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Parents Are Invited Back to School with a TEA Party

Taylor Exemplar Academy, or TEA, hosted a TEA party, as the first in-person school event since COVID-19 restrictions were lifted.
Principal Zeman Marrugi and her staff wanted to do something special and different to welcome parents into the school. It was a collaboration between the administration team and Darcy Matthies in Admissions.
 Students standing next to the Tea Party sign.
“We had all kinds and flavors of tea, hot and cold, coffee, cupcakes, and Danish pastries,” Marrugi said. “We had lots of fun decorations, teapot favors, and a photo backdrop. The parents got a photo as a souvenir. It was a wonderful opportunity to welcome families back into the school.”
Besides current families, new and incoming families could attend as well. Marrugi and her deans all took a moment to speak about their work at the school and give an update to parents.
 Adult standing next to the Tea Party sign.
“I shared demographic information and data in regard to how students have been doing over the year,” Marrugi said. “The parents were really into the demographic information, and the data from our common assessments, our interims, and then depending on the different grade levels, the benchmark assessments that were completed a few months ago. Each dean also spoke about what was happening in their area.”
Another purpose of the meeting was to officially launch the State of Michigan M-Step/PSAT8 testing process. TEA held a testing preparation boot camp with the students which started Feb. 22 and ran for the past seven weeks.
 Woman standing next to the Tea Party sign.
“I used the information the Curriculum & Intervention team prepared for us and created weekly handouts to encourage the students to focus on a particular math or ELA strategy. We had a workout theme with the message, ‘Your Brain Is A Muscle! Work It Out!’”
Marrugi took the opportunity to talk with the parents about how they could help and be supportive of their children as far as this important testing cycle goes.
 Tea party decorations and cupcakes.
“I told the parents that we had the curriculum, the content, and the intervention, but what we needed from them was for their kids to get a good night sleep,” Marrugi said. “Help their student to arrive on time so they could eat a good, healthy breakfast at school and for parents to send them with water and a healthy snack, too. From there, I said we got it!”
 Information poster on keeping the mind healthy.
According to Marrugi, the Taylor Exemplar TEA party has most likely just become an annual event!

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Taylor Exemplar Academy is a free public charter school in Taylor, Mich., serving students in Young 5s through 12th grade in partnership with Taylor Preparatory High School, a school that falls under National Heritage Academies (NHA) portfolio. NHA is a charter school management company in Grand Rapids, Mich. which has over 95 tuition-free, public charter schools across nine states, serving more than 60,000 students in kindergarten through 12th grade. For more information, visit

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