David Hamilton: Doing Double Duty

This article was featured in our CIS Connections newsletter, The Double Issue. You can find the full publication here.

David Hamilton is studying health administration at Western Michigan University and, along with his twin brother, Daniel, will graduate this spring. As an AmeriCorps VISTA member with Communities In Schools of Kalamazoo at Kalamazoo Central High School and Washington Writers’ Academy, David is focused on promoting a college-going culture.

At Kalamazoo Central, David has also been working on improving attendance among ninth graders who are chronically absent. He says, “The school and CIS work together to remove barriers to attendance. We’ve named the program ‘All Giants Present.’” David has been researching what works and says that “while there may be many root issues, it comes down to accountability and community support.”

One of the strategies he’s implementing is incentive cards. “They are more like ‘we miss you’ cards and they are signed by other students. Geared towards accountability, these cards let the absent student know their absence is noticed and that they are missed.”

David & Daniel Hamilton
David Hamilton (left) with his twin brother, Daniel, as children.
David-and-Daniel
Now as an adult, David (left) is an AmeriCoprs VISTA member with CIS.

Derek Keeps Kids On The Move

cis-pedometers1-150x150Today’s post is written by Donna Carroll, Director of Health Initiatives. It appeared in Go! Team Go! an internal publication generated by Melissa Holman, After School Program Coordinator. We thought it was too good to keep to ourselves and so we’re sharing it here with you.

Walking to Brazil may seem like a tall order but when 60 students pool their foot power, it just might be possible. Northglade Montessori Site Coordinator Derek Miller has students walking to distant places, a few steps at a time. To get his new Level 1 activity off the ground Derek ordered 60 pedometers that are assigned to fourth and fifth grade students. Students have a goal of logging 3,000 steps per day.

“This encourages kids to get more exercise,” says Derek, “which is part of being healthy, but it’s also about exercising kids brains.” Northglade students keep track of how many steps they walk over time, with lots of opportunities for using math skills. Steps can be added, converted into yards and miles, and charted on graphs. Then geography is added to the mix as students consult maps to see how far an individual student might have travelled over a period of weeks or months, and how far the total miles walked by Northglade students would stretch – to Chicago, Atlanta, perhaps Mexico City? Students get passports where they can track distances from one world city to another and learn some basic facts about other nations.

Derek is not just talking the talk. He’s walking the walk, wearing his pedometer and tracking his own steps. Last Thursday he had logged over 4,000 steps by mid-afternoon.

Derek and VISTA Donielle Hetrick are walking with students at lunchtime, in the halls and on the playground, depending on the weather.

The project was developed by Northglade’s Health Committee that includes the school staff, parents and CIS.