Around the Horn

Horizon Elementary
We kicked off our school year with a very special guest: Gov. Gretchen Whitmer! The new governor of our great state was here in person on our first day of school—and she read out loud to Mrs. Mullen’s second-grade class. But she wasn’t just there to read. She also came to Horizon Elementary to promote an important message: Investment in public schools is important. “The education of our kids is absolutely essential to the security of our state, the economic future of our state,” Gov. Whitmer said. We hope everyone agrees!

DIMONDALE Elementary
Our Fall Fest was a huge success! Between costumes, dances, and activities, our parents and kids had a super fun night of Halloween delights. Dimondale Elementary alums led a “spooky walk” through fall leaves and Halloween decorations, and 17 local individuals and businesses contributed to pull it all off! Of course, none of it would have been possible without the efforts of our amazing PTO. Check out the schedule of monthly meetings (and the Fall Fest pictures!) at https://www.facebook.com/pg/DimondalePTO.

Sycamore Elementary
Sycamore Scholars are rocketing into their futures! Our “Star Commanders” (i.e., staff members) have been meeting regularly with their “Galaxy Group”: A group of 10-15 students made up from each grades K-4. These Galaxy Groups will stay together for students’ entire careers, helping them grow together and forming cross-class mentorships and bonds. Every Wednesday morning, our Star Commanders have been helping their Galaxy Groups learn the Habits of Mind: What smart people do when confronted with hard problems. There are 16 great tools we’re developing within ourselves to help us approach and resolve a conflict or issue. Each week, a different class is responsible for teaching a Habit of Mind to the rest of the school. We’ve already covered “Managing Impulsivity,” “Persisting,” and “Listening with Understanding and Empathy.” We’ve already learned so much, and we still have 13 more Habits of Mind to go!

Wilcox Elementary
This fall, the Wildcats of Wilcox Elementary School learned and grew with their classmates and teachers in a variety of settings. Our kindergarten classrooms explored the growing process of apples and pumpkins at the Country Mill, and learned from community helpers who work in Holt. Our first-graders studied animal-survival skills at Potter Park Zoo, and our second-grade students ventured out to MSU Children’s Garden to partner with scientists to learn more about plants and seed distribution. Third-grade Wildcats examined Michigan’s past (statehood and settlements) at the Meridian Historic Village, and our fourth-grade students made a visit to the State Capitol to enrich their learning of our Michigan government. We’re making great strides in growing our minds at Wilcox Elementary and making connections to the world around us!

Elliott Elementary
This fall, our awesome PTO had another great semester of events, fundraisers and planning. Our Cravings Popcorn fundraiser wasn’t just delicious, it helped bring in $1,370 for Family Night activities and classroom technology. We also planned our 2019 Snowball Dance, which is always big fun! Our monthly meetings are where it all happens, and we’d love for more Elliott families to participate! Check out our Facebook page at: https://www.facebook.com/ElliottElementarySchool for more info, upcoming events, feedback forms and more!

Hope Middle School
Hope has a new principal! Mr. Scott Huard moved to Hope Middle School as building principal on Monday, Oct. 14 after serving the children and families of Horizon Elementary Principal for the past three years. Mr. Huard has 24 total years of educational experience. Twenty-one of those years were as a 6th-grade teacher, principal, Director of Special Education, and Director of Elementary Education with the Bryan City School District in Bryan, OH. He has a passion to ensure that each child feels safe and encouraged at school while they work to achieve their full potential academically, socially, emotionally, and physically. Mr. Huard resides in Dexter with his wife, April, and their five children: Elizabeth (22), Grace (20), Owen (17), Claire (15), and Anna (8). He enjoys spending time with family and serving in their local church, Refuge, in Ann Arbor.

Washington Woods Middle School
When the weather turns chilly, it’s a great time to get outdoors and experience all of the natural beauty of our Mitten State! The After-School Nature Club is doing just that. In November, club organizer Kristy Taylor worked with the new Stock & Field store in South Lansing to obtain a grant for a bird-feeding station and citizen science center. Washington Woods students in the club worked together to set up and stock up the birdfeeders. What a great way to experience (and help take care of) the natural world around us!

Junior High School
In November, our Awareness Week brought positive attention to a number of important causes and issues—and allowed Holt Junior High students to learn and participate in a number of creative ways. We showed support for America’s veterans with patriotic attire, wore green and participated in a campus clean-up for environmental awareness. We showed school can be a comforting place for those with mental health issues, highlighting mental-health resources and wearing pajamas to school. We also had a food-drive day, awarding the Rams Cup trophy to the class with the biggest donations! We closed out the week with an Animal Shelters Day, allowing students who brought shelter donations to wear hats.

Holt High School
There’s no feeling quite like taking on our biggest rivals and winning – especially in the Penny War, when everybody wins! Since 2016, Holt High School has raised money during our Homeless Awareness Week by donating and collecting coins. With drop-off jugs in every Holt Public School, the whole district can help raise funds for Cardboard Prophets, a Lansing-area street-outreach charity. Not only can the grades compete to see who donates the most, the Penny War pits Holt against Grand Ledge to see which district raises the most funds.

Homelessness is a critical issue facing too many children in our nation, state, and community. A stable, secure home is to young people’s health and success. That’s why our students participate in Homeless Awareness Week, and why doing our best in the Penny War is so important. The impact and response has been amazing: One year, a family decided to donate their coin collection for the year to Homeless Awareness Week rather than buying each other stocking presents! National Honor Society is sponsoring the event, and NHS officers and members are working hard to manage the drop-off jugs and encourage their classmates to participate. Total donations typically reach around $3,000, and Holt currently holds a 2-1 series lead over Grand Ledge. Building awareness of this problem, and coming together as a district to help address it, are two huge wins for our community—no matter which district donates the most.