Congratulations to our graduates of the Class of 2023! It is so exciting to see the students achieve their goals (whether it’s preschool, kindergarten, middle school, high school, or Project Search graduation)! Thank you to all of you who have worked with and supported our students across the region. Your commitment to our students is a major driver for the long-term success of our kids!
As our school year draws to a close, take time to reflect on what you have accomplished and learned this year. What brings you most joy over the year? Of what are you most proud? Often, we forget to celebrate the great or small works that are part of our daily lives. I believe that we need to reflect on the year, take note of work to carry to the next year, and have a great big celebration of what has been accomplished.
I am very pleased to celebrate that the new EUPISD Learning Center in Kincheloe has officially opened! Many of our staff have moved into the renovated RJ Wallis building. Our students will begin attending for summer school. An official opening ceremony will be held in August. This transition has been a multi-year process. It is exciting to see our new home for many of our staff and our students.
Have a great end to the school year! I hope each of you has a wonderful, relaxing summer! Be well!
It’s May 1st and there is a huge snowstorm projection for much of the UP! I don’t know about you, but the year seemed to fly by from January to May. The last few weeks of the school year are always a whirlwind of activities. Remember to breathe – take a walk and enjoy the season – even if Mother Nature is confused!
I was excited to see the House and Senate proposed budgets for the next year. Each proposal has significant investments identified for education. Of significance, both proposals recommend funding special education at 100% of actual costs! This would be a major increase and our students will benefit immensely. The next phase is the consideration of these proposals, the governor’s proposal, and adoption of a budget. Let you legislators know how we appreciate the increased investment in our students!
National Teacher Appreciation Week is May 8 – 12, 2023. We extend this week to include all educators, regardless of position in our schools. Every single school employee can make a difference to our children. Thank you for doing your best every day! You never know what a smile, or comment, might mean to our students, or your colleagues. Thank you, thank you, thank you!
Right before spring break, I had the opportunity to serve as a judge for the FIRST Robotics Competition at LSSU. I was immensely impressed with the students, staff and volunteers who made up the forty teams competing. If you have never been to a robotics competition, I encourage you to attend, or volunteer. The sportsmanship, creativity, and engineering exhibited are truly awe-inspiring. Congratulations to Team #4392 - The Deceivers (Brimley Area Schools) for winning this event and receiving the Judges’ Award; to Team #4988 – Yooper Troopers (Les Cheneaux Community Schools) for being awarded the Team Sustainability Award; and to Team #5706 – Tahquamenon Phenomenon (Tahquamenon Area Schools) for receiving the Team Spirit Award.
We are excited that the new EUPISD Learning Center is nearing completion. The renovation of the old R.J. Wallis building in Kincheloe will provide a new home for our regional special education center, currently housed in Rudyard Area Schools. Our special education staff will be moving to the new facility this month, as well as some of our business office staff. Our goal is to have our students in the new building by May 1st, pending final renovations and inspections. A birth-three years childcare facility is projected to open in the fall. An open house will be announced for later this summer. Happy spring!
March is Reading Month! Most of our schools’ staff focus extra effort on fun activities during the month to encourage students to read. But literacy instruction and support happen all year long. Why is March a special focus on reading? March was originally designated as Reading Month to honor Dr. Seuss’ birthday, but it has grown across the nation as an intentional way to focus on reading, whether for information or for entertainment. What are you reading currently? Find a good book and spend some extra time this month reading.
March is also a time to celebrate employees. The first Friday of March is designated as National Employee Appreciation Day. This day was created in 1995 by Dr. Bob Nelson, who authored 1,001 Ways to Reward Employees. Our employees are very gifted individuals. Regardless of job function or work location, thank you to all EUPISD employees for making a difference every day! You are appreciated!
February is designated as CTE Month. Our region continues to develop and expand career and technical education opportunities for our students supported by our regional CTE millage. Currently, there are twenty-one CTE programs for our EUP students to attend. The classes include Business Administration, Accounting/Finance, Digital Business, Financial Marketing, Education, Natural Resources, Cybersecurity, Welding Technology, Small Engine Repair-Marine, Mechatronics & Robotics, Woodworking-Cabinetry, & Furniture, Construction Technology, Health Sciences, Law Enforcement, Drafting, Machine Tool Technology and Automotive. We’re excited to support the continued growth of opportunities for our students!
Happy New Year! We’re almost half-way through this school year. How are you feeling about the year? New Year’s is often a period of reflection and refocusing for many of us. As we return to school after the holiday, our students benefit from getting back into school routines. Our schools provide a safe, nurturing environment for our students. The relationships we have with our students provide the foundation for an effective learning environment. They don’t care what you know until they know you care, right? I encourage all of you to reflect on the practices and experiences over the last semester. What has worked well? What has not worked so well? Let’s be intentional in our interactions with our students and co-workers and make 2023 the best possible year!
Take a moment this month to thank a school board member. January is School Board Appreciation Month. Our board members are responsible for making policies that govern our districts. Board members are tasked with carrying out the state’s education obligations, but at the local level. School boards often face tough decisions, typically without much thanks for their voluntary service. To all our school board members, thank you for your service to our students, schools, and communities!
We have so many great things going on in our region! Did you know that one of our local school districts is building housing? Housing is an extreme need in the EUP, and often impacts employers’ ability to hire and place new employees.
Les Cheneaux Community Schools is partnering with the Sault Ste. Marie Tribe of Chippewa Indians to build housing in the area. On land purchased by the Sault Tribe, the Geometry in Construction class is building a small house. The intent is for a class to build one house a year. The Geometry in Construction class is taught by Scott Barr and Jessica Derenzy, and includes sophomores from Les Cheneaux Community Schools. This is a great utilization of the regional CTE millage. Local community members are sharing their expertise and teaching plumbing and electrical processes, providing insight into more trades.
What great work by our students, local community members and CTE programming! What a great partnership between our schools and the Sault Tribe!
Please take time this month to breathe and enjoy the season! I wish each of you a peaceful December!
What a positive start to our school year! I’m so thankful to see our students coming together around the
region. We had a great turn out of our local schools for CTE Manufacturing Day and the Holocaust
speaker. Seeing our students and the normalcy of Halloween parades, Homecoming celebrations and
sporting events makes me so thankful! The ability to return to in-person training for staff also brings me
I am extremely thankful for all our staff at the EUPISD and in our local districts. Thank you for being a
critical partner in educating our students! As we celebrate this month of thankfulness, I hope each of
you has a wonderful Thanksgiving!
October brings with it all the fall “feels”! Our region is so beautiful this time of the year. Our schools are brimming with activity, whether academic or extracurricular. At all times, our school principals tend to the welfare of their students and staff. October is designated as National Principals’ Month. Take a minute to thank your local principal for their commitment to your school! Thank you, EUP principals!
And just like that, we’re back to school! I’m excited for the start of the 2022-2023 school year. I am so thankful for every school employee who has returned to or joined a school staff to contribute to the success of our students. Regardless of position, every school employee has an incredible opportunity EVERY DAY to positively impact our students in the region. Thank you! Your work is so important, and so very much appreciated!
On August 2, 2022, voters are being asked to approve a renewal of .2773 mill and an increase of .7500 mill. The funds will be utilized to provide state and federally mandated special education services to children with disabilities. Funds will support equipment, facility upgrades and transportation for special education students ages 0-26 in local districts in Chippewa, Luce, and Mackinac Counties.
The EUPISD Board of Education has approved asking voters to support a millage renewal and increase on the August 2, 2022, ballot. Voters are being asked to approve a renewal of .2273 mill and an increase of .7500 mill. The funds will be utilized to provide State and Federally mandated special education services to children
with disabilities. Funds will support equipment, facility upgrades and transportation for special education students ages 0-26 in local districts (Chippewa, Luce, and Mackinac Counties).
The Eastern Upper Peninsula Intermediate School District (EUPISD) provides services to local districts at no cost for 14 categories of eligibility including: Autism Spectrum Disorder, Cognitive Impairment, Deaf-Blindness, Early Childhood Developmental Delay, Emotionally Impaired, Speech & Language
Impairment. For example, the EUPISD provides braille and sign language instruction to local districts for students with hearing and visual impairments. The EUPISD also provides occupational, physical and speech therapies, as well as school psychology and social work services.
Special education students - newborns, young children, school-age youngsters, and young adults - are all local
school district residents. Some youths are served in their local school districts; others are served at the EUPISD
Special Education Learning Center. For more information, please contact Angie McArthur, EUPISD Superintendent or Rachel Fuerer, Director of Special Education at 906-632-3373.
This is National Teacher Appreciation Week. Thank you to all teachers in our region. I know the challenges you face daily, and I appreciate your dedication, your creativity, and your perseverance. I extend this thanks to all educators in our buildings and districts – regardless of role. Every position in our districts can be the one person who becomes important to a student. Our schools are all about relationships. Thank you for building relationships with our students daily!
It is my hope that we can see an increase in support for our teachers and public schools. America needs public schools, and we need talented individuals to pursue careers as educators. Our schools are educating, supporting, and nurturing our future. I urge parents, community members, grandparents, and other interested adults to contact your local school to volunteer your time to support your school and teachers.
Many years, at this time, I would have just returned from a visit to somewhere warmer. Spring Break is a great time to get away. This year, I chose to stay home and take care of some projects around the house. I organized, painted, and worked on assignments for the classes I’m taking currently. I enjoyed seeing friend’s posts about their vacations and might have been a little envious about the warmer temps they were experiencing. For either experience, the break in our normal activities allows us an opportunity to relax and unwind. Hopefully, each of you has returned to work or school with a refreshed attitude, ready to accomplish much in our last quarter of the school year!
Last week, Governor Whitmer signed into law the Infrastructure Bill - SB 565 (sponsored by Senator Bumstead). This massive bill totals $4.7 billion and includes appropriations related to housing and homeowner assistance, rental assistance, state and local parks and trails, transportation, and broadband expansion. There is $250.6 million allocated to provide grants for the expansion of broadband internet service into unserved areas. The EUPConnect Collaborative (EUPCC) is a collaboration of school districts, townships, cities, economic development commissions, hospitals, Native American tribes, libraries, and Mackinac County with a mission of bringing internet access to all 911 addresses in the EUP. We recently published our first project RFP for a Schools and Libraries Network. The Infrastructure Bill will be pivotal toward meeting this goal in the EUP. For more information, go to https://www.eupschools.org/rfp.
March is Reading Month! At the EUPISD Learning Center, the theme for our reading month is "Reading is an Adventure". Each class will read dragon-themed books. The staff and students at the Learning Center will participate in spirit-filled activities throughout the month to build excitement about reading.
Why is reading so important? It is a foundational skill for life-long learning. Our kids begin to develop pre-reading skills in their earliest years. As parents, grandparents, and caring adults, we can assist our kids develop by introducing them to words early in life - by simply talking, or by reading books, by singing, or by storytelling. Our brains need to exercise, just as our muscles need to exercise. Spend a few minutes each day this month reading - for your child or yourself.
Reading truly is an adventure! See where a good book can take you!
At a recent community event, a group of students from Sault Area Public Schools volunteered to assist with setup, games, and fundraising. The students were friendly and courteous to the attendees and were a great help. I know this occurs in many communities, but I wanted to commend the students for taking their time to help. Volunteering is an easy way to support the community and organizations. It was heartwarming to see these students at work! If you have talent or time, reach out to any of your community organizations to offer your assistance. Our communities are better for it!
We have a shortage of teachers and other positions in Michigan schools. The Michigan Department of Education recently announced a grant program for schools called “Grow Your Own” as part of the Future Proud Michigan Educators. The first round of grants provides mini-grants (up to $10,000) for support staff to become certified teachers. Local school districts who are interested in this can find additional information at the Future Proud Michigan Educator website. Additional grants are available for preparation and recruitment activities. The deadline for the grant cycle is Friday, March 18.
Education is a challenging, but very rewarding field. There is no other career where the impact is greater on our future!
Welcome to 2022! I hope you were able to take some time over the holiday break to relax and rejuvenate. Many of us spend some time over the holidays making New Year’s resolutions related to our physical or mental well-being, financial health, or daily habits. Many of us do well on our resolutions for a brief time, and then return to old habits. Why is this?
The word “resolute” is defined as “admirably purposeful, determined, and unwavering.” This makes me think of educators over the last two years. Regardless of position, those who work on behalf of our region’s children have been steadfast in their work. They have been purposeful in building bonds with our students and their families. They have been determined to create and maintain effective programs for our students. They have been unwavering in supporting our staff and students. And while being resolute, they have been doing so during their own personal challenges and joys. To our educators who remain resolute and dedicated to our students, thank you! Your unwavering support of our students and staff is noticed and acknowledged.
January is School Board Appreciation Month. Serving on a school board is frequently a voluntary position with a great deal of responsibility and little recognition. Thank you to our board members around the region. Your leadership is appreciated!
As we move through January, focus on being resolute in your service to our students and staff, but also to your own health and wellness. Be well!
My heart is heavy after the school shooting yesterday. My prayers and thoughts are with the Oxford Community Schools and community. As a parent, I wanted to come home and hug my children. As an educator, I felt at a loss. Keeping our students and staff safe is a priority, and situations like this make me question what we have in place. We need to continue to make our schools as safe as possible, and nurture all of our children.
How do we talk to our children during times of uncertainty and fear? The National Association of School Psychologists has many resources on their website www.nasponline.org. In particular, “Talking to Children About Violence” is a good guide. We need to assure our children that schools are safe places. We need to listen to our kids’ concerns and answer their questions. We also need to review and practice our safety protocols. Remind students that it’s important to tell an adult if another student is threatening them. Last month, I wrote about OK2SAY. Anyone can submit a tip by calling 855-5OK2SAY (855-565-2729), texting 652729 (OK2SAY), or emailing OK2SAY@michigan.gov.
The well-being of our families, children, colleagues, and communities needs to be everyone’s responsibility. If you need support, reach out to a trusted friend or co-worker. If you are concerned about a friend, reach out to them. Let’s take care of each other and make our world a safer, kinder place.
November 1st marks the beginning of Native American Heritage Month. Over one-third of our students in the EUPISD are Native American. If you are looking for resources to use in your classroom, check out https://nativeamericanheritagemonth.gov/. There are many stories, videos, and activities to use to make sure our students see themselves in their classroom.
November is also Election Month. Some of our school districts have elections on the ballot tomorrow. Please make sure you get out and vote. Polls are open from 7am to 8pm. Practice your civic duty!
Are you aware of OK2SAY? It is a confidential way to report anything that threatens a student or school safety. You can call 855-565-2729 (8-555-OK2SAY), email firstname.lastname@example.org, or text 652729 (OK2SAY). A study by the U.S. Secret Service reported that in 81% of violent incidents in school, someone else knew about the incident but did not report it. OK2SAY has received tips on suicide threats, bullying, drugs, cyberbullying, and other violence. Let’s work together to keep our schools and students safe.
Did you know that October is National Principals’ Month? Across the EUPISD, there are thirty talented, dedicated individuals serving our students in the role of principal. Please take time this month and thank them for their incredible service!
At our staff meeting this month, we watched a video called “The Danger of A Single Story” . I encourage you to watch it if you haven’t seen this TED Talk by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie. It is a great reminder to not assume you know the path that someone else is walking. It is a great reminder to look deeper than a first impression.
In our world today, it seems everyone is quick to jump to conclusions and assume the worst in someone else. Take time to breathe and listen to what someone else is concerned about before crafting your argument. We need to remember how to discuss our opinions with respect for the other person, even if we don’t agree. I appreciate the respectful concerns voiced over masks, vaccinations, and COVID-related issues and the ongoing dialogue. We are all weary of our lives being impacted by COVID. What is not appreciated, and what I find reprehensible, are the stories of yelling, threats, and harassment that our school administrators, school boards, school employees and health department partners are receiving.
While October is not National Kindness Month, let’s pretend it is and treat each person with kindness. Please do your part to give each person a little grace and understanding.
As we begin the 2021-2022 school year, it is so encouraging to see our students and staff return to our schools around the EUP. I am hopeful that this year can be focused on teaching and learning, rather than all-things COVID. Excitement is evident from staff as they prepare for the year. Districts around the region are welcoming their students to their classrooms. At the EUPISD, the staff is ready to support districts through our programs, services and supports, whether in Early Childhood, Special Education, Business Services, Technology, or General Education. So instead of discussions about masks and quarantines, let’s talk about how our students are doing and what support and opportunity we can provide for their success.
One sign of school being back in session are the big yellow school buses. Be diligent in watching for school buses and students. Recent legislation was enacted to provide more safety measures: cameras on stop-arms to record video of those passing a stopped school bus; as well as fines and civil infractions for impeding bus operation. Please do your part in keeping our students safe!
Almost all districts in the EUPISD have job vacancies, from teachers to bus drivers, paraprofessionals, kitchen staff and substitute teachers. If you are interested, please check out the Employment Opportunities.
To our school staff: I wish each of you a school year full of positive interactions with students, parents, and co-workers. The work you do impacts the future. Thank you for all your efforts! Let’s have a great year!