Team Trailblazer Update

October 17, 2016

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Snip taken from

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Over the next number of weeks, I plan on sharing out snippets of ESSA.

As we prepare as a country to make the official shift from No Child Left Behind to ESSA in 2017, it is important that we seek to understand the different components of ESSA.

As you will notice, one big shift between NCLB and ESSA is that of a shift in control from federal to the state level. Many state level decisions are still being determined within Michigan.

Week 1: Accountability

Key question this week:

What are the key components states will need to include in their overall accountability systems under the Every Student Succeeds Act?

Please click below to review the video.

Please find a summary of the accountability systems under ESSA as an attachment.

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Michigan eLibrary

Have you ever visited the Michigan eLibrary?

I first learned about it at our MAS/FPS conference a few weeks ago.

With our students working at home without a physical library in their immediate school environment, it will be a great resource for them - and us!

All one needs to create an account is a library card from a library in Michigan.

I have listed some highlights that I have discovered, but you will surely discover many more as you move around the site.

Start by clicking on the Teachers tab...specifically the secondary teacher resources.

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Tons to check out...

Three of my favorites from my brief exploration are:

1. eBook Collection

2. Opposing Viewpoints in Context

3. College/Career

eBook Collection

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eBook Collection

Books are available to read to anyone with a library card and account set up on

Choice books?


Opposing Viewpoints in Context

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Opposing Viewpoints in Context

Debate anyone?


Persuasive essay?

Check out this page to use with your students!

Jobs Gateway - Careers

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Career and College

There are many many resources for our students as they look beyond HS.

I think that this could be a helpful site for our counseling team, transition goals with students in special education as well as in our Reaching your Academic Potential and College and Careers courses.

Be sure to share with your colleagues when you find a great resource as you explore!

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Thank you Amy Stirling for sharing a twist on the 1-3-6 shared in our last newsletter!

I am doing something somewhat similar to the 1-3-6 – but I have students doing Whiteboarding discussions in class.

I start with a demonstration or lab gathering data, then students break into groups of 3-4 and work on diagramming, drawing, and writing explanations at the particle level of what they think is happening based on evidence from the lab or demonstration.

Then we come together as a whole group and they share their explanations and come to a consensus on what the whole group thought was going on. It’s been seriously the best year of teaching so far.

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October 14 PD

Thank you for your time and collaboration on Friday last week.

I have sent you the PD survey via an Outlook invite - here is the link as well:

Here is the recording from our all staff portion:

Here is the recording from our 6-12 portion of the afternoon:

I have attached the original PPTs as well as the saved white board slides.

You will also find the resources provided to us regarding conditional release.

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Face to Face December PD

Friday, Dec. 16th, 8am-4pm

Lansing, MI, United States

Lansing, MI

Save the date! We will be sending out details in November!
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We welcome Stacy Tubbs to our special education team his week! She will be working with our middle school students. Welcome, Stacy!

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Happy Birthday to our October Birthdays!

Amy Dawson - HS Music - October 26

Ahlam Salem - MS Special Education - October 23

Lisa Faulkner - HS Math - October 13

Matt Morsehead - HS Special Education - October 14

Zee Wiegand - HS English - October 15

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Count Day - we are at 93.7% captured! FAST continues to work with those students who have less than .8 FTE and HR teachers for those who are at .8 and need to reach the full 1.0. Our latest list was sent to leads today!

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FAST Referral Updates/Reminders

Couple of reminders for teachers from Amela Redzic:

Compliancy note in TVS – Please use individual notes for each student!

Lead Teacher listed for FAST Referrals (Use MVCA Admin email)

K-8 Kuipers

9-12 Rusie

ALL SE Students-Sherri Martin

Time for referral

Every Friday and Monday

Before you submit referral

Identify students who need support (Use Tracker)

Add your own Notes (one per student)

Try to contact and reach students on your own, multiple times and document that in TVS compliancy note

We need early referrals. Please don’t wait.

In case you have any questions please contact Amela Redzic.

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Back on Track

Our FASLs are working extremely hard to get kids back on track! Please help them in these efforts by understanding BOTP students may have meetings with their FASLs during part of your class time. They will make sure the student attends class as scheduled after the BOTP 10-15 minute check-in meeting.

Thank you!
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Here is the latest FAST Community Connector!

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Orchard Day around the state

Friday, Oct. 21st, 12-4pm

Michigan, United States


Details will be pushed out this week from Esther Freel!
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What can be expensed on Orchard Day?

You may expense mileage and any entrance fee for yourself.

You may spend up to $30 to assist or treat families during the afternoon to a hayride, donut or cider.

If you need more due to a larger site, Shannon has approved up to $100 if needed.

Receipts are required please.


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Weekly emails from interventionists

Thank you to our interventionists who will now be sending you weekly emails to notify you of which of your students are receiving their support.

Sample email:

Hello and Happy Friday!

I wanted to give you info on your students who are currently receiving Tier II Intervention from me. Below you will find information about your students who are on my caseload: their attendance, and the topics/standards we worked on this week. This info is just for your information - please do not feel like you have to do anything with it!

If you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to reach out J

Students & attendance

Have an amazing weekend!

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October is responsibility!

October is Responsibility month. Please check resources below as well as in the Outlook invite that went out.

With October being Anti-Bullying Month, it is a perfect time to talk about taking responsibility for one's actions towards others as well as for the words that come out of our mouths.

Our challenge is to have one student from every grade level on the list next month.

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A note from our character committee:

Hello MVCA Staff!

We are the character committee. Our goal is to help students become better people, better problem-solvers and better leaders by establishing a common language at our school. After working with staff from all departments K-12 we’ve planned 8 themes for the school year to help promote positive behaviors in our students.
Program introduction video (feel free to use this in your classes next week):

How does it work? Every month we will roll out a new character trait to promote in classrooms and conversations with families. From general education to intervention groups to students in special programs, all students and staff will be asked to promote these key character traits.


September- Self-Discipline
October- Responsibility
November- Digital Citizenship
December- Respect
January- Team Work
February- Perseverance
March- Honesty & Integrity
April/May- Leadership & Community

· Teacher Resources:

· Smore Page (For Teachers only. We will post the resources above here as well):

· Character Education Website (for families and teachers):

· Link to Nominate a student this month (LC’s and students can use this too):

What is my role?

Your role as a teacher/ counselor/ FASL is to promote this language in a way that works for you.


· Add one of the slides to the beginning of class every day.

· Use responsibility in your classroom norms for the year.

· You might “catch” students who are showing great responsibility and praise them in class.

Note: This is not intended to become an added task for your day, but rather a language for all of us to use with our students to promote better habits.

Encourage students and LC’s to visit our website too!

***Every month we have a link on our website where families can nominate students who exemplify the trait of the month and we’ll display their first name/ grade/ homeroom teacher on the website. Bragging rights are at stake!

We look forward to continuing to build a community of learners with you this school year. If you have any questions about the resources or need other ideas, please don’t hesitate to reach out.

MVCA Character Committee

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GVSU Charter Schools Office: 16-17 PD Calendar

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When you attend a GVSU PD...

Please complete this survey each time you attend:

This is not a pre-approval process, but rather a way to track mileage cost for our budget.


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Free ASCD Webinars - thanks, Jon DeCou!

Upcoming Free Webinars

ASCD's free webinar series brings experts in the field of education to a screen near you. Our webinars address timely and relevant topics like student engagement, classroom technology, and instructional strategies.

View the upcoming webinars below or browse the webinar archive.

Lesson Imaging in Mathematics and Science: Mindfully Planning for Inquiry Instruction
Thursday, October 27, 2016, 3:00 p.m. EDT (US)

This webinar will present techniques you can use to understand the goals of inquiry STEM lessons, anticipate how students might engage in these explorations, and engineer productive whole class discussions based upon students' reasoning.

Register Now

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Need a free ride to Share Fair?

As you may have heard, registration for the FREE Share Fair MI Education Conference in Grand Rapids on Nov. 12 is now OPEN! We would love for educators from the Detroit area to attend the conference and to make it easier for you, we are arranging for a charter bus to depart from a metro Detroit area school on the morning of Nov. 12. There is no cost to ride the bus and we will even include a light breakfast, gourmet lunch, and boxed dinner for the ride home.

To guarantee your spot on the bus, please RSVP via the link below by Oct. 28. Please note that we will require a minimum of 25 people to make the bus a possibility and will let you know by Nov. 1. (Don’t forget to register for the conference as well.)

Register for the BUS HERE

Register for the SHARE FAIR MICHIGAN education conference HERE

Share Fair Nation 2016 in Grand Rapids

We are excited to have the opportunity to have Share Fair Nation 2016 right here in West Michigan! It is an incredible FREE opportunity for all stakeholders in our school to participate in a STEM focused day with many opportunities to both learn and play.

Last year one was held in DC and I have included some videos for you to check it out.

There are 2 primary parts to Share Fair Nation:

1. Education focused PD - to be held at GVSU

Some of the themes this year:

  • Best Practices and Innovative Tools to Implement the Michigan Science Standards
  • Technology for Today and Tomorrow’s Learners
  • ELL Insights
  • SEL (Social Emotional Learning)
  • STEAM Punk Science
  • Technology as the Key to Quality Classroom Assessment

If you are interested in possibly participating, they ask for you to indicate your interest by filling out this link:

2. Family and student focused hands on fun - STEMosphere will be held at the Grand Rapids public museum

STEMosphere® is a hands-on, brains-on expo that highlights the best of today’s innovation and creativity. It is a FREE event that is open to learners of all ages – from preschoolers to seniors. STEMosphere® appeals to educators and administrators, families, community members, and anyone who wants to explore, invent, and experiment.

STEMosphere® is different in every city. Share Fair Nation has a core of amazing exhibitors who travel to each event with us, but the majority of exhibitors come from within the city/state where the event is held. This allows educators and students the opportunity to see what organizations in their own communities are doing to take STEM learning and innovation to the next level.

Past STEMosphere® exhibitor offerings have included:

  • Making edible gummy lego bricks
  • Constructing and piloting basic underwater robotic vehicles
  • Taking a trip back in time to examine man-made tools that are hundreds of years old
  • Designing and launching rockets
  • Learning basic computer coding
  • Using human-powered stationary bikes to run a snow cone making machine

I hope that you will consider attending - bring your family to play while you are learning with other educators or play along!


Saturday, Nov. 12th, 8am

401 Fulton Street West

Grand Rapids, MI



November 12, 2016

Hosted At:

Grand Valley State University


Share Fair Nation has teamed up with Michigan education leaders to deliver the inaugural Share Fair Michigan, a unique day of professional development that will feature expert-led sessions, peer collaboration, and the opportunity to win prizes.

At Share Fair Nation, we recognize that well-prepared teachers are the key to student achievement. Our organization is passionate about delivering world-class teacher training—at no cost to teachers, schools, or districts.

Relevant and tailored to your needs, Share Fair Michigan was created for educators, by educators, including many who practice in Michigan. Don’t miss this action-packed day of sessions that include:

    • Best Practices and Innovative Tools to Implement the Michigan Science Standards
    • Technology for Today and Tomorrow’s Learners
    • ELL Insights
    • SEL (Social Emotional Learning)
    • STEAM Punk Science
    • Technology as the Key to Quality Classroom Assessment

Share Fair Michigan will include a complimentary lunch and the opportunity to win prizes.

Let us know you’re interested by visiting

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Numbers as of 10/17/16

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Teacher Recognition through the OSk12ARs

This monthly program to find and share outstanding examples of direct instruction has launched for SY 1617.

You can share yourself or your lead may nominate!

I have attached the flyer and pasted it below.

October OSKARS - for returning teachers it is USING THE CHAT BOX IN CLASS CONNECT and for new teachers it is FIND YOUR VOICE! Pair and Share anyone???

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K12 Practices from the Field

Thursday, Oct. 27th, 1-4pm

This is an online event.

A new K12 event:

Event: Practices from the Field

Date: Thursday, October 27th 2016

Time: 1-4pm

Proposal Review Period: Ongoing until August 31, 2016

Final Presentations Due: September 29th, 2016

Now Accepting Proposals!

All faculty, staff, and administrators are encouraged to submit proposals! We welcome individual and small group proposals. Proposals are reviewed on a rolling basis until August 31, 2016.

Practices from the Field Proposal Survey:
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State Testing Updates

See attachment for this week's spotlight newsletter!


· Page 3 – 2016 Student Assessment & Accountability Fall Webcast Videos posted – visit MDE’s YouTube channel -

· Page 4 – ESSA Notes Newsletter – distributed to subscribers on Oct. 12. Available on in ESSA Notes section.

· Page 4 – ESSA Parent Survey available – please share with LCs - (http://deploy3.


· Page 3WIDA Test Exceptions Window – open from Dec. 8 – Jan. 26. Please let me know if you have any student w/ specific disabilities for which I should apply for a waiver.

· Page 3 – correcting accidental designations of LEP via appeals open from Dec. 8 – Jan. 26 at 5:00pm. Please email me the following for any students in this situation (all info below must be provided to submit an exception):

o Copy of initial HLS (Home Language Survey) complete by parents upon first enrollment in any LEA in MI.

o Attest that uploaded HLS is identical to the original doc by signing your name on doc (ELL Coordinator)

o Ensure HLS was signed by parent/guardian and not signed on behalf of parent/guardian

o Provide an explanation of discrepancy between original HLS and MSDS coding of LEP

o Submit to Wendy no later than Jan. 24th, COB

· Page 8 – MVCAdeadline for WIDA online testing waiver is Nov. 23. Please let me know by Nov. 21.

· Page 8 – WIDA Workshop for Alt ACCESS for ELLs – Wed., Nov. 9 – 9:00 – 4:00pm


· Page 6 – accommodated testing window explanation. SE Managers, please read..

· Page 8 – Supports & Accommodations Webinar for students w/ visual impairments – Wed., Oct. 19 – 9:00 – 10:00am

· Page 8 – Supports & Accommodations Webinar for hearing impaired students – Mon., Oct. 31 – 9:00 – 10:00am


· Page 5 – Science Assessment Webinar – Monday, Oct. 24 – 9:00 – 10:30am. Will review timeline for implementation of MI K-12 Science Assessments, and to answer questions. To join - or call into webinar – 1-877-820-7831, passcode = 569943#

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Communication to students about Friday half day

In your communications, please be sure to remind families of the half day this week Friday due to PD.

If families are using this website, the date is wrong. It says there is PD on October 24 instead of October 14:

Please be sure parents bookmark this website and refer to the calendar on this page. This has the correct calendar:

We are working on getting the first website fixed, but it comes from K12 so I don’t know how long it will be before it’s corrected.

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Harrison Blackburn Wesley is finally here! He is 8lbs 9oz. Congrats to Lindsay and Jesse!

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Monthly Board Meeting

Monday, Oct. 24th, 6pm

163 Madison Street

Detroit, MI

To call in, please use this number:

1 888 824 5683