Shiawassee Scholars Celebrates 15 Years

Celebrating 15 years

Tom and Bruce Cook stand with SRESD program administrators Denise Brady and Lisa Seigel

The Shiawassee Scholars program, a partnership between the Cook Family Foundation and the Shiawassee Regional Education Service District (SRESD), has cultivated the abilities of over 750 high school students on their path to college for 15 years now. Back in 1999, when the most recent Scholars were not even born, the Shiawassee Scholars program was launched to help academically talented students succeed in high school, gain admission to competitive colleges, and be best prepared for life.

Each year a group of approximately 50 eighth graders are identified as “high academic achievers” and invited to participate in the Shiawassee Scholars program. This provides a variety of support programs and activities to help the students better prepare for their pursuit of a college career. Students and their parents are invited to educational seminars throughout their high school years, the students are invited to tour a university campus, and each student may apply for a scholarship to pursue an academic/career interest such as a summer camp or advanced learning opportunity.

By identifying and recognizing academically talented students early, the Shiawassee Scholars program seeks to encourage students to continue to pursue academically challenging activities during their high school years. This unique program provides important opportunities beyond what their school or families may be able to offer. Several Shiawassee Scholars have gone on to prestigious colleges and have received significant merit-based scholarships to do so.

If you know a talented eighth grader, contact your middle school counselor or the SRESD for information on taking the SAT test this January, the results from which will be used to select Scholars.

If would like more information about Shiawassee Scholars, please visit the SRESD website or call 989-743-3471.

Give Locally on Giving Tuesday

GT_Eat_Sleep_GiveBlack Friday, Cyber Monday, and now Giving Tuesday.  As we start the holiday season, the tradition of making charitable gifts to worthy causes at the end of the year has gotten its own special day.  We are happy to see this attention to philanthropy, and we hope that you take the time today or tomorrow to make a gift to one of our local nonprofits.

The Cook Family Foundation has worked with a number of great organizations that serve the residents of Shiawassee County.  Many of these groups have participated in our Nonprofit Capacity Building Program to add to their expertise and effectiveness in carrying out their mission.  This should help increase your confidence that a donation to one of these nonprofits will be well used to meet local needs.

While there are other worthy causes in our community, as well as beyond Shiawassee County, we endorse these groups: the Arc Shiawassee CountyChild Abuse Prevention Council of Shiawassee County (CAP-Council), Curwood FestivalDeVries Nature ConservancyDurand Union Station, Inc.Friends of the Shiawassee RiverGirls on the Run Mid MichiganOwosso Community PlayersRespite Volunteers of Shiawassee, Shiawassee Arts CenterSafeCenter (formerly RAVE), Shiawassee Community Foundation, Shiawassee County Humane SocietyShiawassee Council on AgingShiawassee Family YShiawassee Regional Chamber of CommerceShiawassee United WaySteam Railroading Institute.

Most of these organizations now have the option to make donations online, but they would all welcome a check in the mail or an old-fashioned cash gift.  You can find a link to each of these organizations on our website (click here).  Then look for the “donate” button, or “become a member” tag, or go to the “about” section to find their mailing address.

Thank you for your support of our local nonprofits. And remember, if you miss Giving Tuesday, you can offer your donation, or your volunteer time, throughout the year.

Tech Talk Networking Begins December 17

As part of the NonProfit Capacity Building Program, Tech Talk networking will begin on December 17 at 10:30 am.  If you’d like to be a part of it and haven’t yet responded, reply to this post, or Tweet us @ShiaNPCB or @awolber

Personal learning: it’s a process by Andy Wolber

How do you manage what you see, save, search, and share?

You have a personal learning system. Read an article? Copy it. Hear something new at a workshop? Write it down. Need to know something? Google it. Want someone else to know? Share it online.


Your personal learning system includes all the tools you use to read, save, search, and share information.

Many people rely on an old technology to read and save information: paper. You might not think of paper as a technology, but it is. In China during the 2nd century BCE, people wrapped delicate objects with paper to prevent breakage — just as we do today. But by the 3rd century CE, writing on paper was common. It took around 500 years for people to adopt the behavior of writing things down.

Today, we use software to search and share in ways that paper can’t. Need to know something? These days, our first response might be to search or ask for help on a social network. Chances are good that useful resources already exist. Search tools and social networks help connect us to information — and more importantly — other people.

Plenty of tools handle these same tasks — reading, saving, searching, and sharing — for private information, as well. For example, a keyword search of your files might help you locate a document. Or an article might be shared privately with your colleagues, not posted publicly. In most cases, you choose whether to keep your information private or share it.

Mostly Digital Example

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Example of personal learning tools. Yours will be different. (That’s good.)

Here’s my personal learning system. I likely use a few more digital tools than some people, but this set works well for me. I follow more than 450 sites with Feedbin: when a new post appears at one of the sites I follow, it shows up in Feedbin. I follow about 1,000 people on Twitter, 150 people on Google+, and subscribe to 9 podcasts (audio shows), and 6 magazines. And I read the New York Times newspaper delivered to my driveway daily.

When I see something online that I want to read later, I save it with Instapaper. I bookmark websites I want to find again at Pinboard. I saves notes in either Evernote or Google Docs.

I search frequently to find items I’ve saved in Instapaper, Pinboard, Evernote or Google Apps. I also use Google’s advanced search options often. And I use the Chrome browser on all of my devices, so I can always search my browser history.

When I find something useful or interesting, I most often share it to Twitter or Google+. Every now and then I even email someone a link directly when I want to make certain they’ll see it.

TO DO  (before December 17, 2014)

Your system will look very different. You’re not me. Your history, job, and tool preferences will likely be different. That’s good. It will make our discussion of tools much more interesting!

Before we meet, I’d like you to identify the tools you use…

  • To see new information (read, watch, or hear),
  • To save information for later review or reference,
  • To search, and
  • To share with other people (publicly or privately).

It may help to think through a typical day. What do you read, watch or listen to? How do you learn what’s happening at work? How do you share that with your staff — or board members, volunteers, or friends? You might be surprised at the range of information sources and tools.

Put together your list, then bring it to the meeting ready to discuss with the group when we meet on December 17 at 10:30 am at the YMCA (515 W Main St, Owosso, MI 48867).

Be ready to discuss how the tools you use help you learn what you need to know or connect you to people that can help you.

Feel free to keep your list in digital form. No need to print anything. If you like, take a few minutes to illustrate your personal learning workflow. Share your workflow publicly wherever you’re active online, if you’re comfortable doing so.