Superintendent's Blog

  • We Made It!

    Posted by Adam Spina on 6/9/2021 4:47:00 PM

    Last August I was stationed in Southern California, extremely frustrated I could not be here during what was certainly one of the most trying periods in the history of our District. Fast forward to this past Sunday. I had the privilege of congratulating 148 Seniors at their graduation ceremony on a beautiful Sunday afternoon back home in Williamston. What a wild ride it has been.  

    As we conclude this most challenging year of school for our students, parents, and staff, we can be assured that collectively we did everything in our power to provide the best educational experience possible. More importantly, we did so safely. I am extremely grateful for the assistance afforded to us so we could accomplish that goal.

    While our students are away for the summer, the work to support them goes on. Curriculum refinements, facility improvements, building maintenance, technology enhancements, and additional planning for the fall commence Monday. Please continue to review important updates sent from your child’s school as well as periodic updates from the District. I hope to see you around town this summer and look forward to welcoming our students and community members back to our schools in the fall. 

    The graduation ceremony for the Class of 2021:

    Graduation 2021

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    Honoring Our Retirees

    We have the bittersweet task of saying goodbye to a remarkable group of educators who will be retiring after a combined 206 years of service to the Williamston Community. Spanning a wide variety of roles within the District, these team members made numerous lasting contributions to our schools and community while being positive difference-makers in the lives of thousands of students. We will miss them.

    Thank you and congratulations to:

    Dan Brooks: 36 years

    Tara Brooks: 35 years

    Kristi Davidson: 24 years

    Lori Doyle: 16 years

    Janet Eidt: 41 years

    Nancy Hamlin: 26 years

    Heather Lounsbury: 21 years

    Debbie Shipman: 7 years

    Service plaques on display during the open house event honoring 2021 and 2020 district retirees:

    Retirement Open House 2021

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  • Celebrating the Class of 2021 and the 2021-2022 District Calendar

    Posted by Adam Spina on 6/3/2021 9:15:00 AM

    Class of 2021:

    I invite our community to join me in congratulating the Class of 2021 on their graduation from Williamston High School. This weekend, 148 students will walk across the stage representing a vast array of individual and collective accomplishments. They are students with unlimited potential who will contribute greatly to society as they continue their educational and professional journeys. They overcame challenges that previous WCS graduates have not encountered as a result of the pandemic. These students learned and exemplified resilience, flexibility, and perseverance. They are a graduating class for the record books and the history books.

    Class of 2021

    Graduation is Sunday, June 6 at 2:00 pm. It will take place at Williamston’s Larkin Nortman Field. Community members can view the live stream of the graduation on the WCS YouTube page or by accessing the link here.

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    2021-2022 District Calendar:


    The calendar agreed to by the Williamston Education Association and the Board of Education was published earlier this week. Besides the update to spring break per the Ingham County Common Calendar (announced last year), the calendar takes into account several recommendations from the Community Calendar Work Group. The work group consisted of parents, teachers, support staff, administrators, and school board representation. Members participated in a series of meetings during the winter of 2020. The committee was tasked with exploring options for the school calendar based on community feedback and emerging best practices. Recommendations from the committee are included in the final edition of the 2021-2022 calendar. One is an earlier start date in August which reduces the impact of the academic “summer slide” for many students. The calendar also features more intermittent extended weekends throughout the year. These short breaks have been identified as important to students and staff for rest/recovery and/or mental health reasons. The 2021-2022 calendar can be found on the district website under the “Calendar” tab or at the link here.

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  • Sinking Fund Update

    Posted by Adam Spina on 5/20/2021 8:01:00 AM

    WCS pledged to maintain transparency with expenditures associated with the District Sinking Fund when it was approved by voters in August of 2018. Below is a summary of significant projects in which the fund was utilized as well as a preview of upcoming facility improvements.

    2019:

    Secure Entrance Construction at Williamston High School: $235,000

    Transportation Department Parking Lot Repaving: $90,000

    Advanced Entrance Control System: $40,000

    Boiler and Chiller Replacement and Repairs: $50,000

     

    The secure entrance project at Williamston High School underway, summer of 2019:

    High School Secure Entrance Construction, 2019

    2020:

    Explorer Elementary Roof Replacement: $390,000

    Williamston Middle School Gym Roof Replacement: $80,000

     

    The roof at Explorer Elementary being replaced, summer of 2020:

    Explorer Roof Replacement, 2020

    Upcoming Sinking Fund Expenditures, Summer of 2021:

    Roof repairs/replacement at Williamston High School: $185,000

    Tennis Court Resurfacing: $56,000

    Student Chromebook Replacement: $24,000

     

    One of the primary goals of the Sinking Fund was the redesign of building entrances, ensuring a more secure environment for students and staff during the school day. In order to maximize available funding for the potential completion of those projects during the summer of 2022, the District is transferring an additional $50,000 from the 2021 budget to the following year. Bids for the final buildings needing secured entrances will be completed this summer with the goal of construction taking place during the summer of 2022. A final determination on the timeline for those projects will be made by the Board of Education once the bid results have been received. 


    Community members can view additional photos of Sinking Fund-related projects as well as actual and projected annual budgets by accessing the Sinking Fund webpage under the “Our District” tab on the District Website. If there are any questions regarding the Sinking Fund, please feel free to contact me. WCS remains extremely grateful for the support of the community regarding this invaluable resource.

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    Williamston High School Presents: Dear Edwina, the hilarious and heartwarming story of an ambitious girl.  The show centers on Edwina Spoonapple and her friends as they put on an advice-giving show in her garage.  Fun for all ages, the show streams on May 28th and 29th.  Click here to purchase tickets and watch the show.

    High School Musical: Dear Edwina

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  • Educator Appreciation

    Posted by Adam Spina on 5/5/2021 1:35:00 PM

    As we move through the final weeks of what has certainly been the most atypical of school years, it is important to recognize the dedication of the educators who are invaluable contributors to what makes Williamston such a special place. With any crisis, there are certain people who respond to the situation with solutions and an optimistic mindset. WCS is full of such individuals. They are as inspiring as they are talented.

    Selfless service and servant leadership are indispensable aspects of our district culture. They have been on full display this year. 

    • Teachers have quickly adapted to changing circumstances, sometimes completely disrupting their instructional approach on extremely short notice. They have faced the challenges of Covid while maintaining the highest possible standards for instruction and student learning. 
    • Custodial and maintenance teams showcase immaculate grounds and clean, safe facilities. 
    • Building secretaries have coordinated new protocols for communication, record keeping, and student safety, while planning school events in ways we have not previously attempted. 
    • The para-professional team routinely puts the welfare of students before their own, providing individualized support to students in a Covid environment or standing watch in the rain so students arrive at school safely. 
    • Our transportation department has overcome numerous scheduling changes, all while making sure students start their day with a positive message and a smile. 
    • Foodservice team members have adopted new protocols, delivering lunches to classrooms at our elementary schools and distributing thousands of free meals to Williamston families through our meal assistance program. 
    • Our technicians, who possess great skill, and possibly magic, keeping us up and running in an era of increased reliance on technology
    • Our school social workers, counselors, and psychologist have risen to meet the demands of new mental health needs for both students and staff members in very trying circumstances. 
    • We could not have been as successful with overcoming Covid without the leadership of our administrators. They have maintained a positive mentality, put the needs of students first, and surpassed my expectations in every instance.    

    Sometime this month, please consider taking a moment to send a short message to any member of our team. In the struggle of working through the many obstacles and opportunities faced on a daily basis, a note of appreciation can be a reminder of why serving as an educator is so important. These small gestures are always greatly valued and reiterate the wonderful relationship the Williamston Community has with its schools.


    Thank you for your continued support and thank you to our educators whose work defines Williamston Community Schools as one of the very best.

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  • Williamston High School Named Among Nation's Best for Third Consecutive Year

    Posted by Adam Spina on 4/29/2021 8:35:00 AM

    Congratulations to the staff and students of Williamston High School. The school was named to the U.S. News & World Report best high schools list for the third consecutive year.

    US News Best High Schools 2021

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  • March/April District Podcast

    Posted by Adam Spina on 4/25/2021 8:25:00 AM

    Listen to the District Podcast here.

    The Podcast can also be accessed at the following links:

    Hornet Pride!

    Hornet Pride!

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  • Board of Education Goals

    Posted by Adam Spina on 4/23/2021 8:05:00 AM

    At this week’s regular meeting, the Board of Education approved the objectives and strategies the District will implement in support of its strategic goals for the next three years. The Board has established five (5) goals to guide the direction of professional development and resources during this period. These are listed below:

    Goal #1: Provide High-Quality Educational Experiences for All Students

    Goal #2: Increase the Fund Balance to 10% of Revenues

    Goal #3: Strengthen Communication with Students, Parents, Staff, and Community

    Goal #4: Maintain and Continuously Improve the Safety and Security of all Schools and Facilities within the District for Students, Staff, and Community Members

    Goal #5: Adopt and Implement a Common, Evidence-Based Grading System that includes Feedback on Non-Achievement Factors


    A detailed description of how these goals will be achieved is articulated in the link here. Using this guidance from the Board of Education, WCS will refine the District Improvement Plan and each building will publish a School Improvement Plan. These plans are collaboratively constructed documents. They specify actions to be taken and resources to be allocated so individual buildings and the District will meet the defined end state for each goal. Updated District and School Improvement Plans will be available on their respective websites in late spring/early summer.

     

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  • Covid Rapid Testing and Spring Break Facility Updates

    Posted by Adam Spina on 4/16/2021 12:15:00 PM

    Next week Williamston will resume in-person learning options for students at Williamston Middle School. Upon the recommendation of the Ingham County Health Department, Williamston High School will stay remote for an additional week. 

    As we strive to provide as many in-person learning opportunities as possible, I want to reiterate that it is essential that families experiencing Covid symptoms or who have had known close contacts with Covid positive individuals do not send their children for in-person instruction. This choice will require the District to commence a contract tracing process that might lead to other students needing to quarantine. Many of these instances are preventable. Please stay vigilant and thank you again to our parents for the many sacrifices you are making to keep our school community safe. 

    To further assist parents to ensure their children have not been exposed to Covid, WCS will now provide optional rapid Covid tests on a weekly basis. The tests are free and will be offered in the fitness center wing of Williamston High School every Tuesday and Thursday that school is in session from 3:30 - 4:30 pm. The testing will begin on Tuesday, April 20. Important details are listed below:

    • A consent form must be completed by parents every time a student is tested. The form must have an original signature if the student is under the age of 18
    • Consent forms can be downloaded here. Paper copies will be available at the testing location
    • Parents will be contacted only if the rapid test indicates a positive result and will typically be within two hours of test administration. Positive results from the rapid test should be validated with a PCR test given by a medical professional
    • Negative test results will not be communicated. Copies of testing paperwork will not be provided
    • Consent forms and testing paperwork will be stored in compliance with student medical record-keeping requirements

    Contact Mr. Paige Paulsen for additional information at paulsep@gowcs.net

    Finally, I want to thank our custodial and maintenance teams for their hard work on many projects throughout the District over spring break. Some examples are listed below.

    Updated landscaping throughout the District including outside the Central Office entrance:

    New landscaping outside Central Office

    New paint and carpet in select Williamston Middle School classrooms:

    Updated middle school classrooms

    Updates to the layout of the library at Williamston High School:

    Updated high school library layout

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  • Spring Break 2021

    Posted by Adam Spina on 3/25/2021 6:20:00 PM

    Many families will be taking advantage of spring break to take long-postponed vacations or visit relatives. WCS will not impose any quarantine restrictions on students or staff who travel over the break. Attempting to do so falls outside the purview of the District and is unenforceable. However, we do want to remind families that sending a Covid positive student to in-person class has non-negotiable consequences which are also outside the District’s control to change. Not only will the Covid positive student need to isolate, but all other students in close contact with that student will also need to quarantine for 10 days, with four additional days of close monitoring. Student-athletes cannot return to practice or competition for 14 days if they are a close contact. It is easy to see how even limited instances of possible exposure will have a significant impact on in-person learning and co-curricular opportunities. 

    Rapid Covid testing sessions will be available in the days following spring break to assist families with ensuring their child can safely return to school. Any positive result will typically be known within 30 minutes. Available testing times, registration links, and locations are listed below:

    Saturday, April 10: 

    Sunday, April 11:

    • Ingham Intermediate School District, Mason, 10:00 am - 5:00 pm (see flyer below for more information)
    • Williamston High School, Athletic Entrance, 4:00 pm - 6:00 pm (no pre-registration, parents will need to be present to fill out consent forms for children). Contact Paige Paulsen at paulsep@gowcs.net for more information

    Tuesday, April 13:

    Wednesday, April 14:

    Post spring break we continue to ask families to screen their children daily for any Covid related symptoms and err on the side of caution if there is any uncertainty. Our parent community has done a phenomenal job throughout this school year with this critical step. 

    Wishing you a safe and restful spring break, whether you are taking a trip or enjoying a “staycation” beginning Friday, April 2. We look forward to welcoming our students back for the homestretch of the school year on Monday, April 12.

    Comments (-1)
  • Calendar and School Schedule Updates

    Posted by Adam Spina on 2/19/2021 7:15:00 AM

    I continue to be immensely proud of our team here at WCS. They have worked tirelessly making preparations for returning our elementary students to a full day of school and expanding in-person learning opportunities for secondary students. We remain on pace to make this transition on March 1st. As our county superintendent noted in a recent article, now is the time for this to happen. That said, there will inevitably be some revisions to aspects of our model as it is evaluated over the first couple of weeks. Thank you in advance for your patience. Additionally, the District will be prepared to adjust to any new Covid related developments provided by updated guidance from health officials. Please continue to check classroom and school newsletters for more information. 

    As communicated previously, Friday, February 26 will be a non-instructional day for in-person elementary students (Young-Fives through Fifth-Grade). This will allow time for staff to finalize logistics in advance of students returning on Monday, March 1st. All fully remote elementary sections will continue to receive instruction and the hybrid model at the secondary buildings will be unchanged on this date. 

    The deadline for post-March 1st transportation changes is Monday, February 22 at 4:00 pm. Please contact the bus garage at (517) 655-1011. 

    Effective March 1st, the District’s inclement weather plan will also be revised. On days where buses cannot safely operate and/or when roads are deemed unsafe for teenage drivers, WCS will be closed for instruction, including remote learning. Notifications will continue to be made via School Messenger. Road conditions in Williamston (to include roads in all parts of our district) may differ greatly. If you disagree with a decision to keep the schools open, it is always your right to keep your child at home. If you make this choice, please contact the appropriate school office so we know where your child is and that he or she is safe.

    Elementary Full Day Information, beginning March 1st:

    Middle School Schedule, beginning March 1st:

    High School Schedule, beginning March 1st:

    The Buzz Update will be taking a hiatus for a few weeks. Stay safe and thank you for your continued support.

    Kindergarten Orientation:

    Kindergarten Orientation 2021

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Executive Assistant

Phone: (517) 655-4361

Email:

Degrees and Certifications:

Mrs. Betsy Rueckert