Saturday, March 28, 2015

EASTER BUNNY IS COMING! Pound Pals of Taylor holds fundraiser on Sunday!

EASTER EGG HUNT: Scheduled April 4 (preregistration required)

Rosecrans Picture Perfect Photography will host its annual Easter Egg Hunt at 1 p.m. Saturday, April 4.
The Easter bunny will arrive at 12:45 p.m. and the hunt will take place near the portrait studio at 12405 Pardee Road in Heritage Park.

Cost is $12 per child. The cost includes an Easter basket, candy eggs, chocolate bunny and the hunt. Tickets must be purchases in advance and the event is always sold out. The Easter bunny will be hiding more than 3,000 candy filled eggs.

There will also be a raffle after the hunt.

The studio will offer special portrait packages.

For more information, call (734) 771-7202 or (734) 282-5163

FREE CONCERT: U.S. Army Field Band and Chorus at WCCCD Sunday

The Wayne County Community College District's Downriver Campus will host the U.S. Army Field Band and Soldier's Chorus at 2 p.m. Sunday, March 29, in the Heinz Prechter Educational and Performing Arts Center.
This performance is open to the public at no cost. Advance tickets are available, and tickets will also be available at the door.

The 65-member Concert Band and 29-member Soldier's Chorus will perform orchestral masterworks and operatic arias to Sousa marches, jazz classics and Broadway musicals.

For more information, call (734) 374-3200 or click on

TAYLOR READING CORPS: Celebrity Server Night

The Taylor Reading Corps' annual Celebrity Server Night is scheduled for Monday, March 30, at the Big Boy Restaurant, 10450 Telegraph Road.
Ten percent of each tab from 5 to 8 p.m. that evening will be donated to the Taylor Reading Corps, a non-profit group that recruits, trains and supervises adult reading mentors for the Taylor School District. The mentors work with children in preschool through third grade.

On hand during various times that evening will be Mayor Rick Sollars, Rev. Geoffrey Drutchas, Coach Jodi Stoddard, Superintendent of Schools Diane Allen, Southern Wayne County Regional Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Sandy Mull, State Rep. Erika Geiss, Wayne County Community College District Downriver Campus President Anthony Arminiak, Wayne County Commissioner Ray Basham, PNC Bank Senior Vice President Ronnie Ruelle, State Sen. Hoon-Yung Hopgood, Athletic Director Loren Ristovski, City Treasurer Edward Bourassa, Police Chief Mary Sclabassi and Larry Domski, whose family coordinates the "True Meaning of Christmas Dinner" each year in Taylor.

MOTHER AND SON DANCE: Get your tickets now for May 2 event

JUMP TO SUPPORT: Christy's Legacy of Hope on Tuesday

TOMMIE SAYLOR: Stop worrying about grades and start thinking about effort and developing good work ethics

“Nothing in the world can take the place of persistence. Talent will not; nothing is more common than unsuccessful men with talent. Genius will not; unrewarded genius is almost a proverb. Education alone will not; the world is full of educated derelicts. Persistence and determination alone are omnipotent.”
-- Calvin Coolidge

By Tommie Saylor
Kennedy High School

It’s all about the work ethic, not about the grade.

Far too often students and parents get so caught up in the importance of the grade, that they forget that it’s about learning, it’s about effort and it’s about giving it your all. I would like to let students and parents in on a secret: In college or any post high school training, the one factor that breeds success is work ethic.

I have seen people who couldn’t think their way out of a wet paper bag earn a college degree because they refused to give up, never quit and/or kept taking the same class over and over again until they finally passed. Yet I have also know people much smarter than I, people who were borderline geniuses, yet could not get through college because they just could not bring themselves to do the work and put in the effort.

Knowing this, I always told my kids that as long as you give it your absolute best, I did not care what grade you earned, I was only interested in the level of effort. Don’t have missing assignments, late assignments, forget to study, or start working on a project the night before it is due.

Never bring home a book and/or homework and tell me you are really trying hard, because you are not. One of my children that brought home anything less than an “A” would make me very upset. That child was capable of achieving an “A” and how dare you give anything less than your absolute best!

Another child brought home a “C” and it made that child feel like a lottery winner. That child would spend six/seven hours every night at the kitchen table studying and working on assignments just to earn that “C”.

We should celebrate effort, for in the big scheme of things, I have never had a boss who gave me a grade, but they all wanted my absolute best effort on every assigned task.

I am the highest ranked graduate from my high school class with at least a four-year college degree, and in my graduating class I was only ranked number 15. I was not the Valedictorian, the Salutatorian or even in the Top 10, yet those who were ranked above me based on GPA never made it through college.

Why? Because those 14 people were not prepared to put in the effort. I enrolled in every advanced class my school offered. I took classes that those who were worried about their GPA would not even consider. In the end their GPAs were much higher than mine, but I was much better prepared for college and earned a degree where they had none.

The moral of this story: It’s not about the grade. It’s about the effort. It’s about preparing yourself for the rigors of college and life. It’s about what you have learned and what you can do.

In college it is all about performance. Professors don’t care about difficulties at home, what learning issues you have, that you struggle with tests or must watch a sibling after school hours. They only care about what you can produce.

Another little secret: No amount of parent “badgering” will change a professor’s mind, a grade, and most likely they will not even accept a parents phone call or return a parents phone call, about their student’s grade.

High school is not about earning points, about GPAs, nor about class rankings. It is about learning, developing skills, work ethic and passion. It is about becoming a productive taxpaying member of society. Those who forgo an honors class or an AP class because it may harm their GPA may be looking at a short-term gain, but at the expense of a long-term regret.

High school is where you prepare yourself for life, not where you peak in life. It is not the big show, but it is more like practice. No one cares about my high school GPA, all that they care about is that I do my job. They only care about my work ethic.

So, instead of squabbling over a few points here and there, we should be concerned that students are working to the fullest extent of their abilities. It’s OK for students to feel a little stress, to feel the pressure of performance. This is a common occurrence in life and they had better learn how to deal with it now as opposed to folding later as an adult.

They need to learn that maximum effort yields the potential for maximum rewards. If you want the good things in life, you have to work for it with an unwavering ethic, often for many years. There is no instant rewards, no prizes along the way, no medals, trophies or cheering section.

In 20 or so years, when your dreams are finally within your grasp, the five points you believe you were cheated out of in math class will mean nothing. What will be important are the lessons you learned regarding work ethic and a single-minded drive toward achievement of your goals.

If not anything else, only effort is a direct correlation between school and the real world. It’s the only thing that really counts.

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


The “March is Reading Month” raffle was a lot of fun! All month when the students brought their library books back, they received a ticket to try to win some great prizes. Here are the lucky and happy winners at McDowell Elementary School.

MCDOWELL ELEMENTARY SCHOOL: Celebrating with a song!

Second graders at McDowell Elementary School celebrate "Reading Month" at the assembly with. They celebrated with the song, "If I were a book!"  under the direction of Mrs. Arndt, the school’s music teacher.

WEST MIDDLE SCHOOL: Cupcakes for charities!

West Middle School recently hosted a cupcake sale for "Alaynas Angels" and The Cystic Fibrosis Foundation, raising $399.

KINYON ELEMENTARY SCHOOL: Superheroes of literacy!

Students came dressed up as families and attended a “Superhero Family Literacy Night” at Kinyon Elementary School recently.  

Students and parents heard a story about Dex, a small dog that dreamed of being a superhero.  They learned about internal and external characteristics of characters in a story.  

Every superhero has an origin story.  The children and their parents were able to create their own superhero and give them a story.  Lastly, they were able to make a "Verb Girl" or "Verb Boy" as they discovered all that superheroes do.

Each child who attended was able to take a book to enjoy at home.

Friday, March 27, 2015

MYERS ELEMENTARY SCHOOL: Learning about European explorers

Mrs. Bowers fifth-grade class at Myers Elementary School learns about the positive and negative impacts of European explorers.

MYERS ELEMENTARY SCHOOL: Class gets a real treat

Mrs. Filiccia's third-grade class at Myers Elementary School celebrated “March is Reading Month” with a variety of guest readers including Principal Zockheem.

She read Stephanie's Ponytail (by Robert Munsch). The students really enjoyed the book and shared non-stop laughs. Thanks for taking time out of your day to share this exciting book with us!

MYERS ELEMENTARY SCHOOL: Annual book study celebration!

Here are some photographs from Myers Elementary School Mustang Staff Annual Book study culmination celebration!

MYERS ELEMENTARY SCHOOL: A salute to the cooks

Here’s a salute to the Mighty Myers Elementary School Mustang Cooking Staff, the biggest and best LOVE served up everyday!

TOMMIE SAYLOR: Understanding students discipline is a two-way street

“Discipline is the refining fire by which talent becomes ability.”
-- Roy L. Smith
By Tommie Saylor
Kennedy High School Principal
Student discipline is the most difficult part of being a school administrator, what with in-school suspensions, out-of-school suspensions, after-school detention … what to do?

But one thing is for certain: No matter what is done, someone will be upset.  Often the victim and/or parents are unhappy because you did not go far enough with the disciplinary measure.  The perpetrator and/or parents are often unhappy because you went too far, and the instructor/school adult may be unhappy because you did not handle the situation to their liking. 
No matter what you do people will be unhappy with you – and you did not even commit the offense. You are just in charge of cleaning up the mess someone else created.  It makes you think: “For this I went to college and earned a Master’s Degree? To be hated by most and mistrusted by the rest?
So, what do you do?  You make the best decision you can, given the data presented and always keep in mind to do what is best for the student. 
What does this mean?  This means that sometimes the student gets a walk and other times the student gets “slam dunked.”  This means that if the student comes to the office “hat in hand,” is remorseful, understands the error of his ways, is truthful, respectful and you believe has learned a “lifelong lesson,” then leniency is warranted.  
But if the student comes to the office full of distain and anger, is disrespectful, deceitful, uncooperative and clearly has not learned a lesson and is not willing to accept the consequences of his actions, then pulling out the handbook and maxing the student out is justified.  In short, attitude and demeanor is king.
What one must remember when it comes to student discipline, is that first of all they are still kids. That through making mistakes we all learn lessons.  An infraction of the rules should be viewed upon as a learning opportunity, a chance to teach a student a lesson that will serve them their entire life.  
It is not about getting even, about getting vengeance or extracting a pound of flesh.  It is about teaching a student a better way to handle a problem, a conflict or a disappointment.  It is about helping the student to grow up, mature and become a productive member of society.
So when we give a student “a walk” it is not because we are weak. Nor when we “slam dunk” a student does it mean that we are hateful. It is because we are truly trying to do what is best for our students.  
Many do not know how we agonize over decisions regarding student discipline.  How we lose sleep at night.  We accept the fact that we may not always have the right answer, but our hearts are always in the right place.
With this being said, those on the “front line” of the disciplinary actions that take place at Kennedy High School deserve a collective pat on the back.  Ms. Loomis and Ms. Lancina are two of the finest administrators that have ever occupied the position, and have been charged with cleaning up messes that others dare not touch.  
Ms. Loomis and Ms. Lancina are intelligent, crafty and wise, displaying a level of strength and compassion second to none. Though Ms. Lancina tries to make everyone around her believe that she is tough as nails, and Ms. Loomis tries to convince everyone that she is nothing but logic and reason, in reality they are some of the kindest hearted people I have ever known, expertly applying their motherly skills to the students left in their charge.  Though student discipline is a monumental endeavor at best, these two ladies make it look easy, and carry home with them lots of baggage harvested throughout the day.
Kudos to two of the best with whom we are fortunate enough to have walk amongst us every day!
What starts here, changes the world. Making Kennedy the school of choice. Excellence by design….

TAYLOR PARKS ELEMENTARY SCHOOL: Exploring the seas for books

Taylor Parks Elementary School, in celebration of March is Reading Month, has adopted the theme from its Scholastic Book Fair of “Under the Sea:  Explore an Ocean of Books.”

Each classroom decorated their doors; showcases and walls play homage to the treasures of books; even a fishing net full of books hangs from the ceiling surround by sea life! 

To add to the celebrations, Scholastic Book Fair was held and the end of the month PBiS incentive will be “Under the Sea Activity Centers.” 

Books are treasures waiting to be discovered.

TAYLOR PARKS ELEMENTARY: The eagle(s) have landed ...

Taylor Parks Elementary School is on “Eagle Watch.” 

Thanks to an enthusiastic tip about this available live feed from music director Tammy Keen, the entire building has been captivated by a pair of eagles in Pennsylvania.

A live web cam is positioned on the eagle's nest that allows viewers to witness the life of two eagles and the raising of their two eaglets.  The babies hatched this past week.

It is now common to hear students asking each other, "Have you seen the babies?” or “UGH, they're eating raw fish…" 

This has generated so much interest that books on eagles are flying off the library shelves and students are now viewing other nature web cams. 

As one student said, "This is a real live science class.”

COUGAR NEWS: March newsletter is on the streets!

COUGAR CONNECTIONS: The latest updates

TAYLOR PARKS ELEMENTARY SCHOOL: Reading is a 'happy' key!

During the Taylor Parks Elementary School's March “Road Runner Rally,” the fourth grades presented a very powerful message to the entire school – “Reading Is The Key To Success.”

With the help of teachers Mrs. Augustyn and Mrs. Godfrey, these students were more than "happy" to perform.

IN GRAND RAPIDS (updated): Educators attend reading conference

The Taylor School District recently had a group of staff, teachers, school improvement coordinators and principals in attendance at the Michigan Reading Associate Conference in Grand Rapids.

The pre-conference is off to a great start with Dr. Marzano presenting. Saturday-Monday they will be attending great breakout sessions and keynote speeches. All are excited about bringing back great strategies for helping students in literacy.

Educators from Taylor also had a working lunch on Friday.