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Clarkston Community School District

From Superintendent Ryan: Our Students Know Where They're Going!

From Superintendent Ryan: Our Students Know Where They're Going!

Dear Clarkston Community Schools Families,

I often talk about the many opportunities we provide students to discover and explore passions within our schools, and if you have a child who recently completed a course scheduling card for junior high or high school, you know exactly how broad those opportunities can be.

Not only do we offer a range of "right fit" core academic classes and specialty academic programs (like advanced studies, CSMTech, and our own International Baccalaureate program), our students also can choose from dozens of arts, world languages, Career & Technical Education (CTE) and personal interest electives.

There is something for everyone in our schools.

If you happened to catch CHS junior Haley Phillips in the high school's musical production Hairspray or her subsequent performance for our Board of Education at a meeting a couple of weeks ago, you no doubt took note of her exceptional vocal talent. You might also assume (as I did) that Haley's singular passion is music.

There's a road we must travel. There's a promise we must make. But the riches will be plenty, worth the risk and chances we take.There's a dream in the future, there's a struggle that we have yet to win. Use that pride in our hearts to lift us up to tomorrow, 'cause just to sit still would be a sin. I know where I'm going, and I know where I've been. Hairspray

I had a chance to sit down with Haley last week, and she confirmed that yes, singing is a huge part of her life: Madrigals, Detroit Voice, Camp Acapella, school musicals, and more. Her early childhood days were spent serenading her family at the dinner table with a fork for a microphone! So I was surprised to also hear that she recently discovered a new interest that might prove to be life-changing for her. She explained that in the fall, she had been placed in her third alternate elective (yes, it happens)! The class was Student Link, in which students provide mentorship and peer-to-peer support for classmates with special needs in a variety of settings throughout the school day. In this class, Haley discovered a new interest and a new friend named Matt.

Haley went on to share that as a result of Student Link, she's now exploring special education as a future career for herself. When she filled out her course card for next year, she chose Student Link again and other classes that will help her develop this new passion, such as preschool practicum and parenting.

What's the takeaway from this story?

  1. You might, just might, get your third alternate elective, and you might like it.
  2. You're allowed to have more than one passion.
  3. It's never too late to discover a new interest or change course.

Our students' futures are unwritten, but new and promising pathways are illuminated in our schools every day. I can't wait to see what the future holds for Haley, and for each one of our students.


Shawn Ryan
Superintendent of Schools

About Clarkston Community Schools: Clarkston is a highly regarded school district with an enrollment of 7,500 students. We have seven elementary schools (K-5), one middle school serving grades 6-7, one junior high for grades 8-9, and Clarkston High School, which serves students in grades 10-12. We also have an Early Childhood Center serving children ages 3-5, and an alternative high school/community education facility. Each Clarkston Community Schools' student is fully engaged in a globally focused education, from preschool through graduation, that fosters in students a sense of self, perspective, responsibility/ownership, and contribution. The mission of Clarkston Community Schools is to cultivate thinkers, learners and positive contributors to a global society.

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Media Contact: Mary Ellen Rowe, Marketing Director (248) 623-5460.