Andersonville Elementary Newsletter

Fall 2015

Update from Mrs. Fletcher

It's hard to believe that we are already in the middle of October! The first five weeks of school have been amazing. In classrooms, hallways, buses, and playgrounds we are living out our values and beliefs.

At Andersonville, our motto is "Where Everybody is Somebody". We are a community that ensures every child and adult is safe, loved, challenged academically, and supported emotionally, socially, and behaviorally. We respect every member of our community and work collaboratively to listen, question, reflect, celebrate and grow.

Thank you for your engagement at our Partnership Night, for supporting our Fun Run, and our Mel's Grill Fundraiser. Partnering together is critical in providing the best educational experiences for all children.

This newsletter contains important information. Please take the time to review all sections. Here are the sections included in this newsletter:

  • Superintendent's Message
  • School Start/End Times
  • School Calendar
  • How to Stay in Touch with AE
  • Expectations
  • S.O.A.R. - System of Assessment and Reporting
  • Computer Lab Re-Design
  • Whole Child Study
  • PTO Corner

My door is always open and I encourage you to stop in or call to make an appointment to discuss any concerns, suggestions, or ideas to continue to make this the best year yet!

In partnership,

Kim Fletcher

Superintendent's Message


It is my intention to make sure that every person who enters the doors of a Clarkston Community School feels a sense of belonging, challenge, support, and safety. Whether a child, educator, or family member has been in our schools for a few minutes or several years, they belong here, and they can expect excellence from all of us.

I ask that our community--parents, students, educators, volunteers, guests--takes extra time to truly listen to the voice of every child so that it is known and kids feel believed in. Each child is uniquely different, and individual growth over time is what we seek to document, measure, and communicate. Comparisons between school systems on standardized tests have a place, and the most important thing is the individual child and his or her experience in our schools.

Real learning, as in mental connections made in our brains, requires contemplating or encountering new information. When we review things we already know, our brains do not grow. Thus, making mistakes and experiencing life beyond what is familiar to us are important in growing our brains.

In support of these facts, Harvard University researcher and author, Ron Ritchhart wrote, “We learn a lot from making mistakes, pushing ourselves out of our comfort zone, and taking risks to try new things. Regularly encountering challenges, mistakes, and failure builds a growth mindset and develops intellectual resilience.”

It is important that we as educators and parents help our students/children encounter “productive struggles” (Adam Scher, Way Elementary, Bloomfield Hills) as part of their daily living and learning. We want students to engage in learning in a range or zone that is challenging for them. We want our children to play, think, read, and converse in areas that stretch their thinking.

Ritchhart goes on to say, “When your child encounters difficulties, don’t jump in to solve the problem and rescue him/her. Instead, ask questions that will help him/her to think through the problem, identify, and choose a course of action for moving forward.” A response as simple as, “What makes you say that?” can do the trick. In so doing, we help build confidence, courage, and neural networks in our children. And, we know that the challenging of the mind does not stop at the end of childhood, it continues through life. So, learning new things is also essential for adults of all ages.

Thanks for thinking with me,

Rod Rock, Ed.D.

Superintendent, Clarkston Community Schools

School Start/End Time Reminders

Regular School Day: 8:30 am - 3:50 pm

Delayed Start Day: 9:20 am - 3:50 pm

Half Day: 8:30 am - 11:46 pm

School Calendar

Please click here to view the entire list of important dates and events for this school year.

Here are important dates coming up in just the next few months.


14 Late Start Day – 9:20

23 Boo Bash 6:00-8:00

28 Late Start Day – 9:20

29 Disability Awareness Day – 9:30-11:45

30 Halloween Parties - 2:30


6 Half Day for Students - Teacher Half Records Day

10 Parent/Teacher Conferences (5:00-8:00)

11 Late Start Day - 9:20

12 Parent/Teacher Conferences (4:30-7:30)

13 Family Movie Night – 7:00-8:45

13 Picture Re-take Day

17 PTO General Membership Meeting – 9:00-10:00

25 NO SCHOOL for Students

26-27 NO SCHOOL/Thanksgiving Recess

How to Stay in Touch with AE

Parent Vue - Student Information System

The ParentVue portal is an important part of our Student Information System. In this portal parents can view their child’s attendance, transportation information, academic progress, and update important student information like phone numbers, emergency contacts, etc. As we continue to work toward paperless communications, please plan to use ParentVue regularly.

It is important that you take the time to set up and activate your account if you have not already done so. You will need an activation key to do this. Here’s how:

1. Email to request an activation key. Provide the following information in your email:

  • Your Name

  • Your Student(s) Name

  • Your Student(s) Date of Birth

  • Your Home Address

  • Your Phone Number

Also, please make sure to take some time to review the information in Parent Vue and make sure that we have the most accurate and updated information, particularly phone numbers and emergency contacts. To access ParentVue (once you have activated your account):

  1. Go to the Clarkston Schools’ webpage

  2. Choose the Resources tab and then select ParentVue

Our School Webpage

Here’s how to find us:

1. Go to

2. Choose the SCHOOLS tab


We are currently in the process of updating our classroom web pages and adding additional features. The website is an easy way to see our full calendar of events which are also regularly updated.

AE School and District E-blasts

Sign up to receive email notices (e-blasts) specific to AE families and/or our district e-blasts. Here's how:

1. Go to our district webpage:

2. Choose the RESOURCES tab

3. Under PARENTS, select CALENDAR


5. Select the EMAIL REMINDERS tab

6. Enter the email address you would like to use to receive information and select NEXT

7. Choose CCS - CLARKSTON COMMUNITY SCHOOLS and select NEXT at the bottom

8. Choose AE and AEPTO (You will receive e-blasts from the school and our PTO)

You can also choose other schools, if you have children that attend other Clarkston Schools.

9. Choose SUBMIT at the bottom of the page


  • We respect every member of our community and work collaboratively to listen, question, reflect, celebrate and grow.
  • We respect ourselves, each other, and property/belongings of the school and others.

In order to have a supportive, engaging, and challenging learning environment for all students, we must always demonstrate respect.

Please do not allow students to bring personal items from home to school unless a special request is made from a teacher. Trading cards and trinkets should not be brought to school.

Lunchroom and recess expectations will be discussed with children next week. Students in grades 3 through 5 will receive a document sharing these expectations. Please also review these guidelines at home with your child.

S.O.A.R. - System Of Assessment and Reporting

What is S.O.A.R.?

S.O.A.R. is our System Of Assessment and Reporting and includes the ways in which we communicate student progress. It is a process that will provide an on-going dialogue between teachers, parents, and students about individual learning and growth. There are many facets to this system including, but not limited to, the use of ParentVue, newsletters, emails, folders, parent/teacher conferences, and a Learning Feedback Document that outlines the progress on essential learnings for your student. On our Partnership Night, you received an information page (SOAR document) that introduced S.O.A.R. and how this system will enable parents to gain a better understanding of the progress made by their student.

You can access those documents by clicking on the links below:

Kindergarten SOAR Document

First Grade SOAR Document

Second Grade SOAR Document

Third Grade SOAR Document

Fourth Grade SOAR Document

Fifth Grade SOAR Document

What is the Learning Feedback Document?

The Learning Feedback Document is a tool for students, parents, and teachers that reflects and fosters each student's learning progress toward essential understandings. This document will replace our traditional report cards and will be distributed in January and June.

Our school district works hard to cultivate thinkers who can show what they know. We hope to instill a strong work ethic in our students that helps them build traits like grit and perseverance. We believe that critical thinking and effort are developed through meaningful instruction that goes beyond memorization and fact finding. We want students to build a growth mindset that helps them realize that they can positively impact their own learning.

Based upon the Michigan Academic Standards, the essential understandings and learnings that are identified in the Learning Feedback Document are the big ideas that have a lasting value beyond the classroom. These essential understandings and learnings also align with our mission to cultivate thinkers, learners, and positive contributors to a global society.

What are the identified essential understandings and learnings?

Please click on the links below for the essential understandings and learnings for each grade level.


First Grade

Second Grade

Third Grade

Fourth Grade

Fifth Grade

How will this information be marked on the Learning Feedback Document and/or other class assignments?

We are leveraging our communication tools to convey each student's learning progress. We want students to know and understand their learning goals, whether they are meeting these goals, and what they need to do next to continue their learning journey. We know that feedback provided in an ongoing, formative manner will empower student learning.

Learning progress will be communicated using the markings secure, developing, and beginning.

Secure: Student, consistently and independently, demonstrates understanding of the concept or skill.

Developing: Student needs occasional support from others in order to demonstrate understanding of the concept or skill.

Beginning: Student is not yet able to demonstrate understanding of the concept or skill without considerable support from others.

What can I expect to happen next?

A three part video series will soon be released to share more information related to SOAR and the Learning Feedback Document. Look for the first video to be shared within the next few weeks.

In our efforts to continuously reflect and improve our processes, we celebrate that we are growing our feedback and assessment system to be more meaningful for all stakeholders.

Computer Lab Re-Design

We are excited to begin the process of re-designing our computer lab. A committee has recently been formed and the committee recently toured other labs that have been re-designed across the district. As of now, the committee includes both staff members and parents.

The purpose of re-designing our lab is to develop a space that can be used for creativity, innovation, and collaboration. The multi-purpose area will allow for horizontal and vertical work as well as serve as an add-on to the classroom environment that will provide physical opportunities for making thinking visible and working in a collaborative and creative manner.

We will soon be adding students to our committee. Our next steps will be to determine short term and long term projects. We will survey staff and students to get their feedback.

Pictures of the labs that were visited are shown below.

We are excited to begin the transformation and recognize this as a celebration for our entire AE community!

Whole Child Study

Over the past few years the district has engaged in a Whole Child initiative in order to ensure each child, in each school, in each of our communities is healthy, safe, engaged, supported, and challenged.

The purpose of the Whole Child initiative is to improve the social/emotional supports and systems in place to support all CCS students in our pre K-12 program. These supports will be divided into proactive systems/programs to enhance overall building climates/culture and reactive supports to assist students who are at-risk or directly in crisis.

Andersonville is currently studying the "Leader in Me" program. Every instructional staff member is engaged in a book study this year and we will continue with our research and study phase. Clarkston currently has four elementary buildings that are officially "Leader in Me" buildings. We are excited to continue to study this program and discuss the benefits and questions. We recognize that one program does not replace all that we do and that it is truly the embracing of a common philosophy and common language that will have the longest and most impactful effect.

PTO Corner

I love fall, actually I love all seasons. Well, at least the beginning of all seasons. To me it is Michigan’s present. Just when I can’t stand the mosquitoes, weeding the gardens or my husband and I debate on windows open or air conditioning on, fall comes. It comes with it’s cool crisp air, sweaters, changing leaves, and bonfires. I love it. It is the change. Just when I am bored with one season the next one comes and saves me. Change is good for me. I think change is good for everyone. It challenges us. It gets us out of our ruts. You don’t have to completely redo, small changes to start. Isn’t that what nature does?

That’s what Andersonville is going through. You will notice the small changes. A few new staff members, but some have stayed the same. A fun run that had obstacles and costumes, but also had music and laps. There are more small changes to come: a new Media Lab, more ways to connect, more ways to be involved. Take time, change can be hard at first, then it can become amazing . Keep your mind open and just give it a chance! You might be surprised to see that you really do like it!

If you have a change you think would help the school contact myself or any other PTO person. We would love to hear it!

Audrey Christensen

PTO President

Andersonville Community Building Events: (these events have no entry fee)

  • Morning Meetings most Wednesdays: check with the office before attending to verify

  • October 23rd Boo Bash: costume party with dancing and games

  • November 13th Movie Night: bring a blanket and enjoy a movie with friends

November 17th: 4pm General PTO Meeting

Board of Education & Central Office Administration

Board of Education

Steve Hyer, President

Elizabeth Egan, Vice President

Kelli Horst, Treasurer

Susan Boatman, Secretary

Cheryl McGinnis, Trustee

Craig Hamilton, Trustee

Gregory Need, Trustee

Central Office Administration

Dr. Rod Rock, Superintendent

Shawn Ryan, Deputy Superintendent

Mary Beth Rogers, Executive Director of Business Services

John Lucido, Executive Director of Human Resources

Kathy Christopher, Executive Director of Student Support Services

Non Discrimination Clause

In compliance with Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972, Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, the Age Discrimination Act of 1975, the Americans with Disability Act of 1990, and the Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act, it is the policy of the Clarkston Community School District that the Board of Education does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, religion, national origin, sex, disability, age, height, weight, marital status, genetic information, or any other legally protected characteristic, in its programs and activities, including employment opportunities. For more information contact the Executive Director of Human Resources, 6389 Clarkston Road, Clarkston MI, 48346, (248) 623-5400. For more information regarding ADA, contact the Deputy Superintendent, 6389 Clarkston Road, Clarkston MI, 48346, (248) 623-5400.