Forest Park Elementary students gather around Gov. Gretchen Whitmer during her visit.

Forest Park Elementary students gather around Gov. Gretchen Whitmer during her visit.

Photo provided by Caitlyn Kienitz

Governor visits local school as the 2023-2024 academic year begins

By: Maria Allard | Roseville-Eastpointe Eastsider | Published September 1, 2023


EASTPOINTE/ROSEVILLE — Students at Forest Park Elementary School in the Eastpointe Community Schools district welcomed a special guest who wished them well on their first day of school Aug. 28.

Gov. Gretchen Whitmer visited a few classrooms; talked with students, staff and parents; and even helped make the dismissal announcement.

The district’s first day of the 2023-2024 school year was a half-day. School is closed Sept. 1 and 4 for the Labor Day weekend, and at press time was to return Sept. 5.

Enrollment numbers were not yet available.

“It’s really hard to get an accurate count of enrollment right now, because we are still registering new students and have not received all of the transfer requests from those students who have left the district,” Caitlyn Kienitz, the district’s communications and marketing coordinator, said via email. “We’ll have a better idea as we approach fall count in October.”

On the financial side, according to Robert Carlesso, the district’s director of business and operations, school officials anticipate $9,608 in per-pupil funding for the new school year, which means the district will receive that amount per student. That is an increase of $458 from $9,150 for the 2022-2023 school year.

Kienitz provided tips for parents whose children might be anxious about coming back to school.

“We always encourage them to make a connection with their child’s teacher, principal, or another staff member in the building and always feel free to ask questions,” she said. “In addition to our teachers, principals, and front office staff, we have social workers, counselors, paraprofessionals, coaches, and more in the buildings to support our students and families.

“We want to hear from parents and students as soon as any concerns arise, whether academic or social-emotional, so we can help put the needed support in place to help every child succeed,” Kienitz continued. “Our buildings will all have curriculum nights in September where parents and guardians can come in to meet teachers and staff. We are so excited to have our students back in school, and we want to provide them with the support they need to make it their most successful year yet.”

There will be some new faces at the secondary level. The Eastpointe High School principal is Todd Yarch. In addition, Morgan Reece was promoted from the dean of students to principal at Eastpointe Middle School, and Marquis Dorsey joined Reece as the new EMS dean of students.

Through a state grant and a partnership with the city of Eastpointe, the district will have new school resource officer Detective Marcel Prude on-site. While he will be based at EHS, he will work all around the district. During summer vacation, several staff members attended professional learning sessions.

This school year, there will be more opportunities for Eastpointe Community Schools students interested in athletics, as school officials either added or reinstated several sports teams for the fall, including high school boys soccer, middle school football, sideline cheer and middle/high school cross country.

All district students will again receive free breakfast and lunch through the community eligibility provision, which was established several years ago in the district.


Roseville Community Schools
The new school year is scheduled to begin Sept. 6. The district will receive $9,608 in per-pupil funding and predicts an enrollment of 4,380 students.

Superintendent Mark Blaszkowski reminded parents that the district is “here to help” students be successful should they feel anxious or have difficulties socially and academically.

“Have your child talk with teachers and other support staff when they feel they are struggling,” he said.

Staff were scheduled to undergo development training on Aug. 31 and Sept. 5 with another one scheduled for Nov. 7. Topics were to include the social-emotional well-being of staff and students, best practices in instruction, classroom management techniques, and how to best utilize resource materials for each grade level and subject area.

According to Assistant Superintendent Dave Rice, all school districts in Michigan must provide up to five days of professional development for the teaching staff. Therefore, two more professional development dates will be added later in the school year.

The district made some administrative changes. Joseph Trobaugh is the new principal at Fountain Elementary School, and Alexandra Ward is the new dean of students at Eastland Middle School.

Brenda Baker has moved over to Dort Elementary School to become principal, Patton Elementary School’s new principal is Brandon Komarowski and Joe Jelsone is now Roseville Middle School assistant principal.

This year, Roseville Middle School and Eastland Middle School students will have four new STEAM (science, technology, engineering, art and math) course offerings. The new courses include Project STEAM, Introduction to Robotics, Remotely Operated Vehicles and Media Applications.

Roseville students will not receive any new technological devices this year. However, with initial purchases of student laptops and iPads in 2019 complete, school officials are starting work on the first refresh. During the fall, district officials are planning to collaborate with teachers and staff to evaluate potential new student laptops and iPads that are available by comparing their functionality, durability, warranty coverage and support.

Breakfast and lunch are free for all Roseville students again this year, as is the case for all students in the state.