‘One School, One Book.’ Ann Arbor schools partner during March is Reading Month

High Point and Honey Creek students work together on a craft during March is Reading Month on March 23, 2023. (Ashley Kryscynski)

ANN ARBOR – Two local schools are partnering during March is Reading Month to give students the chance to engage in literacy and celebrate each other’s differences.

Honey Creek and High Point schools share the same building on the city’s west side and both are run by the Washtenaw Intermediate School District. Honey Creek Community School is a K-8 charter school and High Point School is for students ages 3-26 with disabilities.

At first glance, it’s hard to tell the building houses two schools since the students seamlessly share the building’s facilities -- even the same hallways.

A shared hallway at High Point and Honey Creek schools in Ann Arbor, Michigan. (Meredith Bruckner)

The “One School, One Book” project has students from both schools come together to read books each week. Students have been reading “My Big Brother Troy” by Danielle Wallace, which tells the story of an African American family with a developmentally disabled son.

“In our story ‘My Big Brother Troy,’ Troy is unique in his own way,” said Michelle Manthei, a teacher consultant for High Point. “He’s unable to speak and communicate and the two siblings learn that they can still have fun together and to have this connection. So, today we really wanted to work on what is unique and how we are unique individuals.”

Students from High Point and Honey Creek schools gather in the building's media center to engage in a March is Reading Month session on March 23, 2023. (Meredith Bruckner)

On March 23, students gathered in the building’s media center to read Melanie Hawkins’ “I’m Basically A Unicorn: A Celebration Of What Makes Us Unique,” a book about celebrating what makes us unique, no matter our abilities, strengths or weaknesses.

The students then broke off to several tables to engage in a unicorn-themed craft together.

Students from High Point and Honey Creek make unicorn-themed crafts as part of March is Reading Month on March 23, 2023. (Meredith Bruckner)

“It’s very fun and I think we get to get a relationship with our High Point friends that are different from us,” said third grader at Honey Creek Addie Dewey Gross.

Music teacher and media worker at Honey Creek, Garry Klink, said it was the first time students from the two schools were able to gather again for shared learning since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic and the school’s two-year renovation from 2020-2022.

Finn, a student at High Point, listens to a story during March is Reading Month on March 23, 2023. (Meredith Bruckner)

“With all the things that have been going on in recent times with COVID and us moving into this beautiful new facility, it was really important to us to start bringing those things back,” said Klink. “There’s always been a relationship between the two programs and we’re working on building that back together. So, we’re going to start adding more things and making it a great, immersive experience for everybody.”

He said students and educators can expect more joint exercises between the schools in the future.

About the Author:

Meredith has worked for WDIV since August 2017 and was voted one of Washtenaw County's best journalists in 2019 by eCurrent's readers. She covers the community of Ann Arbor and has a Master's degree in International Broadcast Journalism from City University London, UK.