Grosse Pointe Public School System

389 St. Clair, Grosse Pointe, MI 48230 . 313.432.3000

Dr. Niehaus' Blog

  • GPPSS Weekly Update on testing, diversity, baseball at Comerica and more!

    Posted by Rebecca Fannon at 3/31/2017

    Important State Assessment Update

    It is almost time to begin the Michigan Student Test of Educational Progress, or M-STEP. The M-STEP is designed to be administered online. Schools that cannot meet the minimum technology requirements are permitted to take a paper and pencil assessment. While GPPSS technically meets the minimum tech requirements, our administration is concerned about logistics in computer labs and disruption to learning throughout buildings. For that reason, the district applied for the waiver and will be administering the paper/pencil assessment. Testing dates are as follows:




    *Paper/Pencil Assessment

    11th Grade


    ACT WorkKeys

    M-STEP Science/SS

    April 11th

    April 12th

    April 13th

    9th and 10th Grade


    April 11th & 12th

    5th and 8th Grade

    M-STEP English Language Arts (ELA)


    M-STEP Math


    M-STEP Social Studies

    April 11th

    April 12th

    April 13th


    April 18th

    April 19th


    April 20th

    3rd and 6th Grade



    M-STEP Math

    May 2nd

    May 3rd


    May 9th

    May 10th

    4th and 7th Grade



    M-STEP Math

    M-STEP Math


    M-STEP Science

    May - May 2nd

    May - May 3rd


    May - May 9th

    May - May 10th


    May - May 11th

    * Makeup test dates are provided if a child is sick. Please contact your building principal or classroom teacher for a makeup date.


    Although testing situations can be stressful for some students, this is also an opportunity for our students to really shine and to demonstrate their current levels of understanding in core subject areas. We are asking parents to be especially alert to their child's needs for:

    • getting plenty of rest,
    • eating a good breakfast each morning, and
    • being in school and on time on testing days.  

     For additional information please review the parent letter from State Superintendent Brian Whiston which addresses the reduction in testing time and consequences to districts when families choose not to test, and the student testing tips parents can use to positively help their student prepare:

    We want our students to be at their best and to represent themselves and our district as favorably as possible on these tests.  Please continue to encourage your child each day. Additional information on testing accommodations, from the use of calculators to the use of language translators, is also posted on the Michigan Department of Education website Or you can always contact your child's teacher or principal with questions.  

    Thank you for your help and support during this time.


    GPPSS Diversity Plan: Forum rescheduled for April 12

    Our school district has a vision of "One GP -- where  everyone learns,  every day," and as stated in our Strategic Plan, has a commitment to:

    • Diversity -- respecting differences among individuals and groups;
    • Equity -- creating opportunities and challenging discrimination; and
    • Inclusion -- where everyone can participate regardless of the groups to which they belong.

    The district has drafted a diversity plan with these values, and wants to engage the community in the process.

    Community Forum April 12

    The forum to present the GPPSS Diversity Plan has been rescheduled for 7-8:30 p.m., Wednesday, April 12, in the Pierce Middle School Auditorium, 15430 Kercheval, Grosse Pointe Park. A panel of experts with local ties will follow the presentation by our Directors of Curriculum. The discussion will be moderated by the non-partisan League of Women Voters. Principals, clergy, municipal leaders and you are invited to come join the civil discourse.

    Student Questionnaire
    The district and students from both high schools are also working together to gather information about your perspectives. These students will analyze the findings and report to the school and community.
    We are asking high school student to complete a short questionnaire April 12th that was developed with guidance from the University of Michigan. Participation is voluntary, and individual answers will be confidential. If you have questions, please contact Maureen Bur, Director of Secondary Instruction, 313-432-3042 or the Superintendent's Office at 313-432-3003.


    New community flyers are posted each week

    Click Flyers to see community events ranging from GPPSS Spring Swim classes, to the South and North Fashion Shows April 27, and more. If you have a flyer, you can use the online form to upload your own pdf for a nominal fee.



    Did you know?

    Here are some facts to share and celebrate in the community this week.

    • Chemistry competition - These students also participated in You Be the Chemist. Brownell was represented by Amanda Rigotti 8th, Olivia Dalman 7th, and Zoey Crossley 6th. Pierce was represented by 8th graders Atticus Henry, Eva McCord, and 7th grader, Ethan Harr. Atticus and Eva tied with 3 others for 5th place. Parcells competitors were 8th grader William Eckerman, 7th grader Noah Dean, and 7th grader Stephanie Westrick.
    • German awards - Several North students in levels 2-4 of German took part in the German national exam. 17 of our GPN students have been recognized for above-average achievement. In level 2, Anna Cho earned a bronze award; Grant Sachs earned a silver award, and Paul Treder earned a gold award, qualifying him to apply for a scholarship to go to Germany. In level 3, John Huskin earned a silver award and Audry Rakozy earned a gold award.  Audry also qualified to apply for a scholarship to go to Germany. In level 4, Isi Klawitter earned a gold-level award. German Day March 10 was also great! We had 32 students show up at 7:45 a.m., despite the fact that school was cancelled, to head to compete in Ann Arbor.  North walked away with three wins: Will Fishwick won 2nd place in music, and German 3 student Audry Rakozy won first place for level 3 speaking. Audry also wanted to compete in the reading category, but all of the level 3 slots were filled.  So, she competed in the level 4 instead, and she ended up winning 3rd place in the level 4 reading category!
    • Parcells Middle School had 45 community members present at their Career Day last Friday. Students were able to select 5 sessions to attend. Thank you to each and every one!
    • Join us for GP South vs. North Baseball Friday, April 14, 2017, 7 p.m. at Comerica Park! For tickets, please see any member of the GPN or GPS team or coaching staff.  Tickets can also be purchased at Comerica Park Gates prior to the game IMG_0281.JPG



    • Enjoy a safe Spring Break 4/1-4/9. GPPSS is also closed 4/14.
    • April 12 - Forum to present the GPPSS Diversity Plan, 7-8:30 p.m., Pierce Auditorium
    • In order to attend the Kindergarten Transition Event 5/2 ...
      • 4/13 is the deadline to register for Young Fives
      • 4/24 is the deadline for kindergarten
    Comments (0)
  • GPPSS Weekly Update March 23 - conferences, arts shows, music awards

    Posted by Rebecca Fannon at 3/23/2017

    Conferences tonight at North, South, Parcells and Pierce

    If you missed high school conferences last night, you have one more chance to connect this evening 3/23 from 5-8 p.m. at North and South. Tonight is also the rescheduled conferences for Parcells and Pierce middle schools from 4:30-7 p.m. (due to the power outage). Brownell conferences are complete and elementary conferences are next week. Thank you for using these opportunities to connect! The parent and staff involvement is amazing in GPPSS!

    ArtFest is open at South

    South’s Art Fest is open through March 25th in South's MPR. The Art Fest exhibition is Wednesday - Friday: 8 a.m.-4 p.m. and 5-8pm, and Saturday: 10 a.m.-2 p.m. Awards Night is Friday from 7-8 p.m. For more fine and performing arts information, be sure to check out the Performing Arts Calendar linked from the main page of every GPPSS website. North’s Art Show will be May 15-17.

    Please update your contact info

    Due to recent “stranger danger” incidents at South and Ferry, the district would like to take this opportunity to remind families to update their contact information through MiStar Parent Portal. For the 6,000 who have downloaded the New and improved district app (available free for Apple and Android)thank you. Now please take the important Step 2 and select GPPSS and your school(s) if you have not done so already! Without that you won’t receive important school and district texts straight to your phone. In return, the district will add the App to our emergency notification process and continue to review and update our safety protocol regularly.

    This also provides an opportunity for you to review all appropriate safety precautions with your children and urge them to use caution and common sense in any situation that feels uncomfortable or dangerous to them.  Please be sure that your children know to report any incident immediately to an adult. Remind your student that school staff and parent volunteers are present at arrival, dismissal and lunch/recess. Being polite is not as important as being safe. Our most important priority, like yours, is keeping our students safe.  We appreciate your continued support in helping us do that.

    New community flyers are posted each week

    Click Flyers to see community events ranging from GPPSS Spring Swim classes, to Board of Realtor Events to attract new families, to the South Fashion Show, the rescheduled Monteith Ladies Night Out,  Wayne County Community College Concerts and more. If you have a flyer, you can use the online form to upload your own pdf for a nominal fee.

    Did you know?

    Here are some facts to share and celebrate in the community this week.

    • Last night Parcells hosted the 2017 Wayne County Regional You be the Chemist tournament for the first time ever! Parcells was represented by eight-grader William Eckerman and seventh-graders Noah Dean and Stephanie Westrick. Sara Westrick from Monteith placed 4th!
    • 2 Pierce Students  won the National Gold Key Scholastic award for their writing pieces.  Their names are Shea Vatalaro and Jacquelyn Wang.  They will travel to New York City to receive their award at Carnegie Hall!
    • Based on their extremely high scores at Michigan School Band and Orchestra State Solo & Ensemble Festival this past weekend, these North and South students were invited to join the Michigan Youth Arts Festival  Orchestra!  
      • Amelia Abouljoud, Viola
      • Keenan Bakowski, Trumpet
      • Brianna Corrion, Cello
      • Alex Fahle, Violin
      • Charlotte Farrell, Violin
      • Catharine Fennessey, Viola
      • Hadley Hermon, Trumpet
      • Anna Jarboe, Violin
      • Jared Schenk, Trumpet
    • 4 South students won Scholastic Awards at the national level! These impressive works are posted on the district website.
      • Sarah Simmet, "Geometric Scheme" Silver Medal Art Portfolio, Grade 12, Grosse Pointe South HS , Teacher: Tom Szmrecsanyi
      • Carter Teranes, "Layers and Perception" Silver Medal Art Portfolio, Grade 12, Grosse Pointe South HS, Teacher: Micki Buksar-Ceci
      • Gabrielle Miller, "Evanescent, Gold Medal Mixed Media, Grade 12, Grosse Pointe South HS, Teacher: Kit Aro
      • Megan Fordon, "Depression" Silver Medal Digital Art, Grade 12, Grosse Pointe South HS, Teacher: Kit Aro
    • 13 Grosse Pointe Destination Imagination (DI) Teams have advanced to the State Level Competition.


    • March 23 – High school evening conferences (school as usual)
    • March 23 – Pierce & Parcells make-up conferences (to make up for those during the outage)
    • March 24 – Defer Bingo Night and Student Council Bake Sale, 7-9pm in the Defer gym
    • March 22-25 South ArtFest (see above for times)
    • March 27 – College Night, 6-8 p.m. at South High School – over 100 colleges and universities!
    • March 27 – Regular Board Meeting, 7 p.m., Brownell MPR
    • March 29 – elementary evening conferences (school as usual)
    • March 29 - Grosse Pointe North Choirs will be performing Great Works at the Assumption Cultural Center and Church at 7pm
    • March 30 – no school for elementary students (conferences)
    • Spring Break remains 4/1-4/9. GPPSS is also closed 4/14.
    • In order to attend the Kindergarten Transition Event 5/2 …
      • 4/13 is the deadline to register for Young Fives
      • 4/24 is the deadline for kindergarten
    Comments (0)
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