Photos and Story by Crystal Hayduk
Administrators introduced their new staff to the Chelsea School District Board of Education at the regular school board meeting on Aug. 24.
North Creek Principal Marcus Kaemming introduced Kim Gasieski (kindergarten) and Heather Hay (first grade). He described them as having the energy and excitement that is critical to working with the district’s youngest students, and both are experienced educators who also have backgrounds in literacy.
Kaemming and Lisa Nickel, director of special education, introduced Jaimie Jackson, who will serve students at all age and grade levels with speech and language needs. “She’s going to wear about 15 hats,” Kaemming said. She previously worked in the Plymouth-Canton district.
South Meadows Principal Stacie Battaglia introduced her building’s two new teachers, Katie Spisich (third grade) and Jordan Miller (fifth grade). “They both impressed me from the moment I spoke to them on the phone [in their screening interviews], and went on to prove that initial impression over and over in the rounds of interviews,” said Battaglia.
Spisich graduated from Western Michigan University and received her master’s degree in administration from Ball State University. She has taught in Florida and Indiana, but desired to settle permanently in her home state of Michigan. “She’s intelligent, fun, happy, and kind,” said Battaglia.
Miller, who also speaks Spanish, graduated from Goshen College in Indiana and has had the unique experience of teaching in Costa Rica for four years. Prior to his move to Michigan, he taught in Indiana. “He’s the only male classroom teacher in the building now,” said Battaglia.
Beach Middle School Principal Nick Angel introduced teacher consultant Sarah Radu, a Chelsea High School alumna. “She’s a nice fit with our staff,” he said. “Sarah has hit the ground running.”
Board President Steve Olsen presented Ron Livengood with a gift to honor his retirement from the position of director of operations. Livengood was a district employee for nearly 20 years. Superintendent Dave Killips credited Livengood for leading the district through a number of building additions over the years, and for his excellence in working with contractors and managing the budget. “You always gave us the best bang for the buck,” said Killips.
During the opportunity for public input, Rick Catherman, band director and president of the Chelsea Education Association, thanked Livengood for leading the district and assuring that things were ready for the students, both for special events and on a daily basis.
The board approved the hiring of Denis Taylor as the new director of operations, who will begin on Sept. 1. With over 25 years of experience, and Taylor has “… knowledge of facilities management, project management, employee team building and ideas for change,” said Killips.
Assistant Superintendent Julie Deppner reviewed district goals and new strategies to meet them. According to Deppner, student achievement assessment methods are changing due to the state’s decision to switch from MEAP to M-Step testing. In addition to the change in testing and scoring, there is a short period of time in which there is no data due to the delay in reporting scores. In the meantime, the district will use NWEA and other local assessments to measure academic progress in some subjects.
Under the goal of enhancing a positive, safe and healthy school climate, the district plans to enhance the ALICE (Alert, Lockdown, Inform, Counter, Evacuate) training. The district will update crisis plans, evaluate current plans for critical incidents (such as major medical emergencies), and continue to monitor busing procedures.
Locally, the special focus under the fiscal responsibility heading will be the Sinking Fund renewal.
The two primary strategies to promote interaction between the district and the communities this year include developing an approach to fill the media gap and to explore options with the School Messenger (phone calling system) program. “We would like to attempt to be systematic among the schools with our communication,” said Deppner. “And, we’d like to enhance School Messenger as a way to get messages to parents.”
During public input, Dexter Township resident Jennifer Kundak encouraged the board to remind the community to advocate for public schools at all levels, including the state. “It’s important to express our views as citizens, even if we don’t get feedback,” she said. “It looks like it will be another challenging year for funding and laws.”
- The first day of school for students will be Sept. 8.
- The next regular school board meeting will be at 6:30 p.m. on Sept. 14 in the board room at the Washington Street Education Center.
The Chelsea City Council will hold an economic development work session, tonight, Monday, Aug. 31 beginning at 6 p.m.
The meeting will take place in the City Council Chambers in the new Municipal Building at 311 S. Main St.
Story and photo by Lisa Carolin
Beginning in September, the Adult Learners Institute will be offering more than 20 fall classes. Registration is required, it costs $10 a semester, and is going on now.
ALI, as it is referred to, was started in 2004, and one of the founders was Maurine Nelson.
“It’s a model of lifelong learning and one of the few stand-alone institutes that is not part of a university,” says Nelson. “There were many people who helped start ALI along with the wide open arms of Chelsea. It’s a senior program run by seniors.”
Washtenaw Community College provides and pays five instructors for ALI each semester.
“The whole concept was started by Elderhostel, which is now called Road Scholar Institute Network,” says Nelson. “It’s a program to enrich life primarily for people who are retired. It meets a need.”
Classes are college level and require no homework and have no tests. The cost per class ranges from $10-$30.
“It’s my favorite teaching gig,” says Nancy Nilsson, who has been a teacher for 40 years, including teaching at the University of Michigan and in the Ann Arbor Public School District. “I teach art history and humanities through the history of art, and there’s nothing that you have to cover. I can vary examples so that students are always getting fresh material.”
This fall, Nilsson will be focusing on the Roman culture and empire in her course Journeys through Western Civilizations, which she has moved through chronologically,
“The ALI students are a wonderful group of people who are interested in the world and like taking intellectual journeys,” says Nilsson.
Grace Shackman teaches architecture and history at ALI.
“Adults are so enthusiastic,” says Shackman. “They’re doing this because they want to. They spur me on to research new areas they’re curious about. It’s been a very positive experience.”
ALI partners with the Chelsea Senior Center and the Chelsea District Library, which are among the locations where catalogues are available. There are two semesters – September to November, and February to May.
There might be as many as eight sessions of a class and as few as one. Classes are typically two hours long and include a lecture, class discussion and interaction.
Nilsson says, “When you have an entire class of people who have life experience and are very much interested in the subject, and are enthusiastic and have great curiosity, it’s an ideal class to teach.”
ALI is looking for volunteers. For more information, click here or call 734-433-1000, ext. 7358.
(Chelsea Update would like to thank Eric Swager for the information in this story and Bennett Proegler for the photo.)
Tags: Chelsea cross country
(Chelsea Update would like to thank Shasta Grifka for the information in this story.)
The Chelsea Children’s Cooperative Preschool still has a few openings for this fall.
There is a young 5’s program for kids who are too young for the Sept. 1 cutoff or who are just not yet ready for kindergarten.
Also offered are preschool classes for 3 and 4 year olds and a playgroup for 2 year olds.
(Chelsea Update would like to thank Laura Cleveland for the information in this recap story.)
Chelsea varsity volleyball is off to a good start this season.
The team competed in the Brownstown Early Bird Classic on Aug. 21, going 3-2. The team lost to the Class B No. 1 team Mt. Morris.
Stat leaders were:
Emma Hess: 32 kills, 25 digs
Morgan Matusik: 28 kills, 18 digs, 16 aces
Olivia McCalla: 77 assists
Ashley Brooks: 18 digs
Taylor King: 7 aces, 8 blocks
The team competed at the Mt. Morris Invitational on Aug.29 going 3-2. The team lost to the Class B No.1 team Mt. Morris again.
Emma Hess: 39 kills, 13 digs
Morgan Matusik: 37 kills 29 digs
Taylor King: 10 kills
Catherine Wellman: 6 blocks
Olivia McCalla: 94 assists
“We have been making improvements each week,” the coach said. “I am happy with the desire of the team to learn and get better to put themselves in the best position to compete and win at a high level.”
Cleveland said, “We have been working to improve our serve receive and for our younger players to learn their positions and transitions at a higher rate of speed. I am looking forward to seeing the growth in this team over the course of the season. This is a great group of girls who have good chemistry and want to be a great team. It is a pleasure to work with a group of girls like that on a daily basis.”
The team competes at the SEC Jamboree at Chelsea on Sept.1 starting at 1 pm.
Emma Hess- Sr. Captain
Morgan Matusik- Sr. Captain
Olivia McCalla- Sr. Captain
Savannah Steele- Sr.
Ashley Brooks- Sr.
Taylor King- Sr.
Abby Bareis- Jr.
Catherine Wellman- Jr.
Audrey Phillips- Soph.
Alise Hale- Soph.
Paige Stacy- Soph.
Nina White- Soph.
Saturday night at the 2015 Chelsea Community Fair means one thing to the senior showmanship winners — a chance to compete against the winners of all the other species head-to-head.
And this year 17-year-old Amanda Breuninger of Dexter showed she had what it takes to impress nine judges to take home the special belt buckle scoring 164 points.
She won senior showmanship with her steer.
Second was Emma Young, 16, also of Dexter, who won showmanship with a chicken. And although anything with feathers was not allowed to participate at the fair this year, they improvised using a stuffed animal chicken.
Breuninger began showing livestock at the Chelsea Fair when she was 6 years old while Young has been showing animals for seven years.
Each competitor spends time learning about the other eight species during fair week by talking to the senior showman who won with those animals.
During the competition, each showman spends 3 minutes showing all nine species of animals and answering questions posed by the nine judges. The showman who does the best job overall showing all nine animals is named the sweepstakes showmanship winner.
Also competing were:
- Mason Trinkle, 15, of Chelsea, who has been showing for 10 years. He won showed a pig.
- Bailey Burchett, 17, of Chelsea, who has been showing for 11 years. She showed a dairy cow.
- Savanna Burchett, 15, of Chelsea, who has been showing for three years. She showed a lamb.
- Andrea Loucks, 17, who is in her third year of showing at fair. She showed a goat.
- Bailey Welshans, 15, of Dexter, who has been showing for 9 years. She showed a rabbit.
- Maggie Finn, 14, of Saline, showed an English horse.
- Weston Barnes, 19, of Chelsea showed a Western horse.