Dr. George Heitsch
248-573-8127, Ext. 2001
Welcome to the 2019-2020 school year. I am excited to be starting this school year with all of you.
This truly has been an amazing and busy summer as we work towards continuous improvement for all members of our school community. Some of our summer highlights and focus areas include:
- Preparing for the Cognia Summary Accreditation process for our district. This platform is used to support our goal of increased student achievement through goal setting, diagnosing areas of needs, gathering stakeholder feedback, implementing evidence based strategies and plans for improvement.
- Continuing to pilot our Junior Kindergarten program. This program was designed as a bridge year for traditional Kindergarten and does not replace a Kindergarten year. Students attend Junior Kindergarten and then a full year of traditional Kindergarten the following year. Junior Kindergarten is a full day, 5 days a week program that includes instruction and experiences with all content areas, and a strong emphasis on the building blocks of literacy and social-emotional development. Due to the overwhelming response last year and interest, we are happy to have added two additional classrooms, and now have classrooms at Bartlett, Hardy, Kent Lake, Dolsen, Salem, and Sayre. Although there is not room availability at every school, all age eligible students in the district may apply through this school of choice program.
- Continuing to spend time working on school safety. The district was awarded a school safety grant last year for structural safety enhancements. These projects have been completed this summer. The District Administration continues to meet regularly with our school resource officers, local first responders, along with other key personnel to discuss school safety and other related areas. This committee which has been in place for over ten years is known as the Safety Administrative Team. From this collaboration, the District trained all the staff last year in ALICE which is a response philosophy when there is an active intruder in one of our facilities. ALICE stands for Alert, Lockdown, Inform, Counter, and Evacuate. During that training staff learned how to respond strategically if put in an intruder situation. All new staff will be trained this August. Our SAT team also participated in a School Safety Audit facilitated by Barton Malow and PrePlan Live.
- Completing a Facility Use Assessment. The district administration and Barton Malow completed a facility use assessment that included walking all buildings and grounds to determine possible improvements, renovations, and expansions. We will then prioritize needs for our overall master plan and determine our future bond program. We will keep all stakeholders informed as we move through this process.
- Developing additional courses for our students this fall. These include: Film as Literature at the High School, World Language Survey elective for seventh graders, Media and Communications elective for eighth graders, and Leadership elective for eighth graders. Additionally, the district is piloting two early college programs offered by Oakland Schools. An early college experience blends high school with community college courses and by adding a fifth year of high school for students in the program, gives them an opportunity to earn credits toward an associate’s degree at no cost to their families. Both programs even include the cost of textbooks. Due to the individualized nature of a schedule that involves community college courses, students do need to be able to provide their own transportation for much of these programs.
- The Accelerated College Experience (ACE) is a blend of high school and Oakland Community College for the 11th and 12th grade years, and then entirely Oakland Community College the final year. The program was initially intended for first generation college students or low income students but is being expanded to be offered to all interested students who meet the minimum criteria. The goal of the program is either an associate's degree or building credits that can transfer toward a bachelor's degree. In their 11th grade year, students attend a half day of high school and a half time load of college courses, in addition to a weekly seminar that is designed to support their transition to college. As 12th grade students, they attend approximately two high school courses and take an increased load of college courses while still participating in the seminar. During their fifth year of high school, students attend only college courses and do not come to any classes at the high school.
The Oakland Technical Early College (OTEC) is blend of high school, Oakland Schools Technical Campus courses, and Oakland Community College courses for the first three years and Oakland Schools Technical Campus and Oakland Community College courses the fifth year. Because three schools are involved, scheduling for this program is a bit more challenging. Students in this program focus more on applied sciences than preparing for a 4 year university.
Hiring of new staff. To date we have hired 17 new teachers and 3 new support staff. In addition to those new staff members we have also hired the following individuals as a part of our administrative team:
Kristin Weber - Curriculum Coordinator
Ross Baker - Assistant Principal at Millennium Middle School
Stacy Witt - Assistant Superintendent for Business and Finance
Leslie Munger - Assistant Principal at South Lyon East High School
Jaclyn Bury - Assistant Principal at Centennial Middle School and Millennium Middle School
Ryan DeSana - Bartlett Principal
Matt Naudi - Administrative Intern at Hardy Elementary
Cindy Helton - Transportation Manager
Karen Wiater - Transportation Assistant Manager
We are happy to welcome all of our new staff members to our South Lyon Community Schools family.
Learning. Our teachers and administrators spent their summer at various professional development opportunities presented by the district CITA department, at the building level, and other professional organizations. Many others took advanced college courses, and of course spent time planning for the upcoming school year.
Working on the Strategic Plan. During the 2016-2017 school year, members of our school community helped to develop our district’s five year strategic plan. The goals established and action plan were then approved by the Board of Education. The following are the approved goals:
Community & Communications
Every community member will be a connected, informed and valued participant in South Lyon Community Schools for the betterment of our students and the community at large.
South Lyon Community Schools will create and foster a culture where school community members are recognized, involved, and accepted, resulting in everyone realizing their value to the school community.
South Lyon Community Schools will maximize each student’s academic, creative, and social-emotional potential in an inclusive learning community, provide diverse academic paths, and inspire a passion for learning.
We are beginning our third year of work towards these five year, and updates were provided periodically to the Board, building level SIP teams, and our community. Please go to our website at www.slcs.us to see last year’s progress and for updates during the 2019-2020 school year.
We would like to sincerely thank our custodial team, building engineers, technology and ground crews who worked through all those hot summer days to make our buildings shine. Thank you to our office staff who work behind the scenes with deliveries, enrollment registrations, and the endless needs of their school community. We want to thank our transportation department and especially our drivers. They consistently provide care in transporting our students daily. We thank our food service workers who are already preparing for opening week. It truly does take a team to provide our students with the best learning environments possible.
I look forward to this school year, as we work together, to continue to move our exemplary district forward. I am committed to our mission and will ensure that South Lyon Community Schools continues to provide the highest quality educational process, so that all students can excel as individuals, and become productive and contributing members of society. Thank you to our staff and community for your continued support. Together we make our school community great!