Friday, April 21, 2017

News and Notes 3.22

Sinking Fund Update
If you supported our sinking fund this past November, let me extend one more thank you. This district needs some updating, and the sinking fund is the right tool for the job.  As I sat in traffic on US 23 last night - watching bridges being put up and taken down, lanes expanded, very cool heavy equipment moving about - I thought, "Now is a good time for an update on WLPS projects."
 
Planning, planning, planning.  We have done a lot of planning.  WLPS has been working with construction, engineering and architectural firms on creating an accurate cost analysis of all our desired projects.  You might remember from information given prior to the November ballot initiative that WLPS is focusing on high-end repairs to existing structures, energy conservation and technology upgrading.  

Let's tackle technology first.  Most of the technology upgrades allowed under sinking fund law have been addressed.  We have replaced much of the wireless system that was installed between 2004-2006. In the fall of 2017, wireless will be expanded to areas outside our buildings. Under existing law, that is the extent of what we can do.  WLPS could expand the role of its sinking fund to include computer or device purchasing.  Shortly after our community passed the sinking fund, legislation passed allowing sinking funds to be used to purchase devices.  However, since that came AFTER the community vote, changing the role would require another vote, which the Board of Education is evaluating. Upgrading the infrastructure and purchasing updated technology are both critical needs. Meeting those needs basically gives WLPS a green light to start expanding the role of computers and tablets in the education of our children.

Major repairs and renovations have consumed most of my time since January.  The mild winter gave construction managers and engineers a good chance to evaluate the condition of our high school athletic fields, which have struggled in recent years with significant water retention and, in the case of our track, have been weathered to the point of replacement.  At the same time, needs inside our buildings have been targeted - mostly in the area of energy conservation.  In addition, this past week, crews were at the elementary school looking at the sidewalks, parking lots, driveways and the playground. 
 
What's next?  At Monday's Board of Education meeting, I will present a recommended priority list.  The Board will get an opportunity to weigh in on these recommendations and then timelines for project completion begin.  Stay tuned to News and Notes for future updates, especially when the first major project begins so you can see the progress and share in our excitement.
 
Thank you again for the support of and investment in WLPS.

Quiz Bowl Headed to States Today
We gave you a recap of our Varsity Quiz Bowl teams successful season in News and Notes 3.15, letting you know that they qualified for the state finals at Michigan State University. Well, the state finals are here, and our team headed off early this morning to start competing. This is the second time our Quiz Bowl team has qualified for the state final in the past three years. When they went there in 2015, that was the first time in 13 years! Word as we went to press, or posted, or whichever is the proper blogging lingo, was that they won their first round match. We wish them the very best and look forward to hearing about the rest of the competition!

Alumni Spotlight: Sierra Moran
I had the pleasure of learning that Class of 2014 WLHS graduate, Sierra Moran, received two scholarships from Eastern Michigan University this week! One was from EMU's Chemistry department and one from their Biology department. Both were in recognition of academic excellence and her plans to teach science to future generations. As educators, we genuinely relish the chance to celebrate the daily victories of each of our current students. And we are equally as delighted to learn how the WLPS education our graduates received serve them as they go out to be contributing members of society. Join me in congratulating Sierra on a much-deserved honor. 

Are you or do you know of a WLHS alumni working in an interesting field, achieving big things, giving back to a community or exemplifying #TrojanPride? We would love to hear about it. E-mail Maria Carter-Ewald, our Community Relations and Recreation Director, at maria.carter-ewald@wlps.net to be featured in a future Alumni Spotlight. Not only are we rewarded by learning about our alumni success, but we use those profiles as a way to inspire and motivate our current students, highlighting for them what exciting things are ahead of if they continue to work hard.

Buckle Up for Life Coming to Whitmore Lake
This week both our students and parents at our Early Childhood Center enjoyed presentations from Buckle Up for Life, a community-based passenger safety education program focused on educating families on essential safety skills and providing free child car seats to families in need. Providing statistics that in the U.S., only 1 in 4 child car seats are properly installed, their efforts are extremely important, and we are grateful to have them bring their services to our community.

They are following up their presentations with a Car Seat and Booster Bash this coming Monday, April 24 from 10 a.m.-2 p.m. at the ECC. Families can make an appointment for a free car seat safety check, and free replacement seats will be available for those in need. Appointments are required, and you can reserve your spot by calling C.S. Mott Children's Hospital at 734.763.2251. We hope you will take advantage of this fantastic program.

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