Mr. Sindoni Responds!

Remember the November post written by CIS volunteer Shirley Freeman? The one that began:

Dear Mr. Sindoni,

I often tell the story of my 7th grade year. How I was kicked off every field trip that year – generally for being sassy and talking too much….(You can read the entire post here.)

Well, we are happy to report that the very teacher that Shirley credits with helping to turn her around is still out there. He read her post! Moved by what she had written, he reached out and shares the following:

Hi Shirley,

This was a pleasant surprise as I never thought that I’d be remembered 45 years after an incident. Anyway, this had to have occurred during my second or third year of teaching. We young and inexperienced teachers tried whatever seemed to work to correct student “bad habits” and/or “behavior problems.” One of my favorite things to do was to elevate the person or people into a responsible position (this works with grandkids too), and hope (sometimes guide) they do the task to the best of their ability. If it doesn’t succeed, shake hands and try something different at a later date, but what does succeed is the building of the relationship. Everybody wins in that case.

I’m pleased to have been a very tiny part of your life. I’ve always thought that Schalmont was good to me and I to Schalmont. After 33 years in the classroom, and about 25 of that in 7th grade, the school district for the first time in its history, offered a financial incentive for Tier I teachers, and the money people told me to take the offer.

My wife (of 45 years) and I presently split our living between New York and Florida, and I’m sure you can guess the seasons at each place.

Again, thank you for allowing me to be just that very tiny bit of your life. I guesstimate that I was there for about 5,000-6,000 others as well, and with a few I still remain in contact.

Ed Sindoni

What a great way to end our 2016 posts here at Ask Me About My 12,000 Kids! It is good to know that your efforts make a difference. It may take 45 years to find out that the seeds you are planting now will take hold some day. Hang in there!

We thank you for hanging out with us here at the CIS blog. Stay warm and come on back and join us for a whole new year of posts, beginning Tuesday, January 10th, 2017.

A Letter to Mr. Sindoni

Shirley FreemanToday, we hear from CIS volunteer and Bookbug staff extraordinare, Shirley Freeman. As part of the Chapel Hill/Portage United Methodist Church initiative to help students attain the Kalamazoo Promise, Shirley began tutoring at Parkwood-Upjohn Elementary School. Ten years later, she’s still at it. Two years into her volunteer service, she received specialized training from SLD Read, a nonprofit community resource serving West Michigan. Through SLD Read’s training and on-going support, Shirley is able to provide individualized, one-to-one multisensory instruction in reading, writing and spelling for at-risk readers in first, second and third grades. 

Dear Mr. Sindoni,

I often tell the story of my 7th grade year. How I was kicked off every field trip that year – generally for being sassy and talking too much. I know part of it was that we had a new boy in school, Dave Tobey, and he was a bit older and more physically mature than most boys in my class. He was a bit of an instigator and I certainly didn’t resist going along. No one who knows me now can believe I was kicked off any field trip, let alone every one.

I always think of you when telling the story because at some point toward the end of 7th grade, you called me in and talked to me about my behavior. You said that I was “going off the deep end.” I’ll never forget it. And then, the best part – at the beginning of 8th grade, you asked Dawn and me to help with something. You trusted us with a position of responsibility. Thank you. I will always be grateful for your intervention and your trust.

Shirley Freeman

Shirley Freeman with studentimg_3245

Who is your Mr. Sindoni? If you are up to the challenge of reflecting on and writing a letter to your caring adult, email it to jclark@ciskalamazoo.org and we just might publish it!

Broncos Brake For Volunteers

Carly kicks off focus group as WMU students look on
Carly kicks off focus group as WMU students look on

Apparently, seven of our CIS volunteers didn’t get the memo that it was spring break! This past Saturday, seven of them showed up to our downtown office bright and early to be part of a focus group to provide their perspective on how CIS can best recruit and support volunteers. Carly Wiggins, Director of Volunteers Services moderated the session, asking questions that had been prepared by Western Michigan University students TJ Hogan, Denise Negren, Brenna Schafer, Gabrielle Hanson, and team leader, Rachel Duelo. The college students provided coffee and donuts for the volunteers and listened in on the discussion.

Rachel’s group is one of three teams of students who are part of Diana Berkshire Hearit’s Public Relations Capstone Class. Each is developing a marketing campaign that they will present later this month to CIS. We’ve asked them to focus their efforts on helping us deepen community awareness and support for Kids’ Closet/basic needs as well as volunteers.

This is the second time that CIS has partnered up with Diana Berkshire Hearit to serve as a “client” for her students. And just like two years ago, we are appreciative of the ground work Diana does in advance of our initial meeting with the entire class. As graduates of WMU, Carly and I are particularly proud of the way these young men and women have conducted themselves and the insightful questions they have asked of us throughout this process.

Rana Shammas, Steve Stapleton, Mary Lewis, Shirley Freeman, Doyle Crow, Jager Hartman, and Rosalie Novara, we are so grateful for the volunteer work you are doing with our kids throughout the Kalamazoo Public Schools. Thank you for choosing to spend some of your Saturday morning with us. We will infuse what we learned from you into our work. We (not to mention some of our 12,000 kids) are already better for having you in our lives.