Friday, March 24, 2017

News and Notes: 3.20

New Programming for 2018

I like to end almost every News and Notes with a simple message, "It's a great day to be a Trojan!"  Well, today is a great day to be a Trojan.  But, I am dedicated to making sure that tomorrow, and the next day, and next...will all be great days to be a Trojan too.

With that effort in mind and a focus on continued improvement, at the last WLPS Board of Education meeting, a recommendation for foreign language programming for the 2017-18 school was introduced.   

WLPS has begun a partnership with BCC International who are proposing to bring Mandarin Chinese teachers to our Early Childhood Center students and WLES students next year. The pilot program is an opportunity that presented itself because WLPS will be hosting some teachers from China this spring. The hosting is part of a larger project with local universities and some neighboring public schools. Teachers from China will learn how WLPS students are taught. Likewise, WLPS teachers will learn how lessons in China are taught. While coordinating that project BCC was impressed with the facilities and staff, as well as the community of Whitmore Lake.  Soon, we began working on the plan to introduce our students to a foreign language at a much younger level.  The recommendation, currently, will include Mandarin instruction for all pre-K through 3rd grade students.  I am very excited about this opportunity for our students.  

The addition of foreign language in early elementary is one of several programming recommendations which will be made for next year.  The Board has been updated on the following:
  •  Introduce AP Computer Science at the high school level next year.  The training and coursework will be done this summer so this new class can be available to students next year.  Only 20% of Michigan high schools qualified for the opportunity to introduce the course in 2017-18.  WLHS is one of them and proud of it!
  • Modify our upper elementary schedules to assist in the transition from elementary to middle level instruction.  A proposed schedule change would allow students grades 5 and 6 to explore strengths and weaknesses in their learning through the use of technology.
  • Increase opportunities for students in grades 5 and 6 to participate in the performing arts.
  • Expand project based learning lessons (PBL) for early to middle level elementary students.  WLPS will likely transition to STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics) learning platforms, which are extremely powerful.  PBL is the first step in that transition.
These new additions to our instructional programming will better prepare our students for global economies and global learning trends.  They create well-rounded students and give them opportunities to explore their own talents further through a personalized approach, which is part of our mission at WLPS--providing an exceptional, personalized education.   
I look forward to keeping you updated as we continue to develop these programs for next year.
And, as always, 美好的一天,从特洛伊开始!
Rounding up the Class of 2030
Last week was our annual Kindergarten Round Up event at WLES where we met and greeted our future class of 2030 and their families. I wanted to share their "wanted" pictures with you all. Click HERE to see the future of WLPS!

WLES voted "favorite school"
Thanks to the folks over at Macaroni Kid Livingston and our supporters who voted for them, Whitmore Lake Elementary School won the Gold Daisy School Contest! Today, as a thank you for all their hard work, teachers and staff enjoyed a free lunch from Gus' Carryout in Brighton sponsored by Mt Brighton.

Macaroni Kid Livingston is a free website and e-newsletter for families in the Livingston area. You can check them out at

Friday, March 17, 2017

News and Notes 3.19

We know amazing things are happening in our buildings each day, specifically in our classrooms. But we don't often recognize or are aware of the cool things happening in many of our support departments like transportation, custodial, maintenance and food service. I recently learned that our food service department earned a grant for a new fruit and vegetable bar. They are using it to provide more healthy options for the middle school and high school students who purchase lunch. And they are giving these health fruit and vegetables to students for FREE. They surely deserve a News and Notes shout out.

After seeing the success at the high school, our food service director, Diane Tomakowski, took the concept to the elementary school, and executed it on a smaller scale but with a bigger reach. She wanted it to be available to ALL students, even if they brought their lunch. She said when she first discussed the concept with her staff there were concerns on if the department, which is self-supporting, could afford to do that. Her immediate response? "It is the right thing to do." So they now provide a free serving of fruits and vegetables to any WLES student, no matter if they purchase a meal or not.

It is a great day, and perhaps a healthier day, to be a Trojan.

Guest Composer at WLHS
Yesterday our band students, elementary through high school, had the pleasure of meeting music composer, James Curnow. Curnow, who is in town to serve as a guest conductor at this week's Washtenaw Community Concert Band (WCCB) concert, Journey to Ireland, came to the WLHS theater during first hour to run a clinic with our students.
This past Saturday during their band festival, the WLHS band performed a piece of music written by Curnow, so it was very exciting for them to have the composer of the piece they have been playing come to work with them directly. It would be like our AP physics students getting to meet Albert Einstein and hear him explain the theory of relativity. It was pretty cool.
Curnow is from Michigan, born in Port Huron and grew up in Royal Oak where he attended public schools. He attended Wayne State University and Michigan State University. He has written over 400 pieces of music for band, orchestra, choral and the list goes on. You can read more about his impressive career HERE.
The cost of having this prestigious composer run a clinic with our students was covered by the WCCB as a thank you for the use of our high school band room for rehearsals. Our high school band teacher, Mike Kirby, is a member of the WCCB, and we thank him for helping facilitate such a valuable opportunity for our band students.
If you want to see some of our band members in action, head to the state competition this Saturday at Chelsea High School where Courtney Lund, French horn player, and Halie Pechette, flautist, will be competing. They qualified for states after competing, along with other members of the WLHS, in their solo and ensemble early this year earning ten 1 ratings (the top rating) during 15 events. Join me in wishing them the best of luck!

Let's continue to give some of our students kudos! Phoenix Wilson, WLES student, became the very first Whitmore Lake Wresting Club's state champion last week at just 7-years-old. She had to win all her matches at the MMWA wrestling league state finals to earn that distinction. She is joined by her siblings who also placed at the state meet. Lillian Wilson took second place and qualified to wrestle in the boys state championship. Jaxon Wilson took fourth place. All three are first-year wrestlers.

The youth program continues with freestyle and Greco (Olympic styles) season that lasts until the end of May. Registration is open to anyone, any age, and is $50 along with a USA Wrestling card and optional uniform which costs $60. Contact the head coach, Brent Harvey,

The success at our youth level follows our first ever high school season where our team of seven finished second at team districts. Head coach Brent Harvey said while the group was great with very good students, Kyle Watts, first-year wrestler, stood out with a 12-20 record.

Congratulations to all the student-athletes and coaches involved in a successful first year. We look forward to the future seasons!

Friday, March 10, 2017

News and Notes 3.18

Good Students Doing Good Things
I have a been a teacher, assistant principal, principal and a superintendent. The jobs are all different, but the challenges usually involve desperately searching for resources and time. Conversely, they all have the same upsides--getting to work with young people and sharing their successes. The past few weeks have had a good deal of upsides.

I spent a lot of time at the elementary school last week. I got to work with young readers and share their collective enthusiasm for reading. I even got to meet four very cool kindergarten students in a live interview which is posted on our Facebook page. Doing well in school is clearly an important objective for these young people. I was privileged to learn more from them. The thing I always take away from working with elementary kids is the excitement they have about high school. So, this week, I went back to the high school and spent time with them.

Our Quiz Bowl team took on the "grown ups" in the school... and the grown ups lost big, 265 to 120 I believe. I was part of the grown up team, and it was a tough defeat to absorb. But, as the students piled on points, I came to the realization that somebody had to prepare these super-smart, incredibly hard working, college-bound kids. And, in part, it was the same group who they were soundly beating. So, in a way, the grown ups win!

Not long after the defeat, I was watching our varsity boys' basketball team earn a victory in its first of two District games. ( District Final: WLHS vs. Greenhills School tonight at 6 p.m.) The Trojans looked impressive on the court. However, as I watched, it wasn't their basketball skills that made me most was their GPAs. Four of the boys are top scholars in this year's graduating class. All members are extremely successful in the classroom and have grade point averages near 3.5--pretty impressive. This group is hard working, and they show it on and off the court.

On Friday, I attended a robotic competition. Our very own Trobots were one of the smallest schools to participate in the event at Ann Arbor's Pioneer High School. But they were one of the best! Dozens of schools across the state were present. When I left, the Trobots were holding their own at 5th place. These boys and girls are good students, good competitors and good sports; they love what they do, and it shows. I was a proud Trojan and cheered like one. After all, it was a great day to be a Trojan.

Michigan National Guard Visits PE
Last Friday our middle school and high school physical education students were able to change things up a little bit thanks to the Michigan National Guard and physical education teacher, Mike LaNew. SFC Stephanie Randolph, a recruiter from the Michigan National Guard, brought in an inflatable obstacle course for students to try. In addition to the obstacle course, she brought a sumo-wrestling station and an inflatable jousting station.
Not only did it provide a nice change of pace and an engaging physical activity for these students, but students had an opportunity to interact with both SFC Randolph and SFC Wright, learning about their lives and the opportunities that the military can offer through education and careers beyond high school.
This was followed up by a visit from Army recruiters, Sgt. Walter and Sgt. Kimmel, last Tuesday. They also visited the physical education classes, leading students through some common PT exercises and teaching them about the opportunities the Army provides.
Word on the street is we will be welcoming SFC Randolph back with some more fun activities and surprises for our physical education classes, and we all look forward to that. Thanks to Mike LaNew for coordinating their visit and providing our students with a unique opportunity.
*Photo Credit Laura Sanderson
Check out more pictures from the event on our Facebook page HERE.

WLHS Drama Production
Our WLHS Drama Club wrapped up another fantastic production with A Midsummer's Night Dream this past weekend. I wanted to share some images taken during a rehearsal, as opposed to the production. Check out more photos in the album HERE. These images capture a few things worth noting. For those who enjoyed the show, you can see the additional steps that are taken to put forth a polished final product. And they show the interaction between the students and our fantastic Drama Director, Carol Spilak, something you don't observe during productions. 

Congratulations to all involved in the performances!
*Photo Credit: Laura Sanderson.

Miss Michigan Visits WLES as part of March is Reading Month
Thanks to our friends at CITGO PS Food Mart, as part of their Fueling Education program, Miss Michigan, Arianna Quan, visited WLES this afternoon to speak to the older grades about scholarship, learning, and kindness as well as speak and read to the younger grades. Sharing her story on what it was like to come to the United States at 6-years-old without knowing any English, she emphasized the need to work hard and set high goals. She even taught our students a few words of Mandarin.To take it a step further, CITGO provided nearly 300 books to be handed out at the final reading celebration later this month. Check out more pictures from the event on our Facebook page HERE.

Having celebrities, community members and special guests in general share their love of reading with our students goes a long way! If you are interested in joining the #WLESReads March is Reading Month festivities at WLES, consider coming in as a Listening Friend. Details on the event can be found HERE.

*Photo Credit: Laura Sanderson 

Events Coming Up
I wanted to wrap up by highlighting a few things coming up in the district. 
1) WL Community Pool has another Dive In Movie this Saturday, March 11. For just $5 per person ($40 family max) you get pizza, drinks, popcorn and a fun family-friendly night out in a 82-degree swimming pool! Beats driving to Florida. You can purchase advanced tickets until midnight tonight HERE.  
2) Next Tuesday, March 14, is the annual National Honor Society and Junior National Honor Society Lasagna Dinner. Click HERE for all the details and HERE to join the Facebook event and help spread the word. This is a key fundraiser for this organization who provides essential community service projects like Rake N' Run, canned food drives and Adopt-a-Family.
3) Next Wednesday, March 15, is our Kindergarten Round Up for the Fall 2017 school year! Our WLES staff is excited and ready to welcome the newest members of our Trojan family. All the details can be found HERE. And make sure to check out the testimonials from both our current kindergarten students and their families posted on our Facebook page.
4) And finally, next Saturday, March 18, WLHS Project Graduation, a parent ran group who provides our graduating seniors with a safe celebration on the night of graduation, is hosting a Pure Pro Wrestling event, featuring the WWE Alumni 1 Leg Wonder, Zach Gowen. You can find event details HERE.

Friday, February 24, 2017

News and Notes 3.17

Highlights from a Week Spent in WLPS
Graduation is 99 days away and most soon-to-be graduates are making college selections, identifying careers or firming up plans to serve in the military. Some have signed a letter of intent to continue playing their favorite sport in college. It has been fun to watch Evan Ward (lacrosse); Ryan Kadoguchi (baseball); and Audrey Lama (volleyball) make their choices, and see their talent and effort pay off.

Our elementary school recently completed a survey aimed at improving our learning opportunities. Some good results came out of the work, including college and career readiness. Our BOE will be using these results to plan for continuous improvement. One thing that I noticed over and over again on the survey was the deep care parents felt from all the staff at the school. I could not agree more.

I have heard (literally) that our middle school and high school students are loaded with outstanding choir students. So much talent deserves further development. Mrs. Fixler, our choir teacher, thinks so too. She is starting an A Cappella Club. This group will meet after school, and the interest in it will hopefully grow. Our aim is to meet the needs of our students and families in WL. This club is a great example of programming we are adding to improve the quality of our education and improve the experiences of our students in WLPS.

It is a great day to be a Trojan.

Free Basketball Camp
Last year, thanks to Team Alliance Plastics’ (TAP), Whitmore Lake Community Recreation (WLCR) and the Michigan Pond Hockey Sports Charities (MPHSC), 45 boys and girls in grades third-eighth who weren't heading on vacation for spring break participated in a free basketball camp. And we are excited to welcome the program back for a second year. 

A main sponsor, TAP, was founded in 2000 by Mike Cohen. Cohen played basketball for Iowa State University and continued to dedicate his life to the sport by funding basketball camps all over Michigan until losing a long battle with brain cancer in April, 2012.

In his memory, Cohen’s brother, Sheldon, and son, Matt, have continued to fund basketball camps across Michigan with a couple spring break camps in the works and plans to have more in the coming years. 

At the center of bringing the camp to Whitmore Lake is WLCR Recreation Coordinator and and WLPS Athletic Director, Brad McCormack. McCormack met Cohen years before he passed away when he quickly became one of McCormack’s biggest inspirations. His constant devotion and passion for getting kids involved in sports was something McCormack admired. 

“He was one of the toughest guys I knew, always pushing kids to their limits. But despite all of the long hours of practicing and yelling, Cohen was the nicest guy I’ve ever known,” McCormack shared.

With the mission of providing families financial assistance to help their children participate in youth athletic programs, when McCormack approached Sam Iaquinto, president of the MPHSC with Cohen’s story and the goal of bringing another camp to Whitmore, Iaquinto said helping make that happen was a no-brainer. 

And even though the Pond Hockey Tournament has been cancelled the past two years because of unseasonably warm weather, crippling their fundraising efforts, the group still stays dedicated to the cause, providing enough funding for 80 kids to participate in the camp! 

This year, the camp also welcomes a new sponsor, Brian Bower of Thrivent Financial.

Bower is no stranger to high school athletics or small towns. His dad was an Athletic Director and Varsity Basketball Coach for over 25 years at the small high school he attended in the Upper Peninsula and he played every sport offered to him. Currently he officiates for basketball and football at the high school and collegiate level, in addition to coaching his son's baseball and basketball teams.

"Sports teach so many valuable lessons to young people. Not only do they provide physical activity, but they teach kids about leadership, teamwork and sportsmanship," said Bower. 

Having lived in Whitmore Lake for the past three years and enjoying the small-town feel, similar to where he grew up, Bower was excited to connect with WLPS and give back to the community.

In addition to his work with the Spring Break Basketball Camp, Bower is also sponsoring the WLCR Youth Basketball League banquet, providing the pizza.

Registration opened this week, and we already have 26 kids registered. The deadline for registration is March 24 or until filled. For more information, contact To register click HERE or call 734.449.4461 x3057.

The WLCR department of Whitmore Lake Public Schools would like to sincerely thank TAP and the MPHSC for their generous support, along with their new sponsor Brian Bower of Thriven Financial. 

For more information on the Michigan Pond Hockey Sports Charities, check out their website here:

And for more information Thrivent Financial, check out their website here:

Rounding Up Our Tiny Trojans
Last Sunday a parent of an upcoming kindergartner shared one of the best posts on our Facebook page. I've shared it here. It is of her daughter "gearing up for kindergarten round-up. #TrojanPride." I love it. At a young age, she already knows she is getting ready to join "the school with the spirit" and ready to show off her #TrojanPride.

It also presents us with a great chance for us to remind our Trojans with tiny ones that two important events are coming up: Kindergarten Roundup and Preschool Registration. You can head to the Facebook events for more details or check out the flyers below. And for those who know young families, I encourage you to share that information with them as well. We are a school of choice, so even if they do not live in the district, we welcome them to these events to see the exceptional, personalized education we have to offer.

Next week for our March edition of Facebook Live Friday, I'll be joined on a school bus by a few WLES kindergarteners and our Elementary principal, Sue Wanamaker, to learn what it is like being a kindergartener at WLES. Tune in at 12:30 p.m. to our Facebook page, next Friday, March 3. I can't imagine anything better than chatting with kindergarteners on a live broadcast! It will be a ton of fun!

Friday, February 17, 2017

News and Notes 3.16

This week WLPS lost a couple of its finest after long battles with illnesses, Nancy Lashbrook and Bonnie Carpenter.

Former teacher, Nancy Lashbrook, lost a battle with ALS this past weekend. Although Nancy has been retired for 15 years, her death was deeply felt by staff and former students who fondly remembered her talent and compassion. Nancy moved back to her home state of Illinois after retiring from WLPS, but the distance didn't keep her students from finding her and sharing their successes. Her daughter, Lauren, commented on her mother's death this week. "She left the way she lived--surrounded by her loving family." On behalf of the WLPS Board of Education, staff and students, I express my sympathies to the Lashbrook family (Steve - husband, Dave - brother, Lauren - daughter). And, I extend thanks to Nancy for helping make great a group of Trojans who loved her very much. You can read more about Nancy's life 

More locally, Bonnie Carpenter ended a fight with cancer this week. Bonnie was a long-time supporter of WLPS. She first introduced herself to me over a decade ago as the "popcorn lady." I didn't understand her title completely until I walked into my first Battle of the Bands fundraiser and saw the Carpenters handing out bags of popcorn while the music seemingly was lifting the roof off its rafters. Bonnie was unphased, and her enthusiasm kept me from canceling the event for a noise violation. :) She just looked at me with a big smile and handed me a bag, as if to say, "Go. Enjoy yourself with these beautiful young people."

Bonnie, along with her husband, Will, were on campus so much as their children (Zach, Garrett, Mitchell and Maddie) navigated through school, I was tempted to hand them the keys and tell them to lock up when they were done. After all her children graduated, Bonnie remained active in WLPS by serving on the board of the Community Scholarship Fund with her husband Will. She was dedicated to fundraising for the betterment of children in Whitmore Lake. A Community Scholarship memorial fund has been set up in her honor and donation information is below.

A special service will take place at WLHS on Saturday, February 25 at 9:00 A.M. so friends and family of Bonnie can gather and share the gift of her life. There will, appropriately, be popcorn and a chocolate bar. (If you would like to contribute chocolate, bring your offering on Saturday).
In lieu of flowers, a memorial scholarship has been established and the wishes of Bonnie were for any contributions to be made toward furthering the education of future WLPS students. You can donate online HERE. You can also donate to continue research of her rare form of cancer by clicking on this fundraiser link:

Board president, Ken Dignan commented, "On behalf of the entire Board of Education, we express our condolences to the Carpenter family. Bonnie was an unwavering supporter of the students and staff of WLPS. Her dedication was truly an inspiration to serve and make our community a place where all children are welcome."

Next Level Trojan Pride
This week, our third WLHS athlete this year committed to play a sport at the collegiate level. On Wednesday in the WLHS gym, Ryan Kadoguchi, surrounded by his family, signed his letter of intent to attend and play baseball at Cleary University.

Last season, playing shortstop and pitcher, Ryan threw 26 strikeouts in 27 innings pitched, giving up only 11 earned runs, making his ERA 2.852. From the plate, Kadoguchi had a .304 batting average, with a season total of 31 hits, 27 of which being RBIs. With 15 walks and 31 hits, he had an on-base percentage of .392.

Kadoguchi joins Audrey Lama, who has committed to playing volleyball at Olivet College, and Evan Ward who has committed to play lacrosse at Concordia University Ann Arbor, as Trojans headed to play at the collegiate level next year. Additionally, we anticipate another announcement coming from Spencer Iaquinto who will be playing college football.
Join me in congratulating these student-athletes in taking their Trojan pride to the next level.

Jump, Jump Around!
If you were around WLES today and Thursday, you would have noticed a whole bunch of students jumping around. No, it wasn't sugar buzzes left over from Valentine's Day candy. It was our annual Jump Rope for Heart event. Students learned to jump rope with individual and long ropes, skip its, jump sticks and hurdles, and participated in limbo and jump rope contests. In addition to learning valuable heart healthy facts, they have raised over $10,000! With a goal of $15,000, the drive continues until February 28th. 

 If the students reach their goal, our PTA has generously agreed to provide a bounce house for all students to enjoy when the weather gets a little nicer. Now that is some motivation! WLES gym teacher and master-mind behind our super successful JRFH events, Aimee Taylor, share that many students have been getting serious with their fund-raising efforts, having done chores to earn money, donating birthday money and holding bake sales. One family even held an auction at a private gym to raise money for the cause!

Heart Month-based lessons continue throughout the month. Starting next week, students will travel through the four chambers of the heart, pretending they are red blood cells. As they travel through the heart obstacle course, students will learn about the risk factors for heart disease such as smoking, poor nutrition, lack of exercise and family history, in addition to learning about the warning signs of a stroke.

You can check out photos from the event courtesy of Pam Blount and WLES student, Joey Wilson, in the Facebook album HERE.

A special note for WLES families: Please have your students go online at, register and take the ZooCrew Ecard Heart Challenge and earn their badge by sending at least 10 emails or Ecards. If 50 of our students do so, our school will earn a $100 gift certificate for PE equipment and $300 if 100 students do so!

Friday, February 10, 2017

News and Notes 3.15

I get inspired by watching people do kind, unselfish things. This past fall, I watched the Carpenters (Bonnie and Will) put together a Whitmore Lake Cross Country reunion at the Larry Steeb Invitational. The event brought back many alumni, friends, and families. It even brought back the traditional breakfast. Seeing Will Carpenter flipping pancakes filled me with a flood of old memories and reminded me of how many people are truly involved in the education of our students. It is not just teachers, students, moms and dads--it is a much larger group of people. 
The sentiment that educating our community's children is best done by a very broad network of supporters was strong motivation to revitalize the Whitmore Lake Foundation of Educational Excellence ( and continue to support the very successful Community Scholarship Fund, of which Bonnie and Will Carpenter serve on the Board.
The Whitmore Lake Foundation for Educational Excellence (WLFEE) is run by a board of community members.  Funds are largely generated by employee contributions. The Foundation recently approved funding $5,000 in classroom technology improvements at WLES!  The intent is to expand that amount each year. WLFEE has a couple fundraising opportunities in the coming months. On March 9, they'll be hosting an event at Panera, details coming soon. On May 12, Whitmore Lake Community Recreation is hosting a Zumbathon to benefit WLFEE. Details can be found HERE. Thanks in advance for your support.
Community Scholarship Fund's (CSF) letter campaign just started this week. Support from local donors and alumni all over the planet generate thousands of dollars in annual scholarships for WLHS graduates. Last year, graduates from the Class of 2016 received nearly $30,000 from our community alone. Many of these scholarships are in honor of past Trojans, including Larry Steeb, Glenn Bachman and more. This year, the CSF Board of Directors created an additional scholarship to honor Bonnie Carpenter and the contributions she has made to WLPS. You can make a tax-deductible donation to a specific scholarship or to the fund at large by visiting their website,
For those people who make it part of their life to keep giving to the students of our community, I say to you, it's a great day to be a Trojan.
New Art Teacher
While we are sad to say goodbye to Ms. Rea (if you didn't see last week's Facebook Live Friday with her, make sure to check that out HERE), we are excited to welcome a new Trojan to the team, Sarah Koch, as her replacement. Below is an interview with Ms. Koch to help you get to know her. And I hope you all will join me in welcoming her to Whitmore Lake!
On a side note, Ms. Koch has a solo art exhibition opening at Wayne Community College's Brown and Juanita C. Ford Art Gallery at the Downriver Campus starting March 1 that runs through March 23. I encourage you all to go, and check it out!

Q: Where are you from and where do you currently live?
A: I am from Livonia, and I have lived in Livonia my entire life.

Q: Tell us about your family.
A: My family is very tight-knit, and we all like spending time together. My mom is a registered nurse and supervisor and my dad is retired from General Motors. I have an older brother who is a few years older than me who is a musician and plays hockey in his spare time. I am the only one in my family who is an artist and a teacher. Unfortunately, I do not have any pets right now, but I am hoping to get a dog sometime in the future! I love animals, and I have always wanted a pet.

Q: Where did you attend high school, and what was your favorite subject in school?
A: I attended Churchill High School in Livonia. My favorite subject in high school was art which makes sense because I am now both an art teacher and an artist.

Q: Where did you go to college?
A: I attended the College for Creative Studies which is a private art college in Detroit. 

Q: What made you want to teach in Whitmore Lake?
A: I attended a small college which has a very tight-knit community where all of the instructors and students know each other very well. I was looking for that same experience as a teacher, and I felt that Whitmore Lake had a similar setting to my college experience.

Q: With less than a week under your belt, what would you say your favorite part has been?
A: My favorite part has been getting to know the staff, faculty, and students. I have received an overwhelmingly positive and supportive reception from everyone at Whitmore Lake. I am looking forward to what the future will hold as a faculty member at Whitmore Lake.

Q: What do you look forward to the most?
A: I look forward to helping students grow and develop as creative thinkers, problem solvers, and artists. I am very passionate about both art and education and I am excited to pass on my art knowledge to my students.

Q: Is there something about you that would surprise others about you?
A: I have a black belt in Martial Arts.

Q: Name one of your favorite books?
A: The Outsiders

Q: And, important stuff here, what is your favorite food?
A: I would have to say pizza is my favorite food; it's a classic.

Q:Anything else to add?
A: I am very happy and excited to be here at Whitmore Lake! I can't wait to meet more of the staff, faculty, and students.
WLHS Quiz Bowl
It is official. After winning their division in the Tri-County Quiz Bowl league, The WLHS Varsity Quiz Bowl team has qualified to head to the state finals at Michigan State University coming up in April! Having made it to states two out of the three past seasons, they hope to place high in this state tournament with many returning players on the team this year.

On this year's team are Caleb Henning, Gabrielle Angel, Laura Sanderson, Lydia Rogers, Justin Florkowski, Mallory Bolda, Danielle Corrie, Cole Griffin, and Hunter Fanson.

They gathered together this past Wednesday, with their family and friends, for an end of season banquet to celebrate their strong season, going 5-1 in their division and 8-2 in their league. Varsity coach LuAnn Easlick and Junior Varsity coach Julie Fleury awarded Varsity players with their letters, two or three year pins and/or four year certificates, and gave all players participation certificates and individual awards.

And the team has a lot to celebrate, considering the regular season goes from October to February. Both Varsity and Junior Varsity have weekly meets and practices twice a week. Varsity will continue to practice until the state finals, with a Varsity vs. Faculty meet in the works to motivate the team to stay sharp.
Junior Varsity had a great year as well. They won the red division title with a 6-0 record in division matches and finished with an overall season record of 9-1. Congratulations to the team, which includes Abbigail Fraga, Marissa Kyle, Kohl Majesky, Claire Schwennesen, Christina Smith, Carissa Stanley and Matt Schwennesen.
Congratulations to the coaches and students on another successful season, and best of luck to the varsity team as they prepare and head to the state competition. Go Trojans!  

100th Day of School
Though the official 100th day of school isn't until Valentine's Day, our Kindergarten classes celebrated it a few days early to give some space between the festivities.

Each month Ms. Matovski's 5th grade class partners with our kindergarten classes for "Buddies" time where the older students have an opportunity to help the younger students with a project, craft, or learning how to read. Today they celebrated the 100th day of school together, making gum ball projects along with counting 100 gum balls! We also had some special "100-year-old" visitors come to Kindergarten today to join the festivities. (I'd like to trade with the one wearing the "Retired and Loving It" hat for a day).

Here is to the next 82 school days left!

Friday, January 27, 2017

News and Notes 3.14

On Monday I attended our retreat with our Board of Education where we explored the things we do well at WLPS. I wanted to share an infographic highlighting those points of Trojan Pride. Enjoy this visual representation of just some of the reason why it is a great day to be a Trojan.

College Planning Course
As we wrap up another semester, we are also wrapping up the College Planning Course pilot. WLHS is one of 36 schools in the state to participate in this program, which is a collaboration between the Michigan Department of Education and the Michigan College Access Network (MCAN).
As part of the curriculum, students in this elective explored career interests, what they would need to do after high school to pursue that career, created resumes, discussed how to find the right college match or fit, completed college and scholarship applications, the FAFSA, heard presentations from college representatives visiting the class and much more.
As a final project this week, seniors in the two sections of the class presented what college they have chosen and why it is a good fit, what their area of study will be (if decided), what steps they have taken in the admissions process and what steps are left, what activities on campus they are interested in and what their housing and meal plan plans will be. From Washtenaw Community College to the University of Michigan and Eastern Michigan University and beyond, the choices varied. Some students were motivated by price of tuition, particular area of study, chance to compete on an athletic team and proximity to home (whether it be close to home or far, far away).
The research team heading up this project provided the district with the curriculum, lesson plans, assignments and training for our teacher, Kris Klump-Ward, along with a small stipend for participating. As part of the pilot, our students, teacher and administration had to complete a variety of surveys, the results of which will be used to evaluate the effects of embedding college advising into the high school curriculum.
While some students entered the class already having their minds made up, for many of our students having time during the school day for guidance to make educated decisions was very beneficial.  In addition, students didn't miss other classes for college visits, as all admission reps came during the College Planning course. Plus students were exposed to colleges they might not have normally considered. As example, Ms. Klump-Ward indicated a few of our students plan on attending Adrian even though it wasn't on their initial list of colleges they were considering.  
This course was a great addition to the already existing efforts of growing the college-going culture of WLPS, helping the statewide initiative of increasing the percentage of Michigan residents with high quality degrees or credential to 60% by 2025. We look forward to running the second year of the pilot with the Class of 2018.
Snowcoming 2017
Believe it or not, Snowcoming is next week, though I'm not sure Michigan got the memo. Either way, below is a reminder of spirit days celebrated both by at the elementary and secondary level. I encourage you all to come out to the high school next Friday to support our boys teams at the Snowcoming game as well as enjoy the court celebration between the JV and Varsity games. And a friendly reminder to students, the dance will be on Saturday, February 4, 7:30 p.m. Admission is $10 or you can get in free by helping the Student Council decorate Saturday morning starting at 9 a.m. Dress is semi-formal so no jeans are allowed. The doors will be closed and locked at 9 p.m. and no one will be allowed to enter after that time. Students bringing someone who is a non-WLPS student must get a guest pass from the office. Feel free to tweet any Snowcoming questions to our WLHS Student Council @WLHSstuco.
Facebook Live Friday Next Week
In lieu of News and Notes, on the first Friday of every month, I've been doing what we call "Facebook Live Fridays" where I invite a special guest to join me on a bus ride to highlight different things happening in our community and school district. Next week I will have the pleasure of sitting down with our beloved art teacher Mrs. Rea on her very last day at WLHS. Mrs. Rea is heading for retirement, so make sure to tune in next Friday at noon, and join me in showering her with appreciation and well wishes!