December 2016 Newsletter

December 2016

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December 2016 Update

As we race toward the holidays and the end of the semester, The South Redford Eagle Scholars' focus, work ethic, and growth mindset are being put to the test. No doubt, they're up to the challenge!

Some highlights:

  • The Thurston ESP Leadership Team is hard at work helping to carry out the mission and vision of the program. Devon Roe, Alani Johnson, Andre Johnson, Christopher Plummer, Brianna Sterbenz, and Jamesa Vaughn are focusing on the following projects:
  1. Mentoring/Community Building
  2. College Visits
  3. Guest Speaker Series
  4. Academic Support
  5. ESP Scholarship Fund

  • Eagle Scholars are taking 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 Jessi Kwek for coming to Pierce to tutor their younger brethren. The introduction of salty snacks appears to have boosted attendance.

  • Once again, multiple Eagle Scholars have been named "Student of the Month"

  • We hosted our first guest speaker on December 2nd at Thurston. Andy Muchmore offered some fantastic advice for students looking to pursue engineering in college, but also invaluable general guidance for all students. A recording of my interview with Andy will be posted online soon.

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. This February, I will be hosting, at a soon-to-be-determined restaurant, a "Practice Honors Dinner" for all 9th, 10th, and 11th 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."

  • These last few weeks of the semester are critical to your child's success. 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.
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Pierce Eagle Scholars making the most of the Wednesday study session

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