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Community Connection

March, 2014

From Superintendent Timmerman

Last May voters passed four different ballot proposals to support the Saugatuck Public Schools and Saugatuck Community Recreation. The bond funds provide technology for our students, new buses, and instruments for our growing band program. The community recreation renewal allows programming for both children and adult community members. And, finally, the building site sinking fund allows us to maintain our facilities without taking additional money away from our core mission, educating our students. On behalf of the Saugatuck Public Schools, our teachers and support staff, and especially the students and families you resoundingly supported last May, THANK YOU! Our academic programming continues to be the foundation of our comprehensive PreK-12 student experience. All 3000+ school buildings in Michigan are ranked according to academic achievement on the MEAP, MME, and ACT tests. The Beating the Odds ranking looks at predicted performance based on factors like enrollment, grade levels served, economic/racial diversity, and percentage of special education students and then compares that predicted performance to actual results. We consider the Beating the Odds ranking to be the best apples to apples indicator of our students’ academic achievement on standardized tests. To the right is a chart showing our predicted and actual rankings during the past two years. The percentiles are based on student outcomes in all Michigan school buildings. These results say a great deal about our staff, students, parents, and community – it certainly is a group effort! Beyond our assessment results, the staff takes a great deal of pride in the wide-variety of field trips and extra-curricular experiences offered to students at all levels. As you read through this edition of the Community Connection, please take note of all the meaningful opportunities the students at Douglas Elementary, Saugatuck Middle School, and Saugatuck High School are provided to reinforce and expand learning beyond the physical classroom. It is through these experiences that greater depth of knowledge occurs and memories are made that last a lifetime. With your support we continue to strive to be THE Best Small School District in Michigan. SAUGATUCK SCHOLARSHIP FOUNDATION Recognizing the financial challenges our students face when they embark on their post-secondary education, the Saugatuck Scholarship Foundation is addressing the needs of our students beyond their freshman year in college. New this year, two Saugatuck High School seniors will be awarded scholarships that are renewable for up to three additional years. Historically we have awarded several scholarships primarily for those entering their freshman year in college. By incorporating renewable scholarships, college students have a greater likelihood of graduating with less debt. The SSF Board is committed to growing the scholarship funds in an effort to impact more students during the course of their post-secondary education. We are achieving our vision, to “Empower the Next Generation”, one student at a time.


STATE OF THE ART TECHNOLOGY The integration of technology in education is no longer a new idea, but most school districts struggle to find the financial resources to keep their infrastructure robust and devices current. Thanks to the support of our voters last May, a major portion of the bond dollars approved allow SPS to implement our strategic technology plan to ensure our teachers and students can fully utilize current technology and graduate from Saugatuck High School with the college and career readiness skills needed to be successful in the 21st Century. We believe providing technology devices, in partnership with excellent instruction, is the best way to enhance the learning experience for all of our students. Here are some examples of what we have accomplished during the first half of the 2013/14 school year. 1:1 Chromebook Initiative By the end of the first week of school every Saugatuck High School student was issued a Lenovo Chromebook to use at school and at home. When these students walk into the classrooms they don’t have to wait their turn for a computer locked in a cart in some other location within the school or wait to get into a computer lab. Instead, they have eight-second access to the Internet after they flip open the lid on the Chromebook. Between Google Docs and Edmodo (schools’ version of Facebook where teachers and students interact beyond the last bell) engagement and productivity levels are at an all time high. The launch of this initiative was so successful and the device so durable, the board approved the recommendation to include the 8th graders in the 1:1 program this school year.

iPads at Douglas Elementary School More iPads have been purchased for DES. Each wing has a full set to share and more are being purchased as teachers learn how to use all the different apps to increase engagement, further differentiate instruction, and spark the creative minds of their students. The potential of this device is limitless for our elementary students and with meaningful and consistent training, our DES staff continues to strive to be on the cutting edge of integrating technology in our classrooms.


ART PROGRAM SUCCESS The art department at Saugatuck Middle/High School takes great pleasure in announcing the success of our student artists winning fourteen spots at the Scholastic Art and Writing Awards Regional Competition. The Scholastic Art Awards is one of the most time-honored competitions for high school students. Since 1923, Scholastic has recognized outstanding creativity in art and writing at the regional and national levels. Scholastic alumni include Richard Avedon, Truman Capote, Bernard Malmud, Joyce Maynard, Joyce Carol Oates, Robert Redford, and Andy Warhol. Mrs. Wise still treasures the Gold Key pin she won for a painting she made in high school. Since 1997, Saugatuck High School has had 124 students honored at this event. Mrs. Wise’s Art II class dominated the Printmaking division with all eleven wins in that category. Ana Avalos won a gold key award for her drypoint “Dance Pavilion,” an etching made after a historical photo of Saugatuck’s old Pavilion, and another gold key for a reduction print in six colors called “Friends.” Other gold key winners include Maddi Walston who won for her five-color reduction print of the Kalamazoo River in winter called “River View,” and Clair Guertin for a hand-tinted drypoint called “Docks.” Silver key winners include Clair Guertin, for a mixed media self-portrait, Hannah Hopf for a collage of collagraph prints called “Lone Tree,” and Marie Pena for a hand-colored drypoint called “Pumpkins.” Zoey Werme captured two silver key awards. One was for her four part series of reduction prints called “Cupcakes Galore” and also for her portfolio of eight paintings called “Delicata Squash.” Kara Hawke and Morgayne Wilson both won Honorable Mention awards for their prints “Grove of Trees” and “Poppies.” Under the direction of middle school art teacher Danielle Hanna, two middle school students also won awards. Emily Myers won a silver key for her “Self-Portrait,” and an honorable mention for a work entitled “Broken.” Also winning a silver key award was Claire Stannis for her pen and Ink piece, “Gone Swimming.” INDUSTRIAL ARTS Mr. Heyser, Industrial Arts Teacher, is thankful to see his students indulge in the therapeutic process of creating useful products using their own hands and minds. To be able to use machines that are safe and modern is a gift from our community. Kind and generous material donations allow us to enhance the students’ opportunities as they build various pieces of art (furniture, sculptures, signs, etc.). Recently our students worked with the City of Saugatuck to design, build and install the new Oval Beach sign. They also worked with various experts in building the new Star of Saugatuck, which proudly hangs on Mt. Baldy and shines brightly throughout our community during the Christmas season. The support the industrial arts program receives from local businesses and individuals is extraordinary and there is evidence throughout our towns that our students appreciate the support you give their education.

MESSAGE FROM BAND DIRECTOR HOLTZ I have been working for Saugatuck Public Schools for five years now, and have always felt this was a special community…a place where the arts are well supported and the efforts of the music program are genuinely appreciated.

The money received from the bond has gone to replacing instruments that were several decades old. While I have been proud of the sound our band has achieved in past years, the improvements in overall ensemble sound with these new instruments were instantaneous and profound. Both the middle school and high school bands received Division 1 ratings at District Concert Band Festival and the high school marching band, for the first time in history, received a Division 1 rating at the District Marching Band Festival!


DOUGLAS ELEMENTARY SCHOOL A TWO-TIME REWARD SCHOOL Comprehensive Opportunities As a school we promote healthy student-to-student interactions through our numerous extracurricular clubs, athletics, and programs. Our various clubs challenge students to use creative problem solving techniques. The Girls on the Run program helps girls build a positive self-image and learn how to have positive relationships with others. Other clubs include baking, music, art, games, drawing, Bal-a-vis-x, and student council. 5th Grade Baking Club Mrs. Casey Lokker is the Baking Club sponsor. This winter, the students in Baking Club were able to make a trip to Cookies on Call, a local business owned by Franny Martin. The club members were able to create their own delectable desert as a culminating activity. The students truly enjoyed the experience.

Excellent Programs An Art a’ Loan program gives DES student artists a real-world experience. Student artwork, created during regular art classes, is chosen by a panel of community artists who serve as judges. The work is matted and framed to include a picture and a short biography of the student artist. Each piece is rented for $100 at a community auction held in October at the Saugatuck Center for the Arts. The works of art are hung in businesses, doctor and dentist offices, local municipalities, and other visible public places. After one year, the artwork is returned to the student artist. A Visiting Artist Series is also part of our art offerings at DES. Each spring, community artists, representing multiple different mediums, work with classes to create original works of art at each grade level. A community gallery walk is the culminating activity for the Artist Series. All money from the Art a’ Loan auction and the gallery walk is used to support the school art program. In addition, DES offers an afterschool Art Club where students can express their creative ideas through a variety of mediums. Partnership With Our Community At DES we are thankful for our friends in Douglas. Each year, the City gives our teachers the opportunity to earn money for special projects by weeding the downtown area. Last year, we were able to purchase five iPads for students. This year, the money earned was used for writing materials and professional learning opportunities for three teachers in the area of writing. In addition to the weeding project, the City and DES partner to make the downtown area beautiful in the spring. Each May, all second grade students from DES plant flowers provided by the City on each of the corners and in the common areas downtown. We love seeing our plants bloom all summer.


SAUGATUCK MIDDLE SCHOOL - WHERE STUDENTS EXPERIENCE LEARNING Students at Saugatuck Middle School learn through experience beyond the classroom in many ways, including community involvement projects, a reverse job shadow day, the Old Schoolhouse project, a mathematics project with Haworth, and an English project with the Saugatuck-Douglas Visitor’s Bureau. Three very popular experiential learning traditions at SMS include sixth grade camp, a project called Salmon in the Classroom, and the eighth grade trip to Washington D.C. Sixth Grade Camp Every October our sixth grade students spend three days and two nights with their teachers and high school counselors at Camp Pendalouan near Montague, MI. The primary goals for attending camp include the development of teamwork, problem solving, and personal challenge. Activities include low ropes and high ropes courses, orienteering, hiking, survival, zip lining, square dancing, water sports, and archery. Salmon Release Program Sixth grade students also participate in the Michigan DNR Salmon in the Classroom program. Fingerling salmon are raised from eggs in two large classroom tanks and released in the Kalamazoo River in the spring. As a culminating activity students participate in a charter fishing adventure in May thanks to the generous support of the Saugatuck-Holland Area Charter Boat Association. After an exciting morning of salmon fishing, students are treated to a fish fry courtesy of the charter boat captains. Eighth Grade Washington D.C. Trip Civics, economics and history are brought to life during the eighth grade trip to our nation’s capital. This June will be the third year for this exciting new tradition at Saugatuck Middle School. Students visit the Jefferson, Lincoln, Martin Luther King, World War II, and Vietnam memorials. They also visit the Holocaust Museum, Natural History Museum, U.S. History Museum, and the Air and Space Museum to get gain a better appreciation of our nation’s history. The students even get to visit the White House, the Supreme Court and the Capital Building. Reading history books provides a solid understanding of how the United States became a country, but this trip provides an opportunity to learn first hand about our nation, our history, and our government all while spending three days in a major metropolitan city. Parents and students agree that this trip is the best educational experience of their young lives!


STUDENTS INVOLVED IN GLOBAL ISSUES International Day of the Girl Saugatuck High School students celebrated the International Day of the Girl with presentations calling attention to human rights issues affecting both men and women here in the United States and around the world. This international campaign for female education aims to reduce poverty and child mortality, change the conditions that lead to terrorism, and reduce corruption. The students watched the film Girl Rising at the Saugatuck Center for the Arts as a culminating activity. The same film was shown to the public that same night. Through this effort Saugatuck High School raised enough money to provide an education for ten girls for one year in a third world country.

Extended Learning at the Saugatuck Center for the Arts Members of Spanish Club joined Señora Bundy for a Saturday night on the town by visiting the Saugatuck Center for the Arts for a spectacular musical event featuring the group Tiempo Libre. Pictured are members of Spanish Club joined by the members of Tiempo Libre following the performance. Thanks so much Saugatuck Center for the Arts for a spectacular evening of Latin jazz and Cuban songs! Saugatuck High School Interact Club The Saugatuck Interact Club was founded during the in 2010-11 school year by thenfreshman Kelli Gallagher with the help of teacher and mentor Mike Shaw. Partnering with the Saugatuck-Douglas Rotary, the mission of the group is to make a difference in the international community. Specifically, the group has raised money through various fundraisers in order to support efforts to bring clean water to the Dominican Republic. For the past two years, students from SHS have traveled to the Dominican for one week in order to install the water filters that Interact has purchased through their efforts. This June, five students, along with Mike Shaw, will be traveling back to the Dominican in order to install filters and build a latrine for communities in need. The group has almost doubled in size since its inception, and plans to grow and continue their outreach efforts for years to come!

SAUGATUCK HIGH SCHOOL MUSICAL On February 26th and 27th, Saugatuck High School presented “Once on This Island,” the first musical in school history. Set in the Caribbean, “Once on this Island” is a timeless story of love and courage, hatred and prejudice, and the cast of ten Saugatuck High School students and one Douglas Elementary student enchanted the audience with its contemporary interpretation of capricious island gods and determined mortals, catchy Caribbean music, and message of love. Thanks to the partnership with the Saugatuck Center for the Arts and the Mason Street Warehouse and sponsorships by Bob and Bobby Gaunt, the Douglas Congregational United Church of Christ, and stage materials donated by Overisel Lumber, the show was a huge success. Plans are already underway for another musical next winter!


What Saugatuck High School Did Not Teach Us One way to gauge how we are doing in our mission to provide a top-notch comprehensive educational experience is to ask the students what they think of our efforts. The Top Scholars of 2013 (14 students) each gave a short speech at the graduation ceremony. The following are just a few examples of what these graduates said about Saugatuck High School. Sean Kelly - Saugatuck High School did not expose us to and in turn allow us to settle for mediocrity. Instead, we have participated in unique and critical experiences that collectively have allowed us to accomplish more than the average high schooler. Because of these feats, we now have extraordinary opportunities that many high schoolers could never fathom. It is this privileged exposure that we will confidently wear in the next stage of our lives and every subsequent one, ensuring that what we have taken from Saugatuck High School will be with us forever. Phil Cooley - I am grateful that Saugatuck High School did not teach us to be unkind. The students and faculty at Saugatuck High School create a friendly, compassionate, and accepting environment that will not only kindly care for an in-town student, but will also tenderly foster a school of choice student. The exposure to congenial camaraderie and genuine kindness that we have experienced at Saugatuck may be the most valuable knowledge we walk away with - - which of course here at Saugatuck - - says a lot. Sam Freestone - Saugatuck High School did not teach us to be unbalanced. Not only have students been urged to succeed in the classroom, but also on the playing field and in other extracurricular activities. The supportive environment at Saugatuck High School has allowed students to properly balance academics, athletics, and all extracurriculars. In this way, students have been permitted to achieve in all aspects of high school and for this I am truly grateful. Carly Howell - One thing that Saugatuck High School did not teach us was to settle for anything less than our best. Not only were we encouraged to strive for academic and athletic excellence, but spiritual excellence. The amazing result of where we stand today is not nearly as important as the journey we took to get here. Of course, tediously studying for tests, spending hours at sports practices, writing countless numbers of essays, and turning in homework assignments yielded impressive transcripts and athletic merit, but these activities also taught us important character qualities, such as perseverance, self-confidence, and strength. Through the patient guidance of the teachers here, we have learned how to accept constructive criticism as a key to bettering ourselves in every area of life. I am grateful that Saugatuck High School did not allow us to be anything less than we were made to be. Kelseigh Hofmeyer - Saugatuck High School didn’t teach us that winning is everything; rather, it taught us that it is the struggles, trials and tribulations, losses, and mistakes that leave the biggest impact. The failures and defeats are the things that we learn from the most. These are the events that have shaped not only who we are today, but who we are meant to become in the future. While winning may be important, it is simply a reward for the struggle, for the hours put in, for the mistakes that we may have made; finally being successful after failure is simply a way to say “I made it through and am a better person because of it.� Galib Braschler - Ostensibly, the proof is in these people: each and every one of us has undergone a metamorphosis many years in the making. Whether it be moving to the Big Apple, bravely serving this country with our lives, competing in college athletics, graduating high school and raising beautiful twins, hoping to become a sports broadcaster on ESPN, or the many other amazing paths we have paved for ourselves, our futures shine brighter than a diamond. This conglomeration of potentials is a representation of what the fantastic faculty at Saugatuck has taught us over the years. We went from coloring with crayons in preschool to cutting open cat corpses in anatomy class. The memories we have made and the lessons we have learned will stand the test of time, for those things never graduate. To read the rest of the speeches go to our website - www.saugatuckps.com and click on the Top Scholars Power Point presentation.


Saugatuck Public Schools

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Community Connection March 2014  

Saugatuck Public Schools Community Connection March 2014

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