The Au Gres-Sims School District

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Au Gres-Sims Families and Community,

The Michigan Department of Education has notified us through a memo that they will be sending home letters to families of 9th, 10th, and 11th grade students whom they have determined have demonstrated the potential to be successful in Advanced Placement (AP) coursework. Their determination of this potential will be made using last spring’s PSAT 8/9 and PSAT 10 assessments. This whole thing comes about as the result of a partnership between MDE and College Board, the association that administers both the PSAT and AP courses.

The letter that will be sent directly to your homes beginning in early November will outline the advantages of students taking rigorous coursework in high school, particularly in areas of historically underrepresented groups, including economically disadvantaged students. The letter will also tout the opportunity that AP coursework presents for students to earn college credit, which could increase a student’s sense of capability and reduce the overall cost of college. None of this information is incorrect, but it does not tell the entire story either.

Not every school in Michigan has advanced placement courses, and this letter will subtly encourage parents to contact school leaders about starting up an AP program. In doing so, MDE is promoting the idea that AP coursework is superior to other forms of college credit that students can obtain while in high school. Nothing could be further from the truth. We do not have AP courses at Au Gres-Sims, but we do have very strong relationships with educational partners to ensure that our students have access to college courses and are able to earn college credit while in high school. We have relationships with Alpena Community College, Delta College, Saginaw Valley State University, the Bay-Arenac ISD Career Center and other dual enrollment entities that all provide college credit opportunities for our students.

I want to be very clear that I am not anti-AP courses, but I am very much against the idea that AP courses are the best/only option for the students of Au Gres-Sims. AP courses and the running of an AP program are not always feasible for schools of our size. The training of the teachers to teach these classes is very expensive, as are the tests that the students take. You also need a minimum number of students for a particular AP course in order to justify expending the resources of time and human capital on the instruction of a class. In my previous districts (which were larger than AGS) I have witnessed first hand sections not having enough students in them to run. In other words, it would not be feasible for us to run a class with two or three students in it, taking up valuable space in our course master schedule.

One of the great things about our small size is that we have the opportunity to get to know each of our students very well. Our teachers, counselors, and administrators know what our students are capable of because they know our learners as individuals. We have, and we will continue to work with our students to find the best opportunities for them now and for their futures. I have been through two cycles of graduating seniors in my time at Au Gres-Sims and I have been impressed with the amount of opportunity our students have to earn college credit. In each of the past two graduating classes I have heard staggering numbers of college credits earned by our graduates as they walk off the stage, all earned during their time at AGS. AP courses are one option for earning college credits in high school, but they are not the only option. The options that we have for our students are just as good, if not better, and are personalized to their skills and ambitions.

I encourage you to review the letters that are sent from MDE as an indicator that your student(s) may be ready for some type of college-level course, rather than a push towards AP coursework alone. If you do receive this letter in the mail, please talk with your student(s) about the idea of college coursework, and if they are interested they can set up an appointment with Mrs. Cardinal to learn more about the options available when it comes time to schedule for classes for next year.

Have a wonderful weekend.

-Mr. Ming

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K-12 Principal's Update

Congratulations to our football team who has earned a spot and will be entering the State playoffs this upcoming week! To find out who the Wolverines will play, tune into Bally Sports Detroit on Sunday evening at 6:00 for the Selection Sunday Show. Stay tuned for more details regarding ticket purchases.

The end of the first marking period is this upcoming Friday, October 28. All grades will become finalized by the middle of the following week and report cards will be sent home by the end of the week (Friday, November 4). Elementary will send these home with students on Friday, and MS/HS reports cards will be sent home through the mail. Report cards will not be sent home to families that have not yet completed their online enrollment form, which contains information required by the State, in addition to updated information such as emergency contacts, allergies/medical information and web/picture permissions. These can be completed online or you can also come to the school to complete it. It will take 5-10 minutes of your time. Please click on this link for directions. If you have forgotten your user name and password or have any questions, please call the main office from 7:30-3:30 so we can help you out.

Also on Friday, we will be having our elementary Halloween celebrations. This year we will have elementary students parade through the different elementary classrooms starting at 2:20 and then make their way to the MS/HS and parade through the main gym where the secondary students will be having an assembly. Because of the format of our costume recognition, parents will not be able to be present in the building for the parade unless you are working directly at the request of the teacher providing additional classroom assistance.

Before you know it, Picture Retakes will be upon us. Retakes will take place during the morning of Tuesday, November 1.

It has been a few years since we have been able to have our traditional elementary marking period assemblies. Recognition for the first marking period will take place just before recess on Wednesday, November 2, starting at 2:00 pm. Students will be recognized as a top student in one of three categories: Citizenship, Improvement, and Achievement. Because of our new standards based grading system, we no longer do Honor Roll recognition. Parents will be notified by the classroom teacher if their child is receiving an award.

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From the Desk of Ms. Socha

We are currently in a very important season here at Au Gres-Sims - it is Data Season! Data is something that teachers and administrators are always looking at, and data is constantly being collected through classroom work observations and other formative assessment methods. However, after our fall testing session, we begin some important work with data that helps set the stage for the weeks and months to come. First, we hold data meetings with teachers to review fall testing data and identify areas of need within classrooms. We also use this data to plan for interventions, both at the elementary and secondary buildings. This includes rosters for seminar classes at the secondary, and Title support at the elementary. We also hold IRIP meetings, where we discuss data for students who have been identified as needing an Individual Reading Improvement Plan (IRIP) as outlined in the Read by Grade 3 Law, and we set goals for those students based on the collected data. We also hold Child Study Meetings, to determine a plan of action for any student who is brought to the team with concerns in any area, either academic, behavioral, or social-emotional. This is an incredibly busy time, but crucially important, in order to give all of our students the supports they need to be successful.

There are many things that families can do at home that make a big impact on the achievement of students in the classroom. One of the main ways is to encourage reading at home! The graphic below shows the tremendous impact that reading just 20 minutes a day at home can make. This goes beyond elementary as well!!

Finally, the paraprofessionals would like me to pass along an important message to our elementary families about outside recess. With the weather being up and down this time of year, we would like to remind parents to start sending students with coats for outside recess. This week, for example, has been quite cold outside and many of our students have not had coats. Please help us out by making sure your child is prepared to spend 20 minutes outside!

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October is College Month

Each year Michigan celebrates College month during the month of October. Many colleges and universities across the state have waived application fees for students when they apply during the month of October.

Here at AGS we are celebrating college month with a college wall that represents over 20 colleges and universities in Michigan and the United States that Alumni have attended in the past. Under each college flag or photo are the names of Alumni who attended each school.

If you have any questions about college applications or what steps your student may need to take next please reach out to me.

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Breakfast and Lunch Menu for the October 24-28

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Athletics Update

We are in that time of transition this week as we finish the regular seasons for the Fall and begin the Winter seasons. Congratulations to the Middle School and Junior Varsity Football teams on great seasons. Good luck to our Varsity Volleyball and Football teams as they head into the MHSAA Playoffs.

Next Week's Schedule of Events:

Mon. 10/24:

  • 6p MS Girls Basketball AWAY @ Fairview

Thu. 10/27:

  • 6p MS Girls Basketball AWAY @ Mio
  • 6p JV Volleyball AWAY @ Standish

Fri. 10/28 / Sat. 10/29 (TBD):

  • TO BE DETERMINED: Varsity Football MHSAA Playoff Game
  • Time, Location, and Opponent will be determined this Sunday during the "Selection Sunday Show" 6p Sunday, October 23 on Bally Sports Detroit or its website

Sat. 10/29:

  • 9a V Volleyball North Star League Tourney HOME

The Wolverine Wake-Up

The Wolverine Wake-Up is a student written publication that comes out weekly and shares the reporting of our own high school students and their interpretation of what is going on the in the world. The teacher sponsor and editor-in-chief is Mr. Luke Freeman. Thanks for reading.

October 21, 2022 - Issue #62

Middle and High School Drop-in Tutoring

In an effort to provide the academic support that our students need, the middle and high school will have drop-in after school tutoring starting next week. The tutoring will run after school until 4:30 on Mondays and Thursdays in the Cyber Cafe. Students are invited to drop in to work on their homework and/or get help from a teacher on a particular topic.

Dates for Tutoring the next few months:

  • Mon. 10/24
  • Thu. 10/27
  • Thu. 11/3
  • Mon. 11/7
  • Thu. 11/10
  • Mon. 11/14
  • Thu. 11/17
  • Mon. 11/21
  • Mon. 11/28

Tutoring for our elementary students will look a little different (based on the age of the students) and will begin after the first parent-teacher conferences of the year. We will update you on the details as we get closer to that date.

Important Dates

Important dates for October and November for the Au Gres-Sims School District.


  • 28th: End of Quarter 1


  • 1st: Picture Re-takes
  • 8th: NO SCHOOL FOR STUDENTS - ISD-wide Professional Development day
  • 8th: Election Day
  • 9th-10th: Elementary Parent/Teacher Conferences
  • 15th: NO SCHOOL STAFF AND STUDENTS, District and Offices will be closed
  • 17th: School Board Meeting, 6p (*Note: this is a change from the original date of Monday, November 21st, therefore it is a "special meeting")
  • 23rd-25th: NO SCHOOL - Thanksgiving Holiday

Community Events

Important and note-worthy events taking place in Au Gres and Arenac County

  • Saturday, October 22nd - Halloween in the Park (City Park, Au Gres)
  • Thursday, December 1st (6p registration, 7p start) - Arenac Community Funds Holiday Auction (Ali's Up North)***
  • Saturday, December 3rd - Christmas Parade (starts at AGS parking lot and ends in the City Park
  • Saturday, February 18th - Arenac Community Funds Trivia Night (Arenac Community Center, Standish)

***Items for the ACF Holiday Auction should be turned in to any committee member by November 21st, including a donation form. See attached PDFs for details. Locally, items and forms may be turned into Chris Ming in the administrative office of the school district or Dale Wiltse at City Hall.

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Help Wanted at AGS

Job Opportunities at AGS

  • We do not currently have any vacancies for district staff positions.

We are also always on the lookout for substitute teachers. If interested, please inquire with Mrs. Miller in the district administration office, (989) 876-7157.

If you are interested in substitute teaching and need assistance with the paperwork process, a WillSub representative will be in Arenac County twice per month for onsite consultation.

  • 2nd Tuesday of the month, from 12-4pm in the AGS Administration Office
  • 4th Tuesday of the month, from 12-4pm at Standish-Sterling School District

Here is a complete list of dates:

  • October 25 (SSC)
  • November 8 (AGS) and 22 (SSC)
  • December 13 (AGS)
  • January 10 (AGS) and 24 (SSC)
  • February 14 (AGS) and 28 (SSC)
  • March 14 (AGS) and 28 (SSC)
  • April 11 (AGS) and 25 (SSC)
  • May 9 (AGS) and 23 (SSC)
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Science Exploration Students Are Recreating Historic Designs of Medieval Machines. #STEM

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