The Supe's Loop October 1, 2021

Now you're In the Loop!

Welcome Back 2021-22!

It is great to see our staff and students back in classrooms, on the courts, the course and the fields this year. Each year the start of school is exciting and this year, with the opportunity to have all of our students back for in person instruction, has been especially so. I have enjoyed visits to each of our schools and conversations with our students, teachers, support staff and principals.

There are so many positive things happening all over the school system. This newsletter will be published monthly, in an attempt to highlight some of the things we’re proud of and to help keep you informed of the great things going on in our district. Additionally, we will be posting updates and information to Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram as well. More details about those platforms will be included later in this newsletter.

I want to thank each of our students, parents, and staff for coming together to get schools up and running. It's been a great September and I am excited for what's next as we welcome the month of October.

Every Opportunity

Since I arrived in 2019 we have been talking about a concept called Every Opportunity.

It is a concept that helps to focus us on the many decisions we make every day and how those decisions, when compounded over time, significantly shape and direct the impact we have on the educational experience and growth and development of our students.

If we continue to keep our students at the center of what we do and at the center of the decisions we make, we will maximize our collective positive impact on students - socially, emotionally, developmentally and academically.

Every Opportunity recognizes the incredible impact we can have on the lives of our students and encourages us to continue to grow and develop our own practice to be even more impactful with our students. If we take advantage of Every Opportunity, we can positively impact the trajectory of our students' lives, regardless of the advantages they may or may not bring with them when they come to school each and every day.

We are already seeing evidence of Every Opportunity and will continue to see even more as we work to continuously improve for our students and our school.


Christopher Parker, Superintendent Petoskey Schools

Big picture

Culture for Success

Students and all humans thrive in positive environments where they feel safe and connected. As a district, we will continue our work in this area focusing on growth, how we treat one another as well as many strategies connected to positive psychology.

This is a team approach, but culture is enormously important to the success of our Children.

  • If you see someone falling, walk beside them.
  • If you see someone is being ignored, find a way to include them.
  • If you see someone has been knocked down, lift them up.

Together we are stronger and can make our district a place where all learners are connected, cared for and successful.

Student Support Network

Ensuring that each student in the Public Schools of Petoskey experiences Every Opportunity requires a full complement of systems and supports. At each building, a Student Support Network (SSN) is in place that helps address the non-academic needs of all students and aims to identify and provide support in needed areas to ensure student success.

Each Building's SSN consists of a team of administrators, teachers and support staff who are knowledgeable about student needs and available resources.

They assess the needs of students and deploy needed resources, continuing to monitor progress of students to make sure that the resources identified and deployed are having the desired impact. Building Principals and members of the SSN are instrumental in ensuring that each student experiences Every Opportunity and the norms of care, support, safety, and membership.

Our staff recognize that life can be challenging for students and families in a number of ways. The student support network is a great way to make sure that those challenges and associated needs are recognized, planned for, and addressed in a way that's specific to the student involved. The team will also follow up to make sure that the resource(s) provided were effective in meeting the needs o the student. If the support did not have the desired impact, the team can meet again, and try other interventions or supports with the intent of alleviating the concern.

Congratulations to Track Coach Starkey, State Coach of the YEAR!

Karen Starkey is a retired Counselor and Teacher from Petoskey Schools and has served as the girls Track coach for 13 years and she led the team to the MHSAA Division II State Championship last spring.

The Coach of the Year selection was based on Karen's contributions to the sport, school and community. "Karen is amazing with our athletes. She understands just how to push them to get to their best. No one is more deserving of this honor than Karen. She represents all that is right with High School Athletics", said Mr. Dohm, Athletic Director PHS.

Way to go Coach Starkey!!


The PHS marching band traveled to Troy Athens High School last week for a marching band competition. Competition was tough and included teams from much larger schools.

Congratulations are in order for our very own Marching Northmen for bringing home

FIRST PLACE at this competition (I bet you didn't see that coming :))!!!

I am proud of the work of our students who are in the band. Specifically the dedication, hard work, and perseverance required to keep doing what they do and achieving the level of excellence that is required if you're going to win big competitions. Thank you to our students, the band directors, volunteers, and parents. Together, you enable our students to experience incredible levels of success and learn some fantastic life skills in the process. Well done!!

Tech Talk: Tech Tips for Parents. Online Safety

If your house is anything like mine, kids have been spending a LOT more time online since the start of the COVID shutdown. A LOT. For the next few months, I'll be including some tech tips for parents and try to include resources or ideas to help if you're struggling to regain control of the electronic devices or if you just want to make sure you're doing all you can to keep your kids safe online.

This month's tip comes from Common Sense Media, which is a site that I've referred to for years, both as a school administrator and a dad:

  • Talk Openly with your child about online activity
  • Keep Screens and devices where you can see them
  • Know our Parental controls
  • Know who your children's online friends are
  • Keep control of your families Digital footprint
  • Teach your Children to keep their address or location private
  • Keep Track of online time
  • Lead by Example

Attitude of Gratitude

If you've heard me talk about our school system before you've heard me talking about how impressed I am with our staff and student. Last week was my most recent reminder of why that is.

Through inter-school mail, we received handwritten thank you notes and stickers from Sarah Harju's 4th graders at Central Elementary School. I found out later that not only did we get them, but every adult in the district would be receiving them as well. This is not only great practice for how to write letters, it's also an amazing way to spread kindness and gratitude throughout our entire school community.

Thank you to Mrs. Harju's class for, as the motto of the Cheetos Club says, planning to be kind!

Ms. Harju started the kindness project to practice the Central STARS expectations - Where EVERY Star shines!

Pandemic Update

We continue to utilize the mitigation strategies outline in the District Preparedness Plan and Health Department order. Masking, Social Distancing and proper hand hygiene continue to be at the center of our strategies to keep students and staff healthy. As a reminder, please conduct a quick health screening on your students in the morning and keep them home if they're sick.

We have added COVID testing site at the Spitler building which has helped students who were identified as close contacts to attend school as long as they are asymptomatic and test negative. The testing site along with the new quarantine guidelines for masked classrooms have helped to significantly decrease the number of students quarantined out of school, which we know is disruptive and challenging in many ways - both for parents and students.

So what are the results? You can see Petoskey School District current case #'s HERE. These numbers are updated daily and replace the 5:55 messages that were sent out last year. We will continue to work to keep everyone healthy and our schools open.

Thank you for your ongoing support and for the work of our staff and students to make this happen.

Upcoming Events

What is Happening this Month?

There's always something exciting happening in the Petoskey Schools!

Here are just a few of our upcoming events:

  • October 1 - Varsity Soccer vs. Elk Rapids 6:45 p.m.

  • October 2 - Homecoming Football Game 3 p.m.

  • October 21 - Board of Education Meeting 7 p.m. PHS Auditorium

  • October 22 - Professional Development Day - NO SCHOOL

The Full Value Agreement

Speak Up

Staff and Students are encouraged to speak up and advocate for themselves as well as for others. This component strives to strengthen communication among staff members, between staff and students, and between students themselves.

Be Safe

Staff and Students are expected to conduct themselves in a manner that maintains physical and emotional safety for those they interact with. This component of the FVA is concerned with both physical and verbal behavior.

Work as a Team

The third component of the FVA involves Staff and Students working together. Not only is this important for our classes, teams, arts, and other extracurricular activities, but the ability to work together is also a highly sought after ability by employers.