The Pine Bough

Pine River School Newsletter, May 2022

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To Our Teachers

In recognition of Teacher Appreciation Week, let's take a moment to reflect on the incredible work of our teachers at Pine River! In my opinion, our teachers are heroes who work silently, changing and impacting the lives of our students without any need for acknowledgment. They were never in this job for money or prestige. Their work as educators has always been about the students because the teaching profession is a calling, a purpose.

As this school year is winding down and students, families, and teachers are feeling a bit exhausted, let us take time to recognize the great work and sacrifices that our teachers have made throughout the year for our students. In addition to taking up the task of educating students, they have guided them through daily obstacles and have played a part in shaping who they are and who they are yet to be.

I feel lucky to have the unique perspective in which I see on a daily basis these special small moments when teachers go out of their ways to impact individual students. In my role, I see our teachers working tirelessly to create and deliver interesting and high-quality lessons as well as providing essential social-emotional support so students are ready to learn. Our teachers spend long hours planning, preparing, communicating, and evaluating before and after school, at home, and on weekends. Our teachers know their students inside and out, almost as well as parents, providing strategies and instruction tailored to each child. They divide their time among dozens of students, pouring their hearts into developing each child to his or her greatest potential as a learner and a person. Our teachers care for and love our students.

Pine River families, I encourage you to take a moment to acknowledge the efforts of our teachers. Because we are all so busy, we often only reach out to teachers when there is a problem or concern. Let us take a moment in May to celebrate the work and dedication of our incredible teachers. Brighten a teacher’s day with one or more of these compliments:

  • Thank you. It is simple, but meaningful. People in education do not hear this often enough.
  • We appreciate you. Teachers do not just teach students. They prepare them for life. Saying you appreciate them reminds teachers that their impact goes beyond the classroom.
  • You deserve a break. Remind our teachers to recharge their batteries and take care of themselves.
  • Your sacrifice does not go unnoticed. Our teachers give up their personal and family time to attend meetings, prepare lessons, communicate with families, and grade student work. Tell them their extra work means a lot to you. That compliment will mean a lot to them.

From now until the end of the school year, let us support our teachers by working together and cheering them on. Their work is so important because it impacts our students and the future.

With pride,

Rachel Card, Principal

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To Our Support Staff

At Pine River, we support the whole village concept for educating our students and improving our school. All school employees work together to help students succeed. Our objective is to create a school culture that helps students reach their full potentials academically, socially, and emotionally. Standing shoulder to shoulder with our teachers in the work of educating and caring for our students are our secretaries, paraprofessionals, cook, noon aides, and custodians. They are the essence of our school and an integral part of our staff.

With the increase of students with special academic and health needs over the years, our support staff has taken on roles that are similar to nurses and social workers in the ways they tend to the health and social-emotional needs of students. Those support staff members working directly with children in classrooms have specialized skills and knowledge to help them facilitate the best learning outcomes for children with a wide range of special needs. Our support staff also plays an important role in ensuring students are learning in a safe and supportive learning environment. They foster heartening, trusting relationships with students and improve our school climate by modeling positive behavior and sending encouraging messages to students.

As with teachers, I have the privilege and pleasure of watching our support staff connect with students as individuals. They celebrate successes, provide support and strategies for navigating through challenges, and go out of their ways to make students laugh and smile. It is especially heartwarming to watch a student's bad day flip to a positive one through the efforts of a member of our staff. Their work is challenging and often exhausting, but the joy derived from the growth and development of our students is the greatest reward for their work.

If your child is positively impacted by a member of our staff, I encourage you to let that person know that her/his efforts are not going unnoticed. Our support staff members are the unsung heroes at Pine River, and I am so proud that they are part of our team!

With gratitude,

Rachel Card, Principal

National School Nurse Day

May 11th has been designated National School Nurse Day. Pine River is thankful for school nurse, Karrie Mackie, who spends every Thursday morning checking in on students with health needs and being on call to treat occasional boo boos. Mrs. Mackie has been especially busy this year monitoring and managing COVID-related situations throughout the district. We appreciate Karrie's care for our Pioneers!
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Summer School

The district's summer learning program, Summer Scholars, will be offered to students who qualify based on assessment data and teacher recommendations. We are in the process of identifying the students, and families will receive invitation letters very soon. The program will run from June 27th through August 4th (No July 4th, No Fridays, 9:00-12:00).
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Penny Wars

It was a spirited and exciting week as classes battled for the top spot in The Penny War! Mrs. Huston's class came out on top, and they have the honor of receiving a special plaque and a party of their choice. In second place was Mrs. Ursitti's class, and Mrs. Malburg's class came in third place. We did not win the war with Gearing Elementary, but we came extremely close. Thank you to Lauren Martin and Natalie Eifert for organizing this event and carrying buckets loaded with coins to the bank each day for counting. Together, we raised $5,653.99 which will pay for The Positivity Project, our Scholastic News subscriptions, and other programs for the upcoming school year. Way to go, Pioneers!

Plans are in the works for Dr. Card to go to Gearing to get pied and for our students to watch it remotely back at Pine River. :)

Penny War Champs ~ Mrs. Huston's Fourth Grade Class

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Thank you to Jen and Joe Real Estate One for sponsoring our Golden Dustpan Award!

April Golden Dustpan Award Winner

Mrs. Kenyon's second grade class won The Golden Dustpan Award for April! Each month, our custodians choose the class that keeps their room the cleanest. The winning class receives a pizza party, a class certificate, and the honor of displaying the Golden Dustpan on their hallway cubbie.

April Golden Dustpan Award

Positivity Project Resources for Families

The mission of The Positivity Project is to empower students to build positive relationships with others and be their best selves as individuals. Each week at Pine River, we focus on one of the 24 character strengths that everyone possesses. Through lessons presented daily by their teachers, our students learn to be more self aware and self confident in the content of their own character. In addition, they learn to understand and appreciate these character traits in others. Together, we are building meaningful relationships and connections with one another that are essential for learning and growing.

Below are some resources to help our families support The Positivity Project at home.

Positivity Project Calendar ~ 2021-2022

Character Cards

P2 for Familes, Pre-K-2

P2 for Families, Grades 3-5

Virtual Learning with the Positivity Project

Thank you to Bistro 428/Neiman's Catering in Marine City for sponsoring our Pioneer of the Month Program!

Pioneers of the Month

All of our students strive to be motivated learners, as well as model citizens. Each month we will honor students from each class who exemplify the following qualities:


  • Student prepares for classroom activities.
  • Student approaches learning with enthusiasm.
  • Student has made steady progress in the classroom.
  • Student has been working to his/her potential.
  • Student completes all assignments and homework.
  • Student has a good work ethic and is diligent.

Leadership/ Citizenship/ Character

  • Student demonstrates respect of self and others.
  • Student assists others in need.
  • Student shows acts of kindness.
  • Student demonstrates a positive attitude.
  • Student displays good conduct.
  • Student is a positive role model by example.
  • Student participates and puts forth full effort in all areas.
  • Student follows school rules.

Young Fives/Kindergarten

Mrs. Guzowski's Class: Jackson Quade

Ms. Brosky's Class: Tucker Daggett and Bella Pruccoli

Mrs. Malburg's Class: Emmy Sayers and Ruby Brenner

Mrs. Schneider's Class: Jamie Brennan and Matthew Culloty

First Grade

Mrs. Bean's Class: Brooke Hayek and Strider Thomas

Mrs. Jensen's Class: Jackson Weeks and Robert Horvath

Mrs. Trudeau's Class: Noah Lake and Madden Sullivan

Second Grade

Mrs. Dingman's Class: Destiny Sluck and Ben Talaie

Mrs. Kenyon's Class: Claire Kelly and Jaxson Kurylo

Mrs. McNeill's Class: Avery Valdez and Drew Langmesser

Third Grade

Ms. Dewey's Class: Hugh Sultemeier and Riley McCormick

Mrs. Dodge's/Mr. Spencer's Class: Eli Laurinec and Isabell Koehn

Mrs. Wahl's Class: A'leah Woods and Drake Kimmen

Fourth Grade

Mrs. Huston's Class: Amelia Jalosky and Russell Randall

Mr. Scillian's Class: Clyde Crankshaw and Amelia Pelka

Mrs. Ursitti's Class: Carter Richards and Ellie Gander

C.I. Class

Mrs. Wong's Class: Marcel Brunnemer

Yard Sign Pickup

Parents of our Pioneers of the Month may stop in and pick up a yard sign to display at home during the next month. Just buzz the office at the front doors when you arrive, and we will provide you with a sign.

Mission: The mission of the Pine River school community is to work collaboratively, providing an enriched curriculum that allows for intellectual, social, emotional, physical, and creative growth in a positive and safe environment, empowering all children to become productive lifelong learners.


Pine River Elementary is dedicated to the belief that all students can learn and achieve through the combined efforts of the staff, parents, students, and community.