Sunday, August 21, 2016

TOMMIE SAYLOR: Kennedy principal discusses open house, dress code, new no backpacks in classroom rule and other points of interest

“The function of education is to teach one to think intensively and to think critically.  Intelligence plus character – that is the goal of true education.”
Martin Luther King, Jr.

By Tommie Saylor
Kennedy High School Principal

For those of us back in the office, I guess this week was the unofficial start of the 2016-2017 school year. We just finished our first week back.

Though the time off this summer was enjoyable, it feels good to be back in the office doing something productive. Speaking of which, I know that back in June I sent out a series of questions regarding the dress code, backpacks in the classroom and this year’s open house.  To make a long story short, the dress code will remain the same; backpacks will no longer be allowed in classrooms; and our open house has been scheduled for Friday, September 9, just before the Kennedy–Truman football game.

I really don’t have anything to say about our dress code, since nothing has changed.  But no longer will backpacks be allowed in the classroom (of course, exceptions will be made for Special Education students who have IEPs that specify differently). 

The “no backpack rule” is for both health and safety reasons. For over 10 years, the Michigan State Police has asked schools not to allow backpacks in the classroom, because the staff really has no idea what the students may have in their backpacks, potentially creating a dangerous situation for all those in the classroom. Secondly, for health reasons, we don’t want backpacks in the classroom. Over the last couple of years when we would occasionally have an issue with a bed bug, these bugs were often being found on student’s backpacks. So, a student who brings their backpacks in class and sets it next to another student’s backpack creates a potential health risk.  In addition, the middle schools in our district have not allowed backpacks in the classroom for years, and it is about time that we “get on board” and follow their lead.

See attachment regarding backpacks and the dress code sent home in the August mailing.

Also see the attachment regarding the Kennedy Open House on September 9. We picked this day because it is the day of the Kennedy–Truman football game, and we hope that this will draw a bigger crowd. We want the open house to be a carnival-type atmosphere, and to this end, we want to have games such as “corn hole”, “ring toss”, and such in the halls for all to play. 

We also want to display last year’s senior projects, trophies earned and impressive student work.  I envision having the band in one corner playing a few selections, perhaps I can talk Mr. Green into another corner of the hall playing the piano, our JROTC demonstrating their drilling expertise as they march through the halls and displays showing our various clubs to include the NHS, chess club, D&D club, culture club, etc. 

I can also envision Ms. Hall presenting the wonders of our Interwrite Boards to our parents, Ms. Phillips explaining and demonstrating our credit recovery and PLATO programs, and Ms. Russell showing off past art projects.  In essence, I want to entertain and inform our parents, while at the same time showing off all that Kennedy has to offer the students of our community.

As for the instructional staff (teachers, ATAs, and the such), the first day you are required to report is the September 6. But, we have activities in which you are highly encouraged to voluntarily attend taking place on the August 30-31. Kennedy’s opening staff meeting will take place on the August 30 starting at 8 a.m. in the Media Center. At this meeting, the administration’s expectations for the upcoming school year will be detailed, as well as a review of procedural and structural specifics.  At 10 a.m. we have representatives from Wayne Mediation coming in to explain their program and referral process.  In the afternoon, starting at 12:15, we will gather at Hoover Middle School to examine the Thoughtful Classroom Teacher Evaluation process that will be utilizes this next school year. 

On August  31, District level Curriculum PD will be held at Truman from 7:30-11 a.m., and in the afternoon, from 11:45 a.m. to 3:45 p.m., everyone will have the opportunity to work on a PD video assignment on your own back at Kennedy High School.

I cannot express enough the importance of these two days, how these two days set the tone for the rest of the school year, and how these two days can get you off on the “right foot” for that which awaits ahead. In addition, please see attached regarding this year’s bell schedule.

Finally, this year at all times please keep in mind, that though we often spend a lot of time discussing the “nuts and bolts” of our profession, the underlying purpose and the very foundation of all our efforts are the students of our community.

Each and every school day, for 180 days, we make a promise to the parents of our students as they send their children off to school in the morning, that in the afternoon we will return their children to them safe, sound, and better for their experiences with us.  Dedicate yourself to keeping this promise, take solace in the knowledge that you will be helping your students to find their greatness.

Helping students to find their greatness. Making Kennedy the school of choice. Excellence by design.


From 6-7 p.m. on Tuesday, August 30, Kinyon Elementary School will be hosting its Open House.

During this time “The Kinyon Family” will be able to learn about their child's teacher, meet the teacher and tour your the building.

The staff looks forward to seeing you then!

Saturday, August 13, 2016

LEARN TO SKATE classes begin next week

Learn to Skate USA summer skills camp and classes begin at the Taylor Sportplex next week. The Sportsplex is located at 13333 Telegraph Road.

Days, times and programs vary. Fee is $55 per skater, or enroll in two classes for $100. 

JUNIOR LEAGUE WORLD SERIES begins at Heritage Park

The world’s best teams of 13- and 14-year-old baseball players have arrived in Taylor for the 36th annual Junior League World Series.

Opening ceremonies are at 8 p.m. Saturday, August 13, at World Series Field in Taylor’s Heritage Park, 12111 Pardee Road. Admission to opening ceremonies is free.

The festivities will include a colorful walking parade, speeches and presentations by dignitaries, a special ceremonial first pitch featuring former Taylor Major League pitcher Steve Avery and fireworks.

Eleven teams from around the world will compete for the world championship of the 13- and 14-year-old division of Little League Baseball. It’s the biggest field of teams in the history of the event.

Four games are scheduled on Sunday, August 14, opening day on World Series Field in Taylor’s Heritage Park. The international tournament will continue through next Sunday, August 21, when the world champion will be crowned in an ESPN-televised game starting at 1 p.m.

The Asia-Pacific champions from Chinese Taipei won the World Series for the third straight time last year. A team from the Shing-Ming Junior Little League in Taoyuan City will attempt to defend the title in what amounts to a seventh straight appearance in Taylor for a team from Chinese Taipei. In 2015, Tai Chung, Taiwan, won the title for the second straight year.

Chinese Taipei plays at 2 p.m. Sunday against first-time JLWS entry Cronulla in Sydney, New South Wales, Australia. For the first time ever, the Australian national champion was granted an automatic berth in the series due to the impressive growth and popularity of Little League-type baseball on the continent.

In all, six teams make up the International bracket of the 2016 World Series. The others are Latin America regional champion Tomas Munoz Little League from Juan Diaz, Panama; the South Czech Republic Little League from Brno, Czech Republic, making its third straight JLWS appearance by Czech teams; the national champions of Mexico from the Linda Vista Junior League in Guadalupe, Nuevo Leon; and the Lethbridge Southwest Little League from Alberta, the Canadian national champs.

Five teams will represent Junior League regions of the United States. Teams earning regional championships include the Northeast/Fraternal Northwest Little Leagues from Midland, Michigan (USA Central Region); Padre Little League in Corpus Christi, Texas (Southwest); the Northwood Little League from Taylors, South Carolina (Southeast); the West Salisbury Little League from Salisbury, Maryland (East); the Kawaihau Community Little League from Kapaa Kauai, Hawaii (West). 

The series’ opening game on Sunday is Hawaii vs. Maryland at 11 a.m. Sunday. After the Chinese Taipei-Australia game at 2 p.m., the games continue with South Carolina vs. the Central Region champion at 5 p.m. and Canada vs. Mexico at 8 p.m.

Games continue throughout the week. For the first time at the JLWS, teams play a new “modified double-elimination” format mandated by Little League International. Teams play a regular double-elimination schedule to determine the finalists for the International (3 p.m. Friday, August 20) and USA (6 p.m. Friday) championship games.

Then, the August 20 winners play in the world championship game at 1 p.m. Sunday, August 21.

World Series organizers noted that all teams arrive in Taylor as champions, having won national and/or regional tournaments played around the globe.

Besides a new continent in the World Series and a new tournament format, fans can expect to see a new bullpen along the right field line and upgrades to signage, the video scoreboard and the Memorial Garden on the grounds of World Series Field.

Admission to the games is $5 per carload per day or $15 for a week’s pass. Both prices include parking.

Heritage Park is located at 12111 Pardee Road. A second entrance is on Northline Road at Racho Road.

Those unable to attend the games can watch them via streaming video at the website

For more information on the Junior League World Series, visit the website or follow along on the World Series Facebook page,


The Junior League World Series is considered the “older brother” of the famous Little League World Series for 12-year-old players in Williamsport, Pennsylvania.

Both series tout former players who went on to professional sports careers. At least 12 former Junior League World Series competitors have gone on to professional baseball in the Major Leagues: current Philadelphia Phillies infielder Freddy Galvas, former Detroit Tiger Gary Sheffield, Eric Bedard, Brett Myers, brothers Jose and Javier Valentin, Erubiel Durazo, Chad Hermansen, Derek Bell, Delino DeShields, Shannon Withem, Adam Loewen and Chris Brock.

Other future stars to play in Taylor have included Chris Dingman and Steve Reinprecht, who went on to play in the National Hockey League; Matt Cassell, who continues to play in the National Football League; Mark “Bo” Pelini, a well-known former college football player and current coach.

The World Series operates on the generosity of sponsors, fundraising efforts and other donations, along with an all-volunteer staff. To make a tax-deductible donation or to become a series volunteer, contact Greg Bzura at (734) 306-3113 or

BACK TO SCHOOL INFORMATION includes registration, TVLA and free preschool information

BACK TO SCHOOL INFORMATION includes starting and dismissal times (some new), HS orientation and information on trip to England

BACK TO SCHOOL INFORMATION includes 2016-17 school calendar