CCS Staff Newsletter
- From the Superintendent
- Human Resources Corner
- Professional Learning
- Staff Spotlight
- Well-Being Words
- District News
- Shawn Ryan, Superintendent
- John Lucido, Assistant Superintendent of Administrative Services
- Nancy Mahoney, Assistant Superintendent of Instructional Services
- Kathy Christopher, Executive Director of Student Support Services
- Westley Goodman, Executive Director of Operations
- Mary Beth Rogers, Executive Director of Business Services
- Lori Banaszak, Administrator of Technology Integration
- Christa Fons, Shared Services Director
- Angela Harrison, Administrator of Technology
- Colleen Mayes, Transportation Director
- Staci Puzio, Director of Student Growth and Well-Being
- Mary Ellen Rowe, Marketing Director
- Matt Severson, Director of Dining Services
- Gary Kaul, Clarkston High School Principal
- Gary Bigger, Renaissance High School Principal
- Adam Kern, Clarkston Junior High School Principal
- Liz Walker, Sashabaw Middle School Principal
- Kim Fletcher, Andersonville Elementary School Principal
- Glenn Gualtieri, Bailey Lake Elementary School Principal
- Brian Adams, Clarkston Elementary School Principal
- Nate Fuller, Independence Elementary School Principal
- Jennifer Johnson, North Sashabaw Elementary School Principal
- Jodi Yeloushan, Pine Knob Elementary School Principal
- Matt Gifford, Springfield Plains Elementary School Principal
- Lisa Marion, Early Childhood Center Director
The beginning of a new school year reminds us that the future holds infinite possibilities. This has never been truer than it is today, as we head back to school in a very new and exciting way. The 2020-2021 school year will be shaped by our efforts to connect and engage with students, and deliver meaningful instruction across miles of fiber wire, satellite signals, and radio frequencies.
Clearly, it is a year of great ambition and promise. Henry Ford once said, “Whether you think you can, or you think you can't, you're right.” We get to decide. I know without a doubt that we will grow as a school district this year, because we have a faculty and staff who believe in the promise of educational excellence. We know that we have hard work ahead, work that requires commitment, focus, and collaboration and we know we will succeed.
Our accomplishments in the last six months have been monumental. The work you do is mission-critical for our children in Clarkston, and they need your wisdom and care. My hope is that you will attempt new things this year and that you will challenge and inspire your students to grow as learners. I will, in turn, continue to provide the infrastructure and human capacity to support your ability to make great things happen.
I look forward to a year filled with stories of triumph and joy.
Here's to our best year yet.
"Whether you think you can, or you think you can't, you're right.
It is hard to believe but Debbie Clement, HR Coordinator for Administrative and Certified Staff, is retiring from Clarkston Community Schools at the end of the month. Debbie's last day with our district will be next Friday, August 28. We are celebrating Debbie's retirement on Thursday, August 27 at Overtyme Grill and Tap Room from 4pm-7pm. Please feel free to join us to celebrate Debbie's retirement and thank her for her commitment to CCS.
For more than 18 years, Debbie has consistently and effortlessly modeled our district’s commitment to relationship-building and positive well-being every day. She ensured excellent communication and education with employees and built an outstanding reputation as a team player who took time to listen and assist colleagues whenever needed. Whether it is helping a teacher renew their certification, onboarding a new hire, or helping an employee plan a leave, Debbie has consistently and compassionately supported our school community.
Debbie is the first one at work each morning at the administration building and she has provided unmatched support to our staff. As many of you can attest, Debbie is a comforting voice, whether it is helping to plan a leave of absence or even bringing food to staff members at home when she knows they need some support.
She is the first one to volunteer when another department or area in our District needs help.
Clarkston Community Schools is a family and it is because of people like Debbie Clement, who are passionate about the work we do and go the extra mile to help support the team. Our department, and indeed, our district, has been positively impacted as a result of Debbie’s relentless pursuit of excellence in all she does.
Debbie truly loves CCS and that was apparent in the service she provided our staff. She will be truly missed!
As we return to school buildings, it is critical to the collective health of our community that every employee follows the public health protocols outlined in our Fall 2020 Return to School plan.
As mandated in the MI Safe Schools Roadmap, every student and staff member must wear a face mask inside the building, unless a medical exception is provided. Masks may be removed in your individual classrooms and offices, if you are alone. All employees will be provided with a washable, reusable cloth face mask to wear at all times in the building, though they may choose to wear any mask that is comfortable.
All employees who work on district grounds are required to complete the Employee Self-Screening Questionnaire. The questionnaire must be completed each time the employee reports to work in our buildings. If you answer "yes" to any question on the form, please reach out to your direct supervisor immediately. If you travel between school buildings, please check all of the buildings you expect to be at that day. This will help with contact tracing if we have a positive case in a building — we will be able to know who was at that building and can notify you of possible exposure. We have created a Printable QR code that you can scan with the camera on your phone to complete the Employee Self-Screening Questionnaire each day. This can be printed and placed somewhere visible (like on your bathroom mirror, refrigerator, etc.) so that you make the daily questionnaire part of your morning routine. The QR code will also be posted at building entrances.
Visitor access to our buildings will be limited. Please do not bring visitors to the building unless necessary. Visitors to school facilities will be restricted to essential personnel, unless there is a pre-approved reason for their attendance.
- Visitor self-screening stations will be located in each building vestibule.
- All visitors must complete a self-screening questionnaire and scan his/her own temperature for self-reporting purposes prior to entering the building.
- Visitors who are permitted entry must wear a mask and remain in a designated area pertaining to the reason for the visit.
- If you are expecting a visitor, please have them call you when they arrive so you can meet them and escort them once in the building.
Response to Presumed and Confirmed Positive COVID Cases
Everyone should assume possible exposure to COVID-19 in public settings and monitor for symptoms. Check your temperature and watch for symptoms. Call your doctor if symptoms develop.
The school district will notify by phone all individuals who have come into close contact with a confirmed positive case of COVID-19. The identity of the affected individual will be protected as much as possible. Close contacts will be contacted and only given information related to their exposure. In addition to notifying close contacts by phone, all staff and visitors to the building will be notified by email that a positive case was confirmed in the building. We will share the date that the individual was last in the building. The name of the COVID-19 positive person will be shared on a need-to-know basis only.
- Immediate Removal of Symptomatic Persons
- Any individual who displays symptoms of COVID-19 with a fever of 100.4 or more will be isolated in a designated space (which features appropriate medical equipment, PPE, and an air purifier) until they can be removed from the school campus.
- Response to Confirmed Positive Cases
- Self-isolation: 10 days
- Fever-free & no respiratory symptoms: 3 days
- Quarantine of close contacts (6 ft. for 15-min.): 14 days
- Continuity of learning plan for quarantined students in development
If a student or staff member tests positive for COVID-19
The person is excluded from school to isolate at home, and close contacts are notified to monitor for symptoms and quarantine for 14 days after their last date of close contact. The person may return to school after 3 days with no fever and respiratory symptoms have improved (e.g. cough, shortness of breath) and 10 days have passed since symptoms first appeared.
If a student or staff member is symptomatic and pending lab result for COVID-19.
The student/staff person is excluded from school until results of the test are negative. (If positive, see above.) If negative, the person must be symptom-free for 24 hours without the use of medications prior to returning to school. Close contacts are notified to monitor for symptoms while the person is waiting for test results. If symptoms develop, they should self-isolate and call their medical provider to be tested for COVID-19.
FIND A COMPLETE LIST OF DEFINITIONS AND PUBLIC HEALTH Q&A AT WWW.CLARKSTON.K12.MI.US/FALL2020/PUBLIC-HEALTH-PROTOCOLS
Just as our students have a dress code for acceptable attire when they are at school, it is also the expectation that district staff will dress appropriately for a school environment. Realizing that this is a unique school year, all staff may dress comfortably including shorts, tennis shoes, and sandals. Some have asked about wearing scrubs to allow for frequent washing, and this will also be permitted if it is your preference. Thank you for helping Clarkston Community Schools project a professional image at all times.
CHILD SUPERVISION FOR TEACHING STAFF
We know that it can be a challenge for working families to coordinate child supervision when students are learning from home, so Clarkston Community Schools will provide child supervision for school-age (Y5-Grade 6) dependents of teachers during times of temporary distance learning.
Child supervision is an employee benefit that is provided for CCS teachers in their home buildings in order to allow our educators to focus on doing the important work of providing high-quality, student-centered educational experiences. Support staff will supervise the children in a socially distanced space, and it is expected that staff and students will observe the required protocols for health screening and mask wearing at all times. The district is also offering the option to have staff children (YF-Grade 12) in the classroom with teachers.
We are proud to be able to support our staff and believe that our human-responsive work environment is just one reason Clarkston Community Schools is able to attract and retain the very best teachers. If you are interested in taking advantage of our child supervision benefit, please email Director of Student Growth & Well-Being Staci Puzio at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Employee Assistance Program
Did you know that as a Clarkston Community Schools employee, you are eligible to take advantage of free counselings services as part of our Employee Assistance Program? Our partners at Counseling Associates includes a staff of social workers, psychologists, and psychiatrists to provide an extensive range of services for CCS employees. For more information please call (248) 626-1500 or click here.
Today we are one step closer to our starting line for Distance Learning and the start of a new school year. As we kick off two weeks of professional learning, our focus remains on providing high-quality educational experiences for Clarkston’s children.
By Nancy Mahoney, Assistant Superintendent, Instructional Services
1. We know that relationships are key! There has never before been a time where this is more true. Our students want to know that they will be seen, heard, protected, and treated fairly. This is our first priority as we embrace Distance Learning.
2. Technology will be consistent.
- Grades Y5 - 2 will use Seesaw as a platform for learning.
- Grades 3 - 5 will use Seesaw and/or Google Classroom as a platform for learning.
- Grades 6 - 12 will use Google Classroom as a platform for learning.
3. We are (mostly) a Google district. We will use Google Meet, Zoom, Google Classroom, and Google Calendar as we begin our school year. There are upgrades happening right now to support classroom instruction. Our Instructional Technologists will be sharing all this information as it comes available.
4. You are supported. Our Technology Learning Hub is a one-stop shop for training and support to ensure you have all you need to provide exceptional distance learning instruction.
5. Instructional time > screen time. As you begin to think about the design of your lessons, please know that your students cannot be “on screen” the entire time of their school day. Independent learning must be a part of their learning experience. Please be mindful of this as you begin to prepare for instruction.
6. Curriculum is always a challenge to complete. Our Subject Area Coordinators have worked with teacher work groups this summer to identify the “big rocks” in our pacing guides. It is the expectation that teachers will collaborate with their grade level teams, content teams, and PLCs to deliver a consistent curriculum. Take the time that is necessary for your students to learn in a reasonable manner.
7. Teacher time and collaboration are a main focus in our professional learning. We have offered ample opportunities for independent and collaborative work time during your professional learning day.
I know you have many questions and I recognize this is a very challenging time. Let’s give each other and ourselves grace knowing we will do our very best. We will learn together. We will support each other. We will do what’s best for our students.
Please complete this GOOGLE FORM every morning during August 24 - September 1 to receive SCECHs for our planned Distance Learning PD. This form must be completed each morning for the dates below to receive SCECHs.
Once completed, this form will automatically be sent to Amy Walsh (our SCECH Coordinator). Amy will then submit your attendance to MDE's Certification Department (MOECS). Within a month, you will receive an email from this department that includes a survey for you to complete. When this survey is submitted, your SCECHs will be awarded and will appear in your personal MOECS account.
- August 24: 3 SCECHs
- August 25: 3 SCECHs
- August 26: 3 SCECHs
- August 27: 3 SCECHs
- August 28: 3 SCECHs
- August 31: 3 SCECHs
- September 1: 3 SCECHs
In addition to the morning PL sessions for August 24 - September 1, you can obtain additional SCECHs in the following ways:
- PLC meetings: There are three options available in the drop-down menu in the GOOGLE FORM, depending on how long you meet with your PLC (1 hour of meeting = 1 SCECH, 2 hour meeting = 2 SCECHs, 3 hour meeting = 3 SCECHs)
- Safe Schools Training: 4 SCECHs are available this year only.
- Google Classroom IT Hub
The Google form must be completed on the day of your meeting/learning when applying for SCECHs.
This is the process we will follow for SCECHs. Please contact Assistant Superintendent, Instructional Services Nancy Mahoney at 248-623-5420 if you have any questions.
CHS media production students will see a familiar face in the teaching ranks this year. Matt Bleau, who has worked for the past few years with Independence Television, comes to this new role with a bachelors and masters degree from Central Michigan University. Matt grew up in Clarkston, is a CHS alumni and lives in Waterford. His parents, who still reside in Clarkston, were both in education as well. Matt enjoys boating and watching movies.
Volleyball is a big passion for the newest ASD Teacher at Clarkston Elementary. Samantha Condon, originally from Naperville, Illinois, played three years in high school, four years in college and was a graduate assistant coach at Oakland University! Samantha has her bachelors and masters degrees from Oakland and has teaching experience at our own Independence Elementary and North Hill Elementary in Rochester. She lives in Waterford and enjoys watching baseball and playing with her Goldendoodle Joey!
Ms. Chandler Fritz will join the staff of Andersonville Elementary as a Speech & Language Pathologist. Chandler is a graduate of Lake Orion High School and Grand Valley State University. She lives in Lake Orion and enjoys the outdoors, reading and crafting. Chandler credits her mom, a special education teacher in Lake Orion, as the inspiration for her own education career. Welcome Chandler!
Abigail Saber is another MSU graduate and Spartan fan. She joins the Sashabaw Middle School staff as an ASD teacher this year after completing her Masters this past summer. She was part of a Global Education Cohort at MSU and completed her student teaching with Utica Schools. A graduate of Rochester High School, Abigail still resides in Rochester and loves traveling, baking and spending time with family and friends.
Independence Elementary has a new social worker this year … Molly Schultz! Molly student taught at Springfield Plains last year, has her undergraduate degree from MSU and her Masters from Wayne State University. She has two older sisters, both of whom are in education and fellow MSU alums. They all enjoy cheering on the Spartans and spending time together with family on the beaches of northern Michigan.
Salsa dancing is a hobby of Meghan Turske, who joins the SMS and CJHS families as a German teacher. Meghan graduated from Farmington Hills Harrison High School and Michigan State University. She has teaching experience in the Avondale and Novi school districts. Meghan lives in Farmington Hills and also enjoys crocheting.
The Michigan School Band and Orchestra Association, District IV, recently announced that Clarkston Community Schools orchestra teacher Wendy Stuart has been named District 4 Teacher of the Year for the 2020-2021 school year.
This is a great honor as nominations and voting are all done by fellow music educators within the district. Wendy has a passion for music education. She cares about her students as young men and women as well as musicians. Wendy consistently demonstrates a high level of skill and a willingness to help and to serve our profession. This honor is well deserved!
The Michigan School Band and Orchestra Association has been serving the instrumental music teachers and students of our State for over 85 years. MSBOA District IV proudly represents over 80 public, parochial, and private schools throughout Metro Detroit. The MSBOA mission is to provide quality festival experiences for the students of our member schools and effective workshops, clinics, and services for our member directors.
CCS Music Director Mike Lewis said, "It is a tremendous honor for both Wendy Stuart and the district that she was selected as The Michigan School Band and Orchestra Association, District IV Orchestra Teacher of the Year for the 2020 - 2021 school year. She was nominated by and was selected by her fellow band and orchestra directors in District IV. This is the third time in the past 10 years that a Clarkston Teacher has been selected for this honor. Congratulations!"
Turn to One Another with Courage
Staci Puzio, Director of Student Growth & Well-Being
We are beginning this school year in a way we could have never imagined. Everyone in our organization is shifting - in role and in practice. Now more than ever we need to feel seen and heard. It is our connections with one another through conversation and empathy that we take the time to be present and take the time to listen - to truly see and hear one another. We need each other and cannot do this alone.
Courage is a heart word. The root of the word courage is cor - the Latin word for heart. In one of its earliest forms, the word courage meant 'To speak one's mind by telling all one's heart.'
There is a junior high where students and staff agreed to these three behaviors: “Take care of yourself. Take care of each other. Take care of this place.”
Notice the order. You - others - this place. Self-care is important and our buildings and departments need to make this a priority. For this to happen, we also need to be in relationship, for “...nothing can exist without the other, that it is only in relationship that one can be fully one’s self.”
Our focus for professional learning for instructional staff on the morning of Monday, August 24 is about relationships. This is intentionally put before all that needs to happen in this place. We must honor our connections and turn to one another as we navigate through all the ways we are shifting this year.
When we open our heart to another human being, it is an act of courage. This is what Brené Brown has said about this:
“Courage is a heart word. The root of the word courage is cor - the Latin word for heart. In one of its earliest forms, the word courage meant "To speak one's mind by telling all one's heart." Over time, this definition has changed, and today, we typically associate courage with heroic and brave deeds. But in my opinion, this definition fails to recognize the inner strength and level of commitment required for us to actually speak honestly and openly about who we are and about our experiences -- good and bad. Speaking from our hearts is what I think of as "ordinary courage.”
Let’s walk in courage through this, and work to encourage one another - from the heart - to keep moving forward. “A courageous person moves ahead despite feeling enormous anxiety not because of its absence.”
a Look Ahead to 2020-2021
September 8: First Half Day of School for Students
October 23: No School for Students
November 25-27: No School for Students/Thanksgiving Recess
November 30: School Resumes
December 18: Half Day for Students/Records Day
December 21-January 1: No School for Students/Winter Recess
January 4: School Resumes
January 18: No School for Students/ML King Day
January 21-22: Half Days for Students/Records Days
February 15-16: No School for Students/Mid-Winter Recess
March 29-April 2: No School for Students/Spring Recess
April 5: School Resumes
May 14: Half Day for Students/Teacher PD
May 28: Half Day for Students/Teacher PD
May 31: No School for Students/Memorial Day
June 10: Half Day for Students
June 11: Last Half Day of School for Students