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Thumbs Up for Sanilac County

“Success by the laws of competition signifies a victory over others by obtaining the direction and profits of their work. This is the real source of all great riches.” – John Ruskin, author

When competition is of the academic variety, the preparation and profit are academic excellence and school pride. For 24 years, Sanilac County Intermediate School District (ISD) has challenged students in its seven school districts to push themselves to new heights through its annual Academic Games.

Started in 1985, the competition challenges high school students and their coaches to prepare in four academic areas: science, mathematics, social studies, and language arts. Teams then square at St. Clair County Community College’s Port Huron campus with college instructors serving as judges. The winning school is based on the points accumulated in the four areas by the participating teams.

The Academic Games encourage teamwork and active learning, building the students’ analytical abilities and simulating test preparation prior to the competition. It also serves as a source of pride for Sanilac County ISD’s districts, who recognize their students’ achievements and participation.

Marlette Community Schools captured the Traveling Trophy for top honors during the event’s first three years. Students from Sandusky Community Schools have won the competition 16 times, including a winning streak that lasted from 1996 to 2007.

The 24th annual Raymond T. Dunbar Jr. Sanilac County Academic Games took place on January 26, with Marlette high school students claiming the traveling trophy for the second year in a row. The event was organized by Sanilac County ISD Career Tech Preparation Director Deborah Wild and ISD Community Outreach Coordinator Jill Western.

Sanilac Career Center

While its Academic Games foster teamwork and competitive spirit, Sanilac County ISD’s Sanilac Career Center (SCC) aims to provide “Real Learning for Real Life.”

SCC offers 12 career-focused programs that provide students with hands-on experience, learning from expert faculty with years of professional experience. Upon successful completion, most programs provide advance placement and/or college credit towards a degree at a partner college or university, such as Ferris State University, Davenport University, or Baker College.

The Sanilac Career Center’s facilities and equipment that are similar to those used in industry and professional settings. Auto Service students use professional equipment for repairing brakes, electrical systems, and steering suspension. Culinary Arts Management students can get a hands-on education in SCC’s professional kitchen and banquet facility. Students in the Network Administration and AP Computer program can practice installing Cisco switches and routers or gain experience with JAVA or SQL database programming. Sanilac County ISD and Sanilac Career Center have high-speed connections to Merit’s backbone network and access to Internet2.

SCC also gives students real-world experience and career exploration opportunities at area employers. The Health Occupations program supplements classroom work with field trips, job shadowing, and internships at health care organizations, while second-year construction program students can perform internships with area construction companies.

Teacher Development

In addition to preparing students for future careers, Sanilac Career Center offers training programs to teachers in Sanilac County.

Sanilac County ISD recently hosted its Secondary Teacher Leader Workshops for math, science, social studies and English language arts teachers. Each leadership session provided educators with opportunities to exchange best practices and learn new methods to better prepare students.

Math teachers who taught Algebra I met to share their best lessons, exchange strategies for teaching Algebra, and to brainstorm new methods. Social studies teachers focused on improving students’ note-taking skills.

Science teachers discussed strategies to prepare students for the science sections of the MERIT exam and the ACT test, while English Language Arts teachers focused on ways to prepare their students for the English portions of those tests.

The leadership workshops are among the many professional development opportunities that Sanilac County ISD has provided educators in the area. Other recent programs have included training teachers to help students read multisyllabic words, implementing the Personal Curriculum requirements, and nonviolent crisis intervention.

More About Sanilac County ISD

Sanilac County Intermediate School District is located in Peck, Michigan. The regional education service agency provides academic programs and services to the school districts in Sanilac County: Brown City Community Schools, Carsonville-Port Sanilac School District, Croswell-Lexington Community Schools, Deckerville Community Schools, Peck Community Schools, Sandusky Community Schools, and Marlette Community Schools.

Sanilac County ISD has been a Member of Merit Network since 1995. They have been an Internet2 participant since December 2002. Sanilac County ISD is connected through Merit’s network access point (NAP) at St. Clair County RESA.