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!
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.
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.
On 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:
LAPEER, 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.
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
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 email@example.com.
Lapeer Community Schools and the Lapeer High School Alumni Association are proud to announce inductees for the 2014 Distinguished Alumni Hall of Honor: Patrick Smith (Class of 1968), Geraldine Hammill (Class of 1968), Bill Kinzer (Class of 1986) and Jason Rogers (Class of 1994).
All of these inductees have distinguished themselves as tremendous stewards of the education and training they received from Lapeer Community Schools; they are role models for all students.
Patrick Smith, a 1968 graduate of Lapeer High School, went on to study at Michigan State University where he earned a Ph.D in Chemistry and spent two years as a research assistant. Smith worked for Dow Chemical in Midland for 30 years including three years as a lead scientist for Global Dow Analytical Sciences. Smith, a Midland resident, has served as past chair of numerous national meetings of the American Chemical Society (ACS) and has been a member of the Advisory Board of the New England Green Chemistry Consortium. He has been an adjunct professor at Central Michigan University and has received many distinctions including the ACS Award for Outstanding Achievement and Promotion of the Chemical Sciences.
Geraldine Hammill, also a 1968 graduate of Lapeer High School, spent 37 years in public education as teacher and counselor. She died in 2009 at the age of 58. After graduating from Eastern Michigan University, Hammill worked in public schools across southeast Michigan, including 23 years as a guidance counselor at Goodrich High School. She also spent 10 years teaching adult education in Lapeer. Hammill was very active in her community as a leader for the local American Cancer Society. She was also involved in numerous student-centered organizations that served the community.
Bill Kinzer, a 1987 graduate of Lapeer East High School, is a longtime teacher and coach in the District. Kinzer started his career in Lapeer in 1992. During his career he has taught and coached at White Junior High, Lapeer East and Lapeer West. He earned degrees in the Art of Teaching and History from UM-Flint, Oakland University and Marygrove College. In addition to his work as an educator, Kinzer has been the driving force behind successful sports programs in soccer and basketball. He is arguably the most successful coach in the history of Lapeer East High School, winning 15 league titles in his first 20 seasons as varsity girls’ soccer coach. Kinzer, a Lapeer Resident, has also served as an OMNI Council advisor, an assistant athletic director and a union representative.
Jason Rogers, a 1994 graduate of Lapeer East High School, is the owner of Rogers Pharmacy in downtown Lapeer. Rogers, a Metamora resident, graduated from Ferris State University College of Pharmacy in 2002. He saw the need for a service-oriented pharmacy and ultimately set up shop on West Nepessing Street in the former home of Rite Aid Pharmacy in July 2007. Rogers has been a member of the Board of Directors of the Michigan Pharmacist Association, the Michigan Society of Community Pharmacists, and the Lapeer DDA. He was honored for his relief efforts in the wake of Hurricane Katrina.
The Distinguished Alumni Hall of Honor program is cooperatively sponsored by Lapeer Community Schools and the Lapeer High School Alumni Association. The award was created to recognize and honor the accomplishments of the outstanding men and women who graduated from our schools. By celebrating these role models, we inspire today’s students to move forward in their own pursuit of excellence.
A ceremony will be held in their honor at 2 p.m. on Sunday, Nov. 2, 2014, in the Irwin Board Room at the Administration and Services Center, 250 Second St., in Lapeer. The event is free and open to the public. Light refreshments will be served.
The following editorial was published by the Lapeer County Press on Wednesday, October 29:
Lightning energizes, sets example for our community
The Lapeer Community Schools Board of Education and superintendent Matt Wandrie couldn’t have scripted it any better. With an unbeaten Lightning football team highlighting the first year of what might have been a bittersweet, if not bitter, consolidation of East and West high schools, year one of the reunification is looking pretty darn good.
While we must give Wandrie and his team credit for the planning, communication and implementation of a solid consolidation plan, you have to admit a 9-0 football team cast a bright light that has placed the minor glitches of the first week of school into the near-forgotten shadows.
As wonderful a story as the Lightning football team is for a community that has been on the outside looking in at football glory since the 1995 Lapeer West State Championship, the best story today is about how the students of the former Lapeer East and the former Lapeer West have come together.
Anyone who had a student attend either East or West knows well the stories of hubris and prejudice that for nearly four decades separated Lapeer’s high school system into an unhealthy rivalry. That rivalry was founded on the envy and innuendo of parents’ perceptions that guided the next generation into the same ‘us and them’ trap of their moms and dads.
That selfish outlook tried to take control of the simple task of naming a new mascot for the reunited high school. A vocal minority would have wrestled that choice from a well-chosen group of students tasked with finding a new mascot name and decried the Lightning moniker in letters to the editor in this paper and on social media sites.
Above the howls of some glory days windbags, Lapeer’s teams were christened as the Lightning going into the 2014-15 school year. The Lightning name was put in place not just for the high school but also for every school and team in the LCS system. Another good move by the LCS administration.
Today, merely two months into the school year, the students and staff of Lapeer High School have shown our community what can happen when an organization chooses to ignore the naysayers from without and from within and instead chooses to get on with the business of building a culture of excellence.
For sure, the success of the Lightning football team gives the story an exciting focal point, but there’s much more to this story than the autumn exuberance surrounding the Lightning’s gridiron success.
Every Lightning team, regardless of their win-loss record, is a lesson in healing decades-old crosstown ill will. Something that we used to call school spirit has returned to the extended LCS campus including the middle schools and elementary schools as students of every age and grade level rally round the Lightning banner.
Call it corny if you will, but we think something that gets our students excited about going to school and gets them engaged in a culture of positive community is a good thing.
When the football season comes to an end for the Lightning they can be proud of their accomplishments on the field. Likewise for all the sports teams, the marching band, choirs, academic teams and every other Lightning team that competes.
But the accomplishment that every Lapeer Community Schools student, teacher, administrator and staffer — and our community as a whole — should be most proud of is the remaking of their culture and showing the rest of our community what can happen when we realize that our common needs and goals outweigh our differences.
That’s a lesson that should hit home for the rest of us like a bolt — of Lightning.
On Wednesday, November 5, Lapeer 8th graders Ethan Lily, James Scott, Autumn Locke, and Ashley Hoeft will be taking part in the wreath laying at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier ceremony at Arlington National Cemetery. The event is scripted and very precise in detail. The Relief Commander at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier will lead the wreath bearers to assist in the placing of the wreath to the sound “Taps.” The group will move forward with the wreath and the Commander will give the command of “Present Arms.” All military personnel in uniform will render the hand salute and civilians will place their right hand over the heart. These are the same procedures followed by elected officials when they participate in honoring the fallen.
To be selected to represent Lapeer in the ceremony, the students wrote an essay on the following topic:
Write an essay addressing why participating in this ceremony was important “to you, to all of us as Americans, and to our Country.”