HLCS Superintendent's Scoop

November 2018

Dear Parents/Guardians and Community Members:

My first 120 days as the superintendent for Houghton Lake Community Schools has gone by in a flash! Thinking back, what I remember the most is the enormous amount of support and spirit for our Houghton Lake Bobcats! Driving down M-55, one cannot miss the "Go Bobcats" messages posted on business signs. In addition to that, I have met some amazing people from the communities that make up Houghton Lake schools; people who go above and beyond to support children and families of our community. Bart's Day at Collins Elementary, the Lions Club Halloween Party, and upcoming events such as the Christmas Auction on November 17th are just a few examples. In my twenty-seven years in education, spanning four school districts, I have never seen such support for kids and a community.

I want to thank all of the parents/guardians, families, community members and staff who participated in the community forums last month. The district is contemplating a grade reconfiguration to give Collins Elementary the space it desperately needs, and we are also considering a $750,000 grant from the Michigan Department of Education to finance necessary upgrades to the heating, ventilation, and cooling needs in the districts' buildings. The grant, if awarded to Houghton Lake Community Schools, will require the move to a balanced school calendar for at least one district building. The community forums provided much needed feedback for the district and Board of Education. A follow-up presentation will be made at the Board of Education meeting on Monday, November 12th. Answers to questions asked at the community forums, proposed solutions, and next steps are topics of the presentation. There will be two additional meetings for community members who are unable to attend Monday’s Board of Education meeting:

Tuesday, November 13th at Kiss Me Coffee from 10:00-11:30 AM

Wednesday, November 14th at Houghton Lake High School from 6:30-8:00 PM

Both forums will provide our community with the opportunity to stay up to date on both proposals and provide additional feedback. The ultimate goals include providing our students with the best possible educational experience and bringing the community back into Houghton Lake Community Schools.

The Board of Education is in the midst of creating a five-year strategic plan for the district. Over the past few weeks, information has been gathered by stakeholders to use in this important planning process for Houghton Lake Community Schools. On Saturday, November 17th, the Board of Education will host a Strategic Planning session in the high school media center from 8:30-4:00 PM. The planning session is open to the public, and we welcome any/all stakeholders who would like to attend.

It is important that the community understands what motivates me and who I am as an educational leader. I could list my resume, name the degrees I have, use a large vocabulary of educational jargon to impress people, but none of that explains who a person is at his/her core. What people should know about the superintendent of Houghton Lake Community Schools is my “why.” Why do I wake up every day to do what I do? My “why” is quite simple: students and community.

Educational mandates, politics, and the educational “flavors of the month” are of little interest to me until I ask and answer one question, “How will teaching and learning be affected?” The most important people in our school system are our students – each and every student of each and every family. The school district must make decisions in the best interest of the students. Working with staff, families and the community is the only way I know to make sure what we do in the school is handled in the best possible way for our students. Education is powerful if we never lose sight of our “why:” the kids.

As I reflect on my first 120 days as a Bobcat, I believe the "why" of this community is also about the children. The school and the communities that make up Houghton Lake Community Schools are on the road to a very powerful partnership for our kids!

Coffee with the Superintendent!

Tuesday, Nov. 13th, 10-11:30am

829 West Houghton Lake Drive


Light refreshments served. Spend time talking about the state of Houghton Lake Community Schools, learn about proposals for the 2019-2020 school year, and provide need-to-know information!

Community Forum

Wednesday, Nov. 14th, 6:30-8pm

4433 West Houghton Lake Drive

Houghton Lake, MI

Spend time talking about the state of Houghton Lake Community Schools, learn about proposals for the 2019-2020 school year, and provide need-to-know information! Childcare will be provided.

"Bobcat Pride" Yard Signs Fundraiser

Beginning in early November, the Class of 2023 (8th grade) will be selling corrugated, vinyl "Bobcat Pride" yard signs. Signs will be $15 each and will be sold cash-n-carry. Students will be out selling at various businesses and door-to-door.

If anyone would like one, and does not want to miss out, please email Jenny Oster (class advisor) at osterj@hlcsk12.net or Hailey Watson (class president) at hailey.watson@hlcsk12.net.