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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


Financial statements were unmodified



No current issues

Cash reconciliation weakness has been corrected

Up to speed with Title II requirements



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!






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!






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:




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.





Board News April 2017

Board Meeting Summary from March 22


Director’s Report:

Assessments: WIDA assessment of our English language learners will be completed on

Friday, March 24.

Evaluation training: Al will be participating in training on the Danielson framework, including two days of observations with the Danielson trainer in other districts.

Data management: Kim Gallagher is in the process of compiling TerraNova data from the past two years into Excel. Once the data is entered we will have the ability to determine student growth in the various subjects and assign that growth to specific teachers.

Food sales: All food sales between midnight and thirty minutes after the end of the school day must now be reported to MDE. This includes bagel sales, Girl Scout Cookies, and any other food sales in that time period. We’re working with Dexter Food Services to create an expedited reporting approach.

Wellness: MDE now requires each school building to have a wellness committee. We will be working with Dexter Food Services to create committee that represents all stakeholders in our building.

Facilities: The ISD will be replacing the vanities and sinks in our A-wing classrooms during spring break.


Governance Committee

Governance Committee did not meet.


Finance Committee

  1. Discussion of next year’s school schedule and impact of reducing the number of half days.
  2. No new management company update yet.
  3. Discussion of recent MLive article on school funding (http://www.mlive.com/news/index.ssf/2017/03/trumps_budget_would_scrap_120m.html)


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 drafted, currently under Board review

Social Media

We are reviewing the HCCS Facebook properties and beginning consolidation into one “official” page. We need to recruit and plan for social media manager going forward.

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

We’re preparing to send out job descriptions of open PTO positions. 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.


  • Pi Day—distributing flyers
  • Trivia fundraising event in the spring
  • Alums—launch effort in spring
  • Discussion of when to make next fund transfer to school
  • 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. High Point may try to make space for their teachers to participate in lunch. HP asking HC kids to buy spirit wear.

Director’s Note April 2017

Greetings all,


Welcome back! I hope that you found some time to enjoy our spring break. Along with all of the rain, April starts the spring testing season for grades 1 through 8. As all assessments are now online, individual teachers schedule class testing to limit loss of instructional time and as technology is available. Your child’s teacher will share the assessment schedule with you.


The Board of Directors and administration continue to review our school calendar. We understand the challenges associated with floating half days, and plan to reduce the number of half days to the number we have had during previous years. The added half days will now be full days. This means that while we meet the state required number of school days, we greatly exceed the number of required instructional hours. We anticipate reducing the number of hours by shortening the school day on Fridays. The dismissal time on Fridays would be 2:10 pm. Dismissal on Monday-Thursday would remain at 3:15 pm. If you would like to provide feedback on this change to Friday dismissal time, please follow this link:  https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/8ZBH3CJ


Have a great April!



Director’s Note February 2017

Greetings all,


I’m sure you are aware that a nasty virus has been taking its toll on our students and faculty. This weekend the cleaning crew will be taking extra steps to sanitize all surfaces in an effort to reduce the spread of the virus. You can help us by keeping your child home for twenty-four hours after the break of a non-medicated fever, diarrhea, or vomiting.


The timing of this outbreak coincides with “count day” which is Wednesday February 8. If your child is ill on “count day” please do not bring your child to school. We have an alternate method for including your child in the count.


In late November and early December, third through eighth grade students participated in the TerraNova Assessment. Individual reports are now available at the front office. Please stop in at your convenience to pick up your child’s report. If you have questions about your child’s results, please contact you child’s teacher. If you have remaining questions, please feel free to contact me.


January and February tend to be busy months for both students and staff. The shorter days limit the exposure to sun and the outdoors. For many, it is time for a short break. Honey Creek will be closed on February 16th and 17th for our mid-winter break.  We will resume classes on February 20th.


Stay healthy!



Director’s Note December 2016

Greetings all,

As always, December is a busy month.  Third through eighth grade students will begin taking the TerraNova next week. Your child’s teacher will have the testing schedule.

Due to conflicts with the High Point calendar, the craft fair has been moved to December 14th. The Winter Performance will take place on the fifteenth and begin at 3:30. Please remember not to park in the fire lane.

We have a full day of school on December 22nd. Our break begins on December 23rd and we return to school on January 9th.

Once again I’d like to thank all of the community members who supported Honey creek by participating in the AdvancEd accreditation interviews. Once I have the final report I will share it with the community; however, if you are interested in the visitation team’s exit report, I will be presenting it at the next PTO meeting on December 9th at 8:15 a.m.

Have a safe and joyous holiday season!


Director’s Note November 2016

Greetings all,

Thanks to all who planned and worked at the harvest Dinner and Fall Festival this year. The food was fantastic, and from all appearances our students had a wonderful time. We are fortunate to have a community so invested in operating these events.

Our AdvancED accreditation visit will take place on November 9,10, and 11. Parent interviews are scheduled for November 9 from 3:30 to 4:15. If you are available to attend, it will significantly aid in our accreditation efforts. If you need child care, please contact Sue Hofbauer in advance. There is no fee if you are participating in the interviews.

Each year we assess our third through eight grade students with the TerraNova assessment. This assessment provides us with consistent information regarding student progress at a time when state assessments continue to change. We plan to begin assessments after Thanksgiving. Your child’s teacher will share with you specific details regarding the assessment schedule.

I had ice on my car this morning, so it is once again time to share information regarding school closures. We do not follow Ann Arbor Public School closings. The decision to close is made by the HCCS administration after consulting with the Washtenaw Intermediate School District and reviewing weather conditions. In general, Honey Creek Community School does not close for cold weather; however, if cold weather is accompanied by blowing and drifting snow, which contributes to unsafe driving conditions, the school will close. Snow closings are based on actual conditions on the ground and forecasts. As HoneyCreek Community School serves families throughout Washtenaw County, conditions may vary. Students who are unable to attend due to unsafe road conditions will be excused.

Honey Creek Community School maintains several systems for announcing school closings. The most efficient way to receive notification is through the school text messaging system. Families may sign-up to receive text notifications at: https://www.remind.com/join/honeycr. Additionally, Honey Creek sends out notifications through our email system and places a banner notification on our homepage: honeycreekschool.org. We also post with the following media outlets: FOX 2, Local 4, ABC 7, WWJ-TV 62, CW 50 Detroit, WWJ 950 News Radio, and WJR Radio.

While I’m hopeful that winter will pass without any major weather events, I know it is important for you to have this information in advance.

Have a wonderful November!


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