Superintendent's Blog

  • School Cancelation Process and Distinguished Alumni Award Nominations

    Posted by Adam Spina on 11/30/2023 1:25:00 PM

    November / December District Podcast 

     

    Listen to it here or use the following links:

     

    Winter School Cancelation Process

    The safety of students, parents, and staff is the foremost consideration when evaluating if school should be canceled. The process this year is identical to last year. (An unexpected rehearsal occurred a few weeks ago with the water main break at the elementary campus.) 

     

    There are several variables in the final decision and the steps involved include:

    1. An early morning report on road conditions in Williamston from our Director of Facilities and Operations 

    2. Input from law enforcement, the road commission, and staff from neighboring districts

    3. Consultation with Superintendents from other Ingham County Districts

    If the temperature is 20 degrees or more below zero (with or without wind chill), school will be automatically canceled.

    Each local district in the area makes its own independent decision to cancel school. Road conditions in Williamston (including roads in all parts of our district) may differ greatly from those in other districts. If you disagree with a decision to open school, 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 they are safe.

     

    For students attending the Wilson Talent Center (WTC): If Mason Public Schools have canceled school due to road/weather conditions, the Ingham Intermediate Schools are also closed. Consequently, the WTC will be closed. If Williamston is open on a day Mason schools are closed, our WTC students have space available to study at the high school. However, WTC students will only be required to attend class during their usual hours at WHS. Questions regarding this arrangement can be directed to the high school office.

     

    School cancellations are broadcast on a variety of sources. These include the District website, School Messenger, and local media outlets. Families can subscribe to both School Messenger and the RSS feed on the announcements on the website. That way you will receive an automatic notification to your phone, email, and/or news feed. Our goal is to decide to close no later than 6:15 am.

     

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    Williamston High School Distinguished Alumni Nomination Window Open

     

    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 Schools 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. Include your name and phone number and the name and contact information of the person you are nominating, his/her graduation year, a list of accomplishments since high school, and any other information that would make him/her a candidate for the Distinguished Alumni Award. 

     

    If selected, the applicant must be willing to accept the award and speak to the graduating class on June 2, 2024 at the Wharton Center. 

     

    The nomination deadline is January 7, 2024. 

     

    Nominations will be made by completing the form at the link here. 

     

    Learn more about the award here.

     

    For questions or additional information, please email John Travis (travisj@gowcs.net).

    Elf the Musical Flyer:

    Elf the Musical Flyer, 2023

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  • New District Accolades

    Posted by Adam Spina on 11/17/2023 2:25:00 PM

    District Podcast Special Edition

     

    This edition features Explorer Elementary Educator Annah Brummitt. Listen to it here or use the following links:

     

    New District Accolades

    I am pleased to share that WCS received two recognitions this fall. For the fifth consecutive year, Williamston High School was named to the U.S. News and World Report Best U.S. High Schools list. High assessment scores and the District’s 98% graduation rate contributed to earning this distinction. 

    Additionally, Williamston was named to the Advanced Placement (AP) Honor Roll by the College Board. Williamston students earned the highest percentage of passing scores (3 or better) on AP exams since before the pandemic. 

    Congratulations and thank you to our students, PreK-12 staff, and parents for your countless efforts to continue the tradition of academic excellence in Williamston.

    The 2023 Best U.S. High School’s banner on display at Williamston High School:

    Best US High Schools Banner, 2023

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  • District Safety Training

    Posted by Adam Spina on 11/2/2023 10:00:00 AM

    District Podcast Special Edition

     

    This edition features Williamston Middle School Mathematics Educator Laura Hill. Listen to it here or use the following links:

     

    District Safety Training

    WCS continues to prioritize school safety, as detailed in Board Goal #4. Collaboration with first responders and security experts is a long-standing practice that assists in the development and implementation of district safety plans. In the past two years alone, WCS has partnered with the Michigan State Police (MSP), FBI, MSP Bomb Squad, Ingham County Sheriff’s Office, NIESA, and the WPD to enhance readiness. Most recently, WCS collaborated with Secure Education Consultants (SEC), a leading school security firm. 

    SEC completed the District’s most recent vulnerability assessment last spring. Ongoing vulnerability assessments provide focus areas to improve our emergency response plans and physical security. The implementation of numerous security enhancements for all district schools were prioritized based on recommendations from security experts from local emergency management agencies and private sector consultants. Likewise, constant revisions to the WCS Emergency Operations Plan (EOP) are made based on these expert recommendations and lessons learned from school-related incidents around the county. 

    Facilitators from SEC led WCS staff training this past week. Topics included emergency response, relocation/reunification, and an overview of FEMA’s Incident Command System (ICS). 

    As noted in the past, communication is critical to proactively addressing potential issues. Reporting concerns directly to a school and/or law enforcement (vs. posting to social media, which is almost always counterproductive) allows for timely intervention. Anonymous reporting is available through the Ok2Say initiative. 

    Improving school safety is an ongoing area of emphasis and commitment to our community. Updates will continue to be provided in school and district newsletters. Thank you for staying vigilant and informed to ensure our students remain safe at school and at home.

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  • E-Sports Debuts as a Varsity Sport at WHS

    Posted by Adam Spina on 10/19/2023 1:25:00 PM

    District Podcast Special Edition

     

    This edition features Williamston High School Educator Anne Feldpausch. Listen to it here or use the following links:

     

    E-Sports Debuts as a Varsity Sport at WHS 

    Williamston Community Schools provides opportunities for all students to participate and compete in a wide variety of activities that emphasize critical thinking, goal setting, teamwork, and sportsmanship. The newest opportunity is the Williamston High School E-Sports team. This is one of the fastest-growing sports in the nation. E-Sports can provide students a head start if they want a career in technology, digital art, and other 21st-century jobs.

    E-Sports was started as a pilot program last winter and was officially adopted this summer as a varsity sport. Williamston High School is one of 93 schools (including charter and private schools) associated with the Michigan High School ESports League (MHSEL). This organization is supported by the Michigan Association of Secondary School Principals and the Michigan Association of Student Councils & Honors Societies. MHSEL teams are managed and competitions are organized and run on a platform managed by PlayVS.

    WHS is one of just a handful of schools in Mid-Michigan with an E-Sports program:

    Source: https://massp.com/esports

    This past summer renovations were completed to upgrade an under-utilized classroom in the high school. This space is now referred to as the “E-Sports Hub.”

    The new E-Sports Hub at Williamston High School:

    Additional upgrades included adding gaming stations and equipment. 

    E-Sports will feature a fall and winter/spring season. For the fall season, students will compete in Splatoon 3, Mario Kart 8 Deluxe, Hearthstone, and Super Smash Bros. Ultimate. Other games might be added for winter/spring, depending on student interest. 

    Thank you to our E-Sports coaches Theresa Billy and James Doyen for their vision and commitment to starting this initiative.

    Comments (-1)
  • The Unique Success of Williamston Athletics

    Posted by Adam Spina on 10/4/2023 5:03:00 PM

    District Podcast Special Edition

    This edition features Discovery Elementary Educator Claire Grisdela. Listen to it here or use the following links:

     

    The Unique Success of Williamston Athletics

    It is no secret that Williamston has a long tradition of excellence in athletics. Each year the high school competes for conference and district championships in all 17 offered varsity sports. WCS student-athletes challenge themselves by participating in the Capital Area Activities Conference Red, a division typically reserved for schools with larger enrollments. In some cases, Williamston competes against schools with almost twice our enrollment. The next smallest high school in the Red Division has 220 more students than WHS. In fact, Williamston High School has the fourth smallest enrollment of the 21 schools in the CAAC (only Olivet, Lakewood, and Lansing Catholic have fewer students). Despite the difference in size, WCS continues to earn conference championships in a wide variety of sports. 

    Conference Championships Since Joining the CAAC Red Division in 2018-2019. The spring athletic season was not held in 2020 due to the Covid-19 pandemic. 

    Boys Basketball - 4

    Girls Basketball - 3

    Football - 2

    Boys Soccer - 2

    Girls Tennis - 2

    Boys Golf - 2

    Baseball - 1

    Boys Track - 1

    Girls Track - 1

    Girls Soccer - 1

    Girls Cross Country - 1

     

    WCS student-athletes excel in the classroom as well. Hornet athletic teams regularly earn local, state, and national level academic awards for outstanding accomplishments. 

    There are numerous reasons for the success of Hornet athletics. They include widespread community pride and support, passionate coaches, incredible youth sports programs, an award-winning maintenance department, and generous contributions from booster groups and private donors. These collective efforts add up.  WCS ranked 35th in Michigan for the overall athletic experience for high school student-athletes in a previous poll conducted by Niche.com and published by MLive. 

    The importance of athletics and other co-curricular activities for young people is well established. The lessons learned from quality athletic experiences complement the academic instruction delivered by our world-class educators. While certainly not the most important aspect of the services provided to our students, Williamston Athletics is another example of what makes our district and community special. Thank you to the many people who make these opportunities possible. Special thanks to our student-athletes for putting in the hard work to be successful in athletics and the classroom.

    In keeping with the theme of this blog post, congratulations to the boys tennis team, now ranked #7 in the state!

    Photos of Hornet State Champions from the past three school years outside the weight room at Williamston High School:

    Wall of Champions, 2023

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  • Homecoming, 2023

    Posted by Adam Spina on 9/21/2023 4:01:00 PM

    District Podcast Special Edition

     

    This edition features Elementary Spanish Language Educator, Carrie Hartges. Listen to it here or use the following links:

     

    Homecoming 2023

    Wishing Williamston students, staff, and alumni a Happy Homecoming! Students participated in a variety of special events and theme days at all our schools this week. We look forward to celebrating our District with the entire Williamston Community on Friday, September 22, 2023. The Homecoming Parade starts at 6:00 p.m., at Cedar Street and Grand River. It moves west traveling through downtown Williamston and ends near the football stadium. This year’s parade Grand Marshals are the WCS Safety Dog Team; Mrs. Serenity Even and Gemini. 

    The Homecoming Football Game kicks off at 7:00 p.m. 

    Go Hornets!

    New inclusive swing sets were installed at KCLH, completing Phase Two of the playground renovation initiative:

    New inclusive swing sets at KCLH

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  • 2023 - 2024 Community Awards

    Posted by Adam Spina on 9/7/2023 8:11:00 AM

    District Podcast Special Edition

     

    This edition features Williamston Middle School Science Educator Deana Dutcher. Listen to it here or use the following links:

     

    2023 - 2024 Community Awards Nominations:  

    The Williamston Area Chamber of Commerce has opened nominations for this year's Community Awards. Among the categories is Educator of the Year. The Community Awards represent a unique opportunity to recognize a member of the WCS team who has made a positive difference for the community and/or your child’s education. 

    Completing a nomination only takes a few minutes and can be done electronically by filling out the form here.

    Thank you in advance for taking the time to nominate a deserving WCS educator. This recognition is greatly appreciated.

    Community Awards Flyer, 2023-2024

    First responders of the Williamston area storms were honored during pre-game activities at the District's Community Night football game:

    Community Night, 2023

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  • First Week Update

    Posted by Adam Spina on 8/24/2023 9:11:00 AM

    District Podcast Special Edition

     

    This edition features Williamston High School Mathematics Educator Steve Chamberlain. Listen to it here or use the following links:

     

    First Week Update:  

    We had a great first week of school! Our entire team appreciates everyone’s patience during the temporary inconvenience caused by the Putnam construction project. A reminder that alternative drop-off and pick-up points are available at McCormick Park, the Fraternal Order of Eagles, and via bus at Larkin Nortman Memorial Field. 

    Thank you for your ongoing support and well wishes for our schools. We are off to a strong start.

    New WCS Staff, 2023:

    Front Row: 

    Katherine Subu - WHS, English Language Arts Teacher; Chelsea Bolas - WHS & WMS, Choir Director; Kristin Gillon - WHS, English Language Arts Teacher; Carrie Kalmar - WHS, Special Education Teacher 

    Back Row:

    Noah Beard - Discovery Elementary, Paraprofessional; Nathaniel Gipson - WMS, Social Worker; Maxwell Fritz - Discovery Elementary, Building Substitute Teacher;  Aubrey Pakenas - WMS, Building Secretary; Sophia Mackoul - WMS, Counselor; Morgan Paulsen - Discovery Elementary, Paraprofessional

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  • Back to School Update

    Posted by Adam Spina on 8/10/2023 1:25:00 PM

    August/September District Podcast

    Listen to it here or use the following links:

     

    Back to School Update:  

    Williamston can be proud of the dedication displayed by our custodial, maintenance, and technology teams this summer. The care shown to our buildings and grounds ensures that students will return this month to clean and comfortable learning environments, award-winning fields of play, and more secure buildings. That this small group of people can achieve so much in a short period of time reflects the pride our community and staff have in our schools. 

    Numerous enhancements are complete or will be complete in the coming weeks. View examples of summer projects in the links below.

    Summer Projects Update

    Summer Facilities Preparations Continue

     

    We look forward to showcasing our buildings to the community during our annual open houses next week. Welcome back!

    2023-2024 School Meal Program:

    WCS is participating in the Michigan School Meals program which provides free breakfast and lunch for all interested WCS students. All students are eligible to participate. However, we ask all families who might qualify or have previously qualified for free or reduced meal benefits to complete the Free and Reduced Meal Application. The information provided will assist the District to identify and support students with a variety of other services. Examples include health and wellness services, participation fee waivers, scholarships, and academic support programming. 

    Learn more about WCS Food Service at the link here.

    Complete the Free and Reduced Application on the WCS Meal Magic site here.

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    Welcome Back from the WCS Transportation Department:

    View a short video welcoming students back for the 2023-2024 school year and reminders on bus safety rules here.

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    Open House Dates and Times:

    Elementary Open House: Wednesday, August 16, 4:30 - 5:30 pm

    Middle School Open House: Thursday, August 17, 4:30 - 5:30 pm

    High School Open House: Thursday, August 17, 5:30 - 6:30 pm

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    Putnam Street Construction Project:

    Putnam Construction Notice

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  • Mid-Summer Update, 2023

    Posted by Adam Spina on 7/19/2023 8:15:00 AM

    District Podcast Special Edition

    This edition features Williamston Middle School Principal, Debra LaFleur. Listen to it here or use the following links:

     

    Mid-Summer Update:  

    Considerable progress has been made preparing the schools and grounds for the return of students and staff next month. The custodial and maintenance teams have put forth tremendous effort completing special projects and renewing instructional spaces. Likewise, the technology department has been busy replacing classroom equipment and upgrading our security infrastructure. This includes installing a new video surveillance program, adding additional security cameras, and conducting multiple tests of the District’s Centurion alarm system.  

    View photographs of facilities projects that have been completed so far this summer here.

    Additional initiatives will be addressed this month and next. Future updates will include details on those items. 

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    Open House Dates and Times:

    Elementary Open House: Wednesday, August 16, 4:30 - 5:30 pm

    Middle School Open House: Thursday, August 17, 4:30 - 5:30 pm

    High School Open House: Thursday, August 17, 5:30 - 6:30 pm

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    Students arrive at Discovery Elementary for the WCS Summer Intervention program:

    WCS Summer Intervention Program, 2023

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Executive Assistant

Phone: (517) 655-4361

Email:

Degrees and Certifications:

Mrs. Betsy Rueckert