Points of Pride

Dodge Earns High Marks from Caro Students

Pete Newman, Superintendent

If you’re smart, and if you’re paying attention, when you hear the same thing over and over again from a variety of students, you better check it out and investigate.  One of the things that I keep hearing is how much students absolutely dig and adore Mr. D (Dodge).  And Mr. Dodge is a Social Studies teacher!!!  As a Social Science minor myself, I feel like this is definitely a win for the home team.

A proud Caro graduate, Mr. Dodge has spent his entire career in the district where he was raised; first as a teacher in the Alternative Education program, then as a Special Education teacher, until finally landing his dream post as a member of the High School Social Studies Department. 

Mr. Dodge isn’t just a great history and social studies teacher, he also sponsors The Key Club; a group with altruistic goals and charitable initiatives.  When the previous sponsor moved on and took a position in another district, it was Mr. Dodge who the kids wanted leading this very important organization.  Oh, and in his spare time, he is the coach of the History Team that annual competes in the Academic Games at Saginaw Valley State.  About time you started pulling your weight around here Mr. Dodge. ; )

“I knew I loved history, I just didn’t know what I wanted to do with it,” Dodge openly reminisced about why he became a teacher.  “I also liked working with kids, so teaching was basically the perfect match.”  And are we ever thankful he made that choice.  Mr. Dodge is often asked by his kids what he would have done had he not gone into teaching (All the great ones are asked that question).  His response is always the same: he proudly tells kids that he almost became a postal worker.  There’s no doubt he would have been great at that too.

Mr. Dodge has evolved over his 22-year career.  “I’ve gotten better at relating to the kids.  I’m usually pretty reserved (and not very vocal) around other adults and at staff meetings.  But with kids, I don’t hold back.  I view it as a kind of performance to keep the kids engaged.  That’s my job.”

A proud Caro graduate, Mr. Dodge has spent his entire 22-year career with Caro Community Schools.

This has undoubtedly been the toughest year many of us have ever faced as educators.  When asked what this year has taught him, Mr. Dodge replied, “I appreciate the way things were before.  It’s been stressful.  I always put a lot of time in, but this year feels like it’s been 24/7.  Everything has to be double-checked, and there’s significantly more planning involved.  It’ll be nice when we can finally get back to that point when everyone is back.” 

Fortunately for the students at Caro, Mr. Dodge has no desire to leave the classroom anytime soon.  He’s had his opportunities and earned his Master’s Degree, but he’s not done teaching yet.  “Maybe after I get thirty (30) years in, I’ll make that jump [to administration].” 

For now, we should all be grateful that he still has more of that Socratic magic left in his tank. 

For those who are looking to enter the educational field, Mr. Dodge has some straightforward advice: “It’s a great job.  When things get back to normal, it’s a really great job.  If you get into the subject area you want and you love establishing relationships with kids, then you should definitely go for it.” 

Mr. Dodge praised his students and explained why they make Caro such a special place to work and learn.  “The kids are really good-natured.  They’ve got good hearts.  They don’t just care about how they do, but they care about how everyone else does too.  They’ve got a lot of pride.”

Well Mr. Dodge, Caro is incredibly proud of YOU.  Thank you for your incredible commitment to your kids and to this community.

This is certainly well-deserved recognition and praise from the ones who matter most.

Ms. Amy Hammer, Caro High teacher, was named to the Teacher Advisory Group of Holocaust Education in Michigan - in conjunction with the Holocaust Memorial Center. 

The group's objectives are:

1.  Work with the Holocaust Memorial Center to brainstorm and recommend new educational programs and resources that teachers need or want.

2.  Evaluate current and proposed Holocaust Memorial Center educational programming to ensure it meets the teacher, school and/or district curricular goals and standards.

3.  Work with the Holocaust Memorial Center to develop new classroom instructional resources for teaching the Holocaust.

4.  Advocate for Holocaust Memorial Center educational programming and resources.

Ms. Hammer also teaches an elective Social Studies course called History of the Holocaust at CHS.


Employees of the Month

I would like to nominate the Food Service staff of Caro Schools for the honor and title of “Employees of the Month”.

Staff members include Donna Connolly, Brenda Sommerville, Jackie Hall, Mark Torma, Donald Lawrie, Amanda Schmidt, Alice Breitbach, Lynne Petiprin, Faith Barringer, Deb Clinesmith, Kathleen Kohen, Amanda Daisy, Sheri Beckrow, Marsha Miller, Robin Marlow, Kathy Imker and Paul Hillacker.

When the pandemic hit our country in March, 2020 and the school system was shut down, my Food Service staff jumped in with no questions asked, no hesitation, to provide meals to all of our Caro School students.  We gathered as many food items from each school kitchen to pack, we brainstormed to create an amazing plan to distribute as many meals as possible to the children, and we proceeded to accomplish the unimaginable feat of providing over 150,000 meals to our children.  They worked long hard hours each day with all the unknown around us. 

When school started in August, the schools were operating very differently than usual with the 2-1-2 and virtual learning options but once again my staff jumped in with ideas and enthusiasm as to how to make our part of a school day as close to normal for our students as possible.  They looked for creative ways to bring excitement to the students through their meals.  In November when the schools were shut down again, they did not hesitate the change, they have learned to master being adaptable to any situation that comes our way.  We immediately went back to packing and distributing meals for all the children, again with no hesitation.  We even added a mobile food distribution site that is operated by my staff.  

During this shutdown, not only is my staff working hard to feed the children, they are working on painting their kitchens/cafeterias to make our school even more wonderful.  I have an AMAZING staff that goes above and beyond everyday not only for the school, for each other as a team, but ESPECIALLY for the children.  I am proud to be part of the Food Service staff, but more than that I am VERY proud to be part of their TEAM.

Thank you,

Janet Weijola, FSD

Caro Schools

CCS Recognizes Jared Bush and Matt Cooper as November's Employees of the Month

November's Employee of the Month is the team of Jared Bush and Matt Cooper.  Not only do both of these men keep our bus fleet in excellent running condition, they also maintain Akron-Fairgrove and the Tuscola County Intermediate Schools' buses.  The annual Michigan State Police Inspection is a stressful time for Jared and Matt but they manage to successfully pass each year.  Matt and Jared are school bus drivers as well. Jared drives 29A, the Squirrel bus, in the A.M. and P.M. and Matt drives 20A, the Horse bus, in the P.M.

Both men are a great asset to the Transportation Team as a whole.  With their support and commitment the Transportation Department runs as it should.  Jared Bush, of Bush Family Farms, also donates the pumpkins to our students each year for the Pumpkin Festival pumpkin decorating.  What a huge and generous undertaking that is of his family.  Matt Cooper is always helping others in one way or another.  Thank you both for all the tireless hours and hard work you put into our district.

Pictured, left to right:  Jared Bush and Matt Cooper

Jared Bush

This month we recognized Pete Sayers, one of our dedicated school bus drivers. Pete was acknowledged by another district staff member for being especially thoughtful and chivalrous. Pete spent extra personal time to ensure the safety of the staff member, a stranger to him, but nonetheless took care in seeing she was not left alone in the late hours of the evening. It is things such as this that make Pete such a pleasure to have here at Caro Schools. Pete drives the Elephant bus, so please wave to him if you have the opportunity.

This month, May 2020, we’d like to express a BIG THANK YOU to the continued community support being shown.  The parents and students that meet the buses are still giving gifts and showing their support and excitement to receive their meals and to see the school bus and staff. The community as a whole continues to boost up morale. Mrs. Schriber has been making masks for everyone. She even will refit it so we are comfortable while wearing them. The Oven donated pizza to feed food service staff, Mayor Joe Green of Caro brought in donuts for the bus drivers, paraprofessionals and food service staff. NorthStar Bank manager Joe Turner hand delivered gift cards to the staff that are working in support of the community effort. They donated 70 gift cards to show their support for our staff. These generous offerings are so heart-warming and keep our labor of love so rewarding.

This month, April 2020, we recognize the many employees who tirelessly contribute their time and display their commitment, not only to the District but to every student and child that lives in our community. The many smiling faces and helping hands make it possible to put a plan, an uncertain vision into motion with expert ease. The meal preparation by Food Service staff is very time consuming. Those folks spend many hours planning and preparing nutritious meals our students are anxiously waiting for. They are taking every precaution to keep a safe and healthy work site to protect coworkers, students and their families. The available paraprofessionals and secretaries are rocking it on the roads. The level of enthusiasm brought in each day is refreshing in this time of uncertainty. They come in daily ready to work and get our children fed. The care and heart shown in this effort is nothing less than love for our community. The school bus drivers know the kids on their routes are making sure each day that they continue to be that first smile and good morning face these kids are accustomed to seeing every day. Their bond is a unique one built on the sense of safety and concern shared every single time they enter a school bus. The crew it takes to pull off this huge effort of support in a time of unknowns is comprised of some of the most outstanding employees any employer could have asked for!  We have become more....we are friends! We are Caro, we can, and we continue to do!     

CCS Recognize Dale Swanson As March Employee of the Month

Dale Swanson is the newest member of our district custodial staff. Although it has been a short period of time that Dale has been with us, he has made a long lasting impressions on those he works with and around. The teachers Dale works with have expressed their complete satisfaction and relief that Dale is working so well with them. Dale willingly demonstrated his talents with the skillful construction and redesign of the nurses station at Schall School. Not only is his quality of work recognized but also his personable, helpful, and considerate personality. Thank you Dale, for turning up your sleeves and committing to the "behind-the-scenes" care, safety, and security of our school district. 

Mike has been a Caro School bus driver since 2014. In the time that he has been with the district he has been extremely conscientious in his duties. Mike goes the extra mile for the students that ride his bus. He will take a backpack all the way across town to a student that forgot it on the bus if he feels that student needs it right away. He communicates with the parents of his riders keeping them informed of student behavior and activity on the bus. Due to his diligence he has very few negative behaviors to report. His bus is also the best kept in the fleet! Thank you Mr. Mike, for going above and beyond, and supporting all programs necessary for developmental support to your riders of all ages!

Mike Kubiak