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Center Line, Warren

January 23, 2013

January is National School Board Recognition Month

By Maria Allard
C & G Staff Writer

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Photo by Deb Jacques Warren Consolidated Schools staff and students presented a number of gifts and artwork to the school board this month in recognition of January being National School Board Recognition Month.

WARREN/CENTER LINE — From children’s artwork to heartfelt letters, students and staff are showing their appreciation to their respective school boards in observance of National School Board Recognition Month.

Every January is set aside to recognize the work school board members do, and this year’s theme is “School Boards LeadStrong.”

“We get a lot of support and appreciation from all the schools in our district,” Warren Consolidated Schools Superintendent Robert Livernois said. “They often provide nice cards and coasters and any number of ways of saying, ‘Thanks.’”

As districts struggle to deal with budget reductions because of Michigan’s economic downturn, school board members have faced difficult and heart-wrenching decisions in recent years. Voting on staff layoffs and program cuts have been among them.

“Given the incredibly challenging environment public education has become in Michigan, our board members are doing tireless and thankless work on behalf of our students,” Livernois said.

“There’s not a day that goes by that our board isn’t faced with the challenges that have been put upon public education, most notably through plenty of the changes from the Legislature in Lansing,” Livernois said. “They continue, at every turn, to make decisions on behalf of our kids, and Warren Consolidated Schools at large is better for it.”

“It’s never easy making a decision you know is going to be unpopular,” Fitzgerald Public Schools Board

President Michelle Chevatewa said. “We’ve been trusted by the community to make those tough decisions. You recognize it’s going to impact students, their parents and the community as a whole.

“We try to make decisions that will best allow us to be committed to student achievement and school safety with the very limited resources the state has provided for us,” said a Chevatewa, 1993 FHS graduate who has been on the board since 2005. “With the state changing curriculum mandates and the standards of what needs to be taught, they don’t always increase the funding to hit those goals.”

FPS students will make presentations to the board during the month to acknowledge them for their public service.

“It’s a chance to hear the students and see their artwork,” Chevatewa said. “It reminds you why you’re doing this.”

National School Board Recognition Month also will touch down in Van Dyke Public Schools. Kennedy Elementary staff, for instance, has invited school board trustee Carol Kelsey in for a building tour, and students will make presentations. Lunch, too, is on the menu. 

At the Jan. 28 Warren Woods Public Schools Board of Education meeting, each board member will receive a certificate of recognition. The current board has a collective total of 87 years of board service between them. The Warren Woods Middle School Jazz Band will greet school officials and the audience.

The Center Line Public Schools board was in the spotlight during a meeting Jan. 14. Center Line Education Association President Ron Howery, on behalf of the union, donated a $200 check for the district’s Blessings in a Backpack program, in the board’s honor.

Bill Roberts, president of Local No. 2722, which includes maintenance, kitchen staff, transportation and custodial, donated $100 in the board’s honor to Beaumont Hospice, in memory of Jody Machiniak. The longtime administration building and Center Line High School employee passed away Nov. 19 from colon cancer.

“I wish to extend to you our gratitude for your personal sacrifice,” Roberts told the school board.

The district’s AFSCME No. 3154 union of secretaries, paraprofessionals, clerical and aides also gave $100 to the same hospice, in tribute to Machiniak.

“I just miss her: her smile, her even-keenness and the grace with what she dealt with her illness,” administration building employee Claudia Hardy said of her late friend. 

“Jody was a very beloved lady,” Roberts said, adding the two always talked about their grandchildren together. “We wanted to remember Jody. I think it was appreciated.”

You can reach C & G Staff Writer Maria Allard at allard@candgnews.com or at (586)498-1045.