Superintendent's Blog

  • 2019 Educator of the Year

    Posted by Adam Spina on 10/17/2019 1:45:00 PM

    Please join me in congratulating WCS Band Director Ms. Lynn Kelsey as the Williamston Area Chamber of Commerce 2019 Educator of the Year. 

    Ms. Kelsey began teaching in Williamston in 2004. Under her leadership, the Williamston Bands have earned the highest accolades at the state level and hold the reputation as one of the best programs in Michigan. She has influenced numerous students to continue to perform in bands or pursue music studies post-graduation. Her oversight of the band program begins when students enter sixth-grade at Williamston Middle School and continue for the majority of those students throughout high school. Ms. Kelsey directs the WMS Symphonic Band, the WHS Marching and Symphonic Bands as well as the WHS Jazz Band. Her outstanding teaching is visible to thousands of people each year at concerts, festivals, football games, and parades. 

    The WHS Marching Band surprised Ms. Kelsey this week with the news she was selected as the 2019 WACC Educator of the Year. Watch the clip here.

    WCS was fortunate to have a second member of our team selected for recognition by the Chamber. Mr. Mitch Lutzke is a Williamston High School social studies teacher as well as an award-winning author and track coach. Mr. Lutzke has written extensively on the history of Williamston and is a sought after speaker who regularly highlights the attributes of Williamston in his presentations. Mr. Lutzke will be conferred with the Hometown Hero Award by the Chamber’s Board of Directors at the awards banquet.

    Students surprised Mr. Lutzke by announcing his award during the recording of their school news during his Broadcasting class this week. Watch the clip here.

    The 2019 Community Awards Banquet will be held on Thursday, November 7th at 7:00 pm at the Fraternal Order of Eagles in Williamston. Visit the Chamber’s website at williamston.org for information on purchasing tickets for the event. The banquet does sell out quickly, please do not wait too long to acquire tickets if interested in attending.

    2019 Community Awards Banquet Flyer

    Once again, congratulations to Ms. Kelsey and Mr. Lutzke!

    Scenes from Around the District:

    Grand Re-Opening of the Williamston CADL Branch:

    Williamston CADL Brand Reopening Ceremony

    Young 5s students participate in bus safety lessons, co-taught by the Williamston Transportation Department:

    Bus Safety Lessons

    The Williamston Swim and Dive Team competes at a recent home meet:

    WHS Swim Meet

     

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  • WCS to Start School Later Beginning in 2020-2021

    Posted by Adam Spina on 10/8/2019 4:50:00 PM

    In keeping with increasing evidence that later start times will foster better academic outcomes, school attendance, and mental health in adolescents, WCS will be making a ten-minute adjustment to the start times of its buildings beginning with the 2020-2021 school year. 

    New Start and Ending Times, Beginning 2020-2021:

    Williamston High School: 8:15 am - 3:05 pm

    Williamston Middle School: 8:20 am - 3:10 pm

    Discovery and Explorer Elementary: 8:30 am - 3:30 pm

     

    View the complete 2020-2021 District Calendar here.

     

    The gradual shift toward later start times puts the high school just 15 minutes shy of the research recommended start time of 8:30 am, one of the latest high school starts in the area. During the 2020-2021 school year, the district will assess the ten-minute adjustment, looking at its impact on transportation, co-curricular activities, student safety, and student attendance (the high school amassed 2,297 first hour tardies during the 2018-2019 school year). Future adjustments will be considered based on the collected data. 

    The later start times complement district efforts to improve academic outcomes and address student mental health. It is our hope that by communicating the change in school start times this far in advance, families will have time to make appropriate plans before next August.  

    Below are links to research on school start times:

    Center for Disease Control and Prevention, Schools Start Too Early

    American Psychological Association, Later Start Times Promote Adolescent Well-Being

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    Health Hero Free Flu Vaccination Clinic:

    WCS will host a Health Hero Flu Vaccination Clinic at each school on October 21, 2019. Any student who has turned in the consent form may receive the vaccine a no cost, regardless of insurance coverage. All vaccines given are preservative-free, Mercury-free, and Thimerosal-free and administered by state-licensed nurses. See the Health Hero Website for more details.


    Download the consent form here.

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  • Homecoming 2019

    Posted by Adam Spina on 10/3/2019 7:25:00 PM

    Despite the rain, school spirit has been in full effect throughout Homecoming Week. Numerous special events and spirit days at each building will culminate in the Homecoming Parade on Friday at 6:00 pm in downtown Williamston. The weather looks promising for both the parade and the game on Friday. On behalf of our students and staff, I cordially invite all alumni and community members to join us in celebrating Williamston Community Schools on Friday evening. It will be a great day to be a Hornet!

    Scenes from Around the District:

    NIESA visits Little Hornets Preschool to discuss fire safety and demonstrate some of their equipment.

    NIESA and Little Hornets

    Students learn archery at fifth-grade camp:

    Archery at 5th-grade Camp

    Walk to school day at Explorer and Discovery Elementary Schools:

    Walk to School 2019

    “Awesomeness Day” at Williamston Middle School:

    "Awesomeness Day" at WMS

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    Parent Informational Letter Regarding Vaping:

    Read the informational letter on vaping communicated to high school families this week here.

    Comments (-1)
  • Work at WCS, Homecoming Details, and More

    Posted by Adam Spina on 9/27/2019 9:25:00 AM

    Work at WCS:

    As we move into the second month of the school year there remain a number of vacant positions within the district. We are looking for candidates who are motivated to be a positive influence in the lives of our students and actively contribute to the success of the district and community. Openings are listed below along with links to more information as well as the appropriate point of contact.

    Full-Time:

    Great Start Readiness Program, Little Hornets Preschool, Lead Teacher, Full-Time. Contact for more information: Betsy Rueckert, rueckee@gowcs.net

    Part-Time:

    After School Caregiver, Kids’ Corner. Part-Time. Contact for more information: Betsy Rueckert, rueckee@gowcs.net

    Meeting Minute Taker, Board of Education. Part-Time. Contact for more information: Janet Eidt, eidtj@gowcs.net

    Food Service, Williamston High School. Part-Time. Contact for more information: Lynna Hassenger, hassenl@gowcs.net

    Noon Supervisor, Elementary Campus. Part-Time. Contact for more information: Kelly Campbell, campbek@gowcs.net

    Substitute Bus Driver, Transportation Department. Part-Time. Contact for more information: Pam VanSickler, vansicp@gowcs.net

    *** WCS now offers among the highest substitute bus driver rates in the area as well as reimbursement for all training and licensing fees. Candidates may also be eligible for additional financial incentives.

    More information on positions within the district can be found on the Human Resources page on the District website or by selecting the link here.

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    Homecoming 2019:


    Looking forward to a great homecoming week. Go Hornets!

    Homecoming 2019

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    Alternative Morning Drop-off Location Pilot Survey:

    For families with students in 2nd - 5th grades who are not already assigned a bus route for the 2019 - 2020 school year.

    View the survey here.

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    Scenes From Around the District:

    Williamston High School hangs its 2019 Best High Schools Banner:

    WHS Best High Schools Banner

    Students explore the relationship between mass, force, and acceleration in middle school science class:

    Mass, Force, and, Acceleration Experiment at WMS

    The Williamston Soccer Complex at dusk:

    Williamston Soccer Complex

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  • Academically Related Curriculum (ARC)

    Posted by Adam Spina on 9/19/2019 5:05:00 PM

    WCS has strived to offer a wide variety of learning experiences for students at our elementary schools. Academically Related Curriculum (ARC) courses are an excellent representation of progressive and relevant programming that provide creative outlets for students, develop 21st Century Skill Sets, and enhance learning taking place in the core content areas.

    Kindergarten classes use scarves to explore patterns, rhythm, and counting concepts in music class:

    Elementary Music 2019

    Starting this year, the time allotted to  ARC classes at the elementary schools was increased to provide 50 minutes of instructional time per class, per day. The additional time will allow for more integration opportunities in the ARC classes which will deepen comprehension both in the ARC classrooms and in core academic subjects. Blended learning and arts integration are among the district's top instructional priorities.

    Students apply what they have learned about coding and circuitry to compose music during a lesson in the Elementary STEAM Lab:

    Elementary STEAM 2019

    Michigan currently only credits elementary schools on the state scorecard for offering music and physical education. Williamston offers music and two sections of Fit For Life (held in two different gymnasiums to take advantage of the unique spaces and materials available in each). We continue to believe that offering a diverse array of ARC classes is essential to achieving our educational goals and significantly beneficial in the academic development of our students, even though our expanded offerings are not reflected by the state on the overall evaluation that our elementary schools receive annually. Three years ago WCS added elementary Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, and Mathematics (STEAM) as an ARC class, and as noted previously, returned Spanish for all elementary students this year. 

    ARC classes at WCS are another example of the District executing its vision of providing Relevant, Educationally Progressive, and Evidence-Based learning opportunities for all students.

    I invite blog readers to review our ARC Brochure to learn more. It can be found on our website or by selecting the link here.

    Students use pedometers during Fit For Life class to track their activity levels. Later in the year, students will convert those data into different measures, applying what they learn in mathematics to assess the fitness benefits of various activities:

    Fit For Life 2019

    Fit For Life 2019

    Homecoming Parade Participation:

    Information on how to submit an application to enter a float and/or walk in the 2019 Homecoming Parade can be found here. The submission deadline is Friday, September 27. Additional information regarding Homecoming 2019 can be found on the Williamston High School website.

    State of the District Slide Deck:

    View the presentation for the 2019-2020 State of the District Presentation here.

    Community Awards Nominations:

    Select the link here to nominate a local business or community member for the 2019 Williamston Area Chamber of Commerce Community Awards.

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  • Community Awards Nominations

    Posted by Adam Spina on 9/12/2019 3:05:00 PM

    The Williamston Area Chamber of Commerce is now accepting nominations for the 2019 Community Awards. The annual event recognizes the success and contributions of the local business community as well as notable efforts by individuals who serve the Williamston area in a variety of capacities.  

    This year’s nomination process is entirely online and can be found on the Chamber’s website or by selecting the link hereThe easily navigated online form includes the criteria for each award. Completing the nomination process takes as little as a few moments, depending on the amount of detail included in the submission. Tickets to the awards dinner in November can also be found on the same page. 

    Among the awards is the Educator of the Year. The criteria for this recognition are:

    • Educator is held in high esteem by students, colleagues, and families
    • Educator currently teaches or has taught in the Williamston, Webberville, or Dansville Communities
    • Educator contributes to co-curricular activities and/or student-oriented events outside of the school day
    • Educator collaborates effectively with others to enhance district programming, instruction, facilities, transportation, or other essential services
    • Educator serves on school and/or district leadership teams or advisory committees
    • Educator is visible in the community and is an advocate for their district and public education

    Please consider nominating a deserving area educator as well as individuals and businesses from the many other awards categories. Award recipients will be selected by the members of the Williamston Area Chamber of Commerce. The deadline to complete a nomination is Monday, October 7, 2019.

    Chamber Awards Nominations and Banquet 2019

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  • WCS Receives Early Recognition

    Posted by Adam Spina on 9/5/2019 8:50:00 AM

    WCS has started the new school year earning recognition in publications providing early evaluations of Michigan public schools. The district was once again rated as one of Michigan’s best by Niche, earning an overall rating of an “A”. Williamston High School’s SAT results placed it among the top tier high schools in the state, posting a significant 16 point increase on the mathematics portion of the state assessment and an 18 point increase overall. 

    Niche Best Schools 2020

    A reminder of the 2019 State of the District presentation that will be held on Thursday, September 12 at 6:00 pm in the Discovery Elementary Media Center. The event is hosted by the Elementary PTSA and will be followed by their first meeting of the year. I will share an update on WCS and address questions from attendees.

    State of the District 2019

     

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  • The First Week of School

    Posted by Adam Spina on 8/29/2019 7:35:00 AM

    The energy level throughout the district has certainly amped up. Engaging classroom lessons, birthday celebrations, athletic events... it is wonderful to have our students back! I am very much thankful for the careful planning of our building leaders and the detail-oriented preparation of our teachers and support staff in making this week a success. We also greatly appreciate the support of our many volunteers who helped some of our youngest students navigate their way off buses or into new classrooms. As always, our outstanding police department actively maintained a safe environment in and around our buildings. All the pieces came together and we are off to a great start! 

    Every school year brings forth tremendous successes, new lessons learned, and the opportunity for improvement. As a district, and as a community, we will continue to overcome obstacles and support the dreams and goals of all our children. This collective ideal is what makes Williamston such a special place, and I have high expectations for what can be achieved this year.    

    Wishing our community a safe and enjoyable Labor Day holiday.

    First Day of School 2019-2020

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  • Welcoming the 2019 - 2020 School Year

    Posted by Adam Spina on 8/23/2019 7:35:00 AM

    August 2019 District Podcast:

    The August District Podcast can be listened to here.

    The Podcast can also be accessed at the following links:

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    Welcoming the 2019 - 2020 School Year

    Monday, August 26, marks the first day of classes for the 2019-2020 school year. After a summer full of preparation, I look forward to opening our doors to a year full of potential. See photos from Opening Day 2019 here.


    New Williamston High School Commons and Secure Main High School Entrance:

    WHS Commons

    We welcome an outstanding cohort of talented new staff members to WCS. This includes fifteen (15) new teachers as well as adding an additional school social worker at the high school. Furthermore, veteran educators in the District have assumed new roles. Ms. Deb LaFleur now serves as Assistant Principal at Williamston High School and Ms. Erika Williams assumes the responsibilities of secondary instructional coach. Our new team members join a world-class team of dedicated professionals who have firmly established WCS as a premier educational organization. 

    New Professional Staff at WCS, 2019-2020:

    New WCS Professional Staff, 2019

    From left to right: 

    Mr. Mario Bravo, Intervention Paraprofessional, WHS; Ms. Kelsey Johnson, Teacher, WMS; Ms. Lisa Dean, Teacher, WHS; Ms. Renee Heidi, Teacher, Explorer Elementary; Ms. Libbey Jones, Teacher, Explorer Elementary; Ms. Annah Brummitt, Teacher, Discovery Elementary; Ms. Molly Stump, Teacher, WMS; Ms. Sarah Choate, Teacher, Explorer Elementary; Ms. Micki Magee, Librarian, Elementary Campus; Ms. Claire Cook, Teacher, Discovery Elementary; Ms. Maribeth Attard, Teacher, WHS; Ms. Christy Reynolds, Associate Teacher, Little Hornets Preschool; Ms. Megan O’Donovan, Teacher, WHS; Ms. Jill Fuller, Teacher, Elementary Campus; Ms. Lily Sturock, Assistant Teacher, Little Hornets Preschool; Ms. Darci Steele, Assistant Teacher, Little Hornets Preschool; Ms. Meghann Carr, Teacher, Elementary Campus; Ms. Gretta Delaney, Special Education Paraprofessional, Explorer Elementary; Ms. Kortney Smith, Teacher, Discovery Elementary; Ms. Kayla Walker, Teacher, WMS; Ms. Michelle Windom, School Social Worker, Explorer Elementary; Ms. Caitlin Wilcox, School Social Worker, WHS; Ms. Kara Nussbaum, Teacher, Discovery Elementary; Ms. Ashley Simpkins, Teacher, Little Hornets Preschool; Ms. Caitlin Griffes, Speech Pathologist

    Our core goals remain consistent even as the strategies to implement them evolve with new research. While our expectations are ambitious, we remain centered on our vision to maintain a relevant, progressive, and evidence-based district. Williamston enjoys a well-deserved reputation as a leader in implementing best practices. This year will be no exception.

    Education Excellence Award 2019

    As communicated throughout last year, we are focused on the many aspects of our Positive Behavioral Intervention and Supports (PBIS) philosophy. Examples included adding programming such as Second Step at the lower elementary and Be Nice at our secondary schools. The foundations for student support strategies such as restorative justice were also established. Throughout 2019-2020 we will continue to provide professional development for our staff in order to deepen our understanding of the impact and causes of student trauma as we become more collectively skilled in supporting Social-Emotional Learning (SEL). It is my strong belief that as we better address the very real issues of depression, anxiety, and trauma with our students, academic outcomes will reach even more impressive levels while simultaneously improving the overall safety of our schools. Additional details of the educational goals for the District can be found within our District Improvement Plan. The plan is posted under the “Our District” tab on the WCS Homepage or by selecting the link here.

    Best US High Schools 2019

    At the building level, schools are continuing to implement evidence-based initiatives. Williamston High School will enhance curricular alignment to state standards and begin work on developing standardized grading practices. Williamston Middle School will pioneer new ways to integrate Google Classroom into instruction and parent communication while also piloting a new English Language Arts curriculum. Explorer and Discovery will maintain a focus on providing timely and effective intervention and enrichment in the areas of literacy and mathematics. The School Improvement Plan for each building can be found under the “Academics” tab on their respective websites.

    Niche Best School District 2019 GreatSchools.org College Success Award 2019

    It is a profound honor to lead such an incredible school district and hold a platform that allows the opportunity to make a positive difference in the Williamston community. Thank you for your trust and support. Let’s make this a great year!

    Go Hornets!   

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  • Recognizing Our Maintenance, Custodial, and Technology Departments

    Posted by Adam Spina on 8/15/2019 4:05:00 PM

    As students and instructional staff begin to return, it is important to recognize and thank those who have set the foundation for an outstanding year of school. As always, our maintenance, custodial, and technology teams have gone above and beyond to ensure all district facilities are in pristine condition. The amount of quality work accomplished by so few in a very limited amount of time is admirable. Every surface has been cleaned or reconditioned. The grounds and athletic facilities have been kept in optimal condition and numerous renovations were completed throughout the District. Whole computer labs were replaced and network capabilities upgraded. I could not be more proud of our team and all that they do to set up our staff and students for success. Please join me in thanking the members of these departments for their dedication to our district and our community, both now and throughout the school year. 

    Custodial and Maintenance Teams Remove Carpet from the Choir Room at Williamston Middle School:

    Carpet Removal at WMS

    Trees Trimmed at the District Storage Facility (and throughout the district over the summer):

    Tree Trimming

    New steel core classroom doors are painted at the Little Hornets Preschool and Explorer Elementary:

    Door Painting at Explorer

    Buses #8 and #9 were added to the fleet in August. Over 50% of the bus fleet has been replaced by new vehicles in the past three years.

    New Buses: #8 and #9

    Repainted Cafeteria at Williamston Middle School:

    Repainted Cafeteria at WMS

    The support of volunteers over the summer is always greatly appreciated! Girl scouts from Cadette Troop 30542 plant flowers outside the Administrative Offices:

    Girl Scouts Planting Flowers at Central Office

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Executive Assistant

Mrs. Janet Eidt

Phone: (517) 655-4361

Email:

Degrees and Certifications:

Mrs. Janet Eidt