Friday, October 27, 2017

News and Notes 4.6

In light of our fall sports season wrapping up, I'm excited to have our Athletic Director, Brad McCormack, as a guest blogger to kick off this week's News and Notes highlighting our fall Trojan athletic season. Join me in congratulating all of our student-athletes and their coaches on successful seasons. Come out to support our Volleyball and Cross Country teams as their seasons continue over the next few weeks.

Read on after Mr. McCormack's post as I share some cool things happening in our 2nd-grade classrooms and ways to stay connected with what is happening in WLPS to wrap up this week.

It's a great day to be a Trojan.

-Tom DeKeyser
WLPS Superintendent

Trojan Fall High School Sports Recap
Guest Blogger: Brad McCormack, Athletic Director

For some, success is simply based on wins and losses. For me, success means so much more than that. Over the past several months, our fall student-athletes have worked tirelessly toward achieving one objective...success.

The 2017 fall sports season started with high expectations for the Trojans. Volleyball in search of a conference title and looking to avenge an early exit in the 2016 district tournament, Cross Country seeking a second consecutive TCC championship with sights on a team qualification at states and football with aspirations of making it to playoffs for the first time since 2013.

Coming off a 2-7 2016 season, Trojan football opened their season with a shoot-out win over East Jackson. After storming out to a 40-8 lead, East Jackson stormed back tying the score 40-40 late in the 4th quarter. With our final possession, the boys marched down the field for six to win the game 48-40. After the season opener win, the team hit a rough patch losing the next four games to Dundee, Clinton, Whiteford and Summerfield. In week six, we were able to right the ship shutting out Madison 35-0--our first shutout since 2014. That win was followed up with a loss to Morenci and a win at Britton Deerfield. In a very emotional senior night, we were defeated by a strong Sand Creek squad completing our season with a 3-7 record.

On the offensive side of the ball, the Trojans were led by senior quarterback Bryan Pasciak. Pasciak completed 31 of 74 pass attempts ending his season with 498 yards and six touchdowns. Sophomore Evan Romeo was the leading ball carrier with 146 carries for 817 yards and six touchdowns. He was followed by senior Steven Leach with 82 carries for 453 yards and six touchdowns. Ryan Thoman was our third-leading rusher with 281 yards and our leading receiver with 236 yards.

Our defense was led by senior Ryan Thoman. In only eight games, Thoman tallied 122 tackles leading the Tri-County Conference. Sophomore Izaak Angel also had a terrific season with 109 tackles, one forced fumble, three fumble recoveries and two sacks.  

With nine seniors set to graduate this year, our Trojans will be very young next season. Nevertheless, the goal will remain the same. Six wins get us in.

Cross Country
Looking to build on their successful TCC Championship last year, our boys cross country team started the season with their eye on back-to-back titles. Out of the 12 meets they competed in throughout the season, they won the Springport, Madison and Larry Steeb Invitationals. Junior Kevin LaMont was also the overall winner of the Springport Invitational. However at the TCC Championship meet they were outpaced by the state ranked Aggies of Sand Creek and finished 2nd. The boys had five student-athletes recognized by the conference:

1st Team All-TCC: Senior Hunter Fanson, Junior Kevin LaMont and Sophomore Clay Rinna
2nd Team All-TCC: Senior Colton Seigle
Honorable Mention: Dillin Kowalewski 

The girls also had a strong 2017 season as well. They followed up their 2016 TCC performance with a fourth-place finish. They also placed third at the Madison Invitational and second at the Larry Steeb Invitational. Several of the runners set personal record during the season including Rylee Phillips (23:49), Jossalyn Johnson (24:36), Hannah Smith (26:30), Abbie Kurtz (28:27) and Eveliina Taylor (29:03). The following student-athletes on the team were recognized by our conference:

1st Team All-TCC: Jordan Craven
2nd Team All-TCC: Maggie Lustig
Honorable Mention: Rylee Phillips

Both teams head to the Regional Championship this Saturday, 10 a.m. where they will compete at Willow Metropark in New Boston with their eye on the prize. If the teams and/or individual runners advance to the State Finals, they will run at Michigan International Speedway on November 4th.

After a second place conference finish and an early exit in the state tournament last year, the girls started the season focused on a conference title and more. The Trojans are having one of the best seasons in school history...yes, you read that correctly. Their overall record currently sits at 31-8 and they finished as conference runner-up for the second consecutive year at 12-2.

The Trojans opened their season with consecutive tournaments at Jonesville and Ann Arbor Greenhills. After consecutive losses to Jonesville and Hillsdale, they won the next three matches to be crowned silver division champs. At the Greenhills tournament, they went 4-1 on the day and defeated Detroit Country Day in the championship match. Over the next 11 matches, the ladies went 9-2 heading into their annual home invitational. At their home invite, they finished 3-1 after losing to Olivet in the gold bracket semi-finals. That all led to a conference showdown with conference undefeated Adrian-Madison. After dropping the opening match of the double-header, the WLHS Trojans regrouped to defeat the opposing Trojans 3-1, handing them their first conference loss in two years.

All of this leads up to MHSAA District play which opens next Monday, October 30th when the Trojans play host to Riverview Gabriel Richard at 6:00 p.m. A district championship would land them a spot in the Regional tournament at Vandercook Lake. We hope you will come out and support our team!

A noted individual accomplishment during the season was Bre’Anna Standlick being named
Michigan Interscholastic Volleyball Coaches Association (MIVCA) Player of the Week for the State of Michigan in September.

Overall, I am extremely proud of both our student-athletes and coaching staff. I have watched both invest countless hours of time in the weight room, film room and practice field/court all in search of one common goal...success. Their hard work has and is coming to fruition. I look forward to sharing their continued success.

Upcoming Winter Sports
Winter sports for WLPS will get underway on Monday, October 30th with the boys middle school basketball teams’ opening practices. In the following two weeks, girls (November 6th) and boys (November 13th) basketball, wrestling along with competitive cheer and bowling will also kick off. Later in the month, our swim team (a co-op with Greenhills and Gabriel Richard) starts November 20th. Interested in joining these teams and have questions? Feel free to contact me at or 734.449.4461 x3005. And for continued Trojan athletics updates, follow us on Twitter @wl_athletics.

A few dates to mark your calendars:
December 29th: Wrestling will host a home wrestling tournament
January 27th: Competitive cheer will host their annual invitational
February 23rd: Boys and girls varsity basketball teams will host conference rival Clinton at Little Caesars Arena in downtown Detroit. Pre-sale tickets ($35) are on sale now in the athletic office. Your ticket will get you into the HS games AND the Pistons vs. Celtics game that evening.

Go Trojans!

Getting to Know Their Hometown
As part of our Project Based Learning, our 2nd-grade classes are learning about the community of Whitmore Lake. Several weeks ago both teachers Cathy Schneider and Katie Sloan sent home an assignment for their students to find out one interesting thing about their community to share with the class.

While sharing all the cool things they learned about their community with each other in class, their teachers asked them if they thought everyone in their community knows all these cool facts about Whitmore Lake. The students didn’t think everyone did and suggested they come up with a way to share this information.

Their solution? Write a book to put in the public library to teach others in our community about all that they have learned about Whitmore Lake!

They then set out to do first-hand research by visiting several places in Whitmore Lake to learn even more. And last Friday, October 20, they did just that.

Ms. Schneider and Ms. Sloan’s class loaded onto a school bus and visited the Northfield Township offices housing our police and fire stations and township offices, eating lunch upstairs at the fire station. After they continued on to the Jennings Athletic Complex and park, they headed to the Post Office; Polly’s Market, where they were given some yummy treats; and the Library.

One group of students from each class were assigned to a location they visited and given the task of generating questions at each location to become “experts.” Other groups of students were responsible for studying and observing how people in the community have fun and what they do for entertainment.

Students are now taking all the information they gathered from their research and have begun writing their books in class. We look forward to sharing the finished product with you, so we can all get to know our town a little bit better through the eyes of our second-grade students. 

You can check out more pictures from the trip HERE

Get Informed and Connected
It is important to us that we stay connected with our students, staff, parents and community members, providing ways to stay informed on everything WLPS. Next week there are two opportunities to connect with school administrators. First is next Thursday for our WLES Principal and Early Childhood Director's first WANNA KNOW? Join her for coffee, doughnuts and conversation about things happening at the elementary level. 

Then the following day, you can tune into our Facebook page for November's edition of "Between Two Terns." I'll be joined by our WLPS PTO President Lindsey Collins to hear about all the important things our PTO have happening. 

Please join us. 

Friday, October 20, 2017

News and Notes 4.5

Your Schools and Your Community
At times it is hard to separate our community from our school district. In fact, at a recent Chamber of Commerce event hosted by WLPS, business leaders from surrounding communities asked students MacKenzie Gesek, Bre'Anna Standlick, and Caleb Henning, who are enrolled in our new AP Computer Science course, "What do you like most about being a student in Whitmore Lake?" The answer by all three - "It is a community that cares about us. We feel special being a part of this community." Pretty cool, huh? Their words were powerful and hit home with the audience, most of whom were not from Whitmore Lake.
This week, I was at the induction ceremony for new members of our National Honor Society. (See list of new members below.) After Mackenzie Kelley's great opening remarks about leadership, members shared how important it is to give back to the community, all expressing the importance of the relationship students have with this community. Why do they all express this so easily? We don't teach classes about giving to your community or receiving support from it. Rather, the students experience it. 

Here is a brief list of partnerships and support WLPS has garnered just in the past few weeks with groups/organizations within Whitmore Lake:

  • Whitmore Lake Foundation for Educational Excellence (WLFEE) has donated thousands of dollars back to the schools and is in the process of selecting grants from teachers for this year.
  • The Whitmore Lake Elementary School PTA raises funds galore for our students and their involvement with the Fall Fun Fest is most appreciated.
  • Kiwanis has recently supported our music department with technology and instruments, as well as donated money toward our annual Book Bingo. Most recently, Pumpkin judging was high on their list of things to do with our schools and the coordination of donated food by the PS Food Mart for a very important assistance program.
  • Northfield Township's Downtown Planning Group is hosting its 2nd Annual Trunk or Treat this Sunday. They like to celebrate our community and its support of kids.

Trust me, I'm just naming a few. I am very proud to work with these groups and all the others who have taken on the challenge of making each day, week, month, or year a great one for our students to be a Trojan.

NJHS and NHS Inductees

Program Spotlight: Early Childhood Center

Next Friday our Community Relations and Recreation Director, Maria Carter-Ewald, will be joined by Sue Wanamaker, our Early Childhood Center Director and Elementary Principal, along with Charlie Basham, our Family Service Worker at the Early Childhood Center, for a new Facebook Live segment called WL Program Spotlight. They will be discussing all the essential programs available to children ages 0-5 in our area including Head Start, Great Start Readiness Program and Tuition Preschool, how to qualify for those free programs and how to enroll. I highly encourage you to tune into our Whitmore Lake Public Schools Facebook page next Friday, October 27, 9:30 a.m. for that. Have a specific question for them regarding what we offer for children ages 0-5? E-mail it to, and they will address it during the broadcast.

Eat Good Food and Support our Teachers and Students
Next week starting Monday, October 23-Wednesday, October 25 La Marsa Mediterranean Cuisine in Brighton will be donating 15% of your bill to the Whitmore Lake Foundation for Educational Excellence (WLFEE). This goes for dine-in, carry-out, lunch or dinner! All you have to do is show them THIS FLYER on your phone or print it out and take it with you. For those not familiar with WLFEE, it is a 501(c)(3) tax-exempt non-profit dedicated "to providing financial and public relation support for programs and projects within the Whitmore Lake Schools that enhance the educational opportunities available to all students within the schools and that provide students with exceptional educational opportunities." You can learn even more on

Since its formation in 2006, WLFEE has raised and donated over $15,000 to WLPS. The latest donation was $5,000 towards purchasing new iPads for our early elementary students. 

The first round of grant applications from our staff are due by the end of the day today. A majority of our funds comes from staff donations. And then throughout the year, the WLFEE board hosts a variety of fundraisers like the Zumbathon last May and a Panera night last Spring.  How cool would it be to have enough in our budget to fund EVERY application our staff submits? You can help make that possible by joining alongside us in our fundraising efforts. And in this case, this month it means enjoying some delicious Mediterranean food. I mean, what better way to support our kids than with freshly baked pita bread and garlic dip? 

You can also help us spread the word by forwarding that flyer to your family and friends and for social media users, inviting them to the Facebook event HERE

See you at La Marsa!

Friday, October 13, 2017

News and Notes: 4.4

Sinking Fund - Projects on "Track"
If you have been on our Middle School/High School campus this school year, you've likely noticed piles of dirt, forklifts, and semi-trucks.  WLPS is fully engaged in the renovations to which we committed when our sinking fund was passed in 2016.  Here is a quick rundown of what we've done, so far, this year:
  • Resurfacing our track: It is recommended to have a track resurfaced every 7-10 years.  We made it to 11 years.  Thus, we used a portion of the sinking funds to maintain our track to get WLPS through another generation of use. You can see the difference in the before and after. Lines will be added shortly. 
  • LED light conversion:  Technological advances in the past ten years have made it possible to change lighting systems in high energy use areas within our district.  You might notice better lighting in hallways, which will soon be in our gyms and our pool.  In addition to better lighting, we are consuming drastically lower levels of electricity, saving money. 
  • Baseball/softball field renovations:  New drainage lines and an improved infield fill have been added in the past weeks.  This project is not yet complete, but we fully expect to have the complex ready for spring use.
Next steps for our sinking fund?  School staff are going back to the priority list to re-evaluate it.  We know high need projects still exist.  Our elementary school has a good deal of exterior work slated to begin in the spring, for example.  WLPS will share plans with the Board of Education in the coming months, and new timelines will be established.

Finally, one very important note regarding the sinking fund: As a result of the sinking fund, WLPS has avoided having to spend approximately $40,000 from our general fund in the last year alone. Our facilities were in need of major repairs, and normally, we would've had to draw from our general fund to keep us operational.  But because of the support of our community, we did not have to. 

Thank you, again, for your continued support of our students and our school.  This community has made it a great day to be a Trojan.

Welcome Arvin Sango
Last Monday three members of our high school Robotics Team were invited to the open house of an engineering firm Arvin Sango new to Whitmore Lake. They were asked to speak to attendees about Robotics/STEM offerings at WLPS and demonstrate what their robot does. And if that wasn't enough, Arvin Sango awarded our students with a $5,000 donation as a first-time corporate sponsor of our WLPS Robotics program!

In exchange for their generous sponsorship, Arvin Sango will have their logo on our team t-shirt, team banner, and the robot itself. 

The students in attendance included WLHS senior and team captain, Hunter Fanson; WLHS junior and team co-captain, Jordan Craven; WLHS junior and programming captain, Matt Schwennesen. In addition to sharing their robot with those in attendance, these Trojans had the chance to interact with executives from Arvin Sango, Toyota and Mitsubishi. 

While the high school season doesn't officially begin until January 2018, our middle school season is in full swing. Their game this season is called "Relic Recovery" in which they will compete starting in November. 

Have a student interested in joining one of our robotics teams or interested in supporting the program? Contact Jeff Schwennesen 734-255-7828 or

We sincerely thank Arvin Sango for supporting our robotics team and opening their doors to our students. You can check out more photos from the day HERE. Go Trobots! 

New Culture, New Language, New Program
Take some time and think about what you have accomplished in the last 30 minutes. Want to know what a group of 2nd graders did yesterday in 30 minutes? They learned five new Mandarin Chinese words. Count them. 1...2...3...4...5. Or more appropriately, 一...二... 三... 四...五. 

As part of our new pilot-program, WLPS students preschool through 2nd grade are learning the Mandarin Chinese language and exploring Chinese culture.

I call this program "new," but really it has been in the works for over two years. When I first started as Superintendent of WLPS back in December 2014, one of my initial steps was to meet with a group of parents to pick their brains on why they love WLPS and what they wanted to see improved, changed, expanded in the future, At the secondary level parents indicated they wanted to see our Advanced Placement program expanded. At the elementary level they wanted art back and a foreign language added. This sentiment was reiterated in a survey sent to all Elementary parents last fall as part of our District Improvement Plan.

It was a need we were anticipating. It fell in line with our district goal of expanding and improving programs and options, and knowing the benefits of learning other languages earlier in life, we found a way to make it happen. We began a partnership with BCC International Education Group who provided us our new teacher for the fall, Qian Xu.

Meet the Teacher
Qian Xu comes to us from Lanzhou, located in Northwest China. She earned her Bachelors of Art from Gan Su University of Technology and her Master of Art degree from Northwest Normal University in China. This is her second time teaching in the United States. In 2010 she taught Mandarin Chinese to 3rd and 4th graders in Kentucky.

While she misses her family and friends and "hot pot", a genuine Chinese dish, she is excited to work with our students.

"I love to feed kid's curiosity," she said. "They are so eager to learn something new. When they have so many questions about China or Chinese culture, I love to answer and can't wait to share as much as I can. It is very important for kids to understand the diversity of cultures in this world--not everyone speaks the same language or has the same culture as they see around them," Qian Xu shared.

She has her own classroom at WLES that she has transformed. "I want the students to feel like they are in a different country when they come into my room," she explained.

Students have spent the first few weeks learning about Chinese culture and yesterday was their first language lesson which was to learn to count to five in Mandarin. By the end of the 30 minutes, many of Ms. Schneider's 2nd graders could do just that. It was exciting to see how quickly they absorbed the lesson.

It is an exciting program to watch come alive and we look forward to sharing the continued success of it as the school year continues.

Friday, September 29, 2017

News and Notes 4.3

Our Number 1 Job

To groups of students, I say the following many, many times in the beginning, middle, and end of each school year, "Our number one job is to improve your ability to learn." Obviously, there are a lot of things that factor into getting this job done. But, at its core, school exists for this reason.  

To our Board of Education last Monday night, staff members shared academic performance results from the 2016-17 school year. The presentation, which was led by WLPS Director of Instruction, Jill Henry, focused on MSTEP, SAT, and Advanced Placement (AP) results of our students. There were some notable strengths; our 3rd-grade math scores were about 10 points higher than Washtenaw County. This is impressive. (By the way, Washtenaw County is the highest performing county in Michigan when it comes to state testing.) SAT results were at or above state averages, which is good news. Better news is the percentage of students who met all benchmarks at college readiness levels has almost tripled in the past five years. The AP results are generally excellent at WLHS.  In one subject area, WLHS students had a passing rate 20 points higher than the national average.  We are making good progress.

However, there is room to grow. The overall presentation, to me, was a good reminder of why we continuously add programs aimed at helping students improve their ability to learn - our number one job. I have highlighted many of them individually in previous News and Notes, but here is a list of changes or additions WLPS has made since 2015, as it annually commits to improving teaching and learning:
  • Art instruction returned to K-6 three years ago to develop fine motor skills and foster creativity.
  • Everyday Math, a new math curriculum, was adopted by the Board two years ago because it creates critical thinking skills among elementary-level students necessary for complex mathematics at the secondary level.
  • Advanced Placement classes were added in the areas of English, Math, and Computer Science to better prepare students for the increased rigor of college. (You can learn more about the newest addition, AP Computer Science Principles, below.)
  • Mandarin Chinese was added this year to K-2 to further foster brain development and promote cross-cultural awareness.
  • Access to technology has doubled in the past two years to keep pace with the style of learning young minds engage with readily.
  • In its 3rd year, the new social studies curriculum, History Alive, utilizes our new technology and allows students in grades 6-8 to easily access resources and information.
  • Science Alive, a hands-on, interactive curriculum for grades 6-8, was adopted by the Board of Education this summer to focus science instruction on big-picture concepts rather than memorizing facts.
  • A Project Based Learning (PBL) hour was added to grades 5 and 6 this year along with a scheduling format much more like that of a middle school.
The impact of these programs and curricular changes will improve our students' abilities to engage in more challenging content and, thus, better prepare them for the global environment which they have to live and work someday.  

Speaking of days, that list above reminds me why today is a great day to be a Trojan.

Newest AP on the Block

This is a new year with new staff, new students, and a new Advanced Placement Computer Science Principles course offered to grades 9-12 at WLHS.

The Advanced Placement (AP) program’s goal is to aid in the academic transition from high school to college by giving high school students the opportunity to explore college-level coursework. The new AP Computer Science Principles class is one of five AP courses available to our students.

Why Computer Science (CS)?
We could probably provide you with ten News and Notes blogs on that topic alone, so I’ll hit you with the highlights.

Advanced Placement courses are key to our academic strategy at WLHS and our strategy to create a college-going culture. Every junior at WLHS is required to take the Advanced Placement English Language and Composition course. By requiring all our juniors to dip their toes in the AP pool, we show them what they are capable of, that they can handle coursework that is designed to prepare them for college.

The AP CS class hits that point home. Students do not have to have any prior CS knowledge or experience to be successful in the course. It is designed and taught emphasizing that anyone can take it. And Ms. Taylor says, based on her experience teaching coding for years, students who might not be at the top of their class in other disciplines, often shine in computer science. With the heavy hands-on lessons, it is a perfect fit for students who need that constant interaction in a classroom.

Computer science skills are in high demand. Every year jobs in this industry go unfilled due to the lack of qualified candidates. Furthermore, some colleges are now starting to require students of all majors to take a computer science class since those skills are embedded in every industry. It is essential for students to have a fundamental understanding of how computers communicate, operate, create, and how that can benefit their field of study.

The benefits of computer science translate outside of the pure subject. As the teacher of the course, Jen Taylor, emphasizes with her students, those who take computer science classes (in high school and college) perform better in all classes because the basics of CS help develop and inspire creativity and problem-solving skills.

What Will They Learn
The 23 students currently enrolled in the course will review five units of study. They include:
  1. The Internet: students will learn about representing and sending bits of information as well as communication protocols.
  2. Digital Information: students will look at and generate data, clean it, manipulate it, and create and use visualizations to identify patterns and trends.
  3. Algorithms and Programming: students are introduced to the foundational concepts of computer programming, which unlocks the ability to make rich, interactive apps.
  4. Big Data and Privacy: students explore many complex questions related to public policy, law, ethics and societal impact.  
  5. Building Apps: in this unit students transition to creating event-driven apps.

Quality Staff Leading the Way
In order to bring this class to WLHS, Ms. Taylor applied to attend a week-long training in Philadelphia put on by While many teachers were left on a waiting list, her application was accepted and all costs were covered by a grant courtesy of the Math and Science Network of Michigan.  For eight hours a day she did hands-on lessons exploring the content, practiced teaching the lessons to fellow teachers and was trained on how to administer the AP test. She also has to attend another 40 hours of professional development throughout the current school year to continue building on teaching concepts of computer science.

We are grateful to have Ms. Taylor leading this new program at WLHS. It is no secret that the technology industry is male-dominated and that same pattern is seen in technology education. Current rates show of all students taking Computer Science courses, less than 20% are female. put a challenge to all the teachers to change that statistic. Ms. Taylor went to work.  WLHS currently has 15 girls (so just under 66% of the class) in the AP CS course. Add that to the list of statistics we obliterate around here.

Like all AP courses, AP CS culminates in an AP exam. If students perform well, they can leave WLHS will college credit. The AP CS exam includes 74 multiple choice questions and two in-course performance tasks.

We commend the staff who teach these courses and the students who take them. I look forward to sharing the continued success of this program in years to come.

Friendly Reminder

Friday, September 22, 2017

News and Notes 4.2

It's Homecoming week, Trojans! One of our beloved retired English teachers, Sandi Klump, after reviewing an essay that needed a little more development would often say "Don't just tell me. Show me." I am taking her advice. I've captured little snapshots of the #TrojanPride felt in our Early Childhood Center through the 12th grade and beyond this week. You'll see how deep the pride for our schools, our community, where we have come from and where we are going runs. 

I hope you will join us at the homecoming tailgate (or Trojan Family Reunion) sponsored by the Whitmore Lake Wrestling Club, providing free hot dogs and refreshments before the game. Details can be found HERE

And if you missed the parade today, don't fear. We live-streamed it on our Facebook page, along with the pep assembly. (Our entire student body chanting "I believe in Whitmore Lake" lead by Coach Boron was a highlight for sure.) You can head HERE to check those out. 

It is a great day to be a Trojan! 

Trojan Athletic Spotlight
Last weekend our Equestrian team secured another District championship and a good looking trophy for their trophy case on Main Street at the High School. They finished 82 points ahead of the second place team. I would say that was a strong finish!

They head Regionals next weekend (September 29-October 1) at the Shiawassee County Fairgrounds in Corunna with their eyes on the ultimate prize: the state championship trophy. Having finished second place at last year's states, and all the hard work they put in over the summer, it is within their reach.

However, taking the athletes and horses off-site for 3+ days can be very costly, and the team is looking for support. If you are interested in sponsoring the team, check out the information HERE. And you can continue to follow their season by joining their Facebook group, HERE

Congratulations to the riders and their coaches, and best of luck the rest of the season! #TrojanPride

New Student Movement
In an effort to increase school spirit, students are putting their social media muscles to work as part of their Trojan Sports Management course taught by Jen Taylor. Having created a new WL Student Section group coordinating themes, encouraging fellow Trojans to come out to support fellow Trojans as part of the TroZone and more. You can check out what they are about and join them in their efforts on Twitter, HERE

Give a Trojan Spaghetti and Marshmallows...
During the first week of school our Algebra II class, taught by Ms. Lindeman, participated in a STEM Challenge where they were given spaghetti, string, tape and a marshmallow. They had to use all (or some) of the material to create a tower with the marshmallow on top. 

All our 5th and 6th graders took on the challenge this week with their own spin as part of the new Project Based Learning (PBL) Seminar class. 

The 5th and 6th graders were broken into groups and had to similarly create a spaghetti tower but with 40 pieces of spaghetti and 20 marshmallows to create the tallest free-standing tour they could. The record was 45 centimeters.

However, the overall goal of the activity, no matter the grade, is not necessarily to build the tallest and sturdiest structure but to build classroom community, strengthen their problem-solving and communication skills, and to learn the value of perseverance.