Maria Allard bio image

Maria Allard

C&G Staff Reporter – Warren Weekly, Grosse Pointe Times, Sterling Heights Sentry


Staff Writer Maria Allard covers the school districts of Center Line, Fitzgerald, Van Dyke, Warren Consolidated and Warren Woods, and Macomb Community College for the Warren Weekly and Sterling Heights Sentry newspapers. She also covers Eastpointe and Roseville community schools for the Roseville-Eastpointe Eastsider newspaper. Allard has a bachelor’s degree in journalism from Wayne State University, and she is in love with the Rolling Stones.

Published August 15, 2012

The recently released Michigan Department of Education School Report Cards, made public Aug. 2, were revamped in an effort to provide “greater transparency on student achievement.”

While the results still include a report card grade for public schools statewide and whether or not each school made Adequate Yearly Progress, the MDE has added “focus,” “priority” and “reward” categories.

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Published August 10, 2012

WARREN — Parents of children from infancy to age 5 are welcome to attend a weekly play-and-learn group that began July 10. Ready Children/Ready Communities meets every Tuesday at Westview Elementary School, 24077 Warner.

The play and learn group is from 10-11:30 a.m. In addition, a parent resource center operates in the same location from 9-10 a.m., and from 11:30 a.m. until noon. The resource center gives parents the opportunity to speak with qualified staff about early childhood development and have access to different resources.

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Published August 10, 2012

A revamped method of classifying results — touted by the Michigan Department of Education as providing “greater transparency” — is shaping the latest Michigan School Report Card grades.

Newly established “reward,” “focus” and “priority” categories denote schools that are highest in achievement or multi-year progress levels, have “wide achievement between various student populations” and “need to improve their attention on student learning,” respectively.

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Published August 10, 2012

CENTER LINE — A large group of Center Line Public Schools students continued learning over the summer months by enrolling in one of three summer school programs offered at Roose Elementary School.

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Published August 6, 2012

CLINTON TOWNSHIP — With Clintondale Community Schools following a state-mandated deficit elimination plan, school officials were required to adopt a proposed budget for the 2012-13 school year that came without a shortfall.

They succeeded. On June 11, the school board voted to approve a “general appropriations of Clintondale Community Schools” for the incoming school year.

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Published August 6, 2012

WARREN — It’s impossible not to have fun inside Stacy Jekielek’s classroom at Westwood Elementary School this summer.

Jekielek, who is teaching a summer school class for Warren Woods Public Schools students entering first-grade this fall, set up a number of activities designed to strengthen the students’ reading, writing and math skills. They’re enjoying the assignments so much it’s more like playtime rather than school.

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Published July 27, 2012

CENTER LINE — After a trip to his dentist five years ago, retired Center Line High School teacher Richard Dziurda discovered he needed a bridge replacement.

The cost of the procedure — even with medical insurance — was more than he could afford. He hoped to set up a payment plan over several months that fit into his budget, but because that wasn’t possible, Dziurda shopped around.

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Published July 20, 2012

WARREN — Warren Woods Public Schools officials will dip into the district’s fund balance account to balance the original budget for the 2012-13 school year.

At a school board meeting June 29, the school board voted 6-0 to adopt the 2012-13 original budget. Trustee Gerry Barkey was absent.

Revenues — which include local, state and federal dollars — were predicted at $30.32 million. Expenditures — retirements, salaries, benefits, utility costs, and supply and purchase services — were predicted at $33 million.

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Published July 20, 2012

CENTER LINE/WARREN — In recent weeks, 25 Center Line Public Schools teachers were laid off as school officials worked to balance the preliminary budget for the 2012-13 school year.

At a school board meeting June 18, the school board voted 7-0 to approve the preliminary budget for the next school year.

Since that time, a percentage of the teachers were called back to work, and district officials predict more laid-off educators will return to the classroom. District Director of Business Services Cindy Schwark said the layoffs were “based on seniority.”

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Published July 13, 2012

The Michigan Merit Examination scores for Michigan’s 11th-graders, recently released to the public, reflect positive one-year improvements and “even larger” four-year swells in math, reading, science and writing, according to the Michigan Department of Education.

Composite scores on the ACT exam, administered as part of the MME in the spring, also went up for the fourth year in a row, the MDE reported, along with the number of students deemed “career- and college-ready.”

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Published July 10, 2012

FRASER — While some local school officials laid off employees and cut programs to balance their budgets for next year, Fraser Public Schools officials maintained staff positions and programs when budgeting for the 2012-13 school year.

At a school board meeting June 25, the school board voted 7-0 to approve the operating budget for the 2012-13 school year.

Revenues — including local, state and federal dollars that come into the district—were totaled at $49.4 million for the next school year.

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Published July 6, 2012

WARREN — It has been a familiar scenario the past several years.

Fitzgerald Public Schools officials have sat down repeatedly throughout the school year to look at ways to cut costs and financially stay afloat.

This year, they were able to balance a proposed budget for the next school year without eliminating any programs, although a few staff positions didn’t make the cut.

At a school board meeting June 28, the board voted 7-0 to approve the proposed budget for the 2012-13 school year.

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Published July 6, 2012

WARREN — Warren Woods Tower High School 2011 graduate Kalsoom Hussain plans on becoming a pediatrician.

So when she found out about the Workforce Investment Act job program, she applied.

Hussain is one of 24 WWTHS students and 2011 graduates gaining job skills and learning how to become leaders by working in the program this summer. About half of the students are working as tutors at Briarwood Elementary, and the other half are conducting landscaping projects at the high school.

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Published July 5, 2012

On those sweltering summer days when all you want to do is find relief from the hot and humid weather, going inside an air-conditioned room, home or building sounds appealing.

Once inside, you want to make certain you are getting the most from your air conditioner while at the same time keeping down your energy bill.

Cindy Forcier — president of Zilka Heating & Cooling in Sylvan Lake, a third-generation business that opened in 1946 — said one rule of thumb is to make sure the furnace filter is cleaned on a regular basis to allow for more air flow.

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Published July 2, 2012

FRASER — Amid piles of bricks, steel beams and dirt, crews have been busy working since April on constructing the new Fraser High School auxiliary gym.

The new 13,000-square-foot gymnasium will allow for more student sports and activities, and it can be utilized at the same time the school’s current gym is in use.

Dan Waters, district director of operations, maintenance and transportation, said construction for the new gymnasium is on schedule, with plans to officially open in January 2013.

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