Staff Reports Highlight Schoolcraft School Board Meeting

Members of the School Board from left to right listen to the presentations: Darby Fetzer, Jeanette Marshall, Matt Devoe, Mike Rochholz, Kathy Mastenbrook, and Skip Fox. On the far right, Dave Krum and Supt. Rusty Stitt, but not pictured.

By Sue Moore

Walther Farms Donates $50,000 to Schoolcraft Schools

Jason Walther and his cousin, Brian Walther, hold up their promise check to Schoolcraft Schools which designates the $50,000 that Walther Farms has donated. It will help fund the HumaneX partnership the school system has entered into. Receiving the check are Superintendent Dr. Rusty Stitt on the left and School Board President Mike Rochholz on the right.

“This money will be used to help coach and grow our staff as we continue to strive in moving from good to great,” Dr. Stitt said while thanking the two men. The money is to be parceled out over the next five years he told the board.

Schoolcraft Drama Club Set for Scotland Trip

Drama Club students and teacher Chris Sargeant present their request to the School Board.

Schoolcraft’s Drama Club will take its version of Pippen to the Fringe Festival in Scotland the summer of 2015 to perform in the largest performing arts festival of its kind in the world. The Drama Club needed approval for the trip from the Board of Education. “For a school of this size, it’s a great honor to be selected,” said Chris Sargeant, the high school drama coach.

“The cost is $6,400 per student and I expect the kids and I will do the work to raise the money by writing grants and putting on fundraisers,” he said.

Student performers in grades 9-12 are eligible to go on the trip which will include two days in London and then on to the largest performing arts festival in the world in Edinburgh, Scotland.

“Cast members will even take their costumes in their own suitcases and be accompanied by family and friends,” Sargeant said.

Reproductive Health Program Set for Fourth, Fifth Grade Students

Ashley Choker addresses the School Board.

“The rise in use of social media with our adolescents has resulted in students learning information quicker than ever before. The update to our Health unit follows the Michigan Department of Education (MDE) expectations and is more relevant to our current fourth and fifth grade students,” reported Elementary Principal Amie McCaw.

She and science teacher, Kellie Mein, felt the school needed to make changes to ensure students have the relevant information for MDE grade level standards in the area of health. They asked Ashley Choker, a certified sex educator, to help them create a new program for fourth and fifth grade students to be taught together. In the past, the students watched a video they said.

Choker will do the teaching this year and then the regular staff will take over, McCaw said. A parent meeting is set for May 6 at 6:30 p.m. in the Elementary School library to explain the program. Parents may opt their children out of the program.

Middle School Improvement Plan Explained

Middle School Principal Chris Ebsch.

Alignment with the Common Core curriculum has been the year-long job of teachers at the Middle School, according to Principal Chris Ebsch in his presentation to the school board in April. He noted the progress made with planning and implementation during the school year. He provided an inside look at the way the staff is working through the goals set by the school district for 2013/14.

Plans to teach College Readiness Standards will be data-driven using online assessment and reporting tools, he said. Where students are falling down in math, the staff will reteach by pulling students out of class for special help, with a similar intervention in reading planned for next year as well. The Middle School staff has been working hard to increase parent engagement throughout the year, Ebsch said.

High School Focus on College Readiness

High School Principal Kristin Flynn.

Good size jumps in college success were reported by High School Principal Kristin Flynn for Schoolcraft graduates.  The National Student Clearinghouse report that she presented, showed 81 percent of Schoolcraft students were enrolled in either two or four year colleges.  For the class of 2008, the majority of those starting college were able to finish their education in five years.  The class of 2009 statistics show that 34 percent have graduated in four years.  The trend is showing that most students are taking five years to complete their college education. “We continue to focus on college readiness. We are excited about this trend due to our intentional school improvement efforts toward these outcomes,” Flynn said.

Three Grants Awarded to Schoolcraft Teachers

Elementary School Principal Amie McCaw.

Two teachers received $550 for professional development from The Flippen Group for Teen Leadership, a course that will be offered at the middle school next year and at the high school in the years to follow.  Principal Amie McCaw will receive $1,500 for the district MTSS (multi-tiered system of supports) team.  This will include a trainer coming to Schoolcraft Schools for a whole day on August 6 to lead the staff in professional development. Mike Rochholz, board president, congratulated the staff on applying for grants and ultimately being successful in receiving them.

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