Loading
Archive by Author

Weekly Update – June 4

Greetings all,

This is the last update for the school year. I will be providing updates every other week during the summer; however, should there be an important development in plans for next year, I will send that information out immediately.

I’d like to take a moment to thank students, parents and teachers for all of the difficult work they have been doing since June. I recognize that the transition from the classroom to distance learning has not been an easy one, and I applaud all of the effort you put forth.

I don’t think it will be a surprise to any of you that we expect a larger than usual amount of learning loss over the summer. For that reason, I’d like those of you who borrowed an iPad or Chromebook from the school to hold onto it until September. I encourage all students to take advantage of the various educational websites to practice and maintain skills over the summer. This will ease the transition back to the classroom.

For some, that transition may be a bit unsettling as we do not know yet how prevalent the virus will be. For that reason, I have contacted both the WISD and MDE to explore receiving a seat time waiver for the upcoming year. This would allow us to continue providing online instruction for those not ready to return.

I’ve also been asked about library books. At this time, we do not have a process in place to collect and sanitize those books. I’m asking that you return them at the beginning of our next school year when we have a process in place.

I expect the Governor’s Task Force to release guidelines for schools in the next few days. Once I receive it and begin my discussions with High Point, I’d like to bring together a community panel to plan for our opening in August and for any transitions that will need to be made should there be resurgence of the virus. I’ll send out an invitation to participate once more information is available.

Please have a healthy, safe, and pleasurable summer.

Best,

Al

P.S. If you need support for any reason, please do not hesitate to contact me. Here are few links that you may find helpful:

Weekly Update – May 28, 2020

Greetings all,

We had a rather lengthy board meeting last night. Our agenda included a reading of this year’s amended budget and a first reading of next year’s budget. At this time, the state has not provided definite information on funding adjustments for the present year or next year, but the law requires schools to pass a budget for the upcoming year by July 1.

Presently the predictions are that there will be cuts to state funding both this year and next year. Estimates vary from $350 per student to $1200 per student each year.

For the purpose of amending the 2019-2020 budget, we are estimating a $400 per student cut, which is the equivalent of $100,000. Fortunately, we did receive funds through the Payroll Protection Program, which helps maintain our fund balance at just over 14%.

For the 2020-2021 school year, we also projected an additional $400 per student cut — another $100,000 reduction. When factoring in other costs, this reduces our fund balance to 6%, which is above the state requirement but below our policy requirement of 9%. 

As required by law, the Board will pass a 2020-2021 budget at its June meeting. The Board will also be considering a resolution temporarily reducing the fund balance requirement in its policies. The good news is that both budgets maintain present levels of instructional staffing and eliminate the immediate need for pay cuts.

I think the best that can be said about both budgets at this time is that they are starting points. As we learn more information about how our funding will be impacted, we will need to make adjustments. If reductions in funding are greater than we are presently predicting, we will need to reduce expenditures.

As I’m on the topic of money, I’d like to recognize that some families may have seen a reduction of income during this “Stay at Home” order. If you fall into that category, you may be eligible for free or reduced lunch. If so, there are other means of assistance available to you. Here is a link to the free and reduced application:  http://www.lunchapp.com

Finally, the votes have been tallied, and we have three new school board members. Please join me in congratulating Aaron Larson, Bridgette Carr (returning), and Barnaby Pung (returning).

Best,

Al

P.S. If you need support for any reason, please do not hesitate to contact me. Here are few links that you may find helpful:

Weekly Update May 22, 2020

Greetings all,

The end of the year is quickly approaching, and I know that many of you are curious as to what next year will look like. You have probably noticed that some of the local districts are also publishing plans for opening in the fall.

I have been reviewing those plans and speaking with the Washtenaw ISD about their plans for High Point. Presently, the ISD is waiting for guidance from the Governor’s Task Force on reopening schools. I am also waiting for that guidance. We believe it is more prudent to finalize our plan once all of the requirements are known.

I do know that we will need a great deal of personal protective equipment. This will include facemasks for children and adults and face shields, gloves, and gowns for staff. We will also need infrared thermometers for each classroom and administrator.

On a positive note, the school received the Payroll Protection loan and the funds have been deposited in our account.

Our next Board meeting is May 27th at 5:30 pm. At that time we will be conducting our first reading of the new calendar as well as the 2020-21 budget, which reflects cuts due to the COVID 19 virus.  Here is the Zoom link: 

https://umich.zoom.us/j/2564991737

Best,

Al

P.S. If you need support for any reason, please do not hesitate to contact me. Here are few links that you may find helpful:

Weekly Update – May 15, 2020

Greetings all,

I hope this email finds you well. I know this period of isolation has been difficult for many, so I hope that you are finding ways to take care of yourself.

If you have been following the news, you know that the school aid fund is dependent on sales tax. The economic impact of the shutdown has had a significant impact on that fund, and we expect there to be funding cuts for the present school year as well as next year. While there is a great deal of speculation, no amount has been determined at this time. We should learn more in the coming days.

At this time, we still do not know what school will look like, but I am preparing for three scenarios at this time.  This is not a complete plan but rather a synopsis of approaches:

1.     School opens as normal in August with regular temperature checks and hand-washing. Furniture, railing, and door handles to be sanitized several times per day. Arrivals and departures will be staggered, and lunch will take place in the classroom.

2.     Half of a class will attend on alternate days. This could be determined by grade level, but we may also decide to remain multi-age and split classes in half.  Fifty percent of students would attend on Monday and Wednesday, and the other fifty percent will attend on Tuesday and Thursday. The groups would alternate Fridays. On days when the group does not have in person classes, instruction will be delivered on line. We would also take all of the precautions mentioned in item 1.

3.     We continue to deliver instruction online in a formal approach. Attendance will be taken, and work will be submitted and evaluated. We are presently exploring tools to create more consistency and ease of access.

At this time, we are awaiting guidance from the State as to how we will proceed. I’m sure that both infection rates and politics will contribute to the state decision.

We continue to search for new board members. If you have an interest, please contact Matthias Kirch, kirchm@med.umich.edu .

Best,

Al

P.S. If you need support for any reason, please do not hesitate to contact me. Here are few links that you may find helpful:

Weekly Update: May 8, 2020

Greeting all,

As we wrap up another week of distance learning, I find myself addressing questions as to what school will look like in the fall. Honestly, at this time we can only speculate. Much will depend upon the vitality of this virus, and how our elected officials and courts decide to address it.

At this time, public schools are still required to provide 180 days and 1098 hours of instruction. If we do end up moving toward a hybrid program (mix of in class and online instruction) as some have suggested, the state legislature will need to modify the law and provide for “seat time waivers.” There may also be concerns surrounding physical separation and hygiene, as well as the need for personal protective equipment. I’m presently in conversation with the ISD and monitoring how other districts plan to address these concerns. As more information develops, I will share it with you.

We are also waiting for further guidance on offering a summer camp program. At this time school buildings are still closed to students and parents. If that changes in the next few weeks, we will consider our options for offering camp in July and August.

Finally, as this is teacher appreciation week, I’d like to express my appreciation to all our teachers and staff AND to all of the parents who have been working diligently to support their children and keep them engaged in the online learning process. This is not an easy task, and I recognize both your effort and dedication.

Best,

Al

P.S. If you need support for any reason, please do not hesitate to contact me. Here are few links that you may find helpful:

Weekly Update

May 1, 2020

Greetings all,

We are wrapping up our second week of distance learning. So far, I’ve received many positive comments regarding how our faculty has delivered instruction. I know they continue to learn and adapt as we move through this challenging time. I understand that every family’s situation and experience is different, so if you are experiencing challenges, please let me know or speak with your child’s teacher.

On Tuesday, we held a special board meeting to consider submitting an application for a loan under the Payroll Protection Program. The board approved a resolution instructing me to do so. An application has been submitted to the Bank of Ann Arbor. It has been approved by the bank and under review by the Small Business Administration. If approved we will receive loan of $432,822.99. The lion’s share of the loan, $398,820.78 will be forgiven, and the balance, 34,002.21 will be repaid over 2 years or in one lump sum. This will be determined by the board once we have a better picture of funding for the remainder of this year and next year.

At this time, I am waiting for guidance from the state on what our day schedule will look like next year. There are many ideas being floated in the news, but neither the Governor nor the Michigan Department of Education has indicated how we will proceed. Once I learn more I will share it with you.

Be well! 

Al

P.S. If you need support for any reason, please do not hesitate to contact me. Here are few links that you may find helpful:


Al Waters
Executive Director
Honey Creek Community School

Weekly Update

April 24, 2020

Greetings all,

We are rounding out our first week of distance learning. The teachers have put a great deal of time and effort into getting this program rolling, so I hope that it is working out for you. If not, please feel free to provide us with feedback. We are learning as we progress through this process.

The Honey Creek Board of Directors met on Wednesday night. The draft minutes can be found here: http://honeycreekschool.org/wp-content/uploads/2020/04/Board-meeting-minutes-April-22.docx_.pdf

Our next Board meeting will take place on Wednesday May 27th at 5:30. I will send out the ZOOM meeting information once we get a bit closer to the date. Also, we have five Directors stepping down from the Board this June. We are presently searching for candidates. If you have an interest in serving on the Board, or if you know someone who would like to serve, please contact Matthias Kirch at kirchm@med.umich.edu. To serve on the board you must be a citizen of the United States and live in Washtenaw County and cannot be employed by the Washtenaw Intermediate School District or Honey Creek. Spouses of employees are also restricted from board membership.

We understand that this time of separation and isolation impacts families differently. Please keep us in mind if you find yourself needing support. You may contact me directly or reach out to any of our staff members. Below is a list of a few of the local resources.

Stay Some, Stay Healthy, Stay Safe,

Al


Al Waters
Executive Director
Honey Creek Community School

Weekly Update 4-17-20

 April 17, 2020

Greetings all,

For the past several days the faculty and I have been working together to finalize our Continuity of Learning Plan. The plan has been approved by the ISD and has been sent on to the State. You can review the plan here:  http://honeycreekschool.org/wp-content/uploads/2020/04/HCCSMICLPlan-Final.pdf

We will begin our distant learning program on Tuesday, April 21st. If you have not yet received a schedule from your child’s teacher, expect to do so by Monday.

We have also been readying devices for those who indicated on our surveys that they need one. The devices and contracts are ready and we will distribute them on Monday morning from 9:00 am to 11:30 at the Willow Run campus. Please pull up to the front door and do not leave your car. We will deliver the device(s) and contract to you. At this time the building remains closed to all individuals with the exception of essential workers. Once things open up, we will develop a process for returning items to families.

In the last week I’ve received a few inquiries regarding construction progress on Wagner Road campus. The Governor’s emergency order did not define construction as an essential activity; therefore, all progress on the building has stopped.  At this time, I do not know how that will impact the completion date. A construction meeting is planned for the end of the month, and I hope to know more at that time.

Our virtual board meeting will take place on ZOOM on April 22nd t 5:30 pm. Here is the access information:

Join Zoom Meeting
https://zoom.us/j/452242321?pwd=c2xmZUtDK2ltcVhKSnVIM0VFWTVGQT09

Meeting ID: 452 242 321
Password: 068645

Continuity of Learning and COVID-19 Response Plan

Distance Learning Plan

I have attached Honey Creek’s distance learning plan to this post. We should be able to officially start on Tuesday.

Updates

—————————————————————-

April 7, 2020

Greetings all:

I hope that all of you are doing well and have an opportunity to go outside and enjoy this beautiful day.  I have needed to visit the school on a few occasions, and I can tell you that it is a lonely place. The administration and staff miss the students–their learning, their laughter, and yes, even their misbehavior. I look forward to September when the Honey Creek community can be physically together again.

As you know, yesterday morning, Governor Whitmer issued an Executive Order which ended “face to face” instruction for the present school year.  The order also requires each school district to develop a Continuity of Learning Plan, which will need to be approved by the Washtenaw ISD.

I met with the faculty this morning to review the order and begin discussion on the plan. We will meet again on Monday to continue that work. Even so, there is much that is still unknown as both the Michigan Department of Education and the Washtenaw ISD are presently developing the templates which will outline the requirements of the plan. As we have several issues to sort through, I ask for your patience and understanding while the faculty and I work through the details. Once the plan is complete, I will email you the plan, and I will post it on our website.

I’d also like to thank all of you for taking the time to complete our online survey. While I am still sorting through all of the data, the information that you provided illustrates some of the challenges we will face in providing equitable instruction.

I know that this is a confusing time for many, and with education being limited to enrichment the past few weeks, some have questioned the value in participating in our online activities. As we transition to curriculum-based programming, I urge you to have your child participate. By doing so, we can help support your child’s social and educational growth, though we realize it will never replace the classroom experience.

Finally, the WISD COVID-19 web page is running, and will be updated with additional resources as they’re announced. It includes school meal sites, plus a number of community agencies and businesses offering food. Please check this page as new information becomes available.  You can access it and share it with this link: www.washtenawisd.org/covid-19 

Stay Safe, Stay Healthy, Stay Home!

Al

—————————————————————-

March 27, 2020

Hello Honey Creek Community;

UPDATES FOR THIS WEEK March 27, 2020 (Working From Home)

I know that this is a very trying time for all of us.  There are many ways we are working to keep our community together.  If you are in need of something please do not hesitate to reach out to your teachers, myself, or our board to find out if there are resources we can help you with.

Please remember as you practice social distancing that connecting with others is important to all of us.

Updates from the Board Meeting Wednesday March 25th

(NOTE: All public meetings have been canceled or moved to online venues.  Please contact your meetings chair to find out more.)

Unsurprisingly, the main topic at the Board meeting was the school closure and what directions we currently have from the state and WISD. Here is what I know right now.

·      Governor Whitmer’s Stay at Home order extends the school closure through April 13, 2020

·      The Michigan Department of Education announced that online learning would not count toward a district’s school days for the year.

·      The Washtenaw Superintendents’ Association issued a statement to educators on March 18. The statement encourages schools and teachers to reach out to students and families to maintain relationships and provide enrichment opportunities. It also clarifies that at this time teachers will not:

o   Collect work for the purpose of grading or formal evaluation

o   Require participation in any learning or enrichment activities

o   Give assignments that are expected to be completed for a grade

·      Since there is much unknown at this time, the board of trustees asked me to prepare for the possibility of online learning. I have sent out a community survey and will follow up with families I don’t hear from or those needing assistance accessing internet or computers for their students.

·      Trinity Transportation, the company providing bussing, had asked for payment after schools were initially closed. I have followed up with the company to see if non-payment would be an option, since our contract specifies that payment is for days of service. I will communicate back to the board and parents using the bus service once I have additional information.

The annual superintendent evaluation was approved by the board and was scored as “Effective.”

The communications committee is working with a volunteer web designer to update the HCCS website. The current timeline will have the designer present a proposal in May.

The board also clarified the procedure for handling requests for board and/or school documents: 

·      If a trustee receives a request for Board documents, the trustee will direct the person requesting to the website for any items that are posted there.

·      For documents not posted on the school website, trustees will refer the person requesting to the FOIA procedures posted on the school website. 

·      This procedure’s purpose is to maintain consistency, allow for accurate tracking of requests, and to ensure compliance with FOIA.  Thank you for understanding.

Some good news from the PTO:

·      The PTO has started Virtual Bagel Day.  Please join us from 8-8:30 on Fridays with your own bedhead, bagel, and beverage.  Last week we had several families join and really enjoyed it.  Here is the Zoom Link

https://umich.zoom.us/j/868799776

·      The PTO has also started “Story Time with a Phoenix.”  See the link below: youtube.com/channel/UC4Of2V1ccs3Yb0LEyBeuGFw  

MORE GOOD NEWS:

We have a waiting list for all grades except K/1and 2.  This is great news.   

Please remember to AnnArborFamily.com and vote for your favorite camp!

Stay healthy and safe

Al

—————————————————————-

March 20, 2020

Hello Honey Creek Community:

UPDATES FOR THIS WEEK March 20, 2020 (The Transitional Building)

Current events: During this extended school closureI am closely following the decisions pertaining to education that are being made by both our state and federal agencies. The rules presently in place were not created for our present situation, yet we are bound by them.

Here are a few things that I do know:

·      The U.S. Department of Education has suspended the requirement for state testing this year. We are waiting for our state legislature to do the same.

·      Online instructional requirements include providing devices and broadband access to any student who does not presently have the access. It also requires that all special education services be provided should a school provide online instruction.

·      MDE recently announced that online instruction may not count toward the state required 180 days and 1098 hours of instruction.

·      The legislature recently voted down a measure to waive the ten days schools are  shutdown. At this time, I understand the ten days will be made up at the end of the year.

·      I’ve attached a letter from the county superintendents that articulates what Washtenaw County schools may do or will not do during this period.

Board: Our next Board meeting will be on March 25th, at 5:30 pm. this will be an online meeting as the Governor has recently suspended the Open Meetings Act.

Topic: Honey Creek Board Meeting
Time: Mar 25, 2020 05:30 PM America/Detroit

Join Zoom Meeting
https://zoom.us/j/2564991737

Meeting ID: 256 499 1737

One tap mobile
+16468769923,,2564991737# US (New York)
+13126266799,,2564991737# US (Chicago)

Dial by your location
        +1 646 876 9923 US (New York)
        +1 312 626 6799 US (Chicago)
        +1 408 638 0968 US (San Jose)
        +1 669 900 6833 US (San Jose)
        +1 253 215 8782 US
        +1 301 715 8592 US
        +1 346 248 7799 US (Houston)
Meeting ID: 256 499 1737

WILLOW RUN Transportation Plan:

As the Governor has urged schools to continue paying all school employees, including contract employees. We will continue paying for our bus service through this shutdown period. Refusing to do would put this service in jeopardy upon our return.

Reminders: Willow Run’s schedule is 8:20-3:15 every day.

Staffing: We are down 3 substitute teachers. Positions are posted.

Enrollment: Enrollment meetings have been canceled. We will reschedule once the shutdown has ended.

Please stay healthy!

Al

Font Resize
Contrast
Close
loading...