Saturday, January 28, 2017

SKOPE'S SCOOP! A video presentation from the Truman principal

Melissa Skopczynski is the principal of Truman High School, and she talks this week about several important items, including the school's removed from the state watch list, parent-teacher conferences and upcoming sports activities. Tune in!

MCDOWELL ELEMENTARY SCHOOL class performs Leaf Monster

Here are McDowell Elementary School students from Mr. Young's fifth-grade class performing for first graders a classic play called "Leaf Monster, a Spanish American Tale." It was under the direction of Ms. Oliver and Ms. Hutchison, who did a great job -- especially the trickster trouble-making coyote!


Ms. Bochenek's kindergarteners at McDowell Elementary School went knee-to-knee to share their learning.

TOMMIE SAYLOR: Truman's victory is a win for all of us!

“What you get by achieving your goals is not as important as what you become by achieving your goals” 
-- Zig Ziglar

By Tommie Saylor
Kennedy High School Principal

When I was a young man serving in the United States Army, I quickly discovered an intense rivalry between those who served in the Army, and those who called themselves Marines. 

Oh we would go back and forth in good healthy competition, pushing each other to reach every higher heights of military readiness.  Though the competition was intense, often arguing and fighting like siblings, we also knew that we had each other’s back.  We would die for each other, for we were brothers in arms.

This same rivalry exists between Harry S Truman High School and John F. Kennedy High School.  We push each other daily in healthy competition, trying to outdo each other, striving for higher and higher educational heights.  Yet at the same time, we have a sound respect for each other. We feel each other’s pain and we celebrate each other’s achievements. When it is all said and done, we are two entities striving for the same goal.

With this in mind, I would like to extend a warm, heartfelt, well done to the teachers, staff and administration of Truman for achieving a remarkable goal.  The district received word this week that Truman has been removed from the SRO (School Reform Office) bottom 5 percent list.

To take a school off this list requires a near superhuman amount of effort on part of all its members.  The pure number of 13- and 14-hour days, seven days a week, along with new initiatives and a complete change in the way one approaches the art of teaching is not just necessary, but the norm for those seeking release from the SRO list. 

You need a commitment to one’s profession, to improving teaching and learning and to the students and the district. It is more than required, it is expected if one wants to exit this list.  The level of professionalism, sense of duty, loyalty to students and feeling of family necessary to accomplish this goal, and clearly expressed by the Truman staff, is nothing short of truly inspiring.

So, for one who has born witness to the years of turmoil, struggles, successes and failures; for one who has seen Truman pick themselves up, dust themselves off and drive on overcoming every obstacle placed in the way; for one who has seen the tears, held some hands and watched an amazing group of people climb from the very depths of despair; I want to extent my most profound congratulations. 

Truman has made me proud, has brought great credit upon itself and upon the district as a whole. Truman stands as a shining example of what can be achieved when we all come together with fidelity and focus.

Helping students to find their greatness. Making Kennedy the school of choice.Excellence by design.

P.S.  I know Ms. Skopczynski, the Truman principal, became a little “choked up” when the news was first delivered. Rightfully so … but she was not alone. The news also pulled at my heart strings and at the heart strings of many of Truman’s “brothers and sisters” at Kennedy.

HOOVER MIDDLE SCHOOL students take the challenge

Hoover Middle School's seventh-grade students were challenged to design, test, evaluate, and redesign hearing protectors.  They had some very creative and effective designs.

RANDALL ELEMENTARY SCHOOL: Taking the air out of detention

Detention has a whole new intention at Randall Elementary School.

Students are given the choice to go to Yoga instead.

Students learn breathing techniques that calm the mind and yoga postures that release energy and stretch the body.  Students experience focus, relaxation and learn how to take these strategies back into the classroom. 

WEST MIDDLE SCHOOL student study transverse waves

West Middle School seventh-grade students are learning about transverse waves. They incorporated art and science to create waves of various frequencies, using colorful yarn. This tactile activity allows students to have a greater understanding of the parts of a transverse wave, including crest, trough, wavelength, and amplitude.

WEST MIDDLE SCHOOL students study sound waves

During the week of January 23, Mrs. Proudlock's and Mrs. Woolford's seventh-grade science classes at West Middle School have been studying sound waves. 

Their classes conducted a five-station lab on how sound travels. This engaging hands-on activity allowed students to experience many principles of sound wave behavior. Students learned that sound waves need a medium, such as a solid, gas or liquid to travel through. 

Sound is composed of vibrations carried by waves. Sound travels faster and can be heard louder when traveling through a solid rather than a gas.

This investigation by the students was important. Working cooperatively in groups, students practice clear observation skills. The lab also required communicating with one another and to politely disagree if necessary.

Employing the scientific method by hypothesizing and drawing conclusions are vital skills in and out of the classroom. Teachers appreciated the many positive comments that could be heard by the students during this lab.

NOT TOO EARLY to begin applying for college scholarships

With the price of college these days, it's never too early to start looking for a scholarship program.

The Taylor Schools' ScholarshipPoints program was created in 2006 to help students win scholarships without the hassle of filling out paper applications and writing dozens of essays. is owned and operated by Edvisors, a company dedicated to helping students plan and pay for college. To date, Edvisors has given away more than $650,000 through the ScholarshipPoints program.

Time is running out fast on the applications that call for a deadline is January. But there is still time to apply for many others.

Some examples are the  John and Muriel Landis Scholarships, Elks National Foundation Legacy Awards, USDA/ 1890 National Scholars Program, We the Students Scholarship Contest and Robert Edward Lang Scholarship. And there are plenty more!

KENNEDY HIGH SCHOOL Eagle ties on sale now!

Hey guys, who want to fly like a real Eagle?  Kennedy High School Eagle ties are on sale for $15. See Mrs. Huffman in the main office to order.

KENNEDY HONOR SOCIETY collecting donations for animal shelter

The Kennedy High School National Honor Society is collecting food, treats and blankets to donate for the Taylor Animal Shelter.

The group is also accepting returnable bottles and cans.

Donations may be dropped off in the high school office until February 24.

DID YOU KNOW that you can receive technology discounts through a district-offered connection?

Did you know that the Taylor School District is offering a way for families in the district to receive discounts on computers and accessories?

It’s part of the Technology Readiness Infrastructure Grant. You can explore the many discounts that are available for computers and accessories, as a Taylor School District parent or employee. 

Because Taylor is a participating district in the Technology Readiness Infrastructure Grant (TRIG) program, parents and staff may take advantage of the tech discounts for personal use computers and/or accessories. 

SCHOOL DISTRICT telephone numbers

From time to time, Talking Taylor Schools posts the school district's telephone numbers as a service to its audience.

Below is a phone list of all of the schools in the district.

CAREER CENTER                                              313-295-5757
EUREKA HEIGHTS                                            734-946-6597
HOLLAND                                                            313-295-5795
HOOVER MIDDLE SCHOOL                            313-295-5775
KENNEDY HIGH SCHOOL                               734-374-1229
KINYON                                                                313-295-5802
MCDOWELL                                                        734-374-1240
MOODY                                                                 313-295-5807
MYERS                                                                  734-946-6602
RANDALL                                                             313-295-5812
TAYLOR PARKS                                                   734-374-1246
TRUMAN HIGH (INCLUDES TITAN)             734-946-6551

WEST MIDDLE SCHOOL                                  313-295-5783

PARENT-CHILD BOOK CLUB is a monthly adventure

Are you a member of the district’s free Parent-Child Book Club. If not, you’re missing all the fun.

Are you a master of disaster? Pack your survival gear and let's head out on an adventure and find out. On the third Tuesday of each month all third-through-fifth grade parent/child detective teams will meet at the Taylor Board Annex, 9551 Weslake, next to Papp Park, The meeting begins at 5:30 p.m. 

The evening will start off with pizza.  Next, the club will do some activities connected to the book that was read the previous month. Then, students and parents will learn about new tools that students can put into their Reader's Survival Kit.  

Afterward, the group will discuss the book and to finish off the night, each student will get to take a new book or two to home to read.

There is no cost to join in on the reading fun. However space is limited and we only have books for the first 12 families who join.

Any questions please contact me, Nannette Kuhn, at (313) 295-5749 or email

HOME & SCHOOL CONNECTION focuses on important techniques

January's Home & School Connection, an online newsletter, is available now on the Taylor School District's website.

Click here to see the entire edition

The lead story in this month's edition focuses on motivating students to learn. It discusses such parental techniques as pointing to the future, moving past mistakes and celebrating hard work.

Other high points in the issue are a focus on winter workouts, speaking out on bullying, activity corner and finding family time.

INDOOR BASEBALL CENTER is now open and waiting for you!

The Taylor Indoor Baseball Center is open and waiting for you to try it out! That means individual baseball and softball players, youth teams and even high school-aged units who need an indoor facility to hone their skills.

The facility replaces the rundown gymnasium and basketball court inside the Taylor Recreation Center, 22805 Goddard Road. The City of Taylor recently replaced it with a new, hi-tech indoor baseball/softball facility.

The project includes wall-to-wall synthetic turf in the facility and three “lanes” or “cages” to hit and pitch. Building and Grounds Foreman Guido Ulin coordinated the build out. Mayor Rick Sollars consulted with former Tigers’ Pitching Coach Jeff Jones and spoke with Steve Avery, a former MLB star pitcher and graduate of Kennedy High School.

“We wanted to separate ourselves from others.” Mayor Sollars said. “This is a first-class facility. They gave us advice on what a team like the Tigers would do if they were creating their own center.”

Ulin points out that the facility has Iron Mike MT5, Bata 2 and Bulldog Single Wheel Feed machines. The professional pitching mounds are junior and senior level. The facility will also include a “soft toss” room across the hallway, which has 7 by 7 power nets with large, wide-mouth openings for hitting soft toss and off a tee.

Due to the anticipated use, the Taylor Recreation Center is increasing its hours. It will now be open from 6 a.m. to 9 p.m. Mondays through Fridays, 7 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturdays, and noon to 5 p.m. Sundays.

Rentals and Rates
Anyone interested in using the indoor baseball-softball facility should reserve a day and time by contacting the Taylor Recreation Center (734) 374-8900 Option 2. Walk-ups are discouraged.

Taylor Little League Organizations Contracted Blocks-
Entire Gym Rental-$100 per hour

Taylor Schools Contracted Blocks-
Entire Gym (3-5 p.m.) $100 per hour

Taylor Adult Softball Blocks (Rotary Park Teams)-
Friday Nights (9–10 p.m.) $100 per hour

Travel Teams-
$125 Per Hour (with usage agreement); $150 Per Hour (without usage agreement)

Individuals Per Lane Recreation Center Members-
$20 Per Half Hour; $35 Per Hour

Individuals Per Lane Non-Recreation Center Members-
$30 Per Half Hour; $45 Per Hour

Taylor Recreation Hitters Club Card (we do not re-issue lost cards) -
Half Hour Blocks: Five Visits $100; One Hour Blocks: Five Visits $200

T-Ball/Soft Toss Room (when available) -
Rec Members $20 per hour; Non Recreation Center members $25 per hour

DADDY-DAUGHTER DANCE tickets available now

Tickets are still available for the City of Taylor's annual Daddy Daughter Dances, which are being held at the Lakes of Taylor Golf Course on Saturday, February 11.

Dance No. 1 is at 4 p.m.; Dance No. 2 follows at 6.

Non-refundable tickets are on sale at the Taylor Recreation Center, 22805 Goddard Road. Tickets are $30 per couple ($5 for each extra sibling). Tickets are first-come, first-serve – and anyone interested should be advised that these tickets usually run out quickly, so if you are interested, it is strongly suggested that you make your purchase early.

This activity is recommended for daughters ages 3 to 12. Included in package is professional photograph, a new Build-a-Bear stuffed animal program, dancing and desserts.

TOWNHALL MEETING to focus on heroin and prescription drug problems

A townhall meeting focusing on drug use is scheduled for 6-8 p.m. Friday, February 2, in the Ray Mix Room of Wayne County Community College District's Downriver Campus, 21000 Northline Road.

The meeting, hosted by 23rd District Court Judge Geno Salomone, Fire Chief Stephen Portis and Police Chief Mary Sclabassi, will discuss the problems of heroin and prescription drug (opioid) use.

The event is free, and light refreshments will be served. The meeting will discuss how big the problems are in the area; what is being done to address these issues; and what are treatment options.

Others involved in the presentation will be Suzette Goff, director of Emergency Services for Beaumont Hospital-Taylor; Angela Croft, City Councilperson; Jill Blackson, deputy director of Community Care Services; Simone Salvas, community organizer for the Taylor Substance Abuse Prevention Task Force; Michelle Calvillo, LMSW social worker participant, 23rd District Court Drug Court Program.

Wednesday, January 25, 2017

STUDENTS ACROSS THE DISTRICT honored for 'drug free' art campaign

The idea of being drug free does begin with each of us. No one knows that better than many Taylor elementary and middle school students who were honored recently for their work in the “Drug Free Begins With Me” art project.

On January 19, those students were recognized for their artwork in various categories that targeted the theme.

Student winners were recognized in the categories of poetry, essays, pictures, posters, performing art and speeches. Journeys of Hope Church hosted the dinner and awards ceremony. Beaumont Oakwood and the Taylor Teen Health Center helped support the contest.

The student participants, teachers and principals helped find creative ways to commit to remaining drug free.

Sandra Kluk and Simone Calvas organized the event and Judge Geno Salamone spoke to all the students about remaining drug free.