The #swcrkCOL Newsletter

From the Office of Curriculum and Instruction

February 2014

A newsletter for the swcrk Community

We are excited to bring you our third edition of our online newsletter that is available every month to parents, teachers, students and the rest of the community of Swartz Creek. A true community school is transparent, informative, and allows for all members to have a sense of belonging. This newsletter is designed to inform you of the teaching and learning that is taking place in our schools and within our community. This monthly newsletter will take the place of the MTSS letter and other communications from my office. The #swcrkCOL Newsletter will include the information within those other communications to make learning about our great school district that much easier. COL stands for Culture of Learning. We believe in a Culture of Learning here in Swartz Creek and believe we are ALL learners as we strive for excellence. If you are on twitter, we have many Swartz Creek Educators on the #COLchat every Monday night at 9:00 p.m. I encourage you to join our conversations on relevant teaching and learning.

Adam Hartley

Assistant Superintendent for Curriculum and Instruction


Dave Rendall Coming to Swartz Creek

Our middle school students will attend The Freak Factor with Dave Rendall on March 26th at the PAC during the day. Montrose Middle School will join us that day.

To help offset the cost, we are selling Dave's book: The Freak Factor for $20. $15 for each book sold will go towards the cost of bringing Dave to Swartz Creek. Dave travels around the world and speaks about using our "weaknesses" to succeed. Dave incorporates real life experiences and humor in his talk to keep the students engaged.

We are offering a package for Swartz Creek community members to attend his Freak Factor for Families on March 26th at 6:30 p.m. (at the PAC)

The package is $22 and includes a copy of his book and two tickets for the event.

Support our effort to empower our students!

Purchase Package here

Forms are being sent home if parents want to order the book only ($20) and not attend Wednesday evening's event.

Big image

Watch Dave's TEDx Talk

Freak Factor: Discovering Uniqueness by Flaunting Weakness: Dave Rendall at TEDxMarinette

1st and 2nd Grade Students will take MDE online tests for ELA and Math

In order to prepare our students for the online assessments that all students will take beginning next year (Grades 3rd-11th), our 1st and 2nd grade students will participate in a pilot this spring. Each K-5 building will take either the ELA or Math assessment.

These pilot tests are broken up into two 25 minute sections.

The assessments will be taken in the computer labs sometime during the week of the date listed below.

Here is the schedule for May:


1st and 2nd Grade Math

May 12


1st and 2nd Grade Math

May 12


1st and 2nd Grade ELA

May 12


1st and 2nd Grade ELA

May 19


1st and 2nd Grade Math

May 19

Thank you Parents and Families

We can educate our students effectively only if we have supportive parents, grandparents, and other family members!

Working in classrooms, supporting our teachers, and everything else you do to make Swartz Creek Schools a quality district is appreciated

Thank you for your support!

From the NEA (National Education Association)

Research Spotlight on Parental Involvement in Education

NEA Reviews of the Research on Best Practices in Education

"When schools, families, and community groups work together to support learning, children tend to do better in school, stay in school longer, and like school more." That's the conclusion of A New Wave of Evidence, a report from Southwest Educational Development Laboratory (2002). The report, a synthesis of research on parent involvement over the past decade, also found that, regardless of family income or background, students with involved parents are more likely to:

  • Earn higher grades and test scores, and enroll in higher-level programs
  • Be promoted, pass their classes, and earn credits
  • Attend school regularly
  • Have better social skills, show improved behavior, and adapt well to school

See full article here:

MTSS (Multi-Tierd System of Supports)

Swartz Creek is committed to doing what we can to support every student in our school district through differentiating and leveling instruction. This is not an easy task and our staff is working each day in improving on how we can best reach every learner.

To learn more about MTSS please review this MTSS letter:

MTSS Highlights for January 2014:

  • K-5 Math Data Meetings were held for both Reading and Math
  • Many PD sessions on MLK Day focused on tiered instruction to meet the needs of every child. See brochure here
  • All K-5 students continue to be assessed in STAR Math and DIBELS for the winter data review.
  • All MS students continue to be assessed in AIMSweb for Math and Reading for the winter data review.
  • All swcrk Academy students are assessed in Reading and Math with STAR testing.
  • We have had a reduction of behavior issues due to a common system of problem solving, Tier 2 check in and check out and using the CREEK code to frame our expectations.

STEM Classes Coming to SCHS

Project Lead the Way is coming to SCHS in 2014-15! We received a grant for $35,000 from General Motors to fund this program!

We will have 2 teachers trained in the summer and equip a classroom for our engineering classes.

If your child is interested in STEM (Science/Technology/Engineering/Math) have them go talk with their counselor.

See article here

We are also building our STEM Lab into a viable, purposeful learning space for our K-5 students at Dieck. We will be looking at other opportunities to advocate relevant experiences for our students in the future.

See article on Dieck STEM Lab here

Rod Hetherton becomes High School AP

Rod Hetherton has been named the lead assistant principal for Swartz Creek High School. Mr. Hetherton was recently the principal of Morrish Elementary in Swartz Creek and was an administrator in Lansing Waverly previous to coming to Swartz Creek. Rod is a Creek graduate and resident.

"I am excited to join the high school team and bring my experience with interventions and building systems of supports to help move us forward with a tiered approach. I know many staff and students here and couldn't be happier. I will miss Morrish and have enjoyed over 9 great years there!"

Smarter Balanced Assessments are coming in 2014-15

To prepare for the Smarter Balanced online assessments next year, we have conducted technology audits throughout the district. Our bandwidth is good and we are in need of more devices to accommodate the expectations from the state.

Travis Smith has done a great job of working with the state and the county in making sure we are purchasing technology devices through a consortium, saving us thousands of dollars.

If we purchase devices, they will be devices that can be used for both the Smarter Balanced Assessments and throughout the year for instructional purposes.

See the report from the state here:

Early Release March 19, 2014

Wednesday, March 19th, 12pm

Swartz Creek Community Schools, MI, United States


Office of Curriculum and Instruction

Adam Hartley: Assistant Superintendent

Debbie Vanderlip: Secretary

Corrie Wendt: Web Master


swcrk21 is our framework for relevant teaching and learning. Each month we will include a swcrk21 showcase that may include video tutorials, demonstrations of how we are using technology, or other items tied to the following:

S- Skills: What skills must our students have when they leave us for college or careers?

W- Wired: How can our students be global communicators? Problem solve real world issues? Write for a global audience?

C- Creative: How can we encourage and advocate creativity?

R- Researchers: How do we help develop our students to be researchers and learn through inquiry? How can they be more producers of information and less consumers?

K- Knowledge: What content is important to cover and what knowledge should our students have when they leave us?