January 2017 Newsletter

January 2017

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January 2017 Update

As we launch head first into second semester, it's time to build on the success of first semester and make improvements where necessary

Some highlights:

  • Eagle Scholars took advantage of the Wednesday (Pierce) and Thursday (Thurston) study sessions in the media center in order to prep for exams. Among the topics we've covered: the importance of active listening, the difference between completing assignments and studying, and the overwhelming research against listening to lyrical music while studying. Special thanks to Caitlyn Cooper and Trinity Pryor for coming to Pierce to tutor their younger brethren. The introduction of snacks appears to have boosted attendance.

  • Through a partnership with U of M's school of Education, Ms. Doherty and Ms. Ponder's 6th grade social studies classes are beginning an online simulation entitled Place Out of Time. Guided by U of M students, our Eagle Scholars will take part in a trial that involves a moral dilemma. This aligns perfectly with the ESP's vision of moving toward more experiential, project-based learning. U of M's Interactive Simulation Projects, unlike any in the world, was recently featured in The Washington Post. A visit to the U of M campus to meet their mentors is currently in the works.

  • We recorded Episode #2 of our guest speaker series on January 20th at Thurston. 2016 Thurston grads and current U of M Ann Arbor freshmen Esti Gajda and Greg Meyer got real about the importance of shutting down social media in order to be successful in high school and college. Esti "only has a Snapchat that (he) barely looks at" and Greg limits social media use to 30 minutes a day. They also provided some invaluable tips about "hacking" AP courses and avoiding the sophomore slump. A recording of my interview with Greg and Esti will be posted online soon.
  • Thurston c/o 2012 Eagle Scholar and recent MSU graduate Tony Parsons has been brought on board as assistant coordinator. See his bio below.

Looking ahead:

  • Many of you are familiar with the Honors Dinner, which is a fantastic event hosted at Western Country Club each May for Thurston Seniors with a 3.5+ GPA. On March 9th, we will be hosting a "Practice Honors Dinner" for all 9th and10th graders with a 3.5+ cumulative GPA. Although 3.0 is the program requirement, I'm a big believer in the old adage, "Aim high in case you miss." Details here.
Eagle Scholars Guest Speaker Series Episode #2

Greg and Esti return to share some knowledge.

Tony Parsons Bio

As a former student of Thurston High School’s Academic Institute-class of 2012-I am happy to be working in the school district that has provided me with endless opportunities. I am a recent graduate of Michigan State University’s Honors College, with a degree in Political Science-Public Policy. I have spent most of my academic career researching education and children’s issues. I’ve spent a lot of time in Washington D.C. working with legislators to help ensure positive outcomes for children from all walks of life. Following graduation I went to work on the presidential election, running campaign offices, both in Colorado and Pennsylvania. In the future I plan to attend law school to become a better advocate for children and other underserved populations. My ultimate goal in life is to become the President of the United States so I can continue to work hard for the great students and families here in South Redford and across the country.

Study Tips (revisited)

While I know you are probably aware of all of these tips, I figured it couldn't hurt to share them; these all come from my own independent research, experience as a teacher, university instructor, and student. To dig a bit deeper, check out the book Making it Stick.

  1. Make sure your child has a quiet, peaceful place to study Sunday through Thursday.
  2. Encourage your child to study in 25-30 minute increments broken up by 5 - 10 minute breaks.
  3. If possible, make sure your child's phone is turned off and in another room.
  4. Have your child complete "off-line" homework, then online homework.
  5. If possible, have your child study at a desk, free of clutter, with a desk lamp.
  6. If your child prefers to study with music, make sure the music is instrumental. Some background here. While students often say "It helps me concentrate," they are often fooling themselves.
  7. If possible, make sure your child is not in front of any screens one hour before bedtime.

Requirement Reminder


  • Maintain a 3.0 GPA in core classes
  • Display exemplary citizenship
  • Complete minimum of 5 hours of community service per academic year


  • Maintain a 3.0 GPA
  • Participate in at least one extracurricular activity beginning 10th grade
  • Take five AP courses (one of which must be AP Lang & Comp)
  • Apply to at least four 4-year institutions
  • Complete a capstone project

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