Superintendent's Blog

  • Early Summer District Update

    Posted by Adam Spina on 6/30/2021 10:15:00 AM

    WCS remains committed to open all district schools and facilities for full-time in-person instruction and co-curricular activities in August. Our technology, custodial, and maintenance teams are busy preparing the buildings with this goal in mind. As this important work takes place, we are continuing to monitor developments with Covid-19 and review corresponding publications from the CDC and MDHHS. More information on Covid-19 mitigation plans will be forthcoming later this summer.

    Despite the weather, scheduled summer improvement projects have commenced. Highlights include the construction of a new research laboratory and new roofing at Williamston High School and the resurfacing of the WCS tennis court facility. More information on projected summer facility improvements can be found here.

    We welcomed two new members to our leadership team this week. Sarah Tynan, CPA  is the District’s new Director of Finance. Sarah previously worked for Plante Moran, specializing in tax accounting for both construction and manufacturing and distribution clients. James Doyen, who has worked in Williamston as both a technician and technology support specialist, was promoted to the position of Supervisor of Technology. Sarah and James join a strong administrative team that will return all of its instructional leaders for the 2021-2022 school year. Learn more about the members of the WCS administrative team here.

    Finally, a reminder that the summer food distribution program is running every Tuesday from 12:00 - 2:00 pm at Williamston High School. Meal packages include seven breakfasts and lunches, as well as two half-gallons of milk. Meals are free to any child age 18 and younger or any student receiving special education services up to age 26. More information can be found on the WCS website or at the link here.

    Thank you WCS Food Service!

    Comments (-1)
  • May/June Podcast

    Posted by Adam Spina on 6/16/2021 7:51:00 PM

    Listen to the District Podcast here.

    The Podcast can also be accessed at the following links:

    Comments (-1)
  • We Made It!

    Posted by Adam Spina on 6/9/2021 4:47:00 PM

    Last August I was stationed in Southern California, extremely frustrated I could not be here during what was certainly one of the most trying periods in the history of our District. Fast forward to this past Sunday. I had the privilege of congratulating 148 Seniors at their graduation ceremony on a beautiful Sunday afternoon back home in Williamston. What a wild ride it has been.  

    As we conclude this most challenging year of school for our students, parents, and staff, we can be assured that collectively we did everything in our power to provide the best educational experience possible. More importantly, we did so safely. I am extremely grateful for the assistance afforded to us so we could accomplish that goal.

    While our students are away for the summer, the work to support them goes on. Curriculum refinements, facility improvements, building maintenance, technology enhancements, and additional planning for the fall commence Monday. Please continue to review important updates sent from your child’s school as well as periodic updates from the District. I hope to see you around town this summer and look forward to welcoming our students and community members back to our schools in the fall. 

    The graduation ceremony for the Class of 2021:

    Graduation 2021

    _________________________________

    Honoring Our Retirees

    We have the bittersweet task of saying goodbye to a remarkable group of educators who will be retiring after a combined 206 years of service to the Williamston Community. Spanning a wide variety of roles within the District, these team members made numerous lasting contributions to our schools and community while being positive difference-makers in the lives of thousands of students. We will miss them.

    Thank you and congratulations to:

    Dan Brooks: 36 years

    Tara Brooks: 35 years

    Kristi Davidson: 24 years

    Lori Doyle: 16 years

    Janet Eidt: 41 years

    Nancy Hamlin: 26 years

    Heather Lounsbury: 21 years

    Debbie Shipman: 7 years

    Service plaques on display during the open house event honoring 2021 and 2020 district retirees:

    Retirement Open House 2021

    Comments (-1)
  • Celebrating the Class of 2021 and the 2021-2022 District Calendar

    Posted by Adam Spina on 6/3/2021 9:15:00 AM

    Class of 2021:

    I invite our community to join me in congratulating the Class of 2021 on their graduation from Williamston High School. This weekend, 148 students will walk across the stage representing a vast array of individual and collective accomplishments. They are students with unlimited potential who will contribute greatly to society as they continue their educational and professional journeys. They overcame challenges that previous WCS graduates have not encountered as a result of the pandemic. These students learned and exemplified resilience, flexibility, and perseverance. They are a graduating class for the record books and the history books.

    Class of 2021

    Graduation is Sunday, June 6 at 2:00 pm. It will take place at Williamston’s Larkin Nortman Field. Community members can view the live stream of the graduation on the WCS YouTube page or by accessing the link here.

    _________________________________

    2021-2022 District Calendar:


    The calendar agreed to by the Williamston Education Association and the Board of Education was published earlier this week. Besides the update to spring break per the Ingham County Common Calendar (announced last year), the calendar takes into account several recommendations from the Community Calendar Work Group. The work group consisted of parents, teachers, support staff, administrators, and school board representation. Members participated in a series of meetings during the winter of 2020. The committee was tasked with exploring options for the school calendar based on community feedback and emerging best practices. Recommendations from the committee are included in the final edition of the 2021-2022 calendar. One is an earlier start date in August which reduces the impact of the academic “summer slide” for many students. The calendar also features more intermittent extended weekends throughout the year. These short breaks have been identified as important to students and staff for rest/recovery and/or mental health reasons. The 2021-2022 calendar can be found on the district website under the “Calendar” tab or at the link here.

    Comments (-1)
  • Sinking Fund Update

    Posted by Adam Spina on 5/20/2021 8:01:00 AM

    WCS pledged to maintain transparency with expenditures associated with the District Sinking Fund when it was approved by voters in August of 2018. Below is a summary of significant projects in which the fund was utilized as well as a preview of upcoming facility improvements.

    2019:

    Secure Entrance Construction at Williamston High School: $235,000

    Transportation Department Parking Lot Repaving: $90,000

    Advanced Entrance Control System: $40,000

    Boiler and Chiller Replacement and Repairs: $50,000

     

    The secure entrance project at Williamston High School underway, summer of 2019:

    High School Secure Entrance Construction, 2019

    2020:

    Explorer Elementary Roof Replacement: $390,000

    Williamston Middle School Gym Roof Replacement: $80,000

     

    The roof at Explorer Elementary being replaced, summer of 2020:

    Explorer Roof Replacement, 2020

    Upcoming Sinking Fund Expenditures, Summer of 2021:

    Roof repairs/replacement at Williamston High School: $185,000

    Tennis Court Resurfacing: $56,000

    Student Chromebook Replacement: $24,000

     

    One of the primary goals of the Sinking Fund was the redesign of building entrances, ensuring a more secure environment for students and staff during the school day. In order to maximize available funding for the potential completion of those projects during the summer of 2022, the District is transferring an additional $50,000 from the 2021 budget to the following year. Bids for the final buildings needing secured entrances will be completed this summer with the goal of construction taking place during the summer of 2022. A final determination on the timeline for those projects will be made by the Board of Education once the bid results have been received. 


    Community members can view additional photos of Sinking Fund-related projects as well as actual and projected annual budgets by accessing the Sinking Fund webpage under the “Our District” tab on the District Website. If there are any questions regarding the Sinking Fund, please feel free to contact me. WCS remains extremely grateful for the support of the community regarding this invaluable resource.

    _________________________

    Williamston High School Presents: Dear Edwina, the hilarious and heartwarming story of an ambitious girl.  The show centers on Edwina Spoonapple and her friends as they put on an advice-giving show in her garage.  Fun for all ages, the show streams on May 28th and 29th.  Click here to purchase tickets and watch the show.

    High School Musical: Dear Edwina

    Comments (-1)
  • Educator Appreciation

    Posted by Adam Spina on 5/5/2021 1:35:00 PM

    As we move through the final weeks of what has certainly been the most atypical of school years, it is important to recognize the dedication of the educators who are invaluable contributors to what makes Williamston such a special place. With any crisis, there are certain people who respond to the situation with solutions and an optimistic mindset. WCS is full of such individuals. They are as inspiring as they are talented.

    Selfless service and servant leadership are indispensable aspects of our district culture. They have been on full display this year. 

    • Teachers have quickly adapted to changing circumstances, sometimes completely disrupting their instructional approach on extremely short notice. They have faced the challenges of Covid while maintaining the highest possible standards for instruction and student learning. 
    • Custodial and maintenance teams showcase immaculate grounds and clean, safe facilities. 
    • Building secretaries have coordinated new protocols for communication, record keeping, and student safety, while planning school events in ways we have not previously attempted. 
    • The para-professional team routinely puts the welfare of students before their own, providing individualized support to students in a Covid environment or standing watch in the rain so students arrive at school safely. 
    • Our transportation department has overcome numerous scheduling changes, all while making sure students start their day with a positive message and a smile. 
    • Foodservice team members have adopted new protocols, delivering lunches to classrooms at our elementary schools and distributing thousands of free meals to Williamston families through our meal assistance program. 
    • Our technicians, who possess great skill, and possibly magic, keeping us up and running in an era of increased reliance on technology
    • Our school social workers, counselors, and psychologist have risen to meet the demands of new mental health needs for both students and staff members in very trying circumstances. 
    • We could not have been as successful with overcoming Covid without the leadership of our administrators. They have maintained a positive mentality, put the needs of students first, and surpassed my expectations in every instance.    

    Sometime this month, please consider taking a moment to send a short message to any member of our team. In the struggle of working through the many obstacles and opportunities faced on a daily basis, a note of appreciation can be a reminder of why serving as an educator is so important. These small gestures are always greatly valued and reiterate the wonderful relationship the Williamston Community has with its schools.


    Thank you for your continued support and thank you to our educators whose work defines Williamston Community Schools as one of the very best.

    Comments (-1)
  • Williamston High School Named Among Nation's Best for Third Consecutive Year

    Posted by Adam Spina on 4/29/2021 8:35:00 AM

    Congratulations to the staff and students of Williamston High School. The school was named to the U.S. News & World Report best high schools list for the third consecutive year.

    US News Best High Schools 2021

    Comments (-1)
  • March/April District Podcast

    Posted by Adam Spina on 4/25/2021 8:25:00 AM

    Listen to the District Podcast here.

    The Podcast can also be accessed at the following links:

    Hornet Pride!

    Hornet Pride!

    Comments (-1)
  • Board of Education Goals

    Posted by Adam Spina on 4/23/2021 8:05:00 AM

    At this week’s regular meeting, the Board of Education approved the objectives and strategies the District will implement in support of its strategic goals for the next three years. The Board has established five (5) goals to guide the direction of professional development and resources during this period. These are listed below:

    Goal #1: Provide High-Quality Educational Experiences for All Students

    Goal #2: Increase the Fund Balance to 10% of Revenues

    Goal #3: Strengthen Communication with Students, Parents, Staff, and Community

    Goal #4: Maintain and Continuously Improve the Safety and Security of all Schools and Facilities within the District for Students, Staff, and Community Members

    Goal #5: Adopt and Implement a Common, Evidence-Based Grading System that includes Feedback on Non-Achievement Factors


    A detailed description of how these goals will be achieved is articulated in the link here. Using this guidance from the Board of Education, WCS will refine the District Improvement Plan and each building will publish a School Improvement Plan. These plans are collaboratively constructed documents. They specify actions to be taken and resources to be allocated so individual buildings and the District will meet the defined end state for each goal. Updated District and School Improvement Plans will be available on their respective websites in late spring/early summer.

     

    Comments (-1)
  • Covid Rapid Testing and Spring Break Facility Updates

    Posted by Adam Spina on 4/16/2021 12:15:00 PM

    Next week Williamston will resume in-person learning options for students at Williamston Middle School. Upon the recommendation of the Ingham County Health Department, Williamston High School will stay remote for an additional week. 

    As we strive to provide as many in-person learning opportunities as possible, I want to reiterate that it is essential that families experiencing Covid symptoms or who have had known close contacts with Covid positive individuals do not send their children for in-person instruction. This choice will require the District to commence a contract tracing process that might lead to other students needing to quarantine. Many of these instances are preventable. Please stay vigilant and thank you again to our parents for the many sacrifices you are making to keep our school community safe. 

    To further assist parents to ensure their children have not been exposed to Covid, WCS will now provide optional rapid Covid tests on a weekly basis. The tests are free and will be offered in the fitness center wing of Williamston High School every Tuesday and Thursday that school is in session from 3:30 - 4:30 pm. The testing will begin on Tuesday, April 20. Important details are listed below:

    • A consent form must be completed by parents every time a student is tested. The form must have an original signature if the student is under the age of 18
    • Consent forms can be downloaded here. Paper copies will be available at the testing location
    • Parents will be contacted only if the rapid test indicates a positive result and will typically be within two hours of test administration. Positive results from the rapid test should be validated with a PCR test given by a medical professional
    • Negative test results will not be communicated. Copies of testing paperwork will not be provided
    • Consent forms and testing paperwork will be stored in compliance with student medical record-keeping requirements

    Contact Mr. Paige Paulsen for additional information at paulsep@gowcs.net

    Finally, I want to thank our custodial and maintenance teams for their hard work on many projects throughout the District over spring break. Some examples are listed below.

    Updated landscaping throughout the District including outside the Central Office entrance:

    New landscaping outside Central Office

    New paint and carpet in select Williamston Middle School classrooms:

    Updated middle school classrooms

    Updates to the layout of the library at Williamston High School:

    Updated high school library layout

    Comments (-1)

Executive Assistant

Phone: (517) 655-4361

Email:

Degrees and Certifications:

Mrs. Betsy Rueckert