Friday, October 18, 2013

HOOVER MIDDLE SCHOOL: Scarecrows to be judged next week!

This is a photo of Mrs. Bartaway's enrichment students beside their "lifeguard scarecrow" inside a classroom at Hoover Middle School.

Each enrichment class is participating in the scarecrow-creating contest, which will be judged by parents attending the Parent Teacher Conference scheduled next week.

Look for the winners in an upcoming blog!

HOOVER MIDDLE SCHOOL: Free tutoring offered on Tuesdays and Thursdays!

The staff of Hoover Middle School is providing FREE after school tutoring for all students.

If you child is struggling or behind in any of their classes, they are welcome to attend. Snacks and transportation are provided.

The tutoring goes is held from 2:45-4 p.m. Tuesdays and Thursdays.

If you have any questions, please contact the school at (313) 295-5775.

TAYLOR ROTARY: Elvis is in the house, and new winter coats are on the way!

Jax Ackland

Elvis is in the house!

The Taylor Rotary Club again plans to distribute new winter coats to needy students in the Taylor School District. And they could use your help!

Norm Ackland Jr.
The Rotary is sponsoring its first fundraiser to support the coat campaign -- The Taylor Rotary Presents: ELVIS! The event is planned for 7 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 9, at the All Saints Knights of Columbus, 24900 Brest, Taylor.

Featured will be different versions of Elvis over the decades, including a father-son team. "Elvis Jr." is young Jac Ackland, just 6
. The Fifties Elvis is Norm Ackland Jr. And the 1970's version of Elvis is Ryan Roth.

Tickets for the events are just $15 per person, which includes the show, pizza and beverages. For more information or to buy tickets, contact Armando Sardanopolis by telephone at (734) 895-5875 or by email at

Help the Rotary give needy children winter coats. Buy a ticket today!

Ryan Roth

Thursday, October 17, 2013

TAYLOR PARKS ELEMENTARY SCHOOL: Read all about it in the Roadrunner Chronicle

Pupils in Mrs. McNew's fifth-grade class at Taylor Parks Elementary School are now in the newspaper business. It’s time to "read all about it" in the Roadrunner Chronicle!

Once a month,  students will publish all the news worth reading.  In their first issue, subjects like pet profiles, food, sports and animal facts appear.  

Are you looking for the upcoming weather? Rely on the Farmers Almanac predictions. Need advice on a problem? Ask Little Miss Know It All!

Interviews with interesting people and a good joke top off the opening edition. The students have a better understanding of meeting deadlines, completing tasks and the need for expressive writing during their program.

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

TRUMAN HIGH SCHOOL: Newspaper story highlights Cougar Homecoming King

NOTE: Great story on Truman Homecoming King Tyler Nunnery in The News-Herald Newspapers, thanks to Staff Writer Dave Komer.

TAYLOR — Thanks to an act of kindness by his fellow classmates, a special candidate was crowned Truman High School’s homecoming king.

Tyler Nunnery is like most high school students — he loves band, acting in drama and sports, and is able to remember any possible statistic or score when asked.

Tyler also has autism, which can make a teen’s formative years, which are a challenge for anyone, even harder. Yet, the popular and busy student had classmates who wanted to spring a special surprise on him.

On Friday, he was crowned homecoming king, and Kristen Bailey was crowned homecoming queen.

“The kids really wanted to do it for him,” Truman Principal Melissa Skopczynski said. “Tyler is a great kid. The kids just love him. This was totally student driven and they wanted him on the court and to be king.”

His mother, Rhonda, said the other boys on the court had vowed that if any of them won the vote, they would hand their cape and crown to Tyler because, they said, “He deserved it.”

As it turned out, Tyler didn’t need the assist after all. He carried the popular vote and defeated the football and basketball players also on the court.

Tyler, who had told everyone he was honored just to be on the court, said he was shocked at the announcement.

“I was very surprised,” he said. “It was a blast being up there. I just prayed about it and kept it in the good Lord’s hands. If I didn’t win, I would have respected anyone else who did because they’re my friends.

“It was wonderful. I got to wear a crown and a cape. It was amazing.”

Tyler is on the varsity band, the marching band and in drama while carrying a 2.7 GPA, which his mother, Rhonda, and his father, Chuck, says he works hard at.

While Tyler is independent and self-sufficient now, his mother said, she remembers a time when the going was much rougher.

“At 5 years of age, he did not speak,” she said. “It was with the power of prayer that he has (come this far). I had to help him with his homework in ninth grade, but I haven’t had to help him since. He has earned his 2.7 himself.”

Besides playing trumpet and pit percussion, Tyler loves to work on sets and behind the scenes for drama. As a senior, he also is a member of Link Crew, which partners upperclassmen with an incoming freshman for the year to show the younger students the ropes and help them acclimate.

Tyler is known for making a big impression, and not just because he’s 6 feet 5 inches tall. His mother said his kindness and friendliness are what help make him so well-liked.

Skopczynski said that when he is in school, Tyler is “really kind and caring ... meets you every day and greets you.”

“I was really proud of our kids,” she said. “It was nothing the adults did. Tyler won it fair and square.”

His mother said that after Tyler found out he was king, he was smiling “from ear to ear” as girls on the court ran up to hug him and guys high-fived him.

On Saturday, he and the homecoming queen, Kristen, danced at homecoming.

“It was just an amazing thing that these children have it in their hearts to be selfless and considerate and accept him for who he is,” Tyler’s mother said. “Tyler said, ‘Thank you for voting for me even though I have autism.’ Someone told him, ‘Tyler we don’t look at you as having a disability or autism.’

“When it comes down to it, the students at Truman love each other for who they are.”

Contact Staff Writer David Komer at 1-734-246-0866 or Follow him on Facebook and @DavidKomer_NH on Twitter.

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

BLAIR MOODY ELEMENTARY SCHOOL: Teachers learn about 'formative assessment'

Blair Moody Elementary School teachers spent the day Friday learning about Formative Assessment from Wayne County RESA’s Ellen Vorencamp.  

She provided the teachers with critical information as well as a multitude of ideas on how to use formative assessment to drive instruction. Teachers then had the opportunity to spend Professional Learning Community time to decide how to best implement the new information into their classrooms.  

And big “thank you” from everyone involved to Bea Benjamin for setting up Ellen and the substitute teachers.

SIXTH GRADE ACADEMY: Carousel Walk builds relationships

Pupils at the Sixth Grade Academy recently built relationships by doing a Carousel Walk to get to know each other.

SIXTH GRADE ACADEMY: Team Transformers get their 'game on'

Sixth Grade Academy Team Transformers at Game On were caught recently getting their “game on.”

The morning was spent working in groups participated in team building activities, according to Cindy Tumas, Language Arts teacher.  According to Tumas, they did a great job working together to complete most of the challenges the teams were given to complete.

MELISSA SKOPCZYNSKI: Truman Homecoming caps a busy week

By Melissa Skopczynski
Truman High School Principal

Wow, what a week.

Homecoming can be very stressful for students and staff alike but when it is all said and done it is a very rewarding experience for all. It is a time for us all to come together as a community and make memories that will last a lifetime.

I couldn't be more pleased with the way things turned out this year. The Truman High School gym looked absolutely beautiful, we won our Homecoming game 54-0 over crosstown Kennedy and the dance went off without a hitch.

A huge thank you to Mrs. Hamilton and Mr. Solak for organizing such a wonderful event.  Thank you to the class advisors who spend countless hours working with their classes to make Homecoming special. Thank you to the staff who showed up to support the students at the parade, dance or just the game. It meant a lot and did not go unnoticed.

Thank you to the maintenance staff you worked relentlessly to make sure our field and school looked in tip-top shape and put in extra hours to clean up after the game and dance.   We truly are an educational community and I couldn't be prouder to be a Cougar!

Congratulations to Tyler Nunnery and Kristen Bailey, our 2013 Homecoming king and queen.

Let’s have another great week.

This is your school, this is my school and this is our school. We are making a difference!

Monday, October 14, 2013

SIXTH GRADE ACADEMY: Up and down the hallways, it's 'All About Me'

Pupils in the Sixth Grade Academy have made their school hallways a little more attractive -- and informative -- with a new project.

The pennants and spheres dotting the hallways involve "All About Me," and focus on how the children are building relationships.

Stop by the school and check out their artwork!

MYERS ELEMENTARY SCHOOL: It's a busy time, and Walk & Roll To School Day is coming up

It's a busy fall at Myers Elementary School.

The ninth annual Walk & Roll To School day is scheduled for Friday (Oct. 18) beginning at 8:15 a.m. The American Heart Association, National Kidney Foundation, HealthLink EMS and AAA of Michigan are among the school's community partners.

The event promotes the importance of school and community relationships along with pedestrian health and safety. For more information, just contact the school.

Meanwhile, several businesses and organizations have benefited the Myers Elementary School family.

Masco donated 75 backpacks filled with school supplies.

Meijer of Taylor donated $50 gift cards, which will be used to buy sweat pants for our clothing pantries.

Jo-Ann Fabrics of Taylor is periodically donating clearance items to Myers, which are used for student projects and prizes for parent events.

Fifth Third Bank will be donating 50 brand new coats to students

And the Taylor Rotary Club will be purchasing approximately 25 brand new coats for students.

A big "thank you" to all of those businesses and organizations donating to Myers. 

TOMMIE SAYLOR: Be a friend today, or a hero for a lifetime

“A teacher affects eternity; he can never tell where his influence stops.”
Henry Adams

By Tommie Saylor
Kennedy High School Principal

It was 4 a.m. on a late August morning of 1986 when I opened my eyes and saw a mountain of a man inches from my face screaming at me. I had no idea what he was saying and my mind was still foggy. All I knew was that a big, black man was bent over my bed shaking with rage screaming at me as his spittle covered my face.  

Then, like a slow computer finally booting up, my mind caught up with my body and I realized that this was Day One of basic training in the U.S. Army. From this point on, this V-shaped big black man – wide across the chest, thin at the waist with arms bigger than my legs – became known as Drill Sergeant Cole.

He always spoke in a deep growling voice and targeted me with an unrelenting passion. To this day, I swear that Drill Sergeant Cole’s only mission in life was to make my life a living hell, to break me, to make me rue the day I was born.  

I couldn’t speak without dropping and giving him 50 pushups, I couldn’t look at him without dropping and giving him 50, I couldn’t breathe without dropping and giving him 50!  Day, night, meal time, bathroom time, Drill Sergeant Cole was always there, raging like a mad dog, never satisfied with my performance, never yielding, always pushing for more and still more.

At one point, early in my training, I came to the conclusion that Drill Sergeant Cole was going to be the death of me, but I was not going to go easily.  

I was not going to let him beat me.

So, I started fighting back in the only way I could. When Drill Sergeant Cole told me to drop and give him 50, I gave him 60.  When he told me to run two miles in less than 18 minutes, I did it in less than 12. When he told me that I needed to hit at least 26 targets out of 40 at the firing range, I hit 39 out of 40.

I was going to get him back by breaking every standard he set, I was going
to prove to him that I was more than he expected, that he had nothing on
Then one day it was over.  

We graduated from basic training and I was truly surprised. I did not think that I would ever make. On that day Drill Sergeant Cole came up to me, in a rather formal, ceremonial manner, and placed on my collar my E-3, Private First Class stripes.

Without even knowing it, I earned two steps of rank while in basic training trying to prove something to Drill Sergeant Cole. I’ll never forget the words he spoke to me.

“I’m proud of you. I knew you could do it”

Immediately following all the pomp and circumstance of graduation, I searched for Drill Sergeant Cole in the crowd and finally found him on the edge of the mass of humanity gathered on the parade field. Loved ones fell into each other’s arms, hugging and holding each other in celebration and relief following such a long absence.  

I caught up with Drill Sergeant Cole just as he was beginning to walk away and asked him, “Why did you say that your were proud of me? You hated me …”  

Drill Sergeant Cole turned around. I waited for his wrath. Never before had I challenged him. But instead of blinding rage, Drill Sergeant Cole smiled, walked up to me and spoke to me words that warped my world and changed me forever.  

Drill Sergeant Cole said, “I saw something in you, and I knew that I had to reach deep inside of you and pull it out so that you could see it, too.” 

With that, he walked away. I stood there slack-jawed. I did not know what to say.

I wrote this story because we need to do this with our students. We are not their friends. We have a much higher calling.

They may hate us now, but in time they will see the wisdom in our actions.

Think back: The most influential people in your life are most likely the ones you disliked, maybe even hated when you knew them, yet today you silently thank them for helping to mold you into what you are today.  

The best gift you can give your students, the way you can truly show them that you care, is not by being easy on them. Don’t allow them to get away with anything less than their absolute best. It’s by pushing them, forcing them to live up to demanding, obtainable goals, that we mold them into quality individuals. That includes having their ID cards, checking them during hall sweeps, making sure that they have their passes, and the like.

These initiatives only work if teachers make it work. The administration can spin our wheels all we want creating these programs, but until the teaching staff buys in and enforces these programs with fidelity, nothing will change.

Don’t be afraid to be hard on students. It is for their good. Later is life when your students are employed because they learned the lesson of the importance of being on time to work, they will silently thank you. When danger is averted because we check ID cards at the door, or when your students are able to maintain their future employment because they have become accustomed to having their ID cards with them, they will silently thank you.  

Remember, we teach more that just science, math, English and social studies. We teach lifelong lessons. That often means the difference between success and failure.

With this I make the call to all staff members at Kennedy High School to show your students that you care by holding them to our standards. You must choose to be their friend today or be their hero tomorrow.  

If you choose to be their lifetime hero, you must be hard on them today.

Enforce the hall sweeps. If the tardy bell rings and they are not in your classroom, turn them out and make them go to ISS. If they are not properly displaying their ID cards, do not allow them in your classroom. Take attendance by having your students showing you their ID cards and only answer your student’s questions by having them first show you their
ID cards, Make ID cards an issue and your students will comply.  

Don’t allow your students to have their cell phone out during class. Don’t allow your students to charge their cell phones in class. Don’t take a student’s cell phone from them if they violate your directive: Simply write them up if they do not comply and send them to ISS. Follow pass procedures: One student one pass, no passes the first and last 10 minutes of class, anyone in the halls between classes without a pass will be sent to ISS.  

These procedures may seem hard, but they carry with them aspects of self-discipline, security, command and control, self-reliance and personal responsibility that will serve your students well throughout
their entire lives.

You can be a hero. You can be part of some future story your students will tell their children and grandchildren. Or you can be their buddy today. The choice is yours.

Remember, their future is in our hands. Making Kennedy the school of Choice. Excellence by design.


Eureka Heights Elementary School held its "All Green Month Raffle" recently!

The winners, which included two from each classroom, had a pizza party with none other than Principal Hall.

A big Talking Taylor Schools' salute to all of those who participated ... and did anyone save us a slice?