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Grosse Ile Township Schools

The Bridge Linking School & Community

Megan Kwiatkowski Valedictorian

Alexandra Plemmons Valedictorian

Nicole Hodgins

Kathlyn Lyons

Rachel Ruta Valedictorian

Brian McCartney Salutatorian

Steven Chao

Kara Miller

Mark Morrison

Elizabeth Renaud

Megan Kwiatkowski, Valedictorian, is planning to major in Biology and is undecided as to her career plans. Megan was the Vice President of the Science Club, Editor for the high school yearbook and a member of the National Honors Society. Outside of school she is a member of the Sacred Heart Catholic Church youth group and dances. Her most memorable high school experience was volunteering at the winter Special Olympics with her church youth group. Her advice to underclassmen is to get involved right away. Don’t wait until your junior or senior year to try something that might interest you. Megan is the daughter of Mark and Roxane Kwiatkowski. Alexandra Plemmons, Valedictorian, is planning on attending Grinnell College and has not yet decided on a major. She has participated in Varsity Basketball, Varsity Golf, Varsity Track, Varsity Equestrian, and is a member of the National Honors Society. Alexandra’s most memorable high school experiences happened with her golf and basketball teams. Her advice to underclassmen is to get involved in as many activities as you can. Use your resources, and take advantage of opportunities. Set high goals, because they will help you succeed. Alexandra is the daughter of James and Elizabeth Plemmons.

June, 2011

Rachel Ruta, Valedictorian, is planning on attending the University of Michigan-Dearborn to major in Biological sciences. She plans a career in healthcare, research, or forensics. Rachel participated in Soccer, French Club and is a member of the National Honors Society. Her most memorable high school experience was every single unforgettable, crazy moment spent with her friends and family. Advice she gives to her underclassmen is to live life to the fullest and remember what is most important to you. Rachel is the daughter of David and Luanne Ruta. Brian McCartney, Salutatorian, is planning on attending the CaseWestern Reserve University to major in Aerospace Engineering. His plans are to work as a design engineer in the defense industry developing aerial weapon platforms (helicopters and jets) and eventually become a college professor teaching mathematics or engineering sciences. Brian’s most memorable high school experience was when he organized an ethnic food feast . He participated in Varsity Tennis, Key Club, Marching Band, Science Club and is a member of the National Honor Society. His advice to underclassmen is to be willing to make opportunities for yourself. There is a plethora of courses and curriculums available through alternative sources that can allow you to experience things you would never be able to otherwise. Brian is the son of Mark and Karen McCartney. Top Ten Cont. on pg 3

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Thanks for a Great First Year! -William Eis, Superintendent Hello, Parents and Community Members! It’s hard to fathom that this first year is already coming to a close. We have accomplished a great deal in such a short time. To say it’s been “Quite a year” would be an understatement, for it has really been much more than that – it’s been a phenomenal year! I have been doing school improvement work as an administrator for 30 years and I have never seen this much positive change in one school district in one year, but I will get to that in a moment. I would first like to say thanks to the many community members who have provided me with a warm welcome, strong support and encouragement, and continue to do so much for the young people of the island through both school and community work. I can’t begin to name all the organizations or individuals - you know who you are. I look forward to our work in the future to make Grosse Ile Schools the very best. Here is a quick snapshot of major changes we have already started on with programs planned for the fall! Professional Learning Communities – This is the most comprehensive system for school improvement that I have seen in my career and the very best, research – based system to ensure that all students achieve the highest standards for learning. It entails a simplified, narrowly focused, deep curriculum, common assessments, and teacher collaboration about instruction. Language Arts – Starting in the fall, we will have new increased expectations to ensure students are reading and writing enough in school every day, a new focus on fluency to ensure all students are fluent readers by the time they leave the primary grades, a new focus on higher-order thinking and more student talk. There will be more of an emphasis on struggling readers early on, with the goal of having them all reading strategically at grade level. Math- Starting in the fall, there will be more focus on having students apply Math concepts and less on rote memorization. In moving toward this Core Curriculum which Michigan has adapted for 2014, students will do more real world and open-ended problem solving, more writing explaining their solutions and more discussions with peers about their problem solving method. This will be a different kind of Math classroom. Voyager Program – This is a project-based, challenging program in Language Arts for qualified students in grades 5-8 beginning in September. Parents of eligible students will be notified via letter during the first half of June. Elements of this learning format include student inquiry and interest in real-world issues, research using technology, reading and writing above grade level and lots of student talk with peers about the issue being studied. Discovery – This is an accelerated Math Class for students in Grades 5 and 6 starting in the fall. It will be expanded to 7th grade in 2012 and to 8th in 2013. The four-year sequence of study for this program will be as follows: Grade 5 - 6th grade Content and Text Grade 6 - Pre-Algebra Grade 7- Algebra I Grade 8 - Geometry Students have been tested in recent months to determine eligibility. Parents of qualified students will be notified via letter during the first half on June. Delayed Start – In order to implement the new programs and others, it will greatly speed up this process if we can get some time in the early part of the day for teachers and administrators to collaborate. This “Delayed Start” concept is for 90 minutes, eight times during the year, in this first part of the months of October thru May. Parents have told us they would prefer this on Mondays, and we are happy to comply with that request. When our calendar gets finished over the summer, (as a part of the bargaining process) we will identify which specific Mondays the Delayed Start will apply to. We greatly appreciate parents’ support with this new idea. I will be reporting out monthly on our progress with all the new initiatives and how this time was used. Great First Year Cont. Pg. 3

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Great First Year from pg. 2

I hope you will agree that we have many irons in the fire for next year and thereafter. You can see we are addressing the needs of struggling readers as well as those that need a challenge, much focus on Language Arts and Math, and finally, a new curriculum improvement system which will hopefully, “raise all the boats in the lake.” In noting earlier about this “record setting” pace for change we have going on here, I mentioned to our School Improvement Team several weeks ago that I am more excited now about what we will do here, in the future, than perhaps any other time previously in my career. We have a terrific and passionate staff, amazing supportive parents and a School Board with a Vision of excellence. I might be the only weak link here, but I pledge to you all that I will do my best to help keep us focused on kids, kids, kids, and excellence! I greatly enjoy chatting with parents and my schedule is best during the summer, so feel free to stop in, introduce yourself, and tell me what’s on your mind. I am always interested in hearing other perspectives. What are we missing with all this work? My best wishes for a safe and restful summer with family!

Top Ten from cover page

Steven Chao, plans to major in Electrical or Chemical Engineering at Michigan State University. He plans to have an interesting career as an engineer. Steven participated in Varsity Soccer, Varsity Track and Field, Marching Band, Theatre and is a member of the National Honor Society, and is employed at Kroger part -time. His most memorable high school experience was being involved in Drum line, Theatre, and Soccer. His advice to underclassmen is not to stress out about your grades. Instead, focus on understanding the material and learning; good grades will follow naturally. Steven is the son of Dave and Annette Chao.

Kathlyn Lyons, plans to major in Film Production and Cinematography at the University of Miami. Her career plan is to be a Film Director. Kathlyn’s most memorable high school experience was working backstage at the plays. Her advice to underclassmen is to be involved in clubs, sports. Participating in activities is the best way to experience high school and to meet new people. Kathyln is the daughter of Frank and Janet Lyons. Kara Miller, plans to major in Biomedical Engineering at the University of Michigan-Ann Arbor. She plans a career in the Medical Field (Pediatrics). Kara participated in Varsity Pom/Dance Team, French Club, and is a member of the National Honor Society. Her most memorable high school experience was attending her first youth group field trip to the University of Toledo’s Cadaver and simulation Lab. Her advice to underclassmen is to have the confidence to follow your instincts; don’t be afraid to challenge yourself, because people will respect you for trying. Kara is the daughter of Steve and Kathy Miller.

Mark Morrison, will be attending The Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology, majoring in Engineering. Mark participated in Science Club, Computer Club, Marching Band, Henry Ford Community College Band, and is a member of the National Honors Society. His most memorable high school experience was four years of Band Camp. His advice to underclassmen is to challenge yourself and concern yourself with learning. Don’t let anything come between you and knowledge. Mark is the son of John and Nancy Morrison. Elizabeth Renaud, plans on majoring in mathematics, with a secondary in Education at Albion College. Her career plans are to be a secondary math teacher. Elizabeth participated in the Grosse Ile Marching Band, Farmington United Percussion Ensemble, and is a member of the National Honors Society. Her most memorable high school experience was the years spent with The Grosse Ile High School Drum line and F.U.P.E. The advice she gives to underclassmen is that it’s not how good you are it’s how good you want to be; strive for excellence, not perfection. Don’t rely on your memory , always write things down, become a better listener, develop a sense of humor, and remember you always have options. Elizabeth is the daughter of Ted and Teresa Renaud.

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BUDGET UPDATE The Grosse Ile Board of Education will be formally approving the budget for the 2011-2012 school year at its regular meeting to be held on June 28. This year’s budget work will prove to be more formidable as the district is grappling with the loss in State funding and unfunded pension increases totaling $900K, with further loss of revenue resulting from expected reduction in student enrollment. In anticipation of making some tough decisions this year, the district held two Community Forums recently in May. Options considered to help with reducing the deficit for next year included privatizing or reducing transportation services, privatizing daytime or evening custodians, laying off teachers with corresponding increases in class size, increasing activity fees or creating new activity fees for clubs and several Schools of Choice options. Opinions were taken during both forums using an anonymous “clicker” system, with a total of 89 people responding. Since those forums, we have also established the same survey on our website, collecting that data as well. As of today’s date and hour, we have collected data from another 152 parents and community members. Both groups were opposed to most options, with a few exceptions. There was moderate support from both groups on creating a new activity fee option for clubs and other extra-curricular programs. There was also moderate support for privatizing evening custodians. Schools-of-Choice had strong support from the forums, with positive reaction to three options ranging from 73% to 88%. The online survey was less supportive, with approval ratings of 58-59%. The other two major variables in the budget are student enrollment and bargaining. With graduating over 180 students and bringing in just over 100 new kindergartners (recent numbers), we need to somehow entice around 80 new students to enroll here. Last year, we did just that and saw our enrollment remain steady. That needs to happen again. Personnel costs remain, by far, the greatest cost of any school district. Bargaining results from the summer will determine decisions which will be made to balance the budget. The outlook from Lansing for the future regarding school funding continues to look bleak. There is no good news on the horizon on any additional revenues from the new business tax plan that was approved. If fact, first estimates are this new system will bring in less money for schools. Along with the new concept of funding both the K-12 system along with community colleges and universities from the same funding source, any new revenue may be diverted to other areas. So, the Board, the Administration and the employee groups certainly have their work cut out for them. Student achievement, building a world class school system, and raising learning standards remain paramount in all our work, including the budget. Kids are our real and only business.

Guided Reading Program As part of our curriculum in Grosse Ile Schools we are working very hard to be sure that all students are able to read at grade level by the end of the third grade. Our elementary schools teach reading using the Guided Reading method. This is an individualized reading program in which students are periodically assessed to be sure that they are on track and being challenged. It is typical in a classroom for the teacher to have 3-5 different reading levels. In that way we are able to have challenge in the curriculum for those students who need challenge. At the same time we are able to identify and work with students who may be struggling. A wide variety of materials are available for the teachers to use with the students. We feel that this program has been very successful. When we find students who are struggling, the teacher then employs extra efforts to work with that student. It is a procedure called Response to Intervention (RTI). The teacher applies research-based strategies and conducts regular assessments to measure growth. After a period of time (about 4-6 weeks) a meeting is held to assist the teacher with strategies and ideas. If further intervention is needed then additional personnel will work with that child several times per week. Research has shown us that extra time spent with a struggling child with a slightly different approach will be effective in helping that student learn the skills. The goal is two-fold. By using these strategies and additional time we are hoping to have students read at second grade level and to avoid Special Education if possible. We have been very successful in using this method this year.

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To be Honored On June 28, 2011, at the Grosse Ile Township Board of Education’s Regular Business meeting, Dr. Patricia Nordstrom and Dr. Diane Sanford will be acknowledged for their years of service to the Grosse Ile Township School Community. Dr. Patricia Nordstrom, Principal of Parke Lane Elementary School and Dr. Diane Sanford, Principal of Meridian Elementary School have a combined total of 47 (Nordstrom-15 years; Sanford – 32 years) years educating Grosse Ile students. Patricia Nordstrom Dr. Patricia Nordstrom received her BA in Humanities from the University of Detroit, MA in Humanities from Wayne State and her PHD in Educational Administration from the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor. During her career she has held numerous positions: fourth and fifth grade teacher in the Cherry Hills School system; Adjunct Professor at Eastern University; Adjunct Professor at the University of Michigan, Dearborn; Principal of Rogers Early Childhood Center in the Melvindale-Northern Allen Park School District as well as district grant director. During her tenure with Grosse Ile she was principal at East River Elementary, Fourth grade teacher and Principal at Parke Lane Elementary. Dr. Nordstrom’s many contributions to the district include: The Principals Leadership Development Program; District Calendar Committee; endless interview committees; Member of the World Language Committee; Member of the Student Distribution Study Team, District Chair of Science Fairs; Member of the Science Curriculum; Downriver Science Fair Coordinator; Administrative oversight for the Art Curriculum Committee; Member of the Struggling Student Task Force; ERMCE Grant representative; District Grant Writer; Certified Emergency Response Team; Emergency Response Planning Committee; Orchestrated the First Responders at Parke Lane; First Aid training; District Title I, II & III Coordinator; Parent and Teacher Meetings/PAT; Elementary Handbook; Early Childhood Roundtable Dinners; Mental Health Advisory Committee; Community Marketing; Homeless Coordinator; Early Childhood Grant Writer; Response to Intervention Committee, Kindergarten Round-up; and countless others. Some of Dr. Nordstrom’s fondest memories are: “I have loved it when students have drawn pictures for me or of me. I have loved it when students make a card for me. I love the look in the eyes of a child when they "get it". I have loved to watch how fast they grow. I love some of the things that they say with complete innocence. I have loved and will miss the daily hugs.” Diane Sanford Dr. Sanford received her BS in Elementary Education from Otterbein College in Ohio, MA in Elementary Administration from Central Michigan University, Specialist in Arts from Eastern Michigan University and Doctor of Education from Wayne State University. During Dr. Sanford’s career she taught seventh and eighth grade English and Math at Shiloh Jr. High in Plymouth, Ohio; was a teaching principal at Pine River Area Schools in LeRoy, Michigan and was Principal at both Parke Lane and Meridian elementary buildings here on the island of Grosse Ile. Dr. Sanford contributions to the district included: Sex Education Chairperson; Technology Plan / Technology Curriculum; Food Allergy 504 Plan; Struggling Students Task Force; GATE Committee; Guided Reading Training; Calendar Study Team; Wellness Committee; Strategic Plan; Student Distribution Study Team; Transportation Committee; Transportation Handbook; Committee Member; Elementary Handbook; Early Childhood Roundtable Dinners; Elementary World Language; Emergency Response Planning Team; First Responders Team; RTI Training; WRESA Elementary Principals’ Network; Crisis Team; Liggett Trust Fund Chairperson; Interviews; Parent and Teacher Meetings/PAT; LATMA; Budget Acton Plan Committee; Early Childhood Committee; Foreign Tuition Student - Chinese Program Coordinator; Fifth Grade Camp; Kindergarten Round-up; Art Shows; Career Education Day; Colonial days; DARE; Downriver Science Fair. Some of Dr. Sanford’s fondest memories are “Reading month activities kissing the lama, dunk tank - not, slime and sitting on the roof. Receiving the Golden Apple award from the State of Michigan and receiving $25,000 to spend for our school. Also, the many students who have become parents and have enrolled their children because of our schools. And on and on...” Among their many degrees and diverse contributions to Grosse Ile Township Schools several words come to mind describing these unique individuals: Compassion, dedicated, patient, intelligent, committed, authentic, knowledgeable, perseverance, encouraging Congratulations and many, many thanks to both Pat and Diane. Their wisdom and personalities will be truly missed in the day to day operations of both Parke Lane and Meridian Elementary schools. Now it’s time to really work – work hard at enjoying life, that is!

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It Has Been a GREAT YEAR to be a RED DEVIL! By James Stewart, High School Principal In the main office conference room there is a framed front page of the Detroit Free Press from ten years ago that reported that Grosse Ile High School was “the best of the best”. We are proud of that article, but we are a much better school now than we were then. As you are well aware, there is much to be proud of at GIHS! I have been working in high schools for the past 23 years, but I have never seen a year such as this. I am tremendously proud of our students and staff. This year can be summarized by one word: Improvement! GIHS has great kids, but this is the first year where all students are held to the rigorous Michigan Merit Curriculum, and our students have risen to the challenge. Just a couple years ago when our staff was studying whether to change our bell schedule, we found that 60% of that year’s seniors would not have graduated under the MMC, mostly because they had not taken enough upper level math and science courses. This year’s seniors cannot graduate without four credits of math including Algebra 2 and Trigonometry, and they also must earn three credits of science including Chemistry or Physics. Most of our students have found this challenging (and some feel they are climbing Mt. Everest), but they are getting it done. Our staff has also been challenged; as we have made many changes to help our students meet the demands of the MMC. This year’s seniors are on path to have an equally impressive graduation rate as previous years. Our best students are doing even better. GIHS has had 40 students accepted into “Top 100” universities (according to US News & World Report). The class has been awarded a remarkable amount of scholarships. Though the results are not yet official, it is clear that this year’s juniors have set a new high mark for their scores on the ACT– the highest composite score ever for GIHS on the Michigan Merit Exam. We had more students take more Advanced Placement tests than ever before at GIHS – 207 students took 300 tests, each an opportunity to earn college credit with a qualifying score. In a school of 670 students with about 175 students per grade level, these numbers are evidence of truly exceptional achievement and continuing improvement! Just as exciting as the accomplishments of our students is the achievement of our staff. The past couple years have seen the implementation of many improvements – a transformation – and this year has been like blasting into warp speed. Change is sometimes harder for adults than students, but not at GIHS. The GIHS yearbook aptly describes our staff as a “dedicated family”. 2010-2011 improvement efforts by the GIHS staff: • • • • • • • • • • •

Established GIHS as a Professional Learning Community Revised our mission, vision, values, and goals – “Redefining Excellence” Studied and discussed research and best practice by the best educational authors such as DuFour, Fullan, Allington, Reeves, Marzano, and Schmoker Utilized new sources and methods for reviewing data to make better decisions Collaboratively analyzed and aligned our curriculum to develop Power Standards, which will help us identify clear learning targets for our students Developed common assessments Extraordinary intervention support for struggling students, both academically and socially Studied school climate and made a plan for improvements next year Designed new courses and transformed existing courses Added new instructional technology (SMART boards, clickers, etc) Improved communication with parents (per the Parent Communication Guide)

Red Devil cont. pg. 6

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Red Devil from pg. 5

So, what does this all mean for the future? First and most importantly, it means that we are getting better. Students and parents will see some of the improvements right away, while others are behind the scenes staff efforts that will produce gains in three to five years. What might you see right away? First and most important, GIHS has been working hard on curriculum and assessment, and students will see improvements next year. Each class will have clear learning targets identified as “I can” statements for students. Assessments will be more directly tied to these learning targets, and thus also be more challenging – in depth assessments of specific skills and knowledge that include application, analysis, synthesis, and evaluation. With fewer and clearer learning targets, teachers will be able to more closely monitor student progress. Since our teaching will be more focused and more systemic, our students will learn better. The staff at GIHS is thrilled to have the additional professional development time through the monthly delayed starts next year. This additional time will accelerate our implementation of all our improvement initiatives. We are also working very hard on school climate. More than in the past, our students have struggled with both personal and academic issues. While I am tremendously proud of the extraordinary

efforts of our staff to assist these students, we all recognize that there is clearly a need for a more comprehensive, proactive approach. As noted above, a committee of GIHS staff with the support of our PTO (thank you!) has been investigating programs and we have a plan that we believe will help GIHS be an even kinder and more respectful environment for our kids (details to follow). Those of you who attended Grosse Ile Schools may remember the wonderful old 1911 building. Well, it’s 2011. This year is the 100th year of Grosse Ile High School. We have some wonderful events planned to celebrate this milestone. The newly formed Grosse Ile Alumni Association will be leading the way (call to all alumni, please join this new group!), and we hope that everyone joins us for a year of celebration and improvement. The first 100 years has been marked by a wonderful tradition of excellence and achievement. Given the financial mess facing schools in Michigan, there is no doubt that our 100th year will be challenging – we will need everyone’s help and support. There is also no doubt that our students are depending on us to be our very best. We like to say every day that “It’s a great day to be a Red Devil”, and it truly has been a great year at GIHS. We sincerely hope you will join our efforts in making sure that next year is even better!

High School Science Club By: Eric Flood, High School Science Teacher

The Science Club had a great showing at the Wayne-Monroe Science Olympiad. 1. Jeremy Byington and Kaitlin Karrar took 5th place in Write It Do It 2. Mark Morrison and Ryan Yezman took 3rd place in Helicopters 3. Matt Cloutier and Joe McCartney took 4th place in Mousetrap Vehicle 4. Matt Cloutier and Joe McCartney took 3rd place in Ornithology 5. Mark Morrison and Ryan Yezman took 2nd place in Technical Problem Solving 6. Jeremy Byington and Brian McCartney took 1st place in the Smobots competition (they were assisted in construction by Andy Dixon who had lacrosse and wasn't able to come) We were also joined by Chris Wang (exchange student), Liz Tyburski, Marissa Nazareno, and I was very happy to have 2 freshmen join the team...Lyle Antieau and Hunter Pfeiffer.

If you see them please congratulate them on a job well done!

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Practice Makes Perfect By David Tucker, Middle School Principal “Practice makes perfect” is an aphorism that my mother reminded me of every time I didn’t want to practice the piano. This is also the wisdom behind homework. Studies show that well designed homework can have a positive effect on learning. Robert Marzano, a well respected educational researcher, has included “practice” as one of the nine things that great school and great teachers provide. Homework only helps if it gets done, however. Each year our school improvement team selects one main issue or problem to focus on to improve. This year, the school improvement team set a goal of creating a school-wide homework policy. After gathering and examining data we were able to draw some valuable conclusions. Many students’ grades suffered because of missing homework. Not only did they lose credit for the missing homework, but in most cases, test grades were lower for students that were not completing the assigned practice. We wanted to solve this problem at Grosse Ile Middle School so we started reading books and articles including; Classroom Instruction That Works (Marzano), Standards, Assessment and Accountability (Reeves), and Should Homework Be Graded? (DuFour) What the research indicated was that any homework that was important enough to assign is important enough that we, the school, make certain gets done. Further, once the homework is completed in a satisfactory fashion, full credit needs to be given. This was completely different than our thinking about homework had always been. However, after our school improvement team finished with our research and discussion, we were convinced that the experts were right. Our middle school needed to create a system that ensures the completion of homework. We looked for other middle schools that had come to the same conclusion and had created systems designed around this important educational research. There are not many. We did find a few examples, and using them as models, we created a tiered system of interventions that are designed to ensure the completion of all homework, by all students in a timely fashion. Our tiered interventions are called “Homework Club – level 1, level 2 and level 3.” Each week our administrative staff, along with help from teacher members of the school improvement team, will pull a list of all missing homework assignments. All students with a missing assignment will attend homework club for the first half hour of the day instead of attending their homeroom class. If a student has missing assignments two weeks in a row, they will be assigned to level 2 in addition to level 1. Level 2 pulls students from an elective course such as computers, art, or physical education. The students will continue to attend homework club level 1 and 2 until all assignments are complete If a student has missing assignments for a third week in a row, we will add to their schedule level 3. Homework club level 3 takes place after school with the principal. The school will notify parents when a student is assigned to level 2 or level 3. Regardless of when the homework is completed, full credit will be recorded. A change this dramatic in a middle school takes hard work and courage. Led by Ms. Gianina Meli, our school improvement team has really created a meaningful intervention that will dramatically increase the learning at our school. Almost half of our teachers are members of the school improvement team but that isn’t the whole story. Our school works through consensus, and one hundred percent of our teaching staff has agreed to support and implement this exciting change for next year. Next year, we will begin another exciting cycle of improvement; developing a school-wide grading system that motivates students and provides parents with a more accurate picture of level of mastery of content. This type of watershed change in schools is difficult but important and we will continue getting better each year. After all, Practice makes perfect.

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Parke Lane Elementary School’s New Outdoor Educational Habitat for Learning Grosse Ile Nature & Land Conservancy + Ford Model Team Volunteers + Grosse Ile Garden Club + GI Township Schools + GI Community Members = A newly transformed Parke Lane Elementary School Outdoor educational habitat for learning. On Friday, May 13, 2011, Grosse Ile Township School’s Parke Lane Elementary School exploded with exciting activities to create an outdoor education and learning habitat. Under the leadership of Courtney Solenberger-McNeill and Bruce Jones of the Grosse Ile Nature & Land Conservancy (GINLC), many volunteers have worked to “set the stage” to help make this new Parke Lane Elementary School Outdoor Educational Habitat for Learning explode with opportunities to get outside and explore nature. In the fall of 2010 the Colina Foundation awarded the GINLC a grant to develop outdoor learning opportunities for young children. In addition to developing extra-curricula family-based activities the GINLC sought to enhance capabilities within the school system. Discussions with Parke Lane Elementary School’s Principal Dr. Pat Nordstrom identified second grade teacher, Annette Ader as a teacher interested in working with GINLC to incorporate outdoor learning in the curriculum. Together, Ader and Nordstrom envisioned this new learning space and shared their ideas with the GINLC. After numerous meetings, curriculum review, mission and vision discussions, GINLC agreed to fund the transformation of Parke Lane’s center courtyard into an outdoor educational learning habitat for elementary school students by using some of the Colina grant as well as Landscape for Learning funds recently contributed by the Richard and Rosalind Meyer Family Foundation. An additional grant request has been made to the Grosse Ile Educational Foundation to cover the costs of the finishing touches to the space. Volunteer Project Manager, Russel Boismier of Russel H. Boismier Construction Company and business colleagues, Mike Kuderik and Brian Voss, from New View Landscapes, helped guide the plumbing and landscaping. These companies specialize in quality design. Our hats are off to their design, energy, creativity, and leadership throughout this project. Additional special thanks are extended to their architectural associate, Richard Bohl, RA of Richard Bohl Architects, for his professional drawing to scale. In addition, GINLC applied for a Ford Motor “Better World” grant. This project was selected as one of the Ford Motor Volunteer Corps MODEL Teams projects, scheduled for May 13, 2011. Early on that day, ten Ford employees arrived at Parke Lane Elementary School ready for “work”, manual labor for the day!

Many other community members, including Township Supervisor Brian Loftus and Grosse Ile Garden Club volunteers, joined the Ford Model Team and worked diligently together, as the relatively “unused” courtyard of Parke Lane Elementary School was turned into a dynamic outdoor habitat for learning for the students. Additionally, there is an exciting educational partnership growing between GINLC, the Grosse Ile Garden Club, the Grosse Ile Township Schools, and many members of the community. Currently, Parke Lane Elementary School is surrounded by open flat grasses and playgrounds. Inside the building there is a 4walled, open ceiling, water sourced enclosed 1680 sq ft courtyard. Only the “ceiling” is open to the weather and natural elements. Learning stations in the courtyard classroom where students can observe, record, investigate, and participate during the day and throughout the year have now been created. The planting plans include having the students follow the Michigan Elementary School Science Curriculum; including having a vegetable garden, butterfly habitat and herb garden; thus enabling students to directly interact and observe plants and animals in a dynamic living environment. The ability of students to simply walk down a hallway and access this newly created garden at any time during the coming school year is just one of the benefits of using this existing outdoor courtyard as a classroom. When the garden produces excess vegetables, the teachers and students plan to give this product to a local food bank, one of which is located across the street from the school. This project is a long term learning endeavor. A very important component to the success of our plan is that many partnerships exist and are growing. The Grosse Ile Garden Club will work closely with the school to help make this plan for the courtyard actual and sustainable, providing valuable knowledge and experience with planning the gardens. Erica L. Mesedahl, Manager, Westcroft Gardens and eighth generation member of this familyowned business will advise on plants when the students begin the planting phase. Habitat cont. on pg 10

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Special thanks to Douglas J. Furtah, III, President of Grosse Ile Lawn Sprinkler, for performing the installation of the watering system at the cost of the materials. His company donated the “labor” to this project and he will also winterize the system at the appropriate time. We also thank Douglas Electrical Company, as they donated all the materials to wire the pump. Carefree Lawn Center’s owners, Richard and Marge Gabri, helped the project by selling the materials necessary at “wholesale” cost and provided complimentary delivery. Kroger graciously donated food for a scrumptious lunch for the volunteer team and everyone appreciated the nourishment. Special thanks to the Grosse Ile Educational Foundation for their monetary support of the Parke Lane Elementary Outdoor Habitat for Education and Learning project. The courtyard is envisioned as a lovely gathering place for reading, a special place for class presentations such as music, plays or poetry readings, and a quiet area for observing nature. Learning outdoors is memorable. It is a place where special memories are made while interacting with nature.

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Currently, students have planted seedlings in small pots. The excitement will now be when children participate in all aspects of the growing and caring. Learning and watching the development of seeds, fireflies, grasshoppers, and butterflies will happen. The curiosity and interest young children have in nature is overwhelming. Their questions and observations are priceless. Students will build on their prior knowledge of the needs and life cycles of animals and plants with experiential learning, closely observing development from seed to plant, flower, fruit and seed again. Young learners will gain a deeper understanding and appreciation of the relationship between living things and their interdependencies. Because of the various plants, insects, decomposers, they will gain a better understanding of individual organisms and how they maintain and continue life. With the community partnerships used to create this learning space, it is believed that this project will be sustainable since the garden and butterfly habitat will be well protected and maintained. The side-enclosed, water accessible, open aired courtyard will keep the plants protected from nature’s predators (deer/ rabbits), yet allow for natural air, sunlight, and water to be available for butterflies and birds. The result of this new habit for learning should be improved creativity, teamwork, motivation and curiosity for the students, their teachers and families. It is magnificent for all concerned.

ENVIRONMENTAL ACTION DAY By: John Haydamacker, Middle School Science Teacher Perhaps as you drove by the middle school, you noticed that something looked “different.” If not, take a look again. Mr. Haydamacker’s 6th Grade Science classes have decided to make the last unit of the year, Environmental Science, a real-life adventure at school. With the addition of the new drainage basins (that surround the new parking lot in front of the middle school), comes a new area that we decided to adopt and make beautiful again. When it was newly established, it was nicely covered in fresh bark, had proper vegetation for that area, and looked really clean and neat. Unfortunately, nature has a way of taking over, and it started to look a little rough. It’s the end of the year, we all have lots of energy, and everyone likes to get outside when they can. Why not get the kids involved and excited about being “Environmental Stewards” and do something great for our school, while being environmentally responsible? This is when the “Environmental Action Day” came into existence. Each class adopted an area, in one of these run-off basins, to revitalize and beautify. I’m thrilled with the enthusiasm my students have shown in this venture. We are doing everything by hand. No weed killers used here, just plain hard work! All of those chemicals would just end up in the river, and that isn’t environmentally friendly, is it? Students and parents have graciously supplied plenty of shovels, rakes, hand tillers, and a variety of other useful tools to make this possible. We really couldn’t have done it without the support of our school community! Many people donated flats of flowers and small shrubs that are being used to decorate the areas we manually cleared. The kids look forward to the action days, work really hard, and enjoy seeing the fruits of their labors. We attempt to get out at least once a week, but they literally beg for more! We only have a few more action days left this year, and still have a bit more space to clear. I’m confident that with enough teamwork and nice weather, we’ll reach our goal to clean up our areas, putting a pretty exterior on a pretty amazing school! Stop by and look around - we think you’ll like what you see!

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DCTC 2011 Competition By Judith Kopaniasz, High School Health Occupation Teacher The Downriver Career Technical Consortium had 20 students attend the Health Occupations Students of America State Leadership conference on April 14 and 15 2011 at the Grand Traverse Bay Resort. Biotechnology Shelby Munafo(Woodhaven) Career Health Display Jessica Fenner (Huron) and Kali Trumitch ( Riverview) Blake Johnson (Huron) and Carly Williams (Carlson) Christine Bonamici and Emily Westerbeek (Grosse Ile) CPR and First Aid Brianna Roberts (Airport) and Victoria Steffke (Trenton) Chelsea Gibbs and Alexis Hiltz (Carlson) Forensic Medicine Brandon Brock and Michaela Jestat (Carlson) Jenna Pall (Grosse Ile) and Jordyn Bennett (Flat Rock) Kaylee Meek and Nicole Taft (Woodhaven) Human Growth and Development Kelsey Pare’ (Carlson) Medical Terminology Alicia Barton (Wyandotte) Physical Therapy Muhammed Khan (Woodhaven)

Students finishing in the top eight places in their event were: Brock and Jestat, Pall and Bennett for Forensic Medicine, Fenner and Trumitch in Career Health Display and Munafo in Biotechnology. Jordyn Bennett was elected to the HOSA state office position of Parliamentarian by the voting delegates after giving a speech and taking a test.

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Fifth Grader’s Fabulous Final Year The fifth grade students at Meridian have had a fabulous final year of elementary school. Meridian is proud of their fifth grade program and pleased to be able to provide these educational opportunities with outstanding parental support and financial support from the Grosse Ile Education Foundation. In the fall, our students attended Exchange City at Experiencia in Taylor, Michigan with financial assistance from the Grosse Ile Education Foundation. Exchange City, a program created to enhance students’ knowledge of Economics and Civics, allowed the students to create their own government structure, laws, and manage their own personal finances and businesses. D.A.R.E., a class taught in conjunction with the Grosse Ile Police Department, was taught throughout the first half of the school year and focused on helping students make smart choices when dealing with drugs and alcohol. Officer Ken Pelland of the Grosse Ile Police Department was instrumental in the facilitation of this program and gave our students real-life skills to use in their day-to-day lives. Our winter studies of Colonial America and the causes of the American Revolution culminated with our annual Colonial Days and Colonial Feast. Students, aided by over 30 parent volunteers, participated in many activities that colonial children would have experienced during their lifetimes. Some activities that the children performed were: quilting, knitting, weaving, Colonial board games, and making ice cream from scratch.

In late spring, our 5th grade students and teachers put away their pencils and paper and attended “Outdoor School” at YMCA Storer Camp in Jackson, MI. This five-day field trip included horseback riding, canoeing, square-dancing, and rock climbing. Students also participated in many hands-on Science and Social Studies activities that allowed them to learn in many different ways. 5th graders learned many life-skills at camp including individual responsibility, working as part of a team, and setting individual goals. Though it rained 90% of our time at camp, our spirits were not dampened and a memorable experience was shared by all. Lastly, we’ve started a new tradition in 5th grade, the 5th Grade Banquet/Ethnic Food Fest, to be held at Grosse Ile Middle School on June 15 as a way to celebrate the end of elementary school, our unique cultural backgrounds, and the transition to Middle School. Students and parents will be treated to many foods from around the world, awards will be handed out, and 5th graders and parents will view our “Class Memories” multi-media presentation. The fifth grade teachers at Meridian would like to extend a heartfelt “thank-you” to all who donated time, money, and skills to help make our students’ final year at Meridian outstanding.

2011 Grosse Ile Summer Library Program Written by: Emily Y. Newton, MLIS The Meridian Elementary School Library will be hosting the 2011 Grosse Ile Summer Library Program. The library will be open to all Grosse Ile Elementary students (including incoming Kindergarten students and outgoing 5th graders) accompanied by their parents, for an exciting FREE summer reading program, sponsored by the Grosse Ile PAT and the Grosse Ile Educational Foundation (GIEF). The program will begin June 27 and end July 21. The library will be open for circulation and independent crafts during the hours of 10:00am until 12:30pm, Monday through Thursday. Please note: The program will be in recess for Independence Day. More information and a Calendar of Events will be sent home later this year. The Calendar will include information on daily crafts, make-and-take activities, and Special Guests. Heads Up! Some of the make-and-take crafts could be a bit messy, so send your reader with an art smock or in clothes that are ok to get a little painty or gluey! Be sure to encourage your little readers take part in this special opportunity. Reading Logs, incentives, and other prizes will be provided. What a wonderful way to encourage reading over summer vacation! Should you have any questions, feel free to email me (

Hope to see you “@ YOUR LIBRARY!” Special thanks to the Grosse Ile PAT and the Grosse Ile Education Foundation (GIEF) for making this exciting program possible.

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2011 EARTH DAY NATURE & WILDLIFE PHOTO CONTEST Middle School and High School students were invited to celebrate Earth Day by entering the 2011 Earth Day Nature & Wildlife Photo Contest, sponsored by The Grosse Ile Nature & Land Conservancy. Photos had to be taken in Southeastern Michigan portraying nature, animals, or landscapes. Photos were exhibited during the Earth Day Celebration at Centennial Farm on May 1st. Entries were formally judged for awards, including publication, cash prizes, and gifts. Photo judging was based on artistic merit, composition, originality, technical excellence and overall impact. A People’s Choice award was chosen by ballot during the Earth Day program.

The Grosse Ile High School winners include:

The Grosse Ile Middle School winners include:

1st Place: Not from Grosse Ile 2nd Place: Marissa Nazareno, “Gold Leaf” 3rd Place: Alissa Rhode, “A New Life” Honorable Mention: Bridget Swisz, “Changing Seasons”

1st Place: Meah Monske, “Life Is a Long Road” 2nd Place: Sana Nasir, “Calm Creek” 3rd Place: Myranda Ryder, “Untitled (Deer)” Honorable Mention: Rylee Barnsdale, “Wordly Reflections”

Middle School 1st Place Winner “Life is a Long Road “ By Meah Monske

Middle School 2nd Place Winner “Calm Creek” By Sana Nasir

High School 2nd Place Winner

High School 3rd Place Winner

“Gold Leaf “ By Marissa Nazareno

“A New Life “ By Alissa Rhode

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Grosse Ile Township Schools are looking for families to open their homes to visiting Chinese students‌ Program duration: July 2010 to June 2011

July 2011 to June 2012

Interested families are encourage Interested families Session are to attend an Informational in the Robert B. Smithto Board Room on encouraged contact th Tuesday, April 27 at 9 a.m. or Jim Stewart - 734-362-2411 Wednesday, April 28th at 7 p.m. or contact or Dr. Diane Sanford at 362-2700

Patti Kilar - 734-362-2580

Opportunity for Cross-cultural Interaction By: The Board of Education The Grosse Ile school district is planning to engage in a wonderful cultural exchange program with 15 Chinese exchange students beginning this September. This is a great opportunity for cross-cultural interaction that will also help to bolster the district’s finances. Although a cliche, this truly represents a win-win situation. In order to make this unique educational potential a reality, however, we need the community’s help. Specifically, the Chinese students need host families to house them in order to optimize their educational and cultural experience while learning and living on Grosse Ile. For the host families, this is not only a chance to be ambassadors for Grosse Ile and surrogate parents for the Chinese students; it is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for host families to truly become part of the global village that we share. Potential host families need not have students currently attending Grosse Ile schools; the only requirement is a warm, welcoming home with an interest in helping a bright, motivated Chinese student make the most of their time with us on Grosse Ile. The success of this educational and cultural initiative depends on the generous and inquisitive spirit of the residents of Grosse Ile. Thank you for your consideration of this request.

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Meridian’s New Slogan

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Meridian’s new slogan “Bust the Bullies” is just another way that Meridian Students and Staff are promoting a bully-free positive school environment. The students continue to be taught about bully behaviors in their classrooms, along with strategies and techniques to use with bullies. Meridian’s Bully-Free Positive School Zone continues to promote safety, respect and responsibility. The students are able to earn star tickets for their over and above good behaviors. They can then use those tickets to purchase items at the School Store every Wednesday between 11:30-1:00, or place their star tickets in the container in the office for a chance to win pizza lunch with the principal, a book, pizza coupons, or a chance to lead our school in the morning pledge. Thank you for continuing to support our Positive Behavior System in your homes.

STUDY ISLAND AT MERIDIAN Study Island is a web based program that is currently being used each week at Meridian Elementary. Because it is web based students can use it at school, home, and on the road. This also makes it available for summer time review. Study Island is a great way for students to use technology to practice the Common Core learning objectives. In the beginning of the school year the focus was on MEAP test preparation. The test format familiarized students with the type of questions they might encounter on a standardized test. Material from the previous grade level allowed students to review curriculum that will be on the test. While test prep is not the primary goal, Study Island does provide a good opportunity for students to see how these core concepts might look on a standardized test. The use of Study Island after September has been to assess and/or provide practice in reading, math, science, and social studies. It is used as an assessment tool, (formative and summative) when a report is generated that indicates student success in an assigned module. The ability to print a progress report enables teachers to provide immediate and individualized feedback to students. Blue Ribbon incentives allow students to re-take quizzes and master content. Report and monitoring capabilities allow teachers to individualize instruction and provide RTI opportunities. An Assignment example would be a reading passage that asks students to answer questions about story elements, inferences, and figurative language features. English language arts features include modules on drawing inference and comparing points of view. Assignments are made after these reading strategies have been taught in class. In third grade they use Study Island as a choice activity in a tic -tac-toe home/school connection assignment. Vocabulary and mini-lessons are available to remediate and re-teach concepts at the click of a button. Math options include all the Michigan common core standards. Also the ability to provide writing prompts and assignments for students is a new feature. This teaching tool is a valued resource for students and staff. Continued work by staff to utilize all the components of Study Island will increase the quality of student use and effectiveness of this program. Study Island is a piece of technology that is a positive addition to Meridian Elementary School’s teaching tools.

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High School ArtsJam 2011

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All things creative were celebrated at the annual High School Arts Jam where art students displayed their work, student musicians played classic rock, fashion students showed off their garments, yearbook students handed out their finished book and English students sold a poetry book.

GIHS Key Club Update District Convention: Members of the Grosse Ile Key Club recently attended their District Convention in Dearborn at the Hyatt during the weekend of May 20-21. While there, the members made fleece blankets, received officer training and packaged food in cooperation with Kids Against Hunger. Jen Pevarnek finished up her year-long assignment as “Program Coordinator” for the state and is looking to join another committee for next school year. Kathleen Hurley was appointed Division 10 Lieutenant Governor. In this position she will coordinate and oversea clubs for Allen Park, Grosse Ile, Riverview, Southgate Anderson, Wyandotte Roosevelt and John F. Kennedy. Rock CF Half marathon: Several Key Club members and Kiwanis members braved the chilly air at 5:30 a.m. to set up a water station at Mile 4 on March 20. The Key Club members, some adorned in Star Wars gear, cheered on and served water and sports drinks to the thousands of runners. It was great to be able to work side by side with our sponsored adult club, Kiwanis, as well as the Builder’s Club from the middle school. Island cleanup: The Key Club also came out in full force for Island Cleanup mid-April. Pop Tabs: What can you do with a pop tab? Twist it off, save/collect them, and deliver to the High School for the Key Club at any time during the school year. The Key Club is collecting can tabs. The tabs are made of aluminum. The bits of metal are recycled for the value of the aluminum contained in them and the monies are given to a charity. Project H.O.P.E.: The Michigan District of Key Club is fighting hunger with this year’s district project, H.O.P.E: Help Other People Eat. Some of their goals for this project are: a canned food drive, volunteering at a food bank, soup kitchen and meals on wheels. Also visit At this site you’ll play games that make you smarter –honest—and for each answer you get right, they donate 10 grains of rice to the United Nations World Food Program. (make an account and play for Michigan District Key Club – you’ll have to search under “Groups” for Michigan District of Key Club's District Project: HOPE.)

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Attention: New Residents Are you new to Grosse Ile or have a student entering Kindergarten in September? Registration takes place throughout the summer at our Administration Building, 23276 East River Road (behind the Middle School). Enrollment packets can be picked up at the Administration Building or downloaded on our website under Enrollment. Completed forms, original birth certificate and proof of residency documents must be brought in person to our student registrar, Ms. Patti Kilar, 734-362-2580 at the Admin Building. Our summer hours are Monday—Thursday, 8 am—4pm. Please call 734-362-2580 for an appointment or if you have any questions.

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Administration Office……...734-362-2555 23276 East River Road Superintendent: William Eis Executive Assistant: Sharon Warren Business Mgr./Bldg. & Grounds: Tony Krukowski Secretary to Business Manager: Judy Ventro Receptionist/Secretary: Grace Nashlen Student Services/Curriculum: Patti Kilar Payroll/Benefits: Susan Richardson Bookkeeper/Accounts Payable: Shannon Fowler Network Technician: Sue Jeffries Grosse Ile High School (9-12)………..734-362-2400 7800 Grays Drive Principal: James Stewart Asst. Principal: Terry Flint School Hours: 7:30 a.m-2:25 p.m. Half Day: 7:30 a.m.-10:45 a.m. Grosse Ile Middle School (6-8)..........734-362-2500 23270 East River Road Principal: David Tucker School Hours: 7:30 a.m. - 2:25 p.m. Half Day: 7:30 a.m. -10:55 a.m.

VISION FOR THE FUTURE The Grosse Ile Township Schools will continue to be an A+ school district that offers the very best educational opportunities to the children of this community. The physical environment must support learning in facilities that are safe, developmentally appropriate and technologically able to prepare students for their future. The Grosse Ile Township Schools will continue to be a community focal point of pride.

Meridian Elementary (3-5)................734-362-2700 26700 Meridian Principal: Linda Solano School Hours: 8:10 a.m. - 3:05 p.m. Half Day: 8:10 a.m. - 11:35 a.m. Parke Lane Elementary (K-2)...……..734-362-2600 21610 Parke Lane Principal: School Hours: 8:10 a.m. - 3:05 p.m. Half Day: 8:10 a.m. - 11:35 a.m.

Our Mission Statement The Mission of the Grosse Ile Township Schools, in cooperation with students, parents, and community, is to teach the knowledge, skills, and behaviors necessary for every student to lead a successful life.

The Grosse Ile Middle School 8th grade students performing at the Lincoln Memorial in Washington DC

June 2011 Bridge  

June 2011 Bridge Publication.

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