Monday, November 25, 2013

Full and partial scholarship preschool opportunities still available; High quality programs offered up to four days per week

The Quality Preschool Partnership (QPP) of Clare and Gladwin counties continues to enroll local children, ages 3-5, in free and reduced cost high quality 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 Quality Preschool Partnership 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).

Enrolled children have the opportunity to attend full-day or part-day programs four days per week.  
While full scholarships for Head Start and GSRP are available to those who meet federal and state guidelines, including income, partial scholarships for the high quality preschool programs are also offered to those who exceed the income limits.

“A sliding fee scale exists for children whose parents surpass the income requirements, but face other challenges that could keep their child from attending a preschool program,” said Kendra Curtiss-Tomaski, director of early childhood and family services at Clare-Gladwin RESD (the QPP’s implementing agency). “Health, family, and financial stressors are just a few of the many situations taken into consideration when determining if one is eligible for a partial scholarship. We encourage all families interested in a high quality preschool experience to call us at 386-8075 so we can help identify your best next steps.”

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 that a high quality early childhood education is essential to a child’s future success,” said Curtiss-Tomaski.

For more information or to request an enrollment packet, call 989-386-8075.  

Clare-Gladwin Career Center automotive students learn about future education opportunities at Mid Michigan Community College

Beaverton and Gladwin High School students of the Clare-Gladwin Career Center’s Automotive Technology program recently spent an afternoon exploring higher education opportunities in the automotive field at Mid Michigan Community College (MMCC). 

Following a discussion with MMCC Auto Instructor Dave Demski, the high school juniors and seniors took part in the college’s engine repair course, receiving further hands-on experience as they worked alongside current Mid Michigan Community College students.

“I was impressed with the equipment at Mid,” said Clare-Gladwin Career Center student Clay Bowen.

Chris Pellerito, MMCC admissions representative, also provided guidance on the current application and financial aid processes. 

Automotive Technology 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

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Nov. 11-15 is National School Psychology Week

Nov. 11 – 15 is National School Psychology Week, recognizing the vital role that school psychologists play in the personal and academic development of the community’s children.

The school psychologists employed by Clare-Gladwin RESD, serving the students of Beaverton, Clare, Farwell, Gladwin, and Harrison school districts, are specially trained to deliver a continuum of mental health services and academic supports that lower barriers to teaching and learning.

“School Psychologists work to identify learning and behavior problems that interfere with school success,” said Jan Weckstein, Clare-Gladwin RESD assistant superintendent for special education. “They're trained in both psychology and education and collaborate with others to help improve academic and social performance for children.  Their role is crucial to the healthy development of students.”
Clare-Gladwin RESD thanks the local school psychologists for their service:

Jay Kirchheimer - Beaverton Rural Schools
Noelle Konkel - Farwell Area Schools
Julie McNeilly - Harrison Community Schools
Anna O'Dell - Gladwin Elementary School and Clare-Gladwin Area School
Marsha Shields - Gladwin Community Schools and Beaverton Rural Schools
Matt Smith - Harrison Community Schools and Gladwin Community Schools
Joann Smylie - Clare Public Schools

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Local preschool students participate in Storytime

Two Harrison preschool classrooms recently joined together for Storytime, a monthly program provided by the Harrison Public Library. Children from Becky Nobis’ Early Childhood Special Education class of Clare-Gladwin RESD spent the afternoon with Cindy Scare’s Great Start Readiness Preschool class of Harrison Community Schools.

“Storytime is a great opportunity to bring the community into the schools, as well as to stress the importance of literacy and how it can be so much fun,” said Scare. “Storytime is a wonderful asset to our early childhood program and we absolutely love it!”

According to Nobis, another benefit of the shared afternoon was that it allowed her students with special needs to experience quality inclusion time with their peers. “It is important for the children in special education to have good role models during play, and in speech, sitting, and attending,” she said. “This is also positive for the children enrolled in the regular preschool because they learn that we are all unique and it helps to build compassion and understanding of others.” 

More than 530 local children celebrate National Food Day

On Oct. 24, more than 530 children in the Clare-Gladwin RESD S.P.A.R.K.S. program, local preschool classrooms, and local daycare programs celebrated National Food Day; an annual initiative that aims to promote safe, healthful diets, and supports sustainable organic farming.

Made possible by the Clare-Gladwin Health Improvement Planning Committee (a subgroup of Together We Can) in collaboration with the Clare-Gladwin Great Start Collaborative, Clare-Gladwin RESD, and MidMichigan Health, this year’s Food Day focused on food education. Activities and lessons incorporated in the event encouraged children to know where their food comes from, how to cook meals, and how doing so will give them a big advantage when it comes to being healthy and avoiding health problems in the future.

Participants received a Food Day activity book, and each classroom and daycare program was given a copy of a book developed by the Food and Nutrition Service of the U.S. Department of Agriculture titled, “The Two Bite Club,” which teaches kids to try foods from each food group.

Additionally, some groups explored the mission of National Food Day further with hands-on activities.
Children in various daycare programs created a pumpkin dip and integrated locally grown pumpkins into an art project, while S.P.A.R.K.S. students cooked multiple dishes that incorporated locally grown, healthy fruits or vegetables. For example, students from the Harrison Elementary S.P.A.R.K.S. site made homemade salsa from the tomatoes they planted themselves in the school garden last summer.

“National Food Day helped to educate our students on three things – healthy food can be economical, easily accessible, and it can be found locally,” said S.P.A.R.K.S. Director Keri Retzloff. “With our county health ranking being among the lowest in the state, S.P.A.R.K.S. is trying to promote and educate students on living a healthier lifestyle, including more exercise and eating a healthy diet. This day fit in nicely!” 

The students’ recipes will be used in a future S.P.A.R.K.S. cookbook.  Funds raised from cookbook sales will be used toward a backpack program that addresses food security for children in Clare and Gladwin counties.  

“We participated in National Food Day because we thought the information would be wonderful for the young children in our community,” said Sarah Kile of the Clare-Gladwin Health Improvement Planning Committee. “This year’s celebration was a big success and we look forward to bringing the program to kids again next year.” 

Cat in the Hat and friends visit Area School

Clare-Gladwin RESD Superintendent Sheryl Presler, Assistant Superintendent for Special Education Jan Weckstein, and Assistant Superintendent for General Education Deb Snyder appeared at the Clare-Gladwin Area School as Cat in the Hat, Thing 1, and Thing 2 last week to kick off the students’ Halloween celebrations.

For the second consecutive year, the educational leaders agreed to dress in costume if contributions made by RESD staff members toward this year’s United Way campaign met the $4,400 goal set by campaign leader Cheri Umbarger. A total of $5,170 was collected.

“I was very impressed with the generosity shown by employees again this year,” said Umbarger. “It’s a great example of how combining resources can result in a big impact. Plus, Sheryl, Deb, and Jan are great sports!”

The costumes were voted on by staff members. Presler, Snyder, and Weckstein spent the morning passing out healthy snacks to the students and then causing some mischief at Central Office.

From the left, CGRESD Assistant Superintendent for General Education Deb Snyder, Superintendent Sheryl Presler, and Assistant Superintendent for Special Education Jan Weckstein