October 2017 Newsletter

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The Hughes Muse

It's college application season, which means perpetual panic for seniors and their parents.

Please take a moment to read my blog post from last year, which addresses, among other senior-specific topics, the overwhelming task of applying to college.

If you didn't already know, U of M Ann Arbor recently rolled out free tuition for families making under $60,000/year.

Thurston grads are exactly the kind of students U of M is dying to admit. They have enough students applying from Northville and Novi!

Two years ago we sent three students (Nigel Charleston, Esti Gajda, Greg Meyer) and last year we sent four (Katie Rozmys, Maria Rozmys, Zach Lassen, Lauren Robinson). I see a trend!

Keep in mind that U of M looks at SAT scores within the context of your specific school.

Believe this: U of M views babysitting siblings as a legitimate extracurricular activity. This is critical to keep in mind as you fill out applications.

Most colleges prefer students who delve deeply into a few extracurriculars rather than try to pad their application with a ton of activities and clubs.

Seniors: If you have not already, sign up here for a college advising session with Mr. Hughes.

Parent-Teacher Conferences are on 10/12. Some hints for students and parents:

Use that time to discuss mindset, work ethic and skill level. Stay away from conversations about missing assignments, etc. That stuff can be handled over email.

Finally, check out the letter below from a 2017 grad. He offers an interesting perspective on how to view the college experience.

Excerpt from a letter from a 2017 grad

Hey Mr. Hughes, I thought I'd touch base with you since it's been a few months. Right now I'm still on the high of taking fun classes and being out of the house so I think that college is amazing and I love it. I just thought I'd tell you that to put it on the record before I inevitably get too overwhelmed with homework and clubs and want to have a breakdown.

I am having a blast though and the key reason is a little hint of advice that you gave me that I think everyone should be aware of before they enter college. It's not about getting a job, it's about learning and expanding your mind. Taking these classes because I am interested in the subject matter rather than whether it will pay my bills has made the homework and class discussion so much more enjoyable. I'm actually excited to get information and expand my knowledge on the topics. Even if the information is only useful in a small niche, it's so fun to learn and discover new things and have the knowledge in my back pocket...


(Eagle Scholar c/o 2017)

Thurston Faculty Profile: Ms. Hereau

UNDERGRADUATE DEGREE: Grand Valley State University

GRADUATE DEGREES: MS - Entomology with emphasis in Ecology Evolutionary Biology and Behavior, Michigan State University (coursework completed, MS dissertation discontinued), MA with certification - Education, University of Michigan


CLASSES I TEACH: General/Honors Biology, AP Biology and AP Environmental Science. General/Honors Chemistry and Forensic Science. Facilitator/advisor for independent study projects such as Mate choice in Chilean rose tarantulas, Oviposition on non-host plant substrates by painted lady butterflies in captivity, The effect of temperature on embryological development of zebrafish, The effects of temperature on larval growth rate in painted lady butterflies, The effect of food source on size of pupae and the percentage of larvae that pupate in painted lady butterflies. Biology, Environmental Science and Fundamentals of Nutrition at Macomb Community College.

WHAT I LOVE MOST ABOUT TEACHING: The confidence that students gain when they realize they can correctly explain why or how a natural phenomenon occurs is so cool to see. Confident students ask more questions. Watching a student transform from one who passively absorbs knowledge, into one who actively seeks answers to questions he or she poses, is by far the best part about teaching.

WHAT I LOVE MOST ABOUT THURSTON: Teachers, administration and support staff really care about students and about each other.

ONE SIGNIFICANT CHANGE IN EDUCATION SINCE I WAS IN SCHOOL: Most of my teachers in high school focused on what students needed to KNOW in a given content area, now we focus more teaching students the skills they need to be able to figure stuff out

SOMETHING ABOUT ME I DON'T NORMALLY SHARE: I’m an introvert pretending to be an extrovert and sometimes it’s a little overwhelming


FAVORITE QUOTE: “You cannot get through a single day without having an impact on the world around you. What you do makes a difference, and you have to decide what kind of difference you want to make.” Jane Goodall

FAVORITE BOOK: Charlotte’s Web

BEST PIECE OF ADVICE: Get out of your comfort zone! I met some of my best friends because I decided to show up for meeting where I knew I wouldn’t know anyone else.

ANYTHING ELSE? Surround yourself with people you admire and whose behavior you’d like to model

Useful video about study tips


Thurston Eagle Scholars Requirements

Pierce Updates

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Chromebook Role Out

Pierce is in the process of distributing Chromebooks to the students. The 7th and 8th graders should have already received them, if not please see Mrs. Ogden in the Media Center immediately. We are still not sure when the 6th graders will be issued Chromebooks, but we will keep you as up to date as possible. The Pierce 1 to 1 Program that provides Chromebooks to the students is funded through Title, and we are simply waiting on the grant to be distributed so we can order brand new Chromebooks for our 6th grade students. Below are some helpful reminders about Chromebooks, their care, and the procedures and rules surrounding them at Pierce.

Faculty Profile: Ms. Ponder


Associates Degree in Arts from St. Clair County Community College, December 1990

Bachelor of Science in Education from Central Michigan University, May 1994


Masters Degree in Language Arts and Reading from Oakland University, August 1998


I was hired on September 4, 1994. I have been teaching at Pierce since that day!


I teach social studies to the students in the Eagle Scholar Program. Before teaching in the Eagle Scholar Program I primarily taught social studies to 6th grade students.


I love teaching the ESP students. My goal is to engage students in meaningful lessons to push them to their educational potential. I take pride in knowing that I am teaching the leaders of tomorrow. I am very confident is saying our ESP students will make our community, state, country, and world a better place for all. In return the ESP students are very rewarding to me.


I love my teaching family. We are all here to support one another. After a busy week of teach and learning, I love the quiet hallways on Friday afternoons!


The biggest change in education since I was in school is the use of computers in the classroom. Teachers and students depend on computers as a learning tool. No more hard copies of encyclopedias!


I love to scrapbook when I have time.


I love to watch my boys play sports. My oldest son, Zach, plays football and basketball. My younger son, Jacob, plays soccer, basketball, and baseball.


"If you don't like something, change it. If you can't change it, change your attitude. Don't complain." by Maya Angelou

"You cannot direct the wind, but you can adjust your sails." by Thomas Monson


Green Eggs and Ham by Dr. Suess


Follow your heart and not the crowd.


My dog's name is Moose!

Parent Teacher Conferences

Progress reports for the first half of card marking 1 will be coming out Wednesday October 11th. As such Pierce's parent teacher conferences will take place on Thursday October 19th from 3:30-5:30pm and from 6:30-8:30pm. Students should have taken home a flier regarding how conferences are to be scheduled with their teachers. Each conference will last approximately five minutes. Attached is the link to the scheduling system just in case. We hope to see you at conferences!

Scheduling System: https://piercems.ptcwizard.com/parent/

How to schedule: https://piercems.ptcwizard.com/docs/ptcwizard_parent.pdf

Meet the Leadership Team

The Eagle Scholars Program would like to introduce its Leadership Team at Pierce Middle School for the 2017-2018 academic year. We have the utmost confidence in these students and feel that they will be outstanding role models for their peers and serve on the Leadership Team with great dedication.

Representing 6th grade for the 2017-2018 school year:

Benjamin Babich

Samantha Black

Bryan Lopez

Representing 7th grade for the 2017-2018 school year:

Jenacy Cardwell

Elle Hubbard

Representing 8th grade for the 2017-2018 school year:

Bethany Carter

Jewel Chattam

Colin Herbst

Thank you to everyone who applied. We are still looking for another student in 7th grade. However, the first meeting of the Leadership Team will be on Thursday October 12th from 3:15-4:00pm after school in Conference Room C (Mr. Parsons' Office).

October Dates to Remember

  • October 11: Progress Reports go home
  • October 12: NJHS Meeting at 7:45 am in the Choir Room
  • October 17: PTO Meeting at 6:30 pm in the Media Center/Cafeteria
  • October 19: Parent Teacher Conferences 3:30-5:30 pm and 6:30-8:30 pm
  • October 24: Activity Night 6-8 pm

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

Academic Support


Weekly Study Session

  • Wednesday in the Media Center 3:15-4:15 pm

Homework Clinic

  • Monday - Friday, 7:50-8:20 am

  • Mondays and Thursdays, 3:15-4:10 pm

Schedule an appointment with Mr. Parsons

  • Make an appointment at this web address: goo.gl/05Wo2h

  • Mr. Parsons is an alumnus of the program-class of 2012; he’s been in your shoes and he wants to help! He can help with homework, study skills, organization, etc.

Online Resources for Academic Support

  • Quizlet: Flash card website with content from every class and level on the academic spectrum

  • Khan Academy: Free educational videos covering a wide variety of math and science concepts from grade K-12

  • Hippocampus.org: Free educational videos and tutorials for students struggling with every subject between grades 6-12.

  • GoConqr: Social media site created for students to connect with other students working on similar topics, and to help each other study and provide tips.

"Don't judge each day by the harvest you reap but by the seeds that you plant." -Robert Louis Stevenson

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