Planning for the Future
A couple of weeks ago, parents, students, teachers, community members and the WLPS Board of Education met to review all the information gathered from community input sessions and surveys for a long Saturday of strategic planning. One of the most prominent outcomes of the strategic planning process was the need to continue using our Sinking Fund to enhance, update and replace technology in our classrooms and maintain our buildings. Based on our community input and with the support from the planning committee, I went to work pricing out necessary technology and anticipated building repairs.
At the Board of Education meeting on April 23, I shared the backbone and justification for extending our existing 1 Mill Sinking Fund for 10 years. The legislature changed language shortly after WLPS approved our current Sinking Fund in 2016. We can now use sinking funds to address a variety of security and technology needs. Some of the most immediate anticipated needs are listed below:
- Enhancing security at WLES and WLMS/HS
- Adding Chromebook/tablet and interactive technology to each classroom for students to ensure consistent, day-to-day, technology usage
- Developing a sustainable replacement program for technology so WLPS doesn’t go 10 years without the ability to maintain updated technology
- Replacing teacher technology in each classroom with new equipment that was last replaced in 2004-2006
- Repairing parking lots and district roads
- Continuing to make necessary repairs and react to occasional equipment failures without raiding instructional budgets
It is important to note, to date, the current WLPS Sinking Fund of 1 Mill for 3 years is nearing the end of its life. With the money raised, WLPS completed the following:
- Repaired the wireless infrastructure in all facilities necessary to add any additional technology
- Repaired athletic fields and track
- Made several repairs to building level equipment (e.g. classroom heaters, etc.) which cost tens of thousands of dollars. These costs would have come from instructional budgets without the Sinking Fund.
Further, this summer:
- WLES will get a new playground. A majority of the funds for this project come from the Sinking Fund.
- WLES will get a new parking lot at the east end of its property.
- WLMS/HS will get new vestibules at the east and west entrances.
The BOE is targeting an August 2018 vote for this ballot initiative. At the May 14 BOE meeting, it will review ballot language and vote on it. We look forward to providing you with more information as we move forward in the process.
For those who participated in the community input sessions and surveys, I thank you for your input. I look forward to providing our Trojan community with more information on how we will continue to make sure every day is a great day to be a Trojan.
Down on the Fairgrounds
Our 3rd and 4th graders had a fun-filled week! In addition to a fantastic concert on Wednesday, earlier this week, our 3rd-grade classes headed to Saline County Fairgrounds to learn about Project R.E.D. (Rural Education Day).
Thanks to the Washtenaw Farm Council who provide this trip for free, students were able to get up close and personal with a variety of farm animals including goats, cows, horses, rabbits, chickens, Shetland ponies, and pigs. They learned about milking cows, rain gardens, planting and growing crops, farm equipment and even got to taste a variety of foods made and grown at Michigan farms. As if eating ice cream, honey, sausage, sunflower seeds, popcorn, blueberries and cherries wasn’t enough, each child was also given a pine tree to plant at home.
Thanks to our teachers, Ms. Otterman and Mr. Withers for pursuing great opportunities like this for our students. You can also enjoy pictures of the 3rd and 4th-grade concert posted on our Facebook page HERE.
Quiz Bowl Takes 5th at States
The Whitmore Lake Varsity Quiz Bowl Team headed home last weekend from the Michigan State Quiz Bowl Tournament fifth out of 25 teams! According to the Varsity head coach, LuAnn Easlick, this is the highest rank, in memory, that WLHS has ever placed in the tournament
After a 7-3 record in the Tri-County League and winning their division with a 5-1 season, Whitmore Lake competed in the C division at States. After a day full of wins on Friday, the WLVQB team lost to the team who would take second in the tournament. After double elimination brackets on Saturday, they ended the tournament with a loss to the team that placed third.
The Varsity team included Caleb Henning, Cole Griffin, Hunter Fanson, Marissa Kyle, Christina Smith, Matt Schwennesen, Travis Wilson and Claire Schwennesen who joined the team, up from JV, at the end of the 2017-18 season. They did a great job of working together as a team and keeping cool heads during some tense moments.
Though some teams who qualify to continue play on Saturday leave on Friday and return the next morning, the WLVQB likes to stay and keep themselves in the team mindset. It is a great bonding experience and sets the team up with momentum for the next season. According to junior Marissa Kyle, “The best part of the weekend was coming together as a team the more we advanced in the completion.”
Easlick is proud of this year’s team and those members who have been with Quiz Bowl through their entire high school career. They have been essential to the teams qualifying for States three times in those four years. “The Whitmore Lake community can be proud of these young people who represent the very essence of education, a willing mind. When they win, the school wins, and so does the community,” said Coach Easlick.
The team says goodbye to Caleb, Hunter, and Cole who will be graduating this year. As these seniors leave and younger members take over, they have some great minds to fill. Coach Easlick and the JV Coach Julie Fleury look forward to training a new team for a 2018-19 shot at States again and into the future. They would like to thank all those who have supported them this season.
Project Playground Update: Week 7
As we wrap up week 7, I want to take some time to thank those who have invested in Project Playground: $50k For Play. Our students at WLES ended their Change Challenge giving $1,999.32 this week alone! Over the entire fundraiser, they brought in an incredible $4,722.49. I want to point out the OVERALL goal of the Change Challenge was $1,500. This is another great example of how our students accept a goal, a challenge, and just plain crush it. The total invested in Project Playground so far is $23,553, almost halfway to our goal! Keep up the great work Trojans!