Grosse Pointe Public School System

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

Dr. Niehaus' Blog

  • GPPSS Weekly Update 4/26/17 - 13 Reasons warning, High School rankings to celebrate

    Posted by Rebecca Fannon at 4/26/2017

    Pointes of Pride

    We have two amazing High Schools in Grosse Pointe. Just this week the national rankings by US News were released https://www.usnews.com/education/best-high-schools/national-rankings. South was ranked 13th in Michigan and 695th in the nation! North was ranked 28th in Michigan and 1169th in the nation! Or to put it another way, both are in the top 5% in the nation. US News uses a 4-step process each school must meet to be ranked:

    • STEP 1 Students perform better than expected in their state.
    • STEP 2 Disadvantaged students perform better than state average.
    • STEP 3 Student graduation rates meet or exceed a national standard (both our schools are over 27% above the national average, at 94% and 96% graduating within four years!)
    • STEP 4 Students are prepared for college-level coursework.

    GPPSS Diversity Plan: Opportunity for dialogue at the secondary schools

    One of the questions that came out of the Diversity Forum was when the plan would be presented to students for input. Dates have been set at all of the secondary schools. Students will have the opportunity to opt-in. If parents do not want their student to participate, they can contact the school office or simply tell their children not to participate. Here are the dates for the same Diversity Plan presentation to be shared at each school:

    • May 1 North
    • May 5 South
    • May 8 Brownell
    • May 9 Parcells
    • May 10 Pierce

    Please be aware of the 13 Reasons Series

    A Netflix series rated MA for mature audiences is receiving national press with concern over its message related to suicide. The district encourages parents to educate themselves.  The fictional story is a cautionary tale of a young girl’s suicide, and covers other sensitive subject matters as the series progresses such as sexual abuse, rape, substance abuse, mental health, and bullying. Due to the popularity among youth and the subject matter, The Oakland County Youth Suicide Prevention Task Force is providing the information below to assist parents in conversations with their children about these very serious and sensitive topics. They gave permission for us to share these suggestions with our families as well. It is suggested that:

    • Parents/caregivers view the series first. 
    • If you consider the series suitable for your children, watch the series with them. 
    • Watch the series companion piece "13 Reasons Why: Beyond the Reasons" on Netflix for a discussion by cast, producers, and mental health professionals about the series. 
    • Create a safe, judgment-free zone when talking about the series and the subject matter. 
    • Reach out for help if you feel you and/or your child needs it. Call the Common Ground Helpline at 1-800-231-1127

    In response to the series, many national and local organizations have created resources to assist parents, teachers, and other gatekeepers in talking to youth about suicide as it relates to the situational drama that unfolds in the TV series and in general. The following resources are suggested:

    Dancing with the Stars returns to South

    The South class of 2018 hopes you will join us for the return of Dancing with the South Stars!  Various teachers in the building have been taking private dance lessons in order to compete for the top prize of South’s dance champion. Competitors are as follows: a duet with Mr. Campion & Mr. Monaghan, Mr. Kim, Ms. Lee, Ms. McCulloch, Ms. Orban, Mr. Palen, Ms. Schmidt, and a duet with Mrs. and Mr. Wolfe.

    Student performances include the South Singers as well as The Vent, a student band with Rockim Williamson, Miles Dearing, Timor Betzer, Dino Caradonna, and Emmett Altland. The contestants have been rehearsing since January and will showcase their talents Friday, May 5th (Cinco de Mayo!) at 7pm in the auditorium. Tickets are $10 for adults and $5 for students. Admission includes entertainment and light hors d’oeuvres at intermission. Tickets will be sold at lunch the week of May 1st and at the door, and auditorium seating will be on a first-come first-served basis.

    Summer Options are posted online

    Summer learning opportunities from credit recovery to enrichment classes, day camps to music camps, Safety Town to theatre camps are posted on the district website as details are finalized. Click Summer Programs and tell your friends and neighbors!

    Calendar:

    • 4/27 no school for high school students – full day of professional development
    • South’s production of Hairspray The Broadway Musical will be April 27, 28, and 29 at 7:30 p.m., and April 30 at 2 p.m. in the Christian A. Fenton Performing Arts Center on North’s campus. Tickets can be purchased at www.gpsouthchoir.org or Posterity Gallery.
    • There will be a budget work session Monday, May 1. It was moved to South’s Wicking Library at 7 p.m. Regular Board meetings are also scheduled for May 8 and 22, both starting at 7 p.m. in the Brownell MPR.
    • Mark your calendar now for the annual North-South Outdoor Instrumental Concert, 7 p.m., June 2, on South’s Front Lawn
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  • GPPSS Weekly Update 4/24/17

    Posted by Rebecca Fannon at 4/24/2017

    Pointes of Pride

    • 11 Distinguished Volunteers will be honored at the regular board meeting, 7 p.m., tonight, April 24th in the Pierce Auditorium. They include: Beverly Bennert (Trombly/Pierce), Misty Cooper (Mason) , Colleen Hughes (Monteith, Parcells, North), Kathryn Pierce Kaspzyk (Maire), Karen Lawrence (Grosse Pointe Foundation for Public Education, South, Kerby, Brownell), Michele Lindsay (Trombly, Pierce), Christina Michaud (Defer, Maire, Pierce), Tiffany Mitchell (Poupard), Joseph and Meghan Parent (Maire, Pierce), Diane Peters (Parcells, North).
    • North instrumental music students performed in one of the largest and most prestigious music festivals in the United States, Festival Disney, and brought back some impressive ratings.  In addition to being critiqued by some of the most highly esteemed adjudicators in the country, our String Orchestra received a “good” rating; the Concert Band received an “excellent” rating; and the Symphony Band was awarded a “superior rating,” along with one of the highest scores of the entire 3-day festival.  Our talented musicians also entertained hundreds of spectators in a separate performance at Old Town Disney on the first evening of their trip.
    • The Michigan Belle Tire Girls Tier One - AAA , U-16 Girls hockey team won the State title this year, and then went on to win the National Championship beating all Tier one AAA Girls U-16 across the USA! Two students from South are on the team -- Maria Di Cresce and Ellana Zingas!
    • Eva McCord, a 2016 Scholastic Art and Writing Silver National Medalist and a recipient of a gold key for one of her poetry submissions this school year, has been shortlisted as a finalist in the Claremont Review’s Annual Contest for writers aged 13 to 19.  The Claremont Review received a record number of entries from 16 countries, and Eva was the only Midwestern finalist out of 18 students who were selected for their poetry.  Eva is an 8th grader at Pierce Middle School.

    GPPSS Diversity Plan: Forum well attended

    The Diversity Forum – Raising Global Leaders was attended by over 130 community members.  Keith Howell and Maureen Bur presented the District Diversity Plan.  Tom Wells from the League of Women Voters did an excellent job of moderating the panel discussion, providing a county and state perspective.  The district will post answers to all questions submitted as soon as possible. You can view the Diversity forum online.

    2017-18 Budget development continues

    The Board of Education (BOE) has difficult decisions to make to satisfy their budget parameters, and has held two public work sessions to discuss options.  The $3.1 million Wayne County millage this school year was used to balance the 2015-16 budget gap and to restore the District Fund Balance to $8.5 million. By June 30th  the administration will present a balanced budget for Board approval. Within that framework, the Board of Education is asking for a $9.0 million fund balance by the end of 2017-18. $2.5 million in reductions will be needed to reach that goal. Declining enrollment (estimated at a 100 student decrease per year for the foreseeable future) is a key component of the budget. Please register now for Kindergarten and re-verify residency if you have a student entering 6th or 9th grade in the fall. Actual enrollment figures, not projections, are used for budget and staffing.

    Our classrooms serve as global leaders in education

    Former Superintendent Dr. Suzanne Klein and the Oakland University Education Department are hosting a group of 24 teachers and administrators from Saudi Arabia.  The King of Saudi Arabia has set forth a plan to diversify their economy by 2030, and a critical component is revamping their educational system. They visited North High School, Barnes Early Childhood Center, Community Campus, and Kerby Elementary last week. They are returning to visit Brownell Middle School in June. It is an honor to be among the select school districts across the globe chosen for their study.

    Please take the public library survey

    The Grosse Pointe Public Library has just begun distributing a community survey as a part of their five year strategic planning process: https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/GPPL2017. They are launching general distribution today and will capture responses through Sunday, May 7.  

    South athletic boosters invite you to their golf outing

    Please join us in supporting Grosse Pointe South Athletics. The GP South Athletic Booster Club is making a final push to fill up the remaining available spots for our 4th Annual Blue Devil Invitational Golf Tournament at the Country Club of Detroit on Monday May 1st. There are still many ways to participate and show your support. Information is available at the GP South Athletic Booster Club website. Questions:  contact Mark Rieth

    GPPSS Technology Planning Committee kicks off

    The first GPPSS Technology Committee meeting was last Thursday.  Mike Wilmot from the Michigan Leadership Institute is moderating the meetings.  The desire is to come away with a District Technology Plan for GPPSS. There are two more meetings scheduled on Thursdays from 6-9 p.m. -- April 27th in Grosse Pointe South High School Wicking Library, and May 11th in North High School’s library. We thank the 45 members of our community and staff participating in this effort.

    Summer Options are posted online

    Summer learning opportunities from credit recovery to enrichment classes, day camps to music camps, Safety Town to theatre camps are posted on the district website as details are finalized. Click Summer Programs and tell your friends and neighbors!

    Flyers highlight Fashion Shows to Community Events

    Click Flyers to see community events ranging from the South Fashion Show and North Fashion Show April 27, the annual Paint the Window Contest, and more. If you have a flyer, you can use the online form to upload your own pdf for a nominal fee.

    Calendar:

    • Today 4/24 is the deadline to establish residency for kindergarten if you want to attend the highly recommended transition event May 2
    • 4/24 middle and high school report cards available online via Parent Portal
    • 4/24 Board of Education meeting, 7 p.m., Pierce Auditorium – includes Distinguished Volunteers and grants from the Grosse Pointe Foundation for Public Education www.gpfpe.org 
    • 4/25 Kerby/Richard Spring Instrumental Concert 7 p.m.  in the Kerby Gym
    • 4/27 no school for high school students – full day of professional development
    • South’s production of Hairspray The Broadway Musical will be April 27, 28, and 29 at 7:30 p.m., and April 30 at 2 p.m. in the Christian A. Fenton Performing Arts Center on North’s campus. Tickets can be purchased at www.gpsouthchoir.org or Posterity Gallery.
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