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Board News January 2018

Hello Honey Creek Community, 

The Honey Creek School Board, in cooperation with Al and Shellee, has decided to move forward in posting a position for a full time principal for Honey Creek. This position will be key in succession planning and maintaining the consistency of the school culture at the administrative level in times of transition. The board has reviewed and approved the position description and a hiring committee will be moving forward with full board support to post the position immediately. This is an exciting opportunity to grow our administration in a way that will enhance support for students, teachers, staff, and the community. The board will do its best to keep the community informed, as appropriate, as the process moves forward. 

 

Regards,

The Honey Creek Community School Board of Directors

 

 

Honey Creek Community School
Minutes of November 29, 2017

Board members present: Megan Masson-Minock, Victoria Bennett, Bryan Cole, Bridgette Carr, Melanie Hagan, Wayne Millette, Barnaby Pung, Andy Sheibar.                                            

Staff and Community members present: Al Waters, Shellee Almquist, Megan Rodgers, Mary Bassett, Karen Giltrow, Sue Hofbauer, Simona Goldin, Jennifer Crayne.

Public Participation

Honey Creek parent Simona Goldin shared her concerns on the following:

  • Academic Service Learning: Feels there is a loss of attention to academic service learning. Stressed that academic service learning is a very important component to the curriculum and also to the students.
  • Student Diversity: Our student population lacks diversity. We need to do better to reflect the residents of the Washtenaw County community. Encourages Honey Creek to recruit in the community with this in mind.  
  • Staff Diversity: Need to ensure the people we hire are diverse and also reflect the entire community. Kids need to see representations of themselves in the classroom. One idea would be to always have external searches to ensure equity amongst our faculty and our students.
  • Assessment: Would like the board to consider adding the following to the Director’s assessment to include/improve diversity in all areas of the school.

 

Consent Agenda

Bridgette Carr requested the following amendment to the October 29, 2017 board minutes under the Foundation Liaison report to change the first sentence to read; Melanie Hagan noted they are hiring a part-time book keeper and that she will be reviewing the contract on her own person time. Motion was approved by all board members present.

 

Board Spotlight

Director’s Evaluation: The Director’s evaluation date has changed and is scheduled to be completed in January. The Governance committee has asked Al Waters to create a list of goals and share them will the board in January. Bryan Cole noted we use the same evaluation tool the public schools use, and since Honey Creek Community School is different from the public schools, other things need to be considered that are not addressed in the public school evaluation tool. Bryan also wants to ensure the evaluation tool is more sensitive to Al and more fitting to Honey Creek. The current process now includes a board survey to be sent back to Bryan Cole and the MASB, which will come back with comments and feedback for a starting point. Bryan Cole requests the board surveys be sent back to him by January 7th.  

 

Directors Report

Assessment

  • Al Waters reported the Terra Nova Assessments are completed and he expects we will do well on them.  
  • M-STEPs have been altered again. The Michigan Department of Education has taken out the performance tasks and added machine scored items to replace some of the written responses. This results in a shorter amount of time taking the test. Grades 3rd-8th will take a ELA and Mathematics benchmark assessment two or three times a year.

Extended Learning Time Grant

Honey Creek received an extended learning time grant of $5,670.00. The grant will fund the Summer Literacy Camp.  

Consolidated Grant and School Improvement Plan

State’s Title 2 grant has been increased. After the final amount of the grant is determined, the School Improvement Plan will be updated to benefit from the Title 2 increase along with the addition of Title 4 funds. Faculty is sharing their ideas as how to best distribute the Title funds.

Discussion followed and included

  • The handout distributed by Al Waters on Washtenaw Intermediate School District’s beginning teacher starting salaries and their top teacher salaries.
  • Question regarding since the number of testing hours is less, are the teachers receiving enough resources for time being taken out of their normal schedule?
  • Al Waters asked Amber Byers to look at a formal restore of justice in the way people treat each other for an upcoming training at the WISD.
  • Wayne Millette asked where funds are most needed and if as a board member he could just write a check to the school. Megan Rodgers replied she has many ideas where funds could be used and noted the music department needs funding.

 

Faculty Liaison Report:  No report.

 

Foundation Liaison Report

Megan Masson-Minock thanked the Honey Creek Board members and the Foundation Board members for setting aside time to attend the casual gathering to meet and get to know each other tomorrow night at the Session Room.

Melanie Hagan attended the Foundation meeting and noted the committee spoke about ways to separate the Board and the Foundation. They are currently updating their by-laws and sent out campaign letters yesterday. The Foundation board hired a book keeper. Next meeting is December 4, 2017 at 6:00p.m.

 

PTO Report

Megan Masson-Minock attended the PTO meeting and noted Al Waters spoke about the audit and the 6% increase in revenue for the fiscal year ending in June. The PTO gave money to the Honey Creek teachers to spend on items for their classrooms. Teachers were thrilled with the gift from the PTO. Bridgette Carr will attend the PTO meeting in December and report back to the board.

 

Finance Committee Report  

The committee discussed the strategic plan goals that included:

  • Outline of Revenue Plan/3-5 Year Business Plan and the steps needed to achieve the goal.
  • Reviewed the updated 2017-18 budget request and recommends the board approve it.
  • 2018-19 Budget DRAFT for board to review.

 

Governance Committee Report

Committee met on November 9, 2017 to discuss the 2018 Director’s evaluation and future Director evaluation planning.

  • Director’s Evaluation discussed under the Board Spotlight on the agenda.
  • Al Waters is resubmitting the School Improvement Plan to include projects eligible for Title IV funds.
  • WISD will be contacting Al Waters regarding the upcoming Charter reauthorization.
  • Al Waters and Shellee Almquist continue to work on the compliance calendar.
  • Proposal to use outside resources to redraft HCCS policies.

 

Communications/Outreach Report

Andy Sheibar noted the committee will make their 90 day strategic plan goal.

Communication Plan  

Outlined types of content and vehicles to deliver the content using a n applicable template. Started developing evergreen guidelines to create and distribute consistent and effective communication. Plan to have a final draft for the board’s consideration at the January 2017 board meeting.

ADA Compliance for Website

Al Waters and Andy Sheibar have talked with potential partners to assist in the ADA compliance. The ISD can add us to an existing program (at no cost) that can identify areas that are out of conformity and give a monthly report on what areas need to be fixed.

Social Media

Committee determined the maintenance of the Honey Creek Face Book presence can no longer be a volunteer effort and must become a part of someone’s job.

Family Contributions

Megan Masson-Minock suggested reviewing the survey and make it easier to complete to help increase responses. Next year send it out through Survey Monkey so it only gets sent out to those who haven’t participated.  

Honey Bunches of Notes

Andy Sheibar will speak with Jessica P’Simer and Zane Almquist regarding the site’s structure to consolidate the content in one place.  

Liaison with Faculty, PTO, Foundation

Committee is seeking faculty involvement on the committee.

Next meeting will be December 15, 8:15a.m. HCCS Conference Room.

 

Sustainability Report

Barnaby Pung noted the committee discussed a meeting engaging the community on how can they host us, so we can support. Karen Andrews will facilitate.

Megan Rodgers will present to the board at the December 20, 2017 meeting and will bring a draft of Honey Creek’s succession planning.

 

Facilities Report

  • Al Waters met with the architects yesterday and shared he is not sure where everyone will go. We may not get Room C-8. B-Wing plans include two science rooms.  
  • Al Waters is working with Dianne Sevigny on a RFP for a possible new cleaning company. She has brought in an engineer in to look at the vents regarding clean air.
  • A vestibule will be added by the front doors of the school and they will take the the canopy over the entrance doors down.
  • Shellee Almquist asked if they could put a button in her office to lock down the front doors.

 

Old Business

Honey Creek Form 990 and 8879-EO

Bryan Cole moved, supported by Barnaby Pung to approve the Honey Creek Form 990 and Form 8879-EO. Motion was approved by all board members present.

 

New Business

Updated Articles of Incorporation

Al Waters reported the ISD should have read the 1st reading of the Updated Articles of Incorporation at their board meeting last night and will have a second reading. Once approved Al Waters will sign them.

Resolution to Support School Finance Research Collaborative

Al Waters distributed handout. A discussion followed and included Megan MassonMinock asking if we should we adopt the resolution or send it on to the State delegation from Washtenaw County? Al Waters recommended if we value education we should adopt the resolution. Barnaby Pung agreed we should adopt the resolution to fund schools more equitably, send it to the ISD and then the state to have our voice heard.  

Motion was approved by all board members present.

1st Reading of the Budget FY 2018

This item was added to the agenda. Shellee Almquist reviewed first reading of the 2018 fiscal year budget and noted the big pieces are the Instructional Assistants and Principals. Fund Balance is less than 9% which is more than the state average. The 2nd Reading of the Budget FY 2018 will be on the December 20, 2017 board agenda.

Discussion followed and included:

  • Could Sustainability committee help with funds? Megan Rodgers hopes to work with the ISD.   
  • Al Waters feels we should look for a new administrator/principal now, even if it takes six months.
  • Bryan Cole supports the budget however has concerns with the low fund balance. Expressed the need to address sustainability and succession planning now.
  • Wayne Millette Honey Creek is a special school and families are clamoring to get in therefore we need to keep that in mind and may need to do some uncomfortable things.
  • Victoria Bennett noted she is unfamiliar with budgets being a new board member. Feels some staff fatigue is going on and suggests bringing in new ideas and energy to the school.
  • Melanie Hagan agrees with adding new energy to the staff and increasing the staff diversity. Favors the 2018 budget.
  • Andy Sheibar sees value bringing new energy into the school and feels you can promote from within.  9% fund balance isn’t a problem.
  • Barnaby Pung asked how do we sustain small classroom sizes? The board was asked to communicate ideas on the budget to Shellee Almquist and Bridgette Carr.

 

Board Kudos

  • Amber Byers for coaching Cross Country and Ann Kovacs for her work on getting the new uniforms and for the water treats.
  • All the parents and staff who helped organize and supervise the Middle School Dance, especially Lara Thomas.
  • Teachers and students for their hard work on the Terra Nova tests.

 

Preparation for Board Communication

Andy Sheibar will prepare a summary of the board meeting for the HBON Newsletter

 

Public Participation

Jennifer Crayne introduced herself to the board and announced she will be taking the board minutes at the board meetings, replacing Karen Giltrow.

 

Adjournment

Wayne Millette moved to adjourn the meeting at 7:15p.m.

Director’s Note January 2018

Happy New Year!

 

It appears that winter has decided to maintain its presence this year, and with that, we have not only slick roads, but also increasing growing piles of snow. These snow piles are often a great attraction to students of all ages. Unfortunately, they also border our parking lot and drive. Children playing on these mounds often make fast descents, planned or unplanned, which place them in danger. We want to keep all students safe, so please join us in restricting students from playing on the snow piles near the drive or parking lot.

 

Important events for this month include our enrollment meetings on January 16th from 5:30 to 7:30 and January 20th from 10 till noon.  Our Curriculum Celebration is set for January 19th from 4:30 to 6:30, and Washtenaw International High School will be meeting with our eighth grade students at 1:30 that afternoon. Finally, we have a noon dismissal on January 26th.

 

Stay warm and safe!

 

Al

Board News December 2017

Honey Creek Community School
Board of Trustees Meeting
October 25, 2017
Board Members Present: Wayne Millette, Victoria Bennett, Megan Masson-Minock, Melanie Hagan, Barnaby Pung, Matthias Kirch, Bryan Cole
Staff and Community Members Present: Al Waters, Shellee Almquist, Megan Rodgers, Mary Bassett, Karen Giltrow, Sue Hofbauer
Public Participation: None
Board Spotlight: 2016-2017 Audit Review 
Al Waters gave a power point presentation reviewing the 2016-2017 Honey Creek Community School Audit. Discussion included the question on whether or not Yeo & Yeo might help with the backing up of Quickbooks and Retirement. Shellee Almquist replied they would not. Megan Masson-Minock requested Shellee Almquist to let her know if she needed any help. Fund Balance is at $534,000. Review Honey Creek Form 990 and 8879-EO Al Waters asked the board to read section B #15 Policy before the November 29, 2017 board meeting. It will be on the November agenda under Old Business.
Director’s Report
Written report in board packet. Facilities Al Waters reviewed the remodeling recommendations sent to the ISD for the B-Wing, C-Wing, and the D&A corridor and noted the remodeling will happen in stages and would take two to three years. Discussion followed.
School Finance Research Collaborative 
Al Waters participated on the Very Small School District Panel for the School Finance Research Collaborative on October 17th and 18th. The panel came up with how many FTE staff it would take to run a small, general education school, a preschool, and a school for high risk students by percentage of high risk students and special needs students. Final report due in January and will be shared with the board.
Assessments
Terra Nova testing for 3rd through 8th graders will begin early November. Wayne Millette congratulated Al Waters on Honey Creek’s Terra Nova test scores being higher than surrounding schools. A hand out on the Spring M-STEP 2016-17 proficiency rate comparison results were reviewed with the board. Significant changes to the Spring 2018 M-Step will include:
– Removal of all performances tasks in ELA grades 3,4, 6 and 7
– Removal of short constructed response items in ELA for all grade levels
– Addition of writing a text analysis in ELA for all grade levels
– Assessing science in 5th and 8th grades (change from 4th and 7th)
– All students in grade 5th and 8th will participate in a science field test (replaces an operational test)
Al reported Federal funds are coming our way. A new grant Title 4 $10,000 and Title 3 $3,000 with focus on climate and openness in the school.
Faculty Liaison
No report.
Foundation Liaison 
Melanie Hagan noted they are hiring a part-time bookkeeper and that she will be reviewing the contract. Letters will be going out to to the community in November, Spring and the beginning of the next school year.
PTO Report
Written report in board packet. Barnaby Pung reviewed the report that included the following:
• PTO is interested in seeing the Strategic Plan
• PTO discussed grants and how to write them
• Passed a budget that included $10,000 for teachers to buy materials for their classrooms that can be used over the next several years
• Al Waters was asked about the school’s start time and converting the pool from chlorine to salt water. WISD has no plans to do that.
Strategic Plan Reports
Finance Committee
Committee did not meet.
Governance Committee
Written report in board packet. Bryan Cole noted the Director’s Evaluation will be on the November agenda. Melanie Hagan mentioned the upcoming MASB Director Evaluation conference for any board members interested.
Communications/Outreach
Megan Rodgers attended the meeting and shared the committee is looking at putting together a sample communication plan for emails, newsletter and other communications.
Sustainability Committee
Barnaby Pung noted the committee is moving forward on their 90 day goals. Combining 1 & 2 organizational comparisons with draft recommendations for the meeting.
Facilities Committee
No report.
Old Business
None.
New Business
2017-2018 Strategic Plan 
Wayne Millette moved to accept the 2017-2018 Strategic Plan supported by Bryan Cole. Motion was approved by all board members present.
Board Kudos
• Families and Staff who participated in the grade level Popsicle Socials
• Angie Tracey and all the parents and staff who helped with the Run-A-Thon and especially to all of the students who worked so hard to raise money for the school
• Teachers, parents and students for participating in conferences, and to the families who contributed food for the teachers on conference days and special thanks to Marolyn Valenzuela for organizing and cleaning up
• Everyone involved with the Fall Festival and Harvest Dinner, especially Sherry MacKay, Julie de Jong, Jody Klein, Sarah Hakala, Ann Kovacs, Ilia Mantle, Mary Johnson and Buddy Paul
• Shellee Almquist for coaching Field Hockey
• Carla DeVries for organizing the Menchie’s fundraiser and all who supported the fundraiser
• Megan Rodgers for sending out daily emails to the community for the “Tools for Schools” $1,000 from Old National Bank and to all the Honey Creek families who participated
• Honey Creek Teachers for all their hard work with students contributing to good M-STEP scores.
Meeting was adjourned at 7:00p.m.

Director’s Note December 2017

Greetings all:

 

With the start of December came the winter winds as well as a number of activities at Honey Creek. Please keep in mind that our craft sale and Winter Performance will take place on Thursday December 14th.  The winter break will begin on December 25th and continue through January 5th.

 

Once we return, our enrollment process for new families will begin with our two enrollment meetings. The first will take place on Tuesday, January 16th from 5:30 to 7:30 pm and the second is scheduled for Saturday, January 20th from 10:00 am till noon. Families enrolling siblings need not attend, but if you know of a family that is interest in enrolling a kindergarten child in Honey Creek, please share this information.  Families with children entering other grades are welcome, but should know that chances of being admitted are slim.

 

Third through eighth grade students completed the TerraNova just before Thanksgiving. Results will be available in January.

 

The Michigan Department of Education will be altering the M-STEP assessment by eliminating all performance tasks and adding machine scored items to replace a portion of the written responses. The table below indicates predicted test durations for the various grade levels.

 

Subject Grade 3 Grade 4 Grade 5 Grade 6 Grade 7 Grade 8
ELA Computer Adaptive 2 hours 2 hours 2 hours 2 hours 2 hours 2 hours
Math Computer Adaptive 1.5 hours 1.5 hours 1.5 hours 2hours 2 hours 2 hours
Science Field Test NA NA .75 hours NA NA .75 hours
Social Studies Part 1 NA NA .5 hours NA NA .5 hours
Social Studies Part 2 NA NA .5 hours NA NA .5 hours
Estimate total time 3.5 hours 3.5 hours 5.25 hours 4 hours 4 hours 5.75 hours

 

Additionally, grades three through eight will take a benchmark assessment in ELA and Mathematics two or three times per year beginning in 2018-19. The state will provide an approved list of vendors for the benchmark assessments later in the spring.

 

I wish you a safe and peaceful holiday season!

 

Al

 

Director’s Note November 2017

Greetings all,

 

Its that time of year when we need begin planning for winter weather. We do not follow Ann Arbor Public Schools, and our decision to close will be based on predictions and actual conditions on the ground. Generally, Honey Creek will not close for cold weather; however, if the cold is accompanied by blowing and drifting snow causing unsafe driving conditions we will close. Once the decision is made, we will send out an email, post on our website, notify local television and radio stations, and if you have registered, send a text through REMIND. If you would like to receive text notifications of school closings, please use the link below and follow the instructions on the page. If you have subscribed to text notifications in prior years, you do not have to sign up again.

 

Sign up to receive Remind texts for school closings

 

Finding a balance between maintaining a safe environment and providing community access is always a challenge. To keep the school secure and safe we need the support and cooperation of our families. Here are a few of our expectations:

 

  • Do not exceed the posted speed limits on the driveway.

 

  • Pull up to the curb when picking up or dropping off students. Do not double-park.

 

  • The C-Wing drive is only to be used for bus service and deliveries. Do not pick up or drop off students in that area.

 

  • Enter the building through the main entry. The doors by the cafeteria and A-Wing are for staff entry and exit only. (I will unlock the doors near the cafeteria for after school and evening events).

 

  • Never block a door open.

 

Your cooperation in keeping the building secure and safe for all of the building users is greatly appreciated.

 

Our third through eighth grade students will begin taking the TerraNova assessment in November. Results of the assessment will be available in early December.

 

Finally, I’d like to thank all of you who participated in the “Tools for Schools” challenge. Your participation allowed us to pull ahead in the final days, and we accepted a check for $1000.00 from Old National Bank on October 25th.

 

Wishing all a wonderful Thanksgiving!

 

Al

Board News October 2017

Honey Creek Community School

Board of Trustees Meeting

September 23, 2017

 

Board Members Present: Bryan Cole, Bridgette Carr, Matthias Kirch, Barnaby Pung, Melanie Hagan, Megan Masson-Minock, Andy Sheibar, Victoria Bennett

Staff and Community Members Present: Al Waters, Karen Andrews, Megan Rodgers, Mary Bassett

 

Public Participation: Tom Kovacs

Tom made a request of the Board to change Megan Rodgers’ title from Sustainability Officer to, e.g., Development Officer. He feels the current title is confusing to parents and the public, undermines his professional and personal work, and could potentially harm Megan’s career.

The Sustainability Committee discussed this at their last meeting, and agreed that it would be left to Al Waters and Megan Rodgers to decide.

 

School Meal and Bad Debt Policies

With regard to the second reading of the School Meal policy and the Bad Debt policy, there were no further questions from the Board.

The Board moved to accept the policies as proposed.

 

New Business

2016-2017 Audit completed by Yeo & Yeo

Reviewed financial statements, compliance, and internal controls

FINANCIALS

Financial statements were unmodified

 

COMPLIANCE

No current issues

Cash reconciliation weakness has been corrected

Up to speed with Title II requirements

 

INTERNAL CONTROLS

A significant deficiency* was noted by the auditors regarding the recording of retirement and wage statements
* Note this is the least serious type of deficiency

These statements need to be signed à this is strictly an accounting rule, but the auditors are suggesting we need to do this

The school needs to understand they have a liability to the teachers

Al Waters to research further why this is a requirement

For contract andf part-time employees, the statement serves as a reminder that their compensation is at a certain level

The Board moved to accept the 2016-2017 audit with additional review.

 

Strategic Plan Committee Reports

Finance Committee Report:

No questions for the committee.

 

Governance Committee Report:

No questions for the committee.

Communications / Outreach / Branding Committee Report:

No questions for the committee.

 

Coming Meetings / Events

October 20 – Fall Festival

October 25 – Board Meeting @ 5:30

 

Nothing from Staff

 

Meeting was adjourned @ 8:35 a.m.

Director’s Note October 2017

Greetings all,

 

The school year is off to a great start, and I appreciate all of the effort to get students here on time each day. I know that the policy was put into place rather abruptly, so I’d like to address some of the concerns that have been brought to my attention.

 

Let me start by stating that the intent of this policy is to address chronic tardiness and absenteeism. This has been a major problem in Washtenaw County, and Honey Creek has also experienced issues regarding excessive tardiness and absenteeism. I’m also aware that for many, this has not been an issue.

 

We understand that many families have legitimate reasons for absences and tardies, and we are happy to work with you regarding those absences and tardies.  Of course, our goal will always be to increase attendance; however, this often requires working with families to assure appropriate services are in place to address the challenges impacting attendance. Communicating with us is key to addressing attendance issues and identifying possible solutions. Below is a list of criteria for considering an absence as excused after the sixth absence. Documentation is required:

 

  • Student’s illness/medical reason
  • Medical appointments (including but not limited to medical, counseling, dental or optometry)
  • Student’s observance of a religious holiday
  • Death in the student’s family
  • Other emergency beyond the control of the student or the student’s family
  • Mandated court appearance (written documentation from court required)
  • Placement by Juvenile Court in detention, shelter care, foster care or residential placement
  • Extraordinary educational opportunities as determined and pre-approved by district administrators (This can include family travels. Please check with your child’s teacher prior to the trip)
  • Absences related to parent/guardian’s military service
  • ▪Homelessness

 

This policy has already had a very positive impact on our attendance. We have seen a significant decline in the number of late arrivals, and our observation is that student learning time has been increased by as much as 100 minutes per week.  Additionally, we have had the ability to connect families to county services previously unknown to them. Implementation of this policy has enhanced the educational opportunities for all of our students.

 

We also know that there are events that take place such as inclement weather and accidents. We keep a record of those events on a calendar so that they can be noted in the event we are required to file a report to the county.

 

I’d also like to ask you to keep safety in mind. The speed limit on campus is 15MPH and 5MPH on the drive in front of the school. We have many children transitioning to and from vehicles, so please be careful as you approach and depart the curb. Please be aware and keep the children safe.

 

On another note, I’m pleased to announce that Marta England began working as our new art teacher on October 2. Marta has both a Bachelors degree and a Masters degree in fine arts. She was granted temporary certification by the Michigan Department of Education and will be pursuing full certification.

 

Finally, I’d like to thank all of you for your participation in the “Tools for Schools Challenge.” We were falling behind for a few days, but you chipped in when it really counted.

 

Picture day is October 6, and conferences are scheduled for October 13th and 20th.  The Fall/STEM Festival will take place on the 20th. Watch for messages from the PTO regarding exact times.

 

I’m looking forward to seeing all of you at our upcoming events!

 

Best,

 

Al

 

Director’s Note June 2017

Greetings All,

 

It’s hard to believe that the school year is quickly coming to an end. Once again we have a full cohort of eighth grade students graduating. The celebration will take place on June 13th at 5:00. If you have not yet attended one of our graduations, you are in for a treat. School ends the following day at noon.

 

On June 19th, construction of the roundabout at Scio Church and Wagner Road will begin. Construction of the roundabout is expected to take two months. The intersection will be closed to traffic during this time.

 

We will be beginning construction on campus at the same time. The Intermediate School District will be adding two modular classrooms to support campus wide renovations. This will require both Teresa and Liz to pack their classrooms and store all of their belongings in the other two modular classrooms. Cindy and Jon will also need to pack up their rooms to prepare for renovations in those areas. While not concrete, the present plan includes temporarily moving Middle School Science and Middle School Math to the new High Point renovation modular classrooms. They will be housed there until January when they will be moved along with the 4/5 science classroom into B-Wing. This will be their permanent location.

 

Finally, I’d like to wish all of you a wonderful summer. May you do something relaxing, something new, something challenging, and something personally rewarding!

 

Best,

 

 

Al

Board News May 2017

Board Meeting Summary from April 26

 

Director’s Report

  • Maturation Curriculum: The middle school maturation curriculum has been approved internally. Next step is community review.
  • Expansion: Discussions with AALC are ongoing.
  • Testing: Ongoing; we are nearing the end of the first testing cycle.
  • Sustainability Officer: A candidate for the Sustainability Officer has been identified and an offer has been presented. Staffing: Alexa Korpal will be starting her maternity leave on May 8. Casey Fry will be her long term substitute. Kim Gallagher will fill in for Casey as a second grade instructional assistant.
  • Federal Charter Grant Review: Al was invited to participate in reviewing the State of Michigan’s application for federal charter school grants.

 

Governance Committee

  • We had several applicants, including a strong contender, for the sustainability position.
  • Revised employee compensation document will be added as new business at the April board meeting.
  • We discussed next steps for the new crowdfunding policy; it needs to be reviewed by MASB.
  • For future attention: finance committee may consider modifying policy in regards to staff salary bumps. Continuing education is currently not rewarded but perhaps should be.
  • We reviewed some of the recommendations from the AdvanceEd accreditation report.
  • Next year, 2017/18 school year, a predictable series of professional development education, perhaps training at meetings or video tutorials for the Executive Board will be enacted.
  • Prospective HCCS families, have been walking in and asking to enroll. We would like to review the priority enrollment policy for siblings of current students, children of faculty, children of board members.
  • We reviewed the new countywide absenteeism and tardy policy.

 

Finance Committee

  • Discussion of building changes in light of departure of beauty school.
  • Management Company: no update
  • Consulting Services: requires further discussion with AALC if they identify needs and funding.
  • Calendar: discussed the calendar with early Friday dismissal and with a focus on decreasing the half days. The Calendar is ready for Board review now; we conducted the first reading of the calendar.
  • Budget Numbers for 2nd Campus: Superintendent sent our request on to the board.
  • Updated budget numbers for Honey Creek current fiscal year: no new numbers yet. Updated budget will be presented in May and the first reading of the proposed budget for 2017-2018.

 

Communications and Outreach Committee

External Communications

  • Marketing Materials; We’ve been awarded $500 towards the production of our branding brochure. We’re finalizing the files currently and will begin production ASAP.
  • Community Outreach: Email reminding the community of the importance of participation sent by Al on 4/23
  • Social Media: We are reviewing the HCCS Facebook properties and beginning consolidation into one “official” page. One student’s mother reached out and can potentially help.
  • Website – ADA compliance: We’ve requested an estimate to assist in the ADA-compliance website project; still awaiting a quote. Plan is to solicit a grant to cover cost.

 

Internal Communications

  • Liaison with Faculty: Discussion about continued need for informal discussion about ongoing communication issues and potential improvements.
  • Teachers have requested new employee handbook and compensation outline; administration is working on these.
  • Liaison with PTO/Foundation/High Point: Descriptions of open PTO positions were sent out by Sharon Maccini. Room parents will be asked to send out an email directly to classrooms to push volunteerism and remind them of parent pledge. Discussed email campaign to differentiate these from all the other types of email.
  • Foundation: 2016 best year yet for fundraising. Spring appeal to follow.
  • High Point: Goal is to finish HC calendar sooner to better coordinate with High Point and reinstate joint teacher appreciation lunch.

 

Director’s Note May 2017

Dear Families,

 

Thank you to those of you who responded to my survey regarding an early dismissal time on Fridays. For the most part, responses were very positive; however, there were some concerns raised that I would like to address.

 

The challenge around scheduling developed when the state of Michigan increased the number of mandatory school days in the school year. The mandate required us to increase our schedule from 175 days to 180 days. Our present calendar is 180 days. We are unable to increase the number of days off during the school year or end the school year earlier in June and remain in compliance with state law.

 

Our building is shared with three separate schools, which presents many challenges to our scheduling, so changes to our schedule often require us working with High Point and Gretchen’s House to modify their schedules. If we were to shorten the school day by ten or fifteen minutes, we would not have adequate time to provide many of our specials classes without creating significant inequities in class length. This is largely controlled by availability of the gymnasium and pool as well as lunch service. A Friday dismissal at 2:10 allows us to take advantage of the two gym slots that are presently available without reducing specials class periods or creating inequities in class times.

 

The shared space also creates challenge for a later start time. High Point busses begin arriving at 8:30, but unloading those busses can often take until 9:15. We need to keep traffic clear until the unloading is complete, which would lead to a start time of 9:30 am, and a dismissal time of 4:30 pm. It would also require both High Point and Gretchen’s House to significantly modify their day schedules. This too would be a burden for many families, and it would significantly limit the number of after school activities that we presently are able to offer.

 

The administration and school board have had several discussions regarding the impact a Friday early dismissal will have on families. At this time we are strongly considering providing aftercare services from 2:10 until 3:15 on Fridays without charge; families would be asked to pay the annual aftercare registration fee.

 

If you have other questions or concerns, the survey link remains open:

 

https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/8ZBH3CJ

 

You are also welcome to attend our next regular board meeting which is scheduled for May 24 at 5:30 pm in the PIT. There is an opportunity for public comment at the beginning and end of the meeting.

 

With the end of the year nearing, we have some important events coming up.  Our Curriculum Celebration is on May 19th from 5 to 7 pm, and our Spring Concert will take place on May 25th at 3:30 pm. On June 2nd we will hold PE Play Day, so pack a picnic lunch and come out and join us.

 

Best,

 

Al

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