Summer is here and I am looking at my summer reading options….
First, I plan to read for enjoyment this summer. One book I plan to read is Brown Dog by Jim Harrison. The book follows a character who rescues a preserved body of an Indian from Lake Superior’s cold waters; overindulges in food and drink while just scraping by in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula.
The second book is A Team of Leaders by Paul Gustavson and Stewart Liff. The book looks at ways to approach the team experience and improve performance.
Another book that I have wanted to read but have not found time yet is Just Middle Manager, Next Great Leader by David J. Hulings. David is a Michigan resident who has worked with many of the administrators within Saline Area Schools and works with many districts across the State. The book is a leadership fable.
I also have The New American High School by Theodore R. Sizer that I hope to read.
Any other books I should consider?
Saline High School
2014 Senior Class Survey
On Wednesday, May 14, the members of the Class of 2014 completed transcript cards where each student indicated where they would be sending their final transcript. The results for the 441 responses are below:
Michigan Colleges (333) 76%
Out of State Colleges (74) 17%
Michigan Public Colleges (315) 71%
Michigan Private Colleges (18) 4%
All Four Year Colleges (324) 73%
All Two Year Colleges (81) 18%
Military (6) 1%
Undecided (9) 2%
Working Full Time (6) 1%
Exchange Students returning (6) 1%
Young Adult Program (4) <1%
Michigan Private Schools
Adrian College 2
Albion College 1
Calvin College 1
Cornerstone University 1
Hope College 4
Kalamazoo College 2
Kettering University 2
Lawrence Technological University 1
Olivet College 1
Siena Heights University 2
Spring Arbor 1
Michigan Public Schools
Central Michigan University 22
Eastern Michigan University 33
Ferris State University 6
Grand Valley State University 35
Michigan Career and Technical Institute 2
Michigan State University 42
Michigan Technological University 2
Northern Michigan University 2
Saginaw Valley State University 6
University of Michigan 61
Wayne State University 2
Western Michigan University 20
Michigan Community Colleges
Jackson Community College 2
Schoolcraft College 1
Southwestern Michigan College 2
Washtenaw Community College 74
Public Out of State College
Arizona State University 1
Ball State University 1
Bowling Green State University 1
California State University San Marcos 1
George Mason University 1
Hillsborough Community College 1
Indiana University 2
Iowa State University 2
Miami University 4
Ohio State University 1
Oregon State University 1
Purdue University 3
University of Alabama 3
University of Arkansas 1
University of Cincinnati Blue Ash College 1
University of Illinois at Chicago 1
University of Kentucky 1
University of Louisville 1
University of Tennessee 1
University of Toledo 2
Private Out of State Colleges
Bard College 1
Baylor University 1
Brigham Young University 3
Butler University 1
Catholic University of America 1
Champlain College 1
Clark University 1
Columbia College Chicago 1
Davis and Elkins College 1
Defiance College 1
Denison University 1
DePaul University 2
Elmhurst College 2
Endicott College 1
Harvard College 1
Heidelberg University 2
Huntington University 1
Judson University 1
Lake Erie College 1
Lehigh University 1
Lourdes University 1
Loyola University Chicago 1
Marquette University 1
Massachusetts Institute of Technology 1
Miami International Univ. of Art and Design 1
New York University 1
Pennsylvania State University 1
Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology 1
Southeastern University 1
Southern Virginia University 1
Towson University 1
University of Dayton 2
University of Findlay 1
University of Notre Dame 1
Valparaiso University 2
Westminster College 1
Yale University 1
Other interesting facts about the Class of 2014:
10 National Merit Semi-Finalists
10 National Merit Finalists
5 National Merit Commended Scholars
5 Students having a cumulative unweighted grade point average of 4.0
74 Students having a cumulative weighted grade point average of 4.0 or higher
111 Students having a cumulative unweighted grade point average of 3.667 – 3.999
80 Students having a cumulative weighted grade point average of 3.667 – 3.999
This past Friday marked the last day for Seniors in Saline. At the Saline Alternative High School, Principal Carol Melcher conducted the ceremony that has come to be known as “Beyond the Blue Wall”. Below is a copy of the script from the ceremony. We talk a great deal about the need for our students to possess perseverance, grit and determination – these students have dealt with adversity and persevered. Congratulations!
Senior Send off
Good morning and thank you for attending.
We are here to congratulate a group of young people that have completed all requirements for high school graduation. In Saline, that may sound more like an expectation or something that does not require sacrifice and hard work. But at the Saline Alternative, nothing could be further from the truth.
As a group, these students have endured hardships. Two seniors have attended four different high schools. Four are enrolled on a release agreement from their resident district. Seven are from single parent households. Two have been in more than one foster placement. Five have had extended absences in their schooling due to serious mental health concerns. Substance use, abuse, addiction, treatment, recovery, relapse truancy, court involvement, school failure, denial….all of these potentially life-changing events have impacted more than a few of these young adults. Still, in spite of the odds, they came to the Saline Alternative in search of a fresh start, a second chance at life, a positive high school experience, and timely high school graduation.
At the Alternative, this blue wall defines the “ALT” hallway: the small segment of Liberty School where the students attend school. The school is founded on the premise of preparing students for what comes next in life. The school is small and segmented into even smaller mentor groups where students form relationships with at least one adult mentor at the school. For some, that relationship is the first positive relationship they’ve ever had with a teacher. The wall is symbolic of a safe, nurturing, caring environment where students can not only build academic skills, but – more importantly – learn skills for life that will help them navigate the adult world in whatever comes next in life. Today, we send them ‘beyond the blue wall’ and off into the adult world. It’s an exciting time, and also a bit scary.
Through the lessons learned in BASE to the heart-to-heart discussions with the teachers, these young people have learned to work through adversity, develop resiliency, and forge ahead when giving up might have been easier. All have grown, matured, and learned lessons that will carry them into their adult lives.
Here are the stats: In the state of Michigan, the graduation rate across the state was 74% for the class of 2011. That percentage grew to 76% with the class of 2012 and 76.96% for the class of 2013. Ironically, this increase coincided with the implementation of more rigorous state standards – including Algebra 2 as a graduation requirement. Across the country, 78% of all public school students earned a high school diploma in four years. This year, at the Saline Alternative, we are pleased to report that 90% of the students graduated on time – within four years of starting high school. (18 of 20 in the 2014 cohort)
To the graduates: That high school diploma that you will receive on June 1 is a stepping stone, a starting point on your lifelong journey. Eleven of the graduates have been accepted into college, and four have already taken college classes through the dual enrollment program. The graduates will attend Washtenaw Community College, Schoolcraft Community College, Ohio Technical College, Southern Virginal University and Michigan State University. One has enlisted with the US Marine Corps. These students are continuing on with their education, knowing – of course – that a high school diploma should be the beginning of a life long adventure with learning.
So, with our congratulations, it is also fitting that we take a moment to express gratitude. The business of learning is a shared responsibility, and everyone here has had a hand in helping you along the way. We asked the seniors to thank one educator that had been very influential in their success. They did so with these “golden apples.” All of the staff members at the Saline Alternative were recognized with at least one golden apple. In my eyes, there are no better teachers anywhere.
Thank you to Mr. Duane Wilson, Ms. Staci Nazareth, Mr. Kevin Perry and Mr. Brad Woehlke. The students are also provided with counseling and emotional guidance from Mr. Jason Pickett and Mr. Mark Schuby.
Thank you as well to the larger Liberty school community and to the Saline Area Schools in general. Many have provided paid employment, internships, volunteer opportunities, financial and emotional support and even friendship. The students, and I, are grateful. Thank you!
And now, as has become our tradition, it is time to honor our graduates by hanging the names on the Alternative HS Wall of Fame. I’ll call up each senior and ask each student to place his or her nameplate on the wall. We’ll also give them a chance to say a few words if they’d like.
First, the students that graduated earlier in the year:
Michael Watson, Rosie Beach, Tyrel Bredernitz, Dillon Stratos, Seth Smith
Michael Adkins (Schoolcraft College)
Bonnie Bishop (WCC)
Trevor Branham (Central TX Fishing Guide Training Program, Hubbard, TX)
Amy Chatell (Michigan State University, Veterinary Medicine)
JJ Faeth (WCC)
Tanner Furgeson (Southern Virginia University)
Hayley Garbo (WCC)
Daniel Hochrein (WCC)
Aaron Long (WCC)
Weston Morris (summer internship with SAS Tech Dept, then IT Tech Inst)
Michael Savage (United States Marine Corps)
Saige Seleska (working for a year and then WCC)
Brendon Shankland (Ohio Technical College)
Ashley Smith (WCC)
Thank you, seniors!
This afternoon, Monday, 5/12/14, marked “one of those days.” As a potentially dangerous storm moved quickly into the area, it appeared to be centered largely north of the district, with warnings posted in the Brighton and Whitmore Lake areas. Then, at just about the worst possible time (3:45 pm), a tornado warning sounded for the Saline area. Schools had all dismissed – High School and Middle School students were already home, and the elementary schools were either on buses or in the process of loading. The sirens sounded. Students, staff and visitors on school property were quickly sheltered into safe zones within the buildings.
Next, school leaders began communicating internally to determine if all personnel had been accounted for. Students, buses, team events (i.e. Middle School track meet), and high school sports practices were contacted and counted. Once the information necessary was gathered, the District began to communicate – via Twitter, Facebook, and then email and phone alerts.
The Saline Area Schools commitment in these situations is clear. The first priority is, and will always be, the safety of all students and staff. When it comes to communication – the priority is to be right, which means we may not be first. With the availability of texting and social media, bits and pieces of information is shared, tweeted and posted, often long before an official status update is posted by the District.
As with all emergency situations, the District Safety Team will debrief today’s weather emergency. The goal is to continuously improve protocols to ensure the safety and security of the students, staff and community while posting accurate, timely updates as the situation dictates.
During the week of April 21, I had the opportunity to accompany over 300 eighth graders on the 2014 Saline Middle School trip to Washington, D.C. Teachers, administrators, staff members, parent chaperones and the teens began the overnight bus trek at 3:45 am (yes, that’s A..M!) on Tuesday, April 22, and concluded the adventure at 8:00 am on Friday, April 25. The monumental task of coordinating seven motor coaches, food, stops en route, lodging, and strategic visits to historical monuments in the nation’s capital is no small feat. I would like to thank Mr. Matt Ceo and Mr. David Raft , as they were instrumental in planning and coordinating the trip. It would be difficult to imagine a trip that was better planned, from that early morning start and throughout the fun-filled, education-packed week.
Trip attendees enjoyed visits to Historic Gettysburg, Arlington National Cemetery and Iwo Jima, Tomb of the Unknown, the Air Force Memorial, The White House, the U.S. Capitol, Vietnam Memorial, Martin Luther King Memorial, and the Newseum, to name a few. One highlight of the trip was a dinner, singing and dance contest in Gaithersburg, MD at the Smokey Glen Farm. I’m still smiling from the experience!
The final stop of the trip was at Nationals Park where the students and chaperones took in the Washington Nationals vs Padres game. Following the game, at 9:00 pm, the seven buses with Saline Middle Schoolers aboard, began the long trip back to Saline. That all night bus ride landed the group back at Saline Middle School at 8:00 am on Friday morning.
The Washington, D.C. trip was an excellent end of the year activity. It balanced the educational aspects of the places visited with the opportunity for the students to travel, learn more about the United States, and practice valuable life skills: personal responsibility, sharing, empathy, compassion, pride.
I was very proud of the students. Their conduct was praiseworthy. They represented themselves, Saline Middle School and the greater Saline community well. I am especially grateful for the efforts of the parents and staff! The trip to Washington, D.C. was a trip that all who attended will remember for a very long time. #SMSDC14
We have talking a lot about our “Next Gen” classrooms this year and specifically our Kindergarten and 1st Grade rooms. When reading a recent article in eSchool News titled, “10 things to ask when choosing ed tech for young children” I was reminded how important it is to be thoughtful in the approach to providing technology at this level. Throwing tech at students without being intentional about what are some of the desired outcomes is never a good idea, but I feel it’s even worse when it comes to young students.
Here is a quote from Karen Nemeth, co-founder of the Early Childhood Technology Network
“Don’t fall for iPad or ‘app mania’! Technology is not always the best choice,” said Nemeth. “Apps designed for kids aren’t always better than what you may already have, and that goes for mobile devices too! Just because it’s new doesn’t mean it’s better!”
After reading this and reflecting on our approach with Next Gen this year, I am reminded how thoughtful and intentional our technology, instructional and administrative staff have been with implementation.