Friday, May 25, 2018

A Summer Shave

Hi folks, Jon Wennstrom here! You may have noticed that I started sporting a shaved head last week. While it is convenient for the summer weather, I had a more important reason for the shave. For the past two years, I have been a part of the St. Baldrick's event to raise funds to fight childhood cancer. Each May, participants raise funds by asking friends and families to donate as we "Brave the Shave". I have become personally involved as the child of a friend is battling cancer. I had the honor of being shaved by this incredible child and our own PTA president, Nikki Watson also donated her time for the day as she helped shave my head along with others. While we were fortunate to raise over $130,000, the real joy came from seeing the smiles of the children we came to support!


Monday, May 28: No School for Memorial Day
Wednesday, May 30: Kindergarten Round Up
Thursday, May 31: Stevenson High School Graduates Clap Out 11:15 AM

Thursday, June 7: PTA Meeting 7:00 PM
Friday, June 8: Field Day

Monday, June 11: 4th Grade Celebration in the PM
Tuesday, June 12: Kindergarten Concert & Celebration in the PM
Thursday, June 14: Students dismissed at 12:10 PM
Friday, June 15: 4th Grade Clap Out 11:30 AM, Students dismissed at 12:10 PM

Loretta Zimes - School Social Worker

Hello Buchanan Community,

My name is Loretta Zimes. I have been a social worker for more years than I would like to admit. 😊 I graduated from U of M with a Masters in Social Work. Prior to LPS, I worked in the hospital setting in various capacities (e.g., medical social worker, psychiatric social worker, chemical dependency social worker, day hospital social worker, etc.). I was hired into LPS  20 years ago.
I am a mother of three -Kyle, Kevin and Michael- ‘yes’ all boys, all young adults.  My husband, Jim is the most supportive, encouraging person I know. We have been married 27 years. We also have a brown lab, Coco.  I am blessed to have such a great, supportive, close family.  I service four schools in Livonia. This is my first year at Buchanan and ‘yes’, I am the new kid on the block. I truly love working at Buchanan. The staff have been nothing but kind, helpful, and warm.  

With only a few weeks of school left, we need to remember to practice caution in the parking lot. Please remember to come to a FULL stop at both crosswalks and be sure to drive slowly and keep an eye out for crossing families. Together, we can make sure that Buchanan is a safe place for students and adults! 


We are looking for volunteers for next year's events and activities!  In order for the PTA to offer events, we need your help! If you are able to help or be part of a planning committee, please clink on the sign up genius below. 

Did you know we LOVE our volunteers at Buchanan? We were so happy to recognize our volunteers with a breakfast this week and tell them how much we appreciate them. Without our volunteers, there are so many things that would not happen at our school. From reading buddies, to classroom helpers, to event organizers, our volunteers make school a fun place to learn. Great things are happening at Buchanan! 

Thursday, May 17, 2018

Kindness Boomerang

Hi folks, Jon Wennstrom here! This month, our Buchanan students are focusing on the theme of kindness. During our Celebrate Monday Assembly, we talked about how the real magic of kindness is how it spreads from person to person, community to community, and hopefully throughout the world. It also comes back to those who share it. Below is a video that we watched to show how kindness spreads and eventually returns. I hope you like it as much as the students did!


Thursday, May 24: 3rd Grade Students to Lansing
Friday, May 25: Volunteer Breakfast in the Library 8:15 AM
                          Students & Staff dismissed at 12:10 PM

Monday, May 28: No School for Memorial Day
Wednesday, May 30: Kindergarten Round Up!
Thursday, May 31: Former Buchanan students graduating from Stevenson High School visiting Buchanan for a Clap Out 11:15 AM

Thursday, June 7: PTA Meeting 7:00 PM
Friday, June 8: Field Day!

Mrs. Cory - Literacy Coach

Hi Buchanan Families! I am thrilled to join LPS this year as a literacy coach. My goal is to support teachers and students as we strive to increase academic achievement for all students.   Prior to coming to LPS, I worked for 25 years as a classroom teacher, Title I teacher, and literacy coach. I received my undergraduate degree from Eastern Michigan University and my Master of Arts in Reading from Oakland University.

I live in Livonia with my husband and two children.  Olivia is a junior and attends Stevenson and Alex is a freshman at Churchill.  When I’m not working in the schools, I love just hanging out with my family. Hiking and biking are two things we enjoy doing together as a family.  Of course, one of my favorite things to do is curl up with a great book!

Five words I would use to describe Buchanan are: Welcoming, positive, fun, caring, and dedicated!

  • We are selling spree vouchers!! Pre-sale vouchers are $16.00 and Buchanan PTA receives $1.50 for every voucher sold. Please make checks payable to Buchanan PTA. All orders are due by Friday, June 1. Vouchers will be sent home in backpacks. Flyers with information came home last week. Any questions, contact Meg O'Neil at

Did you know our 4th grade students visited Riley Upper Elementary this week? Our students had a chance to visit their future school, meet the staff, and have an orientation of the building. Livonia Public Schools really does a nice job of helping students transition from one level to another and its nice to know that our students will be taken care of and supported on their educational journey. Great things are happening at Buchanan!

Sunday, May 13, 2018

You Are Appreciatied

Hi folks, Jon Wennstrom here! Next to the words, "I love you", some of the most inspiring words that can be said to another human being are "You are appreciated". People who are appreciated will ALWAYS do more than is required and go above and beyond. This week, our Buchanan community let the teachers and staff know how much they are appreciated. From breakfasts and lunches to gift bags and positive notes, we really were spoiled this week! I even got to show my appreciation for our incredible staff through a song I wrote. May is an extremely busy time of the year and can be stressful for educators. However, events like this help take away the stress and restore the joy. Thank you for helping make our Buchanan staff feel so special!


Thursday, May 17: 4th Grade Students to Riley

Friday, May 25th: Volunteer Appreciation Breakfast in the Library!
                              Students Dismissed at 12:10 PM
Monday, May 28th: No School for Memorial Day

Friday, June 8: Field Day!

Mrs. Wutka - School Psychologist 

I am the School Psychologist at Buchanan Elementary.  I have been part of LPS since the 1991-92 school year and came to Buchanan in September 2006. I work at several schools in the district every year.  I work to support educational teams and students to help determine the best ways that they learn so that together our Achievement teams can support successful educational growth & learning along with positive social & emotional development for school success.

I have been married for 31 years and have 2 grown daughters who both attended Livonia Public Schools. Over Spring Break this year, we all traveled to CA to explore San Francisco on bikes and Yosemite National Park -hiking mountain, enjoying amazing views and beautiful waterfalls. 
My husband owns his own business, My older daughter, graduated from OU (Dec 2015), recently married (Nov 2017) and is a Manager and Coach at Orangetheory Fitness.
My younger daughter, graduated from GVSU (Dec 2017) and is currently in Tanzania, Africa (studying, teaching & earning Graduate Credits in Elementary Education) 

My goal this year at Buchanan has been to work together with our returning staff along with the new principal, new staff and new students~to all become one and feel the positive and exciting Buchanan Bears team continue to develop as we all help and support Buchanan Elementary and learn together.

5 Words to Describe Buchanan: Encouraging, Supportive, Motivating, Positive, and Friendly

  • We hope all of you enjoyed our Spring Fling on Friday!! We had many activities, great food and awesome raffle baskets! Huge thank you to all our families who donated items to the baskets- they looked amazing!! Thank you to all our volunteers and Stevenson students who helped make the event successful!
  • Our final PTA meeting will be on Thursday, June 7 at 7:00 PM

Did you know that we are hosting a VOLUNTEER BREAKFAST on Friday, May 25? We are looking forward to the chance to say thank you to our wonderful volunteers. The event will be in our Library before school. For those volunteers in need of childcare, we will be opening Mrs. Stromberg's kindergarten classroom to assist. Thank you to our volunteers and Great Things are Happening at Buchanan! 

Friday, May 4, 2018

What do you Remember?

Hi folks, Jon Wennstrom here! All of us have moments that we remember from school. It might be our graduation, sports we played, or our favorite teacher. I think it's also safe to say that most of us don't remember too much from our day to day classes (especially in elementary school). Instead, we remember the special moments that really made an impact on us. It might be a field trip or a special project that we worked on. Our second grade students recently had one of those special projects at Buchanan. We hosted our "Talking Zoo" program, where students dressed up and shared with a large audience, all that they had learned about their animal. This was the culmination of weeks worth of research and they really shined at the event! This is one of those special moments that I believe they will remember for many years to come. Our goal at Buchanan is to make many special memories and moments for our students to prepare them for all the wonderful things waiting for them in their lives! What do you remember from your school days? 


Friday, May 11: PTA Spring Fling 6:00-8:00 PM

Thursday, May 17: Fourth Grade Students to visit Riley in the afternoon
Thursday, May 24: Third Grade Students to Lansing
Friday, May 25: All Students Dismissed at 12:10 PM

Monday, May 28: No School for Memorial Day

Mrs. Trubak - School Aged Child Care (SACC) Instructor 

Hi Buchanan!  My name is Amy Trubak and I am the SACC instructor.  I have been working for Livonia's SACC program for 17 years now, 11 of those years  here at Buchanan.  I am a Livonia girl at heart . I was raised here and continue to live here with my family.  A fun fact about me, is that I went to Buchanan as a child!  It is very rewarding to come back here to work after all those years!  And it is just as wonderful 😁

I have have a wonderful husband, 2 children and 3 funny dogs.  My son attends the 6th grade At Riley, and my daughter is in the 3rd grade at  Hoover.  They are the loves of my life and keep me very busy.  In my free time, I love spending time with family , swimming, scrapbooking, and going to the movies.  But my favorite thing is taking vacations to Disney World, it is my favorite place!

A goal for this year:  My Goal for the SACC program this year is to create a fun, friendly, and safe place that kids are excited  to come to before and after school.  I enjoying getting to know each and every student and creating crafts and fun activities for all ages.

5 words to describe Buchanan: Caring, kind, positive, safe, fun!

  • Our Spring Fling is next Friday May 11, 6:00-8:00pm! We have a huge evening full of activities planned! We need your help in making this event successful and fun for all our families. Please click on the sign up link below if you are able to help.
  • Spring Fling reminders-
- Pre-sale wristbands and raffle tickets will go home Thursday May 10. Wristbands will need to be visible, we will check upon entry and at activities.
- Please write your name on the back of each of your raffle tickets, we do not call out numbers on the ticket. If there isn't a name on the back, we will pick another ticket for the raffle baskets. 
- Huge thank you to all our families that donated items to the raffle baskets!! They look amazing and we couldn't have done it without your support!

- We will have 2 food trucks on site, Drunken Rooster ( tacos with a middle eastern twist) and Hero or Villian (gourmet sandwiches). Drunken Rooster has a pork shwarma taco, beef brisket consuela taco, green chile chicken taco, loaded tatar fries ( seasoned fries). They were at last year's Spring Fling and everybody loved the food. Attached is Hero or Villian's menu. We hope you come hungry!

Did you know our fourth grade students had a special "Taste Fest of the Southeast" event? This is the second time the fourth grade students have put on an event like this to bring Social Studies to life! It was a great turnout for both students and families and nobody left hungry!!  Once again our teachers made an event that students will remember for years to come:) Great things are happening at Buchanan! 

Friday, April 27, 2018

One Day a Year

Hi folks, Jon Wennstrom here! You may have seen from the posts on social media that last week was Administrative Professionals Day and we celebrated our very own Mrs. Pepple. Even though we may shower her with posters and accolades one day each year, she does her outstanding work EVERY day of the year. She is always ready with a kind word, a sincere smile, or sound advice. She comforts our students, supports our staff, and keeps me organized. She also manages to do all these things while tending to every situation that arises in the office at the same time! Want to know how special Mrs. Pepple is? Just ask your child. I guarantee they will respond with a smile and probably a heartwarming story. Let's make sure that we spend more than just one day a year letting Mrs. Pepple (and all the special people in our lives) how much we appreciate them!


Monday, April 30: PTA Meeting 7:00 PM

Friday, May 11: PTA Spring Fling 6:00-8:00 PM
Friday, May 25: Students dismissed at 12:10 PM

Monday, May 28: No School for Memorial Day

This week our 3rd Grade Students will begin their M-STEP testing for English Language Arts. Classroom teachers will be sending home specific testing dates. Please be sure that students are well rested and in attendance each testing day. Our 4th Grade Students will begin testing the following week.  I'm confident our Buchanan students are going to do a great job this year!!

  • The deadline for turning in money for the Family Tigers Game is Monday, April 30! 
  • We are looking forward to our Spring Fling on Friday May 11, 6:00-8:00pm! Flyers went home last week with information. Payment for pre-sale wristbands and raffle tickets is due April 30th. Please include form and payment, cash or check made payable to Buchanan PTA. All pre-sale wristbands & raffle tickets will go home Thursday May 10. Adults & children under 2 years do not need wristbands. Wristbands & tickets will be sold at the door also but we encourage pre-sale in case of long lines. 
  • Spring Fling basket donations are due April 30th- themes are listed on the flyer and classes were assigned themes. We are also accepting cash donations if you are unable to shop. We will accept donations through Wednesday May 2, we need time to assemble all the baskets and shop if some baskets need more items. 
  • We will be selling spree vouchers this year- a flyer with more information will be coming home mid-May. 
  • Join us for our PTA meeting on Monday April 30, 7:00pm- we will be voting in our new board officers for next year.

Did you know that we had two events to showcase the great things our students do last week? On Tuesday, we had our "Youth Making a Difference" ceremony to recognize our Buchanan students who worked on service projects. On Thursday, we had our Art Fair, Science Displays, and Music Showcase (grades 1&2). They were wonderful events and a chance for our students to shine. Great things are happening at Buchanan!

Friday, April 20, 2018

Spring has Sprung (I think)

Hi folks, Jon Wennstrom here! I'm hesitant to say this, but I think Spring is finally here! With the warmer weather, we have some outdoor projects going on at Buchanan. This weekend, our PTA and several volunteers worked in our garden area for the revitalization project. Our goal is to have a garden re-dedication ceremony this spring to commemorate our first year with blended communities. We are also working on a time capsule project (more to come later!). Another outdoor project that is happening soon is the installation of our new playground equipment. In the next several weeks, we will be receiving the new equipment that is starting to arrive at several other elementary buildings as well. The spring will be focused on exterior improvements and this summer, our interior will receive renovations and technology upgrades. It's an exciting and busy time at Buchanan Elementary!


Tuesday, April 24: Youth Making a Difference Ceremony at Franklin High School 6:00 PM

Thursday, April 26: Art Fair (K-4), Music Concert (1st grade 6:15 PM, 2nd grade 7:15 PM), Science Fair displays up (for participating students) 6:00-8:00 PM 

Monday, April 30: PTA Meeting 7:00 PM

Friday, May 11: PTA Spring Fling 6:00-8:00 PM

Heidi Erlandson - Head Cook

Hello Buchanan! This is my first year at Buchanan, my 5th year at LPS and my 14th year as a lunch lady. My two nephews are Buchanan alumni 😊.

I live in Northville with my husband and dog. We have a son & daughter. I am also a Barber, a Master Gardener, do crossfit and I'm growing my hair to donate. I've swam with dolphins & stingrays, ziplined, kayaked through luminescence and walked 60 miles in three days. I've seen Old Faithful, the Grand Canyon, Mt. Rushmore & the Statue of Liberty. I've lived in France, travelled through Spain, Italy, Germany & Sweden. We now own a cottage in Bellaire MI so we don't travel as much. 

My goals for the kitchen: to improve the lunch experience for the kids (open to suggestions 😊) and encourage 'reduse, reuse and recycle' whenever possible.

Five words to describe Buchanan: friendly, happy, smart, clean and safe.

  • Thank you to all the volunteers who came to help with the garden revitalization this weekend!
  • Join us for our annual Family Tigers Game on Sunday, June 3! Click on the sign up genius link to sign up. We have 112 seats reserved, tickets will be sold on a first come/first serve basis. All payment is due by April 27, cash ( exact change only) or check made payable to Buchanan PTA. Any unsold/unpaid tickets will be returned to Comerica Park.

Did you know our 3rd and 4th grade students will be taking the M-STEP assessment soon? Testing will begin on Monday, April 30 and run through Friday, May 25. Teachers will be sending home testing schedules soon and we want to remind families to have students well rested and prepared on testing days. All 3rd and 4th grade students will be assessed in Math and English Language Arts. I'm expecting great results from our students this year. Great things are happening at Buchanan!

Friday, April 13, 2018


Hi folks, Jon Wennstrom here! This month we are focusing on "Reflection" for our theme. It's a good time of the year to review all our school norms and procedures from lunch and bus routines to how to be active listeners in the classroom. It's also nice to reflect on how much students have grown socially and academically throughout the year. As John Dewey famously said, "We don't learn from experience, we learn from reflecting on our experiences." Take some time this week to talk with your child about how they have grown this year and all they have learned. As I reflect on this year, I'm happy to see how we have all grown together into a cohesive school community. Thank you for being a part of that community!


Monday, April 16: Last Day to order Yearbooks (flyers went home on Friday)

Friday, April 20: Spring Pictures 
Saturday, April 21: Garden Work Day (See Sign Up Sheet from PTA)

Tuesday, April 24: Youth Making a Difference Ceremony at Franklin H.S. 6:00 PM
Thursday, April 26: Art Fair (K-4), Music Concert (1st & 2nd grades), Science Fair Displays (for participating students) 6:00-8:00 PM

Monday, April 30: PTA Meeting 7:00 PM

*If you are interested in helping set up for our Art Fair, please enter your information on this Sign Up Genius:  Art Fair Set Up

Denise Berg-Grant: PE Teacher 

Hi, I am Denise Berg-Grant and I have been a Physical Education teacher in Livonia Public Schools since 1991.  During my time in LPS, I have taught Elementary PE at a variety of different schools, High School PE, Lifeguarding, Whole Self Fitness, Special Education FTP Program PE classes, and had my own classroom where I taught Health Education at Franklin High School.  I have been the Varsity Tennis Coach at Churchill High School since I was still in college in 1989.  I have a Bachelors in Science with a Physical Education Major, and a Masters degree in Sports 
Administration from Wayne State University.  I played tennis for Wayne State and was MVP my senior year, continuing to teach, coach, and play tennis on a competitive level well after college.
My husband Tony played basketball for Wayne State and we met right before I graduated.  We eventually got married and have two children.  I have a daughter Mya who is a 10th grader at Churchill High School. She is a Varsity Volleyball player, Varsity Tennis member, and plays cello in the orchestra.  My son Julian, attends Riley and is in the 6th grade.  He also plays tennis and plays the violin.  We have two cats named Koda and Spiffy, and we also spend a lot of time with my mom.  
I have a brother Eric who is the Mens and Womens Tennis Coach at UMass Boston.   I am very close to my family and they are everything to me. We have many friends on the East Coast and go to Vermont for almost a month each year where I play a LOT of tennis with friends!  In my free time I love to read, draw, paint, listen to and play music (I play the flute), and spend time with family and friends. I also love to swim, ski, camp and be outside!

One of my goals at school has been to add new activities at least once per month.  This may be using a new way to teach, or an activity or game.  So far I have been happy with my results.  It is fun and challenging for me, and also great for my students.  I would like for them to experience as many different things in my class as possible.  I want students to look forward to my class and being active.  This does not have to be necessarily in a team sport, but any type of physical activity that is enjoyable.  The more opportunity provided and skill acquired, the more chances of each student finding some things that they will enjoy to keep them healthy and active.  Many great lessons can be learned in Physical Education and this goes beyond just playing sports!  I hope to inspire the kids to try new things and keep an open mind about trying new activities!  I hope that they look forward to PE as I look forward to working with them!!

Five words I would use to describe Buchanan:  Positive, Hard-working, Friendly, Teamwork, Successful!!

  • We are starting our Garden Beautification Project and need your help! We are starting clean up of the garden area on Saturday April 21, 9:00am-2:00pm in celebration of Earth day. We really want our garden to be an area for students to learn in a natural environment and to spruce things up in anticipation of our remodel. Please sign up on the sign up genius if you are able to help.                                    
  • Soon, those who signed up, will be getting an invitation to the Youth Making a Difference recognition ceremony that will take place on Tuesday, April 24th at Franklin High School.  Now is the time to get to work on creating a display highlighting your activity.  Typically a
    tri-fold poster board is used but use your imagination and be creative!  Ideally your display will be a self-standing poster board (that is easy to transport without getting ruined) with pictures,
    drawings, and/or writing describing your activity.  Don’t forget to include your name and school on the display.  Boards will need to be turned in to the office by Friday April 20th.  E-mail any questions to
  • Join us for our annual Family Tigers Game on Sunday June 3, 1:10pm! Click on the sign up genius link to sign up. We have 112 seats reserved, tickets will be sold on a first come/first serve basis. All payment is due by April 27, cash ( exact change only) or check made payable to Buchanan PTA. Any unsold/unpaid tickets will be returned to Comerica Park.

Did you know that Buchanan has an outdoor garden learning area? For nearly twenty year, the area has been a part of our school experience. This year, the PTA is working with staff and volunteers to help revitalize the garden area and restore it to its original glory! We are having a work day on Saturday, April 21 and volunteers can sign up here to help:  Garden Sign Up Genius We will have a dedication event later in the spring. Great things are happening at Buchanan!