Friday, September 12, 2014

MCDOWELL ELEMENTARY SCHOOL: Winging it throughout the building

You could hear McDowell Elementary School students shouting all through the building, "Let's Go, Red Wings!"

The Detroit Red Wings’ School Assembly Team paid a visit. The group opens every program with an interactive lesson on exercise and healthy eating followed by an energetic hockey shootout competition pitting students against teachers.

Each school receives two full sets of floor hockey equipment complete with hockey sticks and nets courtesy of the Detroit Red Wings Foundation.

In addition, every student receives a Red Wings folder from the Detroit Red Wings Foundation, an informational brochure on college savings strategies, courtesy of Michigan Education Savings Program, and a chance to win Red Wings tickets and participate in Red Wings camps.

It was really fun and the students and teachers had a blast.

Thank you, Red Wings!

MCDOWELL ELEMENTARY SCHOOL: Breakfast is the most important meal of the day

It's a fact: Eating breakfast at school helps children learn! Studies show that children have sharper memories and show faster speed on tests. They have broader vocabularies and do better on standardized tests.

These are McDowell Elementary School students eating together in the classrooms. Breakfast is available to everyone, which makes it easier for all children to participate.

Thursday, September 11, 2014

MCDOWELL ELEMENTARY SCHOOL: Welcome to 'Michigan Reads'

This week the McDowell Elementary School received the featured book for 2014, Acoustic Rooster and His Barnyard Band from the state of Michigan and Target Corporation.

All of our classes were visited by Principal Lynne Borg and were treated to a special reading of the book by her. Our students learned a lesson in cooperation from this jazz-loving rooster!

HOOVER MIDDLE SCHOOL: Marshmallow Challenge time!

Mrs. Atkison  and Mrs. Miller's seventh and eighth grade students at Hoover Middle School took on its second annual Marshmallow Challenge. 

Students used 20 strands of spaghetti, one yard each of string and tape, and one marshmallow to design, build, evaluate, redesign, and rebuild in 18 minutes the tallest possible tower to support the mass of a marshmallow. 

They all had a great time using the design process and teamwork.


Eureka Heights Elementary School’s first PTA Meeting on Thursday, September 11.

MYERS ELEMENTARY SCHOOL: Block party results in backpacks!

Myers Elementary School had their very first "Block Party" sponsored by United Church of Faith and Divine Deliverance Church.

The two churches partnered together and brought live music, a bouncy house, games, hot dogs and chips, and most importantly, back-to-school backpacks for the students at Myers. 

Many students and neighborhood families came and enjoyed a couple of hours together.  Mrs. Zockheem, principal, and about half of the Myers staff showed up to help out. 

Great fun was had by all!

Wednesday, September 10, 2014


Over 50 Eureka Heights Elementary School students returned their "Think Stretch" summer booklets recently.

Each student received a treat and a medal from the "Think Stretch" company.


Here are some photos from the Tuesday, September 2, Eureka Heights Elementary School Title 1 parent meeting, open house and meet the teacher event -- and popsicles on the playground for 200 people.

MYERS ELEMENTARY SCHOOL: St. Constance donations go a long way

St. Constance Church of Taylor donated 25 student backpacks filled with various school supplies including umbrellas, notebooks, pencils, hand sanitizer, pencil boxes, & crayons to Myers Elementary School.

The church also donated many Payless gift cards to for families. The school greatly appreciates the generosity and caring individuals of this church and parish.


MASCO Corporation of Taylor donated 110 student backpacks filled with various school supplies to Myers Elementary School.

This is the fifth year of the school’s cherished partnership with MASCO. 

Many thanks from the Myers staff and students!

KENNEDY HIGH SCHOOL: Open house scheduled

This year’s Kennedy High School Open House has been schedule for 5:30 p.m. Wednesday, September 10.
The Open House will begin with a Title I Parent meeting in the cafeteria, and conclude with the parents following their student’s schedule from class to class having the opportunity to meet all of their student’s teachers and experience in a brief manner their students day.
Below please find the Open House schedule.
  • 5:30 to 6:15         Title I Parent meeting in the cafeteria
  • 6:20 to 6:30         First Period
  • 6:35 to 6:45         Second Period
  • 6:50 to 7:00         Third Period
  • 7:05 to 7:15         Fourth Period
  • 7:20 to 7:30         Fifth Period

TOMMIE SAYLOR: First days bring a pair of surprises

“No man is more important than The Team. No coach is more important than The Team. The Team, The Team, The Team, and if we think that way, all of us, everything that you do, you take into consideration what effect does it have on my Team? Because you can go into professional football, you can go anywhere you want to play after you leave here. You will never play for a Team again. You’ll play for a contract. You’ll play for this. You’ll play for that. You’ll play for everything except The Team, and think what a great thing it is to be a part of something that is, The Team.

"We’re gonna win it. We’re gonna win the championship again because we’re gonna play as team, better than anybody else in this conference, we’re gonna play together as a team.  We’re gonna believe in each other, we’re not gonna criticize each other, we’re not gonna talk about each other, we’re gonna encourage each other. And when we play as a team, when the old season is over, you and I know, it’s gonna be Michigan again, Michigan.” 
-- the late Bo Schembechler

By Tommie Saylor
Kennedy High School Principal

This week, two things caught my attention:

Wednesday: Even with the best-laid plans, it seems inevitable that something goes overlooked.  Wednesday, the first day of school for students, we had everything well planned out, and for the most part, we got the school year off to a good start.  Everything except one thing, one small thing that went overlooked until the last possible second …

We never told the students their bus assignments.

I assumed that their bus assignments would be printed on their schedules and that transportation mailed out bus assignments this summer.  Transportation sent bus assignments to the school assuming that we would include them in our summer mailing but we had to send our summer mailing over to the PRC in the middle of June before the secretaries left for the summer.  By the time the bus schedule reached the school, the summer mailing had already been given over to the PRC. To make a long story short, they did not get in the summer mailing and thus did not go out to our students.

So, here I am, 10:15 a.m. on the first day of school, a half day of school that ends at 10:30 am, just learning the above information and coming to the realization that our students somehow made it to school, but do not know which bus to take home.

I have all of 15 minutes to figure out a solution.  So, we make copies of the bus schedule complete with pick-up, drop off, information and times, and figure we can stand outside of the building this first day of school and try our best to get this information to our students before the busses drive off. Then something truly amazing happened.

Ms. Nelson, obviously seeing the “deer in the headlights” look on my face, came up with a simple but highly effective solution. 

Ms. Nelson stormed into my office, asked for a copy of the bus schedule, produced several more copies on the office photocopier, ran out into the hall distributing these copies to every teacher in the building so that they could spend the last few minutes of this first day of school informing their students as to which bus they needed to take to get home. But, it did not stop here.

When the dismissal bell sounded, most of the staff went outside with several copies of the bus schedule, assisting students in finding the right bus.

Calls went out over the radio.

“Where is bus 126?”

“Has anyone seen bus 41?”

Without as much as a second delay, the replies came.

“126 is the last bus in line.”

 “41 is up front.”

Ms. Osborne jumping up and down, waving her hands trying to get the attention of students in her excitement of finding the right bus…

Mr. Greenburg walking up and down the sidewalk calling out “bus schedules, get your bus schedules” as if an old-fashioned newspaper boy barking out to make a sale …

All in all, I was overwhelmed with the level of support and willingness the Kennedy staff had with making sure their students found their ride home.  Not a single negative word was heard.  Instead, I saw nothing but teachers helping their students find their way as if it was something we had planned all along.

Thank you Ms. Nelson, Ms. Osborne, Mr. Greenburg and all the others who took it upon themselves to unselfishly lend their assistance. You have no idea how proud you made me. This is a beautiful example of what we mean when we talk about ONE TEAM, ONE MISSION!

Thursday: On the morning of the second day of school, I had the pleasure of calling a young lady newly graduated from college who applied and interviewed for the open science position vacated by Dr. Thomas. 

This young lady was well prepared for her interview and impressed the interview committee instantly, demonstrating professionalism, intelligence, and a strong willingness to do whatever is necessary for the betterment of students. 

When I called, I introduced myself, engaged in some small talk, and explained that the interview committee had a hard choice to make but we did come to a conclusion.  Yes, I did drag it out a bit. I have a tendency to relish in the suspense at the expense of the candidate.  But, eventually I did get to it and I informed this young lady, Ms. Amanda Wood, that we would like to offer her the job.

Her response was so precious it was something to the effect of “YES, YES, YES, I can’t believe it, YES, YES, YES, oh my god YES.”

As I was explaining to her the next step, I could hear the tears of joy coming from the other end of the phone. It was then that I was absolutely, positively certain we made the right choice.  Anyone who is that excited, that overwhelmed with joy for being given the opportunity to teach is a person I want teaching at Kennedy.

Remember those days? The days when all you wanted to do was teach, to stand in front of kids and see their eyes light up when they finally “get it.” Let’s see if the rest of us can bring back some of that excitement in our own classrooms this year.

What starts here, changes the world. Making Kennedy the school of choice. Excellence by design.

SEVERE WEATHER ALERT: Downpours, high winds, flooding, etc. expected

The National Weather Service is anticipating severe weather to impact our region as early as 2 p.m. today, Wednesday, September 10.

This weather may include:
  • Torrential downpours
  • Damaging winds of greater than 60mph
  • Localized flooding
  • Tornado possibilities during the afternoon and into the evening
  • A lesser threat of hail storms with hail greater than 1”

Sunday, September 7, 2014

PAIR HONORED: City salutes former owners of Sax Discount Pharmacy

Bob Armstrong and Mark Sklar, co-owners of the popular Sax Discount Sav-Mor Pharmacy, were honored with an official proclamation at a recent City Council meeting. The pair have always been huge backers of the Taylor School District.

Sax was sold in August to Walgreens.

Armstrong started the Sax pharmacy in 1983 and Sklar joined him two years later. Both men were called "great contributors to the city of Taylor" and were noted for their support of the Taylor Reading Corps, which recruits, trains and supervises adult reading mentors who volunteer to help children in the Taylor School District.

The nonprofit organization’s offices are located in the Sax plaza on Wick and Pardee roads, thanks to the generosity of Armstrong and Sklar.

The proclamation notes that the "community as a whole" spoke out with "strong emotions" of the profound impact the pharmacy had on its patrons and of the location's strong quality of service.

"Bob and Mark have made tremendous contributions to the Taylor community," Mayor Rick Sollars said. "I know that I speak for the entire community when I thank them for everything that they have done in the past, and wish them all the best in their future endeavors."

EUREKA HEIGHTS ELEMENTARY SCHOOL: One of four school to receive grant

From The News-Herald Newspapers

A statewide school grant program to help fight child obesity and encourage children to make healthy lifestyle choices has expanded into four Downriver schools, including one in Taylor.

Eureka Heights Elementary in Taylor, along with Salina Elementary in Dearborn, Dearborn Academy, and Halecreek Elementary in Romulus, were among 58 schools selected to participate in Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan’s Building Healthy Communities Program.

While many schools apply for the program, only a few are selected based on the school’s demonstrated commitment to implementing and sustaining it in future school years.

Eureka Heights Elementary School Principal Stacie Hall first decided to apply for the program after hearing many success stories from other nearby schools.

“I heard wonderful things about it and I’m always looking for different ways to bring new healthy ideas to our kids,” Hall said.

Each school selected for the program will receive an expansive support package with six core components that help promote healthy living, said Shannon Carney Oleksyk, a registered dietitian and healthy living advisor for BCBSM.

Specifically, the package includes an active recess cart filled with new supplies for outdoor use; an afterschool program where kids can have the opportunity to be more physically active and learn about nutrition; additional nutrition education in the classroom; participation and daily announcements about nutrition by the principal; implementation of a student leadership team to allow them to participate and help drive for change; and physical activity breaks in the classroom.

“We know kids need to learn about nutrition and how to eat healthy, but we also know that they need some opportunities to get those wiggles out during the day,” Oleksyk said. “So those physical activity breaks get them up, get a little bit of moving in, get a break from the academic work and then allow them to sit down and refocus.”

Each school will also have an on-site coordinator to help launch the program and make sure that it’s successful and sustainable, she said.

Scott Hummel, physical education teacher for Salina Elementary School in Dearborn, is one of many educators looking forward to the program’s benefits.

“As far as recess, the kids really don’t have anything here, so I give some of my older equipment out at recess but they’ve never really had choices or options,” Hummel said. “Part of this grant is new playground equipment; it’s going to be absolutely fantastic — the kids win in this.”

Last year, only 20 elementary schools and 8 middle schools were able to participate in the program, Oleksyk said. However, the program has expanded significantly this year due to a new partnership with the Michigan Department of Community Health, said Lynda Rossi, executive vice president at BCBSM.

“We’ve almost doubled the size of this program because of their support and their interest in it,” Rossi said.

The program is funded through a public/private partnership with BCBSM. Other partners for the elementary school program include the Michigan Fitness Foundation, the United Dairy Industry of Michigan, the Center for School Health at Wayne State University, and the University of Michigan.

“It’s kind of like a healthy schools in a box approach,” Rossi said. “All you have to do is open up the box, hand it out and watch it get implemented.”

For more information about the Building Healthy Communities Program, visit

FIREFIGHTER'S BALL: Tickets remain on sale

Taylor Professional Firefighter's Local 1252 will present its annual "Firefighter's Ball" on Friday, September 12, at the All Saints Knights of Columbus, 24900 Brest Road, Taylor.

The event begins at 6 p.m. with dinner served at 7:30.

There will be door prizes and grand prize of a $1,000 vacation package and much more.

Tickets are $50 per person.

For ticket information, call Sam DiCicco at (313) 643-4440.

WEATHER DAMAGE: City will pick up downed branches; just drag them to the curb

Mayor Rick Sollars has announced that City of Taylor residents who suffered tree damage during this weekend's storm should move branches to the curb and the Department of Public Works will pick them up this week.

"The only thing that we ask is that residents be patient with the process," Sollars said. "If they have downed branches from the storm, just drag them to the curb in the front of their home and leave them there. Our DPW workers will be removing them all week. It'll take us a little while to get through the entire city, but we will pick them all up, whether they came from private property or city-owned property."

DTE estimated over 300,000 homes without power after the Friday night storms.  Outages are still reported all over the Taylor area, and elsewhere.

TRC BENEFIT: Conservatory to host fundraiser

A benefit is scheduled for the Taylor Reading Corps at the Taylor Conservatory and Botanical Gardens on September 20. 

Refreshments, food and live music will be included in the $20 per person ticket, which includes a raffle and a shot at Detroit Red Wings' suite tickets.

The event will take place from 5 to 10 p.m. September 20. The conservatory is located next to the Heritage Park Petting Farm on Northline Road.

Music will be provided by The Jay Fry Band, Hand in the Ocean and Social Bandits. 

Tickets are available at the Taylor Reading Corps office (22755 Wick) and Pete's Place (12245 Telegraph).

This gathering is for adults only.