Friday, January 15, 2016

News and Notes: Volume 2, Number 17

Dedication to Whitmore Lake's Children
The last few nights of this week have been spent organizing our Board of Education committees with the president, Ken Dignan. He stays up late after his job is done, and we communicate back and forth about how to get the most out of the district we both care so deeply about. This week, more than others, I am reminded of how much dedication being a board member takes. Therefore, I want to remind all of you that January is School Board Recognition month.

Members of the WLPS Board of Education have diverse backgrounds, but we all work together toward one end goal--making the lives of the children in our community better each day they enter through our school doors. Collectively, thousands of hours get spent making sure that goal is reached. It is a sacrifice with little reward outside the personal satisfaction of knowing you are making a difference. This is the month to thank each of them: Ken Dignan, president; Lisa McCully, vice president; Bob Henry, treasurer; Rita LaForest, secretary; Shelli Kritzman, trustee; and Lynn Slagle, trustee.

Lastly, I would like to thank Jeff Vega for his five years of service to our schools. Mr. Vega formally resigned this week, and I am sure he is looking forward to spending more time with his family. WLPS will be accepting applications for new members until February 1. The application is available on our website.

To all our board members, past and present: thank you for keeping public education alive and well in Whitmore Lake where it is always a great day to be a Trojan.

Results from last year's state test were mailed out to parents this week. They should be arriving today or tomorrow.

Last spring students in grades 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, and 11 took new online tests from the state of Michigan called the MSTEP. The move from paper and pencil tests to online tests was, among other things, going to provide us with prompt feedback on multiple measures of our curriculum implementation. Unfortunately these results just arrived this week. Staff members will be using these results as a benchmark to improve upon in coming years. If you have questions about the test results, please don't hesitate to contact your child's school.

Varsity Competitive Cheer Aims at Three-Peat

This season our varsity competitive cheer team (pictured on the left) kicked off the season with one goal in mind: defend its back-to-back District championships to make it a three-peat in 2016. With its first competition just three weeks after the season began, the teams started the season focused on intense conditioning, mastering their new material and acquiring new skills. Their off-season work on gymnastics and conditioning made this much easier.  
With the team's reputation of very clean rounds, head coach Ashley Guastella, WLHS alumna, has challenged them with competing at a higher difficulty level, debuting new stunts, and showcasing their new gymnastic skills while also maintaining their clean rounds. With JV coach Alexandria DeLuca and Middle School coach, Chelsea Truhn, both WLHS alumnae, on board to help the teams reach that goal, the season looks bright. 

To see our teams in action, come out to WLHS next Tuesday, January 19, at 5:30 p.m. for our home Cheer Invitational.

WLPS Robotics
The Whitmore Lake High School robotics team, the TroBots, went to the University of Michigan last weekend to kick off a new season. The team, made up of 11 9th-12th graders, heard from a female professor who shared her inspiring work in kinesthetic robotics designing power-assisted leg replacements for amputees. They then watched the worldwide broadcast breaking down the new game for this year before heading back to Whitmore Lake where they worked for four hours on Saturday and four hours on Sunday strategizing for the season and designing the robot for this year. Over the next six weeks, the team will work to make those plans come to fruition. They will unveil this year's robot at Whitmore Lake Community Recreation's 2nd Annual Cabin Fever Extravaganza, a family event on February 27 from 3:30 p.m.-6:30 p.m. at Whitmore Lake High School, giving everyone a chance to get out of the cold and into the fun! They will head to Southfield for their first competition March 4 and March 5.

Coming off an extremely successful season where the team made it to the world competition, team mentor, Lynne Mead, is excited for the upperclassmen to demonstrate their ability to analyze and design with very little input from the mentors. We all look forward to another exciting and interesting robotics season!

As our high school robotics team, the TroBots, gear up for a new season, our middle school team, the Titanium Trojans, wrapped up a strong season. This season our 5th-8th graders had to build and operate a robot that would rescue stranded mountain climbers and clear avalanche debris.

At the Canton tournament, the TT went 3-2 in match play and placed a very respectable 6th place out of 24 teams, losing best of three in the semi-finals. They went onto the Howell tournament, where they finished 5-0 in match play and won best of three in the semi-finals, but ultimately lost a best of three in the finals to wrap up the season.

The team is actively looking for new members and adult mentors for the 2016 school year to kick off the season in September. If you would like more information or would like to be added to their list, contact Jeff Schwennesen at
Donated Guitars
Thanks to two Whitmore Lake families, our 5th and 6th graders have five new guitars and cases to use in class. Our students are loving the new guitars and putting them to good use. We still have a need for additional guitars and new cases. If you are interested in donating toward this cause, contact Lisa Shanks at