Superintendents' Newsletter

January 2016

Time for a Mid-Year Check-Up!

If you haven' is probably time to sit down with your principals and talk about how they are coming along on the following requirements as well as asking them some key questions. Good time for a mid-year check-up.

1. What is their focus this year for their building/students/teachers? (Does it match your focus for them or their building? Does match your district initiatives?)

2. What is working well? (What practices, strategies, procedures do they have in place that are improving the climate and the learning in the building?)

3. What is not working well? (What is challenging them? How are they going about solving the problem(s)? Are they connecting them to their school improvement goals? Are they working with staff to identify strategies?)

4. How are they collecting student data? (What processes have they put into place for staff to review data, implement interventions, monitor and assess progress?)

5. How are they planning to show evidence for their own evaluation? (How will they demonstrate evidence of student growth? Progress towards school improvement goals? Attendance? Student, parent and staff feedback?) Don't forget about having them use their iPad to document evidence!!

Don't like the questions? Great! Use what you like--throw away the rest. The questions are like a box of chocolates....

Some Discussion Ideas:

  • Give them the questions ahead of time and have them come prepared to talk about each
  • Talk about the questions and have them discuss with all of the principals in your district (share)
  • Have them discuss with other principals then meet with them individually

Here is the suggestion made to your Principals:

Coming back from break is a reflective time of year that may lead you and your staff to ask the question, "How is it going?" Your goal, your focus, your target for the year (that you talked about in the fall) is important to revisit. What is your progress toward that goal? How will you know when you are "there"?

Revisiting goals lets your staff know that you have not forgotten, or let them forget your target for the year. You help to make them and yourself accountable for what you said in the fall. It also helps you and your staff make mid-course corrections if the pace or the target is not being reached.

"So, how's it going?"

Have you been reading about Fixed and Growth Mindsets?

Here is a great info-video that illustrates the difference between

Fixed and Growth Mindsets.

View it Yourself

View it with Your Staff

View it with Your Students

View it with Your Parents

What would happen if students knew about this?

What would happen if parents knew about this?

Must-Watch Video Of The Day: New RSA Animation Of Carol Dweck Talk

From edutopia, a Flipboard magazine by edutopia

I, and many others, always look forward to the infrequent release of an RSA Animated talk. They are visualizations of talks given by…

Read it on Flipboard

Themes from the Principal/Curriculum Directors Meetings:

Curriculum Directors' Discussion/Information:

Supporting new teachers

Setting priorities for building

Teacher evaluation conversations

MTSS implementation at secondary level

MDE Updates and Assessments

Pupil Accounting/Seat Time Waivers

Reauthorization of ESEA

Discussion of 3rd Grade "Retention Bill"

Reading Workshop presentation by Kearsley

Curriculum Coordinators presentation by Lake Fenton

Program Evaluations

Davison's journey on Standards Referenced Grading and Balanced Calendar

Reflections on Readers and Writers Workshop for Secondary Students

Early Literacy Grant

New Science Standards

What Curriculum Directors need to know about SAT/PSAT

Early Warning Reports

Updates on GCI

Principals' Discussion and Information:

Supporting new teachers

Setting priorities for the year

Emergency Operations Plan

GCI Updates

Professional Learning

Alternative Education Programs and best practices

Michigan Merit Curriculum


Photonics Program at Baker



Powder Puff Solutions

Synergy and Illuminate: Early Warning Reports

Fixed and Growth Mindsets

Lock Down Drills at Lunch

CTE Algebra II

Ryan Ulshaffer and Majik

State Updates and Presentations

Effective Grading Practices

Measuring Student Growth

Identifying Struggling Students

Academic Tutoring Options

Professional Learning Communities--getting back on track

Open Carry

AdvancED Lessons Learned from Districts

Learning Resource Center presentation by Flushing

Commit to FIt

Social Media Apps. Vault and others

Spring Assessment Planning

Cognitive Coaching updates

Building a Positive School/Classroom Culture

The Leader in Me presentation by Goodrich

Early LIteracy Grant

Building Safety/ Drop off and Pick up

Google Calendar

Immunization Requirements

Early Literacy Grant Awards

  • Districts should have received notification of the Additional Instruction Time Grant
  • The Assessment Reimbursement Grant is open until February 1st
  • We will review both of these at Curriculum Directors on January 26th.

Spring 2016-Testing Schedule Update

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Quick Facts to Know about Spring Assessment Changes:

1. ELA M-STEP Performance Tasks only for grades 5 and 8

2. Removal of classroom activities in both ELA and Math

3. There is no longer a grade 11 ELA and Math M-STEP, MDE will use the SAT for 11th grade ELA and Math accountability

School Improvement Key Dates to Remember:


School System Review (SSR) OR Interim Self-Assessment or Self Assessment

DUE March 18

School Improvement Plan (SIP)

DUE September 1


District System Review (DSR) OR District Interim Self Assessment or Self Assessment

DUE April 22

School Testing Conference: February 16-18 in Ann Arbor

Register HERE for the conference!

Assessment Links and Updates


MDE Link to all Things M-STEP


Update from Office of Assessment & Accountability

  • January 14: Spring 2016 Guide to State Assessments
  • January 7: Classroom Activities Eliminated, Pre-ID, Accommodations Webinar
  • December 17: M-STEP Building & District Aggregate Data Public Release
  • December 10: M-STEP Parent Reports, WIDA ACCESS for ELLs
  • December 3: Test Results Embargo Reminder, WIDA, Accommodations
  • August 20: News on 2016 M-STEP & MME, KEA Pre-ID

Principals Guide to the SAT

Professional Learning at GISD

January 2016

February/March 2016

Ideas for the next Superintendents' Committee of the Whole:

  • Review what Superintendents need to know about the Spring Assessments
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