Dolphin Digest

2015 Newsletter

Springfield Plains Elementary School

Dear Springfield Plains Family,

December. Hope. Love. Joy.

December is magical in elementary school. December is special because of kids. December is also the final chapter to the stories we wrote in 2015. December is the grand finale.

It is my hope that each of your children that enter the door to their school feels a sense of belonging and purpose. We know that children learn better when they feel significant and they know that they matter. I wonder if our children really feel significant and important here at Springfield Plains. How are we doing? I encourage your feedback.

Our kids see hope in their future. They have the expectation that something big and bold is in store for them. There are no guarantees, but there is hope. Our kids see hope through the trust they have in their teachers as mentors. Our kids see hope through their thirst to understand and their craving for new ideas. It is my hope that our kids’ desires of today continue beyond Springfield Plains.

Love is a variety of different feelings, states, and attitudes. At school, your child is loved. They are cared for. They are hugged. They are precious gifts that we are honored to serve. Furthermore, we want to instill this attitude within each child. To respect humanity and show compassion and empathy. Our children have experienced this with the Student Lighthouse canned food drive for Lighthouse of Oakland County through their overwhelming response with donations. Our children continue to show love for humanity through the Elementary Elves project, continuing to help those in need over the holidays. Love is abundant in December.

Joy is our ninth cultural force at Springfield Plains. Joy influences our physical environment, embraces making mistakes and eliminates stereotypical meetings all while fostering dignity and respect for humanity and putting the fun back into learning. I want your children to have joy and I want them to experience happiness, but happiness and joy are not the same. Richard Sheridan (2015) writes in his Joy, Inc. book, "There is nothing wrong with happiness, and there is no question you should also seek happiness. It's just that joy is deeper, more meaningful, and purposeful. Happiness is more a momentary state of being. You can be joyful without being happy every moment" (p. 9).

When children find and unleash their passions they will find joy. It is our job as parents and as educators to embrace our kids’ curiosities and guide them toward finding their own passions.

I wish you and your family hope, love and especially joy this December.

Most Sincerely,

Matthew Gifford, Principal

Important Contact Information

SPE Main Office 248.623.3800, Secretary Karen Postal

Attendance Line 248.623.3890

Fax 248.623.3805


Thank you to all our parents who contributed by preparing some fabulous dinners for our teachers prior to P/T Conferences. Thank you to Holly Selden and Maggie Benson for chairing this event and to all the cooks who prepared food. The food on both nights was delicious! Thank you!!


Oakland County Health Department will be at SPE on November 30, and December 1-4, 2015. They will be providing vision screenings for grades 1, 3, & 5 and hearing screening from December 16-18 and January 4, 2016 for grades K, 2, 4 & Basic Plus.

Writings from Superindendent Rod Rock


As the Clarkston Community Schools seek to cultivate thinkers, learners, and positive contributors to a global society, we fully realize that key dispositions of such thinkers include thoughtful questioning, continuously questioning (ourselves, our parents, and our teachers), and constantly and deeply wondering.

The fall of the year, as a transition to winter, is a splendid time to question, ask, and wonder. As we walk through the woods or down our streets, we can see and feel the seasons changing. What is happening? Why is it happening? Do the same things happen everywhere on Earth at the same time? These are amazing opportunities to wonder together about our world.

As children come home from school each day, we can help, as families, friends, and neighbors, to build these dispositions. We can ask our children: “What questions did you ask today? We can hold in our own minds the idea that our questions drive us as learners.”

Ron Ritchhart, a Harvard Researcher and author, wrote: “When Isidor I. Rabi won the Nobel Prize in physics, he was asked, ‘Why did you become a scientist, rather than a doctor or lawyer or businessman, like the other immigrant kids in your neighborhood?’ He replied, ‘My mother made me a scientist without ever intending it. Every other mother in Brooklyn would ask her child after school: So? Did you learn anything today? But not my mother. She always asked me a different question. Izzy, she would say, did you ask a good question today? That difference--asking good questions--made me become a scientist’''

Let us work together to cultivate in our children the disposition to seek deeper meaning in the around them.

It is with tremendous gratitude and deep care for children that I serve as your superintendent. Thank you for all that you do to make our schools and community such wonderful places to live and learn.


Rod Rock, Ed.D.

Superintendent of Schools

Support the SPE PTA Playground Fund - Give Back Night at On The Border

Help support the SPE PTA by participating in Give Back Night at On The Border Mexican Grill and Cantina!

The SPE PTA is raising funds for the Playground Enhancement Project. By participating in ‘Give Back Night’, On The Border will donate 20% of your purchase (includes carry-out and catering) back to SPE. You MUST present the On The Border flyer in order to recognize support for the SPE Playground Enhancement Project. Flyers will be distributed in the Friday folders.

When: Wednesday, December 9th, 2015 (All Day!)

Where: 3930 Baldwin Road, Auburn Hills, Michigan (In front of Great Lake Crossing Outlets)

Clarkston Schools Transportation Department to Host Stuff-A-Bus

Clarkston Schools Transportation Department will be hosting their annual “Stuff-a-Bus” on Saturday, December 5 ,from 10:00-4:00 p.m. at Niemans Market at Dixie Hwy and White Lake Rd.

They will be accepting non-perishable food items, new and unwrapped toys, new and unwrapped clothing, gift cards and cash or checks made out to Lighthouse North. All donations will be delivered to Lighthouse North to help local families for the holidays.


Parties will be Thursday, December 17, 2015, at 2:45. THERE WILL BE NO KIDS CONNECTION THAT DAY!!!

Last Day of School & Winter Break

The last full day of school is December 18, 2015. Winter break is December 21, 2015, - January 3, 2016. School resumes on January 4, 2016


Hat, Scarves, Mittens...

Springfield Plains Elementary is helping our local GoodFellows in their effort to provide hats, mittens, and scarves for children in the area.

We will be placing NEW hats, mittens and scarves on our Giving Tree in the front lobby from November 30- December 11, 2015.

Support the Playground Fund and Shop for the Holidays at the SPE “Collection”

Stop by after school to support the SPE Playground Fund and to shop for the holidays!

Thursday, Dec. 3rd 3:30-6:30 in the Multi Purpose Room

Products include:

Premier Designs Jewelry

LuLaRoe clothing

stella & dot jewelry & accessories

thirty-one bags & gifts

Beach Body / 21 Day Fix

Young Living / Essential Oils

Rodan + Fields skin care

Arbonne skin care & nutrition

JOYA jewelry

Keep Collective jewelry

The Stacked Collection bracelets

Matlida Jane Clothing

It Works! body wraps

tastefullysimple foods & gifts

Handmade Crochet Items

Handmade jewelry

Handmade centerpieces & wreaths



Pink & LuLu

Le-Vel Thrive energy supplements

Parents, It’s Cold Outside!!

Please make sure your child comes to school with a warm coat, hat, gloves, boots, and snow pants. We go out for recess if it is zero degrees or above in temperature.


During the winter months, some severe weather may occur. Roads are checked each morning by the transportation office to determine driving conditions. In addition, the Michigan Road Commission and the U.S. Weather Service are consulted. In the event that conditions are determined to be unsafe for the busing of students, a decision to close school is normally made by 6 a.m. and announced on selected radio and television stations during regular news programs. School closings are posted on the District Home page at and phone blasted throughout the District. Should severe conditions occur after classes are in session, our general policy will be to keep bus students in their building until we can safely operate the buses. Students will be released only to their parents, to approved adults, or by phoned parental authorization.

The following AM radio stations will carry school closing announcements: WWJ (950), WJR (760),CKLW (800) and area TV channels. The School District has no control as to the time closing announcements will be broadcast via these systems.


Be a part of the PTA's Reflections Program. The 2015-2016 Theme is: Let Your Imagination Fly. Entries from all grades and all abilities welcome. Categories include: Music, Photography, Visual Arts, Dance Choreography, Film Production, and Literature.

Deadline is December 11, 2015



Andrew Butler, Avery Roemensky, Kayla Lemke, Harper Jones, Owen Holloway, Cole Fenton, Delia Hoffman, Jenna Robin, Addison Davis, Jadyn Hoffmann, Parker Pace, Giana Kraatz, Makenna Theuer

REMINDER!!!! SPE School and District E-Blasts

With possible winter weather school closings coming, please remember to sigh up to receive email notices (e-blasts) specific to SPE families and/or our district e-blasts. Here's how:

1. Go to our district webpage:

2. Choose the RESOURCES tab

3. Under PARENTS, select CALENDAR


5. Select the EMAIL REMINDERS tab

6. Enter the email address you would like to use to receive information and select NEXT

7. Choose CCS - CLARKSTON COMMUNITY SCHOOLS and select NEXT at the bottom

8. Choose SPE

You can also choose other schools, if you have children that attend other Clarkston Schools.

9. Choose SUBMIT at the bottom of the page

Parent Vue - Student Information System

Please make sure to take some time to review the information in ParentVue and make sure that we have the most accurate and updated information, particularly phone numbers and emergency contacts. To access ParentVue (once you have activated your account):

  1. Go to the Clarkston Schools’ webpage

  2. Choose the Resources tab and then select ParentVue

Student Calendar 2015-2016

You can find all important dates, vacations, etc. on the web. Go to, click on Schools, then Springfield Plains. The calendar is located on the left hand side of the page. You can scroll up or down for specific dates or click on "see full calendar" to view the full calendar. Dates for PTA Meetings, Late Start Days, classroom parties, vacations, etc. are shown on the calendar.

PTA Officers for 2015-2016

The following parents will serve as PTA officers for the 2015-2016 school year:

President, Nichole Dean-Kraatz

1st Vice President, Paul Carpentier

2nd Vice President, Kristy Brandon

Secretary, Kelsey Jones

Treasurer, Deborah Ego

Asst. Treasurer, Mary Warner

Membership Coordinator, Samantha Carr

Volunteer Coordinator, Janel Sadowski

Homeroom Coordinator, Nicole Saber

CCS Board of Education

President, Steve Hyer

Vice President, Elizabeth Egan

Treasurer, Kelli Horst

Secretary, Susan Boatman

Trustees, Cheryl McGinnis, Craig Hamilton, Gregory Need