The #swcrkCOL Newsletter

From the Office of Curriculum and Instruction

March 2014

Spring is on its way! Enjoy Spring Break!

April 7th-11th

Our Mission

MISSION: Swartz Creek Community Schools inspires our learners to embrace challenges, set goals, grow their talents, and realize their dreams for success in a global society.

VISION: Swartz Creek Community Schools provides a world class education through innovative experiences while developing the unique talents of our learners.

- We believe in a culture of learning.
- We believe that student learning should be the primary goal for all decisions made affecting the school district.
- We believe the climate and culture of the school is engaging, nurturing, challenging, and inspires students to express their personal ideas.
- We believe curriculum is integrated, differentiated, meaningful, and pertinent to life.
- We believe in culturally relevant education that provides the knowledge and skills to meet the global challenges and opportunities of the 21st Century.
- We believe in continuous improvement informed by critical evaluation and reflection.
- We believe expanding technologies enrich how teachers teach and students learn.
- We believe in building relationships and sharing resources with our community, parents, and staff members.

A newsletter for the swcrk Community

We are excited to bring you our fourth 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


March is Reading Month!

Swartz Creek Community Schools celebrated Reading Month in a variety of ways!

Each building held engaging activities and our students learned that reading is both important and FUN!

March is Reading Month

Dave Rendall Visited Swartz Creek

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

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.

If you are interested in purchasing a book contact Adam Hartley at

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Watch Dave's TEDx Talk

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

Meet our Technology Director- Travis Smith

Travis has been on the job since August of 2013. He came to Swartz Creek from Genesee Schools. Travis has been a great addition to the SC staff. His knowledge of both the technology component and instructional aspect has been very beneficial to both our staff and students.

Swartz Creek is committed to becoming a 21st century relevant school district and Travis continues to help us lead the way.

"I have enjoyed my time here in Swartz Creek and working with the teachers and students. We are on our way to becoming a leader in technology integration and finding ways to utilize technology in relevant ways"

-Travis Smith

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swcrk Family Digital Night

Monday, May 5th, 6-8:30pm

1 Dragon Dr

Swartz Creek, MI

Performing Arts Center

Keynote and breakout sessions for Parents

Save the Date-More Information to Come

May 5th will mark the first Digital Family Night.

We will have breakout sessions for parents led by swcrk teachers and students.

Breakout Sessions include:

Social Networking in the classroom

Twitter 101

EDP for middle school

Math Expressions online

Smarter Balanced Assessments

IPads and Apps

and more...

Spring Pilots for Online Assessments

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.

Our middle school students will participate in the pilot also-dates TBA.

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

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:

Learn more about MTSS in MI here:

MTSS Highlights for February 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.

School Calendar Extended

The Swartz Creek School Board voted to extend the school year based on the state's law on the minimum number of instructional days.

Due to weather/snow days this year, we have to make up 3 days.

The following schedule was approved:

Secondary (Middle School, High School, Academy)

June 16,17,18 1/2 days (Finals)


June 16,17 (Full days) June 18 (1/2 day)

Lets hope for a warm and sunny summer!

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 a teacher trained in the summer and equip a classroom for our Introduction to Engineering classes.

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

See article here (Ginger Ortiz is the Career Prep Coordinator)

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

Early Release April 24, 2014

Thursday, April 24th, 8am

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?