Team Thomson News & Notes

August 20, 2017

Important Information for You!

Again, I want to welcome or welcome back each and every one of you! We have a truly amazing team and it was high lighted by the work you did last week at our staff meeting, professional development, and at the Open House for our students and families. It is going to be an amazing year!

Thank You to Jim & Justina

I want to again say 'thank you' to Jim and Justina. They did an amazing job getting the building ready for the first day of school. Even though things ran rather smoothly, there were several last minute 'things' that came up that needed their attention and they worked diligently to get everything ready and in tip-top shape for Monday. If you haven't already, please be sure to say thank you or give them a high-five!

Class Lists

You would not believe how busy Anna and Sue were enrolling and dropping students last week. I think Friday alone we were in the process of adding or dropping twelve students alone. I know that all of our teachers work so hard to make sure that have student names on various things in the classroom and we don't want anyone to feel 'left-out' because they don't have a 'spot'. Anna will get getting you class lists Monday morning, but I also encourage classroom teachers to check Synergy as well.

Lunch/Playground Monitor Introductions and Cardinal Code Practice

As always, our lunch/playground staff will be coming in an hour early to spend about 30 minutes in each classroom with the teacher to teach the Cardinal Code for lunch and the playground. While teachers may lead the classroom lesson, when you take your classroom out with the monitor, please let them lead on the playground as they review how to safely use the equipment.

Staff T-shirt Order

I will be purchasing staff t-shirts for all new staff members. If you are new to Thomson, please make sure to get your t-shirt size to the office by Thursday, August 31st. If there are staff members that would like to purchase new staff t-shirts or other Thomson Teddy Wear, please fill out the form from Cheri and write 'STAFF' at the top. This will help us ensure that 'STAFF' is added to the back of the items you purchase.

Solar Eclipse

As you know this Monday, August 21st, our school will have the opportunity to teach students about solar eclipses. Glasses for all students and staff were delivered on Friday and will be distributed for staff and student use. Specials teachers, parapros and personnel assisting with the viewing should stop in the office after 10 AM on Monday to receive their glasses.

It is expected that the path of the total eclipse will pass a few hundred miles south of Michigan, with Carbondale, Illinois, being the location of the longest duration eclipse at 2 minutes and 41 seconds. Across Michigan, 80-90% of the sun will be eclipsed by the moon and it is expected to occur between 2:20-2:25 p.m. Transit of the eclipse is expected to begin around 1:00 p.m. which is why we will begin our viewing at 1:30 p.m. Please make sure that you have read the email I sent out last week carefully and know your role...every Thomson staff member will have a role as we ensure one staff member for every 1-2 students. If you did not receive the email or have questions see me first thing Monday.

When reviewing the Solar Eclipse with your students, I expect that all staff will express the importance of safety and leaving on the sunglasses provided during the entire time we are viewing the eclipse. Students should not wear the glasses in the building as they will not be able to see and could accidentally trip or fall. Remember no students should be outside on Monday after 1:15 p.m unless it is your scheduled viewing time (see email). If you are concerned about any students not being able to participate safely, please let me know as soon as possible.

Special note: Schools have been advised the District no longer plans to collect the glasses. Students may take their glasses home with them as a souvenir.

Lesson Plans

Quality lesson planning is essential to effective teaching. Teachers should always have lesson plans completed and available three to five days in advance and their lesson plans should contain the following information per Mr. Brown's memo last spring:

  • The standard that aligns with the lesson (required by state law, MCL 380.1249 2 (e) (i) )
  • The learning target aligned to the standard
  • Success criteria for the learning target
  • Performance task for the lesson
  • Materials/resources including text pages/ websites...used in the lesson
  • Time frame for the lesson

I know and understand the fact that teachers want to do their very best and are motivated to make their plans "perfect." Just as we tell our students, we need to give ourselves permission and time to be learners. Given there is confusion about the intricacies of success criteria, and respecting that this is "part of the learning process" (for me as well as all of you), I do not want anyone to stress about how they should "write success criteria" in their plans. We need more discussion and learning about ways to address success criteria (including inviting students to help identify what the success criteria looks like). For now, please continue to include to use the information shared last year in staff newsletters, the discussions we have had, and your PLC members. We'll continue meaningful discussion regarding success criteria (and converting assessment criteria to success criteria) at an upcoming staff meetings and PD.

Last Chance to Purchase Service Credit

Public Act 92 of 2017, which was signed into law this summer, discontinues the option to initiate a service credit purchase as of September 29, 2017. This change in the law has no other effect on your pension or retiree healthcare benefits, and it does not affect purchases you’ve already made or tax-deferred payment agreements you may already have in place. If you’re planning a service credit purchase, full payment for the amount of service you wish to buy or a fully completed Tax-Deferred Payment (TDP) Agreement (R0392C) signed by both you and your employer must be received in the office of retirement services by 5:00 p.m. EDT, September 29, 2017. The good news is that you don’t have to provide the cost up front. You can complete a Tax-Deferred Payment Agreement prior to Sept. 29. If you are not sure about doing this login below or touch base with your financial planner.Everyone's situation is different and it is best to seek advice from your tax person and/or financial planner.

Any service credit applications received after 5:00 PM EDT on September 29, 2017 will not be processed and payments will be refunded appropriately. However, the ability to receive credit for time spent in military service and to reinstate service credit by repaying any refunded pension contributions will remain available to you after that date. To find out what types of service credit you may be eligible to purchase, the rules, the cost, and how to purchase, our website is your best resource. Go to and click on Service Credit – Earning and Purchasing. The best way to find out the cost of buying various types of service credit is to use the tools available in miAccount – log in at orsmiaccount. First, create a pension estimate. The Estimate Pension tool lets you enter any number of “what-if?” scenarios to create multiple estimates. Next, click on Your Service. From there, you can estimate the cost of purchasing Universal Buy-In service credit and various other types. After calculating your cost, click on “When will I recover this cost.” The Break Even Point for Your Service Purchase calculator uses one of your pension estimates to determine how many years after retiring it would take to recover the cost of your purchase.

Cell Phone Use

Personal cell phones are to be used during non-work time. When not in use, cell phones are to be either turned off or put on vibrate so not to disrupt instruction for students or the flow of the work environment (this includes staff meetings, PLCs, PD time, etc.). In case of emergency needs, please be sure to see me. This applies to all teachers, para-professionals, monitors, custodians, cooks and office secretaries. Note: Administrators, certain support personnel, and custodians are expected to monitor their cell phone and respond to regular and emergency "business communications" throughout the day. In certain emergency situations particular employees may be asked to assist with business matters and communications.

Cell phone use as a timer, noise monitor, and instructional tool may be appropriate in certain classroom situations. Accessing Facebook, conducting family or personal business (except in an emergency situations cleared in advance with your supervisor) are not acceptable uses of cell phones when you are "on the job." Please restrict your use of personal cell phone use to your break or planning time. Note: Family can contact you via your work phone or our office in most instances.

Thank you for focusing on the kids in your charge and the tasks at hand during the work day.

Quotes Worth Reading

"Someone once told me not to bite off more than I could chew. I said, 'I'd rather choke on greatness, then nibble on mediocrity'.


"Education is the single most important job of the human race."

-George Lucas

Please don't forget this.

"Great teachers empathize with children, respect them, and believe that each one has something special that can be built upon."

-Clever Classroom

Thomson Elementary

Home of the Thomson Teddies!


Where Kids Come First and Futures Begin!

Celebrations & Announcements

Birthdays: I know that we had lots of summer birthdays...please read next week's newsletter for a complete list!

Important Upcoming Dates:

  • Monday, August 21st-First day of School!, Solar Eclispe viewing beginning at 1:30 p.m.
  • Friday, August 25th- No School; Handbook Forms are due to the office...please see Anna if you need help accessing the form on the District website.
  • Tuesday, August 29th-DIBELS Testing begins
  • Wednesday, August 30th-DIBELS testing
  • Friday, September 1st-No School, Thomson office will be closed
  • Monday, September 4th-No School-Happy Labor Day!