of “breakout rooms.” Our coordinators will be able to maneuver back and forth between breakout rooms to be able to monitor and support the tutorials. Zoom Link:

Please visit the BPS Saturday School webpage to learn more and we hope to see you in this year’s virtual setting!


Start reading all your favorite biographies from the Who Was Book Series because we are launching our second year participation in the Who Was History Bee. Use the form linked below to sign up your student.

History Bee Sign Up

Below are links to get you started on planning your reading and recording important facts from the books.

Who Was Booklist

Who Was Fact File

History Bee Study Guide

Our school history bee will be in January. The winner of the bee will have the opportunity to compete in the national history bee taking place May 3rd in New York.

Our library has the Who Was Series available for check out. Each Students can place an electronic hold on one Who Was book at a time, but may place new hold as soon as they return the previous book.

Start Reading!

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Important Dates

11-25 to 11-29: Thanksgiving Break

11-30: Records Day- No School

12-1: Classes Resume

12-9: Half Day