February 2019 Newsletter

School News

Embrace the Winter

I heard many people comment on this week’s very cold and snowy weather as the EUP getting a “good, old-fashioned winter.”  It seems we are better equipped than most other parts of the Midwest in dealing with the extreme weather changes.  In fact, The Detroit Free Press interviewed two of our superintendents for a story about why school is being held in the EUP when nearly all of the lower peninsula schools and governmental offices were closed.  No one wants to put children in danger, but is it really newsworthy on a statewide basis that we are used to living in cold temperatures in January and February?  We put on an extra layer and go about our business.

There are some among us who despise the winter weather.  They get genuinely upset that it is cold outside and don’t mind sharing their disdain with anyone who will listen.  I realize there are many factors determining where one lives but to become visibly angry at the weather conditions seems a bit much.  Perhaps that physical and emotional energy can be spent differently and more positively.  We can’t control the weather.

We are in the long stretch of winter that extends until spring break.  This is a time when students and staff get a bit stir crazy with cabin fever.  What if we dressed appropriately and went outside to enjoy the weather?  As my mother (who is a saint) would tell the four of us Reattoir boys, “Get outside and blow the stink off.”  That way of thinking does have merit as many illnesses arise when we are cooped up inside this time of year.  We all need fresh air.

There are MANY outdoor activities and special events happening in the EUP right now.  Countless volunteers are at work putting on events including ice carving, dog sled races, the I-500 snowmobile race, and several others.  Beyond the organized events, we have miles of snowmobile trails, cross country ski trails, snowshoeing trails, many outdoor ice rinks, and even bird watching opportunities.  Tahquamenon Falls State Park offers free activities every weekend in February including snowshoe walks guided by a wildlife biologist, lantern lit trail walks under the stars, a nightly bonfire with hot chocolate, and their own brewpub.

Winter tourism is big business in our area.  Our hotels, motels, gas stations, and restaurants thrive with people coming to enjoy our area.  Take a look at the cars in any EUP parking lot on a winter weekend and see where they are from.  I am aware of a group from Lansing that, with permission, chains snowmobile trailers to parking lot light poles so they can drive up here every weekend in the winter.  They go through great effort to experience what many of us take for granted.


Thinking about setting up an individualized behavior plan? Working on a team that is conducting functional behavior assessments?  Remember to revisit your school-wide Tier 1 Positive Behavior Supports as you are looking to implement Tier 3 behavior plans.  In order for individual behavior plans to be effective, PBIS needs to continue- in the school and in the classroom.  The consistent use of PBIS is vital for all students, and it helps teams to review these procedures when moving to support students with more intense needs.  Click on the newsletter link below to access resources to assist with this process. MTSS Newsletter

General Education

Training/Meeting Dates

Below is a list of trainings/meetings for February.  Please click the link for more information and to register.  (If lunch is provided as part of a training, you must register at least 24 hours in advance to be included in the lunch count).  For a complete listing for the school year, please visit Wisdomwhere.

Battle Creek (Cereal City) Elementary Life Science Kit Workshop
Battle Creek (Cereal City) Middle School Physical Science Kit Workshop
Essential Instructional Practices-4th & 5th Grades
EUP Counselors
EUPEPA Meeting
EUPSSPA-EUP Secondary Principals Association
Health & PE CRT (HCRT) (PECRT)
K-5 Guided Reading
MI Model for Health for Middle School
MTSS Literacy Tier 2 & 3
Pre-Kindergarten Essential Instructional Practices in Early Literacy
Reading Recovery/Literacy Lessons/Literacy Support Re-Certification PD
Reading Recovery/Literacy Lessons/Literacy Support Training Class
Secondary Literacy Master Teacher
SIMs Reading Strategies
Social Studies Teacher Leader Corps (SSTLC)
STEM Integrated Learning Team (ILT), K-12
Strengthening Systems - School Leadership Teams-School & District Improvement (SIT) & (DIT)
Tri-County Administrators Meetings
World Language CRT (WLCRT)
Michigan School Testing Conference to the UP via Remote Webcast - February 13, 9-1:30 pm

EUP Regional History Day

History Day is scheduled for Friday, March 8. Please see the links below:

Online Registration Form - This form will be used to register your local history day winners for the regional history day. Deadline is February 21, 2019.

Pertinent Information on our website.

EUP STEM – Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math

Teacher Events:

Cereal City Science *For schools participating in the MiSTEM Grant, please remember that per grant criteria, the teacher who is using each kit must attend the PD sessions.

Elementary Life Science- Register Here through Wisdomwhere

February 7 - Grade 1
February 12 - Grade 4
February 22 - Grade 5

Middle School Physical Science- Register Here through Wisdomwhere

Kit 2- February 14
Kit 1 Makeup day- February 15

STEM Integrated Learning Teams

Day 3 of STEM Integrated Learning Teams (ILT) will take place on February 19.  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.

Code.org Computer Science Opportunities for Middle and High School Teachers

Middle School and High School Teachers can apply for a trip to Code.org TeacherCon in Grand Rapids this summer.  Five EUP teachers attended last year, and were able to implement computer science instruction this year!

Michigan Summer TeacherCon Flyer

More Information

Code.org Computer Science Opportunities for K-12 Teachers-

Computer Science Fundamentals is an excellent platform to implement computer science into elementary grades K-5.  We had a great day last year, and our awesome facilitator Larry Wyn will be back to work with us again in August!

CS Fundamentals Flyer

More Information

** You can register for any CS Fundamentals session statewide through the links above, which includes our August 14 session in the EUP.  The direct link to the EUP session registration is below:

Registration for Computer Science Fundamentals in the EUP on August 14

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.  Please see the Flyer and Registration Link for more information.

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.

Special Education

EUPISD Special Education Newsletter - Click on the link to access!

Project SEARCH News - 4th Edition - Click on the link to access!

Heavy Work Activities for Children with Sensory Processing Disorders

Sitting in class and attending to lessons can be challenging for a wide variety of children and particularly for children who have difficulty with sensory processing.  Sensory processing disorders are often seen in children with ADHD, autism, behavioral and academic issues.  One aspect of sensory processing is proprioception.  Proprioception is the use of specialized nerves to detect how the body is positioned in space.  For example, most people can close their eyes, hold their arms out to the side and then touch their nose with a fingertip.  This is utilizing proprioceptive input to tell where the body is in space. Kids with sensory processing disorder have trouble interpreting their proprioceptive input from their bodies.  These kids may demonstrate trouble controlling their bodies, walk on their toes, show uncoordinated movements, rough play, and bump and crash into things.

Heavy work activities are everyday chores and tasks that can be used to help children with a variety of sensory processing disorders.  Heavy work activities increase proprioceptive input to joints and muscles to help a child feel grounded.  This can result in the child being able to attend to other tasks, such as school work, as well as helping to calm a child.  Over time heavy work tasks can also help to train the brain and improve the sensory processing area of the brain.  Heavy work tasks can easily be incorporated into a school day or at home.  Examples of heavy work could be: jumping, wall push-ups, carrying heavy books, and erasing the whiteboard.  

The following website has some great resources regarding heavy work activities.  The school PT or OT would also be a great resource for setting up some heavy work tasks for a child.

Winter Heavy Work Activities

Heavy Work Activities for Kids

Heavy Work Activities for School

Heavy Work Activities for Home

What is Reactive Attachment Disorder?

Reactive Attachment Disorder (RAD) is a condition where an infant or young child does not establish healthy attachments with parents or caregivers. A critical period when attachment takes place is seven months. By seven months of age, an infant forms a deep and loving bond with his or her parent/caregiver based on the adult’s caring for their baby’s physical and emotional needs.  RAD may develop if a child’s basic needs are not met and loving, caring, stable attachments with others are not established.  It is estimated that 1% of children under the age of five have RAD.

Click here to read more about Reactive Attachment Disorder.

Low Vision in Schools

February is Low Vision Month. Children in Michigan Schools do not have to be legally blind to receive Special Education services for Visually Impaired. Sometimes children have partial, or decreased vision loss that cannot be corrected with standard refractive prescriptive lenses. When vision issues impact access to education, special education supports can be considered.

Behaviors that might indicate low vision problems can be observed. Here are some examples. Students with low vision might have an unusual sensitivity to light adaptation. They might miss some obstacles in their physical surroundings, subsequently bumping into things or missing drop-offs of a walking surface. They might have reading difficulties or identifying familiar objects at a distance. Parts of words or lines across a printed page can appear to be blurry, broken apart or even missing for some students. They might put reading materials very close to face.

Click here to read more about Low Vision.

Assessment Administration and Scoring Professional Development

Special education teachers will learn the basics of standardized, diagnostic assessment and receive direct training on how to administer and score specific diagnostic achievement tests that are available within the EUPISD. These tests include: Kaufman Test of Educational Achievement-3, Test of Written Language-4, Woodcock Reading Mastery-3, and Key Math-3.

February 21, 2019 from 9:00-3:00 at the EUPISD. SCECHs are available. Register via Wisdomwhere

Staff Spotlight

The EUPISD employs teacher consultants in a variety of specialties.  Click the links below to learn more about each of our consultants!

Carrie Carr - Teacher Consultant for students with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD)

Gary Garn - Teacher Consultant for Hearing Impaired, Visually Impaired, Orientation & Mobility Specialist

Rebekah (Becky) Meyers - Teacher Consultant for Special Education

Stacey Miller - Behavior Specialist, CPMDC

Ruthanne Stark - Teacher Specialist and PBIS Coach for Special Education

Regional Data Systems/Instructional Technology

NWEA Winter Testing Window is Closed

The Winter testing window ended January 30, 2019.  There are nightly updates in Illuminate for NWEA assessment results.  The Spring window will open on May 1, 2019 and be open until school ends in June.  If you need a refresher on creating testing sessions and/or monitoring student testing, login and watch the video tutorial.  Other support videos can be found here.

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.

EduPaths Maker Online Courses

Need some quick support in using some of the Classroom Maker materials available through the REMC 22 Lending Library?  EduPaths now has introductory courses to help teachers use these materials in the classroom.  Courses include: Sphero, Bloxels, 3-D Printing with Eris, Ozobots, and Keva Planks.  These courses are free and can be used for SCECH credit.

REMC Free Virtual Courses

Five to seven virtual courses are offered each month for free from the REMC Association of Michigan.  These courses are open to all Michigan school personnel.  Here is registration link and list of courses being offered.

Human Resources

Future Pension Presentations

MARSP Pension Planning 301 - This seminar is for staff that are considering MPSERS retirement sometime in the next few years.  MARSP is the Michigan Association for Retired School Personnel.

Thursday, February 7, 2019, 4:00 p.m. & 6:00 p.m. (each session lasts approximately an hour and a half) - EUPISD Conference Room A

Click here to register for the 4 PM session - https://www.marsp.org/events/mrps-pension-301-seminar-eastern-upper-peninsula-isd-session-a/

Click here to register for the 6 PM session - https://www.marsp.org/events/mrps-pension-301-seminar-eastern-upper-peninsula-isd-session-b-2/

MARSP’s retirement planning experts present: the “MRPS Pension Seminar” 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.

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

Cost: FREE - spouses are also encouraged to attend

We are excited to announce that representatives from Voya Financial® and the Office of Retirement Services will be in Sault Ste. Marie to conduct meetings for people in a MPSERS plan who were hired either before or after July 1, 2010 and who want to make sure they’re on track with their retirement plan.

For all public-school employees hired on or after July 1, 2010

The MPSERS Pension Plus/401(k)/457 Plans Overview class is designed for you to better understand the Pension Plus and Defined Contribution Plans. An investment professional from Voya Financial® will moderate this session.

The Overview lasts about one hour and is for newer employees who want to know more about how they can best use their investment accounts to ensure a secure retirement, even if retirement is a long time from now.

You will learn:

  • The difference between Pension Plus and Defined Contribution
  • How the Personal Healthcare Fund works
  • The differences between the 457 and 401(k) Plans
  • Your investment options in Tier 1, Tier 2, and Tier 3
  • Payout options for the 401(k) and 457
  • Who to call with questions

This meeting is April 11, 2019 at 4:00 p.m. at the Eastern U. P. ISD. Register for this meeting by clicking here.

  • Click the blue NEXT button in the top right panel
  • Select Public School Employees and click NEXT
  • Scroll down to and click  Public School (MPSERS) 401k/457 Plans Overview (below Financial Fundamentals)
  • Scroll down to the meeting labeled “Sault Ste. Marie—Eastern U.P. ISD” near the bottom of the list and click inside the radio button to the left of the address.
  • Click the radio button to the left of the time and click NEXT again.
  • Complete the registration form and click SAVE.
  • (Note: they are working to simplify the registration process for this one but for now this is what we have)

If you have trouble registering for this one, e-mail Steve at sgordon@eupschools.org

For all public-school employees hired BEFORE July 1, 2010

The Planning Your Retirement Workshop (PYR) is designed for public school employees in the defined benefit pension plan first hired before July 1, 2010 who are within five years of retirement. These meetings were, until recently, known as Preretirement Information Meetings (PRIMs). The workshop lasts about two hours. We also encourage you to generate a pension estimate in miAccount and bring that estimate with you to the meeting.

The meeting will also cover:

  • Meeting eligibility requirements;
  • Picking Pension Payment Option;
  • Deciding on insurance;
  • Reviewing plans, choosing a retirement date, and applying for retirement; and
  • Adjusting to retirement

This meeting is on April 11, 2019 at 5:30 p.m. at the Eastern U.P. ISD. Register for this meeting by clicking here.

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