Sashabaw Middle School

Newsletter Volume 6 Issue 3 January/February 2015

SMS - from the Principal

Dear SMS Families,

Happy New Year! We hope that you had a happy and safe holiday break and enjoyed time with your loved ones. We survived the bitter cold of the first week back and are getting into the swing of things once more.

We are just about to the halfway mark of the school year. Next week, on Friday, January 23rd, your child’s progress report for Trimester 2 will be available to view via ParentVue. Parent/Teacher Conferences will be Thursday, January 29th from 5-8pm. Please plan to attend these Conferences if you receive a request/invitation to attend from your child’s teacher. Also, if you have a concern or question to address with any of your child’s teachers, please feel free to attend as well.

Since we are at the midway point of the school year, we have started to turn some of our attention to next year’s scheduling. It is a possibility that Sashabaw Middle School will be moving to Semesters next year, instead of our current Trimester schedule. This change would allow SMS to be on the same calendar as the other secondary schools in the district and allow for one district calendar. It would have no true impact on any Core Curriculum. However, in order to hear all comments and concerns about this possible change, the board office administrators and SMS administration will be holding a Semester/Trimester Open Forum for parents. This meeting will be held on Monday, January 19th from 2:30- 4:00 in the SMS Media Center. Anyone with questions, comments, or concerns about the possible transition to a semester schedule is welcome.

Finally, as we continue to grow as a Culture of Thinking, we look to grow with you, the parent. Often I find myself asking my son what he did at school or what he learned that day. “Nothing.” That seems to be the usual answer. In the article, “Making Thinking Visible: 10 Applications for Parents” author Ron Ritchhart, suggests changing that standard question you ask your student at the day’s end. He suggests instead to ask, “What Questions Did You Ask Today?” This question drives us as learners and can assist in developing a growth mindset. A mindset that they are good and powerful learners, that they can be successful and rise up to challenges. So, I will be giving that question a try in order to attempt to change some of the conversations we are having at home and to hopefully get more than “nothing” from my son. I hope to help gently influence him and that you will do the same with your children by reminding them that asking good questions can make all the difference.


Liz Walker


Contact information:


Mrs. Liz Walker, Principal

Mrs. Jennifer Johnson, Assistant Principal

Behavior Interventionist

Mr. Tom McGlinnen Behavior Interventionist

SMS Counseling

Mrs. Jamie Graves, Counselor for A – K students

Mr. Damon Rocho, Counselor for L – Z students

Calendar of Events


1/5 School Resumes

1/7 Delayed Start Day ~ 8:30

1/14 PTA Meeting 9:30 A.M.

1/19 Developmental Day ~ No School for Students

1/19 Semester/Trimester Open Forum for Parents 2:30 ~ 4:00 P.M.

1/21 Delayed Start Day ~ 8:30

1/29 Parent/Teacher Conferences, via invitation 5:00 ~ 8:00 P.M.


2/4 Delayed Start Day ~ 8:30

2/11 PTA Meeting 9:30 A.M.

2/16~17 Mid-Winter Break ~ School Closed

2/25 Delayed Start Day ~ 8:30



If you have not accessed the ParentVUE system and are in need of your activation key, you may email for assistance. When emailing please include the following information to allow us to support you better:

- Your Name

- Your Student(s) Name

- Your Student(s) Date Of Birth

- Your Home Address

- Your Phone Number

ParentVUE has information about your student including class schedule, attendance, and more! Report cards for Trimester 1 are now available on ParentVUE.

Keeping Your Child Safe Online:

Are your children safe while online? Michigan families, especially minors, are becoming inundated with advertisements from alcohol, tobacco, pornography and gambling marketers through different internet and cell phone in boxes. Texting their advertisements is the newest marketing effort that many of these companies are using. Thankfully, the State of Michigan offers a free program to stop adult advertisements from reaching e-mails, mobile phones (text messaging ads) and instant messenger IDs.

The Michigan Child Protection Registry, like the federal Do Not Call List, is a free do-not-contact service for Michigan’s families and schools and can be located at

Clarkston Community Schools is a strong supporter of this registry and encourages you to sign your entire family up for the registry and inform your friends and colleagues about how they can protect children and families from unwanted adult advertising. To sign up only takes seconds. Just go to and keep your family safe.

Early Dismissal:

Please send in a note for your student to deliver to the front office in the morning before classes begin when early dismissal is required for your student. The note should specify the requested release time and reason. Your student will be issued a pass to present to their teacher so that they can be excused from class at the appropriate time. This policy cuts down on disruptions to valuable classroom instruction and student learning. Thank you for your cooperation!

Attendance Procedure Update:

It is no longer required to call SMS to report your student being absent. Students are allotted a maximum of 6 absences per trimester before receiving a letter from the school indicating a concern. All absences are designated as unexcused in our student information system. In order to excuse your child's absence for illness, please supply a doctor's note. While this will not change how the absence is displayed, we are able to note in the system that a doctor's note has been provided. If you have questions on this procedure, please call the main office at 248.623.4200. Soon, you will receive an automated call to your main number in the evening stating if your child has missed one or more hours that day. Thanks!


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Semester/Trimester Open Forum for Parents - Monday, January 19th from 2:30- 4:00 in the SMS Media Center


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Blood Drive on Tuesday, January 27, 2015 from 10:30AM - 4:30PM in LGI-A


Parent Teacher Conferences - January 29 from 5pm-8pm

Parent Teacher Conferences are Thursday, January 29th from 5:00 - 8:00 p.m.

Please plan to attend these Parent-Teacher Conferences if you have received a request/invitation from your child's teacher. Also, if you have a concern or question to address with any of your child’s teachers, please feel free to attend as well.





7th Grade Boys – The season is half-way complete. Both the Gold and Blue Teams are having a successful season. Gold is 5 and 1 and the Blue is 4 and 1 as of January 5th.

VOLLEYBALL (Packets are available in the main office.)

7th grade girls (in 7th grade gym)

Open Gym:

Friday, January 23, 2015 and Wednesday, January 28, 2015. Both will be from 3-4:15


Thursday, January 29, 2015 from 3-4:30

Friday, January 30, 2015 from 3-4:30 (cuts possible)

Monday, February 2. 2-15 from 3-4:30 (if necessary)

After school practice begins February 3.


The first practice was Monday, January 12th directly after school from 2:30 to 5:00 in the 6th grade cafeteria. Practice will be held in the 6th grade cafeteria every school day from 2:30-5:00. The Athletic Responsibility and Registration and Physical must both be turned in prior to allowing the athlete to participate in practice.

The fee for the 2014-2015 school year for 7th grade athletes will be $200.

There will be no fee for 6th grade athletes to participate in conditioning, but they will still need to turn in the registration form and the physical.

If you have questions or would like more information about the 2014-2015 wrestling season, please e-mail Coach Dick Moscovic: or Dawn Ulrich:


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SMS After-School Study Hall

When: School days - 2:30pm to 6:00pm

Where: Room 401

Cost: $4.00 per hour (pay every Monday when you pick up your child)

Required Information needed for registration: Parent's name, contact phone numbers, child's name, grade, regular scheduled days and/or drop-in days.

Sign-up at:


SMS Band Concerts!

CONGRATULATIONS to the 234 members of the SMS Sixth and Seventh grade Bands. The SMS Bands presented outstanding Concerts on December 10th and 11th and had amazing feedback from their audience members. Your hard work has allowed you to grow to be very fine young musicians! Congratulations to all of you and to directors, Stacy Kohl, Mike Lewis, and Shelley Schwaderer Roland.

Twelve of our SMS Seventh Grade Band Members have been selected to perform as a part of the Detroit Symphony Orchestra’s MS Honors Band in March of 2015.

Congratulations to the following students who will proudly represent SMS and the community of Clarkston:

  • Audrey Schatz, Flute
  • Kate Russell, Flute
  • Charlie Dunn, Oboe
  • Isabella Traynor, Bass Clarinet
  • Christian Bartley, Bassoon
  • Derek Gruebnau, Alto Saxophone
  • Charlie Arnold, Bari Saxophone
  • Tristan Surre, Horn
  • Spencer Kerrigan, Trombone
  • Connor Bistoff, Trombone
  • Nate Sesti, Percussion
  • Emily Williams, Percussion

Solo and Ensemble Festival

The following SMS Band students participated in their very first Solo and Ensemble Festival on Saturday, Dec. 6th at Brighton Scranton Middle School. Students have spent the past 2 months preparing music and performed for a judge to receive critique and a rating of 1st to 5th Division. Those students earning a 1st or 2nd Division received a medal for their efforts.

Earning 1st Division Ratings and blue medals were:

Zander Neideck, Logan Rajala – duet, Nick Navarre, Connor Bistoff, Jakob Harper, Spencer Kerrigan- quartet, Luke Snudden, Quinn Schrieber, Charles Dunn, Luke Bechtell, Joseph Ketzler-quintet, Emily Williams, Alexis Rachel-duet, Marlee Peterson,Samantha Schultz-duet, Garrett Baily, Kayla Cruz, Sydney Raupp-trio, Brendan Cloutier-solo, Charles Osmun-solo, Nate Sesti-solo, Logan McGivern, Dylan Matice-duet, Quinn Angus, Tristan Surre-duet, Nate Sesti, Tyler Brueck-duet, Trey Scovill-solo, Sean Quilliams, Jonathan Crockett, Jakob Harper-trio, Emmett Bock, Jacob Carusello-duet, Kate Russell, Kayla Sharp-duet, Allison Bachman-solo, Doug Olson, Joshua Janik-duet, Elizabeth Craig-solo, Sara Moscone, Allyson Gonzales, Anna Conforti, Megan Zabinski-quartet, Jacqueline Gergle, Maddie Smith, Jordan Klokeid – trio, Trey Scovill, Spencer Kerrigan, Will Silvery-trio, Charlie Dunn-solo, Audrey Schatz-solo, Quinn Schreiber-solo, Jillian Rosenkrantz-solo, Brandon Parcha-solo, Isabella Traynor, Matthew Nicholson, Maggie Gipe-trio, Emily Kroll-solo, Richard Budney-solo, Andrew Haddad-solo, Marcos Sepulveda-solo, Grace Spencer-solo, Charlie Osmun-solo

Earning 2nd Division Ratings and a red medal were:

Rose Chiodo, Mia Patria, and Holly McArthur-trio, Michael Tonks, Charlie Arnold-duet, Justin Siko, Chase Fisher-duet, Tommy Vo, Tim Pope-duet, Sierra Laster-solo, Ashley Elinski-solo, Connor Stout-solo.

Also participating were the following SMS students:

Grant Mathews, Mason Kochanski-duet, Exxra Moore-solo, Ethan Wise, Alex Byrd-duet


AT&T/MACUL Student Technology Showcase

On December 3rd, our Coding Club students were among nearly 30 schools in Michigan who participated in the 14th annual Student Technology Showcase at the State Capitol Building in Lansing. Students demonstrated to elected members of the Michigan State Senate and the House of Representatives how technology is used in the classroom to
facilitate learning.

Taking part in the demonstrations were Pine Knob elementary students Abigail Kurniawan and Trent Schmeling, Sashabaw Middle School students Gracie Sielinski and Nathan Dimmer. Lori Banaszak, Technology Integration Specialist, Lisa Drew, Pine Knob elementary teacher and Dennis Klenow, Independence elementary teacher lead the group to Lansing to highlight the importance of elementary coding clubs and showcase their coding projects.

We have also started a Facebook Page called Elementary Coding Clubs to highlight their projects, resources and the importance to expose students to computer science at a young age.


Thank-you to the SMS PTA!

Sashabaw Middle School thanks Kelli Horst for her dedication to our PTA as she steps down from her position as President. As most know, Kelli has been elected to the Clarkston School Board and felt it would be a conflict of interest to continue her position as PTA President. Kelli has done a fantastic job on behalf of our staff and students and her leadership will be missed. We wish her the best of luck as she starts her new endeavor. We would also like to welcome Mary Herzenstiel as our new PTA President and look forward to working with her.

Many thanks to the SMS PTA volunteers who provided our staff with a delicious dinner before the Parent/Teacher Conferences in October. Special thanks to Melanie Wilson who prepared the salad, lasagna, and dessert!

PTA - from the President

Happy New Year and welcome back, families! We are starting the year with an important change in PTA leadership. I’m taking over as president for Kelli Horst, who officially joins our Board of Education this month. Thank you, Kelli, and good luck! Stay tuned for an eblast in the new year regarding nominations for the Website/Communications Officer position that is open due to this change. I look forward to continuing to strengthen the partnership between families and teachers here at Sashabaw Middle School.

School directories, one of the benefits of PTA membership, were delivered before the holiday break. If your directory didn’t come home (did you check your student’s backpack?), send an email to membership chair Denise Rusnell. She’ll track it down for you. She can also help you join the PTA if you’d like a directory. Reach Denise at

If you’d like a say in how the PTA contributes to improving the life of our school, plan to attend one of our monthly membership meetings this spring. At each meeting, we hear from our SMS administrators and vote on mini-grants that fund creative teaching and learning ideas. You can find a list of meeting dates and times on our web site. Remember, it’s never too late to join PTA or become an advocate for our students’ education. It’s one of the most impactful new year’s resolutions you can make.

I welcome your questions and ideas at

Mary Herzenstiel, President

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7th Grade Career Day: Presenters and Volunteers Needed

Career Day gives our 7th graders the opportunity to learn about possible career paths first-hand from parents and other professionals in our community. This year's event is the morning of Tuesday, March 10, 2015. There are two ways for SMS parents to participate -- either as a presenter (giving four, 30-minute presentations about your career/profession to groups of up to 25ish students), or as a classroom assistant (monitoring attendance and time, plus assisting the presenter in a classroom). Both require a morning commitment from 7:30 to approximately 11 a.m. We also need a handful of parent volunteers to help check in presenters at the start of the day.

If you are interested in participating in Career Day, please email Kelli Horst at or Mary Herzenstiel at and indicate your preference:

* Presenter (provide correct spelling of name, title/organization, brief description of responsibilities/industry)

* Classroom assistant

* Volunteer/presenter check in

Box Tops for Education

The collection box is in the main office. Thanks for your participation!

Labels for Education Program Earns Gift Cards for SMS!

Have you ever wondered if it’s really worth the time to cut out those Labels for Education labels? Well, let me tell you, it is! After our fall submission, SMS was able to get $350 in VISA gift cards to use on items to enhance our school! The cards just arrived, so stay tuned to hear what great things will be purchased with these cards. In the meantime, keep clipping those soup labels! There is a new collection box in the front office to drop your labels. To see a complete list of participating products, go to Questions? Contact Kim Hardtke at

Market Day

Orders for Market Day are due by January 22 for pick-up on January 28. The next order is due by February 19 for pick-up on February 25. Order pick up is in the 7th grade cafeteria between 4:30 and 5:30.

Order online for the best deals. SMS PTA receives 10% of all orders. Questions or concerns contact Pam Aughe at or 248-245-1033.

Volunteer Opportunities

If you haven’t had a chance to submit your Volunteer Opportunities form, it’s never too late! Extra forms are available in the front office if you need one. Additionally, please make sure you are signed up for SMS here: and be on the lookout for volunteer opportunities.

Please contact Kim Hardtke at if you have any questions.


SMS Club Corner – Your Place for Updates on Clubs at SMS

SMS Club fee is $50 per year which entitles the student to participate in as many of the SMS Clubs listed below that they would like to be a part of.

SMS MathCounts Team Update:

The 6th grade team meets each Tuesday after school from 2:40 until 4:00.

On Thursdays the combined 7th, 8th , and 9th grade team meets from 2:40 until 4:20. There is a shuttle bus that transports Math Team members from CJHS to SMS each Thursday. We meet in room 308. New members are welcomed at any point in the year.

Students will improve their problem solving skills and will be challenged as they tackle a wide range of math topics. The group is preparing for three upcoming competitions: The SMS Invitational in January, and in February the Detroit Country Day Invitational and the MathCounts regional competition.

For more information contact SMS staff member and coach Howard Andress

SMS Chess ClubThe Chess Club meets each Friday after school from 2:45 until 4:00. We meet in LGI-A.

While the team has been meeting since early October, new members are welcome at any time. The club is open to beginners, the sophisticated player, and all levels in between. So, whether you are new to the game or have been playing for years you will have fun and find good competition.

At a recent meeting the group elected the following members to serve as 2014/15 Chess Club officers:

Club President: AJ Marsala

Club Vice President: Evan Borgerson

7th Grade Representative: Will Ho

6th Grade Representative: Avery Kersjes

Representative at large: Ayden Bailey

For more information contact SMS staff member Howard Andress


Birthday Locker Art!!!

SMS Birthday Locker Art

Looking to do something special for your student on their birthday, but don't have the time? Let Student leadership help you out. We will decorate their locker for you to celebrate their special day. Fill out the form and return it with cash or check made out to SMS. Then leave the worrying to us. When the locker is decorated you will receive an email with a picture of your student’s locker.



Contact Mr. McCall in room 219 for more information, phone 248-623-4227, email


PURCHASER'S NAME _________________________________________________________

Email address(for picture of completed locker) ______________________________

BIRTHDAY STUDENT'S NAME ___________________________________GRADE ________


DATE TO DECORATE LOCKER _________________________________

LOCKER NUMBER(if known) __________________________________

TOTAL $ ___________________


All Locker Art is payable by Cash or a Check to SMS only.


Green School - SMS needs these items to recycle for points!

Hello families!

We are recycling in ASL. We could use all of your help and support! We are recycling for points which can then be used to continue to reach our Green School designation! We can sponsor shelters, children or families in need with these points.

SMS is asking for families to help donate: Go Go Squeez, chip bags, Elmer’s glue sticks/bottles, and Capri Sun juice pouches. Just find one of our decorated recycling boxes for each one of these items located throughout the school. Help the Green Team MAKE A DIFFERENCE!


Ski Club

Sashabaw Middle School Ski Club is for all levels of skiers and snowboarders from beginners to advanced. If you don't know how to ski this is an excellent opportunity to learn!

As soon as Pine Knob is open, we will meet for ski club. Our club night is Thursday and you can buy tickets from Mr. McCall and Mrs. Gualtieri from 3pm - 6pm in the Pinery Cafe'. Packets can be picked up in the main office, or from Mr. McCall or Mrs. Gualtieri. Packets can also be printed from the Ski Club web page. You can sign up for ski club anytime this winter. As we always say in ski club, We will SKI you there!


Dodgeball Tournament !!!

Congratulations to the “Rivals” who were the champions and the “Survivors” who were the runner up of this year’s Dodgeball Tournament. The Sashabaw Staff was able to survive for about a minute against the Rivals thanks to Mrs. Walker and Mr. McCall’s dodge, duck, dip, dive and dodge ability.

The Rivals and Survivors will donate their winning prize of $100 to the “Giving Tree” and “Blessings In A Backpack”.

Congratulations also goes out to the “Super Super Heroes” for placing 1st and the “Minon Unstoppable” for finishing 2nd in the costume design. Everyone enjoyed a celebratory pizza party!

Thank you to all who came and donated food for Blessings In a Backpack. Many cans were donated and $104 dollars was raised. The winner of the raffle was Kevin Hardtke and he rode home on a new bike.

We would also like to thank all the teachers, staff and leadership students who gave their time to help us at this fun event for all students.

Your participation and support of the Dodge Ball Tournament will be used to purchase equipment for the Physical Education Department.

THANKS AGAIN!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!


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Cold and Flu and What to Do?

With the onset of cold and flu season, among other reasons, students may necessarily be absent from school. Whenever possible, please submit a doctor’s note to the main office when your student has one or more medically related absences. These notes will be kept on record and are referenced against a student’s attendance record as needed. Compulsory Michigan attendance law requires that SMS maintains accurate attendance records and those excessive absences are properly reviewed. Appropriate medical documentation helps to support a student’s cause when evaluating a potential truancy concern.


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SMS 2015 Yearbook - Order one and buy an ad giving recognition to your SMS student!

Yearbook: To order online:

Parents/Guardians: Yearbook recognition ads are a great way to commemorate student achievements and milestones. For $25 you can get a 1/8 page ad. Order online at You may choose your ad size and layout, enter text, and upload photos. Orders will be accepted until Friday, January 23rd.


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7th Grade Trip to Chicago May 15-17, 2015

Sold Out! Our 7th Grade Chicago Trip has sold out. This is our largest Group Ever! However, there is room on the wait list!

Interest in our 7th grade trip continues to grow each year. The trip initially sold out in less than a week this year. We were then able to add a fourth bus as the wait list grew. However, that 4th bus also quickly sold out. We then started another wait list and recently added a 5th luxury coach bus! We have not used five buses ever before.

However, interested students and parents are encouraged to register for the wait list. Between now and May there will inevitably be a few cancellations; scheduling conflicts will arise and persons on the wait list will then be included on the trip. In recent years those on the wait list after the final bus was added were able to go on the trip due to those few predictable cancellations.

So, students and parents can still register for the trip!

If interested contact Howard Andress for instructions on how to get on the wait list:

Last year everyone on the wait list was able to go on the trip.

Trip Fund Raiser Launched:

On Thursday, 12/18/14, we launched the Little Caesars Pizza and Cookie Dough kit sale. Students have the opportunity to earn $5 toward their trip with the sale of every pizza or cookie dough kit. This is a popular sale and many students have paid a large portion of their trip cost by participating. The sale began on 12/18/14 and concludes on 1/23/15 when all orders are due.

Trip related student meetings:

  • Thursday, 2/12/15 @ 7:20 a.m: in LGI C – try to arrive as close to 7:20 as possible. The roommate selection process will be explained at this meeting. Students will receive a roommate request form.
  • April: Date and time to be announced later.
  • Friday, May 8, 2015 – one week prior to departure. This is an after-school event that will last from 2:40 until 4:55.

All students attending the Chicago Trip will need to attend each of the above meetings.

Inquiries can be directed to Howard Andress, SMS staff member and trip coordinator, at


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Parent Mentoring Program

Wanted: Caring adults looking to inspire and motivate students!

Sashabaw Middle School is seeking volunteers to support the continuation of its’ Parent Mentor Program. This highly successful program seeks adults who are willing to:

  • spend one hour per week helping a student with organization and/or completion of assignments.

  • be listeners and motivators.
  • inspire and engage students to exceed their own expectations.

If you are available and interested in making a difference in the life of a student, please contact Tom McGlinnen at or at (248) 623-4206.

Interested candidates need to complete an Applicant Authorization for Background Check form; these forms are available in the SMS office or via e-mail upon request. A mentor will be matched up with a student upon completion of the background check.