Dear IAM Community,
It has been a cold start to February, but here at the IAM, we are staying warm with a variety of activities for students and staff. One of the best is the Winter Olympics which took place on February 8. Students competed by class in several different events designed to promote collaboration, comradery, and ingenuity. One of my favorite this year (outside of the hallway decorating) was the class dance competition. Students from each respective class created their own team dance to a musical selection. While all were great, the freshmen were especially entertaining in this event and certainly brave to dance in front of the entire school population. While the seniors won overall once again, everyone had a great time in a break from the cold winter.
I am often asked about making up “snow days.” We have missed eight days thus far due to inclement weather, and there seems to be no respite in sight. Luckily, we at the IAM have scheduled 190 student attendance days, well above the 180 mandated by the Michigan Department of Education. So while we are still above the mandated minimum, we are hopeful that there will be no more cancelled school days due to inclement weather.
We have just concluded our enrollment period with the entrance testing that took place on February 2. The entrance test is an instrument designed to diagnose student learning needs for the accelerated program of the IAM. We also examine student standardized test records, report cards, and the recommendations from principals and counselors. This year we have nearly 300 qualified applicants among the eighteen participating school districts. While we would certainly like to accommodate all students, it is simply not possible given our space limitations here at the Chippewa Valley Ninth Grade Center. Some districts will conduct a lottery to determine the list of students who will come to the IAM under district allotments. We expect that we will receive about 150 students when we commence the 2019-2020 school year.
There have been a few important staff changes:
Adam Kosi has accepted a position in the L’Anse Creuse Schools as Band Director at Middle School South. As his replacement, Brad Arnold comes to us from Michigan State University and as a Fraser High School Graduate.
Kyle Kilpatrick, IAM physics teacher, has accepted the position of STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) Consultant for the Oakland Intermediate School District. Nirmala Samuel will be the highly qualified substitute in his place until we find a permanent replacement.
Kelly Fillmore has been teaching Spanish with us since the semester. We were certainly lucky to find Kelly as she has over a decade of experience in the L’Anse Creuse Schools. Kelly is a graduate of Oakland University.
Caroline Nagle will be on leave until late May, and in her place we have Rene Brodowsky teaching IB DP German and Andrew Lark teaching German 1 and 2. Rene comes to us with over 20 years teaching experience at the Royal Oak Schools while Andrew has been a building substitute with us for the past several years.
As a staff we continue to push ourselves professionally to provide the best possible learning environment for all students. One of our latest initiatives has been to conduct anonymous student surveys with an eye to improving learning in the classroom. We asked students to describe how they learn best in our classes, and what ways we can improve. Teachers then shared this feedback with each other at our recent professional learning day on January 21. The result was a fabulous discussion that led to sharing many interesting innovations and approaches to teaching. We hope to continue our professional discussions by conducting “instructional rounds” or teaming in visits to classrooms so that we can observe specific teaching techniques from our colleagues.