May 2017 Newsletter

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The Power of Introverts

I wanted to share this talk by Susan Cain, author of the best-selling book, Quiet: The Power of Introverts (I highly recommend it!). She provides an interesting perspective on how introverts are often misunderstood and underappreciated. I think there's a lesson here about how we think about raising and educating our less outgoing children.

Thurston Updates

Eagle Scholar Award

The first ever Eagle Scholar Award will be given at Honors Night to one of the 16 students who will graduate from Thurston having taken at least five AP courses while maintaining a 3.0 GPA. Here they are:

Smith, Asha

Early, Kai

Robb, Dale

Bodley, DeQuan

Cruse, Andrea

Van Well, Dimitri

Jackson, Jordan

Johnson, Kame'a

Allen, Joseph

Burch, Jalen*

Abela, Megan*

Drake, Gillian*

Pevovar, Trevor*

Lassen, Zach*

Rozmys, Kaitlyn*

Rozmys, Maria*

*indicates 3.5+cumulative GPA

Congratulations to Gillian Drake, recipient of the first ever Eagle Scholars Award. Gillian received a $500 scholarship.

U of M Visit

On May 18, 2017, Thurston scholars traveled to the University of Michigan-Ann Arbor for a campus tour and presentation on what it takes to get into U of M.

Key takeaways from the visit:

  • U of M looks at SAT and ACT scores within the context of a student's high school. So, for example, a 1200 in a school where the average is a 900 is better than a 1500 in a school where the average is 1400.
  • U of M is committed to offset 100% of the unmet financial need of those who are admitted.
  • Campus life is so much more convenient now than it was twenty years ago!

Pierce Updates

Eagle Scholars Leadership Team

As announced in previous editions of our newsletter, Pierce Middle School will have an Eagle Scholars Leadership Team, to assist with the running of the program, development of the policies, and creation of a community of scholars in the building. We are pleased to welcome the following students to the team:

Representing 7th grade for the 2017-2018 school year:

Jenacy Cardwell

Elle Hubbard

Representing 8th grade for the 2017-2018 school year:

Bethany Carter

Jewel Chattam

Our 6th grade representatives will be selected in October, once they've had time to acclimate to Pierce and the Eagle Scholars Program. Congratulations to all members of the Leadership Team!

Summer Homework

As the school year rapidly draws to a close, students need to remember that they still have some work to do. This isn't meant to stop them from enjoying some time away from school, but simply to keep them engaged. With this in mind, please take note that all homework assignments will be posted to the new Google Classrooms for each grade. The classroom codes are as follows:

Incoming 6th graders: 4tum7a1

Incoming 7th graders: wlywxv

Incoming 8th graders: iginvp

Please login to the classrooms as soon as possible, all summer homework will be uploaded by June 12, 2017 at 8pm. This summer students will be focused on Math and Social Studies. There will be help available to students who need it throughout the summer. Mr. Parsons has graciously agreed to be available for assistance every Wednesday from 10:00 AM to 12:00 PM this summer. He will be in the Pierce Media Center, so feel free to come see him with questions throughout the summer.

U of M Partnership - 6th graders, Place Out of Time

In the Place Out of Time simulation project our 6th grade ESP social studies classes worked with professors and university student mentors as well as other middle school and high school students from around the country. In this project students needed to consider a complex array of human, national, cultural and moral issues, all seen through the lenses of the trans-historical cast of characters portrayed by the student participants and their university student mentors. This winter we explored the ethical, legal and cultural dimensions of a recent case in which a high court in Italy overturned the conviction of a homeless man for stealing approximately five dollars worth of food. The case dealt with ethical, legal, and cultural issues, and provided our students with a compelling context in which to explore questions of economic and social justice.

The majority of the work took place on The Place Out of Time Mosaic website where students posted responses to questions, artifacts in the exhibit hall, and court testimonies all in keeping with the character they chose to research. Two of our students, Erynn Miller and Elle Hubbard were chosen as Court of Cassation Supreme Court Justices and were given Votes of Confidence by other participants in the project to make a decision in this case. Students received these Votes of Confidence by posting their legal philosophies also in keeping with their character.

We are in the process of wrapping up the project in the next week or so. A huge highlight was a field trip to University of Michigan Ann Arbor where students met their university student mentors, the professors and other local students who participated in the project from Ann Arbor and Grosse Pointe. Students took part in discussion groups led by their university student mentors during the afternoon at U of M's College of Education building. This project was done in addition to our 6th grade geography curriculum and our students have so much to be proud of!

Check out some pictures and video below!

Summer 2017 Enrichment Opportunities

Mr. Parsons put together a comprehensive list of summer enrichment opportunities with dates, cost, etc. Please use this awesome resource to keep your child engaged this summer!

Study Tips (revisited)

While I know you are probably aware of all of these tips, I figured it couldn't hurt to share them; these all come from my own independent research, experience as a teacher, university instructor, and student. To dig a bit deeper, check out the book Making it Stick.

  1. Make sure your child has a quiet, peaceful place to study Sunday through Thursday.
  2. Encourage your child to study in 25-30 minute increments broken up by 5 - 10 minute breaks.
  3. If possible, make sure your child's phone is turned off and in another room.
  4. Have your child complete "off-line" homework, then online homework.
  5. If possible, have your child study at a desk, free of clutter, with a desk lamp.
  6. If your child prefers to study with music, make sure the music is instrumental. Some background here. While students often say "It helps me concentrate," they are often fooling themselves.
  7. If possible, make sure your child is not in front of any screens one hour before bedtime.

Requirement Reminder


  • Maintain a 3.0 GPA in core classes
  • Display exemplary citizenship
  • Complete minimum of 5 hours of community service per academic year


  • Maintain a 3.0 GPA
  • Participate in at least one extracurricular activity beginning 10th grade
  • Take five AP courses (one of which must be AP Lang & Comp)
  • Apply to at least four 4-year institutions
  • Complete a capstone project

Academic Support


Weekly Study Session

  • Wednesday in the Media Center 3:15-4:15 pm

Homework Clinic

  • Monday - Friday, 7:50-8:20 am

  • Mondays and Thursdays, 3:15-4:10 pm


Weekly Study Session

  • Thursdays in the Media Center, 2:45-3:45 pm

After school tutoring

  • Mondays, Wednesdays, and Thursdays in Room 505, ` 2:45 - 3:45 pm

Advisory (Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays, 10:33 - 11:17)

  • Silent study time on Mondays, travel to your teachers in the classes in which you are struggling on Wednesdays and Fridays)

Pierce and Thurston

Schedule an appointment with Mr. Parsons or Mr. Hughes

  • Make an appointment at this web address:

  • Mr. Parsons is an alumnus of the program-class of 2012; he’s been in your shoes and he wants to help! He can help with homework, study skills, organization, etc.

Online Resources for Academic Support

  • Quizlet: Flash card website with content from every class and level on the academic spectrum

  • Khan Academy: Free educational videos covering a wide variety of math and science concepts from grade K-12

  • Free educational videos and tutorials for students struggling with every subject between grades 6-12.

  • GoConqr: Social media site created for students to connect with other students working on similar topics, and to help each other study and provide tips.

Please take a minute to provide some feedback below!