Keeping staff informed about GISD through news and views!

January 16, 2015

Share Your News!

There are lots of exciting things happening at GISD and even more planned in the new year. Share your department or program's good news stories with other GISD staff by submitting them for publication in InnerViews. Watch your email for submission deadlines, and send all submissions to: Be sure to note in the email subject line that the information is intended for InnerViews.

Blended Learning a Popular Topic

Technology and Media Services staff report that the interest in professional development pertaining to Blended Learning in the Classroom (BLiC) has begun to spread like wildfire this winter. Following the success of three previous BLiC courses, more are being offered and Genesee County educators reserved most of the available spots in less than 48 hours!

BLiC is a great online professional development course option for teachers looking to increase student engagement and incorporate useful, responsible online elements in teaching and learning. During the course, participants engage with an online cohort of colleagues from multiple districts. As a group, they develop their own blended learning environment and implement some of the new techniques with their own students in their classrooms during the 16-week course. The course has been offered FREE of charge by REMC the last two years, and includes the option for educators to earn 62 State Continuing Educational Clock Hours (SCECHs)! The course is being led by Instructional Technologists Martin Jennings and Casey Schaub from GISD’s Technology and Media Services (TMS) department.

Technology and Media Services is proud of the success of BLiC over the past two years, and the interest from educators from public and private schools and public school academies in Genesee County. Past and future participants are creating a positive atmosphere for a game-changing opportunity for educators and students in the 21st century, right within our own backyard.

For more information about BLiC, contact Martin Jennings or Casey Schaub, TMS, at 591-4436.

Who are the Navigators?

The Navigators represent a collaborative cross-section of individuals within GISD. The role of the Navigators is to function as a shared leadership team that serve as ambassadors for GISD's continuous improvement process by helping to ensure that improvement efforts and best practices are implemented throughout the organization. Some of the initial work of the Navigators was to define and develop our organization’s mission, common purpose, service standards, and beliefs. The result of which has come to be known as our organization’s Continuous Improvement Service Framework. This framework represents the foundation for our collective work at GISD, and helps guide all staff through our organization’s continuous improvement efforts.

The overall Navigator team is made up of committees called “crews” that are assigned to specific areas of the mission of GISD, resulting in the following crews: Leadership, Service, and Innovation. A fourth crew, Communications, also serves to help keep all staff informed about, and engaged in, GISD’s overall continuous improvement efforts.

While the Navigators help to power our organization forward, everyone that provides a program or service on behalf of GISD is an integral part of our organization’s continuous improvement efforts. Each and every staff member helps to propel our organization toward excellence by being a leader in their own program or service area. Examples of that individual leadership at all levels includes: understanding and supporting our organization’s service standards and beliefs; exceeding expectations and encouraging others to do so; helping others to understand GISD’s mission and direction; and continuously looking for innovative and efficient ways to improve GISD programs and service delivery.

Find more information about GISD’s continuous improvement efforts here, and view our organization’s Continuous Improvement Service Framework here. To learn more about the work of the Navigators, ask those members of your department or program who serve on the district’s Navigators team. If you aren’t sure who they are, please contact your department or program administrator.

STAR Award Recipient

Amy Hoeksema, Human Resources Assistant, was recently recognized at a GISD Board of Education meeting with the STAR Award! The colleague that nominated her noted that in her short tenure in the Human Resources department, Amy has built an excellent rapport with staff in the administration of fringe benefit plans, personal and FMLA leaves, workers’ compensation, and disability. They also noted that Amy has a calm and nurturing personality that makes people feel comfortable when speaking with her about difficult situations. She has received compliments from insurance carriers on conducting effective and trouble free open enrollment sessions. Additionally, the colleague noted that Amy has the perfect combination of personal and professional service and leadership. Congratulations, Amy!

The STAR award recognition program is open to all employees. To nominate a staff member, simply complete the nomination form that is available in the Staff Resources area of the GISD website and in the main office of GISD school buildings.

Holiday Kindness and Sharing

Staff Generosity

For the recent holidays, GISD's Marion D. Crouse Instructional Center staff gave 19 holiday food boxes to needy families. Staff donated $665.00 for the boxes. Their generosity is greatly appreciated.

Student Kindness

During the month of December, students at GISD's Transition Center were encouraged to show random acts of kindness at home, in the community, and at school. Students reported their acts of kindness, or those they witnessed, on Random Act of Kindness ornaments. The ornaments were used to decorate the tree at Transition Center's main entrance. Through Interpersonal Skills classes and video clips during morning Team Meetings, students learned the importance demonstrating kindness to make our homes, school, and community a better place to live.

Student Presentations

GISD School Social Worker Rose Oseguera worked with the Westwood Heights McMonagle Elementary and Hamady Middle School teachers and students on presenting in a play and singing Christmas carols. The students shared their talents with Fostrian Manor nursing home residents, as well as MCIC students. Rose reports that it was a wonderful experience for our special education students at Westwood Heights to build social skills and presentation skills.

Students Receive Toys

American Plastics from Rose City, Michigan donates at least 15,000 American made toy trucks each year to the Michigan Association of United Ways. The trucks are then dispersed to areas of need throughout various Michigan counties. This past holiday season, approximately 1,500 trucks were delivered to GISD's Health, Safety, and Nutrition Services department for distribution to homeless students and children in GISD's Head Start program.

January is Radon Action Month

The Genesee County Health Department (GCHD) encourages area residents to check the radon gas levels in their homes during National Radon Action Month. The GCHD is offering free radon test kits in observance of this event. Radon is the second leading cause of lung cancer in the U.S. and is the leading cause among nonsmokers.

Mark Valacak, Genesee County Health Officer, explains “Radon is an invisible, odorless,

and tasteless gas that seeps into homes from surrounding soil and rock. It has no immediate health symptoms, so residents are encouraged to get a free kit and test during the next few weeks.”

Citizens interested in finding out more about radon can contact the Genesee County Health Department at (810) 257-3603.

Learning Opportunities

Staff can find a large variety of upcoming professional development opportunities on CourseWhere. Courses include CPR/First Aid, Synergy, Crisis Intervention, and Leadership training, just to name a few.

The Education and Learning Professional Learning Catalog also offers many professional development courses and workshops specific to language arts, literacy, math, science, social studies, and cross-curricular topics.

OK2SAY Program Update

OK2SAY is an initiative that encourages confidential tips on potential harm or criminal activities directed at students, school employees, and schools. The program was launched on September 2, 2014. The OK2SAY program has proven to be a successful endeavor, as demonstrated by the number of OK2SAY tips that the program has received and the success stories that resulted because a student had the courage to speak up. Please take a moment and review the positive impact for yourself in the first issue of the OK2SAY Newsletter.

Congratulations Graduate!

Congratulations to Benjamin Martin Jennings, son of TMS Instructional Technologist Martin Jennings, and wife, Karen. Benjamin graduated from Central Michigan University on 12-13-14, with a Bachelor of Science degree in Sports Medicine/Athletic Training.

Volunteer Opportunity

There are adults in the Genesee County community who could use assistance with their literacy skills. Would you like to help an adult to read, learn English as a Second Language, or finish the GED process? If so, contact the Genesee County Literacy Coalition to inquire about upcoming February training sessions that will prepare you to become a literacy tutor. Call (810) 919-5078 or email for more information.

Genesee Intermediate School District

GISD is proud to be an NCA AdvancED accredited intermediate school district. Serving students, parents, educators, and the greater Genesee County community!