Check out this awesome trailer for Into the Woods

Please watch this video made by East senior Justin McCrory. Shows are March 7-8 and 14-15 at 7 pm in the Lapeer East Auditorium. Tickets are available for purchase in advance at the Lapeer East Office. They are also available at the door.

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Too Committed To Fail: Not hope, expectation

Screen Shot 2014-02-08 at 1.40.05 PMThis editorial was featured in Sunday’s Lapeer County press. Click here to subscribe.

Earlier this month, after spending an afternoon meeting with policymakers in Lansing, I stopped by the auditorium at Lapeer East High School for one of the District’s Innovation Nights. More than 200 people came out on a snow day to hear from members of our administrative team about one of the exciting new programs coming to Lapeer in the fall — College on Campus.

The concept of high school students earning college credits in our buildings, inside their traditional class schedules, has a lot of parents and students fired up about the future.

For me, the evening embodied what Lapeer Community Schools is all about.

We aren’t sitting idly by waiting for a cure to what is ailing so many school districts across the state. We have a voice in Lansing and attentive ears to changes happening at the state level, but our eyes are fixed on the future. We have solutions right here, in our town, that will be modeled by our neighbors – solutions that are being talked about in Lansing.

Over the last three years, we’ve developed a secondary program for our students that will be unparalled in the region. Don’t take my word for it; come see for yourself at our final Innovation Night at 6 p.m. on Feb. 11 at Zemmer Middle School.

As the largest educational institution in Lapeer County, we shoulder the greater share of responsibility for preparing our young people for the future. I encourage all of you to take a close look at what the future holds for students in Lapeer; that said, even a passing glance is enough to realize what we are aiming for: college and career readiness.

Our youngest students must be prepared for advancement to a middle-level program that will have more opportunities for rigor than ever before: Flexible scheduling for intervention and academic stretch before and after school, implementation of the nation’s leading STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) curriculum, the state’s first middle-level year-round program, SpringBoard English curriculum for high school credit and much more.

Similarly, our middle-level students must be prepared for a high school experience that is focused on college readiness. By the time our younger students get to high school, our teachers will build upon a foundation of understanding that started on day one. And when they get there, they won’t know that their experience was never the norm – but their parents will.

Our high school students, as mentioned above, will have opportunities to earn college credits through our College and Campus program and Advanced Placement (AP). Those who take on the challenge will be better prepared for college rigor, and their parents will save thousands in tuition costs.


In the coming weeks, we will introduce you to a high school senior who, thanks to our expanding AP program, will graduate high school with more than 30 college credits. So how will she answer the question, “what’s your diploma worth?”

You’ll meet an enterprising student who started taking college-level math courses with Michigan State University while he was still in middle school.

Since no two students are exactly alike, we strive to reach all students where they are with a multitude of options to suit their needs and interests. We don’t believe in the factory model for our students. If they are ready for more, we’re going to provide them with more.

It doesn’t end there. Flexible scheduling at the middle level will carry over to high school, as we offer transportation for both enrichment and intervention. We will open our Center for Innovation – West Campus (currently West High school) as our home for numerous academic and extracurricular programs including dual enrollment, AP, robotics, alternative education and outdoor athletics. We will start the 2014-15 school year as the only school district in the state to offer AP Capstone, an innovative diploma program that engages students in the rigorous scholarly practice of core academic skills required for success in college.

As we inch closer to the historic consolidation of East and West High Schools, I want to reaffirm my commitment to the families of this school district. This merger will not only have a far-reaching impact on our community, but will open our students up to more opportunities than ever before.

As has been reported in this newspaper in the last week, our local economy is still struggling. Our local jobless rate is back in double digits and the national economy is recovering from recession at a historically slow pace. There are reasons to be uncertain about the future; your local school district is not one them.

Our focus is on the whole child, improving our academic and athletic programs, facilities and, ultimately, becoming a model school district in Michigan. This is an expectation, not a hope.

In this endeavor, we are too committed to fail.

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Kudos: Jennifer Christian is a big part of successful intersession at Turrilll


Jennifer Christian, Turrill Elementary

As an organization, Lapeer Community Schools is offering better choices and more opportunities than ever before. Two years ago we opened our year-round school at Turrill Elementary, the first of a series of major innovations in the District.

A big part of the success of year-round is its vibrant intersession programming, led by Jennifer Christian. Christian, a teacher in the District for six years, has been the Intersession Coordinator since day one.

The year-round, or balanced academic calendar, has shorter and more frequent breaks. During off weeks throughout the year, Turrill hosts theme-based learning opportunities for parents who want more classroom time for their student(s). In October, for example, the theme was “Don’t Bug Me, Insects, Arachnids, and other Creepy Critters.” Students spent time continuing to work on their traditional educational skills but in a non-traditional environment.

She brings a passion and energy for the job that extends beyond her role in this important program.

Turrill Principal Ken Janczarek: Jennifer has done an amazing job as her role of intersession coordinator as she is responsible for creating, planning, and running each of Turrill’s Intersession.  Each year Jennifer plans out the intersessions for the year with a focus  on creating fun activities for students in grades E5/kindergarten through fifth grade.  After the planning Jennifer is busy ensuring staffing, activities, transportation, and supplies are ready for students as they attend the Intersession.  During the week Jennifer’s role of coordinator transitions from planning into the management of the Intersession and its programming.  

Keep up the great work, Jennifer! We appreciate your positive attitude and the excitement you bring to our classrooms.

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Kudos: PBIS leaders making it happen at Zemmer

Zemmer students address their classmates at a recent B.A.R.K. Buck Assembly. B.A.R.K.  Bucks are earned by students for doing the right things in school B.A.R.K. stands for Best Effort, Attitude, Responsibility and Kindness.

Zemmer students address their classmates at a recent B.A.R.K. Buck Assembly. B.A.R.K. Bucks are earned by students for doing the right things in school B.A.R.K. stands for Best Effort, Attitude, Responsibility and Kindness.

Every achievement starts with an idea, continues with a structure to support the idea and succeeds with the right people.

At Zemmer Middle School, we are fortunate to have some people in key positions who are helping to create a culture that will continue to have a significant impact on student achievement. The school’s Positive Behavioral Interventions and Supports (PBIS) leaders, Russ Reitz, Rachel Henderson, and Stephanie Guerin, have taken ownership over PBIS and the students are responding.

pbisThis crew has presented to community groups, on numerous occasions, the goals and positive outcomes of PBIS at Zemmer, often using the first-hand testimonials from students involved in the program. As a result of these community engagements, Zemmer PBIS has received nearly $1,500 in financial support from generous members of our community.

From Zemmer Principal Matt Olson: “I’m proud to have this remarkable team of dedicated staff members who have gone well above and beyond to get the message out about what Zemmer is doing for kids!”

Kudos to the leaders of PBIS at Zemmer. You guys are doing a great job!

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Kudos: Volunteers teach ‘Weird Science’ after school at Lynch Elementary

A group of volunteers, including several teachers, are doing great work at Lynch Elementary this year in the afterschool program.

“Weird Science” is a great way to get students interested in science using entertaining and hands-on experiences to teach basic principles. The students in the video are in grades 3-5.

Kudos to Aneta Lawrence, Nichole Hayden, Kelly Orlando and all of our employees who donate their time, energy and expertise to our students.

Great job!

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Local real estate agents attend presentation on future of LCS

realtor-meetingThis morning I had a great opportunity to speak to a group of 20 local realtors about Lapeer Community Schools: where we’ve come from, where we are and where we’re going. One of the best parts of my job as superintendent is engaging the community in dialogue about the role LCS will play in the future of this community.

I equipped these individuals with information, and avenues to even more information, that will aid them in their encounters with prospective buyers. In the future, our goal is to make Lapeer Community Schools a destination district. We want this district, and what it offers to families, to be reason enough to move here — setting aside all the great things we know about this community.

Lapeer is a safe community, a generational community filled with pride that runs deep. Moving forward, we want to increase our visibility, enlarge our role in the community, to build a even stronger foundation for the future. To do this, we need more advocates (like those who attended our presentation this morning) to be informed about the revitalization of LCS.

There are many things happening now, and slated to happen in the coming year, that everyone should be aware of. In connection with the consolidation of our two traditional high schools in 2014-15, the current Lapeer West High School campus will become the District’s Center for Innovation. It will be home to numerous academic and extracurricular programs including:

  • Dual Enrollment – UM-Flint and Mott Community College
  • LCS outdoor athletics
  • Alternative Education
  • Standardized Testing Center
  • Credit Advancement and Recovery Center
  • LCS Robotics
  • Numerous AP Courses
  • Future Magnet Concepts (STEM)

In short, this one facility in our district will give future LCS students opportunities they’ve never had before.

We have year-round schooling at the elementary and middle levels; we are developing a campus structure to create more academic stretch and remediation opportunities for students; we are in our second year offering a virtual learning program at the Maple Grove Campus; we are raising funds for the future expansion of our outdoor athletic complex at the West Campus; a “homeschool high school” concept is being developed that could put district resources within reach of our county’s  homeschool families.

There’s so much going on in the District right now, it’s difficult to get it all in one post. Suffice it to say, I couldn’t be more excited about the direction we’re heading and I want to share that excitement with anyone who will listen.

Thank you to everyone who attended this morning’s presentation. I look forward to working with you in the future as one team, one community, all-in for One Lapeer.

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Kudos: Fifth grader James Johnston helps a classmate in need

James Johnson and Meghan Keeley demonstrating the Heimlich manuever.

James Johnston and Meghan Keeley demonstrating the Heimlich maneuver.

On Wednesday, Mrs. Callans fifth graders at Lynch Elementary were lining up to go to tech class when a young man came to the aid of a classmate who needed his help. Meghan Keeley got choked on a mint in the hallway and could not speak or respond to others asking her if she was OK. When a simple pat on the back couldn’t dislodge the mint, James Johnston sprung into action. Johnston administered the Heimlich maneuver, an emergency technique used to open up blocked airways.

“The mint flew from her mouth and the entire line of students observed this heroic act,” said Lynch Elementary Principal Michelle Bradford.

The parents of the students were notified yesterday. Today, Keeley’s mother brought him a pizza and gift card as a reward for his heroic act.

Kudos to James for not only knowing what to do in an emergency situation, but being willing to do it. Great job young man!

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Lapeer High School is newest member of Saginaw Valley Conference

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September 2013: Superintendent’s Message

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One Lapeer: Community members excited about the future

Wake Up Lapeer was held at the Center Building on Thursday morning.

Wake Up Lapeer was held at the Center Building on Thursday morning.

This morning, I had the opportunity to speak to an influential cross-section of our community. I was invited to be the main speaker at this month’s Wake Up Lapeer event hosted by the Lapeer Area Chamber of Commerce. The room at the Center Building was full of people who join together to form a rock-solid foundation for Lapeer.

And boy are those folks excited about our future.

It’s simple, really. Our future is just that; it belongs to all of us. A dynamic, forward-thinking LCS will have long-term positive effects on Lapeer that perhaps no other entity could match. You cannot separate the schools from the larger community, the business community or otherwise. We need each other to be successful, and the support of groups like the Chamber of Commerce can go a long way.

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