I hope you were able to take some time to relax and rejuvenate during the holiday season. The new year is a great time for all of us to jump into 2016 with clear heads and light hearts.
When I started at AYS last year, one of my goals was to visit each of our 43 sites annually. So far this school year, I have visited 18 sites. I have seen some great implementation of our four core curriculum components- math, literacy, social development and health. Each site is also offer a STEAM (science, technology, engineering, art, math) week every month throughout the school year. Just a few of the highlights from my visits include meeting the “Mayor” at St. Maria Goretti, observing my favorite activity – pyramid dodgeball – at West Newton, hearing the kids’ “thumbs up/thumbs down” of the day during circle time at Phalen, making an elf at Hinkle Creek’s early childhood program, and observing great homework time at Crooked Creek and Spring Mill. Each program has great characteristics, and I really enjoy the time getting to know staff members and interacting with the kids.
The Program Services team planned two great retirement parties last month for long-time directors Jo Havens (18 years with AYS) and Fran Van Maaren (27 years with AYS). Both Fran and Jo led their programs to successfully attain COA accreditation, among many other accomplishments. They are two examples of our highly-trained, professional staff and have touched the lives of so many children and parents over the years. A former student of “Miss Jo” recently wrote a message that included the following kind words: “You really encouraged me to be myself… You introduced me to charity work in AYS that has really influenced me to continue volunteering in my life.” Director of Program Services Maureen Grey offered the following sentiments for “Miss Fran”: “Thank you for your generosity, your enthusiasm and your wisdom shared with me and your colleagues at AYS over the years!” In addition to being honored at the December Directors’ Meeting, each of these fabulous women was honored at a celebration at her site. While they leave big shoes to fill, I am confident that Coltin Metzger (IPS #91) and Tammye Brown (Nora) will be successful at leading these two programs into a new year.
I am really looking forward to seeing what 2016 holds for AYS. Here’s to a great year!