The #swcrkCOL Newsletter

From the Office of Curriculum and Instruction

December 2013

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to all of our Swartz Creek Families!

A newsletter for the swcrk Community

We are excited to bring you an online newsletter that will be 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


Thank you Parents and Families

The Curriculum and Instruction Department would like to recognize our families in Swartz Creek. We can educate our students effectively only if we have supportive parents, grandparents, and other family members like you!

Working in classrooms, supporting our teachers, and everything else you do to make Swartz Creek Schools a quality district does not go unnoticed.

Thank you for your support and we look forward to working with you in 2014!

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:

In November we sent out a survey to better understand where our families are with technology/internet ready devices

The results showed we have many households with one or more internet ready devices and many families will allow, or have considered allowing, their children to bring their own devices to school.

Results: (Over 280 families completed the survey)

Do you have internet access at home?

YES 92%

NO 5%

Access but do not subscribe 3%

How many internet devices do you have at home?

0 -1%

1 -7%

2 -15%

3 or more internet devices -77%

Would you support having your child bring their own device for the purpose of learning?

YES 88%

NO 12%

We will continue to be responsible to our families and roll out technology rich programs that are adaptable to our students' access to technology. The more technology devices we can provide our students the better prepared they will be for college and their future job.

If you have an ipod touch that is in good shape, not used at home, and would like to donate the device to your school for student use, please drop the device off at the main office.

Ipod touches can access the district wide wifi, allow students to take pictures and video for educational purposes, and allow students to use the variety of educational apps apple provides.

Did your child get a new ipod for Christmas? Send the old one in and we will make sure we use it to educate our students!!

How can an ipod touch be used in a classroom?

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 Winter of 2013:

  • K-5 Math Data Meetings will be held after break.
  • The Middle School visited Gross Ile Community Schools to learn how they are making learning relevant for ALL students. Gross Ile staff will work with SC staff on MLK day.
  • 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 with STAR testing.
  • NEW- Mr. Murphy's co-taught Algebra I students will be assessed with STAR math starting in January and he will use the data to help flex the teaching and learning to better meet the needs of his students. (pilot)

MDE Recommends that Smarter Balanced Assessments are Adopted by 2014-15

Swartz Creek participated in a pilot last year to see how the new online assessments will look like in 2014-15. Smarter Balanced Assessments have been the topic of discussion for over a year. The MI Department of Education has recently recommended that the state of Michigan use these assessments in place of the MEAP.

While it seems the state's decision on these assessments have been back and forth, we are planning on this decision to be confirmed for next year and are

planning for a 3-11 assessment window in the spring.

Most of our buildings are ready for the change but we do have a few that will need to have more devices in order to accommodate our students for online assessments. Travis Smith, Director of Technology, has run technology audits in each building and we will be conducting walk-throughs in January to better prepare for next year.

We have also applied for technology grants to help offset costs that may occur with device purchases.

See the report from the state here:

The Hero Construction Company Visits Swartz Creek Schools

The Hero Construction Company has worked with three of our schools since the fall. The SC Middle School, Morrish, and Syring worked with Matt Langdon on hero training and teaching our students to not be bystanders but to stand up for what is right. Bullying behavior can have a negative affect on student achievement. Matt Langdon spends an hour or so with each class and takes them through steps (The Hero's Journey) to become action heroes in the classroom and in life.

A hero doesn't have to fly or use special powers, a hero is someone that is not a bystander and helps make Swartz Creek a positive environment.

The middle school diversity club attended the Hero Round Table in November and now holds hero meetings every month. The students are taking control of building a culture that embraces diversity and celebrates the differences between each one of us.

Staff members, Tony Suchaneck, Michele Corbat, Jennifer Sheeran, and Kayla Trundle have helped support our students' efforts.

Mr. Suchanek explains how the Hero Round Table sparked his students.

"The Hero Roundtable was an exceptional event for both students and educators alike. This is the only event I have been to that I can with say with certainty, everyone walked away enriched in some way. What I was most inspired by was the connection the event had to the students. They were talking before, at lunch, at break and after about what they learned and more importantly what they wanted to do. More than one parent commented that on the way home and all night they could not stop their child from talking about the event. As I said before, the Hero Roundtable was an exceptional event for students and educators alike."

Learn more about the Hero Round Table here:

Big image

The Power of 100 Team from Swartz Creek High School

Jaime Gillion (far left) brought the SCHS Power of 100 team to the Round Table!

Hero Round Table 2013 was held at the Swartz Creek Community Schools Performing Arts Center

Hour of Code

Heather Loney, Gaines Elementary teacher, and Allen Murphy, teacher at SC High School, both provided an opportunity for our students to participate in the hour of code.

The video below was provided by Khan Academy.

Welcome to our Hour of Code on Khan Academy
ITC December 18th, 2013

Learn more about how the high school participated in the hour of code by watching the SCHS ITC video above (Hour of Code starts at 1:35)

MLK Day- Staff Professional Development -No School for Students

Monday, Jan. 20th, 8am

Swartz Creek Community Schools, MI, United States


Reminder: Our next Early Release Days are February 19, 2014 and March 19, 2014

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?