Hornet Highlights

December 2019

A Time to Give

Once again, our Kearsley staff, students and community have come together to make Christmas a joyous time for some Kearsley families that may not have as much during the holiday season. Each year, through staff donations and student fundraisers, our Kearsley Christmas Charity program provides gift certificates to our families that need some assistance during the holidays. In addition, many of our staff members, student groups and local businesses "adopt" families to make sure every child has presents to open on Christmas morning. Last year the district was able to impact 161 Kearsley families. 128 of those families received gift certificates for clothes from the school totaling almost $16,000, while 33 additional families were "adopted."

We would like to also thank the many businesses that step in to help during the holiday season. While several groups and businesses adopt an entire family, others adopt multiple families or provide the district with thousands of dollars of toys to distribute to our needy families.

Thank you again for your generosity and for helping us spread the holiday cheer this time of year. Proud to be a Hornet!

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A Concert for the Ages

Kearsley High School is proud to present This Christmastide, a holiday concert that involves not only our current high school choirs, but alumni from throughout the years to help young and old get into the holiday cheer. We are fortunate enough to have retired director, Rick Bushey, come back to direct our alumni choir. Rick had such a profound impact on generations of Kearsley students and, when word spread that he would be directing the Kearsley Alumni Choir this year, over 300 alumni made plans to come back and join Rick on stage. Since this event became larger than the High School auditorium could accommodate, this once-in-a-lifetime event will be held at The Whiting on Saturday, December 14th at 7:00 p.m. Tickets are $8 and can be purchased at The Whiting Box Office. This wonderful event will be an event for the ages and is a testament to the lasting impact that Rick Bushey had on his students and our district.
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Weston Wonders Celebrate Thanksgiving

Weston's 1st grade students and staff enjoyed a community feast together. The teachers and parents came together to provide a delicious meal for some of our youngest Hornets. Through this meal, students learned valuable lessons about history, manners, helping others and the power of community. Furthermore, it was simply a time when students got to enjoy each other’s company, converse and build relationships.

They will never be forgotten

On August 4, 2019, Leann Wartella passed away having impacted the lives of so many students and staff in the short amount of time we had the opportunity to spend with her. Leann was so proud to be a teacher and dedicated 14 years in working at Armstrong Middle School where she taught Language Arts, Writing, and Social Studies. She inspiried all her students with her grit, quick wit, and her understanding and love.
Ed Councilor passed away on November 22, 2019, after teaching U.S. History and World History at the High School for almost 30 years. Ed also coached cross country, basketball and track at Armstrong Middle School for many years. Students and staff fondly remember him for his practical jokes and for his big heart. Whether he was coming up on Saturdays to work with students, dressing up as Santa Claus at the mall or spending countless hours working with the Special Olympics program, Ed always put the needs of others ahead of his own.

It is with heartfelt sorrow that the Kearsley family had to say goodbye to two wonderful educators who impacted thousands of lives. Their legacy will certainly live on. We will certainly miss Leann and Ed, two very special people with hearts of gold.

Holiday Cheer all month long

Middle School Holiday Band Concert

Date: December 10, 2019, at 6:00 p.m. in the KHS auditorium

Come join our middle school bands as they play many of the classic Christmas tunes.

High School Holiday Band Concert

Date: December 12, 2019, at 7:30 p.m. in the KHS auditorium

Enjoy our high school Symphonic, Wind Ensemble and Jazz bands as they entertain the audience with the music of the season.

This Christmastide featuring our Kearsley High School choirs and the Kearsley Alumni Choir

Date: December 14, 2019 at 7:00 p.m. at The Whiting auditorium.

The KHS Melody Makers and A Cappella choirs will sing along with our alumni to create a magical evening of music and entertainment. Information about tickets to this once in a lifetime event are listed in this edition.

KHS / AMS Holiday Choir Concert

Date: December 19, 2019 at 7:00 p.m. at the KHS auditorium

This concert will feature our middle school students singing everyone's favorite Christmas songs as well as our high school Treble Singers, Womens Chorus and Men's Chorus. These young singers are sure to set the mood for holiday cheer.

Bus Driver Appreciation Breakfast

Many of us struggle with driving with our own kids in the back seat let alone having 60 kids behind us. Driving a bus is one of the toughest jobs in the district, and Kearsley is fortunate to have an outstanding group of caring and dedicated bus drivers who always put the safety and security of our kids as their top priority. Just before the Thanksgiving break, elementary principals and central office administrators cooked up a breakfast for our drivers as a way to say "thanks." In addition, some of the kids helped decorate the room with signs of appreciation and Mrs. Howell's class at Weston made a song of appreciation for their drivers. Thank you again to our caring and dedicated drivers - you are the best!

Safety and Security Remains a Priority

Kearsley Community Schools continues to make safety and security a district priority. While reading, writing and arithmetic are the foundation of our school's mission, we also know that in order for kids to learn, we must create a safe and inviting learning environment. Last year the district instituted key-less fob entry to maintain locked and secure entrances to all school buildings and renovated the high school to have one secure main entrance like our other buildings maintain. With the help of a $202,000 grant from the Michigan State Police, the district is upgrading all school public address (PA) systems that will allow any staff member to put a building in lock-down from any phone in any classroom or office area. That ability to lock down and secure our children immediately when a threat occurs would certainly save lives and minimize danger should the district ever face a serious threat. In addition, the grant has allowed us to replace and expand our security camera capabilities. These new cameras have very sophisticated analytics and will help our security team and the local police departments gain live footage of the majority of the areas in our district, both inside and outside.
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A Note from Superintendent Walworth

So, what are the procedures that we go through in making a decision to close the schools due to inclement weather?

First, the roads are driven early in the morning by our transportation and maintenance staff. I also tend to drive the roads to get a feel for the conditions. Starting about 24 hours before the bad weather rolls in, the county superintendents begin discussion about forecasts and text late into the night and early in the morning to get reports from each other and the people driving their districts' roads. Typically, I am up by 4:00 a.m. to begin communicating with the transportation director and our maintenance crew that is at the school plowing and salting. By 5:00 a.m., all the superintendents are communicating again to share reports. We also rely heavily on the guidance from the Genesee County Road Commission. We are very fortunate to have a strong relationship with this agency to get reports of road conditions firsthand, usually by 5:00 a.m. They let us know what has been plowed and what hasn’t, as well as whether they are dropping salt. In many instances, the temperatures get too cold for salt to work.

In case of extremely cold temperatures, we also rely heavily upon recommendations from the Genesee County Health Department and the Genesee County Emergency Management offices, as well as guidelines by the Center for Disease Control and Prevention in determining when it is too dangerous for students to be outside for even brief amounts of time, such as waiting at a bus stop or walking to school.

It is never an easy call. If we close school we have people upset with us because “when I went to school, we walked through a foot of snow." If we don’t close, others will claim we do not care about the safety of the students and staff. That could not be further from the truth. Our first priority is and always will be the safety of our kids.

Gingerbread House Making Family Night

Once again our award winning pre-school program, The Pumpkin Patch, will host a building-wide event for all of our littlest Hornets. All of our little ones will be invited to work on their fine motor skills in making individual gingerbread houses. The fun and excitement will occur on December 12, 2019, from 6:30 - 7:30 p.m. in the Pumpkin Patch gym. This is always a wonderful event for families and is sure to get them all excited about the holiday season.