Superintendent's Corner






December 8, 2017


Well, winter has officially arrived! Consequently, I thought I would share the same information I have shared the last couple of years about the decision to close school due to inclement weather…

The decision to close school is never an easy one and never one that is taken lightly.  We take into consideration the amount of snow that has fallen, visibility, the timing of the storm, temperatures and wind chill values. If the storm occurs overnight, this process starts at 4:00 in the morning - checking road conditions, checking with the road commission and local authorities, and speaking with local superintendents to discuss what it looks like in their areas and what the plans are for their districts.  With all of that said, our number one concern is always to make the decision with the safety of our students in the center.  We want to make sure that we can transport them to and from school safely, and that the roads are safe for our high school drivers. Please note that if you decide to keep your child at home because you do not feel it is appropriate to send your child, we will always respect and excuse that absence.

So many good things going on throughout the district – here are some of the highlights…

  • Ryan Walters received the Division 2 Regional Coach of the Year award by the Michigan Golf Coaches Association.  In addition, Jason Catania received the Michigan High School Football Coaches Association Assistant Coach of the Year award.
  • Upton Joe Bots Robotics Team advanced to the Michigan State Championship that will take place in Battle Creek December 14-16.
  • This fall, 63 high school students were given the opportunity to showcase their creativity and presentation skills by participating in the Whirlpool Innovation Challenge.  The students and their teachers, Mr. Hendricks and Mr. Vroegop, represented St. Joseph Public Schools with great poise and professionalism.
  • Lincoln School recently received the National Blue Ribbon School Award in Washington D.C.
  • Student Heather Leany was named Semifinalist in the National Merit Scholarship program. We also had six students achieve Commended recognition in this program.
  • This year’s musical, “Wizard of Oz”, was a great performance that involved all schools and record attendance.
  • Award winning author Patricia Polacco recently visited all three elementary buildings and shared stories of her childhood.
  • Actor Siaka Massaquoi surprised Upton Middle School students as part of an English project about what’s in a name and told his story of how he learned about his name.
  • Fall sports had a great season with many team and individual Academic All State honors received, along with our tennis and golf teams finishing high in the state finals.
  • High School Student Senate hosted a Veteran’s breakfast to honor our local veterans.
  • Seventy-eight percent of Clarke Elementary School students are participating in this year’s Feeling Good Mileage Club. This fall they have logged over 1600 miles placing the school in the top 10% of schools in Michigan and top 4% nationally of those participating in the Billion Mile Race.
  • Fourth grade classes at Brown School recently had the opportunity to build positive relationships and celebrate diversity while participating in Calling All Colors. This program brings students from our neighboring communities together to take part in activities that promote acceptance and understanding. 
  • Lincoln School will host their Annual Pancake Breakfast on December 9.  Families come together to eat, visit, make crafts with their children and visit the book fair. It is always a fun time for all!

If you are looking for some holiday cheer, we have several opportunities for you throughout the month. All of the elementary buildings are presenting the annual 3rd grade Nutcracker performance – it is a rite of passage in our district – and it is so much fun to watch the 4th and 5th grade students singing along in the audience as they have fond memories of their time on stage. If you are looking for a band performance to get you in the spirit – on December 13 at 7:00 the middle and high school bands will be performing at the John and Dede Auditorium at the high school. If that date doesn’t work for you, the middle school choir and orchestra are performing on December 20, and the high school choir and orchestra will be performing on December 18 – both of these performances are at the high school as well.

The St. Joseph Public Schools Foundation is on target to fund nearly $500,000 in projects in 2017 that will benefit the academic performance of our students. The Foundation is truly our academic booster club – making a difference and helping in ways that the general fund can not. The generosity of donors makes this possible and impacts every student in our district.  If you would like to join our team and support the SJPS Foundation, please visit their website at and consider making a gift to their Year End Giving campaign.

I hope you all have a lovely holiday with your family and friends and we look forward to seeing all of our students return on January 8.

Your partner in education,




District Announcements