Monday, September 30, 2013

Approximately 600 attend Worldwide Day of Play

Around 600 children and parents ran, danced, skated, created, and explored at the first annual Worldwide Day of Play on Sept. 20 at the shared campus of the Isabella Community Sportsplex and the Mt. Pleasant Discovery Museum.   

Shayla McArthur, a student volunteer at  
MidMichigan Medical Center-Clare  
helps a child pick out a free helmet  
at the first annual Worldwide Day of Play. 
Organized by the Clare-Gladwin and Gratiot-Isabella Great Start Collaboratives as well as representatives from Morey Courts, the Discovery Museum, the ICE Arena, MidMichigan Health, and the Central Michigan District Health Department, the Worldwide Day of Play featured free activities for parents and kids to enjoy together, including Zumba, ice skating with free rentals, and hands-on fun at the museum. Morey Courts also used a portion of their facilities to host basketball, volleyball, ball toss games, and an obstacle course set up by the Health Department.  

MidMichigan Health provided 300 bike helmets to local kids, as well as 1,000 fruit snacks and 500 bottles of water. Additionally, 200 apples were donated by Papa’s Pumpkin Patch, and GreenTree Cooperative Grocery handed out 500 samples of healthy smoothies blended by bicycle power!

“This was an awesome event,” said local parent Autume Griffus. “The activities accommodated multiple age levels and they kept kids moving and engaged. We will definitely be back next year!”

Emulating Nickelodeon’s annual Worldwide Day of Play which shuts down television programming for a day to encourage kids to get off the couch and get active, the evening of action emphasized the multitude of benefits play provides in the lives of children. “The Worldwide Day of Play not only supports physical health, but it also encourages social and emotional well-being and family support, all of which are proven to be vital in preparing children to be happy and ready to succeed in school and in life,” said Clare-Gladwin Great Start Parent Liaison Rachel Haltiner. “We wanted families to have the chance to spend time moving, laughing, and learning together while getting familiar with the resources in their area so they will hopefully come back to visit in the future.” 

Local public service agencies, including the Mount Pleasant Police Department, Saginaw Chippewa Tribal Fire Department, Isabella County Sheriff’s Department, Mount Pleasant Department of Public Works, Mobile Medical Response, and Mount Pleasant Parks and Recreation were also in attendance to showcase their vehicles and interact with the kids. 

Chippewa River District Library and Eileen DeLorenzo also supported the Worldwide Day of Play.

“A special thanks to the organizations and 46 volunteers who contributed so much of their time and resources to make this event possible,” said Jennifer Fields of the Mount Pleasant Discovery Museum. “Horns sounded, sirens sung, and children played - it was a very successful first annual Worldwide Day of Play!”

A child takes the driver’s seat in  
one of the many service vehicles available  
for kids to explore at the Worldwide Day of Play. 

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Career and Technical Education student completes Law Enforcement Career Academy

Haley Forbes

Clare-Gladwin CTE Criminal Justice student Haley Forbes of Beaverton graduated from the 38th Kiwanis Law Enforcement Career Academy at the Michigan State Police Training Academy this summer in Lansing. 

As one of 50 students who participated in the week-long camp led by ten Michigan State Troopers, Forbes’ days began with physical training at 5 a.m., followed by a strict schedule allowing limited time to get ready, eat breakfast, and attend classes covering a variety of topics, including the canine team, first aid, defensive tactics, drug and alcohol patrols, the forensics lab, and more.  

Forbes also practiced water safety using the training tanks, rode in the patrol cars with the troopers on the drive track, and shot rounds at the shooting range. “At the drive track, the troopers were hitting speeds of up to 90 mph,” she said. “It was a heck of an adrenaline rush.”   

Forbes’ knowledge and passion for criminal justice proved to be beneficial as the troopers selected her as a Class Commander for the final two days of the week, giving her the responsibility of leading her fellow cadets to and from class, through the graduation ceremony, and ensuring they always arrived at their destination on time. “It was scary, but exciting at the same time,” she said. “I got to yell just like the troopers!” 

Forbes credits the Clare-Gladwin Career and Technical Education (CTE) class for her success at the academy. “CTE really put me at an advantage because, for the most part, I had an idea of what I was doing,” she said. “I felt a lot more comfortable because I had learned so much in CTE last year.”   

Although Forbes is still discovering exactly what career she’d like to eventually pursue in the criminal justice field, she said the academy gave her a new respect for those in law enforcement. “As our class progressed through the week, I learned a lot about what it takes to become a State Trooper, and it takes all you have,” she said. “It’s truly unbelievable. I can honestly say this job takes the most amazing men and women.”  

Forbes will be attending Delta College in the fall of 2014 and plans to get involved in the school’s criminal justice program. 

Forbes encourages her peers to take part in a CTE class to gain experience in a profession they may be interested in. “Most people think the CTE Criminal Justice class is just for kids wanting to be police officers, but you learn so much about all the different jobs within the field,” she said. “If you don’t know what you want to do, CTE classes are great because they give you an idea of what the job is really going to be like.” 

Criminal Justice is one of nine career and technical education (CTE) programs offered to local high school juniors and seniors at the Clare-Gladwin Career Center, a program of Clare-Gladwin RESD. Students spend half of their regular school day in CTE and the other half at their local high school. For more information, please visit

Monday, September 9, 2013

GSRP Outcome Report; Majority of students ready for kindergarten

Nearly 88 percent of the 455 children from Clare and Gladwin counties who attended Great Start Readiness Preschool (GSRP) or Head Start programs last school year, tested ready for kindergarten in all areas excluding mathematics, according to the recently released 2012-2013 GSRP Outcome Report. 

The report’s data is based on Teaching Strategies GOLD, an assessment system that measures the knowledge, skills, and behaviors that are most predictive of school success. Used by all GSRP and Head Start programs, Teaching Strategies GOLD aids teachers in being intentional in their instruction by accurately pinpointing where children are in their development and learning. Children are assessed individually through classroom observation and work samples. 

This comprehensive, on-going assessment tool is used three times each year to evaluate children’s progress in several areas of development, including social-emotional, physical, language, and cognitive. Teaching Strategies GOLD is research-based, and encompasses the developmental milestones from birth through kindergarten. 

“We are pleased to see the majority of students attending these preschool programs are meeting or exceeding the developmental expectations considered necessary to begin kindergarten,” said Kendra Curtiss-Tomaski, Early Childhood and Family Services Director at Clare-Gladwin RESD. “We will use the results of these assessments to shape the topics of our training and mentoring sessions for our preschool staff, as well as assist in identifying the subjects that need additional attention, such as math.” 

Administered by the Michigan Department of Education (MDE), the Great Start Readiness Program (GSRP) is Michigan’s state-funded preschool program for four-year-old children with factors which may place them at risk of educational failure. Head Start is a federally-funded program that promotes the school readiness of children ages 3-5 years old. 

Research on preschool programs indicates that children provided with a high-quality preschool experience show significant positive developmental differences when compared to children from the same backgrounds who did not attend a high-quality preschool program. Clare-Gladwin RESD connects eligible children in Clare and Gladwin counties with these free and low-cost preschool programs with the goal of all children being ready to succeed in school and in life.     

The Quality Preschool Partnership is still enrolling children in high quality preschool programs for the 2013-2014 school year. Please call 989-386-8075 for enrollment information. Eligible children must be 4-years-old by Nov. 1.