2018-01-14 / Viewpoints

Chalk Talk

By Anthony Berthiaume
Superintendent New Lothrop Area Schools

Happy New Year! I hope your family had a safe and relaxing break.

I want to remind parents and students of several upcoming important dates in our academic calendar:

• No school for students due to Professional Development for staff – Jan. 15.

• Kindergarten-sixth grade Parent/Teacher Conferences – Feb, 15, from 4 - 7 p.m.

• No school for students, Presidents’ Day Observed – Feb. 19.

• Seventh-12th grade Parent/Teacher Conferences – Feb. 22, from 4 - 7 p.m.

Also, the Michigan Department of Education (MDE) announced this week parents now have their own online dashboard that shows the performance of all kindergarten-12 public schools in Michigan and represents a new, improved level of transparency. The Parent Dashboard for School Transparency is available at www.MISchoolData.org/ParentDashboard. The dashboard is designed to be a living tool that will be updated as new school data becomes available. It displays a rolling three years’ worth of data, when available. Dashboard visitors may use a search box or interactive Michigan map, designed especially for the dashboard, to find a school and compare it with state averages (source: Michigan Department of Education, January 2018).

Another topic that affects us all, is our Michigan weather. I want to reiterate that it is the time of the year when we experience inclement weather. Student safety is always a priority, along with balancing the instructional consistency of our students’ education. We will continue to implement the option of a two-hour delay for inclement weather when deemed appropriate. School start times would be 9:50 a.m. for the elementary and 10 a.m. for the high school. School will end at our regularly scheduled time with an abbreviated bell schedule for both buildings. This option gives us the opportunity to delay the start of the school day in the hope that the weather may improve. Instead of taking a full day off from school, this option allows our buses and families extra time to get students to school in the morning as conditions improve. If the conditions remain stagnant throughout the morning, we would possibly make the decision to cancel school for the entire day.

We will communicate any delay or school closing using our notification system, SchoolMessenger, along with television and radio broadcasts. Parents, please use this information to plan ahead and think about arrangements for your children in these types of situations. I will be in contact with other superintendents from our county and neighboring school districts when making these decisions and will continue to monitor the weather and road conditions. These are decisions I take seriously due to the need to ensure the safety of our students.

We look forward to the months ahead and the opportunity to serve our students and this community. I appreciate your continued support and value your suggestions as we continually strive to improve as a district. If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact me. My office phone number is 810-638-5091.

Yours in Education,

Anthony Berthiaume, Ph.D.

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