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 Peck Elementary School student Veronica Campbell, center, walks to school on the first day Sept. 3 with her mom, Janette, and her brother, Corey, a recent graduate of Center Line High School.

Peck Elementary School student Veronica Campbell, center, walks to school on the first day Sept. 3 with her mom, Janette, and her brother, Corey, a recent graduate of Center Line High School.

Photo by Deb Jacques

A new school year begins

By: Maria Allard | C&G Newspapers | Published September 6, 2019

 Catricia Robinson is a kindergartner at Peck Elementary School.

Catricia Robinson is a kindergartner at Peck Elementary School.

Photo by Deb Jacques

 Tia Ochoa hugs her son, Santino, who also started kindergarten at Peck.

Tia Ochoa hugs her son, Santino, who also started kindergarten at Peck.

Photo by Deb Jacques


CENTER LINE/WARREN/STERLING HEIGHTS — The 2019-20 school year officially began Sept. 3 in local districts.

This year, district officials are starting off with the unknown when it comes to per-pupil funding because the state has not yet released its final school aid budget. Districts have either based their budgets on last year’s funding or on assumptions.

At this time, school officials don’t have definite student enrollment numbers. The official Count Day is Oct. 2, a designated day when Michigan’s schools take attendance to determine the number of students they serve.

Via email, district officials responded to questions about the new school year.


Center Line Public Schools
Center Line High School upperclassmen taped messages on the freshman lockers to encourage the new students as they start their high school years. The district projects an enrollment of 2,671 students.

CLPS welcomed 13 new teachers at various buildings and hired a school psychologist, two English as a second language paraprofessionals, and two Great Start Readiness Program paraprofessionals. A course that leads to Microsoft certification was added at Center Line High School.

School officials expanded work with Ford Next Generation Learning through Marshall Plan grant money so the district can continue to partner with local business and industry. That will in turn expose students to workplace expectations.

In addition, Macomb County has joined the district as its convening agency, which expands the network of individuals, groups and organizations supporting the development and implementation of the Ford NGL community-connected master plan.

CLPS received grant money to bring in John Hattie’s Visible Learning group, where consultants helped educators shift focus from teaching to what students are learning. Many teachers also participated in summer workshops that included Visible Learning, Knowledgeworks, Writers’ Workshop, Conscious Discipline, Project-Based Learning and others.


Fitzgerald Public Schools
Because of retirements and resignations, the district hired 33 staff positions, including teachers, administrators, paraprofessionals, custodians and bus drivers.

The district implemented an Early 5s kindergarten program at the Schofield Early Childhood Building. The program is for students who will be 5 years of age between Aug. 1 and Dec. 1. The program is a bridge between preschool and kindergarten providing young learners with the chance to learn in an environment designed to meet their academic and social needs.

Before school began last week, FPS staff participated in several leadership opportunities as well as Macomb County’s Comprehensive Approach to Effective Literacy Instruction - Grade 2 Cohorts. Superintendent Laurie Fournier offered advice for students as they embark on a new school year.

“Make the 19-20 school year a terrific educational experience for yourself. Accept the great possibilities and wonderful explorations you will be awarded this year,” she said. “The staff have worked tirelessly to plan and prepare for your return. They are anxiously awaiting to lead you into beautiful learning opportunities. Sending all students a great year of discovery and success.”


Van Dyke Public Schools
Van Dyke hired about 10 new classroom teachers, one new paraprofessional, one new building secretary and two new multi-trade technicians. The district is still looking to hire new kitchen staff. The projected enrollment is just under 2,300.

This year, Van Dyke educators will be working with the SME Partnership Response in Manufacturing Education, or PRIME, Foundation through the district’s manufacturing program.

On the first day of school, educators planned to open the Henry Ford School-Based Health Clinic at Lincoln High School. According to Superintendent Piper Bognar, “The clinic will benefit all children ages 4-21 in the Van Dyke community.”

Bognar said staff members spent the summer working on curriculum and instruction alignment. The district’s back-to-school sessions focused on trauma-informed education, building achievement and community through culturally responsive practices, balanced grading, and follow-up on current district strategies for instruction and assessment.


Warren Consolidated Schools
Eight new teachers and eight support staff members were hired for the new year. The district’s projected enrollment is 13,494 students.

As the new school year begins, Superintendent Robert Livernois is sharing information about the benefits of making sure students are in school.

Over the summer, he reviewed district data that showed the relationship between students’ grades and their attendance in school.

“Research consistently shows that students who attend school regularly do far better than those who are absent,” he said. “I encourage all parents and students to give their very best effort to get to school on time so that our great teachers can help students learn.”

Warren Woods Public Schools

Scott Keen is the new principal at Pinewood Elementary, and Michelle Voelker is the new assistant principal at Warren Woods Middle School. WWPS also hired four new elementary school teachers, three middle school teachers, a middle school counselor, two high school teachers and several support support staff members. According to Superintendent Stacey Denewith-Fici, the district is still looking for substitute teachers, paraprofessionals and bus drivers.

“I have so many aspirations for all of our Warren Woods students, but the quickest advice I give as they are walking through the hall to class is: Be kind. Work hard. Make good decisions,” Denewith-Fici said.

The district’s projected enrollment is 3,209.

Work on the district’s $20.3 million bond issue that passed in November 2017 continued over the summer. Denewith-Fici said installation is complete on secure entrances at three buildings and new security cameras at all buildings. Classroom renovations occurred across the district. This summer, several parking lots were replaced; new playground equipment was installed; and heating, ventilation and air conditioning, or HVAC, systems were installed districtwide.

Work is wrapping up on the athletic concession and restroom buildings at Warren Woods Tower High School.

“Existing home bleachers have been upgraded to a grandstand accommodating 500 more spectators and a new press box for media and coaches,” Denewith-Fici said. Exterior brickwork at the high school was completed.

Over the summer, several staff members attended the Michigan Math Teachers Conference. Staff also attended professional development in Restorative Practices and Kagan Cooperative Learning Strategies.

“We continue our partnership with Oakland University and are extremely pleased to welcome our next cohort of teachers to the Reading Recovery Training,” Denewith-Fici said.