March 21, 2023
During the Superintendent's report at Monday's board meeting, representatives from the Louisa St. Clair Chapter of the Daughters of the American Revolution honored several groups of students including those who earned Youth Citizenship Awards above. Some were not able to be present. See the Board Briefs article for more details.
The Board of Education held their regular meeting Monday, March 20 (off schedule due to spring break). During the Superintendent's report, representatives of the Louisa St. Clair Chapter of the Daughters of the American Revolution presented numerous awards. These included:
DAR Youth Citizenship Award - This award recognizes talented young individuals who exhibit traits of honor, service, courage, kindness, leadership, and patriotism.
- Brownell Middle School: Stella Koop (5th Grade), Adelyn Christian (6th Grade), Leah (Bella) Maldonado (7th Grade), Emma Reed (8th Grade)
- Parcells Middle School - Palo Ivanaj (5th Grade), Vanessa Singh (6th Grade), Hannah Grace (7th Grade), Elliana Orlando (8th Grade)
- Pierce Middle School - Brendan Orehowsky (5th Grade), Jack Stentz (6th Grade), Dalina Kokoshi (7th Grade), Julia Boyd (8th Grade)
American History Essay Contest
- 1st Place – Makenzie Waterson (Brownell Middle School)
- 2nd Place – Maria Melhem (Parcells Middle School)
- 3rd Place – Jamesetta Tucker (Brownell Middle School)
Good Citizens Award Winners
- Sophia Dragich - Grosse Pointe North High School
- Meredith Tiderington - Grosse Pointe South High School - essay contest and scholarship winner
Constitution Week Poster Winners (all from Parcells)
- Charlotte Dayne
- Nathan Harris (pictured above)
- Mirabella Whipple
The Good News report focused on March is Reading Month across all our elementary buildings, Kids Heart Challenge at Richard, Fishissippi Coney Island at Ferry, North's Lend Me a Tenor performances, and School Music Month activities (see article below for a celebration of band and orchestra achievements shared with email@example.com).
Deputy Superintendents Amanda Matheson and Roy Bishop presented a 2023-24 Budget Update particularly addressing board parameter 8 -- cost containment and reduction. That parameter asked for $3 million in cost reductions in Support Services, which Matheson defined within the presentation. Superintendent Dean emphasized we must be careful with our language around budget reductions as no cuts are "easy" and all impact our students and staff. But difficult decisions must be made to ensure a structurally balanced budget without using fund equity.
There were six action items which all passed 6-0. These included the minutes from March 13, the Human Resources report, the field trip to Stratford, Ontario for South (all international trips must have board approval), the North commercial foods kitchen improvements (from Career & Technical Education funding and the sinking fund), and the secondary buildings large audio visual (bond funding), all of which the board discussed 3/13. The sixth item was the approval of the remaining arts classes to move from the Industrial Arts (IA) building to the South Main building, which was also tied to the boiler replacement (moving from steam to hydronic) and the counseling area HVAC. A page of the website District News has been set up to address all of the questions brought forth by the board, facilities and finance committee and the community regarding that project. As stated above, this passed 6-0.
Action items for April 10 include the minutes from March 20 and a field trip to Germany for Grosse Pointe North.
Upcoming Board of Education (BOE) meetings include:
- BOE Community Engagement Committee - Wednesday, 3/22, 6 p.m., Barnes Professional Learning Space (PLS)
- BOE Policy & Contracts Committee - Wednesday, 3/22, 7 p.m., Barnes PLS
- BOE Regular Session - Monday, 4/10, 6:30 p.m., Brownell Multipurpose Room (MPR)
Dates for additional committee meetings are posted under the School Board dropdown; click BOE Committees. That section includes an updated description of membership for each committee as well as meeting dates, agendas and a link to the minutes. Agendas are also linked from the board calendar.
March is Music in Our Schools Month - focus on north end Band & Orchestra this week
March is School Music Month -- the perfect time to celebrate the latest achievements by our performing arts students! It has been a very busy month for our musicians at Parcells and North. Our bands, orchestras and Cchoirs have all performed in multiple events across the state and in concert halls ranging from Parcells Middle School (for Pre-Festival Concerts) to Stoney Creek High School (for the real deal festival after a snow day resulted in a rescheduled date), to Dakota High School (for MSVMA & MSBOA Middle School Festival), to Chippewa Valley High School (where our high school musicians participated in State Solo & Ensemble Festival), and all the way out to Alexander Music Building and Pease Auditorium on Eastern Michigan University’s campus (for MSVMA Choir Solo & Ensemble Festival & the Great Lakes Concert Band Festival). We are so excited to share with you all the resulting information showcasing the talent level of our Norsemen musicians.
MSBOA Band & Orchestra Festival (District)
Two weeks ago the Parcells Band & Orchestra students traveled to Dakota High School (Band) and Anchor Bay High School (Orchestra) to perform in the MSBOA Band & Orchestra district festival. Both groups played a full program of music—which has not been a requirement since before the pandemic—to a full adjudication panel. Both ensembles received Division II Excellent Ratings. We are very proud of our Parcells musicians and look forward to their continued success and growth as they advance to the high school ensembles carrying on our tradition of musical excellence. All of the hyperlinks below will allow you to hear the contest performances!
Parcells Middle School Concert Band - Division II (Excellent)
Kitty Hawk March - John Edmondson click to listen - they take a moment to load
Amber Skies - Jonathan McBride
Night Fury - Carol Brittain Chambers
Parcells Middle School Concert Orchestra - Division II (Excellent)
A Beethoven Lullaby - Brian Balmages
Echos of Bartok - Bartok / Walter Cummings
This past week on Monday, March 13th, the GPN Band & Orchestra Program traveled to Stoney Creek High School to perform in Michigan Schools Band & Orchestra Associations District Festival. This was the first time we brought all four ensembles together providing an opportunity for students of all grades to bond and show their unwavering support for one another. All four ensembles performed musically, and exuded class the entire time we were onsite as guests in another school. Both the Concert Orchestra and Symphony Band received Division II Excellent ratings. The Wind Ensemble & Symphony Orchestra performances earned Division I Superior Ratings, qualifying them for advancement to MSBOA State Band & Orchestra Festival in late April/early May. Should the groups decide to participate we will communicate as quickly as possible. We are extremely proud of our Norsemen Band & Orchestra students!
GPN Wind Ensemble - Division I (Superior)
Pride of the Wolverines - John Phillip Sousa
A Mother of a Revolution - Omar Thomas
Korean Folk Songs from Jeju Island - Frank Ticheli
II - The Forest Nymph and the Woodcutter (“Kyehwa”)
III - Celebration on Hall Mountain (“Nuhyoung, Nahyoung”)
GPN Symphony Band - Division II (Excellent)
New Horizons March - William Owens
The Lighthouse Keeps Watch - Brooke Pierson
GPN Symphony Orchestra - Division I (Superior)
Brandenburg Concerto No. 3 - Johann Sebastian Bach
Holberg Suite - Edvard Grieg
GPN Concert Orchestra - Division II (Excellent)
GPN Wind Ensemble Performs at Eastern Michigan University in the Great Lakes Concert Band Festival sponsored by Music For All
On Friday, March 17th, the GPN Wind Ensemble traveled to Eastern Michigan University to take part in the Eastern Michigan University Great Lakes Concert Band Festival (Sponsored by the Music for All organization). The purpose of this event is for students to perform in beautiful auditoriums and to receive feedback from world class educators/conductors from around the United States. This year, the clinicians were Albert Nguyen from University of Memphis, Elizabeth Peterson from University of Illinois (retired), Stephen Peterson from University of Illinois (retired), and Shanti Smith from the University of Oklahoma (Retired Major, Air Force Flight Commander & Associate Director of the Air Force Band).
The Wind Ensemble reprised their festival performance. In addition to performing on stage inside of historic Pease Auditorium, the ensemble received recorded comments from 3 of the 4 clinicians, and also a live clinic by Albert Nguyen. The full concert performance is available by clicking here.
Special thanks to our students for their hard work and preparation, and to Dr. Mary Schneider (EMU Director of Bands) and Dr. J. Nick Smith (EMU Associate Director of Bands) for the invitation to perform and for a wonderfully memorable experience for all of our Wind Ensemble members.
MSBOA Solo & Ensemble Festival Results (State)
This past weekend, Chippewa Valley High School hosted MSBOA State Solo & Ensemble Festival. Around 30 of our Norsemen Band & Orchestra students qualified for this event in early February. All students performed in front of one of eight judges, received a critique of their performance, and ultimately received a rating on a scale of I-V (I-Superior, II-Excellent, III-Good, IV-Fair, and V-Poor). In addition to a wonderful showing by all of our students, Ben Graham (Grade 11) received a perfect score of 100 on his Proficiency II Exam which included a prepared solo, scales assessment, and a sight reading exercise.
Listed below are all of the events that performed along with their results:
- Peter Moe - 9th Grade Solo Violin - Division I (Superior)
- Jean-Paul Shemmai - 9th Grade Solo Violin - Division I (Superior)
- Drew Behringer - Proficiency I Alto Saxophone - 89/Division I (Superior)
- William Murray - 9th Grade Oboe Solo - Division II (Excellent)
- Chloe Harb, Peter Hoffmann, Alexis Richardson, Maggie Favenyesi - String Quartet - Division I (Superior)
- Sarah Westrick & William Murray - Woodwind Duet - Division III (Good)
- Owen Johnston - Proficiency I Flute - Division I (Superior)
- Rowan O’Brien & Kaden Connell - String Duet - Division I (Superior)
- Rita Shemmai & Jean-Paul Shemmai - String Duet - Division I (Superior)
- Benjamin Graham - Proficiency II Viola - 100/Division I (Perfect Score - Superior)
- Madison Hays, Jessica Hoffmann & Maya Harb - String Trio - Division I (Superior)
- Juliette Aouad & Belle Kalus - Woodwind Duet - Division I (Superior)
- Elora Gee - Proficiency I Violin - 65/Division III (Good)
- Jessica Hoffmann & Peter Hoffmann - Strio Duet - Division I (Superior)
- Juliette Aouad - Proficiency I Clarinet - 75/Division II (Excellent)
- Andrew Behringer, Chloe Harb & Gavin DeFillippo - Saxophone Trio - Division II (Excellent)
- James Cramer, Ian Spriet, Charles White, Jack Rabaut & Maddie LoPorto - Brass Quintet - Division I (Superior)
Grosse Pointe North Chamber Ensemble Performs at State S&E Festival
The North Chamber Orchestra performed this past weekend at State Solo & Ensemble, earning a Division II (Excellent) rating. They performed Old Reinlender from Sonndala, a movement from The Danish String Quartets, Wood Works album. A huge shoutout to Chloe Harb, concert master of the chamber orchestra. She lead to group conductorless through a wonderful performance!
The GPN Chamber Ensemble is comprised of members Chloe Harb, Grace Rossman, Rita Shemmai, Peter Hoffman, Rodd Monts, Megan Robert, Makyla Williams, Madison Hays, Ben Graham, Alexis Richardson, Allicea Sommerville, Elora Gee, Else Torp, Maggie Favenyasi, Rayna Holley, Rowan O’Brien, Jae Gauthier & Kaden Connell.
If you have additional students or staff to celebrate, please send information, photos and short video clips to firstname.lastname@example.org and we'll gladly share! Watch School Pointes and the Weekly Update for celebrations of vocal music and South end band and orchestra soon!
CTE opportunities for next fall - check out EMT and Cybersecurity
It’s not too late for 10th and 11th grade students to add a Career & Technical Education (CTE) class to their 2023-24 schedule. The Emergency Medical Technology (EMT) class is back and offered as a year-long class.
EMTs and paramedics care for the sick or injured in emergency medical settings. Employment of EMTs and paramedics is projected to grow 7 percent from 2018 to 2028, much faster than the average for all occupations.
The district is also partnering with the Microsoft Technology Education and Learning Support (TEALS) program for the 2023-24 school year to enrich our cybersecurity offerings. Cybersecurity is one of the fastest growing industries in the U.S. and offers lucrative career opportunities. Check out this article in Fortune Education!
Interested students should see their counselors for more information about these great opportunities.
Update on Conferences
- Thank you to all the middle school families that participated last week.
- Elementary families received an informational email regarding conference sign-up Monday, March 6. The link to sign-up for elementary conferences went live at 5 p.m., on Wednesday, March 8. Conferences will be held March 22 & 23. Please note the half days before spring break -- see the calendar at the bottom of each Weekly Update.
Last chance to take the winter athletics survey
GPPSS conducts surveys of athletes and their parents/guardians each sports season. If you or your student participated in a winter sport, please take your version of the Winter Sports Survey by March 24th (before spring break). Summary results are shared publicly. If you wish to remain anonymous, please do not put personally identifiable information in the open-ended comment sections. Thank you for sharing your input as we seek to continuously improve our athletic programs!
- Parent/Guardian Fall Sports Survey - https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/ParentWinterSports23
- Student Athlete Version - https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/Winter23Athletes (new shorter student version this year per student input)
- No pressure parents and guardians, but so far twice as many student athletes have shared their input through this survey!
Police training at Trombly site 3/21 and 3/28
The Grosse Pointe Woods Public Safety Department will be participating in training on March 21st and 28th at Trombly. This will be an active shooter exercise but will not include GPPSS students or staff. We did not want neighbors to be concerned about an increased police presence at Trombly. This is proactive training just for their staff.
Something families and staff can do to help
Ensure your contact information in MiStar Parent Connect is current and accurate, including who is authorized to pick up your student (if you didn't get a snow day notification, be aware we will be using that same contact information for an emergency).
- We will use this information and multiple communication channels (phone call, email, text message (if opted in)) to provide accurate and timely information in the event of an emergency.
- If necessary, we may also use our District website (www.gpschools.org), district social media (Facebook https://www.facebook.com/GPPSS), Twitter (@GPSchools), and local news outlets may be asked to broadcast information.
Explain to your student that cell phones should not be used during an emergency unless directed by an adult. Your student must pay attention to instructions from trained personnel.
Mark your calendar now for the next Communities United in Diversity meeting Tuesday, April 18 from 6 to 8 p.m. at Kerby Elementary, 286 Kerby Road, Grosse Pointe Farms. The topic is social identity development and once again the discussion will be facilitated by Wayne RESA Climate, Culture and Equity consultants Lisa Kaiser and Dr. Terrance Scott.
Check out GPPSS Summer Programs
Summer Programs 2023 are now online! Go to gpschools.org to see GPPSS's 2023 offerings. These include:
- Summer Theater Camp presents Alice in Wonderland (June 20-30)
The lottery link will be open from April 3-14.
- Camp Invention (June 19-23)
- Camp O'Fun (June 20 - August 28)
Registration opens April 3.
- Summer Music Festival (June 19-30)
- Grosse Pointe Summer Choir (August 14-18)
Please note: The Summer Connection program will not run this year due to a change in federal grant funding requirements. A new program called Summer Pointes will be available to support learning loss for K-8 students in the area of literacy and numeracy. Families of eligible students will be notified in mid to late spring.
Calling Green Teams and parents interested in helping GP Garden Center
Grosse Pointe Garden Center is starting to plan an event for families and is looking for a team of representative parents to help them plan and host this event.
A description of the Gardening Morning
Date: Saturday, April 15, from 9 a.m. to 12 noon at an elementary school.
Purpose: to help families plan, design, and get materials to start or improve existing gardens in their yards.
Format: There will be several stations with experienced gardeners and horticulturalists giving 30-minute presentations and answering questions on topics that will help participants take their garden to the next level or simply start a garden. These topics will range from raised gardens, rain gardens, gardens for butterflies, vegetable gardens, perennials, composting, seed saving and more.
All participants will receive seeds, small perennials, tips and techniques with the idea that each family will leave with a starter kit for their spring gardens.
There will be activities for children at small tables and several demonstrations on plants , seeds, and butterflies.
Please call the Grosse Pointe Garden Center at 313-499-0743 and leave a message if you are willing to help plan or volunteer at the event.
Register by 4/10 for Young Fives and 5/1 for Kindergarten
We welcome our young learners to the district!
CLICK HERE TO BEGIN ENROLLMENT FOR KINDERGARTEN OR YOUNG FIVES.
For Young Fives, please submit this Y5 Lottery Preference Form by April 10th.
For questions about kindergarten registration, please contact the enrollment office, (313) 432-3083. Families with kindergarten students must complete enrollment prior to May 1 to be guaranteed placement in their home school. Young Fives placement will depend upon the lottery, so please fill out that form prior to April 10.
To review what was shared at our January 12, 2023 parent/guardian information night, CLICK HERE FOR MORE RESOURCES. Or click here to watch a video about our GPPSS Kindergarten program which includes Young Fives.