Archive | January, 2016

Director’s Note January

Dear families,

I hope that your holidays were filled with family, friends, and fun. While on break, a great deal of work was completed in our building. Ceiling tiles were removed from all of the classrooms in the main building, the area above the tiles cleaned, the grids were painted, and new tiles installed. All of the floors in the building were cleaned and waxed, and the gym floor was completely resurfaced.

You may be aware the State released last year’s M-STEP score the week before break. Parent Reports arrived that Friday, which left little time to get them sent home. I will be sending them home with students on Friday, January 8. Please check your child’s planner or Friday folder for the report. At this time we have not received comprehensive reports from the state, so we can answer specific questions regarding the parent report, but do not have additional information, which should become available within the next few weeks.

The new assessment, the M-STEP, is aligned to our new state standards. It is more comprehensive and requires greater critical thinking and problem solving skills. The state predicted significant reductions in proficiency percentages, and like schools across the state, Honey Creek did see those reductions; however, our students’ performance remains competitive with the highest scoring districts in the county and state. Because this is a new test, historical performance data does not exist.

The tables below will provide you with the percentage of students who scored proficient or better in the state, county, AAPS, and Honey Creek. Honey Creek percentages have been highlighted to indicate where our school falls when compared to the other three. Percentages highlighted in blue indicate that the percentage of Honey Creek students scoring proficient or better exceeds the state, the county, and AAPS. Scores highlighted in green indicate that the percentage of Honey Creek students scoring proficient or better exceeds the state and the county, and Scores highlighted in yellow indicate that the percentage of Honey Creek students scoring proficient or better exceeds the state. If you have questions, fell free to contact you child’s teacher or me.

Happy New Year, Al


Board News January

Honey Creek Community School Board of Trustees met December 16, 2015.

Board Members Present: Karen Andrews, Sara Hoffman (arrived at 5:34p.m.), Christine Kelley, Megan Masson-Minock, Pamela Reister, Steve Rich, Greg White.

Staff and Community Present: Al Waters, Shellee Almquist, Sue Hofbauer, Mary Bassett, Karen Giltrow, administrative intern Caleb.


Board Spotlight: TerraNova Assessment Results

Al reported on the Terra Nova test, given to second through eighth grade. Because the state has changed to the MSTEP, and data is still not available (from spring 2015), it is important to have some data on student progress; Terra Nova fills this role. In general, Honey Creek students are showing improvement of at least one grade level per academic year (although timing is tricky, as TN was skipped last year to avoid overtesting in the spring). Teachers have the Terra Nova data for each student, and are able to start using it now.


Director’s Report:

–All classrooms and other meeting spaces will be thoroughly cleaned over break, including spaces above ceilings. After cleaning, Al Waters will test air quality monitor again, although he has not seen readings lower than acceptable in the past.

–Media Center/Art Positions: Long term art sub seems to be doing fine, and has applied for the permanent position. Media Center position has received no additonal resumes from certified candidates; school may consider filling that position with someone without a Media Center credential. Margaret Wessel-Walker is not returning in January, and someone else will need to fill that role.

–Every Child Achieves Act: Replaces No Child Left Behind. Al Waters expects we will see significant changes coming down from the Michigan Department of Education but these must meet Federal standards. Act renews emphasis on visual and performing arts.

–PA 219 may allow individuals that are retired to return to substitute teach in areas with significant sub shortages.


Finance Committee: Greg White noted that board member and Finance Committee member Andrew Banas resigned. Sara Hoffman noted the committee will meet the first Thursday of January at noon. They will be looking at the budget and what recommendations to bring back to the board, including around teacher raises/bonuses. Board will have the 1st reading of the budget in January to be approved in February.


Foundation Liaison: Karen Andrews reported, indicating that the Foundation has approved new bylaws and board member job descriptions. Bylaws should go up on the website. Immediate goals for the Foundation include: maximizing return on the end of year appeal; increasing the number of monthly recurring donors/families.


Governance Committee: Pamela Reiser reviewed the updating and streamlining of the employee handbook.


Communications and Outreach Committee: Christine Kelley reviewed work of the committee, which includes continued liaising between stakeholders, work on monthly newsletter, website, email issues, and promoting volunteerism in the community. Next meeting scheduled for January 15, 2016 at 8:15a.m. in the Office Conference Room.


Branding Committee: Steve Rich noted his intention/mission was to play around with logo ideas for the community to choose,  not to step on toes. He is open to what the community wants (perhaps the logo for the  anniversary spiritwear). He has communicated with Tammy Hall who was unhappy with the way new logos were heading. A discussion followed with a focus on synergy, to make sure vision is shared by all stakeholders and all stakeholders are invited to collaborate.


Faculty Liaison: Mary Bassett noted the teachers’ confusion about the logo. Also reported teacher concern over lack of raises.


New Business: Replacing board member Andrew Banas. Karen Andrews and Greg White  will reach out to potential members. Board members will also keep in mind we need a replacement for Andrew Banas now and begin to plan for the other two openings at the end of the year.


Other Items of Business by Consensus of the Board: Megan Masson-Minock would like to discuss how the three proposed administrative positions relate at a later time. Al Waters reiterated that the board has not made a decision to hire a third administrator, but are considering the idea.


Board Kudos To:

Katie Gates for a wonderful Winter Performance. Marta England for heading up the craft sale, all the parent volunteers and students who participated.


Next meeting is scheduled for January 27, at 5:30 pm. Public participation is warmly welcomed!

Full board minutes are available at http://honeycreekschool.org/who-are-we/the-honey-creek-team/school-board.

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