Saturday, December 19, 2015


Here are photographs of the Eureka Heights Elementary School Bat Assembly!


Here are Eureka Heights Elementary School third-graders working on non-fiction writing.


Here are some Eureka Heights Elementary School fourth-graders getting ready for the online MSTEP test in the spring.

HOLLAND ELEMENTARY SCHOOL spreads the holiday cheer

Big congratulations are in order for the lower Holland Elementary  School students from Mrs. Madden, Mrs. Gauss, Mr. Young, Ms. Danaj and Mrs. Bordeau. 

Students performed some holiday favorites along with a few other selections under the direction of Mrs. Burnett.  Great Job spreading holiday cheer!

MCDOWELL ELEMENTARY SCHOOL: An appearance of the Gingerbread Man

McDowell Elementary School kindergarteners were on a hunt for the "Gingerbread Man."

They looked high and low, solved clues, visited the music room and where should he appear? Running out of the kitchen!

Everyone loved it! Stay tuned for more adventures from our Gingerbread Man.

TAYLOR PARKS ELEMENTARY SCHOOL is proud hat/glove Giving Tree

The staff and students at Taylor Parks Elementary School graciously exemplify the spirit of giving this holiday season with the annual display of its hat/glove Giving Tree.

It has been a yearly tradition to adorn its Christmas Tree with warm winter apparel such as hats, gloves, scarves and socks for children in need.  The generosity that staff, students and families show with their donations is proof that their warm hearts can truly help to keep a child warm during the cold winter months.

TAYLOR PARK ELEMENTARY SCHOOL pupils get in the holiday spirit

Mrs. Ambrosia’s kindergarten at Taylor Park Elementary School has been getting in the holiday spirit.

The students were surprised with a coloring book and bag of goodies from a peer who would be out of town for their class Christmas party. The children were thankful!

On December 7, the class took a trip to see Santa. All the children rode on a bus to the Heritage and Santa’s Park Magic Forest. They got to enjoy the beautiful displays and a visit with Santa.

Happy holidays!

Thursday, December 17, 2015

KINYON ELEMENTARY SCHOOL: Santa's coming to town!

Get ready! Here's a clip from the recent Kinyon Elementary School Christmas Concert ... and don't forget that "Santa Claus is Comin' to Town."

WEST MIDDLE SCHOOL students get up close and personal with nature

On December 15-16, Mrs. Lisa Parsons from Kensington Metro Park visited Ms. Bochenek’s seventh-grade science classes at West Middle School.  

She spoke to the students about the differences between amphibians and reptiles. Did you know that amphibians have permeable skin? That means that liquids and gases can flow through their skin.  That is another reason why it is so important to protect waters from pollution.

Although many reptiles may be small and vulnerable to predators, they have many protective features. The box turtle can close its shell over its entire body, just like a box. This physical characteristic helped give the box turtle its name.  

The highlight of Mrs. Parsons visit came when she showed the students the many live amphibians and reptiles that she brought to the classroom. The students saw a tree frog and a green frog.  She also brought a salamander that the park had raised from a larvae.   The students were allowed to touch a box and painted turtle, as well as a corn snake.

Everyone enjoyed the visit.  Students now have a greater understanding and appreciation for these amazing creatures.  The class has learned what sounds to listen for when they are out in nature.  Also many are now excited to take a walk in the woods or in their own neighborhoods while on the lookout for our new amphibian and reptile friends.

MYERS ELEMENTARY SCHOOL: 'Santa Kaelyn' makes another appearance

For the third year in a row, Music Teacher Mrs. Burnett's daughter, Kaelyn, gifted children at Myers Elementary School with bags full of holiday treats!

She filled 30 bags with items from toothpaste and toothbrushes to gloves and socks to an ornament and box of crayons for all!  She mowed lawns all summer and babysat children to pay for all of the items for these bags. 

She loves to give to the children at Myers each Christmas. She has a very big heart!


Eureka Heights Elementary School first graders and PASS classes recently went to the IMAX to see “Polar Express” in their PJs!

KENNEDY HIGH SCHOOL: Eagle News hits the stands!

The December version of the Eagle News from Kennedy High School recently hit the newsstands.

Take a look!

MCDOWELL ELEMENTARY SCHOOL assembly offers surprises

McDowell Elementary School’s "Student of the week" assembly was full of surprises. The staff pulled the winning tickets for the Scholastic Book Fair Raffle and its Santa Shop Raffle. And congratulations to Juan, Trent and Aubri!

KINYON ELEMENTARY SCHOOL combines curriculum, holiday season

Kinyon Elementary School sure can put curriculum in the holidays!

This craft was supported by the Common Core and Michigan Standards. With the help and creativity of a parent, the children worked hard to design this display.

HOLLAND ELEMENTARY SCHOOL answer call of the wild

Holland Elementary School students learned about animals of the “Rainforest from the Wildlife Encounters” assembly.  Students were able to see firsthand a Honduran milk snake, Madagascar hissing cockroaches and a Macaw, among others.

Monday, December 14, 2015

TOMMIE SAYLOR: If you want better education, you need more investment, not more testing

“But the person who scored well on an SAT will not necessarily be the best doctor or the best lawyer or the best businessman.  These tests do not measure character, leadership, creativity, perseverance.”
-- William Julius Wilson

By Tommie Saylor
Kennedy High School Principal

Our federal lawmakers, who for the most part have no more educational experience than at one point in time being a student themselves, have decided once again to tell us how to teach students. 

They like to call this educational reform, which I’m sure will prove to be yet another in a long list of failed educational initiatives enacted by the federal government, plaguing both educational practitioners and students.  The roll call of such initiatives include The Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA); A Nation At Risk: The Imperative For Educational Reform, No Child Left Behind (NCLB); Race To The Top; Common Core; and now The Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA), recently signed into law by President Obama.

If the government truly desires to increase the level of education in our nation, the answers are simple, but require an investment.  We must put a stop to the incessant testing.  We spend so much effort, time and money in the preparation and execution of standardized tests that we barely seem to have the time to get through the most basic curriculum.  We “teach to test” as opposed to teach for understanding and learning. 

If students do not do well on these tests, we blame the teachers, the school and/or even penalize the district, as opposed to lending assistance.  This never made sense to me.  Blaming the teacher for a student not doing well on a standardized test, especially after knowing fully well that the student received proper instruction and preparation for the test, is kind of like blaming a mechanic for the poor driving habits of a motorist. 

Should the mechanic pay the speeding ticket or the parking ticket for a careless motorist? Then why are teachers, administrators, schools and districts paying the price for students who don’t care and don’t try even after receiving proper instruction?

As the old saying goes, “You can lead a horse to water, but you can’t make him drink.”

Learning is a personal choice: Either the student makes the decision to learn or they choose to be passive and put little effort into the process. At what point in time does the onus fall upon the student or upon the family? Research does not show a correlation between standardized test taking and an improvement in student learning, understanding and performance.  The top educational countries in the world very infrequently test their students, preferring to spend time and efforts on teaching and learning as opposed to test taking. 

If we want to improve the educational standing of our nation, we need to follow their example.

If we truly want to raise the level of education, then we need to place two teachers in every classroom.  When I go into a classroom that has a teacher and a co-teacher, the educational experience for the students is far superior to those without a co-teacher.  With two teachers in a classroom, as one presents the lesson, the other is able to move among the students, checking for understanding, answering questions, and helping keep students on task. 

Having two teachers in a classroom also gives teachers the opportunity for advancement without having to leave the classroom. Right now, once you secure your first job as a classroom teacher, you have automatically advanced as far as you possibly can while still remaining a teacher.  There are no levels of advancement for teachers.
If we use the co-teacher model, young teacher right out of college can enter the profession as a co-teacher. In doing so, they can spend years learning and perfecting the trade under the careful tutelage of a veteran instructor before advancing to the position of classroom instructor. Then, they would have their own apprentice and/or co-teacher. 

Taking this one step further, why not take the best of the best instructors and make them Master Teachers?  A Master Teacher would not have a classroom of their own, but would be the department head responsible for all the classes taught in a given department.  

The Master Teacher would assist the classroom teachers when needed or when a particular tricky lesson needs to be taught. They would make sure the classroom teachers have all the necessary materials they need to perform their job, be the curriculum expert and make sure all the teachers in the department are correctly teaching the curriculum, and would conduct teacher observations and evaluations. 

In short, the Master Teacher would be much like a pseudo administrator with an expertise in their specific field, charged with ensuring that all students receive the absolute best instruction, covering the best curriculum, with the best educational tools possible.

By utilizing such a hierarchy, teachers will no longer be in a “dead end job.” They will be in a profession that allows for advancement without leaving the classroom, allows for a learning curve for young and/or new instructors, and places two teachers in every classroom focused on ensuring that every student learns. 

Granted, this will require quite an investment.  But if we can so quickly and eagerly raise taxes to fix the roads, why can’t we do the same to fix our children’s future? Once again, the top educational countries in the world have at least two teachers per classroom, sometimes three.  If we want to improve the educational standing of our nation, we need to follow their example yet again.

The moral of this story is that more testing and oversight will not improve this nation’s education system. Only a greater investment, unhindered and without strings attached, along more teachers, will a lasting difference be made.

How and where will you lead them. Making Kennedy the school of choice. Excellence by design.

MCDOWELL ELEMENTARY SCHOOL has drive to benefit Gleaner's

McDowell Elementary School fifth-graders have been sponsoring the building’s annual food drive for Gleaners Food 

Everyone in the school is asked to bring canned and/or boxed goods to Mr. Tomassion's classroom. So far McDowell has 197 cans/boxes with a goal is 330.

Let’s hope they make it!

MCDOWELL ELEMENTARY SCHOOL parents host gift shop

McDowell Elementary School’s very wonderful parent group at has been hosting a Holiday Gift Shop. Lots of shopping and planning has been going on inside the building.