(c) Bryan Long Photography
(c) Bryan Long Photography

Back-to-School Nights
ACS hosts two BTS Nights in September, one for K-4 families and the other for families with students in the 5-8. On these evenings parents can expect updates from the principal as well as an overview from the teachers on curriculum, assessment, outdoor education, how the classroom(s) will be structured, what students can expect, and much more.

Fall Potluck & BBQ
Each September, the Parent Reps organize an all-school social gathering to get the community back together, welcome new families and celebrate the new school year. The school provides the burgers and hot dogs; parent volunteers provide set-up, cleanup and grilling; and families provide potluck side dishes and desserts.

El Tioga
This long-time school tradition, which is (to the surprise of many) a made-up name, is a classroom fundraiser born out of necessity. Back in the day, someone noticed that teachers needed extra funds during the school year to pay for special projects; students needed a hot lunch every once in a while; and parents needed a break from packing lunches. The win-win-win solution was to have classroom families organize a potluck hot lunch, which they sold to students and staff for a modest price on select days throughout the year. The proceeds were turned back into the teachers of that classroom for their projects. Voila: El Tioga.

All-School Meetings
A weekly tradition at ACS, All-School Meetings are a celebration of student success and an opportunity to learn skills and address challenges that the school faces. With experiences ranging from a musical performance by a visiting string quartet to a group of 1-2s showing their Explorer’s Club journals to a playful demo about the proper way to wash your hands, All-School Meetings are a vital way for the entire school to come together.

All-Parent Meetings
These gatherings, which take place once per semester, echo the long-standing tradition of All-School Meetings for students. The agenda may include items such as a discussion of how a certain school process works, a performance by students, an update on State education news or brief commentary from a speaker. They are lively, timely, and fun.

Principal Office Hours
Jim’s door is open every Wednesday from 8:15-9am for any question, concern, or compliment you may have. You are invited to stop by.

Halloween has always been a big celebration at ACS. More than any other school we know, students (and even some staff and parents) construct costumes that are long on ingenuity, creativity and personal expression. There is a carnival, an El Tioga lunch and a parade of costumes, with “best of” prizes that are awarded by the 8th grade class.

Coffee Houses
These open mic nights, held in the evening once or twice a year, give students and parents the opportunity to perform and share what they’ve been working on. All are invited; attendance is optional. There is a suggested donation, which goes to support music program mainstays such as instrument purchase, visiting artist fees and Arts Choices.

Winter Festival
This December concert, celebrating the winter season, features K-4 students performing what they’ve been working on in music class during the first half of the year. Audiences will experience students singing and playing guitar and Orff instruments. Free and open to all.

Empty Bowls
Empty Bowls is a community-wide fundraising event in support of the Lift Up food pantry. ACS kids lead the way by making hundreds of ceramic soup bowls under the direction of art teacher Hilary Forsyth, one of the event’s co-founders. During Empty Bowls, participants can enjoy hot soup, stews, bread and desserts, along with live music, for a modest ticket fee that goes to support the food pantry.

In order to graduate, 8th graders are expected to present their work to a panel of teachers, friends and parents. They are also required to address the community at the graduation ceremony, talking about what they have learned about themselves through their experiences here.