Friday, April 22, 2016

News and Notes: Volume 2, Number 27

Beauty and the Beast

If you have not yet had a chance to see and hear the talent of WLPS students, I highly recommend you come to Beauty and the Beast this weekend (Saturday, 7 pm or Sunday, 2 pm in the Whitmore Lake High School theater). If you have young kids, you can also get a sneak peak at the character tea tonight. Click HERE for details.  Last night I attended a special Thursday night performance, and all I can say is "wow!" We have a group of young men and women who can do great things.

I have seen dozens of school plays and musicals in my career. At WLPS, I have seen many, many special stars in these performances. What sets Beauty and Beast apart from other shows is the volume of talent. Director, Carol Spilak (WLHS Class of 2003), casted students from both our middle school and high school and the collaboration is perfectly done. 

What a great day to be a Trojan.

Positive Behavioral Interventions & Supports: Phase 2
You will hear me say it again and again. What is our number one job as a school district? To keep our kids safe. We are in our second year of a program at Whitmore Lake Elementary School with the focus of doing just that--providing a school-wide approach to create a safer and more positive learning culture. This program is called Positive Behavioral Interventions & Supports (PBIS).

I first introduced PBIS in V1.11 of News and Notes last year to provide parents with a brief overview of the program. You can read that HERE. We are in the second-year of the program working on phase 2. With PBIS students and parents learn what the expectations are in the school building in terms of being responsible, being respectful and being safe. They are then awarded in a variety of ways for meeting those expectations. Students can earn WOW tickets that they can use toward classroom awards and participation in the monthly celebrations. Throughout the year there are also school-wide celebrations varying from a movie day to a special guest or performer.

Students enjoyed their latest school-wide celebration last Friday. Based on the results of surveys the PBIS team collected from students, students wanted the ability to choose their activities during a celebration. Staff listened to their request and filled the computer labs, gym, cafeteria, lobby and media center with a variety of fun activities ranging from coloring, music for dancing, jump rope and basketball, computer games, board games and the list goes on.

Then this week, students participated in their monthly assembly with a visit from the The NED Show ( The NED Show is a character education program. Centered around a cartoon character, NED, whose name is an acronym for “Never give up, Encourage others and Do your best,” NED’s lessons are taught through an engaging presentation combining storytelling and yo-yos believe it or not. What makes this program extra unique is there is no cost to the school. Instead it is funded by a “pay-it-forward” model where the sales of yo-yos at one school helps fund the presentation at the next school. All in all, The NED Show, and programs like it, are great additions to the PBIS program.
Students who do not meet their monthly goal for PBIS and are unable to participate in the rewards are part of the “reteaching group” where they spend the time during the celebrations meeting with the principal, Sue Wanamaker, participating in small group activities focused on reteaching expectations and what changes each students can make to participate in the next celebration.
A huge take away of the program is that it helps create an environment conducive to teaching where students are able to learn at their best because they feel comfortable, safe and supported. We are currently the only school in Washtenaw County participating in PBIS, making it another reason why WLES is unique. While the original plan was to move to phase 3 for the 16/17 school year, the PBIS team has decided to continue with phase 2, spending more time on reaching those goals. The goals include increased parent and community involvement and bus and cafeteria participation, taking the expectations outside of the classrooms.

To learn even more about PBIS, check out our parent brochure HERE.

If you would like to support PBIS by getting involved or donating to help bring in additional programs and celebrations, contact Caroline Semrau at

Community Partner: PS Food Mart
We want to send a special thank you to our friends at the PS Food Mart/CITGO store that opened up this past November on North Territorial for their generous contribution of over $2,700 to the Feeding His Sheep program at WLES as part of their annual "Fight Hunger Give Hope" fundraising campaign. They raised the money at their store in just two weeks thanks to the efforts of their employees and customers.

Their Vice-President, Jim Linton, stopped by WLHS to present me with the check that will go directly to funding the weekend backpack food program that provides balanced nutritional meals to elementary-aged children run by the Salvation Army of Washtenaw County. Thanks also to the Whitmore Lake Kiwanis club who brought the program to WLES and helps facilitate it.


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