Archive | 2014

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Service Learning – November 2014

Service-Learning and building a spirit of service in order to positively impact the world are core components of Honey Creek Community School’s mission. Curriculum-Based Service-Learning happens in the classrooms, but many students are motivated to serve others outside of school hours as well. Each year we recognize sutdents adn families who spend 50+ hours/year serving others with the President’s Volunteer Service Award.

The deadline to submit hours is June 10th, 2015. An awards ceremony will be held the following year to honor all recipients. On the subject of awards ceremonies, we hope to honor those students who earned the 2013-2014 award as soon as our awards arrive.

In the meantime, thank you for supporting our students as they learn to become
philanthropists, giving of their time, talents, and treasures to benefit the common good. In short, thank you for being heroes!

2014 Middle School Cross Country – November 2014

Our grades 5-8 Runners had a successful and exciting season! We competed at a total of eight meets. Three of these were large, very competitive weekend invitationals with many hundreds of runners. Our runners took home many medals and memories.

Our other meets were against our regular competition, including Greenhills, St. Mary’s, St. Thomas, St. Francis, and Hillel Day School. In these meets, our boys team dominated, and our girls were also at the top.

A majority of our runners dramatically improved their times over the season! We celebrated our season with an awards banquet on October 22. Here are some of our awards winners:

Robbie Oates (Grade 7) – MVP
Hannah Jyawook (Grade 5) – MVP
Will Barhite (Grade 6) – Scholar/Athlete
Ruhi Khanna (Grade 7) – Scholar/Athlete
Hannah VanLoo (Grade 5) – Most Improved
Mosiah Selassie (Grade 7) – Outstanding Potential
Roman Quesada (Grade 6) – Outstanding Potential
Spencer Jyawook (Grade 7) – Leadership
Ben Simon (Grade 8) – Leadership

The season was a success due to the efforts of many families. Special thanks go to Alex Foulis, our team manager, Nobuko Jyawook, who helped with coaching, and Patty Deldin, who created a concession stand which raised funds for our new Race Clock.

Thank you – parents and athletes, for a wonderful season!

After School Programs News – November 2014

DISMISSAL DAYS:” February 6th; March 20th & 27th; April 24th; and May 8th. If you have not already
registered online, please register ONE WEEK BEFORE in order to receive the Early Bird Discount. Also,
please remember that you MUST give us 48-hour WRITTEN notice to cancel any pre-registered care without being held financially responsible.

includes: November 27th & 28th; December 22nd-January 2nd; January 19th & 20th; February 16th-20th;  April 6th-10th; May 25th; and June 10th.


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Board News – November 2014

The board of trustees met on October 22. Present: Karen Andrews, Yvette Atkinson,  Christine Kelley, John Lonsway, Nina Nabors, Pamela Reister, Angie Tracey, Greg  White, Al Waters, Shellee Almquist, Sue Hofbauer, Mary Bassett, Karen Giltrow.

Committees reported on their work:

Finance committee: Planning for stabilizing future revenue streams; working to determine if bonuses for teachers are feasible with the current budget; working with numbers that continue to change. John Lonsway is working on grant proposals to Honda and GM for STEM funds.

Foundation Liaisons: Reported on continuing fundraising efforts, including planned end-of-year push for donations. Updated board on ongoing project to determine whether hiring a paid professional would be helpful for the Foundation’s work.

Governance Committee: Presented and led discussion of revised board bylaws and articles of incorporation. These will be submitted to lawyer and WISD before being approved by Honey Creek board.
Communications and Outreach Committee: Reported on continuing efforts to improve communications and build relationships between all HC stakeholders. Subcommittee will be taking a look at our digital design, and another subcommittee is looking at branding.

Teacher Liaison: Reported feedback from teachers, primarily around responses (and some confusion) around financial situation at Honey Creek.

Director’s report: Al reported on his work to bring Honey Creek into compliance with Michigan State Police criminal history records information practices. Also reports that he is drafting more explicit language to create a Religious Expression policy and an LGBTQI policy.

Al also presented some news about finances: Honey Creek no longer qualifies for our Small and Rural Schools grant (~$28,000), we do not qualify for the State’s “performance bonus” this year (~$15,000), and we are required to pay an additional ~$16,000 for teacher retirement fund offset. The state is likely increasing each student’s foundation allowance by $50. Honey Creek will also pursue “Best Practices” award of $50/student. Al has posted a project on a volunteer matching site, Catchafire, for help with branding/marketing and also monetizing the expertise of Honey Creek. Karen Andrews is also exploring a partnership with the Social Entrepreneurship initiative through the EMU business school.

Board offered kudos to Angie Tracey and all the volunteers that contributed to a successful Walk-and-Run-a-Thon, and also to the fantastic teachers who put so much time and effort into the parent-teacher-student conferences.

Next meeting will be November 19 at 5:30 pm in the Pit. Public participation is
always welcomed!

Director’s Note – November 2014

Greetings all,

October has been a very eventful month. The Walk/Run-A-Thon was a huge success, and I’d like to thank all of the volunteers who contributed on what was a rather cold and damp day.

The spirit of community again filled our school at the fall festival. All the work that went into the Harvest Dinner, Haunted Stage, and numerous festival activities made for a fun filled evening for children and adults. To all who contributed, many, many, thanks.

I’d also like to thank those of you who have supported Honey Creek by contributing to our foundation. If you have been following the various political campaigns, you know that the messages about how schools are funded have become rather confusing. On December 2nd, I will hold three meetings to explain how changes in funding continue to threaten our little school. The meetings will last about 40 minutes and will be held at 8:30 am, 3:30 pm, and 5:30 pm. Please consider attending one.

Finally, with the shorter days we will once again experience darkness in the morning and early in the evening. I ask that you remember to drive safely and slowly as you drop off and pick up your children. Keep in mind that the speed limit on campus is fifteen miles per hour.

Thank you, and have a wonderful Thanksgiving!


Board News – October 2014

Three Year Vision

Future Date: September 2017

  • Energized community supporting HCCS goals and lending their expertise
  • Synergy between Board-PTO-Foundation and Faculty
  • All families participate (volunteer hours and financially)
  • Faculty/Administration morale is high
  • The Board:
    • 9 members; 1 “at-large” member
    • Strategic board recruitment
    • Continuity of strategy and leadership from HCCS Board
  • Monetize our expertise
  • Partnership with educational institutions with resources
  • HCCS is a sponsee of a major funder
  • Economies of scale with other Charters
  • Defined partnerships with High Point
  • Robust, structured, consistent After-care enrichments programs
  • Academic Service Learning: teachers receive professional development and students have integrated projects
  • Foreign language curriculum
  • Rewards system and resources are increased/market competitive and titles have been reviewed
  • Adaptive administrative team to support developing needs (team of 3)
  • Predictability of revenue
  • Pipeline of revenue continuity built
  • $500K per year of funding from HCCS Foundation
  • Fund balance at 20-25%
  • Assessed feasibility of replication or expansion
  • Student population is more diverse
  • Strategy in place for facility planning
  • Sustained model of support through interns or college a”liates
  • In-kind donations from local businesses
  • Outcomes measures that track long and short-term success

One Year Plan

Future Date: September 2015

  • Supplemental reward for returning teachers
  • Financial Plan to support goals
    • Fund balance ≥12%
    • Monetize expertise
    • Partner with resources
    • Economies of scale
    • Predictable revenue pipeline
    • Federal/State grant applications
  • $150K from HCCS Foundation
  • Synergy between Board-PTO-Foundation and Faculty
  • Sta”ng plan for Administrative/Curriculum needs
  • Board development:
    • 9 members
    • Flexible/strategic/continuity
    • Updated By-Laws, Articles, Policies
  • Assessment: replication, expansion,

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Director’s Note – October 2014

Dear Community,

September has been a very busy month at Honey Creek. Teachers and students are engaged, and much learning is taking place. This time of year, many of the teachers are completing their initial assessments, which guide them in the process differentiating both their curriculum and instruction to yield greater academic outcomes. Please reserve a slot at the conferences scheduled for October 17th and 24th. This is a great opportunity for you to discuss your child’s present academic level as well as the plan for addressing his or her continued achievement. Part of assuring the continued academic growth of all students is providing for the regular professional development of our teachers. This year, three of our teachers, Salli Kropp, Teresa Gonzalez-Woods, and Cindy Wauer will be participating in the second level of Assessment Literacy training. This experience will qualify them as trainers, and they will be mentoring Tammy Hall, Mary Bassett, Cheryl Quinn, and Johnny Thompson through the initial stages of the program. The training is targeted toward developing the following outcomes:

Students will:

  • Take ownership in their own learning
  •  Reflect on their strengths and weaknesses
  •  Be motivated for further study of topic
  •  Develop a deeper understanding

Teachers will:

  • Align instruction to the learning target
  • ·Allow for differentiation for individual student needs
  •  Collect accurate data for review of student achievement


I want to thank those of you who have worked with Shellee to enlist in our new online system. To date, she, Karen, and other members of our support staff have worked with this system to bring on our general ledger, accounts payable, cash receipts, and student billing and receipts. Additionally, we are close to implementing online enrollment, reenrollment, and attendance records. Shellee has accomplished all of this while working with our auditors to complete a flawless annual audit. Shellee’s quite awesome!


Your School Board has also been hard at work. The Board recognizes the hardships created by cuts in state funding as well as the numerous unfunded mandates, which have been put in place over the past few years. At our Board Retreat in September, the Board established several strategic goals to address funding and other issues. You will find an outline of the Board’s work later in this newsletter. Accomplishing these goals will be a central focus of the Board and administrations work over the next few years.


Finally, please keep in mind our upcoming conferences, walk/run-a-thon ( Oct. 18th) and Fall Festival (Oct. 24th).

Have a fun and safe autumn!


Fun With Science For HC Science Olympiads

Honey Creek elementary students, from grades 2 – 5, have taken part in The Washtenaw Elementary Science Olympiad (WESO) since 2011. WESO is the largest Science Olympiad in the country with over 30 schools competing. Our Honey Creek team philosophy is to have fun with the science. This experience not only teachers our students to learn more about their event’s focus, but they also learn the essentials of teamwork and the value of working together to find a solution. In 2014, Honey Creek’s school team was made up of 15 students comprising 11 teams. Of those teams, 2 medaled and 9 received ribbons. We are very proud of our Honey Creek Science Olympians. To learn more about WESO please visit: http://www.aaps.k12.mi.us/wesowizards.home/about.

Detroit Free Press Recognizes Honey Creek

The Detroit Free Press recognized Honey Creek as an innovative charter school with excellent academic outcomes. In June 2014, the Free Press published the results of an exhaustive investigation of charter schools in Michigan. The Free Press found many things to criticize about other charter schools, but singled out Honey Creek Community School as an example of how to do things right saying in part, “Honey Creek, the first charter school in Washtenaw County and among the first to open in Michigan, fits what some early visionaries wanted: a place where teachers would develop different approaches to education. …The students perform well academically. The school is ranked at the 85th percentile on the Michigan Department of Education’s top-to-bottom listing of all schools in the state, and students score well above their peers statewide in every subject on the Michigan Educational Assessment Program exam.”

Read the Free Press article.

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