Superintendent's Blog

  • WCS Named 2019 Education Excellence Award Winner

    Posted by Adam Spina on 3/13/2019 7:25:00 AM

    I am delighted to inform you that Williamston has been named a 2019 Education Excellence Award recipient by SET SEG and the Michigan Association of School Boards (MASB). WCS was one of ten districts/ISDs in Michigan to receive this honor. We were selected for the work the district has done implementing our STEAM initiative, particularly the focus on engaging students in STEAM concepts at the elementary level.

    SET SEG and MASB will present the award at the Board of Education meeting on March 18th at Williamston Middle School. Representatives from both organizations will convey the award at 7:00 pm, the presentation should last about 10 minutes. We invite members of our community to attend the event and share in this recognition of our schools. The award includes a grant which will be invested in our elementary STEAM lab, a trophy, road sign, and publicity throughout the state as a leader in delivering progressive and relevant educational programming.

    The spring season is a critical time of year to spread the word about the achievements of our district and the strong, supportive culture of our community. Positive references from parents and community partners are essential to upholding the highly-esteemed reputation of our schools. In conjunction with this new award, we have released a new celebratory video outlining our leadership in STEAM education, a message also communicated in our new informational brochure. I encourage you to share the link to the video and copies of our brochure (now available in building offices) within your professional and personal circles and assist us in telling our story. Let's keep our momentum going!

    Read the story on our successful rookie First Robotics team here, another aspect of the District’s K-12 STEAM initiative.

    Evening of Jazz: March 22

    Highly recommend this event whether you have students in band or not. Excellent performances and a superb auction (please don’t compete with me for the car wash coupons though…).

    Evening of Jazz Flyer 2019

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  • March District Podcast and Recent District Highlights

    Posted by Adam Spina on 3/7/2019 7:05:00 AM

    The March District Podcast can be listened to here.

    The Podcast can also be accessed at the following links:

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    Explorer Elementary Presents Wizard of Oz and the annual WSF Lasagna Dinner:

    Wizard of Oz 2019

    WSF Lasagna Dinner

    Williamston Middle School Choir Presents Shrek Jr. - The Musical:

    Shrek Jr 2019

    Scenes From a Busy Week at WCS and More Upcoming Events:

    The 8th-grade band performed at the District Band Festival in Okemos, earning all “1s” from the judges. See the video on YouTube here.

    8th Grade Band Festival 2019

    Heidi, a WHS junior gymnast, qualified for the state finals on bars which will take place in Rockford this weekend.

    2019 Gymnastics

    The WHS First Robotics Team competed in its first-ever district event at Kettering University in Flint. They will be at Milford this weekend for another First Robotics meet.

    First Robotics Team 2019

    Williamston wrestlers competed at the state finals held at Ford Field.

    Ford Field Wrestling State Finals 2019

    Teachers at Discovery Elementary greet parents at Kindergarten Orientation Night.

    Teachers greeting parents at Kinder orientation night

    The Boys Varsity Swim Team qualified for the state meet at Oakland University this weekend in the 200 free relay and 400 free relay.

    2019 Boys Varsity Swim

    Congratulations to Kenzie and Alyssa who won awards at the MSUFCU Art Exhibit. Thank you for voting and supporting our student artists!

    MSUFCU Winner 2019

    MSUFCU Winner 2019

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  • Kindergarten Orientation and Distinguished Alumni Award Nominations

    Posted by Adam Spina on 2/28/2019 5:05:00 PM

    Please help us get the word out about Kindergarten orientation night and WCS Momentum on Tuesday, March 5th. More information is listed in the flyer below:

    2019-20 Kindergarten Orientation Flyer

    Distinguished Alumni Award and High School Commencement Speaker Nominations:

    The award will be presented at the high school commencement ceremony this June, and will honor those alumni of Williamston High School who have distinguished themselves through high levels of professional accomplishments and voluntary service, including but not limited, to any of the following:

    • Education
    • Career
    • Community service
    • Professional accomplishments  
    • Williamston Community School involvement

    Honorees should also possess high standards of integrity and character.

    If you know of a former Williamston High School graduate who has excelled in any endeavor, it is time to nominate him or her for this year’s Distinguished Alumni Award.

    Read more about the award and nomination process here.

    Make a nomination here.

    Rounding out Winter Activities:

    Best of luck to our winter sports teams as they participate in various team and individual postseason playoffs, meets, and tournaments. Additionally, a special acknowledgment to our rookie First Robotics team as they participate in their first event over the weekend at Kettering University. The robotics team is an extension opportunity of the District’s K-12 STEAM initiative and will compete for the first time ever this weekend.

    Spring activities begin March 11th.

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  • Snow Day Update

    Posted by Adam Spina on 2/22/2019 7:55:00 AM

    The number of snow days and the potential to have to schedule additional days is a topic of conversation in our community and across the region. As of February 22nd, we have closed the elementary schools eleven times and the secondary buildings on ten occasions this year. The state automatically provides us with six “forgiven days.” We will apply for a waiver to receive an additional three forgiven days within the next couple of weeks. There also has been legislation introduced to forgive the days when a state emergency was declared by the governor. Obviously, the most significant variable is the weather for the rest of the winter. I anticipate being able to provide more concrete answers about the calendar for the remainder of the year in a few weeks as the state makes decisions on forgiven day options and the winter weather (hopefully) subsides.

    Coaches vs. Cancer Basketball Game:

    Big evening tonight (Friday, February 22) at Williamston High School. The final home basketball games for our conference champion boys and girls teams will include a special charity game in support of the American Cancer Society. The game begins at 6:00 pm. The Williamston Schools Foundation will also draw the winning tickets for their annual raffle plus a number of additional special events. If you have not picked up a ticket yet, they will be on sale until halftime. I look forward to seeing you there!

    Coaches vs. Cancer

    WSF Raffle 2019

     

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  • LanSchool

    Posted by Adam Spina on 2/15/2019 7:35:00 AM

    Starting on Friday, February 15th, we will be activating the LanSchool device management throughout the district. LanSchool enhances the ability of teachers to manage devices used in their classrooms. Specifically, the program provides teachers with positive control over student devices by allowing them to monitor content, project-specific screens, blank screens, chat, push out content instantly, and many other features. It also provides instructors the option to limit sites students can visit and review where they have been. Note these filters are designed to assist with instruction and are not replacing the standardized content filters the District already has in place. The intent is to enhance the quality and efficiency of instruction in a blended-learning environment. The adoption of LanSchool is yet another step forward in the integration of instructional technology to engage students in core content while simultaneously developing more modular/flexible classrooms. Watch a quick overview of the program here.

    Like any other new program or initiative, LanSchool will take time to be fully implemented. We have started with installing the program onto all district-owned Chromebooks. Over the next several months, the program will be expanded to district-owned PCs and iPads. LanSchool is only functional when students are logged into the school network. During program testing, we discovered that students who have personally owned Chromebooks at home and have logged into their WCS Google accounts at home will have the screen sharing window appear (see image below). While this feature is similar to the process for joining an integrated classroom environment when at school, the District cannot monitor students’ screens/devices when they are not on the District network. Therefore, even though the popup will appear at home on a personally-owned Chromebook (and when signed into a WCS Google account), the functions of LanSchool are not active. The popup will look like this:

    LanSchool Screenshot

    This situation might replicate itself as LanSchool is expanded to iPads. It will not occur on PCs or laptops.

    LanSchool was made possible via a generous grant by the Williamston Schools Foundation. You can support the foundation by purchasing a ticket for the Education Wins raffle. More information about the raffle is in the flyer below.

    WSF Raffle

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  • WCS Visual Arts Program

    Posted by Adam Spina on 2/8/2019 10:05:00 AM

    Although March is officially Youth Art Month, I want to jump ahead a little and acknowledge some of the recent accomplishments of our students in the visual arts. At the high school, students have contributed a number of entries to the Michigan State University Federal Credit Union Art Exhibit. The items are on display at the MSUFCU headquarters lobby in February. Additionally, the exhibit provides community members an opportunity to cast votes for the entries in a number of different categories. There is also a School Spirit Award for the District with the most total votes. There is some fantastic artwork on display created by WHS students. I encourage you to check out the exhibit, either in person or online, and vote to support our Williamston artists!

    MSUFCU Art Exhibit

    Click here to view entries and vote online.

    MSUFCU Art Exhibit Flyer

    Our elementary students have also distinguished themselves in this year’s Smokey Bear/Woodsy Owl Poster Contest sponsored by the National Garden Clubs. This year students at Discovery and Explorer Elementary Schools swept the local competition and students in second and fourth grade took first place in Michigan. Poster winners from each grade level are on display at the Williamston Post Office.

    Learn more about the visual arts programs and see examples of student artwork by visiting their websites.

    Hornet Art Studio - Elementary Visual Arts

    The Williamston Middle School Art Gallery - Middle School Visual Arts

    Kubu Art - High School Visual Arts

    Be Nice Kickoff Event:

    A reminder that the Be Nice kickoff event will be held on Tuesday, February 12th Monday, March 25 at 6:30 pm in the McGoff Auditorium.

    Williamston Schools Foundation Raffle:

    WSF Raffle Flyer

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  • Snow Days

    Posted by Adam Spina on 2/1/2019 7:25:00 AM

    Well, it was quite a week… Thank you for the patience and understanding with the closings. I am sure everyone was ready for schools to reopen today.

    I want to acknowledge the work done by our maintenance and transportation teams throughout the week scouting roads, ensuring the buildings and grounds were safe, and keeping the buses ready. Our Kids’ Corner staff volunteered to come in on three of the four instances the district was closed, allowing 50-60 parents to attend their jobs on those days. I believe we were the only public school operated child care center open in the area, I appreciate the team effort to keep that small part of the district operating.

    Frozen Michigan

    Photo from WeatherChannel.com

    With the four snow-days this week we have surpassed the number of “forgiven days” related to cancellations for our elementary schools. We are looking into various options on appealing or rescheduling so that we meet the amount of instructional time required by state law. Of course, we are not finished with winter yet, additional cancellations will impact the current school calendar for all schools in the district.

    I want to welcome our preschool and childcare families to this distribution list. We were able to successfully integrate the database used by Kids’ Corner and Little Hornets into the District’s notification system during the week. In addition to scheduled district updates, we will now be more efficient with sending out emergency notifications to families who only have children enrolled in those programs.

    The Be Nice Kickoff event has been rescheduled for February 12th March 25th at 6:30 pm. The updated flyer is below.

     

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  • Be Nice

    Posted by Adam Spina on 1/24/2019 4:25:00 PM

    On Wednesday, January 30th TuesdayFebruary 12th Monday, March 25th, we will be hosting our Be Nice kickoff at the McGoff Performing Arts Center located inside Williamston High School. The event will mark the beginning of a holistic approach to establishing an open dialogue about student mental health with our school community. Be Nice utilizes a unique approach to addressing mental health by promoting collaboration between teachers, parents, students, and mental health specialists. Consequently, the areas of focus, themes, and support strategies can be tailored to the needs of the students in our schools. The Be Nice kickoff event will include a student-designed icebreaker, information on mental health, student and staff testimonials, and an overview of the key tenets of the program. I am grateful for the care and thoughtfulness that went into starting Be Nice this year. I look forward to seeing you at the kickoff event on the 30th 12th March 25th.

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  • Winter Break Updates and January Podcast:

    Posted by Adam Spina on 1/15/2019 9:55:00 AM

    Happy New Year! It has been great to have the buildings open after the holidays and have students back in school after some time away. The momentum of the District did not slow over the break, in fact, there was a lot accomplished.

    We continued to make progress on our District Safety Goal, adding six new high definition cameras to Explorer Elementary. In collaboration with a school safety consultant, our technology department completed the installation of a new public address system at the high school. This will allow select staff to initiate pre-programmed emergency announcements from remote locations should that ever be needed. The Board of Education approved an agreement with an architectural firm which specializes in school safety renovations to begin work on the redesign of the high school main entrance. Drawings of the new design will be provided for review in the near future. At the preschool, a new AED was installed in the lobby outside of the office.

    Our maintenance and custodial teams were extremely busy over the break. Floors were resurfaced, carpets cleaned, and extensive painting was done across all buildings, to include many student bathrooms and the elementary STEAM lab. There were repairs to select HVAC systems and drains.

    Additional improvements include the installation of an announcement/upcoming events screen at the middle school, the construction of a new play structure at Discovery Elementary (thank you PTSA), and the demolition of the city storage building adjacent to the kindergarten playground.


    New Discovery Play Structure:

    New Discovery Play Structure

    Removal of City Storage Structure Next to Discovery Elementary:

    City Storage Structure Removal

    Learn more about these updates and other upcoming events by listening to the January District Podcast.

    The Podcast can also be accessed at the following links:

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  • Happy Holidays!

    Posted by Adam Spina on 12/20/2018 2:00:00 PM

    The first half of the school year has been a great success. We have continued to build momentum regarding all of our district goals. There is a lot more to look forward to in 2019!

    I would like to wish our entire community a safe and joyous holiday season. All the best in the new year!

    WSF Pancakes with Santa at WHS:

    Pancakes with Santa

    WHS Jazz Band performs holiday music for staff and students: Watch part of the performance here.

    Jazz Band in the Dome

    Central office staff “casual for a cause” donation to Weekend Survival Kits:

    Central Office donation to Weekend Survival Kits

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Executive Assistant

Mrs. Janet Eidt

Phone: (517) 655-4361

Email:

Degrees and Certifications:

Mrs. Janet Eidt