What Are CIS Staff Reading?

 

Last week, as part of National Reading Month, we learned what some of our Communities In Schools (CIS) volunteers are reading. (You can click here if you missed the post.) This week, some of our CIS staff tell us what they are reading…

 

 

The Lovely Ladies of Literature Book Club (my book club) is currently reading, Born Bright: A Young Girl’s Journey from Nothing to Something in America by C. Nicole Mason.

Artrella Cohn, Senior Director of Community Engagement and Student Investment

 

I’m currently reading Gilded Cage, Book 1 in the Dark Gifts Series by Vic James. It is a dystopian fantasy set in present day England where magical aristocrats rule over the non-magical commoners, forcing them to serve as slaves for 10 years in order to become full citizens. I absolutely love it and can’t wait for the rest of the series to come out!

Donielle Hetrick, CIS After School Coordinator, Woods Lake Elementary: A Magnet Center for the Arts

 

The last book I read and was able to finish was The Fortunes by Peter Ho Davies (who happens to currently be on the faculty at University of Michigan!) The book explores different aspects of the Asian-American experience through four individuals who live during different time periods of U.S. history. I also started (and hope to finish) Angela Lee Duckworth’s book, Grit:  The Power of Passion and Perseverance.

Emily Kobza, Director of Development & Business Engagement

 

Annually, during Black History Month, I revisit W.E.B. Dubois’ book, The Souls of Black Folk. It serves as a reminder of two things for me. First, that the plight of social justice has always been worth the work, and second, there is literally nothing new under the sun.

-Stacy S. Jackson, CIS After School Coordinator, Edison Environmental Science Academy

 

I am current reading Arena 3 by Morgan Rice—the third book to the Arena Series. This is a dystopian fantasy book, which takes place after the second American Civil War where there is nothing left except visions of what was and Arena’s ran by slave-runners seeking to capture survivors to fight in death stadiums in the most barbaric of ways, which promises to leave no survivors.

Aisha Coulson-Walters, Senior Site Coordinator Parkwood-Upjohn Elementary

 

I have been reading the Alvin Maker series by Orson Scott Card; I had to special order the last book, The Crystal City, and I’m waiting… I also just finished the book our school is reading for Literacy Night, Hidden Talents, by David Lubar—fun book about kids with psychic abilities. I’m currently reading a book of short stories by Ted Chiang entitled Stories of Your Life and Others.

Katherine Williamson, CIS After School Coordinator, Hillside Middle School

 

I am currently rereading both Real Boys: Rescuing our sons from the Myths of Boyhood by William Pollack and Long Walk to Freedom, the autobiography of Nelson Mandela.

Emily Demorest, CIS Senior Site Coordinator,Maple Street Magnet School for the Arts
I’m listening to an audible version of The Trespasser by Tana French (audio is needed to capture the fantastic Irish accents) and reading The Explosive Child by Ross Greene.

Deb Faling, Social-Emotional Health Initiatives

 

I just finished The Warmth of Other Suns by Isabel Wilkerson.

Maggie Walters, CIS After School Coordinator, Milwood Magnet School & CIS Success Coach, Loy Norrix High School

 

I am in a SKYPE book study with friends in Indiana and Pennsylvania. We are reading The Book of Joy: Lasting Happiness in a Changing World by His Holiness the Dalai Lama and Archbishop Desmond Tutu with Douglas Abrams.  In spite of the fact that these men, Nobel Peace Prize Laureates, have lived more than 50 years in exile and endured many hardships their lives are filled with joy.  How do they do it? How can we? Through this book we are in the daily presence of the Dalai Lama and Archbishop for an intense one week period. It is an interesting book to read because you have a peek into this special time together. They enjoy being with each other and sharing stories and laughter as they consider obstacles to and pillars of living a life of JOY.

Linda Thompson, Senior Director of Site Services

 

I am currently listening to Duet by Kimberley Freeman. A story of passion, greed, secrets, and lies. Before that, I read Wildflower Hill, also by Kimberly Freeman. (This one should be read with several boxes of tissues on hand.) A story of family and secrets and the redemptive power of love.

Debra Newsome, Senior Director of Finance, Human Resources and Administration

 

I am currently enjoying Diary Of A Wimpy Kid series as there is one going in each room of our house. Next up will be the Who Was/Who Is series with Walt Disney and J.K. Rowling. I read what my kid reads. We most recently finished all the Harry Potter books. We read and re-read The Adventures of Tashi, by Anna Fienberg recommended by Derek at Bookbug. Highly recommend that for readers of all ages. (Bookbug and Tashi!)

Molly Appeldoorn, CIS After School Site Coordinator, Milwood Elementary School

 

The most recent book I’ve finished is Americanah by Chimanada Ngozi Adichie, which I LOVED. This very complex story is difficult to summarize, but what I appreciated most was following the modern immigration journey of the main character, Ifemelu, as she comes to terms with her blackness in the U.S. as a young woman from Nigerian. I just started reading The Other Side of the River: A Story of Two Towns, a Death, and America’s Dilemma, which is about the unresolved murder of a young black teenager in the early 90s, and the racial divide that exists between Benton Harbor and St. Joe, Michigan.

Brionne Fonville, CIS After School Coordinator, El Sol Elementary

 

I am currently reading the New Testament and I am in Romans.  I absolutely loved the story of Paul in Acts which I just finished.  I am also reading a book called God’s Promises edited by Jack Countryman.

Keith Platte, Senior Site Coordinator, Milwood Magnet School

 

I am reading Program Evaluation for Social Workers by Richard Grinnell, Peter Gabor, and Yvonne Unrau.

-January Haulenbeek, CIS Site Coordinator, Northglade Montessori Magnet School

 

I’m reading several books (slowly)…

Just Mercy by Bryan Stevenson – a memoir of his experience as a lawyer in the judicial system and the lack of justice, particularly that people of color and youth are receiving.

Also reading Small Great Things by Jodi Picoult – another powerful story of racial tensions and injustice in our communities.

With my small group: Everything Belongs by Richard Rohr – speaks to the exploration of how we move from the periphery to the center in our spiritual lives.

With my kids: The Wingfeather Series (book 4) by Andrew Peterson – sort of a mix of Harry Potter and Lord of the Rings for kids – really fun and engaging.

For Work: just finished Lost at School by Ross Greene (this is what we covered in PD last Friday!) and continuing to work through Bloom: 50 Things to Say, Think and Do with Anxious, Angry and Over-the-Top  Kids by Lynne Kenny and Wendy Young – the title kind of says it all.

Cara Weiler, LMSW, Associate Director of Site Services

 

I am currently reading The 15 Invaluable Laws Of Growth by John C. Maxwell.

-Deborah Yarbrough, CIS Site Coordinator, Kalamazoo Central High School

 

I am reading the Bible, which I do daily. I am starting Judges today. I am also, like Cara, trying to read Small Great Things by Jodi Picoult which my mom recommended because she is an avid reader. I use to be, but not so much anymore.

Tracie Hall, Finance Coordinator

 

It’s my trifecta:  life, work, and hobby.

Life: The Seven Story Mountain by Thomas Merton.
Work/Life: Teaching with Poverty in Mind by Eric Jensen, recommended by Principal Micole Dyson.
Hobby: Dronings from a Queen Bee: The First Five Years, preparing for my spring hive inspections.

-Maureen Cartmill, CIS Site Coordinator, Woods Lake Elementary: A Magnet Center for the Arts

 

In the Garden of Beasts by Erik Larson. It’s non-fiction. “William E. Dodd was an academic historian, living a quiet life in Chicago, when Franklin D. Roosevelt appointed him United States ambassador to Germany. It was 1933, Hitler had recently been appointed chancellor, the world was about to change.” Also, The Hundred-Year House by Rebecca Makkai. It’s fiction. “The Hundred-Year House may be crowded with the tropes and tricks of classic horror, but make no mistake: It’s not a horror story. Rebecca Makkai’s style, a patchwork of ambition and aw-shucks charm, lets in just enough sunlight to scatter those things that go bump in the night.”

-Keely Novotny, CIS Site Coordinator, Edison Environmental Science Academy

 

I am reading Persuasion by Jane Austen and The Book of Joy by the Dali Lama and Desmond Tutu.

-Amy Terzino, Executive Assistant

 

I am reading two very different books—

Thank You for Being Late: An Optimist’s Guide to Thriving in the Age of Accelerations by Tom Friedman (whose other books, e.g. The World Is Flat I have very much appreciated).

The other book is Our Black Sons Matter edited by George Yancy, Maria del Guadalupe Davidson and Susan Hadley; it is a series of conversations and essays by mothers.  I just started it so don’t have a feel for it yet.

-Pam Kingery, Executive Director

 

Thank you all for sharing! Keep checking in with us at Ask Me About My 12,000 Kids to find out what some of our CIS partners and board members are reading.

 

 

 

What do you love?

We know you love seeing kids succeed. We do too! What else do you love? We polled a few CIS partners, volunteers, and staff. Here is what they said:

 

 

 

I love the possibilities…as seen through my seven-year-old, her friends, and this community.

-Jennifer Johnson, Executive Director, Kalamazoo Loaves & Fishes

 

The Great Lakes—all of them.

-John Brandon, CIS Partner Services Coordinator

 

What I love is lip gloss!

-Tamiko Garrett, CIS Site Coordinator at Linden Grove Middle School

 

I love seeing kids being happy.

-Amy Kuchta, Chief Executive Officer, Big Brothers Big Sisters, A Community of Caring

 

I love when students/staff/teachers tells me, “Thanks for all that you do!” Go CIS!

-Levi Soto, CIS Site Coordinator at El Sol Elementary School

 

If I had to choose one thing, it’d be the sound of children laughing and playing!

-Stacy S. Jackson, CIS After School Coordinator at Edison Environmental Science Academy

 

I love cooking. One of my favorite things to make is Zuni Café Chicken. You can find the recipe here.

-Amy Terzino, CIS Executive Assistant

 

I love Harry Potter audio books. There are two narrators and people get very heated about which one they prefer. I like listening to Jim Dale. He has a very calm voice which works better with narration. Stephen Fry does a good job with the character voices. But when I want to be calm and mindful, I just prefer Jim Dale’s soothing voice.

-Carly Denny, CIS Site Coordinator at Prairie Ridge Elementary School

 

I love my life.

-Tracie Hall, CIS Finance Coordinator

 

Walking in the woods on a fresh, fall day.

-Sally Stevens, CIS Volunteer

 

I love talking with former students about their progress in life.

-Von Washington Jr., Executive Director, Community Relations

 

I love my first cup of coffee on Saturday morning.

-Jenna Cooperrider, CIS Success Coach at Kalamazoo Central High School

 

I love seeing parents beam with pride while taking smartphone videos of their young musician at Kids In Tune.

-Liz Youker, Vice President, Education and Community Partnerships, Kalamazoo Symphony Orchestra

 

Besides coffee, I love when children ask other children, “Are you alright?” It shows the building of empathy and caring.

-Aisha Coulson-Walters, CIS Site Coordinator at Parkwood Upjohn Elementary School

 

Lake Michigan and the bike trails that can get you there from Kalamazoo.

-John Curran, Executive Director, First Day Shoe Fund

 

Stand-up comedy!

-Deondra Ramsey, CIS After School Coordinator for Washington Writers Academy

 

Singing. I was a voice performance major in college.

-Nicky Aiello, CIS Volunteer and Development Coordinator

 

Thanks for sharing! We love hearing what you love. We especially love all the support you and our Ask Us About Our 12,000 Kids readers show Kalamazoo Public School students by sharing your time, talents, and financial gifts with Communities In Schools. Thank you for working with us to help students stay in school and achieve in life.

 

 

 

What is the world coming to?

If you stepped onto the campus of Western Michigan University this past weekend and peeked into the “Brown and Gold” room you would feel hopeful about the future.

On Saturday, about 75 Kalamazoo Public School students chose to spend part of their day participating in a “Courage to Create” poetry workshop. “Courage to Create” is just one of a number of fun and educational offerings students can participate in, along with families, as part of Kalamazoo’s annual MLK Day Celebration. We love celebrating the life and legacy of Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. with young people.

“These kids are great!” said Elizabeth Kerlikowske, President of Friends of Poetry. She is right. Giants and Knights sat side by side, wrote poetry, and many shared their works aloud. The students were polite, kind, they took risks with their writing, and listened to each other. They set a good example for grownups!

What is the world is coming to? Love and goodness, for starters. Here are two terrific examples of what students created:

Love

Love smiles and embraces me with the biggest hug. “I love you!” she shouts as we go on with the day. As we walk along, she is just singing that one song, “All you need is love, love, love.” As corny as she is, you can’t help but smile because Love just gives you the warmest feeling.

As we are walking, we see a couple fighting, so of course, Love walks up to them and asks, “Oh, where is the Love? Isn’t Love stronger than anything else? You must embrace it!” To my surprise, the couple turns to each other with the biggest smiles. “I love you!” they shout.

I guess Love is really unexpected.

-Saquaya Baker, a junior at Kalamazoo Central High School

 

Goodness

I take Goodness with me wherever I go: to school, events, family functions, you name it. She is very popular! Her kindness makes others smile and want to be around her. She makes me a better person as well. When I have negative thoughts, she is always there to keep me in check because her motto is, “Do unto others as you want others to do unto you.” It’s a nice reminder every once in a while when I am in a bad mood.

However, Goodness isn’t always there to guide me. When I moved to Kalamazoo from Birmingham the beginning of my eleventh grade year, she left for some time. I think it was because I pushed her away. Anger and Depression took her place, but I did not want them there, so I asked her to be patient with me and come back because I could not get through my situation without her. To my great appreciation, she returned, all smiles, with the bright colors she loves to wear and the fantastic Dad jokes that can make anyone’s day just by hearing her laugh at them. We are the best of friends again and we are changing the world one smile and helping hand at a time.

-Sidney Washington, a senior at Kalamazoo Central High School

In the months to come, we’ll  publish a few more works created during this workshop, so keep up with us at Ask Me About My 12,000 Kids.

 

Two Students Savor the Season

Today, we’re grateful for Kalamazoo Public School students like Wesley and Lexi, who take in this season of thanks through all their senses. Both are third graders at King-Westwood Elementary School and are just beginning to write poetry with their teacher, Mrs. Laura McCoy. Their poems remind us that it is good to slow down and pay attention to the world around us.

Fall

I see leaves changing colors in the fall,
I smell all the delicious pies people make,
I hear most birds chirping on fall days,
I taste homemade Mac n’ cheese my mom makes,
I touch plates to eat my food in the holidays,
This is what it’s like in fall.
-Wesley

The Fall of the Year

Fall is near at last,
I see leaves falling,
I smell fresh caramel apples or apple pie,
I hear leaves crunching as I walk,
I taste the yummy pumpkin bread,
I like walking on the crunchy leaves,
Fall is now done……………..
-Lexi

Thank you, Wesley and Lexi, for sharing your poetry with us!

single-leaf

2016-17 Grant Guide

Calling all Kalamazoo Public Schools teachers, principals, and administrators!

Our 2016-17 grant guide is out and can be found on our website through the link below. This guide contains information on educational grants and scholarships available through CIS. These grants and scholarships are given to:

  • Encourage and support projects in classrooms and schools that directly involve students,
  • Provide professional development and training opportunities to teachers & administrators, or
  • Support students’ participation in community enrichment programs.

All Kalamazoo Public Schools (KPS) teachers, principals, and administrators are eligible to apply here.

grant-guide-image-no-date

Which Funding Opportunity is Right for You?

You are a principal or a member of a building team that includes a principal.  You have a project that directly involves students and addresses needs in the area of school improvement, including:

  • Academic achievement
  • Classroom management
  • Curriculum enhancement
  • Community & parent involvement

Consider applying for the Clara Harbeck Memorial Fund Grant for Principals.

Application deadline:  5:00 PM on Friday, November 11, 2016

 

You want to bring a performing, visual, or literacy arts program or project into an elementary classroom or school. 

Consider applying for the Jack Hamilton Memorial Fund Grant.

Application deadline:  5:00 PM on Friday, November 11, 2016

 

You are a middle school or high school teacher or administrator who has a project or experience that enhances students’ study of the visual arts.

Consider applying for Kay M. LaBonte Memorial Fund Grant.

Application deadline:  5:00 PM on Friday, November 11, 2016

 

You are a teacher or administrator who wants to pursue professional development that addresses your personal interests, specifically your creative or artistic talents.

Consider applying for a Richard N.  Percy Memorial Fund Grant.

Application deadline:  5:00 PM on Friday, February 3, 2017

 

You have an elementary or middle school student with interest and/or ability in art, science, or math and want to help them secure up to a 100% scholarship to participate in related community programs, classes, or camps. 

Consider nominating them for a Timothy John Cain Memorial Fund scholarship.

Deadline to submit nominations: 

  • Winter classes:  Friday, November 18, 2016
  • Spring classes:  Friday, March 3, 2017
  • Summer classes:  Friday, April 21, 2017

Read the full version of the Grant Guide here.

 

Don’t Discount What Seems Small

A glimpse inside the backpacks from Berkshire Hathaway
A glimpse inside the backpacks from Berkshire Hathaway

Little things make a big difference.

Recently, Precious Miller, Senior Site Coordinator at Hillside Middle School reminded us of this truth. She has been, like so many of our Communities In Schools site team members throughout 20 Kalamazoo Public School buildings, distributing school supplies to students who need them. Just the other day, she gave a student a binder. She didn’t think much more about it until she saw that same student moments later in the hallway. “Thank you again for the binder,” he said. “I feel perfect!” Precious noticed he had “the biggest smile on his face and seemed to be walking with pride.” Precious again told him, “You’re welcome” and wished him a good day. Later, she overheard him saying to a teacher, “I finally got a binder!” and noticed he continued to brag about his new item for school.

“In the day to day,” she says, “it’s good to remember how big of a difference we can make in a student’s self-esteem. Even if—to us—it is ‘just’ a binder.

Whether its erasers or paper, crayons and markers, scissors, glue, and backpacks, the list goes on. these ‘little’ supplies fuel our kids’ success. When our CIS staff hand out a school supply, the student knows the community cares, that you are behind them, cheering them on.

Thank you for helping our kids get off to a great start!

Berkshire Hathaway

Borgess Nurse Council

Bronco Express

Costco

Fetzer Institute

First United Methodist Church

Flynn Thiel Boutell & Tanis

Harding’s

Hiemstra Optical

Junior League of Kalamazoo

Kalamazoo County Association of Retired School Personnel

Kalamazoo Institute of Arts

Kalamazoo Public Library

Kushner & Company

Miller Johnson

Old National Bank

Stryker – Tax

Stryker Instruments – CXC

The River

TowerPinkster

West Kalamazoo Christian Church

WMU Lee Honors College

Zion Lutheran Church

And numerous individuals like Pat, James, Martha, Noelle, Jennifer, Kelly, Ward, Joan, Andrea, & Katherine

We were able to catch a few of you in the act of dropping off the much needed school supplies:

Old National Bank dropping off items to CIS as part of their "Tools to Schools to Schools" initiative.
Old National Bank dropping off items to CIS as part of their “Tools for Schools” campaign.

 

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Donation of school supplies from WMU Lee Honors College
Western students wrote notes and placed them inside the school packs.
Western students wrote notes and placed them inside the school packs.
Supplies received from Hiemstra Stuff the Bus
Supplies received from Hiemstra Stuff the Bus

 

Kushner & Company providing much needed school supplies
Thank you, Kushner & Company!
Cosco dropped off some much needed backpacks.
CIS Site Coordinator Melissa McPherson (left) is all smiles as Costco employees drop off some much needed backpacks.
Thank you all!
Thank you all for helping!

Raise Those Juice Boxes and Let’s Toast To the New School Year!

Passion led us hereSummertime has slipped away and school is back in session. Last week, as part of our annual “Back to School Launch,” Communities In Schools of Kalamazoo (CIS) staff came together to prepare for the new school year. Joe Barth, Data, Tracking & Quality Coordinator for CIS, led 66 staff in an  exercise in which we learned that, together, we have 695 years of experience working with kids in schools!

Later in the day, when O’Neal Ollie, CIS Success Coach for Loy Norrix High School stood up and read an impromptu poem he wrote, we were reminded that it is important to take breaks and nourish ourselves so that we can continue to support students and the many wonderful volunteers and partners who work with us throughout 20 Kalamazoo Public Schools. Here’s the poem he read to us:

A Lunch Poem

I’m starving, yes, in the mood.
plain and simple: I need food.
Lunch will be ready pretty soon
and during lunch you can leave the room.
Just remember to be back by one
so we can continue the fun.

Now I say,
good bread, good meat.
Good God, let’s eat!

Thank you for adding to our 695 years of experience by donating, volunteering, partnering and working with Communities In Schools of Kalamazoo. Working together, may our combined passion, talent, and experience help children grow more than ever this year, academically, socially, and emotionally. Cheers to a new school year!

Cheers

Thank You, Friends

Today’s post is written by Pam Kingery, Executive Director of Communities In Schools of Kalamazoo.

Since the regular school year has wrapped up for students and teachers, and we are gearing up for the CIS Think Summer! program and KPS Summer School, it is a natural time to reflect on the 2015-16 school year. Gratitude is the overwhelming sentiment—for you, for our community. “Feeling gratitude and not expressing it,” wrote William Arthur Ward, “is like wrapping a present and not giving it.” So this is my expression of our sincere appreciation. As part of our community, you have chosen to lift up our children and youth as part of Communities In Schools. Thank you!

The important work of helping our kids succeed in school and in life does not happen without you. Your time, energy, talent and determination are essential investments in the future of the next generation and in the future of Kalamazoo. I believe the return on your investment is both measurable and immeasurable. The measurable part—-all of the graduates will have greater earnings, pay more taxes, be more well-prepared parents, and have better health outcomes, to name just a few—inspires us all to work harder to help more kids graduate. The immeasurable part—knowing how much you cared and how much each student felt cared for, converting tears of sorrow to tears of joy, listening to that graduate proudly announce he is the first in his family to graduate from high school—these are but a few of the priceless experiences that assure you will be back next year.

Did you know you helped grateful parents “fill the gaps” for their children? As one parent put it, “I want the best for my child but I can’t give them all that they need. I’m so grateful that CIS connected my child to the services she needed.”  We were able to step in because of you.

Our kids count on you and you have been there for them, even in difficult times. It has been an especially challenging year for Kalamazoo. Our community has been rocked by unexplainable tragedy. We’ve lost giants like Charles Warfield. Chuck had much to teach us and was always interested in learning from others, particularly our kids. Ed Gordon, one of the two founding board members of this organization, passed away last year. A member of the City Commission, Ed insisted that supporting our kids is a community responsibility and opportunity.

Each time you show up for kids—whether it’s to work, to volunteer, to partner, or to donate, you add to the foundation of others and you show our kids what it means to be a part of a community that acts together and takes care of one another. So, thank you for believing that CIS and the kids of Kalamazoo are a sound and worthy investment.

Think summer, think-think summer!  The learning and caring continue…

Thank you!