CCS Staff Newsletter - June 2020
- From the Superintendent
- Human Resources Corner
- Fall 2020
- Staff Spotlight
- Well-Being Words
- Upcoming Dates
- 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
John Lennon once said, “Life happens when you’re busy making other plans.” That couldn't be more accurate today, as none of us could have predicted what this school year had in store for us. Fortunately for us, the plans that we made in the past several years were a strong foundation to weather the life that 2020 has presented.
Though there will always be challenges, I’ve never been more sure that Clarkston Community Schools will be OK. I wanted to write you today to send you into a well-deserved summer break with hope, and my gratitude.
"Life is what happens to you while you're busy making other plans.
- For your listening ears, and eyes to see each one of our students human-to-human, thank you.
- For your resilience and optimism, thank you.
- For the rich and engaging experiences you provided our families, thank you.
- For the shoulder you lent to one another, thank you.
- For your trust, thank you.
For these, and a million other things, I am truly grateful.
Have a restful summer,
Welcome to our first staff newsletter, a quarterly bulletin for Clarkston Community Schools’ employees. As this digital publication grows, we hope you’ll consider contributing news stories, photos, milestones, and celebrations with your colleagues. Our Marketing Director, Mary Ellen Rowe, will be reaching out from time to time to include your voices. We hope you enjoy this first edition.
BUDGET REDUCTIOn UPDATES
As our Superintendent shared last week, we are expecting a significant decline in state funding due to the COVID-19 crisis. (See "School Funding 101" below). This decline in funding could have the following impacts on our district budgets:
- A potential proration of between $650-700 per pupil for the 2019-2020 school year, which would create a retroactive budget gap of up to $5.6 million.
- A potential decrease of $650-700 per pupil in 2020-2021, resulting in another $5.6 million budget gap, for a total of $11.2 million over two years.
Clarkston Community Schools is a fiscally healthy organization, and we are well-prepared to weather a period of belt-tightening, but it won't be easy. We are looking at budget reductions in all areas of our school district for the next year, after which time we would expect to see increased stability. We will be presenting potential budget reductions to the Board of Education on Monday, June 8 at 7pm. We will continue to keep you informed of any changes.
BENEFIT OPEN ENROLLMENT
Thank you for your participation in our telephonic open enrollment this spring. We are proud to provide benefits that support your individual and family needs. Please refer to the benefit guide for more information about your benefit offerings located on the District website. Any changes to your benefit status that you elected will be effective July 1, 2020. This was a different process that we have followed in the past so please feel free to contact Irma McLone or myself with any questions or concerns you have about the elections you made.
summer health care services
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.
The CCS Health Center will also have summer clinic hours to provide medical care for Clarkston Community Schools faculty and staff. For more information, to download registration forms, or to schedule an appointment, please visit the Health Center page on our website.
Thank you for your flexibility and professionalism over these last few months. I appreciate all you do and wish you a restful summer break.
Assistant Superintendent, Administrative Services
virtual at-home learning survey results
We recently published the results of the Virtual At-Home Learning surveys on our website (https://www.clarkston.k12.mi.
Our teacher survey reports reveal that while teachers feel equipped to lead at-home learning, they still worry about their students' academic growth and are seeking greater engagement with families during these challenging times. These results are based on the responses of 314 teachers.
We are working to continue to strengthen the Clarkston Virtual At-Home Learning model and once again, thank all who participated in our Check-Up Surveys.
As we prepare for a continuity of learning plan, there are both instructional and operational factors that contribute to the design of Fall 2020. Though much of this will be informed by state and county guidelines, below is an outline of areas that decision-making can be controlled and influenced by the district. Inspired by your exemplary response and creativity since mid-March, we will be creating a system that provides flexible pathways for meaningful continuity of instruction.
In all that we do, our commitment to essential focus areas remains. Yesterday, I shared that three focus areas will be part of the decision-making process for Fall planning, designing, and implementation work:
- Well-Being: This focuses on social emotional learning, being “human-informed,” and prioritizing wellness for students, staff, and families.
- Academic: We will continue to provide a strong platform of foundational and academic skills along with student-focused learning opportunities.
- Community: Our district operates in a strong partnership with our community and will protect the health and safety of those who live here.
A colleague recently suggested that we are “built for any challenge with our flexibility.” I think that we are also built on relationships and taking things on together as well. We will never lose our focus on both education and well-being while I am your superintendent. Never have two things gone more hand-in-hand than those two notions.
DIrected by state health and safety guidelines, Clarkston Community Schools will be prepared to operate flexibly among the following Learning Zones.
|Learning Zones of Operation||Student Learning Location||Teacher Instructing Location|
|In-person Learning||In buildings||In buildings|
|Blended Learning||Partly in buildings, partly at home||In buildings|
|Distance Learning||At home||In buildings or at home|
One building is in a Blended Learning Zone while another is in an At-Home Learning Zone.Learning Zones are intended to be fluid and flexible to respond to possible intermittent closures. Examples of possible scenarios:
- One building is in a Blended Learning Zone while another is in an At-Home Learning Zone.
- A building moves from Blended to At-Home and back to Blended.
For students and families who elect to remain entirely off campus regardless of Learning Zone status, Clarkston Virtual offers full-time, fully-online learning pathways. Current Clarkston Community Schools students can stay enrolled and transition into virtual learning at any time during the school year. Students can return back to building learning after working in an online setting. This transition would be similar to when a student moved into a school from a different school, but we would have a great deal more information about this student. The teacher could use the data from the virtual platform as well as assessments to evaluate the learning needed to support the individual student.
I believe that a thoughtful “one foot in front of the other” approach is the best way to move forward, and we will do this with both safety and the integrity of our program in mind. I have no doubt that with educators like you we will be successful no matter what. Thanks so much for your continued support.
Plans are nothing; planning is everything.
Dwight D. Eisenhower
A steering committee has developed the following task forces:
- Well-Being & Community
Staci Puzio, Director of Student Growth & Well-Being
Nancy Mahoney, Assistant Superintendent, Instructional Services
John Lucido, Assistant Superintendent, Administrative Services
Mary Ellen Rowe, Marketing Director
Each of the above task forces will be comprised of work groups that will be addressing various aspects for Fall 2020. Work group dates and times to meet will be determined by work group leaders based on the items to be addressed. Work group leaders will be reaching out to staff who have shown an interest in participating in a task force via email by June 19th.
Staff members can still share their interest in participating by completing the form below.
Each task force will use the strategic plan as a guiding principle to ground decisions based on well-being, community, and academic outcomes. Task forces will work toward both instructional and operational outcomes. The focus will be to create flexible pathways that provide meaningful continuity of instruction.
Organization, logistics, and preparation of Professional Learning.
Professional Learning will be provided for teachers in August.
Each spring, all second graders in Clarkston study Clarkston history and have the opportunity to take a walking field trip throughout downtown Clarkston.
This year, Independence Elementary second grade teachers Ashley Venegas, Pam Boewe, and Linda Zittel brought Clarkston history to their students through this amazing interactive "walking" tour. Click each picture to watch a short video about each location. This is Virtual At-Home Learning at its best!
In May of 1993, three teachers, Rosemary Lewis, Bill Genshaw and Julie Matthies, came to the Clarkston Community Historical Society (CCHS) with a dream. They wanted to write a textbook on Clarkston/Independence Township history. Prior to that, there were no classroom materials. Some educators taught local history in second grade and some didn’t teach it at all. The Historical Society agreed to fund the book. They provided research, commissioned artwork by local artist Jim Russell, and gave the group historical photographs to use. The teachers wrote the book, and it is now an integral part of the second grade curriculum district-wide.
In the spring of 2017, four dedicated educators (including one of the original authors), along with the chair of the CCHS Education Committee, began a full update of the text. This group, determined to keep our local history alive, worked together to update and improve what had already become a favorite of second graders throughout the district.
Clarkston Textbook Update Committee
- Gail Bacon, Author/Editor
- Robert Brazier, Author/Editor
- Kelly Fuller, Author/Editor
- Kim Huttenlocher, Author/Editor
- Julie Matthies, Author/Editor
- James Russell, Illustrator
- Ryanne Shiner, Illustrator
- Toni Smith, CCHS, Research Consultant
Congratulations, Tenured teachers!
Student Support Services
• Stephanie Haslinger - PKE
• Alleena Peppers - CE
• Melanie Peterson - NSE
Clarkston High School
• Megan Aprile
• Mary Beth Spicer
• Scott Powers
• Ryan Smith
Clarkston Junior High School
• Allie Dennis
• Sarah Hester
• Joseph Simony
• Veronica Trapani
• Albert Hilarides
Sashabaw Middle School
• Kyle Blake
• Christopher Foldesi
• Stephen Runkle
• Ross Taylor
• Stephanie Beach - SPE
• Elissa Haviland - AE/IE
• Alexandria Herula - NSE
• Dana Johns - CE
• Alexandra Laskowski - SPE
• Adriane Peterka - NSE
• Stephanie Polonkey - AE/IE
GooD luck, retirees!
- Corena Bell - IE Literacy Coach
- Doug Colling - CHS Biology Teacher
- Arlinda Crossland - AE/IE Art Teacher
- Kelly Thompson - SSW
- John Yorke - CJHS Math Teacher
- Patrice Young - SMS SSW
- Scott Banks - CHS Media Teacher
- Jennifer Warner - IE 4th Gr Teacher
- Lezlie Hallman - Paraeducator
- Susan Lawrence - CO Support
- Dianne Kitson - Paraeducator
- Wilma Drendall - Cafe Helper
- Michelle Carson - Paraeducator
- Catherine Dettloff - Bus Driver
- Nancy Myers - Custodian
- Cathi Pendred - CO Support
- James Farnsworth - Groundskeeper
- Rhonda Yelinek - Head Custodian
- Patricia Roy - Cafe Helper
- Janice Ayotte - Cafe Helper
- Jean Giannaris - Paraeducator
- Sheryl Hebert - Custodian
- Diane Tynan - Paraeducator
- Kathleen Nichols - Paraeducator
Staci Puzio, Director of Student Growth & Well-Being
We started this year by encouraging you as our staff to “Be the Light” for others. Little did we know how needed that light would be this year! The anxiety and uncertainty that came from a global pandemic is still present in the lives of our students, families, and staff. Add on to this the pain of injustice at the recent deaths of George Floyd, Ahmaud Arbery, and Breonna Taylor and there may be the wondering where the light is. This is especially true for our black colleagues and families today. How can we continue to “Be the Light” now?
As Shawn shared in his We Stand with You message yesterday, we must seize on opportunities to... never stop listening and learning. This January we began to examine four questions that we want our students to respond to in the affirmative.
Do you SEE me?
Do you HEAR me?
Will you treat me FAIRLY?
Will you PROTECT me?
Do you see me?
A key component of being Human-Informed is the cultivation of connection. Every person wants to be seen, heard, and valued. How do we show our students, staff, and families we see them? We are present in their presence, pausing to stop and have a conversation. This is also true for our own children and family members.
Do you hear me?
For students - and adults - to be heard, we need to take the time to listen. What are their experiences that we can learn about who they are and what they are interested in? Do we take the time to hear their feedback and respond to it thoughtfully? Do we show empathy through understanding one anothers feelings, and take a step back to see the world as others see it?
Will you treat me fairly?
Our students, staff, and families need to see us treat them fairly through our consistent expectations, support, and push to do well and succeed. They know what success looks like, that it is attainable for all, and that the multiple paths of getting there are honored.
Will you protect me?
The strongest question our children ask is, “Will you protect me?” They will know this is true when we show we understand the role identity and experience play in everyday life for students, staff, and families. They will feel it when they observe us interrupting oppressive comments and behavior. They will see it when our discussions and practices are centered around multiple perspectives.
In the final weeks of June, we will dig into these four questions more thoroughly, with an opportunity for reflection and shared resources (please check your CCS email each week to participate).
We must unite and build the bridge of equity and justice together. It is through learning and understanding that we can truly “Be the Light”.
We invite you to help us paint the town blue and gold for the Class of 2020 graduates and their families as they take a drive down "memory lane" on Saturday, June 13 from 12pm-4pm. We need your help giving our graduates a send-off to remember!
Our graduates and their families will be driving by each of our school campuses. If you would like to cheer on your former students, please go to your home school (or head to one of our other campuses, if your school is under construction).
Some ways you can show your support:
- Bring posters, balloons, noisemakers, etc.
- Chalk the driveway or sidewalk
- Wear blue and gold, Clarkston spirit wear, or your CHS letter jacket if you're an alum.
- Play music, or if you're a musician, give an outside performance
- Be creative and have fun being a part of the action!
a Look Ahead to 2020-2021
August 31: First 1⁄2 Day of School for Students
September 4-7: No School for Students/Labor Day Recess
September 8: School Resumes
October 9: No School for Students/Teacher PD
October 23: No School for Students
November 3: No School for Students/Teacher PD
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 12: No School for Students/Teacher PD
February 15-16: No School for Students/Mid-Winter Recess
March 12: No School for Students/Teacher PD
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
We have the best schools around, and they're only getting better ... anywhere we go, we are proud to say #WeAreClarkston!
Take a look at our social media feeds to learn more about the exciting things we're doing at Clarkston Community Schools.