December 2017 Newsletter

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The Hughes Muse

As we approach the holiday break and I consider ways to keep my 1 and 2-year-old sons occupied, I can't help but wonder what this will look like when they're in middle in high school, when they will be faced with so many more distractions, so much more pressure, and so much less direct contact with me and their mother.

Peg Tyre's book, The Trouble WIth Boys, explains why and how boys' academic achievement is in steady decline while girls' is ascending. And while I don't agree with all of the author's assertions, the data is unquestionable. In our program, for example, 6th grade is almost 50% boys, but by the time they get to 12th grade that number is 18%. As Tyre outlines in her book, this is the case in schools across America, rich and poor, rural and urban, public and private.

What happens between 6th and 12th grade? Tyre explores this in depth, but according to my informal poll of our students, somewhere along the line, it becomes uncool for boys to do well in school.

So my challenge as a father and educator, and one that I extend to all of you, is to make sure that all of our students, but especially our boys, understand that these two can go hand in hand, and if you have to pick one, doing well in school is a much better long-term investment.

As I tell my students all the time, it's okay to be smart and cool.

Happy Holidays,

Mr. Hughes

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Thurston Updates

  • College acceptance letters are rolling in for our Eagle Scholars. So far our seniors have been accepted to Michigan State, University of Alabama, Albion, Alma, Michigan Tech, Central Michigan, Ferris State, Wayne State, Eastern Michigan, Grand Valley, Bowling Green, and Capital University. They'll be hearing more (hopefully good) news over break.
  • The Michigan State visit on November 30th exceeded expectations. Specifically, the opening presentation by Dr. Clarence Underwood was as riveting as it was informational. Check out an excerpt here.
  • As part U of M's Michigan Student Caucus, Charles McCants, Antony Gordon, and Mackenzie Gajda presented a proposal on school nurses to a congressional subcommittee at the state capitol. Their proposal was su impressive, that Representative Adam Zemke (D - Ann Arbor) asked that our students follow up with him about turning their proposal into actual legislation. Dr. Jeff Stanzler, U of M professor and coordinator of the MSC, had this to say about our students.
  • Several Eagle Scholar alums shared their experiences from freshman year of college at Thurston's December BASE ( Black Awareness Society for Education) meeting.

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Pierce Updates

6th Grade ESP

The 6th grade Scholars have been making great progress in Language Arts this month. With the implementation of "No Red Ink" software in its entirety, they have been focusing heavily on grammar and syntax. However, this facet of their Language Arts class is largely independent, and as such a gentle reminder for them to do it at home is always helpful. If you haven't seen "No Red Ink" in action before, have your child show it to you. It is a pretty neat program!

7th Grade ESP

7th graders traveled to Wayne State University this month to attend a showing of A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens, as part of their unit on Drama in Language Arts. The cast and crew of the production were extremely impressed by the 7th graders. They shared the auditorium with four other school groups ranging from elementary school age children to high schoolers. Our students were noted as being the most respectful during the performance, and for asking wonderful, thought-provoking questions to the cast and crew following the performance. This is the Pierce way and the Eagle Scholars Program is extremely proud of each and every 7th grade student who attended.

8th Grade ESP

8th graders have continued their Thurston shadow days this month. From their feedback, the experiences have been really positive. They feel they are getting the chance to see THS from the point of view of a student, as they will be students there in a few short months. These shadow days facilitate connections with older students and teachers in order to make that transition from Pierce to Thurston so much easier.

General ESP

The Eagle Scholars Leadership Team has instituted "Community Building Days." The time is used to bridge the gaps between students in different grade levels. It is an informal gathering of students in which they play games, converse, share tips for success, and engage with each other. The Leadership Team is tasked with fostering a sense of community and feel that this will go a long way to achieve that goal.

December is Respectfulness month at Pierce, and as such, it is expected the Eagle Scholars set an example for the rest of the school. All scholars should remember that it is a privilege to be a part of ESP and that citizenship is a key requirement of the program.

Do you know someone who would make a Great Eagle Scholar? If so, the application for the 2018-2019 school year is open. The Eagle Scholars Program looks forward to robust and thorough recruitment season.

Important Dates

  • 1/8: School Resumes
  • 1/15: MLKJ Day--No School
  • 1/19: 5th grade orientation--half day for students
  • 1/26: End of Semester 1--half day for students
  • 1/26: NJHS Service Hours due to Mr. Parsons/Mrs. Denton

For all other Pierce and district-wide dates to remember please refer to the district calendar.

"Even if you fall on your face, you're still moving forward." - Victor Kiam

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