Superintendent's Scoop

October 2019

Dear Parents/Guardians and Community Members:

Happy fall! For me, October is the month that school is settled and in full swing! While this year has that same feel of comfort, the district continues to move forward completing summer projects! Signs to indicate the new names of the schools are being installed, construction continues to complete the 31b Balanced Calendar grant work, and wells at the junior/senior high school are close to completion. While October is a month that brings a sense of calm, a forward-thinking mindset continues!


Last spring, the Houghton Community Schools' Board of Education adopted the district's five-year strategic plan with a focus to grow partnerships with stakeholders to create a vision of the future of education in the Houghton Lake Community School District. The first step to this process was the creation of a Community Think Tank group made up of students, staff, families, community members and business owners. The think tank group is learning about education today and what our students need to be prepared for to compete in the future. What does educational research say about best practices for teaching and learning? Who owns the classroom learning (https://youtu.be/NOAIxIBeT90)? What is 21st century learning (https://youtu.be/UCFg9bcW7Bk)? As we think about the future of teaching and learning for our children, stakeholder participation and discussion is critical to moving forward.


Often times, I find myself reminiscing about the “good old days” and how great my educational experience was. School for me, in the 80's, was what I needed to do the job I am doing today. However, what our students are preparing for their futures is not the same – not even for the education profession. For instance, did you know that MIT researchers are creating technology that will allow user to "talk silently" on a cell phone (http://news.mit.edu/2018/computer-system-transcribes-words-users-speak-silently-0404)? The Amazon warehouses are using more and more robots to stock shelves, fill orders and prepare shipments (https://www.wired.com/story/amazon-warehouse-robots/)? Career Technical Education is changing, too. Masonry construction robots are being used to lay bricks on construction sites (https://youtu.be/G_Pj2GI6-xc). As a community, working together, we can create an educational experience that not only prepares our students for the future, but also creates leaders of the future.


Join our next Community Think Tank learning and discussion session being held on Tuesday, October 15th at Houghton Lake Junior/Senior High School from 6:00-8:00 PM in the media center. New members and new ideas are always welcomed!


On September 30, 2019, Governor Whitmer signed the state's budgets. While the move allowed school districts to continue "normal" operations, there is more work to be done. The general fund school budgets are set with per-pupil dollar amounts allocated to each district, but the signed budget does not fully fund our schools. Categorical monies, such as 31a (state grant), are yet to be finalized. As the state continues to work through and finalize school funding, the district will strive to maintain uninterrupted programming for our students. The Houghton Lake Community School District Board of Education and staff will spend the next few weeks tracking budget work at the state level while also addressing our local budget. Attend Board of Education meetings to keep up to date on district happenings.

OK2SAY Student Presentations

HLCS Cyber-Safety Presentation for Students, Staff, Families and Community Members!

Houghton Lake Community School District is hosting a cyber and student safety presentation titled Ok2Say! Presentations will be given to all K-12th grade students.


This presentation has been created by Michigan’s Attorney General’s office to teach students the importance of making safe and smart decisions while using technology in our changing world. Ok2Say gives students a channel to reach out against potential harm or dangerous activity by being able to confidentially report these behaviors. Materials and handouts may be viewed at www.mi.gov/csi. If you have questions, feel free to call the Attorney General’s Consumers Programs Team at 877-765-8388.


Parents wishing to keep their child(ren) from participating in the presentation should visit the distict’s main web page at HLCSk12.net and click on the scrolling ticker at the top of the page to access the “Opt-Out” notification form. Complete the form and return it the main office of the school your child(ren) attends.