The Bright Side
March 2, 2023
If you prefer to enroll in person, the staff at the Dr. Eva L. Evans Welcome Center will be happy to answer any questions you may have and guide you through the enrollment process.
Dr. Eva L. Evans Welcome Center
2400 Pattengill Ave.
Lansing, MI 48910
Questions About Enrollment?
Call us at (517)755-2820
We Love Michigan State University
Shockwaves are still reverberating throughout our state in the wake of the February 13th shooting at Michigan State University that claimed three lives, seriously injured five more, and set our community into a tailspin. Wanting to do something to say "you are in our hearts," staff and volunteers at Lyons Elementary painted their school's rock to show their solidarity to the college.
If you are still reeling in the aftermath of this tragedy, please contact your school or our Office of School Culture at 517-755-2800 for support. Additional resources can also be found here.
Capital Area K-12 Online Takes Home Samsung's Solve for Tomorrow Contest Victory
Capital Area K-12 Online recently dominated other Michigan schools to take home the state win in Samsung's Solve for Tomorrow competition. The victory will see them awarded with a $12,000 prize package (including Samsung products and classroom resources) as well as the opportunity to work with a Samsung employee mentor. The Samsung Solve for Tomorrow contest is a yearly national competition where public schools grades 6-12 compete to see how science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) can be used to create change in their communities.
The Capital Area K-12 Online team explored how to make their homes more energy efficient. Maureen Mcdiarmid a STEM teacher at Capital Area K-12 Online spearheaded this exploration and led her students to try and find ways to solve this problem using their own deductive reasoning.
“I love seeing the kids come up with things on their own,” said Mcdiarmid. “To me, that’s the best way to teach science. I give students some potential ideas and they just run with them. They are much more innovative and creative than I could ever be, and the way they build off each other is really beautiful.”
The competition doesn't end with a state victory either — the school will now advance to the National Finalists phase of the contest. This next round of the competition will pit our team against teams from 49 other states with ten advancing teams receiving a $50,000 prize package along with various classroom resources for the school.
“I wanted students to make something that was more than impactful to the community, but also something they could relate to personally and I think this contest was the perfect opportunity to do both,” said Mcdiarmid of the contest.
The school plans to use money from its first victory to purchase Arduino homes which are programmable open-source devices/sensors in which students can explore their project innovations further at home and test their ideas even more. Along with the new materials they plan to buy, students and teachers are excited to dive into their next new venture.
Focus On Special Education with Eileen Prihoda, Special Education Director
What is new in the Special Education department?
The Lansing School District is collaborating with several local agencies to prepare students for adult transition. This includes the Lansing School District's own Career Training Education (CTE) program, Project Search, Peckham, and the Beekman transition program as students develop skills to prepare for a school-to-work transition. The relationship between the district and Peckham was renewed this year and has been a very successful experience for participating high school students.
Jacqueline Plascencia, at Sexton, implemented and coordinates a student-run coffee shop at Sexton High School that reinforces important job skills and allows students to put their learning into practice.
How has the district improved special education services?
As the Lansing Special Education (SE) department enters the second year of an action plan that was created to address the results of a department audit, many improvements have been, or are in the process of being made.
The department has since established a new Special Education Parent Advisory Committee. This committee meets monthly on the first Monday of the month from 6-7:30 p.m. The meeting allows the department to hear directly from families - valuable input that helps the district as it establishes new guidance and informational resources for families.
Additional improvements include:
- The district has surpassed 90% IEP compliance,
- The SE department has created a policy and procedure manual that is being implemented districtwide,
- The SE department has hired a compliance manager who monitors Individual Education Plan (IEP) due dates,
What are some of the department's accomplishments?
- The early childhood special education program continues to grow and focus on inclusion with general education peers.
- A team of Lansing special education educators will be attending a workshop in May to learn more about offering inclusive environments for all preschool students. The early childhood special education program currently coordinates with Michigan State University (MSU) to provide board-certified behavior specialist interns to enhance the socialization and learning needs of preschool students.
- Jessica Duvall, a Beekman graduate, is on her way to compete in a national Special Olympics competition in Atlanta and will be traveling to Germany in June as a member of the USA gymnastics team to compete in rhythmic gymnastics at the Special Olympics World Games.
- The Lansing School District recently participated in the Polar Plunge event at Jackson Field to benefit Special Olympics of Michigan.
- The district has planned to participate in many Special Olympics activities for the remainder of the school year including a state basketball tournament, track and field competition, and the Summer Games. These events are organized by the adaptive physical education team and are coached and chaperoned by district staff.
What makes the Lansing School District's SE offerings better than the rest?
The Lansing School District is unique in the community as it provides a complete range of SE services to students ages 3-26 starting in early childhood and taking them all the way to adult transition. We provide specialized programming in multiple areas of disabilities and provide our resources to programs throughout the district including preschool, English language learners, career and technical education, and adult education to name a few.
Special education is an area that always needs highly qualified teachers. What is the district doing to recruit great special education teachers?
The district works directly with several colleges, including MSU, to support student interns and student teachers through field experiences. The department attends college job fairs throughout the midwest as well as virtual job fairs - the district also conducts its own career fairs. The district also supports the Teachers of Tomorrow program which provides opportunities for individuals with degrees in areas other than education to pursue special education teaching certificates.
We look forward to sharing more SE highlights throughout the year!
Jessica Duvall (left), a Beekman graduate, shows off the medals she has earned participating in Special Olympics events. Way to go Jessica - we are so proud of you!
SOMI Winter Games
Students from Everett, Beekman, and Eastern competed in snowshoeing, alpine skiing, and snowboarding at the Special Olympics Michigan (SOMI) Winter Games in Traverse City recently. Students also got to participate in other events including visiting with therapy dogs, arts and crafts, and a rowing competition.
Students and staff from Everett High School participated in the Polar Plunge at Jackson Field recently. They raised over $2,000 for Special Olympics Michigan (SOMI) which earned them an award for the most money raised by a school.
SOMI provides funding to schools all around the state, including Everett, to allow students to participate in Unified Champion Schools (UCS) events and experiences at no cost to them. Through UCS students at Everett have been able to attend winter games, learn how to ice skate, have a flag football team, and basketball team, and many more fitness and wellness opportunities.
District Female Wrestlers Are a Force to Be Reckoned With
Wrestling teams throughout the district have received a welcome disruption in what is normally a male-dominated sport with Eastern, Everett, and Sexton all welcoming some incredibly tough female wrestlers to their teams this year. Olivia Delacruz from Eastern High School, Yadira Sandoval from Everett High School, and Ayan Kelley and Kloey Weeks from Sexton High School are among the top female wrestlers on district teams this season. These young women exemplify both the toughness and athleticism that allows wrestlers to excel on the mat.
“Olivia Delacruz is one of the toughest and one of our best wrestlers,” said Jeff Savage, assistant coach at Eastern. “She is dedicated and very trainable — everything you want in a wrestler.” As the only wrestler from Eastern to qualify for the Michigan High School Athletic Association (MHSAA) State Tournament Delacruz is also a champion!
During the recent 3rd annual girls' Capital Area Activities Conference Wrestling Classic, Sexton's Ayan Kelly and Kloey Weeks both dominated, placing in the top two for their weight class.
"The Lansing School District Athletic Department is thrilled to provide equity and opportunities for our students,” said Lansing School District Athletic Director Chris Henderson. “The wrestling community is growing in popularity, specifically with female wrestling. Female wrestlers are increasingly being given more opportunities and are also offered more scholarships at the university level than ever before. Title 9 and athletics are working diligently to create a level playing field and equity throughout athletic communities. Seeing several girls at each of our high schools succeed is very positive, and tells us that the work we undertake to promote wrestling across all cultures, genders, and backgrounds is working."
When discussing their favorite aspects of the sport, all of the female wrestlers discussed the camaraderie they have found with their team members and coaches. “I enjoy my teammates, they’re incredibly supportive,” said Everett's Yadira Sandoval. “The coaches are great, and it’s a very comfortable environment. It makes it fun.”
The district is absolutely thrilled with the direction that its wrestling teams are going, and hopes that Olivia, Yadira, Ayan, and Kloey's experiences will inspire other young women to join our teams!
Everett Dance Performs at State Senator Sarah Anthony's Swearing-In Ceremony
Everett High School’s dance program was recently honored to perform at the Michigan State Capitol during the inauguration ceremony of State Senator Sarah Anthony, the first African American woman representing mid-Michigan in the State Senate.
“It was an incredible experience for the Everett Dance Company to perform and celebrate State Senator Sarah Anthony at her Michigan State Senate swearing-in ceremony,” said Clara Martinez, Everett Dance Director. “It was special for us as a program and on a personal level. Not only is State Senator Anthony an alumni of the Everett Dance Program her nieces have also gone through the program. Currently her niece Ja'Mes Anthony is a senior in the program and serves as a Dance Captain.”
“As a former student and Everett dancer, I was honored to invite the Everett Dance Company to my swearing-in ceremony,” Senator Anthony said. “Our kids represent the best and brightest in our community and their performance added a unique element to the program.”
Everett Dance Company has been performing since 1986 and provides performing arts opportunities for young students. Classes include freestyle dance, improv comedy, hip-hop dance, and more popular styles. The goal of this program is to assist the long-term development of students and help them grow to be responsible and respectable adults. Students were passionate and serious about the opportunity of dancing at the celebration ceremony.
According to Martinez, U.S. Senator Debbie Stabenow and State Senator Anthony have widely praised the dance entertainment from Everett. Board of Education members Robin Moore and Dr. Nino Rodriguez showed their appreciation and acknowledgment at the event, and board member Missy Lilje went backstage and provided positive feedback and warm-ups with the dancers.
The recognition the students were given has paid off and the Everett Dance Company was thankful to be part of an important moment in Michigan history.
For more information about Everett Dance Company check out their dance documentary or read their bio on the Lansing Placemakers website!
Mrs. Waddles Receives "One Class at a Time" Award from Grubaugh Orthodontics
Congratulations to Mrs. Hilary Waddles at Gardner International Magnet School for winning Grubaugh Orthodontics "One Class at a Time" award. Waddles' entry was chosen over other entries from Clinton, Eaton, and Ingham counties because the idea she detailed in her application will benefit her students throughout several years. "I work with students with autism and similar needs," said Waddles, who intends to use the funds to "improve our sensory room with support items, like weighted blankets, and dimmable lighting."
Thank you to Grubaugh Orthodontics for supporting our great teachers and staff!
Click here if you would like to enter your classroom for a chance to win $1,000!
Everett Theater Competes Third MIFA Theater Competition
The Everett Theater Guild traveled to St. John's recently to compete in the Michigan Interscholastic Forensics Association (MIFA) Theater Competition. The ambitious production was the largest cast and crew Guild Director Courtney McCampbell has had for a traveling show.
The cast took on three to six characters EACH which, naturally, included a costume change each time. Thankfully, the crew did an amazing job helping the cast with costume changes backstage, and were able to get them back on the stage in as little as two minutes! The crew also did an incredible job with the set, giving the students a wonderful setting to perform in.
Kieran Arnett and Jonah Miller each earned awards for acting, and Lola Weiss earned an award for going above and beyond in the crew. Next up, these incredible students will be taking on the Bard with "Vikings Go Shakespearean."
Gardner International Students Are Part of the Change!
Students at Gardner International Magnet School were able to recycle 192 gallons of plastic, cardboard (including milk and juice cartons), and aluminum recyclables in January! Many teachers at the school are sending students home with their bins and they have been bringing them back full and sorting them out quickly. By next year, the goal is for all teachers to recycle their breakfast milk and juice cartons as well.
Special thanks to Lansing City Recycling and Granger for letting us use their brown bins.
High Schools Receive Good Sports Grants
The athletic departments at Eastern, Everett, and Sexton all received $2,000 grants recently — thanks to Good Sports. Good Sports is a non-profit organization that partnered with Gatorade find organizations and teams to highlight their “Fuel Tomorrow” initiative, which aims to support athletes to get back into the games and the sports they love. "Good Sports athletic grants are a tremendous boost to school sports," said Chris Henderson, Lansing School District Athletic Director.
“Our athletic departments are excited and very happy to receive these Good Sports grants,” Henderson said. “Our high school athletic departments work hard to find new and creative ways to sustain and provide financial assistance for our student-athletes. We are always happy to partner with great programs like Good Sports that support our district and athletic departments in our mission of providing high-quality equipment, resources, and events for our community and students.”
COVID-19 impacted many students and athletes over the last several years — some students even stopped participating in school sports due to the spiderweb of issues radiating from the pandemic.
The Good Sports grants, combined with the bright and hardworking team members in the district's athletics departments, will help these athletes get back into sports and inject energy and hopefully help to expand sports participation.