a recent Detroit Red Wings’ visit to Kinyon Elementary School, Leasa Vorves,
mother of fourth-grader Nicholas Vorves, sent the following letter:
just wanted you to know that my son enjoyed the assembly you put on Friday … so
much so that we already participated in the ‘Try Hockey for Free’ program
Saturday. It was an awesome experience that has him wanting to play hockey
is the kindling of a flame, not the filling of a vessel”
High School Principal
times we make things more complicated than necessary. Why? Perhaps it
is human nature to take something simple and make it complicated. Perhaps it’s
in our efforts to address every problem in our pursuit for perfection.
With goodwill and honest intent, we create systems that harm those we wish to
help, those we are sworn to serve.
speak of the manner in which grades are assigned. A grade is an
indication of the level of mastery a student has acquired over the content
material taught. But, it today’s schools, an assigned grade is often
speckled with so many impurities that its value is easily brought into
a student is a discipline issue in class, we shave off a few points. If the
student turns in an assignment late, we shave off a few points. If the student
brings in a box of Kleenex, we add a few points. If a student stays after and
helps us clean up or set up, we add a few points. There’s extra credit, bonus
questions … points, points and more points.
high school and middle school it is all about points.
is not about what the student has learned; it’s all about the student jumping
through enough hoops to earn enough points to receive a specific grade. The
focus is not on learning. It is on earning points.
of this, our students have learned to “play the game.” They have learned
which assignments they do not need to worry about, which assignments they can
just skip and not complete, which concepts don’t hold enough points to bother
Our students have learned how to manipulate the system. Simply, our
students are learning to focus on points earned not on concepts learned. Ask a
student and they will instantly and expertly tell you how many points they have
to earn a specific grade, and what “hoops they have to jump through.”
if you ask them what they have learned, you will be confronted with an awkward
silence and blank stare.
think the elementary may have gotten it right. Look at an elementary report
card and you will see a long list of concepts and a rubric detailing the
student’s mastery of the listed concepts. Ask a pupil what they have
learned, and they are anxious to share with you all their newly acquired
the elementary, the focus is on learning, not on the acquisition of points.
Elementary teachers don’t grade students based on behavior, attendance and/or compliance.
Pupils are evaluated by the mastery over content.
we wish to advance as an educational institution, we need to return to our
roots. We need to cast off the shackles of an antiquated grading system
that does not serve the needs of our students, that is not focused on learning,
and conveys false messages. We need to return the purity back to our
methodology of evaluating the level of proficiency our students have acquired
in their explorations of content material.
starts here, changes the world. Making Kennedy the school of choice. Excellence
Elementary School welcomed the Detroit Red Wings to talk to the kids about
education and dedication. The staff and students had fun in the resulting shoot
out. The students won, 3-2. Children are selling Red Wings tickets to raise
funds for student activities.
Halloween, third and fourth grade students in Mrs. Van's and Ms. Donaldson's classes
at McDowell Elementary School made ghosts out of tissue paper. They then
rubbed balloons on their heads to create static electricity to make the ghosts
Donaldson's fourth-grade class at McDowell Elementary School has fallen in love
with her latest read aloud by Lemony Snicket called "A Series of
first words they say when they come to the library are, "Is my hold for
Lemony Snicket in?'
Series of Unfortunate Events" is the story of the three Baudelaire
orphans, Violet, Claus and Sunny. The books are narrated by Lemony Snicket, a
mysterious man who follows the story through clues passed on through a secret
organization known only as the V.F.D.
series begins with the three children losing their parents in a fire.
Consequently, a banker named Mr. Poe takes charge of the children and leaves
them with the nearest relative, Count Olaf. The children, however, are dubious
to the fact that Olaf is actually a relative. Olaf and his troupe become the
villains of the series.
learning the parts of the computer in kindergarten to research in third, fourth,
and fifth grade, to learning how to use different fonts, color, font size and a
dash of creativity the computer lab at Moody Elementary School is rocking.
talked about Internet safety, do's and don'ts of computer rules school
wide. Each student was given a baggie of sticky notes and asked to label
the various external components do the computer. This interactive activity was
cause for a few stray sticky notes and a couple labeling of friends but in the
ending the message prevailed and learning actually took place.
to Mrs. Tevepaugh a great research lesson on bats flew in just in time for
Halloween. Children in our upper el classes labeled the parts of a bat,
described where they live, researched and listed what they ate, and did
a contrast and compare Venn diagram between birds and bats. It was a howling
good time finding the good, the bad, and the ugly pictures and facts about our
winged mammal friends.
hall outside the lab is adorned with a fall tree with colorful leaves created
by students using their names to add a colorful visual flair. Impressing even
themselves students designed the leaves of a tree. From a two-inch design to nine-inch
project each piece came together to create a masterpiece.
a Youtube video a student created for an assignment in Ms. Collins' history
class at West Middle School. The student was challenged to create an
original project about five of the 10 Amendments in the United States Bill of
Rights. She chose to re-write the lyrics to the Lady GaGa song
"Judas." Here is the result!
Parks Elementary School Fourth and Fifth grade students went international, making
and wearing masks that help celebrate Day of the Dead.
of the Dead is a Mexican holiday observed throughout that country and around
the world in other cultures. The holiday focuses on gatherings of family and
friends to pray for and remember friends and family members who have died.
History of the Day of the Dead Masks practice dates from the Aztecs and other
Meso-American civilizations that used skulls to symbolize death and rebirth as
well as to honor the dead. These Day of the Dead masks range from elaborate and
expensive pieces of art to a child's craft project.
Parks’ students did a wonderful job not only making the masks but their
understanding of another culture.
Parks Elementary School was the recipient of a grant from a local 7-Eleven franchise, located on Ecorse Road in Taylor (store #13482).
Rani Singh along with the store manager, Kim Salas, presented a check in
the amount of $711 to Ms. Downie, principal, and Mrs. Hernandez, student support
consultant, to be used for student activities and classroom wish lists.
and Rani Singh are firm believers in community support and have been involved
with local schools and sports in the city of Taylor. Oh thank Heaven for 7-Eleven.
Taylor Parks Elementary School, Mrs. Abramas' class worked on their fall math
activities with included place value, counting and measuring. To top off
all the hard work, students took part in an old fashion donut eating contest. This
is again proof that learning can be great fun.
November 5, Taylor Parks Elementary School was once again privileged to receive
a generous donation from the Taylor Masons, Golden Ark Lodge #595, of 50 winter
coats and 75 winter boots.
Masons work hard all year long with their fundraising efforts in order to make
sure they are able to help out children and families in need.
in the front row from left to right are Taylor Parks students Kiesha Russell,
Kamile Russell and Angel Greene. Pictured behind them from left to right are Tania
Hernandez, Jerry Oest, Trisha Bergeron, Ron Campbell, Joe Molner, James
Collier, Aaron Wilmoth, Nick Mrkich and Rick Thompson.