East China School District News

Every Child.Every Day

March 22, 2021

Upcoming Important Dates

March 22 Belle River Kindergarten Registration 3:30 - 6:30 p.m.

March 22 Board of Education Meeting 6 p.m.

March 23 Gearing Kindergarten Registration 3:30 - 6:30 p.m.

March 24 Palms Kindergarten Registration 3:30 - 6:30 p.m.

March 25 Pine River Kindergarten Registration 3:30 - 6:30 p.m.

March 26 Half Day for all students

March 29-April 5 Spring Break

April 6 Classes resume

Message from the Superintendent

Dear ECSD Families,

With the sudden spike in COVID cases and quarantines in St. Clair County and specifically with middle school and high school aged students, the St. Clair County Health Department (SCCHD) recommended a pause in in-person instruction from today, March 22 through April 11.

We are not seeing that same increase at our elementary schools, so at this time our elementary students will remain on their current schedule. This was an unanticipated pivot to remote learning. As of a month ago the positivity rates in our county was at 3%, today the positivity rate is 18.2% with testing remaining constant. We will continue to follow the guidance of the SCCHD, as they have been supportive of schools since the beginning of the pandemic. Everyone's goal is to have students in school learning and participating in their extracurricular activities and we will continue to follow all of the safety protocols that will allow us to have that happen as soon as possible.

During our spring break I hope that everyone is able to take time to relax and enjoy the warmer days. We have been through a lot in the past year and it is important to focus on what we were able to accomplish during a global pandemic. ECSD is an amazing team of dedicated educators and families.



Kindergarten Registration Is Here!

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ECSD is Serving Meals During Spring Break!

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ECSD Announces the Opening of ECVA!

ECSD is excited to offer a virtual opportunity for our students with the launch of East China Virtual Academy (ECVA) in the Fall of 2021. This option for all K-12 students district-wide was designed to meet the needs of learners in our ever-changing world. Courses will be taught and mentored by ECSD teachers and ECVA will offer a full K-12 course catalog. For more information on ECVA, please visit the district website at https://eastchinaschools.org/schools/ecva/.

You can also contact the ECVA by email ecva@ecsd.us or phone 810-676-1300.

Palms Elementary News

Fourth Grade Science

This marking period in science, the fourth graders have been exploring Earth's Processes. Hands on labs focusing on weathering & erosion and volcanoes & the rock cycle have contributed to their learning about these topics.

Art Class

Mrs. Cousino is teaching our art class at Palms while Mrs. Nowakowski is out of the building. She has been doing a fantastic job!

The 2nd grade at Palms, Mrs. Lowhorn's class and Mrs. Visnaw's class, did a Directed Draw with white colored pencil and black paper. They created Ivan's face and framed them with a color of their choice. The students did a fabulous job!!

The 1st grade at Palms, Mrs. Cabanilla's class and Ms. Reed's class did an extremely hard project of folded black paper and drawing an Ivan face on grey paper. They glued the face on the black paper and did a great job!!

Ms. Minano's kindergarten class cut out Ivan's hand and then painted their hand to transfer onto Ivan's. They were amazed at how little their hands were compared to Ivan's hand.

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March is Reading Month!

For March is Reading Month Palms is reading The One and Only Ivan for One District, One Book. The book is based on a true story about a silverback gorilla, Ivan, who is on display at a strip mall. Ivan had a passion for painting. Ivan’s body was caged, but his mind roamed free through his art.

Palms has many activities and opportunities for this month for students who like to express themselves through art like Ivan and to show off their talents. One activity we are doing is hosting an Art Show where the student body will be voting on artwork that they have created. There will be prizes for first, second and third place, in upper elementary and lower elementary. The first-place pieces will be spotlighted and hung in the school. We asked the students to be creative and use their imagination. They stepped up to the plate and definitely sent in some great art pieces!

The One and Only Ivan

The One and Only Ivan has Palms going in many different directions for March Is Reading Month. A few of the Palms' activities include:

  • "Books are Groovy" - Wear Tie Dye Today
  • "Readers are Leaders" - Dress for the job you would like one day
  • "Dress in Green" - Recycle a book today
  • "It's a Jungle Out There" - Dress for a Safari Today
  • Enter your original art piece for the Palms Art Show
  • "Palms Pride Day!" - Wear your Palms Gear!

Palms Elementary Staff Spotlight

Donna Versteegden is a 5th grade teacher at Palms Elementary. She got her undergraduate degree at Oakland University and her Master’s degree at Saginaw Valley University. She is married to Brian and they will celebrate their 26th wedding anniversary this summer. Brian is a 6th grade teacher in Utica Community Schools and is finishing his 26th year of teaching. They have 2 beautiful children. Katy, 20, is a sophomore at Oakland University in the nursing program. Evan, 17, is a senior at Dakota High School and plans to have a career in HVAC someday. The family also shares their home with Bentley, a 3 year old Golden Retriever that is everyone’s favorite family member.

Mrs. Versteegden enjoys traveling, reading, and cooking. Her favorite destination is Oahu, Hawaii and plans to go back next summer. Hatchet by Gary Paulsen is her favorite book. She has read it to every class she has taught and still finds it exciting. Most Sundays during the school year, Mrs. Versteegden can be found in the kitchen cooking a big dinner for her family. The most requested dinner is her “famous” Chicken Marsala.

Mrs. Versteegden has had the privilege of working at Palms for the entire 22 years she has worked in ECSD. She loves Palms because of how unique and small it is. The staff, parents and students are like a family and it shows. She has kept in touch with many of her former students throughout the years and enjoys watching them become adults and begin families of their own. Her favorite part about teaching 5th grade at Palms is getting the students ready for middle school. She loves to see how they grow and mature throughout the year. She is so proud to be a part of the Palms family.

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Give Your Child A Great Start!

The Great Start Readiness Program (GSRP) is a state funded preschool program for eligible children who will be four years old on or before September 1st. This program covers the key areas a child needs to be ready for Kindergarten. Applications for the 2021-22 school year are now being accepted! The application and more information can be found by clicking on the links below:

Click the link below for additional information

Click the link below for an online application

For additional questions, comments, or concerns, please contact:

Chris Klecha, GSRP Enrollment Specialist
(810) 676-1010

Contact Information

Superintendent Suzanne Cybulla can be reached at scybulla@ecsd.us or by calling the East China School District at 810.676.1018.