Superintendent's Scoop

June 2020

Dear Parents, Guardians and Community Members,

Just when we thought we had a handle on the Stay Home/Stay Safe order, a new Executive Order comes out, and the State is opening! What exactly does that mean for education? There is not much of a change for us.

Some things to keep in mind:

  • School districts in the State are still "closed," for instructional purposes, until the end of June.
  • The official last day of school for all staff and students, even students on the balanced calendar, is Tuesday, June 9, 2020.
  • Buildings will be sharing plans and dates for Chromebook returns.
  • Plans for the graduation ceremony for the class of 2020 continues! The new State orders give us hope that we will be able to host gatherings large enough in July to honor our seniors and celebrate with family and friends!
  • The first day of school for Balanced Calendar is Monday, August 10. This is a full day of school.
  • The first day of school for Traditional Calendar is Wednesday, September 9. This is a half day of school for all students.
  • The 2020-21 school calendars can be found below!

During the past 12 months that schools and the state have been under restrictions, I ask myself, what have I learned about the Houghton Lake Community Schools and the communities that make up the district? Nothing I did not already know! I am fortunate to work with the HLCS staff and live in the community! Just about 100% of our staff met the at-home learning challenge by setting up a remote learning platform such as Google Classroom. Community members have reached out to the schools to volunteer services and make monetary donations that support students! Teachers and support staff made home visits, sent packages to students, and met with virtual classroom with the Zoom Meeting app. While not perfect, the work done on such short notice with very minimal time to organize or train has been incredible! Bobcat Proud!

Our experience was not all about academics. Keeping connected to students, providing social, emotional, and nutritional supports, has been a constant theme among our communities. As of this week, our food service program, with much support from teacher assistants, the transportation department and volunteers, has served over 85,000 meals to our families! Meal pick-up will continue throughout June, with the last pick-up day Monday, June 29.

And now, we look forward to summer break and begin the process of planning for the fall. What school will look like in August for our balanced calendar families and September for our traditional calendar families is being evaluated every day. Our hope is that we resume a normal school schedule next fall. However, we are putting time into possible plans for a variety of options that we might face. We are asking families to complete the Family Feedback Survey to help us in our planning for the fall. While it is too early to finalize any fall school plans, our goal over the course of the summer is to keep our families and the communities that make up the school district updated on a regular basis.

On August 4th, the Houghton Lake Community School District is placing the renewal of the 18 mill Non-Homestead Property Tax necessary for the district to operate on the ballot. No taxes will increase as a result of this vote. The millage is levied against non-homestead properties, mostly second homes and businesses. The non-homestead millage generates approximately 50% of the district's operating budget. There is no way to replace the funding. Essentially, the district cannot operate without it. Please mark Tuesday, August 4th on your calendars and get out and vote!

The warm evenings and bon fires certainly tell me that summer in Northern Michigan has arrived. On behalf of Houghton Lake Community Schools, I wish you all a fun-filled summer break!

Chromebook Return Dates

We are collecting school-issued Chromebooks back from families next week. Parents, please select the date and time that works for you to return devices. Please contact building principals with any questions you might have.

Collins Elementary

Wednesday, June 10th from 10:00-2:00 PM

Thursday, June 11th from 2:00-4:00 PM

Junior/Senior High School

Wednesday, June 10th from 10-00-2:00 PM

Thursday, June 11th from 2:00-4:00 PM