Friday, June 14, 2013

TAYLOR READING CORPS: Summer program could use recycled items

The Taylor Reading Corps is getting reading to launch its summer reading program, and could use a few recycled items to aid in children's education over the vacation months. 

Emily Sweeney, who is coordinating much of the program, needs the following:

  • Yogurt containers
  • Paper towel and/or toilet paper rolls
  • Tissue boxes
  • Cereal boxes
  • Coffer containers
  • Pringles cans
  • Masking tape

The TRC plans to have children building a "recycled city including towers and buildings" so anything that you'd like to donate would be very helpful.

The TRC office (22755 Wick) is located in the Par-Wick Plaza near Sax Pharmacy, which is at Wick Road and Pardee. The office is open during regular business hours weekly. For further information, call (313) 769-6730 or click on the TRC Web site by clicking here.

The TRC is a non-profit 501(c)3 organization that recruits, trains and supervises adult reading mentors to work in the Taylor School District. This past year, the TRC mentored children in preschool, kindergarten and the first grade. Next year, it plans to expand its effort to the second-grade level.

EXPERT SUMMER TIPS: Make time for learning each day!

NOTE: Debbie Stellini, Board of Education member, emailed this link recently. It is about making time for learning during the summer months. It was published by online by “Edutopia: What works in education,” and the George Lucas foundation and written by Barbara Dianis, author of the book, “Don’t Count Me Out! A Guide to Better Grades & Test Scores Pre-K-12.

To view the complete Edutopia presentation, click here. It includes some excellent comments and testimonials from educators in the “comments” section of the Web site page.

Summer is upon us once again, and parents are beginning to plan for their children's days without a school schedule. Dreams of days filled with family, friends, freedom and laughter are in students' heads as they say goodbye to another school year. However, a nonacademic summer can cause students at every grade level to digress two to three months in their academic skills. Half an hour to an hour set aside daily can help students close learning gaps and perform at higher levels during the upcoming school year. Summer is an ideal time for students of all ages to strengthen their academic skills while still having plenty of time left over for summer activities.

1. Make Time for Learning
Set aside time for your student to read each day during the summer break -- 15 to 30 minutes per day is all it takes! During the summer, students have more time to read for enjoyment, which also offers a great opportunity to preserve and strengthen their reading skills. Your summer activities should include taking your children or teenagers to the public library to check out books of interest and/or any summer reading groups they'd like to join.

A great way to track how much reading your child is doing during the summer months is a tally on your regular activities calendar. This will help keep the daily reading time from being overlooked because of other summer activities -- and we know there are many!

Parents of students reading below grade level should read with their children in order to assist with sounding out words they might not be able to decode themselves. In addition, keep a dictionary or online source close by to help students figure out those words by using the phonetic spelling provided.

2. Learn and Practice Affixes
Children and teens of all grade levels can improve their reading and spelling skills by learning affixes. Most multi-syllable words include prefixes and suffixes added to a base word. You can find a list of affixes and their meanings in a dictionary or in many online sources. 

To make this practice appealing, turn it into a game! Students can create flashcards of prefixes and suffixes. On the reverse side of each affix flash card, they should write the meaning. All children love guessing games and can point out what they think the affix means. You can also use this game to help them learn new vocabulary words.

3. Develop Math Skills
Though it may not seem fun to them at the time, working on just three to four math problems per day during the summer can prevent students' mathematical skills from getting rusty. They can look at it as a daily challenge that they must complete, or a daily "to-do" to proudly check off their calendar. 

Parents can purchase a math workbook for their child's academic level at most bookstores. Working on just a few problems daily (or more, if your child enjoys math) can help students of all ages close the gaps in their math skills, preserve what they learned during the previous school year, and prepare for the next.

4. Improve Reading Comprehension
To help your children better understand what they're reading, consider offering them a reading comprehension workbook to work on several minutes daily. These can be found at teacher supply stores or many online outlets. Students of all grades and ability levels can benefit scholastically by working with material that offers self-quizzes and high-interest stories. This practice helps develop their fact-retaining and inference-making skills.

5. Review and Build Grammar Skills
Review the past grade level's grammar concepts, and begin to work on the next school year's concepts. During the summer, students benefit from weekly reviews or pre-learning two to four lessons. 

Find workbooks geared to their grade or skill level, and encourage them to check their work using the answer key provided. Even if they make mistakes on their answers (and who doesn't make mistakes?), finally filling in the correct answers will reinforce their grammar skills.

6. Encourage Creative Writing
Creative writing is a great way to improve your children's written language skills while giving them a fun and imaginative activity during the summer! Have your student write a creative paragraph each week. As a parent, you can help by assisting him or her with choosing a "topic" (such as a family vacation, special outing or holiday memory) to write a paragraph about. 

Students can also benefit from using a thesaurus and changing several common words to more interesting words. This will make their writing more interesting while learning great new words at the same time.

7. Focus on Specific Skills
Pinpoint the subjects your child had the most trouble learning the previous school year, and make sure to fit in some practice in these areas. Summer is an ideal time to set aside just 15 to 30 minutes a day for helping your student on areas of difficulty. Again, use every resource available to you! 

Parents are not helpless when it comes to their child's education. Online resources and teacher supply stores offer a wide variety of learning materials, workbooks, computer games, and other types of games to reinforce and strengthen scholastic skills. Students may wish to play learning games with their friends to help make the time fly by and make learning more fun.

Over the summer, students and parents who practice the above tips can see great strengthening and improvement in scholastic skills, and avoid digressing two to three months in learning. Summer learning can be fun and challenging at the same time. Students may find learning to be more fun as they become more capable of meeting scholastic challenges and overcoming any learning weaknesses. By implementing a summer plan and igniting your child's passion for learning, he or she can enjoy a renewed sense of academic self-esteem and dignity -- wonderful benefits of learning not to be "counted out."

Thursday, June 13, 2013


The Taylor Federation of Teachers' scholarship winner from Truman High School is Jalen Bodrie.

Jalen joined Kennedy's Giovanna Savastano and TFT teacher member award winner Alexandria Hutchison, daughter of McDowell Elementary School teacher Sherry Hutchison. Each earned a $2,500 award.

Jalen is the daughter of Randy Bodrie and Mickela Clair. Her siblings are Randy Bodrie, 15, and Liam Bodrie, 11, and she had two dogs, Ron and Chewy. She enjoys softball, basketball and bowling.

According to TFT leadership, Jalen is a very interesting honoree. Her family lineage hails from Taylor and generations have graduated from high schools in the city and gone on to blue-collar jobs.

But Jalen knew at an early age that she wanted something different out of life. With her parent's support, she will attempt to become the first member of her family to graduate from college.

Jalen plans to attend the University of Michigan and pursue a degree in sports medicine. 

Evedry teacher and staff member at Truman is great," she wrote to the TFT. "Every teacher that I've had throughout my school career had helped me prepare for college and I owe a great amount of my success in school to them. I'm proud that I graduated from Truman High School and the Taylor School District."

The TFT congratulates its scholarship winners and wishes them the best in college. 

TAYLOR FEDERATION OF TEACHERS SCHOLARSHIPS: More on Kennedy winner Giovanna Savastano

Kennedy High School's Giovanna Savastano is one of three Taylor Federation of Teachers scholarship winners this year.

Giovanna, whose parents are Antonio and Ellen, has two siblings: Teressa, 16, and Filomena, 13. She also has two cats, Boe and Bella. 

She will attend Wayne State University and will major in pre-occupational therapy. Her future plans include obtaining a master's degree in occupational therapy and then move to to be a pediatric occupational therapist.

Giovanna's hobbies include volleyball and basketball, reading and singing. she enjoys time with family and friends and volunteering within the community. She loves to work with children.

She says that her favorite class was advanced placement biology, where she learned not only the subject, but to prioritize, study and gathered that she wanted to pursue a science-related career path. She called Mrs. Newell an "awesome teacher and person."

Giovanna would like to thank the TFT for its wonderful scholarship. She appreciates it and is very grateful for the award and all the teachers that have touched her life.


Alexandria Hutchison is one of three Taylor Federation of Teachers scholarship winners this year.

Alexandria is the TFT's "Full Dues Member Scholarship Winner" and is the daughter of Sherry Hutchison, TOSA at McDowell Elementary School.

She will attend Hope College and major in elementary education and minor in communications. 

She plans to "follow in her mom's footsteps," which sounds like a very good move. A few of her hobbies and interests are dance, traveling and spending time with family and friends.

Alexandria has enjoyed volunteering at McDowell, which she had done many times. She helps students practice reading and also helps teach the school cheerleaders their competitive dance steps.

She thanks the TFT for the honor and their generosity, and says that she'll put the money to good use by becoming the teacher that she's always wanted to become.

BLAIR MOODY ELEMENTARY SCHOOL: Pupils win iPod Shuffles and gift cards during raffle

Nora Roberts and Ijana Palmer were the two lucky winners of iPod Shuffles during a raffle at Blair Moody Elementary School!
Two lucky children earned new "toys" for the summer vacation thanks to Dave Sadjak from KSP Insurance in Wyandotte, who donate the iPod Shuffles and iTunes Gift Cards. 

Every year, Sadjak donates two iPod Shuffles and two iTunes gift cards.

The iPod Shuffle is a digital audio player. It's the smallest model in the Apple iPod family and was the first to use flash memory. It was first introduced in 2005. The iTunes gift cards are part of Apple's complete iTunes' package, a media player and media library application and is used to play, download and organize digital audio and video on personal computers.

Congratulations to Nora and Ijana!

HOLLAND ELEMENTARY SCHOOL: Classroom is infected with chocolate fever!

ALERT! ALERT! There was a serious outbreak of "Chocolate Fever" at Holland Elementary School recently!

The outbreak was found in Mrs. Stewart's third-grade classroom. 

Children and staff from across the school were puzzled by strange brown spots that appeared on the faces of all Mrs. Stewart's pupils. Meanwhile, anyone who walked into the classroom became infected!

Well, after an inspection by local, county, state, worldwide and intergalactic health authorities, they all came to a conclusion that the outbreak was caused by "reactions to a celebration involving the completion of the funny book, 'Chocolate Fever.'" "Chocolate Fever" was written by Robert Kimmel Smith.

The book, written in 1972, focuses on Henry Green, who likes to eat lots of chocolate. In some cases, he added chocolate or chocolate flavoring to other foods -- like mashed potatoes. One day, he comes down with an usual medical condition called "Chocolate Fever." Later, Henry learns about moderating his comsumption.

The pupils had a great time putting chocolate spots on their faces and enjoyed the chocolate treats.

In a related matter, Principal Massucci was also infected as soon as she entered the room -- and all the children KNOW what a fan she is of chocolate!

HOLLAND ELEMENTARY SCHOOL: Being awesome can get you dividends at the end of the year

It pays dividends to be an awesome pupil at Holland Elementary School!

Two lucky children earned new "toys" for the summer vacation recently, thanks to Dave Sadjak from KSP Insurance in Wyandotte. 

Every year, Sadjak donates two iPod Shuffles and two iTunes gift cards to Holland. This year, we placed all of the "Caught Being An Awesome Kid" awards in a five-gallon bucket and Sadjak drew the winners.

The iPod Shuffle is a digital audio player. It's the smallest model in the Apple iPod family and was the first to use flash memory. It was first introduced in 2005. The iTunes gift cards are part of Apple's complete iTunes' package, a media player and media library application and is used to play, download and organize digital audio and video on personal computers.

The "Caught Being An Awesome Kid" awards go to pupils for outstanding behavior and random acts of kindness. Sadjak dug through the countless award winners this year and came up with the lucky ones, who will now enjoy summer that much more.

The winners were thrilled, and when they called their parents with the good news, the parents could not believe the generosity of Sadjak and KSP Insurance.

It pays to be an awesome kid at Holland!

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

TAYLOR FEDERATION OF TEACHERS: Union honors three high school students with scholarships

The teachers of the Taylor Federation of Teachers are proud to award a $2,500 scholarship to high school seniors from John F. Kennedy High School, Harry S. Truman High School and to a Taylor Federation of Teacher's student.  

Selection is based equally on G.P.A., school-related activities, community relation activities and an essay. The Taylor Federation of Teachers is proud to announce the winners of this year's awards.

The Kennedy High School Scholarship Winner is Giovanna Savastano (above). Giovanna plans to attend Wayne State University with a major in Pre Occupational therapy.  Her future plans are to obtain a master's level degree in Occupational Therapy from WSU with a focus on Pediatric O.T.

The Truman High School Scholarship Winner is Jalen Bodrie (below). Jalen plans to attend the University of Michigan (Ann Arbor) to pursue a degree in sports medicine.  Jalen intends to be the first member of her family to graduate from college.  

The Taylor Federation of Teacher Member is Alexandria Hutchison. Alexandria is the daughter of Sherry Hutchison, teacher at McDowell Elementary School.  Alexandria plans to attend Hope College where she will major in Elementary Education and minor in Communications.

The Taylor Federation of Teachers wishes these three outstanding students the best in their future endeavors. 

EUREKA HEIGHTS ELEMENTARY SCHOOL: Don't forget today's carnival

Don't forget the fundraising carnival scheduled today from 2-4 p.m. at Eureka Heights Elementary School.

Plenty of fun for everyone. Proceeds will benefit next year's school activities.

RANDALL ELEMENTARY SCHOOL: Successful kindergarten roundup has staff, teachers eyeing next fall

The 2012-13 school year may be coming to an end in the Taylor School District, but teachers and staff at Randall Elementary School already have their eyes focused on the fall.

At that time, the school will welcome many new and wonderful families to the facility, and staff noted another amazing turnout for its final kindergarten roundup last month. 

Over 20 families were in attendance. Not only were the kindergarten teachers present, but so were Mr. Hodge and Ms. Janiec, who talked and worked on music and movement with the children.

The kindergarten teachers did many fun learning activities with the those in attendance and shared activities that the new families could work on together at home over the summer months.

The administration, teachers and staff at Randall Elementary School cannot wait to welcome their new pupils to school in the fall.

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

TAYLOR PARKS ELEMENTARY SCHOOL: Fifth-graders receive a big send off!

Taylor Parks Elementary School fifth-graders went out in style recently!

A celebration capped the year for the fifth-grade pupils, who will embark on a new adventure next year. They are headed for The Sixth Grade Academy, and hopefully, bigger and better things.

Taylor Parks celebrated the event with pizza, salad and some bowling to help fuel the fire.

Class of 2020, enjoy the journey!

BLAIR MOODY ELEMENTARY SCHOOL: Teachers and parents help make for a fun-filled day

Mr. Tony Brinson and Mrs. Brenda Baker recently did an amazing job with Blair Moody Elementary School's Fun/Field Day.

The idea was to focus on fun and physical fitness. Over 40 parents volunteered, organized by parents Mrs. Angie Busch and Mrs. Jennifer Lutton. All the games and activities were run by parent volunteers.

And even Mother Nature cooperated!

BLAIR MOODY ELEMENTARY SCHOOL: Staff is ready for a big day!

The staff at Blair Moody Elementary School is proud to be happy group of Eagles!

Here's a recent group picture of the educators at the school getting ready for a fun-filled field day.

With a staff like this, how can anyone help but be excited to be at school?

EUREKA HEIGHTS ELEMENTARY SCHOOL: Carnival planned for tomorrow afternoon; will benefit next year's school activities

Come one, come all ... it's nearly time for the Eureka Heights Elementary School Carnival!

The carnival will be held from 2 to 4 p.m. tomorrow (Wednesday, June 12). Included will be games, inflatables, raffles, food and more.

Staff and teachers want anyone and everyone to come and enjoy the fun. Pre-sale tickets are now on sale at the school office.

All proceeds from the benefit will go directly to school activities during next year's school year.

HOLLAND ELEMENTARY SCHOOL: Outstanding behavior gets pupils an ice cream treat!

Ain't no misbehaving at Holland Elementary School!

At least that goes for a group of pupils who went the entire month of May without a single misbehavior notice. As a result, they had a chance to gather and enjoy an ice cream treat. Pictured as some of the children in Mrs. Irwin's fourth-grade class who met the challenge and reaped the rewards!

Every month at Holland, there is a fun activity to celebrate and an ice cream treat is always one of the favorites.

From the "Talking Taylor Schools" blog, hats off to those "Ain't no misbehaving" pupils at Holland!

HOLLAND ELEMENTARY SCHOOL: Where real men wear pink!

What do NFL players, Major League Baseball players and a group of boys at Holland Elementary School have in common?  They are "real men" who wear pink to show their support for the fight against breast cancer.

As part of their mini Relay for Life, Holland sells T-shirts to help raise money for Taylor's Relay For Life. Two years ago, fourth-grade teacher Mr. Stewart asked the boys in his class if they would purchase pink shirts as a way to show support for the women's fight against breast cancer.

Several brave boys joined Mr. Stewart in the "Real Men Wear Pink" club. This year the group doubled in size and expanded to boys in other classrooms.

The boys who wear their pink shirts feel very strongly about their desire to show support for the women in their lives. 

Nathan Gervasi wear his pink shirt "to support people who have cancer, have passed away, and who have survived cancer."

Antonio Perales and Jack Mount wear their shirts to honor women in their lives who have beaten breast cancer.

Monday, June 10, 2013

RANDALL ELEMENTARY: Former Truman student returns from boot camp to surprise his little brother!

For school students, Friday means the weekend is here. But for Randall Elementary School fourth-grader Zachary Snider, last Friday (June 7) turned out to be a little different. And a little more special.

Snider's brother is Joshua Harris, in basic training at the Naval Station Great Lakes near Chicago for the past six months. But, before Joshua sent sails for destinations around the world, he wanted to see his brother.

So he made a surprise trip back to Randall before heading off for San Diego, CA, and duty on the U.S.S. Ronald Reagan. By the smiles on their faces, everyone could see that they couldn't wait to see each other again.

Joshua, by the way, attended Truman High School.

Something tells us that Friday is always going to hold a special place in Zachary's heart.

And, from "Talking Taylor Schools," a good luck to Joshua Harris. We're all proud of you!