Superintendent's Blog

  • Educator Appreciation

    Posted by Adam Spina on 5/2/2019 6:25:00 AM

    In August of 2003, I attended my new staff orientation here in Williamston. My most prominent memory of that session was the very clearly articulated expectation that every member of the staff at WCS is an educator. The roles vary, but the opportunity to make a positive difference in the life of a child was the same. The day might start with a greeting from a bus driver and end with guidance from a coach or advisor. In between, all who work in the education profession have the unique chance to make that difference with our students.

    May is traditionally the month to recognize those who have devoted their lives to the profession of education. There are some highlights during the month, such as Teacher Appreciation Week, which begins on May 6th. But more than appreciation or acknowledgment, May can be a chance to (re)discover respect for the profession of education. For secretaries who care for sick children, custodians who maintain a vigilant eye on school safety, or teachers and paras who deliver world-class instruction, respecting the profession of education year round is perhaps the most meaningful recognition we can offer. It has certainly been earned.

    Thank you to all the educators who make WCS such a special place.

    With appreciation and respect.

     

    Adam

    Note: The Superintendent’s Blog and Buzz Update will be off for a few weeks. The updates will resume in late May/early June.

     

    WHS Wins 2019 Great Schools College Success Award


    For the second year in a row, Williamston High School has been named a recipient of the GreatSchools.org College Success Award. The award recognizes select public high schools for “ensuring students are prepared for college, enroll in college, and succeed once they get there.” You can read more about this honor here or by visiting GreatSchools.org.

    GreatSchools.org 2019 College Success Award

    News Story on Technology Integration/STEAM at WCS

    View the story produced by HOMTV here.

     

    Senior Awards Night:

    2019 Senior Awards Night

     

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  • Arts Fest 2019 and April District Podcast

    Posted by Adam Spina on 4/24/2019 7:05:00 PM

    The April District Podcast can be listened to here.

    The Podcast can also be accessed at the following links:

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    Arts Fest 2019 was a tremendous success, capitalizing on the momentum of the new format started last year. An estimated crowd of 1,500 attended the opening night performances, recognized contributions to the 36th Annual Susan Lorenz Memorial Art Show, and viewed student artwork from across the District. Faculty from our visual and performing arts departments spent close to a year planning this event and the results of their dedication to the project speak for themselves. 

    Read more about the event here.

    View select performances from Arts Fest 2019 on our YouTube page.

    Winners of the 2019 Susan Lorenz Memorial Art Show:

    2019 Susan Lorenz Memorial Art Show Winners

    McGoff Performing Arts Center Curtain Replacement Project:

    McGoff Curtain Project

    2019 PTSA Ice Cream Social:

    2019 Ice Cream Social

    Williamston Football Fundraiser Event at Culver's:

    Football Fundraiser at Culver's

     

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  • End of Year Calendar Update (added days) and Public Service Partnerships

    Posted by Adam Spina on 4/17/2019 7:25:00 AM

    The current District calendar remains in effect until June 5. Starting on June 5, there are a number of changes regarding the last few days of the school year. Please review the updated calendar carefully, not all the schools in the District end the year on the same day. Secondary buildings end on June 10 (one extra day) while elementary buildings conclude on June 11 (two additional days). The District and school websites have been updated to reflect the modified end-of-year schedule, contact the applicable school if there are any questions on the calendar or end-of-year events. You can download a copy of the updated end-of-year calendar here.

    For families with children in Little Hornets Preschool, please find the updated schedule for those programs here.

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    WCS has a tradition of forging positive relationships with other public service organizations. Last week we had several examples of how these relationships benefit our students.

    Judge Donald Allen from the 55th District Court talks with AP Government classes after the Ingham Court to School Program was hosted at WHS:

    Judge Allen at WHS

    Elementary students and staff with Williamston City Manager Corey Schmidt and WPD Liaison Officer Don Smith as part of the WPD Police & Kids program.

    Police & Kids Program 2019

    Firefighters from NIESA participate in Mileage Club with elementary students:

    Firefighters at Mileage Club 2019

    2019 WSF Golf Outing:

    2019 WSF Golf Outing

     

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  • District Recognition and Spring Break Projects

    Posted by Adam Spina on 4/11/2019 7:05:00 AM

    WCS was again named to the Niche Top School Districts list for 2019.

    2019 Niche Best Schools Banner

    Williamston traditionally does very well on this index academically. The District made a significant jump this year in the area of athletics, moving from #35 to #21 out of 559 districts in Michigan in the “Best School Districts for Student-Athletes” category. Congratulations and thank you to our athletic department, coaches, boosters, and students for their achievements in this area!

    Our custodial and maintenance departments were hard at work over spring break. Significant time was spent cleaning the grounds throughout the District after a long winter. Progress was made on a number of interior projects as well. Some examples are below:

    Middle School Cafeteria Painting Project:

    Middle School Cafeteria Painting Project

    Boardroom Renovation Project - New projection wall, new repositioned HD projector, new wiring (with more updates to follow):

    Boardroom Renovation Project

    High school athletic and counseling office reconfiguration:

    High School Counseling and Athletic Office Reconfiguration

    High School hallway painting project:

    High School Hallway Painting Project

    High School Outside Seating Installation (funded by the WHS Student Council):

    High School Outdoor Seating Project

    Restricted Parking Area in Elementary Bus Loop:

    Elementary Bus Loop Restricted Parking Area

    2019 Spring Arts Fest and Fine Arts Award Reception:

    One of our premier showcases of student achievement. Last year more than 1,000 people attended this series of events.

    2019 Fine Arts Festival Flyer

     

    Williamston Bands Scrap Metal Drive Fundraiser:

    2019 Scrape Metal Drive Flyer

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  • Spring Break, Calendar Update, and Student Awards

    Posted by Adam Spina on 3/28/2019 7:25:00 AM

    I have been so impressed by the students and staff who are leading our Be Nice initiative. Over three kickoff assemblies they took risks to share their stories, confront mental health concerns, and begin challenging (and much needed) conversations. Mr. John Travis perhaps summed up the approach of Be Nice best in his remarks to our high school students. We are a community that cares for all our students and together, we can make a real difference. Listen to Mr. Travis during the WHS kickoff assembly here.

    Wishing our students and staff a safe and restful spring break. I look forward to seeing everyone back on Monday, April 8th.

    Calendar Update:

    We were notified that our waiver for three additional “forgiven” days due to the extreme winter weather this year was granted by the Department of Education. Currently, there is still one day that needs to be to be rescheduled for our secondary buildings and two days at our elementary schools. Note, there are bills being discussed in the state legislature that might influence the situation, I will provide more information as it becomes available. Thank you for your patience as we work (and wait) to have this resolved.

    Student Awards:

    Some of our high school students have earned notable recognition in the past couple of weeks. Congratulations and thank you to these outstanding students for their service and positive representation of our district and community.

    Divya, a WHS Sophomore, was named the Capital Area United Way Youth Volunteer of the Year for 2019.

    Capital Area United Way Youth Volunteer of the Year

    WHS Senior, Hannah, was awarded a $1,000 scholarship by GLP & Associates for her superb academic record and service to her school.

    GLP Scholarship

    WHS senior, Abby, was recognized as the Murphy Student of the Quarter award recipient by the Williamston Sunrise Rotary. The Murphy award includes a scholarship and celebratory breakfast.

    Rotary Award March 2019

    Kids’ College:

    Learn more about this gifted and talented program for 4th and 5th-grade students sponsored by the Ingham Intermediate School District and Michigan State University here. I strongly encourage applicable students to apply, it is a great summer learning experience!

    Kids' College 2019 Flyer

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  • Be Nice Kickoff Event

    Posted by Adam Spina on 3/21/2019 12:05:00 PM

    The weather looks promising for our third try at the Be Nice kickoff event. The presentation will be hosted by Williamston High School and Williamston Middle School students and staff on Monday, March 25 at 6:30 pm at the McGoff Performing Arts Center inside Williamston High School. This is an important opportunity to learn about what the District is doing to support student mental health and how parents and community members can be involved in helping. This is a student-led event and a student-centered initiative. I am extremely proud of the students who are taking leadership roles and helping their peers to Notice, Invite, Challenge, and Empower! For a preview, you can view the Be Nice presentation given to the Board of Education on March 18 here.

    Be Nice Kickoff March 25, 2019

    2019 SET SEG/M.A.S.B. Education Excellence Award Presentation:

    SET SEG/MASB Education Excellence Award Presentation

    Williamston Community Schools has been named a 2019 Education Excellence Award winner by the SET SEG Foundation in partnership with the Michigan Association of School Boards (MASB). The Education Excellence award recognizes the district’s leadership in Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, and Mathematics (STEAM) education, particularly the elementary STEAM program at Discovery and Explorer Elementary Schools.

    In 2015, Williamston Community Schools initiated a community task force to investigate how to promote interest in STEAM-related classes in the district, especially among girls. The goal is to “hook” students on STEAM concepts at the elementary level so that interest will continue in secondary school and beyond.  The STEAM Laboratory is a converted science lab on Williamston’s Elementary campus which is utilized by all developmental kindergarten through fifth-grade students. As one of the first districts in Michigan to fully adopt the Next Generation Science Standards framework, the lab requires students to work through complex concepts in a collaborative setting. The expectation of the lab is for it to be noisy, messy, and engaging. Closing the STEAM field gender gap between boys and girls is fully expected in the lab as hands-on activities immerse participants in subjects such as engineering, programming, and graphic design.  The recognition includes award money that will be used to purchase robotic supplies, a water table for science experiments, and materials to push the program to its full potential.

    “It’s an honor for us to recognize Williamston Community Schools and their educators, and to help support and advance their efforts,” said Lisa Truscott, SET SEG Foundation Executive Director. “Dedicated, passionate teachers and staff in public schools are what help provide opportunities to learn, grow and build brighter, stronger futures for students in our communities and state.”

    The Education Excellence Awards are produced through a partnership between the SET SEG Foundation and MASB.  In 2019, the SET SEG Foundation awarded $2,500 grants to 10 extraordinary Michigan public school programs. Education Excellence Award recipients receive a $2,500 check to grow their program, an “Education Excellence Winner” road sign, and trophy.  This year, the SET SEG Foundation received more than 200 applications from schools throughout Michigan working to have a positive impact on their students and community.

    The SET SEG Foundation is a branch of SET SEG and is fueled by its mission to enable students to pursue enrichment opportunities that advance learning, leadership and civic responsibility by providing services, scholarships, grants, and financial support directly to Michigan public schools and Michigan public school students.  For more information about the SET SEG Foundation, visit www.setseg.org/foundation.

    Scenes From the Past Week:

    6th-grade band performance

    6th-grade band performs for 5th-grade students at Explorer Elementary.

    Family Reading Night

    Mr. Jonny Ellis performs in front of an energetic crowd at Family Reading night.

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  • 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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Executive Assistant

Mrs. Janet Eidt

Phone: (517) 655-4361

Email:

Degrees and Certifications:

Mrs. Janet Eidt