Good Morning, Mason

by Shane Stockwell
The Mason Times

The city of Mason had one of its most successful turnouts at “Good Morning, Mason” October 30, said Kathy Morse, co-owner of Mason Today. This event was created for local businesses to network and help build the community bond between companies. The agenda included: Mason Area Chamber, Ingham County Public Safety, Mason Area Schools, and many other topics.

“Good Morning, Mason meets six times a year and provides an opportunity for local business owners and workers to get to meet one another and inform each other on new ideas or business opportunities,” said Doug Klein, executive director of Mason Area Chamber of Commerce.
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Counting on an increase in revenue

By Emily Hummel
Mason Times

With a overall trend of decreased enrollment in Michigan public schools, count day

Ron Drzewicki, superintendent of Mason Public Schools

Ron Drzewicki, superintendent of Mason Public Schools (photo was courtesy of Ron Drzewicki)

considered one of the most critical days of the year by Michigan educators, has gone much better than in recent years in Mason, which has seen increased enrollment.

Count day is when students attending each school within a district are counted and the number is reported to the state. From these reports, the state determines how much money to give to each school district and can mean a difference of several thousand dollars.

On this day attendance in school is stressed to parents, and some schools even give incentives to their students to encourage maximum attendance. Mason schools inform parents and trust them to understand the importance of the day.

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Building Twenty-One Reopens Skatepark, supplying opportunities for teens

By Ben Stram
The Mason Times
Workers at the arena

Some of the rails

More ramps
One of the biggest ramps
Almost a year ago an old run-down skate church and bike church were taken over by Building Twenty-One and the transformation impacted many.
With help from professional BMX rider Cory Wiergowski, renovations advanced and word spread.
That transformation was completed when the Mason Area Chamber of Commerce Ambassadors cut the ribbon Wednesday, Oct. 14, officially reopening the indoor skate park for students ages 8 and up. Continue reading

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Mason Pizza Day a tasty school technology fundraiser

By Ben Stram
The Mason Times

The first Wednesday of each month during the school year, the city of Mason delivers a pizza promotion that helps shape the way its children develop.

The Mason Public Schools Foundation is a nonprofit fundraising organization established in 1984. The foundation committed to the Mason Technology Infusion Program, which provides technology for students in elementary school, middle school, and high school, to donate $30,000 per year for many years.

Local pizzerias donate $1 dollar per pizza to the foundation, which goes to supply students with technology in the classroom.
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Homecoming 2014: The Mason Way

IMG_7815By Ben Stram
The Mason Times

“Go Blue! Go Red!”

These are the colors of the Mason Bulldogs, who capped a successful homecoming Friday night in a win against Owosso, 42-7.

They’re also the colors the residents of Mason screamed at the annual homecoming parade and football game.

The town met in downtown Mason for the homecoming parade at 6 p.m. which was led by flashy cars, the Mason marching band, several children and cheerleaders.

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Rotary Exchange brings cultural diversity, growth to students

students2By Ben Stram
The Mason Times

The Rotary Youth Exchange program offers students the opportunity to learn about cultures from around the world.

The program is for both inbound and outbound students. Inbound students visit from a variety of countries while outbound students spend a year abroad.

Students must be in high school and maintain a certain grade-point average while participating in leadership activities at their high school to be a part of the program.

On Sept. 19, Rotary District 6360, a group composed of 12 inbound students from 11 countries, visited Chicago.
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State budget cuts impact Mason High School funding

By Micaela Colonna
Mason Times staff writer

Listen to an audio report.

The 2008 recession and state funding cuts have meant losses in almost all areas of Mason Public Schools. This has meant some trimming and searches for new revenue in many departments including academic, athletic, arts and personnel. Custodial groups have taken hourly wage cuts to prevent privatization, administrative and faculty positions were eliminated and district-funded sports have become self-funded. Shelbi Frayer, executive director of business and finance at Mason Public Schools, said the changes are a result of the decrease in state funding.

Mason tennis team

The Mason Varsity Tennis team practices indoors on a rainy school afternoon. They have experienced the impact of a decreased budget in the form of equipment cuts.

“We wouldn’t have to make such drastic changes such as losing HR if we didn’t have a cut in funding,” said Frayer. “We would definitely have a lot more programming for students, buses, etc. You learn to be more frugal and live without.”

With the assistance of teachers, Principal Lance Delbridge of Mason High School allocates funds allotted by the Mason Board of Education. Frayer said the focus is primarily on academics. If extracurricular activities such as sports want to expand, they have to do it on their own, as the district does not plan to add money to these budgets.

Greg Lattig, district athletic director of Mason High School, said 500 students at the high school play sports. He said the athletics department has had budget cuts of more than $100,000 over the past five years.

“We’ve cut coaching staff, lower-level programs, programs at the middle school, and some things have become self-funded,” said Lattig. “We’ve significantly reduced our equipment budget and eliminated two-way transportation.”
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New summer program to help students transition to high school

By Brian Bobal
Mason Times staff writer

Teaches Dean Thompson (left) and Jeremy Mills (right) discuss the Bridge Program at the April 21 school board meeting.

Teaches Dean Thompson (left) and Jeremy Mills (right) discuss the Bridge Program at the April 21 school board meeting.

This summer, a new academic program will start under the umbrella of Multi-Tiered Systems of Support called the Bridge Program. The program will help ease the transition for some students as they leave middle school and move up to high school.

Mason Public School Superintendent Mark Dillingham brought up the concept for the program.

“An outcome that I really wanted from the Bridge Program is for identified students to have a familiar face that they know, and can relate to at both the middle school and high school, while still being in 8th grade,” said Dillingham. “Also, I wanted these students to become familiar with the expectations of their new high school learning environment, and what better way than to spend a few weeks at the high school getting the lay of the land before school starts for their freshman year.” Continue reading

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High school students redeem selves with lunch credit recovery

By Beth Waldon
Mason Times staff writer

Mason High School has recently added a Multi-Tiered System of Supports to help improve students’ academic performance.

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Trustee Laura Cheney questions the teacher consultants.

Matthew Stuard, district administrator for academic success, said at the April 21 board meeting that school improvement committees were formed in September.

Dean Thompson, a math teacher at Mason High School and Jeremy Mills, an English teacher at Mason High School, who are also teacher consultants, attended the April 21 school board meeting with Stuard to present their progress and goals as they move forward with student improvement.

Some ways Mason High School has initiated student improvement is through:

  • a students of the month breakfast, where students are recognized for their outstanding performance,

  • the Bulldog Brilliance Help Lab, where members of the National Honors Society assist students who need additional help with school work,

  • a ACT test prep crash course, which prepares students for the ACT

,Stuard said that the Bulldog Brilliance Help Lab was planned in accordance to the late bus system, so students who take the bus home can still stay after school for extra help.

Thompson added that students have the option to grab frozen drinks from the cafeteria during the study time, so they are given an incentive to attend the help lab.

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Common Core means excitement, anxiety in schools

By Beth Waldon
Mason Times staff writer

Students in Mason Public Schools will be assessed based on the Common Core in the spring of 2015.

cc

The Common Core has been adopted by most states in the U.S.
http://www.corestandards.org/standards-in-your-state/

The state of Michigan adopted the Common Core in 2010. According to the Michigan Department of Education, the Common Core standards are state standards that provide a consistent set of career and college-readiness expectations for students across the country. Since then, Mason Public schools “have prepared and are continuing to prepare students based on the Common Core standards,” said Executive Director of Curriculum Chris Kamenski.

According to Kamenski, Mason Public Schools partnered with East Lansing Public Schools in January and started a process of rewriting the mathematics program so that it is compatible with the Common Core.

“We’re taking everyday math and we’re cutting it apart to line up with the common core,” Kamenski said. Kamenski added that now, currency is taught in kindergarten, but at that age, students are too young to fully grasp the concept. “Kindergarteners can understand what a quarter is, but counting money is too difficult,” Kamenski said. The school system decided to follow the common core and postpone the currency lesson until the second grade.

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