EUPISD Newsletter: February, 2017

Eastern Upper Peninsula Intermediate School District
February, 2017

School News

Career and Technical Education

One of the main concerns expressed in communities in the EUP is that there are very few career opportunities for young people in our area.  Many students graduate from our local districts and seek job training or college degrees elsewhere.  They then choose to live in other states or regions because those areas are able to provide career opportunities.  This is evident in our region’s demographics, which show our average population is aging in a fairly dramatic shift between 2000 and 2010, according to census reports.  This outflow of people ages 0-44 suggests a lack of employment as the cause.

Michigan Talent Bank is a website that is designed to match Michigan job openings with potential employees.  This website currently lists over 94,000 available jobs in Michigan!  There is a lack of available trained workers to fill those jobs.  There are many reasons for this gap, but chief among those reasons is a lack of young people with the proper skill set to obtain the jobs.

One way to improve these situations is to offer job skills while our young people are still in high school.  Many high school students in Michigan benefit from Career and Technical Education (CTE) centers offering a wide variety of career training opportunities and job skills.  Students completing these programs are eligible for many jobs immediately after high school.  Others will seek additional training or a college degree.  These opportunities are funded by regional CTE millages in 32 of Michigan’s 55 ISDs generating as much as $955 per pupil to spend on these opportunities.  Unfortunately, 23 ISDs, including ours, do not receive any local tax support for CTE programs.

The EUPISD Board of Education has unanimously passed a resolution calling for an election on Tuesday, May 2, 2017.  Voters will be asked to consider a one mil increase to support Career and Technical Education programs in local schools in the EUP for ten years.  This would generate $377 per pupil to spend on CTE opportunities for EUP students.  The goal is to provide at least two CTE opportunities, plus entrepreneurial training for each EUP junior and senior.  This would provide marketable job skills and basic knowledge of how to operate a business to our young people before they graduate from high school.  Many of our successful EUP businesses are owned and operated by local residents who grew up in the EUP and wanted to live and work in the EUP.  This millage would go a long way in improving our EUP economy and to retain young families.

General Education

Service Learning

Quick and easy project: Shake up the normal Valentine’s Day routine. In class have your students show some love for their community by learning about local service workers, nonprofits, veterans, elders, teachers, etc. and make Valentine’s Day Cards for them. If you need ideas on community partners to connect with, just give a holler to

Funding: The Michigan Community Service Commission is offering awards to Michigan organizations who wish to host volunteer service projects engaging youth as part of the 2017 Global Youth Service Day, April 21-23. These awards are intended to encourage volunteer projects that address education, health, clean energy/environmental stewardship, economic opportunity, disaster preparedness, supporting veterans and military families, public safety, or hunger and homelessness. Awards range from $100-$500 depending on the number of volunteers engaged and the application is due March 3.

Data: Pre/Post-Surveys to measure the student impact of your service learning projects are now available from the Michigan Nonprofit Association. If you are planning a project, please consider using these tools to gather some data to show the positive impact service learning can have on our students. If you choose to use them, send an email to and your AmeriCorps VISTA is available to help with data analyses and create a report summary that you could then share with parents, administrators, and include in your teaching portfolio.

February is National Cherry Month and you can show your love for Michigan Cherries on February 14 with the Michigan Cherry Slurp. This is a great chance to learn about and celebrate Michigan agriculture and do some service learning. Here are a few project ideas:

  • Make posters to hang in the cafeteria or hallways
  • Can be about local foods & farms, cherries & nutrition, cherry recipes, cherry poems
  • Decorate grocery bags from a local store to promote cherries and local foods
  • Do a Valentine’s Cherry-gram instead of Candy-grams (it’s healthier!)
  • Have older students run mindful eating lessons for younger students using cherries
  • Raise funds for your school to purchase cherries for everyone in your school

Be sure to check out the February Service Learning Toolkit for even more resources and lessons. Including projects based around Valentine’s Day and President’s Day.

Special Education

Visually Impaired (VI) & Deaf/Hard of Hearing (DHH) Consortia for Teacher Preparation

The Michigan Department of Education has partnered with several out-of-state institutions of higher education that have teacher preparation programs, as well as with schools and agencies for the blind and Michigan institutions of higher education, to deliver an online endorsement program that will permit certified teachers to obtain an additional endorsement on their Michigan teaching certificate in either deaf/hard of hearing or visual impairment.

Students will have the option to choose courses from any of the participating universities. These courses are offered through a variety of on-line platforms, webinars, video conferencing, and face-to-face meetings. More information about all courses can be found at the “Participating Universities” link on this website.

The State of Michigan reimburses 50% of the costs of tuition for students who are certified teachers in Michigan and eligible for the program.


  • A bachelor’s degree
  • Valid or pending Michigan Teaching Certificate
  • Evidence of completing the approved foundation courses in special education*

*Students seeking an initial endorsement in special education must provide evidence of completing the approved foundation courses in special education. These requirements will be determined by the designated advisor for each endorsement area.

For more information go to the VI & DHH Consortia for Teacher Preparation Website

LINK-ing Futures, Changing Lives

Over the past six years, Julie Henderson’s LINKS program at the Sault Area High School has brought a new level of peer support to the community. The LINKS (Learning to Inspire New Kinds of Support) Peer Mentoring Program began with just six students participating. Now, there are 50 students who participate. There is even a waiting list full of students who are eager to take the course.

Each peer is LINK-ed to one Transition student for the school year. LINKS take an online course to learn about autism as well as other disabilities. The course teaches them to model typical academic and social behaviors and to provide support for the students with whom they are LINK-ed. These LINKS become role models and friends for their fellow students. The LINKS also experience positive aspects of forming relationships with these students.

“While we see (daily) the effect of the LINKS program on our Transition students, this program has changed the lives of many of our LINKS as well, with many of them going on to college in the fields of special education,” Henderson said.

Henderson said that many students come into the program thinking that they will change the lives of the Transition students; however, they find that their lives are the ones changed. One student commented that they came into the class terrified because they did not know what to expect. On the last day, they said they were terrified, again, because they didn’t know what they would do without their LINK.

The LINKS go to birthday parties, field trips and arrange to hang out with the students outside of school as well.  Friends of LINKS also end up becoming friends with Transition students so their social circles grow.  Henderson said she has seen the atmosphere of the school (towards students with disabilities) change.

“It’s been an amazing process to see,” Henderson said.

The program has affected parents as well. Parents of Transition students have remarked that when they are out in the community with their child, other students will come say hello and visit with their child. The parents say that this didn’t always happen prior to their child being involved with the program and they were surprised their child had so many friends.

A Parent LINKS group has also been formed. This group is for families of special needs students of all ages. They meet every other month to enjoy dinner, discussion and children’s crafts. Childcare and pizza are provided and guest speakers from various organizations are invited to speak. Assistance is also provided for gas expenses for families travelling from outside of Sault Ste. Marie.

The next meeting will take place Wednesday March 8, 2017, from 6:00-7:00 p.m. in the Sault High School Cafeteria.  Corner Pieces will speak to the group at that meeting. Information Flyer

For more information on the LINKS Student Program or the Parent LINKS, contact Julie Henderson at 906-635-3839 ext. 5932 or by email at

Early Childhood

Give from the Heart Valentine’s Day Dessert Auction

Mark your calendars and stay by the radio the morning of Tuesday, February 14 from 8 am- 1pm. By simply calling the Eagle 95.1 radio station at (906) 203-3955, you can bid on the most delectable treats in Mackinac, Luce, and Chippewa counties!

This year’s auction is a partnership between United Way of the EUP and the EUP Great Start Collaborative’s Dolly Parton Imagination Library. A portion of the proceeds will fund books for children between the ages of 0-5 years of age.

Elite and just good “old-fashioned country” bakers will gather with their goodies at the Eagle radio station to auction off their delicious items to the highest bidder. Help your favorite baker win one of the following prizes:

  • Highest Bid Obtained
  • Best Recipe with Fresh Fruit

Your favorite baker will be interviewing with Tim Ellis and will be awaiting your phone call. Scrumptious baked goods await your bid from cakes to pies and more!

Please support your favorite baker and early literacy by calling (906) 203-3955 on February 14.

If you would like more information on how you can support this cause, or if you would like to participate by baking a sweet treat to be auctioned, please contact Suzanne Prell, Executive Director of United Way of the EUP, at or contact Cara LaFaver, EUP Great Start Collaborative Coordinator,



Looking for access to free professional development and SCECH credits? EduPaths is a free professional development portal with access to "bite-sized" courses related to a wide variety of topics. Create your free account today. Watch the Introductory video. and if you have questions or would like to schedule a group presentation of 20-30 minutes, contact Marianna Ripple ( or call 906-259-8015).

Makerspace Materials

Maker materials are available for check out. Spark the maker spirit by using them within your classroom or give your staff some time to play. Staff play dates are a great way to provide the experience necessary to incorporate these materials into classroom learning; schedule an hour or two at your site.  See the list of maker materials available here. Contact Marianna Ripple ( for information and scheduling.

Digital Learning Day

Make time to focus on digital learning experiences in your classroom by participating in Digital Learning Day 2017. Check out the official site for information, resources, and activities.

Human Resources

MARSP Retirement Information Workshop

The EUPISD will be hosting retirement seminars for MPSERS members:

MARSP Retirement Planning Meeting - Thursday, March 9, 2017, 4:00 p.m. & 6:00 p.m. (each session is the same and last approximately an hour and a half) - EUPISD Conference Room A

This seminar is for staff that are considering MPSERS Retirement sometime in the next few years or that just want to learn more about their retirement plan. MARSP is the Michigan Association for Retired School Personnel.

MARSP’s retirement planning experts present: the MRPS Pension Seminar with all the essential information needed to start thinking about retirement. This seminar is available to all public school and college employees who are members of the MPSERS retirement plan.

Topics include:

  • Purchasing Service Credit
  • Pension Option
  • Retirement Planning and how to maximize your pension
  • Rights as a Michigan Public School Employees Retirement System (MPSERS) retiree and who is best to represent those rights
  • When can you retire
  • Health Insurance eligibility
  • Any other questions about retirement

Cost: FREE

Spouses are welcome and encouraged to attend

To be sure there are adequate handouts, please RSVP no later than one week prior at: the MARSP Events Page. The events are listed in date sequence, find and select this event.

Reminder: Don't forget to log in at least annually to your MPSERS MiAccount at the Michigan Office of Retirement Services Website to review your information.

Please write or call with your comments, suggestions, and/or concerns.
Dan Reattoir –