Thursday, March 29, 2018


Hi folks, Jon Wennstrom here! I've heard many stories from students and staff about the destinations they are going to over spring break. Some are exotic and exciting and others are just quiet and peaceful getaways. Growing up, we rarely went on vacation for spring break. However, I have fond memories of going fishing, hiking in the woods by my house, and playing with my neighborhood friends. It's not about the destination, it's about the memories that are made. I hope whether you are far away or staying at home that you take the time to make some memories with your child this spring break. From all of us at Buchanan, we wish you a peaceful break and we look forward to seeing the students when they return on Monday, April 9!

Friday, March 30 - Sunday, April 8: Spring Break!
Monday, April 9: Students return to school

Saturday, April 21: Garden Beautification Work-Day

Tuesday, April 24: Youth Making a Difference Ceremony at Franklin High School
Thursday, April 26: Art Fair (K-4), Music Concert (1st&2nd), Science Fair (participating students)

Monday, April 30: PTA meeting 7:00 PM
Genius Hour Projects
These amazing 4th grade students raised over $140 for charities with their Bake Sales! They worked on research projects and found a way to support the following charities: Cystic Fibrosis, Seedlings of Livonia and the Humane Society.

  • 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. 
  • 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. 
  • Enjoy your spring break!!

Did you know that there will be a FREE family event at Rotary Park this Saturday? On Saturday, March 31, the Rotary Club of Livonia will host a family Easter Egg Hunt in the park. Families can enjoy breakfast treats, search for plastic Easter eggs, and turn them in for a bag of candy. I will be working the event with my family and fellow Rotarians and I hope to see many of our Buchanan families there. Great things are happening at Buchanan!

Friday, March 23, 2018

Battle of the Books

Hi folks, Jon Wennstrom here! This week, Buchanan had it's annual Battle of the Books event! This was the largest Battle we have had with over 150 3rd & 4th grade students participating. Under the direction of Ms. Ford, our teachers and volunteers made it a spectacular event that our students will remember for a long time to come. I was very impressed with the depth of knowledge our students had about the books they read and loved seeing the excitement they showed while participating in the competition. In addition to the Battle, we had dozens of guest readers visiting classrooms throughout the school (including myself). What a joy to have our families share their love of reading with our Buchanan students!


Monday, March 26: Student of the Month Assembly (Mindfulness)
Friday, March 30: No School - Spring Break Begins

Monday, April 9: School Resumes

Thursday, April 26: Art Fair (Grades K-4) Music Concert (Grades 1&2) 6:00-8:00 PM

2018 Battle of the Books—The Results

Battle of the Books was held on Thursday, March 22.  We had 150 students in grades 3-4 on 21 teams who participated in this competition that requires teams of students to read books from a pre-selected list and answer questions about each book.  Congratulations to the first place team, consisting of Brady C., Charley L., Isabella D., Jaiden E., Quinn N., Ruby W., and Samantha D.!  Every team worked hard and we’d like to congratulate all of the participants on a job well done!

We could not have held this event without the tremendous help of the parents and grandparents who supported this event by leading book study groups, organizing prizes, and helping us during the battle (including supervising teams, helping with lunch, and cleanup).  We would also like to thank the PTA for their generous support of this event!  Thank you all so much!! 

Ms. Licavoli - Art Teacher

My name is Rachel Licavoli and I am currently finishing my fourth year of teaching with Livonia Public Schools. This is my first year teaching at Buchanan Elementary School and my fourth teaching in Johnson Upper Elementary school.  I participate with other art teachers each year to put on school art shows as well as our district wide Fine Arts Festival at the Civic Library. Outside of school, I have three sweet, mischievous cats and a squishy bulldog who loves to cuddle. Besides teaching art, I am also a working artist out of my home studio. 

My goal this year is to expose students to different cultures, process and materials while enjoying the wonders of creating art!

Five Words for Buchanan: Fun, Community, Creative, High-Energy, and Hard-working

  • Dearborn Ham pick up is Wednesday March 28, 4:00-5:00pm in the East Commons
  • We are starting to take donations for our basket raffle for our Spring Fling in May! A flyer will be going home with details. Each class is assigned a theme and donated items will be used to create baskets for our raffle. Cash donations are also accepted. Please label all items with Spring Fling donation and your child's teacher's name. All donations are due April 30Themes/classes-
  • Made in Michigan- Tanner & Trantham
  • Detroit Sports Teams- Ringler & Pillai
  • Chocolate Lover's- Banter & Kaufman
  • Emoji- Adams & Taylor
  • Outdoor Fun- Jones & Gruenewald
  • Grilling &  Baking- Kurtijan & McGuigan
  • Family Game Night- Hurula & Edwards
  • Movie Night- Williams & Pisko
  • Arts/Crafts- Stromberg & Medellin
  • Spa Basket- Haapala & Benson
  • Yearbook orders are due March 29! You may pay online at or send cash or check made payable to Lifetouch to school with your order form. 

Did you know that Buchanan is getting renovated next summer? Most of the renovations will be with updated technology for the classrooms, but we will also be getting an updated entryway and arch for our school. The improvements will be finished in time for our students when they return in the fall. Great things are happening at Buchanan!

Friday, March 16, 2018


Hi folks, Jon Wennstrom here! As you know, Livonia Public Schools has moved to a trimester format where students receive a report card three times a year. It's hard to believe that we are two-thirds through our school year!  Our report cards are now designed to give a more detailed description of what students are learning and how well they are mastering concepts. Attached to this email is a letter about our new report cards with a parent survey. I'm often amazed at the level of accuracy teachers have when describing the academic achievement of our students. They not only look at data, but they use it to help drive their instruction and share progress with families. Thank you for taking the time to review your child's report card and for continuing to keep good communication with your child's teacher. Together, we can make sure that every child succeeds at Buchanan!


Thursday, March 22: Battle of the Books for 3rd & 4th Grade Students! 
                                   PTA Meeting 7:00 PM

Tuesday, March 27: "Wild About Reading" All School Assembly 

Friday, March 30: No School - Spring Break Begins!

Monday, April 9: School Resumes


  • Thank you to all our families who joined us at our 1st Buchanan Books & Breakfast! Thanks to all our volunteers on Saturday and throughout the week helping at the book fair. A special thanks to our book fair chairpersons- Leanne LaBelle & MaryAnne LaCaprara for all their hard work planning such a great book fair. Thank you to all who donated pet donations, we will be delivering the items next week.

Did you know that all 3rd & 4th grade students will soon be taking the M-STEP assessment? Beginning on April 30, students from across the state will take the computer adaptive test to measure proficiency in both reading and math. These scores will be posted for each school in the fall by the Michigan Department of Education. A parent letter is attached to this email to share additional information. I'm confident that our Buchanan students will do very well on the state assessment this year. Great things are happening at Buchanan! 

Friday, March 9, 2018


Hi folks, Jon Wennstrom here! When I was in elementary school, I entered a contest for Young Authors. The book took me weeks to write and illustrate and told the story of my best friend and I taking a ride in a flying saucer. I got a ribbon for the book (probably a participation ribbon), but it really made me feel like an author! This month, we are holding several activities and events to help students get excited about reading that hopefully will last a lifetime! From assemblies, to reading safaris, to book fairs, to Battle of the Books we are turning up the excitement here at Buchanan! I hope that you are enjoying our reading activities with your child and that they are sharing their love of reading at home too! Reading is fun at Buchanan!


Week of March 12: Scholastic Book Fair in the East Commons

Thursday, March 22: Battle of the Books for Grades 3&4 (lunch in rooms)
                                   PTA Meeting 7:00 PM

Friday, March 30: No School - Spring Break begins!

Monday, April 9: School Resumes

Mrs. Stark - Art Teacher

I have taught art at Buchanan for almost eight years and nine and a half years with Livonia Public Schools.  I currently teach one and a half days at Buchanan and three and a half at Coolidge.  Active roles I play in my schools consist of art club, garden club, P.T.A., Leadership and climate committees, collaboration with both math and literacy teams for special events and  collaboration of character trait activities.  Four years ago, I coordinated and created a schoolyard habitat at Coolidge, which I still maintain to this present day.  During the summer I taught a “Garden Club” at Coolidge where students learned about nature, environmental issues and planted a vegetable garden, which was tended throughout the summer.  I also created and oversee the “Community Arts” program, where schools display artwork in businesses throughout Livonia.  Buchanan’s location is Merribowl Lanes!  I am also active in helping prepare and organize the annual Fine Arts Festival art show at the Civic Center library.

On a personal level, I live in downtown Farmington with my husband, ten-year old daughter and dog.  At home, I enjoy creating art (most often for school!), hiking, reading, playing and listening to music, cooking and gardening.  I love learning new things.  Currently, my family is working together to learn to speak Spanish.

As a goal this year, I would like my students to become more involved both the grading and growth process in art.  I have created “success criteria” checklists for 1-4th grade students to assess and reflect on their own learning.  So far, students have been very responsive to the process and it has allowed me to individualize my instruction even more.

Five words that would describe Buchanan: Warm, welcoming, creative, caring and accepting.

  • We are sorry to announce Nuts about Science has decided to cancel our Kindergarten & 1st grade session. This decision has been made by the company due to low enrollment. Our next session will be for 1st-4th grade only. Here is the sign up genius if you are interested in attending the next session.

There is also an attachment explaining the next session.
  • Dearborn Ham orders are due March 16, order pick up will be March 28 from 4:00-5:00pm. Enjoy a ham or kielbasa for Easter and help earn money for your school!
  • If you shop on Amazon, please consider shopping through Amazon Smile for Buchanan to earn money back. 3x your impact! From March 12-31, Amazon is tripling the donation rate on your first purchase! Go to and Amazon donates to James Buchanan Elementary PTA
  • Our spring book fair still needs volunteers! If you are able to help, please click on the sign up genius link to pick a time slot. The class shopping times are listed on the sign up. 
  • Need some Buchanan spirit wear? Go to to order. There is a free shipping promotion going on now until March 19 if you place an order. 

Did you know our school just completed assessing students on their reading progress through i-Ready testing and if applicable an F&P running record inventory? We are excited to share with you their Reading Proficiency Reports which will indicate your child's current reading level. Your child's Reading Proficiency Report will be sent home with their report card on March 16, 2018.

The Reading Proficiency Report
  • will list your child's current reading level on applicable assessments.
  • will indicate if your child is within targeted reading standards for their grade level.
  • will indicate if your child is required by state law to receive an Individual Reading Improvement Plan for our next intervention window.
If your child is continuing with an Individual Reading Improvement Plan, it will be sent home along with the Reading Proficiency Report and Report Card on March 16, 2018. Great things are happening at Buchanan! 

Saturday, March 3, 2018

A Drop in the Bucket

Hi folks, Jon Wennstrom here! Last week, I had the opportunity to take a quick dip in the Detroit River. A large space was cut in the ice, rescue divers were positioned,  and with swimsuit and cape, I jumped into the frigid water. By the time my body was feeling the sting of the icy water, I was already on my way to climbing up the ladder. Why did I go for a river swim in February? To raise money for the Special Olympics!

I had a lot of people tell me I'm crazy. (That was true long before the Polar Plunge). I wanted to help contribute to a good cause, but to be honest, what I did was just a drop in the bucket. I gave up a couple of hours out of my weekend and raised a couple hundred dollars. However, 300 other people also gave up a couple hours that day and they also raised money. By the end of the day, our group had raised over $100,000 for the Special Olympics and we were just one of the many Polar Plunges across the state of Michigan. All those drops in the bucket turned into a tidal wave of positive energy and made a real difference for some pretty special kids!

Every time our students perform an act of kindness or do something to help others, those little things add up and turn into big things like making people feel special or turning someone's day around. Together, we can all add a drop in the bucket and fill it full of kindness and make a difference in our school, in our community, and in our world!


Wednesday, March 7: New Kindergarten Family Information Night 6:00-7:00 PM

Friday, March 9: Students Dismissed at 12:10 PM / Records Day for Teachers
                            Skate Night at Riverside Arena 6:00-8:00 PM

Saturday, March 10: PTA Pancake Breakfast and Book Fair Kick Off 9:00-12:00

Week of March 12: Scholastic Book Fair (in East Commons) & Jump Rope for Heart (in PE Classes)

Friday, March 16: Report Cards go home

Thursday, March 22: PTA General Membership Meeting 7:00 PM

Mrs. Canterberry - Music Teacher

Hello Buchanan families! I am originally an East Coast Girl! Went to college at University of Kansas and graduated from University of Vermont. I obtained my Masters from Eastern Michigan University in Educational Leadership.

I have two daughters (25, 16) and 3 Chihuahuas! I am very happy to have a Mr. Canterberry who has given me my new last name, along with lots of adventure and fun!

I have been a part of LPS for almost 20 years! In that time I have had the opportunity to do many district leadership programs. I have presented Music and the Literacy Connection, I have been on School Improvement Teams, I have helped write our music curriculum, and I have been an NCA representative to other districts to help them achieve accreditation. Currently I am teaching an after school class on Positive Mindset.

One of my goals this year is to deepen my relationships with my students. As a specials teacher, I have up to 175 students in a day. They come in, I go through my lesson, and they leave. My goal is to try to engage students through music to feel safety, and a willingness to share WHO they are and what motivates them.

Five words that best describe Buchanan - Pride, Family, Fun, Caring and Motivated

  • Join us for a Skate Night at Riverside Arena on Friday, March 9 from 6:00-8:00 PM! 
  • We hope you will join us for our 1st Buchanan Books and Breakfast event on Saturday March 10, 9:00am-12:00pm! We will have breakfast served by Chris Cakes, a Guiness World Record pancake maker and our book fair will be open for shopping. Please click on the sign up genius to reserve a spot for breakfast and for more information. Please remember to bring in a new pet item donation (dog/cat toy, food, kitty litter, etc) as your entry to the event. Enjoy shopping at our book fair after breakfast!
  • Join us for our 1st Moms Night Out/Make & Take party on March 21! All RSVP forms with selections & payment ( cash or check made payable to Buchanan PTA) is due March 6. Please see attached flyer for more info and choice of sayings. Child care will not be provided at this event. 

Did you know that March is Reading Month at Buchanan? Our teachers have planned many exciting events for our students including opportunities to watch a movie in the gym, a reading safari quest, decorated areas in the building for safari reading buddies, and even an all school assembly with live animals as we go Wild for Reading! We hope to instill a love a reading in our students that will last a lifetime. Great things are happening at Buchanan!