Saturday, March 12, 2016

OLD FLETCHER SCHOOL to be demolished, thanks to help from state grant

The City of Taylor has been awarded a Blight Elimination Program Grant of $100,000 by the Michigan Land Bank Fast Track Authority, targeting the old and abandoned Fletcher Elementary School along Pardee Road, north of Superior. 

"We've been working very hard behind the scenes to obtain this grant, which will go a long ways toward covering the cost of the demolition," Mayor Rick Sollars said.

"The demolition of this vacant and dangerous building is a benefit to the entire community," Community Development Manager Jeff Baum said. "It has become an eyesore in the middle of an area of rapid economic growth. Most importantly it makes the neighborhood surrounding the building safer for our residents."

The proposal to demolish the school aligns with the City's master plan, which focuses on placemaking and walkability within the community. It will be the fourth vacant school building to be demolished in recent years in Taylor. After demolition, the City will solicit bids for redevelopment of the site.

In October 2015, the Michigan Land Bank received a $1 million grant from the Michigan State Housing Development Authority to continue efforts to demolish vacant and abandoned structures and promote public safety. County land banks and local units of government with eligible projects across the state were invited to apply for this round of funding in early February. Grant awards for individual projects were capped at $250,000. Statewide, 41 applications were submitted requesting more than $3.4M to fight blight.

"This award will help the continued revitalization of the Taylor community," said State Sen. Hoon-Yung Hopgood (D-Taylor). "Thought those efforts we will able to eliminate community blight and provide a safer and more secure landscape for families and children. I look forward to having this property back into productive use."

“While it is always unfortunate to see buildings and properties fall into disuse, removing these blighted structures will help make Taylor safer, allow further opportunity for economic development, and continually improve our image as the core of the Downriver communities,” said State Rep. Erika Geiss (D-Taylor). “I am pleased to have supported bringing this funding to Taylor.”

The Michigan State Housing Development Authority (MSHDA) provides financial and technical assistance through public and private partnerships to create and preserve decent, affordable housing for low- and moderate-income residents and to engage in community economic development activities to revitalize urban and rural communities.* 

*MSHDA's loans and operating expenses are financed through the sale of tax-exempt and taxable bonds as well as notes to private investors, not from state tax revenues. Proceeds are loaned at below-market interest rates to developers of rental housing, and help fund mortgages and home improvement loans. MSHDA also administers several federal housing programs. For more information, visit

JOHNSON EARLY CHILDHOOD CENTER: Marshall reads to four classrooms

Michele Marshall takes time out of her busy day to read to four classrooms at the Johnson Early Childhood Center during March is Reading Month. 

JOHNSON EARLY CHILDHOOD CENTER: Rep. Geiss reads to children

State Rep. Erika Geiss recently participated in March is Reading Month at the Johnson Early Childhood Center.

JOHNSON EARLY CHILDHOOD CENTER: Officer reads to children

Taylor Police Department school liaison officer Hopper recently participated in March is Reading Month at the Johnson Early Childhood Center. Hopper is one of three TPD officers assigned to the district. She works with the SGA and the elementary schools; the others are assigned to each high school.

TOMMIE SAYLOR: Today's educational focus is not on 'the good old days,' and for good reason

“Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world.”
Nelson Mandela

By Tommie Saylor
Kennedy High School Principal

“Back in the day” schools were a place where teachers imparted knowledge.  With this knowledge, students were expected to learn every lesson taught by their teachers, memorizing vast amounts of information (as in “1492 Columbus sailed the ocean blue,” and “i before e except after c.”

“Back in the good old days” teachers gave tests to make sure students were doing their job by learning the information taught, and parents and community members trusted in a teacher’s professionalism and skill.  Schools were reflections of the community, owned and operated by the community, a source of community pride and a learning institution dedicated solely to the propagation of knowledge.

Schools today are much different. 

Today teachers don’t convey knowledge upon students, because the days of having to memorize a bunch of information are over.  Those days are long gone because information is readily available in everyone’s hand, given the invention of the Internet and the smart phone. Our hand-held devices hold the collective knowledge of all mankind. 

Therefore, instead of pounding facts and information into the heads of students, teachers today work more on skill development, teaching students how to use the information so freely available. They teach how to analyze, disaggregate, comprehend and present data and information. Tests are no longer given to ensure that students are doing their job by learning the content presented. Tests are given to evaluate the effectiveness of the teacher. 

If students do well on a test, it means that the students worked hard and earned a good grade; if students do poorly on a test, it means that the teacher did not do their job and it is the teacher’s fault for the student’s inability to learn. 

To some, the contemporary school is no longer a place where the community holds its trust. Teachers are no longer revered and trusted. Teaching is no longer considered an honorable profession.  Since state governments have been taking over the financing, governing and operations of schools, the very institutions that were once viewed as points of community pride are now at-times viewed with suspicion, disdain and contempt. 

The more local control of our schools eroded, the more community support has weathered away. They are often viewed as just another failed government project.

Given the above, and because times have changed, schools can no longer afford to continue to venerate the old days. They must change with the times. We must step into the 21st century. 

Schools can do this by becoming full service institutions that service the entire student, not just their minds.  School institutions should include wellness centers, dental services, psychological and therapeutically services, childcare services, social services and recreational services.

Modern schools should strive to bring together the many services needed by our students.  By doing so, schools will be able to reconnect with their communities, build trust and bring back the pride and reverence once held long ago. Today’s schools can no longer afford to simply concern themselves with teaching, they need to become true community centers that focus on raising the whole child.

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

KENNEDY HIGH SCHOOL: Eagle News hits the newsstands

Here is the latest edition of the Kennedy High School Eagles News for March, 2016.

HOLLAND ELEMENTARY SCHOOL fourth-graders give a shout out to chaperones who helped with the DIA trip

Holland Elementary School fourth-grade students and teachers would like to extend a huge "thank you" to the chaperones and the Detroit Institute of Arts! 

The DIA gave them the opportunity to explore the museum free of any charge. Students took the "Visual Thinking" tour, and were then able to apply what the learned as they explored the facility.  As you can see, it was a great time.

HOLLAND ELEMENTARY SCHOOL: Big fundraisers receive a treat

The top fundraisers for this year’s “Jump Rope for Heart” at Holland Elementary School were treated to a Subway lunch with Mr. Brown and Mrs. King. 

Students who raised $200 and above enjoyed sandwiches and conversation with Katie Place, this year’s top fundraiser, who set a school record, raising $875!

JOHNSON EARLY CHILDHOOD CENTER welcomes senator for reading month

Johnson Early Childhood Center welcomed State Senator Hoon-Young Hopgood recently as part of its March is Reading Month celebration.

FREE VISION-RELATED CERTIFICATES available by contacting school nurses

The Taylor School Nursing Department has a vision program called "Sight for Students." 

Nurses have free certificates available to district students in need of eyesore and eyewear.

The free certificates cover eye exams, lens and frames for eligible students.

Students and families should inquire about student eligibility by contacting their particular school or by asking the nurse assigned to their building.

Thursday, March 10, 2016

WEST MIDDLE SCHOOL students beat the 'toxic' challenge

How can a can filled with "Toxic Waste" be lifted and moved across the room using only ropes, a tire tube and a ruler?  Adventure Learning students at West Middle School figured out that with a little creativity and a lot of teamwork and perseverance, it was possible!  Good Work!

EUREKA HEIGHTS ELEMENTARY SCHOOL: Smiling face caps reading month fun

"March is reading Month" had a great start when the Scholastic Book Fair rolled in at Eureka Heights Elementary School.

The students hit their goal of over 300 hundred books purchased.

Every student who bought a book was entered into a raffle for a "huge" basket of books and goodies. Here's a photo of the lucky winner from Mrs. Kalsic's first-grade glass.

She sure looks happy!

TRUMAN HIGH SCHOOL POHI center keeps a busy pace

The Truman High School POHI program has been busy recently.

On March 7 the center featured retired Blair Moody Elementary School POH teacher Kathy Kurginski visit with her registered therapy dog, Lexie. 

Lexie brought a lot of smiles to the faces of the students!  Lexie will continue visiting the students a few times a month the rest of the school year.

On March 10, Truman nurse Julia Miller planned a cardiac drill to give the POHI staff a chance to practice their CPR and AED skills.  The staff had to locate Buddy (a CPR manikin) and carry out lifesaving techniques that had been taught earlier in the school year.  

HOLLAND ELEMENTARY SCHOOL second-graders vote for Hillary

We voted on March 8, too!

Holland Elementary School held a primary election on presidential primary day in Michigan first to narrow down the candidates, and then to hold a final election.

If the decision were up to the second graders at Holland, Hillary Clinton would be America’s next president!

TAYLOR PARKS ELEMENTARY SCHOOL pupils get a hands-on experience

Taylor Parks Elementary School students from the classes of Mrs. Bailey, Mrs. Young and Mrs. Abramas enjoyed experimenting at the Hands on Museum in Ann Arbor recently.  With over 250 hands-on exhibits featuring science, technology, engineering, art and math, there were plenty of things to do, see and learn!


Taylor Parks Elementary School held its monthly “Road Runner Rally” with the third graders performing. The third graders have been studying the great state of Michigan and shared their information with all the other students .

Wednesday, March 9, 2016

TAYLOR PARKS ELEMENTARY SCHOOL puts on the dance moves

Taylor Parks Elementary School once again had an unbelievable monthly PBIS celebration. The students who remained “green” all month  -- which means they were good pupils and did violate any rules or guidelines – were able to attend the most popular celebration, “The Dance Party.”

The students were able to let loose and share with each other and staff the newest dance moves.

HOLLAND MIDDLE SCHOOL to receive new musical instruments from Mr. Holland's Opus Foundation

Hoover Middle School will soon receive new musical instruments, thanks to The Mr. Holland’s Opus Foundation and Music Rising.

With many school music programs across the country losing vital funding, the foundation helps under-served schools with minimal budgets by donating new instruments, often replacing some that are more than 30 years old.

An application for support was submitted by Hoover Middle School’s band director, Jim Bergler, and the foundation found their program to be a worthwhile investment, allowing more students to be able to play and experience the benefits of music education.

“Through the generous donation of the Mr. Holland’s Opus Foundation and Music Rising, our band students and our school have been given more than school instruments.  They have been given a greater sense of dignity and pride in their school band program”, said Mr. Bergler, long time band director for the Taylor Public Schools.  “Many of our instruments were old when I began teaching at Hoover 25 years ago.  They have served us well, but it is time for them to be officially retired and replaced with some new instruments”.

“Learning music in school is a way to engage kids and give them something that makes them better students and better people,” said Felice Mancini, President & CEO of The Mr. Holland’s Opus Foundation.  “They deserve every tool available to help them receive a quality education, and we want to insure that music is in that toolbox.”

Hoover Bands have had great success over the past 25 years.  There are around 150 seventh- and eighth-grade band students in the program each year, and the band students are active in performing at concerts, band competitions, solo and ensemble festivals, school assemblies, parades, and various other performances in the community.

The Mr. Holland’s Opus Foundation donates musical instruments to under-funded schools in an effort to give youngsters the many benefits of music education, help them to be better students and inspire creativity and expression through playing music.  The organization was inspired by the 1995 motion picture Mr. Holland’s Opus and founded by Michael Kamen, who composed the music for the movie and countless others.  In the last 20 years, over 20,000 instruments have been donated to over 1,360 schools across the country.  More information can be found at

TRUMAN DECA CLUB holds standout prom fashion show

On February 26 Truman High School's DECA club and marketing classes hosted its annual prom fashion show.

The theme this year for prom is masquerade. Thanks to Linda Szabo, Bianca Warner, and Alexandra Rice our newly renovated little theatre was transformed into a beautifully designed runway for our models. 

The show was a great success. It started with DECA's very own Lakesha Chaffold singing the national anthem, bringing the house down with her amazing voice. From that point the emcees for the show, Bianca Warner and Alexa Bailey, took over and hosted a beautiful show. Also during the show four lucky audience members won gift certificates donated from Yazee's Boutique. Two were for $80 and two were for $60. 

Everyone would like to thank vendors Men’s Wearhouse, located at 23000 Eureka, and Yazee’s Boutique, located at 10155 Telegraph, for allowing the group to showcase their beautiful new prom clothing lines this year. Both companies have donated money to the DECA club and marketing program and are offering great promotions for this year’s prom season.

Anyone renting a tux from Men's Wearhouse or buying a dress from Yazees will receive a discount, so please see a DECA member for information on the prom program for both stores. For every tux and dress purchased for this prom season, each store will be donating $10 to the DECA club. 

Thank you’s go out to Hannah Jones for putting together the music and the administration and board office for allowing the group to have this event during school hours.

DECA wants to thank Mrs. Hale, Mrs. Wagel and Mrs. Rowlings for helping with chaperoning the event, and the Truman staff for all of their support of the marketing students. 

The marketing students put together the entire fashion show using skills and knowledge for sales, promotion, marketing, visual merchandising, organization, time management, ticket design, advertising as well as professional emails and phone calls to vendors. This was a great hands-on learning experience for the students and DECA wants to thank everyone who bought a ticket to come out and support the students.

The money raised will help send students to nationals for DECA in Nashville in April.