Wednesday, September 17, 2014

TRUMAN HIGH SCHOOL: It's time for Cougar Connections!

HOOVER MIDDLE SCHOOL: Looking into surface tension

Kathy Miller, seventh-grade science teacher at Hoover Middle School, used the laboratory exercise "How Many Drops?" to develop students’ skills at investigations. 

Students used the scientific method to develop an experiment, test their hypothesis, record and evaluate data, and discuss their results, while exploring surface tension.

EUREKA HEIGHTS ELEMENTARY SCHOOL: Basketball Jones comes to town!

During the “Basketball Jones Assembly” on September 15, Eureka Heights Elementary School students enjoyed dancing in their seats, listening to the presenter’s positive message -- and watching his basketball tricks!

WEST MIDDLE SCHOOL: Match enrichment is rolling, as is r-e-s-p-e-c-t, as Aretha would say

At West Middle School Mrs. King's math enrichment classes are off to a great start.

"We take all of our assessments online in Datawise, a component of Class A," she said.

The students took their trimester 1 pretest in the computer lab and entered their responses right on the computer.  The benefit of taking tests online is that there is no wasted paper (bubble sheets); students get immediate results; teachers don't have to spend their time scanning the answer sheets; and the grades are automatically imported into the grade book.

The staff and students at West Middle School had a school-wide Restorative Circle in which the students were asked to explain what "respect" meant to them; student to student, staff to student and student to staff. 

After a lengthy discussion, the teachers are taking the students comments and come up with a school-wide definition that will be posted around the school for everyone to follow.

Sunday, September 14, 2014


Myers Elementary School fifth graders were challenged to make the tallest free standing tower out of 26 spaghetti noodles, one yard of string, one yard of tape and one marshmallow.

The marshmallow had to be on the top. They had to plan and work together in groups of three.

The tallest tower was 46 inches! It was challenging yet fun.

TOMMIE SAYLOR: Remember, it is ultimately the students job to learn

“The dream begins with a teacher who believes in you, who tugs and pushes and leads you to the next plateau, sometimes poking you with a sharp stick called truth.”
-- Dan Rather

By Tommie Saylor
Kennedy High School Principal

You can’t force someone to learn. We can force a student to be in class, to sit in a seat and be quiet, to pay attention, open their book and follow along, and even force a student to complete assignments and take quizzes and tests. 

But we can’t force a student to learn. Learning is a personal choice, a decision made by the individual to internalize newly acquired information and make it part of the individual’s psyche. Simply, regardless of the “song and dance” performed by the teacher, regardless of the class environment, culture and climate, ultimately it is the student’s choice to learn or not to learn.

Don’t get me wrong, I believe highly in creating a learning environment within our classrooms.  I believe in fostering a positive learning environment, in creating systems that entice students, rewards students who learn, creates a sense of accomplishment and personal satisfaction when the student does learn. 

Basically, I believe in marketing learning much in the same way advertisers try to lure shoppers into buying their product; the only difference, is that my product is knowledge.  What is surprisingly similar, is that the final decision lies in the hands of the consumer, the student.

Given the above, one can understand why I become overly agitated this time of the year when the State of Michigan releases the “School Report Card” based on a formula that makes those who have a Doctorates degree in Mathematics “scratch their heads.” This “Top to Bottom list” and color coded scorecard that is based on our student’s performance on a college entrance examination (even though only a third of the adult population is college educated). It is overreaching at best.  At its worst, it is being used to judge and evaluate teachers for their students’ lack of performance. 

Thirty years ago, when a student did not do well in school, a majority of parents “had a talk” with their student.  Today, when a student does not do well in school, parents often “have a talk” with the school.  According to the State, teachers are responsible for their student’s learning, administrators are held accountable for the learning of all the students in the building and districts are liable for the performance of all students within their borders.

Yet, nothing is mentioned about the responsibility of the student to learn. At what point in time does it become the student’s responsibility to learn the material? 

Trust me, I know better than most that there are good and bad teachers. Like any other profession, we have good police officers and bad police officers, good firefighters and bad firefighters and good teachers and bad teachers.  So, I’m not talking about the bad teacher applying their trade poorly and thus students not learning, I’m talking about the good teacher doing their job well with students giving minimum effort yet expecting maximum gain.

As I told my students hundreds of times when I was in the classroom, if you complete everything asked of you by the instructor, read the textbook when instructed, complete and turn in every piece of homework, take notes, study, prepare for quizzes and tests, participate in classroom activities and discussions, seek assistance when you do not understand and you still do poorly, it is the teachers fault. 

Yet, if you do not do absolutely everything asked of you by the instructor and you do poorly in school, then it is your fault. 

Education is a process applied to students by experts in their field, and when you “cut corners” on this process you are harming your ability to learn and the fault lies solely with you.

Ultimately a school is about teachers teaching, and students learning. It is the job of the principal, my job, to make sure that teachers are teaching, a duty that I take most seriously.  Likewise, it is the job of the parents to make sure that their students are doing everything they can to learn by following all the protocols.

Given this, by working together we can defy the State’s ranking process, deny its attempts to set us at odds and together elevate our students to levels restrained only by their own desire to succeed.

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

RANDALL ELEMENTARY SCHOOL: Good turnout for Open House

Randall Elementary School held its Open House on September 4 and had a wonderful turn out.

Students and parents were able to walk through the building, visit classrooms and teachers and gather in the multipurpose room. Parents could sign up for conferences and students chose some free books. Academic Teacher Aides (ATA) spoke to parents and explained what they will be doing during the year. The Reading Interventionalist was also on site to speak with parents.

Randall is a Michigan Green School and displayed what it recycled. The school participates in Cartridge for Kids and recycles ink cartridges, old cell phones, and any electronic device that no longer works.

It also collects Boxtops for Education, Tyson A+ program and Labels for Education. Boxtops are worth 10 cents each and the Labels are good for choosing great items out of a catalog for our school.

Go to and for more information and what to collect. Please turn in your boxtops and labels to the child's teacher.

The school also has numerous City of Taylor recycling bins in the building and collects old batteries (AA,AAA,C,D).

Randall also has a butterfly garden and staff is working on getting more native plants for our garden. Any donations would be greatly appreciated!

SIXTH GRADE ACADEMY: Back to School Bash held

The Sixth Grade Academy had its first Back to School Bash September 8, sponsored by Regency Nursing & Rehabilitation Centre.

Available were free school supplies, a raffle for a new bike, face painting, food, music and more.

Regency is located on 12575 Telegraph Road in Taylor.

MYERS ELEMENTARY SCHOOL: Welcome back party is a big hit

On September 6 Myers Elementary School had a welcome back to school block party. 

The block party was sponsored by Pastor David from the Divine Deliverance Baptist Churh and Pastor Mark with the United Church of Faith. 

There was a bounce house, hot dogs, playground fun, bubbles and students were given new backpacks containing school supplies. 

There was plenty of fun by all who attended.


The Department of Human Service in Taylor donated $550 worth of school supplies to the students at Myers Elementary School.

The agency collected donations from employees over the last few months which allowed them to purchase spiral notebooks, folders, packs of paper, rulers, pencil cases, pencils, erasers, etc., all of which will be distributed to K-5 students as needed throughout the year.

Myers will also use some of the donations as prizes during its weekly school-wide “Tribes” assembly. 

Myers Elementary has had a long-standing partnership with the Department of Human Services ever since a DHS office was placed on-site at Myers Elementary. Unfortunately, there is no longer an on-site worker at the school, but the partnership still stands strong.

The school appreciates the generosity and support!