Ypsilanti Citizen Education Sidetrack

Ypsilanti Schools accept transportation consolidation
By Adrienne Ziegler
Jun. 8, 2010   ·   3:07 p.m.

Connie Shelton, an East Middle School Teacher, speaks against the WISD transportation consolidation plan at Monday's special meeting of the Ypsilanti Board of Education. The board approved the motion to join the consolidation by a vote of 5 to 2.

"Shame on you" echoed through the audience Monday night after the Ypsilanti Public Schools Board of Education approved a plan to join a countywide consolidated...read more

Willow Run appoints new board member
By Adrienne Ziegler
Jun. 5, 2010   ·   8:16 a.m.

The Willow Run School Board looks on as Kristine Thomas, a district parent and previous board member, is sworn in as trustee on Thursday night. Thomas will take the position of Joi Jenson who resigned in early May.

The Willow Run School Board appointed a new, yet familiar trustee to the board of education during their regular meeting Thursday night.

Kristine Thomas, a Willow...read more

Willow Run approves county-wide transportation plan
By Adrienne Ziegler
May. 27, 2010   ·   2:09 p.m.

The Willow Run School District signed on to a countywide consolidated transportation plan at their regular board meeting last week.

The plan aims to save transportation...read more

Lincoln offers summer courses to area high-schoolers
By Mark Tower
May. 26, 2010   ·   7:49 p.m.

Students from Lincoln and other nearby districts are being invited to participate in Lincoln High School's Summer Academy this year, registration for which opened...read more

Willow Run terminates student services administrator
By Adrienne Ziegler
May. 26, 2010   ·   12:26 a.m.

Willow Run School Board President Sheri Washington said she didn't know if the district was going to press charges against former Student Services Administrator Laconda Hicks after the board fired Hicks during a special meeting Tuesday night.

The Willow Run Board of Education unanimously voted to terminate its contract with former Student Services Administrator Laconda Hicks Tuesday night during a special...read more

Summer school for at-risk kids created at Redner Elementary

Model Elementary School technology teacher Carole Ryburg, left, accepts the Ypsilanti Area Chamber of Commerce E3 award, honoring excellence in education for her Photo by Mark Tower

Model Elementary School technology teacher Carole Ryburg, left, accepts the Ypsilanti Area Chamber of Commerce E3 award, honoring excellence in education for her "Three Little Pigs" program with Jean Hammonds, from principal Mary Aldridge.
Dr. Kimberly A. Rice DDS

Lincoln and WCC partner in lifetime learning program

By Mark Tower
Apr. 20, 2010    ·    3:35 p.m.

At-risk students at Brick and Redner Elementary schools will get the chance to catch up on their studies in a new summer school program approved by Lincoln Consolidated School's Board of Education at its meeting Monday.

The board also agreed to partner with Washtenaw Community College in creating a lifetime learning program, evaluated district Superintendent Lynn Cleary, voted to extend her contract a year and moved to consolidate human resources staff in the district.

The summer school program welcomes children in grades 1-5 from Redner and Brick Elementary schools, teaches reading and mathematics skills and is aimed at helping at-risk students and eliminating achievement gaps seen through MEAP test results.

The new program is funded through state and federal dollars for special education and through Title I funds designated for economically disadvantaged students. Because of this funding source, only students who qualify for the free or reduced lunch program are eligible for summer school, and the program is not being offered for students at Childs or Bessie Hoffman Elementary schools in the district.

Summer school begins July 6 at Redner Elementary and runs through July 29, in session each Monday through Thursday from 9 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. Anyone interested in signing up for the program or getting more information about their child's eligibility should contact the Brick or Redner Elementary school offices or Lincoln's Director of Cirriculum and Instruction, Rick Schnaffner at 734-484-7000.

Lifetime learning program launched
Community members will also get a chance to take a variety of classes starting this spring, in a new collaborative program offered through Lincoln Consolidated Schools and Washtenaw Community College.

Classes that will be offered, according to Cleary, will include instruction on using social networking websites like Facebook, a digital photography class and instruction on American Sign Language.

The classes will be offered on the Lincoln Schools campus during the 2010-2011 school year, though an exact location and schedule have not yet been set. Community Education coordinator Chris Grajczyk said classes will likely start in May or June and will repeat throughout the school year, following WCC's semester schedule.

Anyone seeking more information about the program or to find out how to register for a class is welcomed to call Grajczyk at 734-484-7007.

Superintendent contract renewed
In accordance with the board of education's policy to annually evaluate the district superintendent, board members met in a closed session March 22 to evaluate Superintendent Lynn Cleary and voted Monday to accept a favorable evaluation and extend her contract another year.

The evaluation looked at Cleary's relationship with the board, with the community, with district staff, performance in business and finance, educational leadership, personal qualities, achievement and district goals, retention, safety and preparation. Board members commented on her performance in each area.

The overall evaluation, board members said, reported Cleary's performance met expectations and exceeded them in some areas, allowing the board to continue support for the superintendent and extend her contract another year.

Human resources consolidated in district
Since Executive Director of Human Services Sylvester Rowan announced he would retire at the end of the school year, Lincoln has been exploring its options and decided Monday to eliminate the full-time director's position.

Instead, the district's accounting supervisor, Barbara Simon, will take over some of the human resource department duties and other elements of the job will be contracted out to Ann Arbor Public Schools.

The move is a one-year trial, according to Simon, in which district administration will gauge how the new solution works and then determine at the end of the year if they need to hire a full-time human resources director or not.

Simon admitted she did not have a human resources degree and said any task that reaches beyond her knowledge or abilities will be forwarded to Ann Arbor Public Schools, which is currently preparing a contract to provide human resources services to the district, charged on an hourly basis.

“It's just a cost-saving experiment,” Simon said. “We plan to look at it again in a year and see if we need to have the full-time human resources director.”

District employees are shrinking since new teachers are not being hired and substitutes are now being staffed through an outside provider, she said, and this is just one more way the district can try to save money. Human Resources Department Administrative Assistant Sherry Gerlofs will keep her job after the transition, Simon said.

Other recent moves toward consolidation in the district have included talks with the Washtenaw Intermediate School District to take over the technology department and county-wide discussion for consolidation of transportation services across several school districts.

Meetings to discuss millage proposal
Lincoln Consolidated Schools will host an informational meeting and a community forum in the next weeks to talk with local parents and voters about the bond proposal on the ballot May 4. The district is asking voters to approve a tax levy at the same as the current millage rate to fund technology and facility needs.

The first meeting is for parents of children at Brick, Model, and Redner elementary schools and will be held 6:30 p.m. Thursday at the Redner Media Center. The second meeting, a community forum open to all voters, will be held at 7 p.m. April 29 at Lincoln High School Auditorium.

Lincoln teachers receive awards for excellence
The Ypsilanti Area Chamber of Commerce presented the E3 educational award to Model Elementary School and Early Childhood Center teachers Carole Ryburg and Jean Hammonds for their integration of technology and literature in the “Three Little Pigs” curriculum for Kindergarten students.

The students and teachers made two and three-dimensional models of the houses in the story and learned the strengths of different kinds of building materials. As well as recognition for the excellent educational program, the Chamber of Commerce also presented the teachers with a $150 cash prize to help buy teaching aids and other supplies for their program.

Hammonds was unable to attend Monday's meeting, but Ryburg said they were both thrilled to receive the award and happy to offer the children learning opportunities that they enjoy.

“There are so many demands on little kids, on what they should know,” Ryburg said. “We are trying to make learning something they enjoy, and not just a ritual, the daily drudge.”

Technology is an important element of learning now, she said, but she feels the tactile kind of instruction demonstrated through the “Three Little Pigs” program is especially important for young students.

“That's what get the kids excited for, the hands-on learning components,” Ryburg said. “The future is going to be more and more learning that is either through the computer or some kind of online component, but little kids need to see things three-dimensionally.”

Lincoln High School technology education teacher Joseph Nuzzo was also honored Monday for the teacher excellence award he received through the International Technology and Engineering Educators Association (ITEEA).

Nuzzo said it was exciting to represent the entire state of Michigan at the awards conference in Charlotte, North Carolina, and said he was happy to display one example of the good work being done by teachers at Lincoln.

“If there are good things happening in our classrooms, we need to let the community and the world know they are happening,” he said.

Nuzzo said integration of different disciplines like in the kindergarten's “Three Little Pigs” program is exactly what the district needs and what will earn awards through organizations like the ITEEA and the Chamber of Commerce.

Other recent awards at the High School, Principal John McGehee said during a presentation to the board, included teacher and coach Lisa Malboeuf, who received the Stewart White Award for Distinguished Service from the Michigan League of Academic Games; Lincoln's National Honors Society, which received a state award for community service; and three Regional Career Technical Center students, who received awards and scholarships in the Skills USA competition.

The Rocket

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