The Highlighter - November 2023
October 14th, 2023
Riley Elementary Principal Update
SJPS is excited to Introduce Andrew Tisdale as our New Riley Elementary Principal!
With a wealth of experience and dedication to educational excellence, Mr. Tisdale brings valuable leadership to Riley Elementary. His passion for fostering a positive learning environment aligns seamlessly with our mission at St. Johns Public Schools.
Andrew grew up right here in St. Johns and his current role is the Success Coach at St. Johns Middle School. Before joining the SJPS team, he worked at Potterville Elementary as an Academic and Behavior Coach and Portland High School as an Art Teacher and Coach. He is most excited to "have the opportunity to serve the Riley School community and to be able to continue to empower and challenge our future Redwings."
Behind the Scenes Staff Highlight
Behind the Scenes: Tracy Fox and Tami Bellingar Special Education Paraprofessionals (SSP) at SJMS
Tracy Fox and Tami Bellingar are essential members of the St. Johns Middle School team. On a typical day they work in general education classrooms, working with students that need extra help and support. They assist and support classroom teachers with whatever they might need in their classrooms.
Depending on a student’s needs, they develop accommodations and modifications for assignments. They also help by reading, scribing, organizing or taking a student that is struggling and/or a small group to go over the assignment together, giving those students a better understanding of what needs to be done. This level of academic support has a huge impact on the success of many middle school students.
Both have different schedules each trimester and are generally placed per need in classrooms with students that have learning disabilities or need extra help. Tami and Tracy have been in each classroom at the middle school helping with all classroom subjects. “We see the students in different areas, so we have to know it all!”
Tami has been with the district for 20 years, starting her career as a substitute teacher. Before joining the SJPS team, she worked as a stay at home mom. When the kids got older, she wanted to find a job in which they could still have family time together. Her role as an SSP has been something she says helps keep that family time as they enjoy holidays off, summers together and a schedule that works around her husband's schedule. Her two most rewarding parts of the job are
“1 - “Making connections with kids, who might not have anyone connecting with them anywhere else. Being able to find and talk with them about their interests. 2 - When we see a kid that we know can do the work, but has had some kind of barrier, who finally succeeds.”
Tracy has been with the district 19 years, the last 15 at St. Johns Middle School. Before joining the SJPS team, she spent 20 years working in daycare. Like Tami, she also started her career as a substitute teacher. While working as a substitute at Riley Elementary, she began working with a child who had autism. That led her to becoming certified to work with students with autism, working with that student in a one-on-one learning situation and following that student when they transitioned to middle school. From there, she helped with the development of the LINKS program, a program in which students help other students that need extra support, with guidance from a teacher. The most rewarding part of the job for Tracy is “When a student suddenly understands and you get that “ah ha” moment When they know they can do this. It is very rewarding.”
Although Tami and Tracy do not work together throughout the day, they do have a connection because they do similar jobs and work with the same students, just at different hours. They are able to use each other as sounding boards, which helps them find what is working well with students.
St. Johns Public Schools would like to congratulate Tracy Fox, who will be retiring at the end of the month! She has 8 grandchildren that she’s excited to be able to help her children with. She also loves to decorate and their five year plan includes redecorating and building an addition to their home, which will allow her husband and herself to host their growing family for events. She is also really happy to be back in the building next year, working as a substitute teacher once again!
- Eureka Elementary Holiday Concert - December 4th (6:30pm)
- Riley Elementary Holiday Concerts - December 6th & 7th (6:30pm)
- 7th & 8th Grade Winter Orchestra Concert - December 12th (7:00pm) SJMS
- 6th Grade/Jazz Bands Winter Band Concert - December 13th (7:00pm) SJMS
- Mental Health Series - How Parents Can Prevent Suicide - December 13th (6:30pm) Online
Social Media Highlights
Click photos to follow links
Eureka Elementary holds "Fun Run"
Title 1 Night at Gateway Elementary
The Title 1 Night at Gateway Elementary was a great chance for families to learn a few literacy and reading activities that they can enjoy together at home. Students and families participated in several challenges including the "Escape the Corn Maze" and "Math MashUp."
Buddy's PALS at SJMS
Students at St. Johns Middle School got a visit on October 25th from Buddy! Buddy's PALS Pet Assisted Learning is an all volunteer program that brings highly trained dogs and handlers into classrooms and other educational institutions to assist with everyday learning. "It's another tool in a teacher's toolbox."
7th, 8th, Concert and Symphony Orchestras
October 24, 2023
St. Johns Middle & High School Fall Choir Concert
October 26, 2023
SJPS Theatre Presents: Mean Girls
Video available for purchase at Ortmanproduction.com/sjhs
DVD of Full Show, Chapters, Custom Case
Online Streaming on any internet ready device
Photos: Link to Download and Print HD quality pictures of performance
Click photos to follow links
Varsity Swimmers and Divers set to Compete in State Finals
We are excited to cheer on our varsity girls swim and dive members as they compete in the D3 State Finals, November 17th and 18th at Oakland University.
Ella Schafer - 2 individual events not chosen yet
AJ Longoria - 50 Freestyle
200 Freestyle & 200 Medley Relays - Natalie Ott, Lily Howell, AJ Longoria & Ella Schafer. Alternates: Allyson Billings, Gray Roebke
Divers: Lindsey Smith, Natalie LaBean
St. Johns Cross Country Soars in Regional, State Finals
The Redwing girls varsity cross country team finished as Regional Champions at Dewitt High School on October 27th! Freshman Ava Schafer led the way for the Redwings as the individual Champion! Top 10 finishers were Abby Young - 4th, Clara Fletcher - 7th, and Miriam Kloha - 10th
The Boys team finished 2nd, one point away from defending their title. Isaac Staib was first for the Redwings in 5th position, followed by Matthew Schrauben (8th) and Xander Maliska (14th).
At the D2 State Finals (Michigan International Speedway, Brooklyn) the girls team finished 10th and the boys were 17th.
Full Results: Boys
23. Isaac Staib 15:46.2
135. Matthew Schrauben 17:08.5
141. Xander Maliska 17:15.0
147. Reagan Ward 17:18.6
164. Cullen Black 17:30.2
250. Cervantes Woodworth 19:32.8
252. Evan Billings 20:06.6
Middle School Boys Basketball Starts Season With Wins Over Dewitt
"The boys used great team defense to keep themselves in the game until the offense started clicking in the 4th quarter. Great team win! We will continue to work on being more efficient offensively." Coach Nevins (7th grade)
"We started a little slow for our first competition but we finished strong. Every player contributed to this victory." Coach Maloney (8th grade)
The Eureka Elementary Orbit - Last week was the last week Deputy Barber from Clinton County Sheriffs Department taught mini lessons to our third through fifth grade for eight weeks. Topics ranged from difference between the rules and laws to being safe on the Internet.
Redwings News (HS) - New Math Materials and Tools: The SJHS math department will be using ALEKS to help their students master course topics in Algebra I, Geometry, and Algebra II this year. ALEKS is a research-based, online learning program that constantly adapts to each student and guides them to what they are ready to learn. ALEKS is a personalized way for students to learn at their own pace. It figures out the topics that the students already know and guides them on a path to help them learn and retain more.
The Middle School Minute - Each month SJMS holds an Academic Intervention Day. Students follow a shorten class schedule which creates an extra hour for Academic Intervention time. Students who have missing assignments or are failing classes are given extra support by teachers. Students who are passing all of their classes and have no missing assignments have choice time to watch a movie, enjoy activities in the gyms, or play computer games.
Oakview South - We had a great math celebration on Halloween with about 120 families joining us! Parents and students were able to spend time together engaged in math activities and playing games. Thank you to all who were able to join us! Our next family event will be on December 11, 2023 and will be our 2nd annual family game night! Families will be able to join their students after school to enjoy playing a variety of strategy and learning games together. We hope to see you there!