The Geisler Chronicles
Welcome to the 2019-2020 school year!
To read articles from the last school year, please click on "Past Issues" at the top of the page.
Catching Up with Mr. Gutman
By: Sarah Palushi & Bryce Zachariah
As you know, it’s winter, and that means snow days, so who better to interview about them than the man himself, Mr. Gutman, Superintendent of Walled Lake Schools! But before we get into that, here is a little about him if you didn’t already know.
First off, Mr. Gutman had always wanted to be a superintendent, which this is the tenth year he has worked in Walled Lake in that role, along with in many other districts too. He also wanted to be a hockey player, but that didn’t work out (his favorite hockey team is the Detroit Red Wings, by the way). His dad worked in the education field for 40 years, which allowed him to see teaching first hand from another perspective and really gave him that push. His favorite subject to teach is English while he loves to learn all different kinds of things. He used to be fluent in Spanish when he taught it, and briefly taught Arabic, Japanese, Russian, and German. Mr. Gutman also enjoys the performing arts, and so does his family. One of his kids is in band, and another is in orchestra at their schools.
We also asked Mr. Gutman all about snow days and here is what he had to say:
Why do we have snow days?
- Snow days are called when the conditions aren’t safe for students to get to schools. There is a lot of consideration that goes into calling snow days, as there are a variety of different weather conditions in different areas of this large, 55-square mile district.
What’s your favorite snow day activity?
- Mr. Gutman typically still has to go into work on snow days, but when he doesn’t go in to work, he usually binges different shows on Netflix and spends time with his family. He does enjoy being able to dress more casual on snow days though.
Do you like snow days?
- He says he does not necessarily like snow days because either way he likes to work and has to work, like all of us at Geisler. Mr. Gutman does receive a lot of mixed opinions and calls from parents and students when school is, and isn’t cancelled. Many parents wonder why we have a snow day on a given day, while many students wonder why we don’t.
What’s your opinion on your Twitter’s popularity and Twitter responses?
- He likes reading responses to his tweets, but some students have gotten in trouble because of their negative comments on his Twitter page. In those circumstances, he has had to block certain people from following him, and he has personally met with the person in question. He doesn’t do it to get the student in trouble, but more of a life lesson about communications. That’s why we should be careful on social media, as there’s no way of truly remaining anonymous.
Who are your meteorologists and what is the process of picking them?
- While Mr. Gutman is not allowed to reveal who exactly his meteorologist is, he and a bunch of other superintendents from around the area decide on who it’ll be.
What are snow day factors?
- Despite what many may think, the amount of snow we get is not the sole factor for if we have a school day. Other factors include any ice, when the snow exactly fell, road conditions, and if the road crew can clear them in time for buses. Even though a few inches of snow may fall, if the roads can be cleared in time then we will still have school. There is not really a minimum for how much snow falls that determines if a snow day will be called.
Why and/or when do we make up snow days?
- Snow days are made up when we go over our limit for the yearly amount. If the governor doesn’t excuse them, then we either have to shorten our breaks or add on days to the year to make them up. The state typically only gives us 5-6 snow days per school year, out of our required 180 days of school.
Who helps you decide whether or not we have a snow day?
- Mr. Gutman discusses with other area superintendents and the meteorologist about the conditions, along with people who drive our area roads. He then consults with the Director of Operations and the Director of Transportation to determine if the conditions are safe enough for students to get to/ school here in Walled Lake. We don’t follow any other school districts when we decide to close.
Have you ever cancelled a snow day?
- No, but he has called a risky snow day where at 4am it was predicted to snow and nothing had fallen. But luckily it snowed quite a bit, but if not, it would’ve been a beautiful day off school.
Do your kids like snow days?
- Mr. Gutman’s kids also enjoy snow days. His son, who’s a senior at a high school out of our district, is sometimes asked by his teachers, whose kids attend Walled Lake, if he is leaning one way or another.
Check out our cover story from our past issues from the 2019-2020 school year below!
Congratulations, Ms. Schippa!
By: Manjari Bhat
In case you have not heard, Ms. Schippa has been named Geisler Middle School’s 2019-2020 Teacher of the Year. In addition to this amazing honor, she is also a current nominee for the district Middle School Teacher of the Year! We are so proud of you!
Ms.Schippa has been teaching for about 25 years and all of those at Walled Lake Schools. In her beginning years of teaching, she taught at Walled Lake Elementary School and then moved on to Geisler Middle School (then called Walled Lake Middle School). She is certified to teach both Science and Social Studies and loves them both. She enjoys teaching and learning from the students; she’s a forever learner. Looking back at her childhood years, Ms. Schippa realized she had always had the drive to be a teacher.
8th grader Sarah Palushi states that: “Ms. Schippa was always making science class a fun learning environment, and I’m glad I could have her as a teacher. I’m not surprised that she’s teacher of the year! Great job, you deserve it!” 7th grader Dylan Waldman says that: “I’m happy for her!”
In an interview, Ms. Schippa stated that she felt overwhelmed, a good feeling, with being nominated for Teacher of the Year out of all the other great teachers in the district. When asked where she sees herself ten years later, she said still teaching at Geisler. She loves the community and the Geisler Way here; it’s the only reason she continues to teach. She thinks other adults should learn from our behavior. Congratulations once again Ms. Schippa, you truly deserve it!
8th Graders Travel to Washington, D.C.
By: Sarah Palushi
Just a few weeks ago, our GMS 8th graders went on the annual class trip to our nation’s capital. Some of the activities the students took part in included visiting Arlington National Cemetery*, L'Enfant Plaza, the African-American History Museum, The White House, the Spirit of Mt. Vernon cruise, the Newseum, a tour of the U.S Capital, the Holocaust Museum, the WWII memorial, Vietnam Memorial, Lincoln Memorial, Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial, National Archives, Smithsonian Museums, Mt. Vernon and George Washington’s Mansion, the Pentagon Mall, and a ghost tour through the city of Alexandria. The eight graders enjoyed it. Here’s some of their opinions on it:
Sarah K.- Very fun! It was tiring, but worth it.
Isabelle K.- Fun and it needed to be longer!
Kyra W.- Fun and educational!
Suzy Ann P.- Fun and interesting!
Personally, my favorite part was either the memorials or any of the museums. It was so cool to learn all about our nation’s history, and learn all about what DC had to offer (it was especially cool to see the Newseum, as it was a cool opportunity to see news from all over the globe!).
*Also, here’s an honorary mention of our eight graders Olivia Cortez. Isaac Martin, Brooke Piggot, and Connor White. They were selected to lay the wreath at the Tomb of The Unknown Soldier, based on their essays written on why they deserve this opportunity. Great job guys! You’ve made Geisler proud!