Superintendents' Newsletter

September 2014

Kicking off the New School Year: The Power of a Goal

In 1961, President Kennedy set the goal:

"First, I believe that this nation should commit itself to achieving the goal, before this decade is out, of landing a man on the Moon and returning him ..."

The goal was specific with a clear goal and deadline. It was achieved in 1969. The decision involved much consideration before making it public, as well as enormous human efforts and expenditures to make what became Project Apollo a reality.

Why is Goal setting so Important?

The answer is quite simple:

Good goal setting:

1. is powerfully motivating

2. yields more satisfaction from the sense of achievement

3. gives focus

4. drives effort

--excerpt from Rapid Business Intelligence Success

What is your district goal(s) for this year or the next 2 or 3 years?

Does everyone know what they are?

Getting Ready for October: "Leadership in Action"

October's Topic for Leadership in Action is:

Building a Positive Culture and Ensuring Student Success

Presenters: William Parrett and Kathleen Budge

Wednesday, October 1st:

Lunch after Superintendent's Association Meeting

Leadership in Action for Superintendent's 11:30-2:00 p.m.

Thursday, October 2nd:

Repeat Sessions from

8:30-11:00; 1:00-3:30; 4:30-7:00 p.m.

John Hattie Article on Why it Matters...

Hattie's list of of the greatest effects and why it matters, by Grant Wiggins

John Hattie Article to use with your Administrators...from the Marshall Memo:

Feedback – the Breakfast of Champions

In this chapter in Applying Science of Learning in Education, John Hattie (University of Melbourne) and Gregory Yates (University of South Australia) trace the history of the term feedback and offer a basic definition: “information allowing a learner to reduce the gap between what is evident currently and what could or should be the case” – in other words, guiding students to the next step they need to take.
But feedback doesn’t always work smoothly in the real world of classrooms. Researchers have three observations:

· Teachers say they routinely give lots of helpful feedback to their students.

· Trained classroom observers, however, see very little teacher-to-student feedback, even with expert teachers.

· When students are asked, many report very little feedback from their teachers, typically a few seconds a day. Students do get quite a lot of feedback from their peers, but much of it is incorrect.

Hattie and Yates call this an “empathy gap” – teachers believe they’re giving helpful feedback to the whole class, but students (when interviewed) say that group-level feedback “is largely irrelevant to those who have mastered an objective, and often is ignored by those who have not… many within the class are bored, tuned out, or simply focusing on other things in their life more important at the time.”

(for the entire article, refer to the Marshall Memo from September 2nd, 2014)

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Did you like the activity today? Try it with your administrators!

If you liked the activity/discussion today, the power point and the handout is accessible on Black Board. Use it with your administrators and they in turn can use it with their staff!


  • 2014-15 K-12 budget bill: requires MDE to develop new summative assessments for Spring 2015 to replace MEAP and MME.
  • These assessments will measure the Common Core State Standards, not the GLCE's and HSCE (except for SS and Science).
  • The legislation is also requiring that an RFP be issued by September 1st for a new summative assessment system for 2015-16.

What will be tested:
  • ELA & Math: grades 3-8 and 11
  • Science: grades 4, 7 and 11
  • Social Studies: grades 5, 8, and 11

Testing windows and approximate times:
  • This update provides a summary of all required assessments and their approximate time
  • The high school summative assessment window has been extended. See the Spring 2015 Testing Schedule Update: September 11, 2014 for current information.
  • There were no details regarding the college entrance/work skills assessments yet--so there will be more hours of testing for 11th grade.
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MDE Assessment & Accountability

Updates: Week of September 8, 2014

Michigan Merit Curriculum Changes

August 21, 2014 MASSP Hosted Q & A Presentation & Handouts

The legislation agreed to the adjustments below to create more flexibility in how students earn the required credits. The bill now goes to the Governor for his signature, but doesn't take effect until April 2015.

MDE has updated their FAQ document as of August 2014 to address these changes.

Here is a table you can click on that summarizes the changes explained below:

Core MMC Changes

  • The Algebra 2 requirement could be fulfilled by taking a CTE course--or, courses which cover at least the portion of algebra 2 benchmarks that are assessed on the Michigan Merit Exam (MME)
  • The Foreign Language requirement could be fulfilled with 2 credits of grade-appropriate language instruction anytime during grades K-12. Additionally, students graduating in the classes of 2015-2020 only may substitute a CTE course OR an additional visual or performing arts course for one of the two required credits of foreign language.
  • The second science credit, in addition to chemistry or physics, may be fulfilled by taking anatomy, agricultural science, or a course that provides at least the portion of either chemistry or physics benchmarks which are assessed on the MME. Students may also substitute a CTE course (regardless of content) for their third credit of science.
  • MMC law now clearly specifies that districts may count extracurricular activities for one-half credit of physical education.

Personal Curriculum Changes

  • Schools must write a personal curriculum for a student if requested by the student's parent (or by the student if he or she is 18 years old or an emancipated minor). This would apply regardless of whether the requested change was allowable under law. The school superintendent or his or her designee would still have the right to reject the PC once written.
Three simplifications were made to the PC process:
  • Only one school representative needs to be involved rather than both a teacher and counselor.
  • There is no longer a requirement for an in-person meeting to develop the PC.
  • There is no longer a requirement for quarterly progress meetings.
Additional types of modifications that students/schools may make:
  • Students may fulfill their Algebra 2 requirements with technical math or by taking a class that covers at least the portion of algebra 2 benchmarks that are assessed on the Michigan Merit Exam (MME).
  • Students may substitute CTE courses (regardless of content) for up to 1 credit of social studies; 1 credit of health and physical education; and 1 credit of visual, performing, or applied arts.
Other details:
  • No limitation may be put on the number of PCs a school is allowed to have.
  • Schools must notify parents and students annually that they are entitled to pursue a PC; i.e. through the school newsletter, handbook, or other communication sent to the pupil's home.
  • Pupils must be informed of the option to take CTE during their education development plan (EDP) development process.

Upcoming Professional Development

Our Fall E-Catalog is Online!

Click here to navigate our beautiful professional learning catalog with offerings from September to December. Please share with your staff!

You Can't Miss These!!!

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