Two Shining Students: Diamond and Dominique Mahone

Welcome back to the POP QUIZ! This is a regular, yet totally unexpected, feature where we ask students, parents, staff, our friends, and partners to answer a few questions about what they are learning, reading, and thinking about. Today we feature twins, Diamond and Dominique Mahone.

Both students are fifth graders at King Westwood Elementary School and featured in our upcoming CIS Connections. In fact, they are the inspiration behind the newsletter’s theme: Double! We’re thankful to their school’s CIS Site Coordinator Laura Keiser for introducing us to these two young people who, because of their hard work, are succeeding in school. With support from their home and school family, and in concert with the community working through CIS, the twins attendance, behavior, and academics are on track as they prepare for middle school next year. “Diamond and Dominique are both unique and kind individuals,” notes Laura. “It’s wonderful to see how nice they are to each other. They compliment each other. Often, you see them walking around, arms casually resting around the other one’s shoulders.”

Earlier in the school year, we quizzed them separately and have combined their responses below. Alright, Diamond and Dominique: pencil out, eyes on your own paper. Good luck.

POP QUIZ

What is something interesting you’ve recently learned?

Diamond:  How to multiply decimals. My math teacher, Ms. Sankarsingh, taught me.

Dominique: I’ve learned a lot of things, like more about how to write in cursive. I’m really bad at it but I’m getting better. We did it in third and fourth, and now we’re working on it again.

Favorite word?

Diamond: Basketball. I play it at the Boys & Girls Club. I’ve been playing since I was two years old.

Dominique: Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious!

What are you currently reading?

Diamond: A book about a fire that happens in Detroit.  I think it’s part of the Titanic series.

Dominique: Amulet, Book 7 and it’s called Firelight.

Favorite subject?

Diamond: Math and reading. Ms. Ghastin is my reading teacher.

Dominique: Math, gym, and library. Ms. Cruz-Davis is my math teacher. Ms. Melvin teaches gym and Ms. Langsam is the librarian and we check out two books per week.

What’s the best part about being a twin?

Diamond: We get to play together.

Dominique: Having someone to play with all the time.

What’s the hardest part?

Diamond: When we have to share things.

Dominique: Fighting. We fight about lots of petty things, like the remote to the TV.

What do you want to be when you grow up?

Diamond: A WNBA player.

Dominique: A doctor and a professional football player and maybe a soccer player and maybe a vet. I love animals. As a doctor, I might work with kids.

Upon graduating from high school, what colleges are you considering?

Diamond: Possibly Western.

Dominique: Kalamazoo College and then I might move to Florida for the hot weather.

Behind every successful student is a caring adult. Who is your caring adult?

Diamond: My mom. When I get bad grades, I can’t go anywhere until I do my homework.  Ms. Pierce, too. We check in with each other every day at school. She’s helped me with my behavior in the classroom.

Dominique: Ms. Laura and my parents. My parents help me with a lot of things. Like homework, spelling, and a whole lot of other things. Ms. Laura finds tutors for me to help me get A’s. She’s also generous and nice and kind. And she helps other people a lot in the school. If it’s a parent that’s visiting, she helps them. She might give them directions or something. If it’s a kid that needs something, she helps them get it. So like, I’m going to Sherman Lake next week and I need a sleeping bag and she’s getting one for me. [Turns to Ms. Laura as she walks in the door.] You’re getting me a sleeping bag, right? [Laura smiles and says, “I’ve got it Dominique. Don’t you worry.]

Thank you, Diamond and Dominique!

Dominique working with his CIS tutor, Pat Early. Dominique credits his tutor and others with helping him succeed in school. Be on the lookout for the upcoming CIS newsletter to learn more about the twins and the many caring adults in their lives.
Here is Diamond with one of her caring adults, CIS tutor Rosalie Novara.

 

Volunteers In Service To America

Today is Mayor and County Recognition Day for National Service. Some of you might recall helping Mayor Bobby Hopewell kick off the first ever day of recognition back on April 9, 2013. That morning, as Communities In Schools of Kalamazoo staff and AmeriCorps VISTA gathered on the steps of City Hall, we were excited to partner with Mayor Hopewell, the Corporation for National and Community Service (CNCS), The Spirit of Kalamazoo, and New World Flood and its founder, Todd “TJ” Duckett. We celebrated college spirit and gathered college gear for students in Kalamazoo Public Schools. A friendly competition quickly ensued to see which Michigan public college or university could offer up the largest number of contributions during this one hour only event. As community members and downtown business folks like Jen Ward, owner of The Station, visited City Hall to drop off donations, the excitement grew.

We can’t recall which college or university won that day. It doesn’t matter as the real winner that day was our kids. And our 12,000+ kids continue to be the ultimate beneficiaries of VISTA support throughout the Kalamazoo Public Schools.

As the nation’s mayors and county officials increasingly turn to national service as a cost-effective strategy to address local challenges, it’s worrying that the the President’s budget proposal calls for the elimination of the Corporation for National and Community Service (CNCS), which administers AmeriCorps. It’s distressing that this vital federal agency that helps millions of Americans improve the lives of their fellow citizens through service is on the chopping block. (In 2015, the Corporation for National and Community Service leveraged an additional $1.26 billion dollars in outside resources to increase their nationwide impact. That’s even more than the federal investment.)

(Some of our current and former VISTAs, from left to right) Pamela Tate, Brenda Morris, Nicholas Baxter, Katie Pearson, Abby Schulze, Terra Mosqueda, Donielle Hetrick, Stephen Brewer, Stacy Salters, Samantha Pennington, and David Hamilton.

Kalamazoo AmeriCorps VISTA members, past and present, we thank you for helping expand CIS’s capacity to meet student and school needs. Thank you for being part of the solution to help students stay in school and achieve in life!

Did you know that VISTAs commit to a full-time year of service and receive a stipend which is set just above the poverty level? In addition to the stipend, VISTAs are eligible to receive an educational award at the completion of their year of service. Each VISTA is assigned to work as part of a CIS site team in two schools. CIS is grateful to those past and present VISTAs who have chosen to serve their country through AmeriCorps. Currently, CIS has five citizens serving as Volunteers In Service To America (VISTAS) throughout the Kalamazoo Public Schools. If you see them, take a minute and thank them for their service:

Pamela Tate, Brenda Morris, Samantha Pennington, Stephen Brewer, and David Hamilton.

Over the years, our VISTA’s have worked closely with their CIS Site teams in a variety of ways. Click on the links below to find out how VISTAS working with CIS make a difference in the Kalamazoo Public Schools.

Our VISTAS…

are silent giants in the school. Former VISTA Laura Longwell reflected on her service at El Sol Elementary School and Hillside Middle School. You can read it here.

work with CIS partner Kalamazoo Loaves & Fishes to keep food pantries stocked and support Friday Food Backpacks.

help organize CIS Kids’ Closet to make sure kids have the basics like clothing, hygiene, and school supplies, so they can focus on learning.

promote a college-going culture throughout the Kalamazoo Public Schools.

make memories, working through the summer months with CIS Think Summer to prevent summer slide and assure that students have a safe summer filled with fun and learning.

share talents and passions. Nicholas Baxter, who recently completed his AmeriCorps VISTA service, spent his Thursday lunchtime supporting Arcadia students interested in reading, writing, and learning about poetry.

get kids off to a great start. VISTAS helping CIS organize the pencils, notebooks, backpacks, and many supplies local businesses, faith-based groups, service organizations, and community members generously donate so kids start the school year with the basics they need to succeed.

…and more.

Thank you VISTAS (past and present) and thank you, Corporation for National and Community Service, for your support!

(And if you’d like to check out some fun photos and news coverage from Kalamazoo’s 2013 Recognition Day for National Service, click here.)

 

What Are CIS Partners Reading?

 

We can’t get enough of what you are reading! And a number of you can’t either! Some of you have even emailed and called and stopped us on the street to let us know how much you are enjoying this “What are you reading?” series. So we wondered, what are our wonderful partners up to in the world of books?

Here’s what a few of them said.

 

That was Then, This is Now by S.E. Hinton.

-Cate Jarvis, School Grief Support Counselor, Hospice Care of Southwest Michigan

 

I just started A Farewell to Arms by Ernest Hemingway and also just finished 1493: Uncovering the New World Columbus Created by Charles Mann, which was a fascinating read on the consequences of early globalization.

-John Curran, Executive Director, First Day Shoe Fund

 

I just finished reading a novel written by William P. Young entitled The Shack. I love to read the book prior to seeing newly released movies. I just started reading a leadership book written Jon Gordon entitled The Energy Bus: 10 Rules to Fuel Your Life, Work, and Team with Positive Energy.

-Lola Amos, Director of Programs, Prevention Works

 

I’m reading Symphony for the City of the Dead: Dmitri Shostakovich and the Siege of Leningrad, by M.T. Anderson. It explores a dark and grim period in Russian history as experienced and expressed through the life and work of the famous composer. It was actually written as a book for teenagers, whom the author clearly regards as capable readers who can handle the real story. I highly recommend it as a captivating foray into a dense and difficult historical subject, especially as we grapple with deeply divided social and political beliefs in our own society.

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

 

I am reading The Gift of Failure by Jessica Lahey.

-Julie Righter, Manager Operational Excellence, Pfizer Kalamazoo

 

I generally read several books at a time. I am currently reading The Power of the Other by Dr. Henry Cloud, Possessing the Secret of Joy by Alice Walker, and Grain Brain by Dr. David Perlmutter.

-Sherry Thomas-Cloud, CEO, Family & Children Services

 

I am currently reading The Underground Railroad by Colson Whitehead. It is a powerful novel that tells the story of a pre-Civil War slave named Cora. I’m also reading Kareem Abdul Jamar’s Writings on the Wall: Searching for a New Equality Beyond Black and White.

-Jane Baas, Associate Dean of WMU Lee Honors College (and coordinator of WMU Medallion Scholars who volunteer at Milwood Magnet Middle School)

 

I’m reading The Checklist Manifesto by Atul Gawande.

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

 

I am participating in the Kalamazoo Public Library’s Community Read. The book is: Writings On the Wall authored by Kareem Abdul Jabbar and Raymond Obstfeldand. I am also honored to be facilitating one of the chapter discussions at the Douglass Community Associations Powell Branch Library. [Note: This Reading Together event with Von Washington Jr., Dick Shilts, and Beth Washington took place last night. A KPS student in attendance said it was “really good and made you think.”]

-Von Washington Jr., Executive Director of Community Relations, Kalamazoo Promise

 

Thanks for letting us know what you’ve been reading! And thanks, especially, for working with us to help kids stay in school and succeed in life!

Here at Ask Me About My 12,000 Kids, we’re officially expanding March Reading Month into April. In a few weeks, you can learn what CIS board members are reading!

 

 

 

 

 

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 are CIS volunteers reading in 2017?

 

National Reading Month has us wondering, what are Communities In Schools (CIS) volunteers reading? Here’s what a few of these wonderful volunteers who share their time and talents to benefit students throughout the Kalamazoo Public Schools told us. (We note what school they volunteer at within the Kalamazoo Public Schools.)

 

 

Troublemaker by Leah Remini and Smarter Faster Better by Charles Duhigg (and often Little Blue Truck and a Llama Llama with my littles at bedtime).

Theresa Hazard, Milwood Magnet Middle School

 

I have recently finished reading Alexander Hamilton by Ron Chernow and James Madison by Lynne Cheney. I am currently working through The Federalist Papers by Hamilton and Madison as well as Democracy in America by Alexis de Tocqueville. I say ‘working through’ because these latter two are not easy reads due to somewhat archaic prose and the fact that, as a scientist, I am not a traditional reader of political history!

-Paul Runnels, Edison Environmental Science Academy

 

I just finished, Rosemary: The Hidden Kennedy Daughter. It was a very interesting read about the Kennedy family. The book was about Rosemary’s disability and how the family dealt with it. Her disability eventually led the family to seek out medical advice. Unfortunately, the wrong medical advice.

-Sherry Garrett, Hillside Middle School

 

I am reading Born a Crime: Stories from a South African Childhood by Trevor Noah. It is about his unlikely path from apartheid South Africa to the desk of The Daily Show that began with a criminal act: his birth. Trevor was born to a white Swiss father and a black Xhosa mother at a time when such a union was punishable by five years in prison.

More about the book: “[A] compelling new memoir . . . By turns alarming, sad and funny, [Trevor Noah’s] book provides a harrowing look, through the prism of Mr. Noah’s family, at life in South Africa under apartheid. . . . Born a Crime is not just an unnerving account of growing up in South Africa under apartheid, but a love letter to the author’s remarkable mother.”Michiko Kakutani, The New York Times

-Nanette Keiser, King-Westwood Elementary School

 

I just finished True South:  Henry Hampton and Eyes on the Prize, the Landmark Television Series That Reframed the Civil Rights Movement (2017). The book is by Jon Else, a documentary filmmaker and cinematographer who writes about both his experiences as a young man working for the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC) in the South in the 1960s, and his roles in making the famous documentary Eyes on the Prize in the 1980s.

-Denise Hartsough, King-Westwood Elementary School

 

I just finished reading Margaret Verble’s Maud’s Line and Alex Haley’s The Autobiography of Malcolm XI’m now reading Kareem Abdul Jabbar’s Writings on the Wall, this year’s Reading Together book with lots of special programs in Kalamazoo and an author visit coming up in March.

Like crime fiction? Read my son’s book, Dodgers, by Bill Beverly. It’s winning lots of awards and is available at local libraries and bookstores.

-Martha Beverly, Lincoln International Elementary School

 

The Hidden Life of Trees: What They Feel, How They Communicate, by Peter Wohlleben

-Sherry Brodock, Spring Valley Elementary School

 

I have just finished reading Simon Winchester’s Map That Changed The World, the story of William Smith and the birth of modern geology. A very interesting account of one man’s curiosity about the landscape of England and what was under it in terms of geological strata. I have just started Desert God by historical novelist Wilbur Smith.  It is a fictional story of ancient Egypt and it’s too early yet to know where it is going but the characters and historical setting are interesting.

-Bob Spradling, Woods Lake Elementary School

 

I am currently reading Inside the O’Briens and Wonder, which the fifth graders I work with turned me onto!

-Katie Weirick, Lincoln International Elementary School

 

Thank you all for sharing!

Keep checking in with us at Ask Me About My 12,000 Kids as, in the weeks to come, we’ll find out what some of our CIS partners, staff and board members are reading.

Pop Quiz: Tamiko Garrett

Tamiko Garrett, upon successfully completing Communities In Schools Site Coordinator Learning Pathway Virtual Boot Camp

Welcome back to the POP QUIZ! This is a regular, yet totally unexpected, feature where we ask students, parents, staff, our friends, and partners to answer a few questions about what they are learning, reading, and thinking about. Today we feature Tamiko Garrett. She’s been with Communities In Schools of Kalamazoo (CIS) for three years and is the CIS Site Coordinator at Linden Grove Middle School.

A proud KPS parent, Tamiko attended Kalamazoo Public Schools as well, graduating from Kalamazoo Central High School, after having been educated at Spring Valley, Northeastern, and Hillside Middle School. She says that supporting students within the same school district she went to is “rewarding and strange at the same time…I’ll work with a kid and then quickly discover that I went to school with their parent. That connection, I think, actually helps me do my job better.”

Alright, Tamiko: pencil out, eyes on your own paper. Good luck.

POP QUIZ

What is something interesting you’ve recently learned? 

I recently learned Trevon Martin’s mother is going to be in town, speaking at Chenery as part of an event that is sponsored by Lee Honor’s College. It’s March 29th and I plan to attend.

What are you currently reading? 

Hidden Figures by Margot Lee Shetterly.  I recently saw the movie. Normally, I read the book first but I decided to switch things around.

That is a great movie. Everyone needs to see it.

I agree.

What made you decide to change things up?

A few things, really. Just being in America and having never before heard of these women and their incredible story, this black history, well it made me want to know more. Also, I don’t know if you’re aware of this or not, but students in after school—not just here at Linden Grove but all the CIS after school sites throughout KPS middle schools— are doing an amazing program. It involves working with NASA. It’s quite exciting for our students to be exposed to STEM [Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math] beyond the school day. Students will even be linking up with other schools throughout the country that are using this curriculum. When [CIS After School Coordinator] Jenee learned that the movie was coming out, she thought it would be a perfect opportunity to tie in the NASA project with Black History Month. She arranged for the students to see the movie and I volunteered to help chaperone.

Thinking back to your years with the Kalamazoo Public Schools, who was one of your favorite teachers?

Auga Davis. She was my first grade teacher. My older sister had her as well so I thought it was cool to have the same teacher. I still remember thinking, “Wow, this is my sister’s teacher and she’s teaching me now!” Ms. Davis recently retired from Indian Prairie after teaching 40 years in the Kalamazoo Public Schools. She was such a nice and sweet teacher. To think of somebody teaching and giving to students for 40 years. Just, wow.

What is your favorite word right now?

Blended learning.

Tell us more about that.

Blended learning is really all about how we can customize a student’s individualized learning style with a teacher’s teaching style in order to achieve the best educational outcome for the student.

What is something you love about Kalamazoo?

The Kalamazoo Promise. I have a daughter who attends Kalamazoo Central High School.  She is in the 11th grade. The Promise is such a wonderful opportunity and she will soon be able to get 100% of this incredible gift!

Can you tell us something about yourself that people may be surprised to know?

I am currently working on my Ph.D. in Educational Leadership at Eastern Michigan University.  I love learning and teaching others.

Behind every successful person is a caring adult. Who has been your caring adult?

Definitely my mom. She raised three kids. She is now very hands on with raising my niece and she is helpful to me in raising my daughter. My siblings and my niece all graduated from Kalamazoo Public Schools, and my daughter will soon be joining us as proud graduates.

Tamiko, thank you for hanging out with us at Ask Me About About My 12,000 Kids!

We continue to talk with Tamiko in our soon to be released newsletter, CIS Connections. Tamiko and her CIS site team member, CIS After School Coordinator Jenee McDaniel, share insights into what it takes to work together to help students stay in school and be successful.

 

 

In Praise of Teachers

We are huge fans of teachers.

Our admiration spawns from those who have taught us, to those who teach the children of today, and those who commit to teach the children of our children. Teachers cultivate curiosity, ignite imagination and learning, and shape our future.

If you teach in America today, you do all this against the backdrop of many voices that are not singing in harmony, many voices talking over one another while you continue to teach and provide certainty in uncertain circumstances, all the while reminding us that school is community and the safe haven for many children and parents. If you teach in America, you also choose to fight for our children’s right to adequate and stable funding for their schools, choose to explain why we must keep the doors open.

Thank you, teachers, for showing up and caring and teaching. Thank you for setting a good example: choosing to do the right things, choosing to keep advocating for our kids and to keep explaining, even when you feel we aren’t listening.

Communities In Schools of Kalamazoo (CIS) supports and values what you do for our kids. Staff, volunteers, and partners work together to remove barriers to learning so that students can learn from your teaching. Thank you!

Here are a few of our favorite quotes about teaching and teachers:

 

“You are the bows from which your children as living arrows are sent forth.”

-Khalil Gibran

 

“Teaching is the one profession that creates all other professions.” 

Unknown

 

“Teaching is the greatest act of optimism.”

-Colleen Wilcox

 

“When we connect our students with the world, we are building bridges today that tomorrow will walk across.”

-Vicki Davis @ coolcatteacher

 

“If you want to build a ship, don’t drum up people together to collect wood and don’t assign them tasks and work, but rather teach them to long for the endless immensity of the sea.”

-Antoine de Saint-Exupér

 

“Education is not the filling of a pail, but the lighting of a fire.”

-William Butler Yeats

 

Happy Birthday, Edwards Garment!

How many of us make it to our 150th Birthday? Well, Edwards Garment has, so instead of scrambling for 150 candles, we thought we’d light up the blog by sharing what a spark a business partner can be for students.

A CIS supporter since 2004, Edwards Garment is a business rich in Kalamazoo history, having been a part of the community since 1867 when the Rosebaum family began producing pants for men and boys out of the Rosebaum building. Did you know the name of the company is inspired by Edwards Street, the side street in downtown Kalamazoo which the old Rosenbaum building shares with Michigan Avenue?

Today, Edwards Garment is a leading specialty image apparel and uniform supplier for men’s and women’s clothing. Their headquarters are located on South 9th Street and they employ 185 individuals from the greater Kalamazoo area.

Partnerships, like any relationship, evolve over time. This year, Edwards Garment has expanded their reach by supporting students at Prairie Ridge Elementary School. The school’s CIS Site Coordinator, Carly Denny, says the students as well as the school staff deeply appreciate their involvement. “Their support is wonderful,” she says. “They have given us generous donations of backpacks and school supplies. They’ve provided our students with lots of winter apparel. CIS was also able to pass some of the overflow of larger sizes on to our high school students at Kalamazoo Central and Loy Norrix.”

Edwards Garment employees commit time and energy to building a stronger community in the areas that they reside. This year, the business has also joined forces with CIS partner, Big Brothers Big Sisters, A Community of Caring to become a Bigs in Schools. “Right now we have four ‘Bigs’ working with our students,” says Carly. “The Bigs have lunch with their “Littles” twice a month. They spend an hour together and work on specific goals with their Littles. The students adore the extra attention and really thrive with this support.”

We love how Edwards Garment continues to grow with us! A while back we interviewed Gary Schultz, President and CEO of Edwards Garment. If you missed that post (or want to refresh your memory) you can read about Gary and how Edwards Garment has kids covered by going here.