Thursday, August 29, 2013

Summer EBT for Children benefits must be redeemed by Sept. 2

For the past three summers selected Michigan families have received food assistance through a pilot program called Summer EBT for Children.  This program has been conducted through a grant that the State of Michigan received from the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA).

Food insecurity during the summer months among school-aged children is a nation-wide issue.  Children from low-income families receive school meals either free or at reduced-price throughout the school year.  When school ends so do these meal benefits.  Many families struggle to provide these additional meals to their school-aged children without the help of any additional food stamp dollars.

This pilot provided a food package to selected qualifying families valued at $60 per children per month during the summer.  The food package included milk, cheese, eggs, fresh fruits & vegetables, tuna, whole wheat bread, corn tortillas, cereal, juice and peanut butter and/or beans.  A $30 food package was also tested this past summer.

Over 32,000 Michigan children received these benefits this summer.  The program ends soon and the participating families have until MIDNIGHT, TUESDAY, SEPTEMBER 2, 2013 to redeem the last of their food benefits. 

Final reports and evaluation of SEBTC will be presented to Congress.  The future of this program will be determined based upon this data.

Thursday, August 8, 2013

Susan Wooden chosen as new leader of Beaverton Rural Schools

Susan Wooden
Superintendent, Beaverton Rural Schools

The students, staff, and community of Beaverton Rural Schools welcomed Susan Wooden this summer as the district’s new superintendent.   

After an extensive three-month search process, Beaverton Rural Schools Board of Education President Adam Zdrojewski said Wooden’s, “very strong education background and many valuable experiences,” made her stand out among the other candidates vying for the job. “Susan also had a very professional, well-articulated position on her desire to succeed and her passion for education,” he said. 

A few of the many notable career achievements found on Wooden’s resume include serving as superintendent of East Jordan Public School District, director of curriculum/instruction/assessment for Owosso Public Schools, and professor of English at Alpena Community College and the U.S. Air Force Combat Readiness Training Center in Alpena. 

Wooden said she was drawn to Beaverton Schools for a variety of reasons, including the district’s strong academic and extracurricular programming, compelling sense of pride, and the sheer beauty of the Beaverton area. “BRS has huge potential to soar to the next level because of extremely talented Board members who have a common vision for the district, the district staff who genuinely care about kids, and the supportive community.” 

With a few weeks under her belt as Beaverton Rural Schools’ new leader, the Byron native said she is eager to move the district forward in all aspects of the organization, such as student achievement, communication, technology, community partnerships, and more. Additionally, Wooden said she is excited to become an active member of the school district’s community; a goal she is clearly committed to as she and husband, Russell, recently moved to Beaverton. 

“The Board believes that having someone living in the district allows them to have the ability to be available for the varied events that take place, as well as have a finger on the pulse of the community and become a proud member of the Beaverton area,” said Zdrojewski. “Susan’s leadership and desire to become vested in Beaverton Rural Schools will do nothing but benefit everyone involved.  We welcome the Woodens to our school and our community.” 

Free preschool; now enrolling children for 2013-2014 school year


The Quality Preschool Partnership (QPP) of Clare and Gladwin counties is now enrolling local children, ages 3-5, in free preschool programs for the 2013-2014 school year.  As a joint recruitment effort by Mid Michigan Community Action Agency, NEMCSA Head Start, Harrison Elementary, and Gladwin Elementary, the QPP ensures an efficient preschool application process for all eligible families in Clare and Gladwin counties.  Those who apply will be referred to either Head Start or Great Start Readiness Program (GSRP). 

Research has shown that during the first five years of life, important skill sets such as emotional intelligence, motor development, visual recognition, early sound recognition, and music are optimally developed, providing the foundation for learning throughout life. “These findings illustrate how significant an early childhood education is for a child’s future,” said Kendra Curtiss-Tomaski, director of early childhood and family services at Clare-Gladwin RESD (the QPP’s implementing agency).

During the last year, many of the state’s legislators have also taken notice to the proven long-term benefits of granting Michigan kids with a quality preschool experience. As a result, Gov. Rick Snyder recently allocated funds to increase the number of GSRP slots statewide for the 2013-2014 school year, giving more children the chance to attend preschool at no cost. Clare and Gladwin counties received an additional 194 GSRP slots, creating five more GSRP classrooms. A total of 421 GSRP slots will be available this fall. 

“We are thrilled for the opportunity to provide even more local kids with a high-quality preschool experience which will set the stage for success in kindergarten and give them an overall great start to their lives.” 

To be eligible for Head Start or GSRP, children and families must meet federal and state guidelines, including income. All programs serve children with disabilities and/or special needs.  For more information or to request an enrollment packet, call 989-386-8075.