Tiger Tales

December 2015

Dear PKE Families, Friends, Staff and Students,

December is upon us which means we are moving quickly through the school months and I am so excited about the learning growth I am seeing throughout Pine Knob! The students are engaged daily in activities that broaden their thinking, capture their thoughts and challenge their knowledge. It's exciting to see and hear the conversations that take place not only in the classroom but also in the cafeteria, hallways and outside during recess.

Over the past few months we have been actively involved in learning about five of the seven habits through Leader in Me. I know many parents have shared their own excitement in hearing the language at home that has been cultivated here at school and are interested in learning more. I'm excited to share with you that you will be receiving more information as we continue on our journey and we're hopeful that we will be able to provide an informational night in the spring for you, too. The habits learned with the teaching of Leader in Me are more than just a tool used in school but truly a lifelong skill for all of us to embrace and to intertwine within our own lives each day.

I also wanted to share with you my exciting adventure in Washington D.C back on November 10th. It was my honor to travel to the nation's capital along with colleagues Lisa Drew (3rd grade teacher), Karen Kumon (4th grade teacher), CCS School Board President Steve Hyer and Superintendent Rod Rock to receive Pine Knob Elementary's National Blue Ribbon Award. The atmosphere at the ceremony was electrifying but nothing compared to the feeling I had when I spoke with our school secretary, Sue Lawrence, and she shared with me that the entire school not only was watching the livestreaming but that when PKE was announced the entire building erupted in a loud and proud cheer that could be heard throughout the building. My eyes swelled with tears of pride knowing that although I was there in person, the entire school was with me in spirit. Pine Knob Elementary staff, students and families never cease to amaze me with the sincerity in care, thoughtfulness and humbled pride.

Thank you to each and everyone of you who were able to make it to our Parent Teacher Conferences! We had nearly 100% attendance!!! Many parents shared with me their appreciation of our newly adopted method of sharing growth over time versus a simple letter grade. For many parents, I understand and empathize the confusion on where grades have gone and how secure, developing and beginning fit into comprehending how their child is performing in the classroom. I am hopeful you found conferences to be beneficial in this area and have had an opportunity to view the three part video series which explains SOAR (videos can be found later in this Tiger Tale edition). I am happy to meet with you if you would like additional information after viewing the videos.

I hope you have an amazing holiday season with family and friends!


Jodi Yeloushan


Upcoming Dates to Remember


4 Pizza Kit Orders Due

7 Ornaments for OATS Order due today

9 Late Start Day (9:05 a.m.)

15 Pizza Kit Delivery (5-6:30 p.m. in the gym)

17 Holiday Parties (most parties will begin at 2:30 p.m.)

17 Little Caesars Pizza Night

21 NO SCHOOL (Holiday Break: December 21-January 3)

ASL Celebration and Holiday Sing-A-Long*

Thursday, December 17 - 1:30 p.m. (Please enter through the cafeteria doors)

Families are welcome to join us as we celebrate the hoiday season and our school wide Academic Service Learning O.A.T.S. project. *Most classroom parties will begin at 2:30 p.m.

SOAR INFORMATION (System Of Assessment and Reporting)

Dear Parents,

We are excited to share this video series with you regarding our new System of Assessment and Reporting (SOAR) at the Elementary level. Our hope is that these videos provide you with information to build an understanding of this initiative.

As we move along in our journey with SOAR, we appreciate your partnership and feedback in growing this meaningful system to enhance children's learning.

Part 1: "The Why" of SOAR

Part 2: "The What" of SOAR

Part 3: "The How" of SOAR

Thank you,

Nancy Mahoney

Administrator of Curriculum, Professional Development & Grants

Message from the Superintendent


As the Clarkston Community Schools seek to cultivate thinkers, learners, and positive contributors to a global society, we fully realize that key dispositions of such thinkers include thoughtful questioning, continuously questioning (ourselves, our parents, and our teachers), and constantly and deeply wondering.

The fall of the year, as a transition to winter, is a splendid time to question, ask, and wonder. As we walk through the woods or down our streets, we can see and feel the seasons changing. What is happening? Why is it happening? Do the same things happen everywhere on Earth at the same time? These are amazing opportunities to wonder together about our world.

As children come home from school each day, we can help, as families, friends, and neighbors, to build these dispositions. We can ask our children: “What questions did you ask today? We can hold in our own minds the idea that our questions drive us as learners.”

Ron Ritchhart, a Harvard Researcher and author, wrote: “When Isidor I. Rabi won the Nobel Prize in physics, he was asked, ‘Why did you become a scientist, rather than a doctor or lawyer or businessman, like the other immigrant kids in your neighborhood?’ He replied, ‘My mother made me a scientist without ever intending it. Every other mother in Brooklyn would ask her child after school: So? Did you learn anything today? But not my mother. She always asked me a different question. Izzy, she would say, did you ask a good question today? That difference--asking good questions--made me become a scientist’''

Let us work together to cultivate in our children the disposition to seek deeper meaning in the around them.

It is with tremendous gratitude and deep care for children that I serve as your superintendent. Thank you for all that you do to make our schools and community such wonderful places to live and learn.


Rod Rock, Ed.D.

Superintendent of Schools

Follow Dr. Rod Rock on Twitter @RodRock1 Click on the following link to follow, respond and read Dr. Rock's blogs: rodrockon.blogspot.com

Student Technology Showcase at the State Capitol

Pine Knob Elementary will be represented at this year's Technology Showcase by 4th grade students Violet Bergman and Camden Williamson. Lori Banaszak, Technology Integration Specialist, Lisa Drew, 3rd grade teacher and Sharon Crain, Media Specialist will be leading the group to Lansing to highlight the importance of elementary coding clubs and showcase their coding projects.

We will be among 40 schools from throughout Michigan participating in this day long event designed to show state legislators how technology is being used to enhance classroom learning.

This December, PKE students focus on our school-wide Academic Service Learning project and the season of giving.

Students in each grade level will be making different ornaments to sell to parents, grandparents, aunts and uncles, and others to purchase. Ornaments will be homemade from the heart by students and sold for $1.00 (cash only). Please return the form to your child's teacher no later than Monday, December 7th.

Click on Ornaments for Oats Order Form. Click to view ornament samples (examples only).

"I may only be one person, but I can be one person that makes a difference."

Click on link to view ASL video: https://animoto.com/play/MjpgdoZy1TGeCM05C3sFGg

Leader in Me Assembly - Celebrate Habit 4 and Learn About Habit 5

Mrs. Minton's kindergarten class and Mrs. Compton's third grade class teach us a new song to celebrate Habit 4 Think Win-Win.

This month we also were introduced to Habit 5 Seek First to Understand, Then to Be Understood. Students from Mrs. Beattie's kdg. class and Mrs. Drew's 3rd grade class participated in a skit to demonstrate how students can see the same thing in many different ways. Ask your child to explain if they thought the box was black or white?.

Students learned that they can listen with their eyes, ears and heart. Habit 5 focuses on the importance of listening to others without being interrupted and trying to understand the importance of others feelings even when they are different from your own.

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Cub Scouts on Parade

You’ve watched the annual Thanksgiving Parade in Detroit every year, right? Did you ever wonder what goes into all of those incredible floats and costumes and BIG HEADS? PKE’s own Cub Scouts of Pack 499 got to visit The Parade Company for a behind-the-scenes tour of the floats and learn about the effort that goes into making such an awesome event for our community. Nearly 50 scouts and family members saw how floats were made and how they drive down Woodward Avenue…even if they don’t have a window or opening to see the street.

PKE’s Pack 499 has adventures like this several times each year. Sometimes it’s going to a baseball or hockey game. Sometimes they sleep over on a World War II submarine or under the stars on a baseball field. If your son is in 1st-4th grade and is ready for adventure, please contact Christa Ellingsworth at cle826@aol.com for more information.

Birthday Book Club Members

The following students have joined the Media Center Book Club and will celebrate a birthday in December:

Jack Drobot 12/2/2007

Samuel Horne 12/3/2008

Jackson Miller 12/6/2008

Sara Neumann 12/6/2004

Emily Sherman 12/17/2006

Nolan Payne 12/22/2007

Rachel Mauney 12/24/2005

Luke Shrout 12/27/2004

Ava Look 12/27/2004

Book Fair's Success Means More Books for the Media Center!


Thanks for making this year's Book Fair a success. We had an overwhelming turnout of visitors to the fair. You helped to increase your child's library in the classrooms by purchasing from their teacher's wish lists. The teachers appreciate your generosity so much. The gift of reading is priceless!

You also helped the Media Center to earn over $2,148 in profit. We also receive $400 in books right from Scholastic. It is wonderful to be able to increase and provide new materials to the Media Center's book collection.

All of this wouldn't have been possible without the dedicated parent volunteers who helped out with the Book Fair. We know that many things could not be accomplished at PKE without them.

Book Fair Volunteers:

Kenni Johnson, Kim Haener, Katie Charter, Nikki Howell, Kristen Byers, Stacy Swick, Stacy Garrison, Bethany Cicero, Ronda Marshall, Gretchen Robinson, Heather Hodgins, Andrea Carson, Laverne Woodward and Stefanie Crane.

Thank you all so very much!


Vicki Uebbing, PTA Chair

Lori Kerr, Media Tech

Tamara Riches, Media Specialist

Pizza Kit Sales - Orders Accepted Through December 4th

Another great fundraiser for PKE! Little Caesars also offers breads, cookies, pies and seasonings - everything you need for holiday parties and winter break!

Questions? Contact Lolita Benson at lolita.benson@comcast.net. Order forms were sent home with students on November 20 and are available on the school website. Pizza Kit pick up is December 15 from 5-6 p.m. in the PKE gym. Thank you for your support!

5th grade scientists explore A World in Motion

Our fifth grade scientists have been involved in A.W.I.M. (A World In Motion). The students have been working with Mr. Banks and Mrs. Apel to further his/her understanding of different forces and the effect on motion. During rotations they have been working in small groups to construct and test a Jet Toy. These are made out of recyclable materials and parts from an ordered kit. Our scientists are learning how to work in teams, collaborate, share ideas, test, make observations and then make modifications to the jet toy. As a team they they had to pick an envelope with a hidden mission. The missions were one of the following: Distance, Accuracy and Weight. As a team they needed to use prior knowledge, previous test results and observations to build a new Jet Toy to meet the specifications of the mission they picked. They spent time drafting a plan, testing the group's hypothesis and then making the proper modifications to meet the mission requirements. After the team met the requirements, they created a google slide show to present to Mr. Banks, Mrs. Apel and classmates. This is a wonderful experience combining math, science and creativity. A huge THANK YOU to Mr. Banks for helping us learn and grow these past few weeks!!!

Do you enjoy skiing, snowboarding or want to give it a try?

Join the PKE Ski and Snowboard Club. It's open to all students ages 7 and up along with their families. You don't even have to know how to ski and they will teach you. It's a great family activity and exercise too!

To sign up, just meet us at the Pine Knob Ski Resort on Thursday nights after 4 p.m. and we can fill you in about it then. For more information visit ski at pine knob or contact Amy Beattie, Ski Club Sponsor at 248-623-3900.

If you have not filled out an emergency form please click on the link provided: PKE Ski Club Emergency Form

ERIC Volunteers Give PKE Students the Gift of Reading

The reading department is very grateful for all of the wonderful people who share a part of their day with PKE students. The gift of reading is one of the greatest gifts of all. We thank them and wish them the happiest of holidays!

Erika Fox, Ilona Mitrius, Melanie Dolan,

Liz Meyer, Erin Berard and Rhonda Scott

From the PKE PTA...

December is a crazy time of the year, isn't it? Shopping, traveling, parties, visiting, gifting and so much more! I hope you don't get too overwhelmed!

In the midst of the giving season, one of the best gifts we can all give is our time: help out in a classroom for an hour, volunteer for an event, give someone that extra coupon you're not going to use at the store, build a snowman over the break with your kids, or help a neighbor shovel a walkway. it's these wonderful little things that mean so much and show our kids that there is more to the holidays than just the next great video game.

We are currently in the process of looking for PTA Board Members for the 2016-2017 school year. Are you ready to be a part of something great? If so, please contact Christine Cairns at christinecairns@att.net.

From everyone on the PTA Board, we hope you and your families have a wonderful winter break. Thanks to everyone who have given so much of themselves this school year already. When we return in January, our next PTA meeting will be on January 12 at 7 p.m. in the Media Center. Please join us.

Christine Cairns,

PKE PTA President

Seasons Greetings from All of Us

The entire Pine Knob Elementary staff wishes each of you a wonderful holiday break with your family and friends. We look forward to even more learning and leading together in 2016!

School resumes January 4, 2016.

Board of Education & Central Office Administration

Board of Education

Steve Hyer, President

Elizabeth Egan, Vice President

Kelli Horst, Treasurer

Susan Boatman, Secretary

Cheryl McGinnis, Trustee

Craig Hamilton, Trustee

Gregory Need, Trustee

Central Office Administration

Dr. Rod Rock, Superintendent

Shawn Ryan, Deputy Superintendent

Mary Beth Rogers, Executive Director of Business Services

John Lucido, Executive Director of Human Resources

Kathy Christopher, Executive Director of Student Support Services

Non Discrimination Clause

In compliance with Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972, Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, the Age Discrimination Act of 1975, the Americans with Disability Act of 1990, and the Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act, it is the policy of the Clarkston Community School District that the Board of Education does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, religion, national origin, sex, disability, age, height, weight, marital status, genetic information, or any other legally protected characteristic, in its programs and activities, including employment opportunities. For more information contact the Executive Director of Human Resources, 6389 Clarkston Road, Clarkston MI, 48346, (248) 623-5400. For more information regarding ADA, contact the Deputy Superintendent, 6389 Clarkston Road, Clarkston MI, 48346, (248) 623-5400.