Lapeer High School students aim to “spark” a change with anti-bullying Twitter page

LHS sparkIn the wake of numerous media reports about the controversial Afterschool app, two Lapeer High School students decided to flip the script. The students, who wish to remain anonymous, created the @lhsspark Twitter page as an alternative to the destructive, anti-social and downright nasty content found on apps likes Afterschool.

The allure of the Afterschool app, ironically, is anonymity. Students can post most anything they want about their fellow classmates without having to see how the sheer ugliness of those comments affects their intended targets. It’s cowardly and pathetic to say the least. Those who create the content are no better than those who are entertained by it.

Fortunately, two students decided not be bystanders to this negative cycle. @lhsspark is a positive twitter account that allows followers to send positive (mostly anonymous) messages out on twitter about LHS, students, and society in general. This account has already garnered a following of over 230 people, and is a positive force within our local Twitterverse.

The co-creators of the page were inspired by this fall’s Hero Round Table Conference held in Flint. The conference covers numerous topics including the Bystander Effect. This phenomenon is one we are all familiar with: humans tend to be far less likely to offer help to someone in distress when there are others around. Doing nothing ultimately changes nothing.

We all think, “surely someone will do something.” But, then there’s this: Be that someone.

“The (Hero Round Table) conference gave me the confidence to step up and speak out when I saw things that were wrong,” said one student.

The Hero Round Table, combined with the District’s OMNI forum, led these two students to decide that the only way to stop the bullying happening in and around the building, was to take action. It is their hope that this account, and the positivity it creates, only gets bigger.

These students, and the account’s followers, truly want to “spark” a change not only in Lapeer, but throughout society by ending the cycle of negativity and encouraging more people to be the positive change that will benefit everyone. These two students exemplify the character of LHS and we are proud of the stand they have taken. Let’s join them!

Screen Shot 2014-12-15 at 10.24.28 AM

LCS Superintendent Matt Wandrie is a finalist for MASA’s Superintendent of the Year Award

LCS Superintendent Matt Wandrie.

LCS Superintendent Matt Wandrie is a finalist for the MASA’s 2015 Superintendent of the Year Award.

LAPEER, Michigan — Lapeer Community Schools (LCS) Superintendent Matt Wandrie is among the finalists for the Michigan Association of School Administrators (MASA) Superintendent of the Year Award. The winner will be announced next month.

The award is presented annually to “an individual who has shown tremendous effort and dedication to enriching the lives of children and the community as a whole … for strong leadership, creativity in successfully meeting the needs of students, communication skills, professionalism, community involvement and the success of students that has taken place during tenure in their district.”

Wandrie was one of 11 candidates brought forward to the MASA State Selection Committee for consideration.

“The Committee was impressed by Mr. Wandrie’s creativity and innovation in bringing positive change to the Lapeer Community Schools in a relatively short tenure with the district,” said William Mayes, Executive Director of MASA.

Wandrie, 38, is now in his fourth year as superintendent. Since taking the reins, the District merged its two traditional high schools, balanced the budget and expanded choice for students to include more academic options than ever before.

During his tenure the District leveraged its campus structure to accommodate transportation for students needing an extra class period before or after school for enrichment and support. At last count, more than 800 students took advantage of these new opportunities.

LCS introduced the state’s only AP Capstone Diploma Program, the nation’s leading STEM curriculum (Project Lead The Way) and opened the Center for Innovation (CFI) at the West Campus. CFI has become the District’s research and development facility, housing numerous programs including alternative education, robotics, Senior Capstone, PLTW, College on Campus and a standardized testing center. LCS is now home to the Lapeer Virtual Learning Center, The Lapeer Homeschool Partnership and the most advanced academic options among its peers.

The District of Choices is far more than a simple tagline. It embodies what the District has become.

Last week, Wandrie presented “Embracing Innovation: The Lapeer Story” at the Innovative Schools Conference in Lansing. He said he is most proud of the process that has led to the progress of the District.

“There has been a groundswell of support for innovation in our community and we’re already beginning to see these new opportunities pay off for our families,” he said. “Innovation isn’t easy. To have made such great strides in a short period of time requires sacrifices at every level of our organization. Our work is not done, but I couldn’t be more proud of what we’ve accomplished. Our kids are worth it.”

For more information, visit LapeerSchools.org.

Giving back: Senior Capstone students raise over $3,000 for local non-profit organizations

Senior Capstone students pictured with Mr. O'Bryan at the District's Center for Innovation.

Senior Capstone students pictured with Mr. O’Bryan at the District’s Center for Innovation.

Students enrolled in Lapeer Community School’s Senior Capstone course at The Center for Innovation recently participated in a team project, Pay-it-Forward, to raise funds for a local nonprofit organization of their choice in order to give back to the community.  Collectively, student teams raised over $3,112.00 to give back to various local nonprofits.

“This fundraiser has been the most rewarding thing I’ve gone through in high school,” said senior Thomas Gildner. “I’ve learned the importance of teamwork and giving back. Using our skills and talents to give back was very rewarding. I’m very grateful to have been a part of this.”

Some teams organized item drives for local non-profit organizations as well.  One team collected over 500 cans of food for a local soup kitchen. Several other teams collected personal items and/or blankets for Operation Care Package, The Refuge, and Habitat for Humanity and others.

Fundraisers ranged from bake sales and pop can collections to a chili cook-off event and a kids night lock-in for elementary students.  A special thanks to Lapeer High School, Rolland-Warner, Zemmer, Lynch, Turril, Schickler, and Bishop Kelley who helped teams facilitate their fundraisers/drives within their buildings.

“It wasn’t just another project that I had to complete for school so I could get a grade that I hoped for,” said senior Amber Culbert. “It was about helping people that were in need. My time was worth that. I learned to be more thankful for what I am blessed with.”

Over the six-week project-based learning experience, students researched a local nonprofit, presented their fundraising plan to a small public audience and their peers, organized and implemented their fundraiser, created a budget sheet, and reflected on what the experience taught them–many indicated that the project created a new empathy for those in need.  Some of the skills this project developed for students included communication skills, collaboration skills, leadership abilities, and time management.

“What I took away from this project will not stay in the classroom; what I learned here will be with me for the rest of my life,” said senior Brad Woloszyk. “This wasn’t just ordinary school work; this unique project was an experience that no book work could have ever taught me.”

The Senior Capstone experience is designed to be an innovative program that will allow our students to engage in real-world learning that is relevant to them and connected to where they want to go following graduation.

During the two-hour block, students will engage in study that includes material in the core content areas (Math, English, Social Studies and Science), while also working intently to develop skills that are highly valued in higher education and the world of work.

Rolland-Warner promotes literacy with popular YA Café

YA cafe 3-1

At least 120 students packed the Rolland-Warner Media Center on Thursday morning for the YA Café, funded by the school’s PTC. 

From Darlene Gannon:

Thursday morning the Rolland-Warner service learning class and book club hosted the first YA Café of the year generously funded by the school’s PTC. More than 120 students gathered in the media center before school to hear sixth grade math teacher, Rebecca Johnson, give a book talk on Dan Poblocki’s book, Ghost of Graylock.

While students were enjoying chocolate milk and donuts, Ms. Johnson was eagerly waiting to make her grand entrance as Nurse Janet, a character of the book.  As Nurse Janet made an appearance, students silenced in anticipation to hear what she had to say.  Students were given a special summary of the book, an excerpt from the book was read, and suggestions of read like a detective clues were given to use while enjoying the book. After we didn’t think things could get any more exciting, five books were raffled off to students.  In addition, the book club purchased five books for students to check out.  When the school bell rang, kids filed out of the media center talking about books!

Weather-related school closing information for 2014-15

snow image

Winter came early this year. It’s time for a refresher course on weather-related school closings.

This week’s inclement weather served as the perfect backdrop for a reminder about weather-related school closings. As the snow flies, sometimes rumors and misinformation accumulate with it. Just so everyone is on the same page, here’s a quick refresher course on our process (with one change for 2014-15):

  • Several district employees, including our directors of transportation and operations, travel our roads as early as 3 a.m. on mornings when weather could potentially cause a district-wide closing. They travel main roads as well as our district’s abundant rural roads (LCS is home to 225 miles of paved and unpaved roads). This means that at any given time, some roads will be passable as normal while others could be impassable. District officials must weigh not only the ability of our drivers to navigate the roads, but also be mindful that they are sharing the roads with other drivers in all types of vehicles.
  • In the early morning hours of an adverse weather day, district officials are in contact with local police departments and the Lapeer County Road Commission. At this time, we can gain a better understanding of the current road conditions as well as up-to-date information on plow schedules. Very often, superintendent also shares information with school officials from neighboring districts.
  • Because of our new transportation schedules, especially those created to extend learning opportunities for students (zero hour, seventh hour, etc.), some of our buses leave the garage as early as 5:30 a.m. Because of this, school closing calls will likely be made a little earlier than in the past. This will likely limit the amount of time available to consult with neighboring districts.
  • On occasion, school districts do close as a result of cold temperatures. We experienced this several times last school year. There is, however, no state law that mandates school districts close at a given temperature.
  • Some school districts have a wind chill threshold that determines if schools will be closed. For Rochester Community Schools, for example, the figure is minus 25 degrees Fahrenheit of wind chill; in Kent County in west Michigan, the figure is minus 30 degrees. Some districts use an actual temperature threshold, as opposed to a wind chill; in Kalamazoo, for example, schools are closed at minus 15 degrees and colder. Many other districts do not have a policy for cold weather closures, and simply play it by ear.
  • Lapeer Community Schools, like many of our neighbors, utilizes the National Weather Service Windchill Chart that dictates school closures when a combination of temperature and wind speed create conditions that can cause frostbite to exposed skin within 30 minutes. Given that standard, there is a variance of actual temperatures that can cause a closure. As an example, if the actual temperature were 5 degrees above zero with wind speeds at 40 miles per hour, schools would close (the wind chill would be minus 22 degrees). However, if the actual temperature were much colder, let’s say minus 15 degrees, schools would be open if there was just a trace of wind (i.e. less than 3 mph). In that case, the wind chill and the actual temperature would be the same — minus 15 degrees.
  • In order to have a uniform standard of temperature and wind speed, the District will utilize readings from one weather station: The Dupont-Lapeer Airport.
  • There is not a similar chart with respect to snowfall, as closures precipitated by snow accumulation are based solely on the condition of our roads – including our rural roads. With higher wind speeds leading to drifting, sometimes the snow amounts are not indicative of the actual condition of the roads.
  • As normal, school closing information can be found on LapeerSchools.org, our social media outlets (Twitter and Facebook), via local media stations including ABC 12, WEYI, the Detroit stations (TV and radio) and via our School Messenger (phone, e-mail and text) system. Our phone system is a little slower than social media, so people who check those sites will be the first to know. Those followers of Superintendent Wandrie (@suptwandrie) may be the first (first, first) to know.
  • Finally, closing schools is not a decision we, or officials from any school district, take lightly. We cannot predict the future and, as you all know, weather can change in an instant. That said, in every decision we make student safety will always be our primary concern.

LCS Superintendent to speak at Innovative Schools Conference in Lansing

LCS Superintendent Matt Wandrie has been invited to speak at the 2014 Innovative Schools Conference on December 9 at the Lansing Center.

LCS Superintendent Matt Wandrie has been invited to speak at the 2014 Innovative Schools Conference on December 9 at the Lansing Center.

Lapeer Community Schools Superintendent Matt Wandrie will tell “The Lapeer Story” at the 2014 Innovative Schools Conference on December 9 in Lansing. The organizers of the conference sought out “recognized innovators” who focus on innovation as a district-wide model.

They found one in Lapeer.

Wandrie said the opportunity will put Lapeer in the spotlight as one of the state’s most-innovative school districts.

“As revenues declined, we made a pact with our organization and our community to hold our students harmless,” Wandrie said. “That’s the Lapeer Story. We doubled down on choice and innovation and our students have benefitted.”

Wandrie will speak alongside educational professionals from across the state. Speakers will highlight a broad range of topics including digital learning, flipped classrooms, early college, project-based learning, personal learning and more.

For more information, visit LapeerSchools.org.

December 6: LHS Band to participate in Lake Orion Holiday Lighted Parade

15459137695_d4caa5227b_kOn Saturday, December 6, the Lapeer High School Marching Band will take part in the Holiday Lighted Parade through downtown Lake Orion. More than 75 entries participate in the parade each year, including many civic organizations and school groups. This is a great opportunity to showcase our loud and proud, 165-member, Lightning Marching Band!

Please make plans to be in Lake Orion at least 30 minutes prior to the 6 p.m. kickoff of the parade. We invite everyone in our community to come out in support of our musicians!

Click here to learn more about the parade.

Here’s the map:

Screen Shot 2014-11-17 at 8.13.24 AM

Robotics: Chimeras girls take second place at Bloomfield event

Screen Shot 2014-11-13 at 5.18.29 PMLAPEER, Michigan – Lapeer FIRST Robotics Team 1684, the Chimeras, took second place in the Bloomfield High School Girls Robotics Competition this month.The team, which was ranked 32nd after September’s Kettering competition, was determined to turn their robot into a contender and worked late every evening for nearly two weeks to remake the bot, said Chimeras Coach Jon Uren.

On Nov. 1, 32 teams from Michigan, Canada and neighboring states competed in elimination matches. By the final rounds, contenders had been reduced to eight teams, which formed two alliances of four teams each. The Chimeras’ alliance partners included alliance captain Team 1501, the Huntington County Robotics Team; Team 2337, the EngiNERDS of Grand Blanc; and Team 5053, the Lakers of Waterford.

Uren attributes the successful outcome to the team’s willingness to re-engineer the team’s robot.

“The students involved in working long hours to rebuild the robot saw how much it made a difference,” he said. “That’s what engineering is, being willing to tear it apart and start over, even when it’s a lot of work.”

The alliance also seized on a winning strategy, with the Chimeras team effectively blocking while alliance partners concentrated on shooting.

To advance to the final round, the teams faced an alliance of robotics teams which included 2014 World Championship Team 469, Las Guerillas, of Bloomfield Hills International Academy High School.

The FIRST (For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology) Robotics Competition program, also known as FRC, combines the excitement of a varsity sport with hands-on training in science and technology to help high school students discover how rewarding a career in engineering or technology can be. Every student on a FIRST robotics team has a chance to turn pro. To learn more about Team 1684, go to http://FIRST1684.com. To learn more about FIRST Robotics, go to http://www.usfirst.org/roboticsprograms/frc.

November 22: Super Science on Saturday at the Marguerite deAngeli Library

The children’s room of the Marguerite deAngeli Branch of the Lapeer District Library (921 W. Nepessing St, Lapeer) will be holding a session of its continuing program of science exploration on Saturday, November 22, 2014. Wildlife Safari from Canton, Michigan will present a program in which children will be allowed to see and touch creatures both great and small from all over the world.  This particular program is most appropriate for children in first grade and above, with parents being encouraged to attend and experience science with their children. Two identical fifty-minute sessions are planned, one at 1 p.m. and one at 2 p.m. Registration is required and can be made in person at the library or by calling the children’s department at (810) 664-6971. Space is limited!

This program is funded by the Friends of the Marguerite deAngeli Library. The staff and board of the Lapeer District Library are pleased to be able to offer this level of scientific exploration to the children of Lapeer County.

The Lapeer District Library and the Family Literacy Center are partners for literacy. The Lapeer District Library serves 60,006 residents throughout Lapeer County

LCSSLF Board welcomes new members Pete Batistoni and Adam Schlusler

The Lapeer Community Scholarship and Student Loan Fund (LCSSLF) recognize Michael Higgins and Carl Riseman for their dedication to the LCSSLF Board. They both served on the board for decades, and Mike served as president and Carl as vice-president in recent years. They both retired from their board positions at the October 14, 2014 board meeting. Their many contributions to the Board and guidance to the operations of the Fund have been appreciated and will surely be missed.

In response to Mike and Carl’s departures, the LCSSLF Board welcomes Pete Batistoni and Adam Schlusler. They join Wendy Byard, Bob Dennany , Doug Lindsay, Art Sieting, Jennifer Taylor, Matt Wandrie and Tim Zeeman.

The Lapeer Community Scholarship and Student Loan Fund is a non-profit local corporation that raises funds to distribute scholarships and loans to Lapeer High School graduates assisting with their college costs. The organization was developed in the 1960’s and 70’s, by school personnel and local businessmen who saw the need to help our young people. Some key people in establishing, as well as growing this Fund over the years, include John Sak, Rod Parsch, Curt Carter, Dave Snyder, Don Bracy, Bill Stacy, Dave Dagley, Mike Linton, Gaye Butterfield, and Jan Watz, among others.

Financial support of the Scholarship and Loan Fund includes the repayment of the student loans, as well as, gifts to the Fund made as memorials honoring loved ones and planned giving through trusts and estates.

Loan and scholarship applications are available at the High School as well as at the LCS Administration Building, 250 Second St, Lapeer. More information can be found at www.lapeerloanfund.org and lapeerloanfund@gmail.com.

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 1,225 other followers