canada africa partner reservation Michener Elementary Earth Day Statewide Poster Contest Winners

Michener Elementary Earth Day Statewide Poster Contest Winners


ADRIAN – There are several student success stories at Michener Elementary School in Adrian, so many that Principal Ann Lacasse couldn’t contain her excitement as she reflected on the number of positive events this school year when she addressed the Adrian Public Schools Board of Education in April.

Lacasse gave an overview of these students’ highlights when the school board held one of its April meetings at Michener’s media center.

The elementary school can lay claim to being one of the few elementary schools in Michigan with two winners of the statewide poster contest.

Second-grader Nevaeh Casarez and first-grader Joel Nieto earned top grades statewide for their posters submitted during April’s Earth Day celebrations.

The posters were created for an annual contest held each year by the Michigan Department of Environment, Great Lakes and Energy (EGLE). Special education teacher Darcie Anderson coordinates the schoolwide poster initiative at Michener, which resulted in 30 to 40 student-created posters reflecting the importance of Earth Day.

Employees review the posters and select the ones they want to submit to the state-level competition, Lacasse explained.

“I’m very proud of them,” Lacasse said of the students who took the poster project seriously and came up with creative designs. “… It gives me a fantastic feeling.”

Casarez’s poster reads: ‘Clean water for plants and animals’, and Nieto’s says: ‘Save our Earth. Keep the water clean.”

The posters, along with several others created by Michener’s students, are on display in one of the school’s main hallways.

Michener celebrates his achievements

The winning statewide posters are just one example of student achievement at Michener Elementary School, Lacasse said. Students put their STEM education (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) to work.

For example, kindergarten students take an academic trip each fall to nearby Carpenter Farms, where they can engage in pumpkin carving, paint or decorate the pumpkins, and count pumpkin seeds.

First graders, after spending the day at the zoo, use that experience as a writing assignment to help them form sentences and work on their grammar. Similarly, fourth-grade students visited the Imagination Station in Toledo.

A new Cooking Club, administered in partnership with Michigan State University Extension and Meijer, is available at Michener through a grant written by fourth-grade teacher Lora Wallich. Fourth and fifth graders enrolled in the club took eight cooking classes to help them prepare a meal that could feed a family of six. At the end of the lesson, students were allowed to take home a slow cooker or an air fryer.

“They have recipe cards and they know how to prepare the meals,” Lacasse said.

This year the Astronomy Club made solar-powered robots and launched rockets. Fourth-grade students were able to take a field trip to PlaneWave Instruments, manufacturer of Adrian telescopes, and learn about telescopes, space exploration and careers.

There are 13 to 14 different after-school clubs offered at the elementary school, Lacasse said.

“There is so much negative about education and we need to celebrate taking all the positive out of it,” she said. “My team – the teachers, the paraprofessionals, the office secretary, even the custodian – all guide our students throughout the day and take kids under their wings, and that’s because they are all so dedicated to education and to these students. ”

The available options provide enrichment

As part of Michener’s School Improvement Plan, the opportunities available to students are for enrichment purposes.

“Many of these opportunities are available to us through grants from the Adrian Schools Education Foundation,” Lacasse said.

Eighty-three students were assisted by supportive interventionists this year. Thirty-eight students are now involved in the primary school’s Fluency Friends reading program.

Special education is available at primary school. There are three academic interventionists located throughout the building, a mental health specialist, a success coach and a parent coordinator. Average referrals per day are trending downward, Lacasse said.

In March, reading month, students read more than 100,000 words.

“Our students have the opportunity to take music, art, gym, Spanish and technology classes each week,” Michener Elementary’s web page says. “Our highly qualified faculty and staff take pride in providing a safe, caring environment in which our students can learn and grow.”

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The primary school serves children from Young 5 through fifth grade. There is a Head Start program on site.

“We have so many students living in poverty; their parents are doing the best they can,” Lacasse said. “The majority of parents in this building work two jobs. They are doing their utmost to make ends meet and are still below the poverty line. It is important that my staff can provide these students with the enrichment that families may not be able to afford despite working so hard.”

— Contact reporter Brad Heineman at [email protected] or follow him on X, formerly Twitter: