April 2017 Newsletter

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Interesting Ted Talk

I came across this talk by the former Dean of Freshmen at Stanford, who offers an interesting perspective on raising our middle and high school children during the ultra-competitive climate for admission to "elite" schools. It struck a chord with me as an educator and as a parent. Thought you might find it interesting!

Thurston Updates

Eagle Scholar Award

Senior Eagle Scholars with a 3.0 or better who have taken at least five AP courses are eligible for the Eagle Scholar Award, which will be presented at Honors Night. Email Mr. Hughes at rory.hughes@southredford.org for an application.

U of M Visit

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

We hope to cross paths with several Thurston alumni who are attending or have recently graduated from U of M: Nigel Charlston, Esti Gajda, Greg Meyer, Anthony Mufarreh, Melissa McCurry, Paiton Podojil, Lia Payne, Lexii Ialungo, and Joe Oliver. The U of M pipeline will continue next year with current seniors Zach Lassen, Katie Rozmys, and Maria Rozmys.

U of M Partnership - International Poetry Guild (9th and 10th graders)

Honors English 10 teacher Rachel Bomphray reflects on her trip to U of M to celebrate a three-month poetry project in which Thurston students connected with mentors at U of M.

22 students went with me to the Uof M campus and after a dinner of pizza on the steps of Angel Hall (which I explained to them is where university students take their English classes), we went to the School of Ed and they met the college student mentors who've been giving them feedback on their poems all semester.

As you can see in the photos below, they were grouped with a college student that they were able to get to know. The college students had prepared a collage of their college experience and then Thurston students had time to ask any questions they had about any aspect of college. It was great!

Afterward, the groups created silly poems together (with newly invented words) and read them aloud to the class. I included two videos of these read-alouds below.

Before leaving, I took my Thurston students to the diag where we sat in a circle and shared poems with each other that they have written this year. It was powerful.

Many students did NOT want to leave. They said things like "I never want to leave college" and seemed moved by the experience.

I'm hoping to continue this program next year and I hope to make this trip a tradition. The teacher at U of M and I talked about how we can make the trip even stronger next year.

Pierce Updates

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!

Eagle Scholars Orientation (Incoming 6th and 9th graders and those new to the program)

Monday, May 22nd, 6-7:30pm

26255 Schoolcraft Avenue

Redford Charter Township, MI

Please mark your calendar and be on the lookout for an Evite for this important event!

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: goo.gl/05Wo2h

  • 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

  • Hippocampus.org: 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!