Superintendent's Blog

  • Academically Related Curriculum (ARC)

    Posted by Adam Spina on 9/19/2019 5:05:00 PM

    WCS has strived to offer a wide variety of learning experiences for students at our elementary schools. Academically Related Curriculum (ARC) courses are an excellent representation of progressive and relevant programming that provide creative outlets for students, develop 21st Century Skill Sets, and enhance learning taking place in the core content areas.

    Kindergarten classes use scarves to explore patterns, rhythm, and counting concepts in music class:

    Elementary Music 2019

    Starting this year, the time allotted to  ARC classes at the elementary schools was increased to provide 50 minutes of instructional time per class, per day. The additional time will allow for more integration opportunities in the ARC classes which will deepen comprehension both in the ARC classrooms and in core academic subjects. Blended learning and arts integration are among the district's top instructional priorities.

    Students apply what they have learned about coding and circuitry to compose music during a lesson in the Elementary STEAM Lab:

    Elementary STEAM 2019

    Michigan currently only credits elementary schools on the state scorecard for offering music and physical education. Williamston offers music and two sections of Fit For Life (held in two different gymnasiums to take advantage of the unique spaces and materials available in each). We continue to believe that offering a diverse array of ARC classes is essential to achieving our educational goals and significantly beneficial in the academic development of our students, even though our expanded offerings are not reflected by the state on the overall evaluation that our elementary schools receive annually. Three years ago WCS added elementary Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, and Mathematics (STEAM) as an ARC class, and as noted previously, returned Spanish for all elementary students this year. 

    ARC classes at WCS are another example of the District executing its vision of providing Relevant, Educationally Progressive, and Evidence-Based learning opportunities for all students.

    I invite blog readers to review our ARC Brochure to learn more. It can be found on our website or by selecting the link here.

    Students use pedometers during Fit For Life class to track their activity levels. Later in the year, students will convert those data into different measures, applying what they learn in mathematics to assess the fitness benefits of various activities:

    Fit For Life 2019

    Fit For Life 2019

    Homecoming Parade Participation:

    Information on how to submit an application to enter a float and/or walk in the 2019 Homecoming Parade can be found here. The submission deadline is Friday, September 27. Additional information regarding Homecoming 2019 can be found on the Williamston High School website.

    State of the District Slide Deck:

    View the presentation for the 2019-2020 State of the District Presentation here.

    Community Awards Nominations:

    Select the link here to nominate a local business or community member for the 2019 Williamston Area Chamber of Commerce Community Awards.

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  • Community Awards Nominations

    Posted by Adam Spina on 9/12/2019 3:05:00 PM

    The Williamston Area Chamber of Commerce is now accepting nominations for the 2019 Community Awards. The annual event recognizes the success and contributions of the local business community as well as notable efforts by individuals who serve the Williamston area in a variety of capacities.  

    This year’s nomination process is entirely online and can be found on the Chamber’s website or by selecting the link hereThe easily navigated online form includes the criteria for each award. Completing the nomination process takes as little as a few moments, depending on the amount of detail included in the submission. Tickets to the awards dinner in November can also be found on the same page. 

    Among the awards is the Educator of the Year. The criteria for this recognition are:

    • Educator is held in high esteem by students, colleagues, and families
    • Educator currently teaches or has taught in the Williamston, Webberville, or Dansville Communities
    • Educator contributes to co-curricular activities and/or student-oriented events outside of the school day
    • Educator collaborates effectively with others to enhance district programming, instruction, facilities, transportation, or other essential services
    • Educator serves on school and/or district leadership teams or advisory committees
    • Educator is visible in the community and is an advocate for their district and public education

    Please consider nominating a deserving area educator as well as individuals and businesses from the many other awards categories. Award recipients will be selected by the members of the Williamston Area Chamber of Commerce. The deadline to complete a nomination is Monday, October 7, 2019.

    Chamber Awards Nominations and Banquet 2019

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  • WCS Receives Early Recognition

    Posted by Adam Spina on 9/5/2019 8:50:00 AM

    WCS has started the new school year earning recognition in publications providing early evaluations of Michigan public schools. The district was once again rated as one of Michigan’s best by Niche, earning an overall rating of an “A”. Williamston High School’s SAT results placed it among the top tier high schools in the state, posting a significant 16 point increase on the mathematics portion of the state assessment and an 18 point increase overall. 

    Niche Best Schools 2020

    A reminder of the 2019 State of the District presentation that will be held on Thursday, September 12 at 6:00 pm in the Discovery Elementary Media Center. The event is hosted by the Elementary PTSA and will be followed by their first meeting of the year. I will share an update on WCS and address questions from attendees.

    State of the District 2019

     

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  • The First Week of School

    Posted by Adam Spina on 8/29/2019 7:35:00 AM

    The energy level throughout the district has certainly amped up. Engaging classroom lessons, birthday celebrations, athletic events... it is wonderful to have our students back! I am very much thankful for the careful planning of our building leaders and the detail-oriented preparation of our teachers and support staff in making this week a success. We also greatly appreciate the support of our many volunteers who helped some of our youngest students navigate their way off buses or into new classrooms. As always, our outstanding police department actively maintained a safe environment in and around our buildings. All the pieces came together and we are off to a great start! 

    Every school year brings forth tremendous successes, new lessons learned, and the opportunity for improvement. As a district, and as a community, we will continue to overcome obstacles and support the dreams and goals of all our children. This collective ideal is what makes Williamston such a special place, and I have high expectations for what can be achieved this year.    

    Wishing our community a safe and enjoyable Labor Day holiday.

    First Day of School 2019-2020

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  • Welcoming the 2019 - 2020 School Year

    Posted by Adam Spina on 8/23/2019 7:35:00 AM

    August 2019 District Podcast:

    The August District Podcast can be listened to here.

    The Podcast can also be accessed at the following links:

    __________________________________

    Welcoming the 2019 - 2020 School Year

    Monday, August 26, marks the first day of classes for the 2019-2020 school year. After a summer full of preparation, I look forward to opening our doors to a year full of potential. See photos from Opening Day 2019 here.


    New Williamston High School Commons and Secure Main High School Entrance:

    WHS Commons

    We welcome an outstanding cohort of talented new staff members to WCS. This includes fifteen (15) new teachers as well as adding an additional school social worker at the high school. Furthermore, veteran educators in the District have assumed new roles. Ms. Deb LaFleur now serves as Assistant Principal at Williamston High School and Ms. Erika Williams assumes the responsibilities of secondary instructional coach. Our new team members join a world-class team of dedicated professionals who have firmly established WCS as a premier educational organization. 

    New Professional Staff at WCS, 2019-2020:

    New WCS Professional Staff, 2019

    From left to right: 

    Mr. Mario Bravo, Intervention Paraprofessional, WHS; Ms. Kelsey Johnson, Teacher, WMS; Ms. Lisa Dean, Teacher, WHS; Ms. Renee Heidi, Teacher, Explorer Elementary; Ms. Libbey Jones, Teacher, Explorer Elementary; Ms. Annah Brummitt, Teacher, Discovery Elementary; Ms. Molly Stump, Teacher, WMS; Ms. Sarah Choate, Teacher, Explorer Elementary; Ms. Micki Magee, Librarian, Elementary Campus; Ms. Claire Cook, Teacher, Discovery Elementary; Ms. Maribeth Attard, Teacher, WHS; Ms. Christy Reynolds, Associate Teacher, Little Hornets Preschool; Ms. Megan O’Donovan, Teacher, WHS; Ms. Jill Fuller, Teacher, Elementary Campus; Ms. Lily Sturock, Assistant Teacher, Little Hornets Preschool; Ms. Darci Steele, Assistant Teacher, Little Hornets Preschool; Ms. Meghann Carr, Teacher, Elementary Campus; Ms. Gretta Delaney, Special Education Paraprofessional, Explorer Elementary; Ms. Kortney Smith, Teacher, Discovery Elementary; Ms. Kayla Walker, Teacher, WMS; Ms. Michelle Windom, School Social Worker, Explorer Elementary; Ms. Caitlin Wilcox, School Social Worker, WHS; Ms. Kara Nussbaum, Teacher, Discovery Elementary; Ms. Ashley Simpkins, Teacher, Little Hornets Preschool; Ms. Caitlin Griffes, Speech Pathologist

    Our core goals remain consistent even as the strategies to implement them evolve with new research. While our expectations are ambitious, we remain centered on our vision to maintain a relevant, progressive, and evidence-based district. Williamston enjoys a well-deserved reputation as a leader in implementing best practices. This year will be no exception.

    Education Excellence Award 2019

    As communicated throughout last year, we are focused on the many aspects of our Positive Behavioral Intervention and Supports (PBIS) philosophy. Examples included adding programming such as Second Step at the lower elementary and Be Nice at our secondary schools. The foundations for student support strategies such as restorative justice were also established. Throughout 2019-2020 we will continue to provide professional development for our staff in order to deepen our understanding of the impact and causes of student trauma as we become more collectively skilled in supporting Social-Emotional Learning (SEL). It is my strong belief that as we better address the very real issues of depression, anxiety, and trauma with our students, academic outcomes will reach even more impressive levels while simultaneously improving the overall safety of our schools. Additional details of the educational goals for the District can be found within our District Improvement Plan. The plan is posted under the “Our District” tab on the WCS Homepage or by selecting the link here.

    Best US High Schools 2019

    At the building level, schools are continuing to implement evidence-based initiatives. Williamston High School will enhance curricular alignment to state standards and begin work on developing standardized grading practices. Williamston Middle School will pioneer new ways to integrate Google Classroom into instruction and parent communication while also piloting a new English Language Arts curriculum. Explorer and Discovery will maintain a focus on providing timely and effective intervention and enrichment in the areas of literacy and mathematics. The School Improvement Plan for each building can be found under the “Academics” tab on their respective websites.

    Niche Best School District 2019 GreatSchools.org College Success Award 2019

    It is a profound honor to lead such an incredible school district and hold a platform that allows the opportunity to make a positive difference in the Williamston community. Thank you for your trust and support. Let’s make this a great year!

    Go Hornets!   

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  • Recognizing Our Maintenance, Custodial, and Technology Departments

    Posted by Adam Spina on 8/15/2019 4:05:00 PM

    As students and instructional staff begin to return, it is important to recognize and thank those who have set the foundation for an outstanding year of school. As always, our maintenance, custodial, and technology teams have gone above and beyond to ensure all district facilities are in pristine condition. The amount of quality work accomplished by so few in a very limited amount of time is admirable. Every surface has been cleaned or reconditioned. The grounds and athletic facilities have been kept in optimal condition and numerous renovations were completed throughout the District. Whole computer labs were replaced and network capabilities upgraded. I could not be more proud of our team and all that they do to set up our staff and students for success. Please join me in thanking the members of these departments for their dedication to our district and our community, both now and throughout the school year. 

    Custodial and Maintenance Teams Remove Carpet from the Choir Room at Williamston Middle School:

    Carpet Removal at WMS

    Trees Trimmed at the District Storage Facility (and throughout the district over the summer):

    Tree Trimming

    New steel core classroom doors are painted at the Little Hornets Preschool and Explorer Elementary:

    Door Painting at Explorer

    Buses #8 and #9 were added to the fleet in August. Over 50% of the bus fleet has been replaced by new vehicles in the past three years.

    New Buses: #8 and #9

    Repainted Cafeteria at Williamston Middle School:

    Repainted Cafeteria at WMS

    The support of volunteers over the summer is always greatly appreciated! Girl scouts from Cadette Troop 30542 plant flowers outside the Administrative Offices:

    Girl Scouts Planting Flowers at Central Office

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  • Spanish Language Class Returns to Elementary Schools

    Posted by Adam Spina on 8/8/2019 1:50:00 PM

    Elementary Spanish was removed from the Academic Related Curriculum (ARC) rotation two years ago after a lengthy study on how to incorporate a Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, and Mathematics (STEAM) opportunity at the elementary campus. One of the reasons Spanish was selected for omission from the rotation was a lack of connectivity to language electives at the middle school. In previous years, students at WMS were not able to enroll in Spanish until 8th-grade, creating a two-year gap between their elementary and secondary learning experiences. At the time, it was stated that if future enrollment and curricular variables worked out favorably, Spanish might return to the district’s elementary schools.

    With the recent surge in enrollment at WCS, which is projected to continue into the 2019-2020 school year, I am pleased to announce that Spanish will again be offered as an ARC class at Explorer and Discovery Elementary Schools. The remainder of the elementary ARC rotation will include two (2) sections of Fit for Life, visual arts, music, and the elementary STEAM class, winner of the 2019 SET SEG & M.A.S.B. Education Excellence Award. 

    Furthermore, Williamston Middle School will be offering a 6/7th grade Spanish elective for students interested in furthering their study of Spanish and/or preparing to take Spanish for high school credit in 8th-grade.

    Pictured below, the middle school Spanish room was renovated this summer to include new paint, carpet, and interactive instructional technology.

    WMS Spanish Classroom Renovation

    WMS Spanish Classroom Renovations

    Estamos deseando mostrarles nuestras clases de español, así como otras renovaciones en instalaciones y actualizaciones del currículo durante nuestra jornada de puertas abiertas del miércoles 21 de agosto.

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  • Coffee and Conversation Dates, Open Houses, and National Night Out

    Posted by Adam Spina on 8/2/2019 7:05:00 AM

    Coffee and Conversation evenings are held periodically throughout the school year. The events provide an informal opportunity for community members to find out more information about the school district and chat with me about a variety of topics related to public education. As in previous years, Coffee and Conversation evenings will be hosted by Williamston Biggby Coffee. Attendees will receive a BOGO (buy one get one) discount, so feel free to bring a friend! Just let the staff know you are there to meet with me. More evenings might be added throughout the school year and will be posted to the district calendar. 

    Initial Coffee and Conversation Dates:

    Tuesday, August 20. 5:00 - 6:30 pm

    Tuesday, December 3. 9:00 - 10:30 am

    Tuesday, March 3. 5:00 - 6:30 pm

     

    Open Houses:

    We are in the stretch run of preparing the buildings for the first day of school. Our custodial, maintenance, and technology departments have done a superb job of preparing the grounds and buildings for when students and instructional staff return this month. We look forward to showcasing our facilities and welcoming parents and students to the 2019-2020 school year at our open house events on Wednesday, August 21. The times for the individual buildings are listed below.

     

    Discovery Elementary Open House: 4:30 - 5:30 pm

    Explorer Elementary Open House: 4:30 - 5:30 pm

    Williamston Middle School Open House: 5:30 - 6:30 pm

    Williamston High School Open House: 6:30 - 7:30 pm

     

    National Night Out:

    Stop by and visit us at National Night Out on Tuesday, August 6. Both WCS and Kids’ Corner & Little Hornets will have tables and activities at the event.

    National Night Out 2019

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  • New Facility Reservation System

    Posted by Adam Spina on 7/18/2019 1:15:00 PM

    The Enrichment Department has launched a new reservation system for district facilities. The new online system offers a sortable listing of available district spaces as well as an expandable menu option listed by facility. The new calendar system allows users to preview dates for a particular space to determine if it is currently available. Additionally, the maximum capacity, rentable hours, photos, a map, and rental rules are listed for each space. Fees, if applicable, are listed on the site as well or by referencing Board Policy 9250-R. Finally, once a reservation request has been made online, a response email will be generated either confirming or declining the request. This new feature will enhance communication and ensure the status of requests are known in a timely manner.

    Reservations made before July 1, 2019 have been migrated into the new site, there is no need to make an additional reservation if a confirmation notice has already been received. 

    The Enrichment Department supports hundreds of unique facility requests each year and manages a wide variety of long-term reservations, district events, and enrichment opportunities. We encourage community members and local businesses to utilize district spaces and learn more about the programs and partnership opportunities offered by the Enrichment Department. Whether you are interested in obtaining a CPR certification, yoga, aquatic events, or special events for children, the Enrichment Department offers something for everyone. A listing of current opportunities can be found here. Bookmark the website or stop by the Enrichment Office located inside the fitness center entrance at Williamston High School to stay updated on new events and activities each season.

    Refinished Playing Surface in the WHS Performance Gym:

    New Performance Gym Floor

    New Performance Gym Floor at WHS

    Little Hornets Preschool Enrollment:

    Little Hornets Preschool Enrollment Information

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  • Summer Safety Projects

    Posted by Adam Spina on 6/26/2019 7:35:00 AM

    As noted in my most recent blog, the district invested heavily in multiple facets of school safety throughout the 2018-2019 school year. This summer we will focus on additional physical security enhancements. The projects are funded by the district sinking fund and the Michigan State Police School Safety Grant that WCS was awarded this past winter. Although timelines are subject to unforeseen circumstances (and in our case, almost non-stop rain), below is a listing of the safety projects that will be completed before school begins in August or shortly thereafter. 


    Secure High School Entrance: Includes an entrance vestibule directly connected to the main office, canopy, and signage. See more details about the project here.

    WHS Secure Entrance Project, 2019

    Proximity Key Card Entrance System: Includes a WIFI integrated, programmable entrance control system for all district schools. The locking systems on select interior doors will also be upgraded.

    Proximity Key Card Readers

    Additional Summer 2019 Physical Security Projects:

    • Automated emergency alert system at Williamston Middle School
    • Installation of additional high definition security cameras
    • New steel core classroom doors at the preschool and Explorer Elementary
    • Door barrier upgrade pilot at Discovery Elementary
    • Addition of safety film on glass building access points. Safety film being applied to the main entrance at Williamston Middle School:

    Security Film Installation, 2019

    View the WCS Goals for improving the safety and security of district schools and facilities here.

    Report safety concerns anonymously with Ok 2 Say.

    Updated 2019-2020 Calendar (as of June 24):

    Download the updated one-page summary of the 2019-2020 district calendar here. The updates are to the times for spring conferences at the middle school and high school. The calendar on the district website reflects the new secondary spring conference times as well.

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Executive Assistant

Mrs. Janet Eidt

Phone: (517) 655-4361

Email:

Degrees and Certifications:

Mrs. Janet Eidt