School Bells: Program tonight focuses on preventing bullying

The Parent University, a program of the Ann Arbor Public Schools Student and Support Services Department, is offering a program about preventing bullying tonight, May 10 from 6-8 p.m. at Bryant Community Center, 3 W. Eden Ct., Ann Arbor.

Horacio Sanchez, president and CEO of Resiliency, Inc., will speak about “The Science of Understanding and Preventing Bullying.”  Why is bullying on the rise? Research shows that assumptions made about this behavior are false and interventions escalate the practice. Sanchez will explain why bullying occurs and ways that are proven to reduce and extinguish it.

The program is free and open to the public. Children are welcome to attend with parents and childcare is provided.

Other upcoming Parent University programs scheduled include:
• “Benefits of Reading to Your Child” – Tuesday, May 17 with Patricia A. Edwards, a professor of language and literacy at Michigan State University.
• “Reaching Nontraditional School Families in Nontraditional Ways” – Tuesday, May 24 with Patricia A. Edwards.
• “What Every Parent Should Know (the one thing that determines if your child will be successful)” – Thursday, June 2 with Horacio Sanchez.

Details: 734-994-2318 ext 52138.

Pioneer Water Polo Team wants can and bottle donations

In planning graduation parties and other functions this spring, the Pioneer Men’s Water Polo Team is asking the community to consider donating returnable bottles and cans to the team as a fundrdaiser. Representatives of the team will arrange pickup of all returnables.  Call Isabel Quelhas 734-930 9830 or e-mail her.

WISD expanding fingerprinting services

Washtenaw Intermediate School District is expanding its fingerprinting and background check services beyond school and daycare workers to include individuals applying for Driver Education License, Third Party Tester, and the Michigan State Bar.

The district has been performing criminal history and background checks for school districts for the past five years.  The service began in response to the passage of  school safety legislation requiring a criminal history check by the Michigan State Police and a criminal records check through the FBI for all school district employees and individuals who regularly and continuously work under contract in a school district, intermediate school district, public school academy or nonpublic school.

“Since that time, we have been able to service the needs of applicants for not only school employment, but daycare licensing and student teacher and volunteer placement, said Winnie Garrett, WISD’s Human Resources Director.  “And, we’re pleased to be adding services for these three new categories.”

WISD offers fingerprinting at its offices at 1819 S. Wagner Road on Mondays 8:30 a.m. – 10:30 a.m.; Wednesdays 2 p.m.-5 p.m. and Thursdays 2 p.m. – 5 p.m.
The cost is $69 (no checks please) and a photo ID is required.  Garrett said off-site fingerprinting for groups of individuals is also available.  To schedule the mobile unit, e-mail LaShonda Taylor.  Click here for online details.

U-M summer mentorship program available

Michigan Mentorships are available for high school students this summer in grades nine through 12.  Students select an area of interest and spend 8 hours between June 24 and Aug. 19 exploring this area with a University of Michigan graduate student.

Last summer, students were matched in aerospace and mechanical engineering, English, art and chemistry plus other areas of advanced study. Details of the mentorships are planned between students and their mentors.

The Michigan Mentorships program is arranged through a cooperative effort between U-M and The Washtenaw County Alliance for Gifted Education. Cost is $150.

Obtain applications from Elaine Fisher by calling between 9 a.m.-9 p.m. at  734 663-1706, through high school counseling offices or at Mallett’s Creek Library.  Applications are due May 24.

Center for Independent Living Awards John Weir Scholarship

The Ann Arbor Center for Independent Living has awarded Benjamin Case, a senior at Huron High School, the 2010 John Weir Scholarship.  The John Weir Scholarship is given to outstanding students with disabilities for their achievements in academic and extracurricular activities.

“I’m proud to have my disability; it has shaped me into who I am,” Case said. “I wouldn’t be the same without it.”  Case said advocacy has played an important role in his life and in getting to where he is today.   When he was younger, he said, “I started asking for the accommodations I needed (in school,) making sure I got them, and getting notes from lectures.  This made a difference that showed in my academic success.”

The John Weir Endowment Fund, which supports the scholarship, is held in trust and managed by the Ann Arbor Area Community Foundation.  Graduating high school seniors with disabilities in Washtenaw, Livingston, and Monroe Counties are eligible to apply for the scholarship, which the Ann Arbor CIL administers.

The late John Weir was a pioneer for individuals with disabilities in many ways and a founder of the Ann Arbor CIL in 1976.  “Back then, CILs were a new idea designed to provide resources to people with disabilities and to assist in ways that facilitated a more active life,” Lou Weir, John Weir’s brother, said.

The scholarship is intended to carry on the mission and beliefs that John Weir had. The Ann Arbor Center for Independent Living is a nonprofit community enrichment, learning, and advocacy center for individuals with disabilities and serious health conditions.  More information is available at

Clague’s Crowley earns ‘Celebration’ award

Clague Middle School teacher Courtney Crowley was awarded Celebration of Excellence award at the April 28 Ann Arbor Board of Education meeting. She was nominated for Outstanding Customer Service by parent Gundy Sweet who has an eighth-grader at the school where Crowley is the teacher consultant and case manager for autistic students.

“In our years with the Ann Arbor Public School system we have had the opportunity to interface with many people, perhaps more than the average family,” she said in her nomination. “While many of the people we have worked with have been very good, few have truly stood out as outstanding educators and advocates for our son.”

She continues: “When I met Courtney for the first time I was immediately struck by her warm smile, welcoming manner, and enthusiasm for what she does. In working with her now for the past 7 months those first impressions have held true, but I have also seen her limitless patience, terrific sense of humor, easy going style, high expectations of the students, creative thinking, and dedicated work ethic. Courtney shows a true commitment to her career and genuine caring for the kids with whom she works.”

Sweet said Crowley communicates well, shares her creative ideas with others and has compassion and empathy for her students.

“She is wonderful to work with because she truly listens to and tries to understand the underlying problem, and then works with the team to implement solutions,” Sweet said. “Her collective skills and genuine empathy are unique gifts that are not often seen in our society in general.”

Forsythe finishes 11th in national Knowledge Master Open

The Forsythe Middle School KMO Club competed in the Knowledge Master Open on April 21.  Of 649 teams in the country, the Viking Auks finished No. 11, within the top 2 percent of all teams in the competition.

The Viking Auks placed second in Michigan of 13 teams.  Forsythe’s score of 1,605 points was far above the national average score of 1187 points and the Michigan average score of 1,347. In addition, a team from Tappan placed third in the state and 40th in the country.

Knowledge Master Open is a national academic contest that challenges teams of students to answer questions accurately and rapidly, in all the subject areas and at all levels of difficulty.  Dan Ezekiel is the coach at Forsythe.  Details:

Students earn awards at SkillsUSA championship

At the April 16-18 annual SkillsUSA State Championship, Ann Arbor Student Home Building Industries Program student Chris Ziemba, a senior from Huron High School, won the Silver medal for second place in the Carpentry competition.

Ziemba took the gold medal at the SkillsUSA Regional Carpentry Competition at Washtenaw Community College qualifying him for the state competition. The Ann Arbor Public Schools Teamworks group finished in fifth place including seniors Mark Hugan (electrician from Pioneer High School) and Hernan Recendiz (plumber from Huron) as well as Huron juniors Brian Ziemba (carpenter) and Aaron Wyse (mason.)

John R. Birko is the program’s instructor and Joel Davenport is the paraeducator.

Click here for more student and staff achievements in Superintendent Todd Roberts’ “This Week in the Ann Arbor Public Schools.

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