Friday, February 5, 2016

News and Notes: Volume 2, Number 20

After a rousing march by our Trojan Band through the hallways of WLHS, I can say with the utmost confidence, "It's the school with the spirit, it's the school with the pep." It is Snowcoming Friday, and the colors red and white are out in full force in Whitmore Lake. Snowcoming activity is found in abundance at the secondary level, like the band's hall march and our afternoon pep assembly, but spirits are high at the elementary today, as well. 
I look forward to seeing our community come out in droves tonight to watch our varsity girls and boys basketball teams take on Clinton. The girls play at 5:30 p.m. and the boys immediately afterward. The Snowcoming court will be announced between the two games.

Today is a great day to be a Trojan!
Count Day is Wednesday
Not as exciting as a Snowcoming Friday, but count day has its upside. This year's upside is stable enrollment.  At the elementary level, we started the year with approximately 420 students.  As of today, the enrollment is 425.  Our middle grades (7-8) started the year with approximately 120 students.  Like the elementary, the enrollment there has increased by 5 to 125. Our high school has stayed the same at approximately 300 students. (I use the word approximately because some of our students attend special programs and are not in the buildings.)  Bottom line, our schools grew a bit from our fall enrollment count, which is encouraging.

There are some misconceptions that exist about count days.  Most prominent is the belief that if a student misses on this day, we can still count him/her on count day. This is not the case. The absence on count day requires our office staff to engage in lengthy paperwork and track the student's attendance in our school upon his/her return for a certain period of time in order to count him or her toward our enrollment. So, if at all possible, try to have your children in attendance next week. The only caveat is if your son or daughter is legitimately ill, then please keep him/her home. Count Day is important, but your child's health and well-being should take priority.

An Interview with our School Counselor
February 1 through February 5 is National School Counseling Week to focus public attention on the unique contribution of school counselors within our nation's school systems. To celebrate, our students, Valerie Lee and Deonte Dewyer, presented our High School Counselor, Kathy DeKeyser, with a big thank you card signed by the student body to show their appreciation. 

To help our community gain a better understanding of who our High School Counselor is and what her role is in our schools, our Director of Community Relations and Recreation, Maria Carter-Ewald, sat down with her. I've included their interview below. Join me in thanking Mrs. DeKeyser for her role in helping our students achieve school success and plan for their future.
Maria Carter-Ewald: How long have you been at WLPS?
Kathy DeKeyser:  I started teaching at WLHS in the fall of 1999.  I taught French and English, everything from English 9, Writing Skills, and Creative Writing to Yearbook and Reading Workshop.

MCE: How long have you been a school counselor? 
KD: This is my 10th year as a school counselor. I started the same year that the new high school building opened.

MCE: What is your education background? 
KD: I have a B.A. with a double major in English and French from Hillsdale College, an M.A.T. from Indiana-Purdue Fort Wayne (IPFW) and a M.Ed. in School Counseling from Grand Valley State University.  I specifically chose Grand Valley because, at the time, it was one of the few schools that offered a counseling degree specifically for the school setting, which is where I knew I wanted to be.
MCE: What lead you pursue a degree in school counseling?  
KD: I had an amazing school counselor when I was in high school, and the same impact he
had on me, I wanted to have on students.

MCE: What have been some of your brightest moments thus far?
KD: It was really amazing to be awarded the Reach Higher grant. It's been nice to do some focused work centered on college access for our students, and it's been really fun having money to spend on prizes, field trips, etc.

MCE: What have been some of the biggest challenges?
KD: Time is my biggest challenge. It's difficult to accomplish everything I need to and want to at all the different grade levels.
MCE: What are your goals/priorities for our students at WLPS?  
KD: I want all of our graduates to leave WLHS with the knowledge, skills, and confidence to be successful after high school. I want them to have a strong sense of self, to know their strengths and their weaknesses, so they can ultimately find a fulfilling career.

Quiz Bowl Heads to Districts
Our Varsity Quiz Bowl will be heading to the district tournament at the WISD in Ann Arbor on Monday, February 8. Having finished the regular season second in their division and fourth in the league overall, they head to districts with a strong chance of earning a spot at States for the second year in a row. No matter the result of districts, we congratulate our Varsity team on a great season thus far, lead by their coach LuAnn Easlick. Our Junior Varsity team also had a strong season, having tied for second place in their division and taking third place in overall league wins lead by their coach Julie Fleury.
Join me in wishing the following students a successful run at districts:
Laura Sanderson
Gabby Angel
Lydia Rogers
Justin Florkowski
Caleb Henning
Mallory Bolda
Adam Benmoussa
Danielle Corrie
M-Step Results
Last week M-Step results were mailed home, and for those who want more assistance on understanding these reports, below is a great video to check out.

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