December 2018 Newsletter

School News

decorative winter scene It’s Beginning to Look A Lot like Christmas!

It certainly has looked a lot like Christmas everywhere you go for a few weeks now.  We are lucky here in the EUP that we typically have a beautiful white Christmas to enjoy.  Our towns have decorated beautifully and many have had parades welcoming the holiday season.  Neighborhoods are getting decked out with lights and decorations.  The radio is playing all Christmas all the time.  The school Christmas programs are coming up very quickly.  Before we know it, Christmas will be here.

This conflict between anticipating Christmas and enjoying the moments that actually make up the Christmas season is an annual conundrum.  How can we slow down to enjoy the season while ramping up the excitement of getting together with loved ones?  The short answer is that we can’t control time any more than we can control the weather.

What we can control is how we treat others.  We can be present for each other and actually focus on what another person is saying or feeling.  We can put down the phone for 15 minutes and actually have a meaningful conversation.  We can turn off the autopilot and truly appreciate the moments that make up this time of year.  We can be thankful for what we have and consider sharing with others.

For most of us, the school is the center of the community and the largest organization.  School employees make up the very fabric of our communities.  Our impact is all-encompassing.  Please consider contributing something extra during this season, whether through the United Way of the EUP or through any of our local churches, food banks, or community organizations.  We are very fortunate to be able to live and work in the EUP.  Let’s make our communities stronger by sharing our time, talents, or dollars with others.  What is one thing you can do to brighten someone else’s day?  What is one thing you can contribute to help those less fortunate?  Helping others makes us feel good!  Give the gift of selflessness.

Merry Christmas!


Many teams have moved into building their Literacy Systems during their MTSS work.  The EUPMTSS Newsletter this month highlights an article to learn more about tiers and levels of support within MTSS systems and increase understanding about the difference in supports at the different tiers.  The newsletter also provides resources from GELN (General Education Leadership Network) that the teams are using to focus their work. Link to the EUPMTSS Newsletter

General Education

Upcoming Trainings for December:

EUP Counselors
Health & PE CRT (HCRT) (PECRT)
MTSS Literacy Tier 2 & 3
NGSX (Next Generation Science Exemplar System)
Reading Recovery/Literacy Lessons/Literacy Support Re-Certification PD
Reading Recovery/Literacy Lessons/Literacy Support Training Class
Running Records for Elementary Special Education Teachers
Sex Ed. and HIV Framework
SIMs Writing Strategies
Social Studies Teacher Leader Corps (SSTLC)
STEM Integrated Learning Team (ILT), K-12
Tri-County Administrators Meetings
World Language CRT (WLCRT)

Funded travel for educators

There are hundreds of programs that provide teachers and other K-12 staff with free summer professional development travel in the U.S. and abroad. Many of these programs have applications that open in December, with deadlines in early 2019. This website compiles educator travel opportunities, complete with links to apply:              

EUPISD Reading Recovery® Site

In an attempt to provide a platform to share information, stories, classroom and school connections about Reading Recovery, Literacy Lessons™, and Literacy Support a quarterly newsletter, Reading Recovery: Top to Bottom, was created collaboratively by the Reading Recovery Teacher Leaders at the EUPISD and Jackson County ISD. Follow the links for the October newsletter & the December newsletter.

EUP STEM – Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math

EUP Regional Science & Engineering Fair

On Thursday, December 6, we have 147 projects and 204 students that have advanced from the local level. Schools that will be present are: Whitefish, St. Ignace, Sault-Lincoln & Washington, Pickford, Newberry Middle School, Moran, JKL Bahweting, Engadine, Cedarville, and Lake Superior Academy.

Pi Day at LSSU will take place on March 13, 2019 at the Walker Cisler Center on the Campus of Lake Superior State University.  Students in middle school and high school will have the opportunity to compete in a math competition.  There are both middle school and high school divisions, and teachers will be invited to register teams of five students.  A flyer and registration link will be released in January.

Trig Star will take place in the EUP on May 1, 2019.  Trig Star is a geometry competition for high school students across Michigan.  The Trig-Star competition is a national trigonometry competition open to high school students throughout the country. Trig-Star is designed to show students real world applications of trigonometry in the land surveying and engineering professions. The students are given four questions, and the student that has the most correct answers in the least amount of time is declared the EUP regional winner, winning a prize and receiving the opportunity to enter their score to the statewide competition . Teachers and students from all EUP districts are invited to attend.  Jeff Davis of Great Lakes Surveying and the EUP STEM Region sponsor this event.  A flyer and registration link will be released later this winter.

Upcoming Teacher Events:

Next Generation Science Exemplar (NGSX) - Day 4 of NGSX will be held on December 10.  If you are not a part of our current NGSX cohort but are interested in future workshops, please email Kevin St. Onge (

STEM Integrated Learning Teams - Day 2 of STEM Integrated Learning Teams (ILT) will take place on December 18.  STEM Integrated Learning Team (ILT) meetings give teachers the opportunity to work collaboratively within an integrated STEM learning environment. This year, learning will include work in three strategic areas: Community Connections, Innovative Programming, and Mathematical Modeling.  Our meeting on December 18 will take place at Lake Superior State University.

Career Technical Education

Rudyard Schools has received state approval to offer a new CTE Program for students in the EUP: CTE Mechatronics and Robotics.

Mechatronics is an integrated, multidisciplinary study of various systems that work together to form the basis of “smart” devices. Thus, students will learn about robots, machines, electronics, pneumatics & hydraulics, electrical motor controls, sensors, computer-aided design (CAD), programming, programmable logic controls (PLC), diagnostics, computer numeric control (CNC), and other topics related to automated systems & robots.

Successful completers of this STEM based program will gain foundational knowledge and skills in the high-demand, multidisciplinary area of mechatronics. This important knowledge is needed not only by highly skilled technicians who help install, program, troubleshoot and fix equipment problems, but also by engineers who plan, design, develop, or otherwise work with complex mechatronic systems.

Special Education

Project SEARCH Newsletter (click the link to learn about the “Friends at Work” program).

Occupational Therapy in the School: What does an OT work on with your students?

The role of the occupational therapist and occupational therapy assistant is to help people of all ages participate in the things they want and need to do on a daily basis. Occupational therapists refer to these daily activities as “occupations” and address them therapeutically to increase an individual’s ability to participate in their environment. In the school setting, the occupational therapist is an important member of the education team whose goal is to increase the student’s ability to participate in the general education classroom. A key part of occupational therapy practice is considering the individual and how they are impacted by their environment. Therefore, occupational therapists provide support for both non-academic and academic classroom tasks to increase overall success in the general education classroom.

Click here to read more about Occupational Therapy!

Click here for an infographic!

Autism Spectrum Disorder

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) released an update of autism’s estimated prevalence among the nation’s children (based on an analysis of 2014 medical records) and found a 15% increase in prevalence nationally: to 1 in 59 children (from 1 in 68 two years previous.)

Educators in the Eastern Upper Peninsula continue to be committed to increasing their knowledge and skills for supporting students with ASD through training, teamwork, and collaboration.  Regional school-based teams are participating in the Statewide Autism Resources and Training (START) Intensive Training Series.  Multidisciplinary teams of professionals are devoting twelve days over the course of this school year to enhance their knowledge of programming for students with autism.  There are a few slots open for additional staff who would like to learn more about Behavior Supports, Educational Strategies, or Peer to Peer Programming – all related to autism.  We are joining the series live via webcast from Oakland County, and you can learn more about these professional development offerings here.  If you are interested in attending, sign up on Wisdomwhere or contact Carrie Carr, Autism Consultant, for more information.

EUPISD/Rudyard LINKS Program is Underway

Children eating dinner at LINKS dinner Children dancing at LINKS dinner

The EUPISD/Rudyard LINKS program is well under way this year. Our LINKS meet at least monthly with our staff to de-brief and learn about students with disabilities. This month students participated in activities to help understand some challenges that their peers may face at school. Pictured are the 4th grade LINKS participating in a fine-motor challenge. After the activity students brainstormed ways that they could help their peers if they were struggling with fine motor skills in their class. An important aspect of our LINKS program is also facilitating activities for our LINKS to participate in to increase communication and socialization for our target students. This past month the MS/HS LINKS club hosted a 'Parent's Night Out' fundraiser to help support rewards for our LINK participants. 30 children attended the event where they played games, danced, watched a Christmas movie, participated in an obstacle course and had a dinner donated by the Carr family. The group raised just over $400 to help support the EUPISD/Rudyard LINKS program.

Early Childhood

The Chippewa County Council for Youth and Families (CCCYF) recently presented the Eastern Upper Peninsula Imagination Library with a generous donation of $25,900. The donation is dedicated to Imagination Library enrollment for children ages birth to five, residing within Chippewa County. The Chippewa County Council for Youth and Families goal is the prevention of child abuse and neglect. Renee Johnson, CCCYF Council Member, stated the Imagination Library works to reduce abuse and neglect by promoting education and social emotional well-being in young children.

Early literacy and social emotional development is critically important for young children. Karen Senkus, CCCYF Council Member added, “We believe the Dolly Parton Imagination Library develops early literacy skills and promotes healthy social emotional wellbeing in young children by building strong child/caregiver attachments.”

The EUP Imagination Library is a terrific FREE opportunity for all young children to experience the love of books and reading. The Imagination Library is operated locally by the Eastern Upper Peninsula Intermediate School District in collaboration with the Great Start Collaborative. Both have been long-standing advocates of quality early childhood opportunities for young children and families. The EUP Imagination Library has been growing since its inception locally in 2007. Cara LaFaver, Great Start Collaborative Coordinator shared,  “This donation will be a significant benefit to young children and we look forward to the Imagination Library’s continued growth in our community for years to come.” 

Left to Right: Dan Reattoir, EUPISD Superintendent; Cara LaFaver, Great Start Collaborative Coordinator; Renee Johnson, CCCYF

Regional Data Systems/Instructional Technology

REMC Classroom Makers Training

This event will focus on educators, specifically Michigan classroom teachers, that have integrated making into their teaching practice.  The day will allow attendees to explore maker-centered tools and trends, gain valuable resources and connect with maker-minded educators. Staying true to the spirit of the REMC Classroom Makers project the day will offer plenty of hands-on opportunities.

Registration deadline is December 20, 2018 in Wisdomwhere.

Data Management Team Meetings

If you deal with data in Illuminate (Illuminate Leaders, Secretaries, Counselors, Administrators, Teachers), please join the Data Management Team.  Meetings are quarterly and deal with all areas of using Illuminate: report cards, GradeBooks, transcripts, demographics, special education, reports, and behavior.  Your input and experience are important, so consider being a part of the team.  If you have questions, contact Marianna Ripple.  Register for meetings in Illuminate.

Illuminate Assessments for Battle Creek - Cereal City Science Kits

Assessments are now available in Illuminate for the Cereal City Science Kits (K-7).  Log into Illuminate and follow this link to see them for your grade-level.

Reports Student Growth & Student Learning Outcomes

M-STEP data has been refreshed in Illuminate to show Student Growth Percentiles.  These measures are used to determine the SGP Multi-Year Rating for teachers (See the report here).  The SLO, Student Learning Objectives Growth Summary and Roster, report is also available in Illuminate if your district is using pre/post assessment data in Illuminate as a measure.

REMC 22 Lend-Items Library

Remember that REMC 22 (EUPISD) has a library of classroom materials that can be reserved and checked out.  If you need account access to the library, please contact Marianna Ripple or Genny Kaunisto.

Consortium Technical Services

Connecting the Dots to Close the Homework Gap

According to the Michigan Broadband Roadmap, nearly 10% of Michigan residents do not have access to high-speed internet. Michigan currently ranks 30th in the nation in this category. (

It is time to build a community fiber network infrastructure which not only provides critical connectivity to our schools but our community anchors as well. Connectivity to the world is becoming more critical every day and the rural geography in which we live continues to fall farther behind the global economy. We need to build on the work that was done 25-30 years ago which resulted in the Eastern Upper Peninsula Telecommunications Consortium (EUPTC). The EUPTC was the farmer that planted the seeds that have grown into one of the longest running regional networks in the nation as well as sprouting all technical services operated by the EUPTC. We used to refer to this network as the Interactive Television (ITV) system which was originally used only for distance learning until data networking was added in 1997.

Schools are not the only critical anchors in the community, they are anchors for our regional network which spans Chippewa, Luce and Mackinac counties. The network capacity for education will continue to require exponential growth going into the future. Other anchors in our communities such as healthcare, libraries, counties, municipalities, cooperatives, homes, businesses, service providers and visitors will also require exponential growth in network capacity. The “last mile” is still the piece that is not keeping up and every day we fall farther behind the rest of the world. We cannot wait for the commercial providers to go the last mile any longer, there simply is no profit for their business and it is a losing endeavor for them to do it on their own.

How do we help? We start by building the community that will share the burden to get this done for our region. Not for profit organizations need to take the lead and create the right organizational structure to facilitate everyone, public and private working together to build the community network which will ultimately become the next network for our schools going forward and go the last mile. We have started this process through many meetings with key organizations and businesses over the past several months. During this process we have created map to demonstrate the anchors that are key for the community network to grow legs. All we need to do is connect the dots.

Community Network Map

Human Resources

MARSP’s retirement planning experts present: the “MRPS Pension Seminar” in the St. Ignace Middle School Library at 4 PM and 6 PM with all the essential information needed to start thinking about retirement. This seminar is available to all public school and community college employees who are members of the MPSERS retirement plan. Come and learn about your retirement system.

Thursday - 12/13/2018 from 4:00 pm - 5:30 pm
Click to register - MRPS Pension Seminar - St Ignace 4 PM Session

Thursday - 12/13/2018 from 6:00 pm - 7:30 pm
Click to register - MRPS Pension Seminar - St Ignace 6 PM Session

We will be in the St. Ignace Middle School Library, Spouses are welcome at this free event.

Topics include:

  • Health Insurance
  • Purchasing Service Credit
  • Pension Options
  • Retirement Planning and how to maximize your pension
  • Rights as a Michigan Public School Employees Retirement System (MPSERS) retiree and who is best to represent those rights
  • Any other questions about retirement


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