Superintendent's Corner









 February 14, 2017

I thought I would take this opportunity and let each of the buildings showcase some of the cool things going on so you have a wider district overview.

Brown School
At Brown School, students are learning new skills through technology integration.    What is technology integration you ask?  Technology integration occurs when a teacher takes the curriculum and finds ways to utilize technology to promote the learning; the curriculum drives the technology use.

Fourth graders continue to work on their "Genius Hour" projects! The students are using computers to become experts in topics of their choosing.  They have been learning how to safely find information on search engines. Genius Hour is modeled after Google's 20% time where employees, in addition to their regular projects, spend 20% of their time working on what they think will most benefit Google.

Our supportive community has helped make technology integration a part of what we do daily. 

Clarke School
Clarke students are wild about kindness!  They have been celebrating ways to be kind to each other and our community all month long.  This special focus at our school and those across the district started with The Great Kindness Challenge, an international campaign during the last week in January.  At Clarke, the week was filled with smiles, special theme days, and thoughtfulness.    From dressing up as local heroes to writing essays and making kindness posters, our students were “all in” with the challenge.    The generous donations of our families provided much needed pet supplies for animals rescued by Berrien County Animal Control and funds for Pennies for Peace (an organization helping educate children in Pakistan).    We are already looking forward to next year’s challenge!

Lincoln School
What’s that sound?  That’s the sound of opportunity!  Opportunities for students beyond the school day exist in all of our elementary buildings.  While what is offered at each building may be slightly different, we are proud of the many before and after school opportunities available to students.  Here at Lincoln these opportunities include:

Access - a monthly non-denominational youth group open, with parent permission, to students of all ages.
First Lego League – Robotics for students in grades 4-5.
Junior First Lego League – Robotics for students in grades 2-3.
Mini Mozarts – a tuition-based Orchestra program open to students in grades 3-5.
Young Rembrandts – a tuition-based Art program open to students in grades Y5-5.  Offering both Drawing and Cartooning classes.
Gymnastics – a fee-based program open to students in grades 2-3.
Talent Show – currently underway for students for students in grades 3-5.
Girls On The Run – starting soon for girls in grades 3-5.
Scouting – Daisies, Brownies, Cub, and Boy Scouts.

Upton Middle School
It has been a wonderful 1st semester at Upton Middle School for students and staff!  We had close to 30 award-winning artists in the Scholastic art awards with Mr. Fralick taking home top honors for the most outstanding middle school art teacher in Southwestern Michigan and Northwestern Indiana.  Our MathCounts team, under the leadership of Ms. Houseal, recently took 2nd place at the regionals in Kalamazoo and will head to the state competition in March.  We participated in the National Kindness week where we all took a small part out of our day to really concentrate on the people who make our K-12 experience a positive one. Our performing arts programs are gearing up for their festival season, the variety show is around the corner in March, and in May we will have a musical.  Our athletic teams are having very successful seasons with several of our student-athletes not only learning valuable skills, but also not losing a game on top of it. We have a lot to celebrate!  The staff thanks the parents for their continuing support.

High School
First semester is in the books and we are excited to have final exams out of the way!  We had a great first semester here at SJHS.  itsLearning is proving to be a valuable resource for both students and staff, BYOD continues to grow and we are seeing more and more technology use in classrooms.  The implementation of Go Time has provided some much-needed additional instructional time for students as well as some unique enrichment opportunities. We are excited about the start of our second semester and look forward to all the opportunities that spring will bring for our students and staff.  

Office of Curriculum, Instruction and Assessment
SJPS believes in learning for all, whatever it takes.  Providing time for students who need extra support while at the same time, challenging students who are ready to extend and apply what they have already learned can be a challenge for a single classroom teacher.  It takes a team approach.  Our teacher teams, with support from their administrators, have created time in the student’s day to do just that. 

During late starts, teacher teams discuss the essential learning targets for their students and identify students who may need more time to reach those targets and plan intervention for those students and extensions for those who have met the targets. They then focus on additional strategies to help students meet learning targets during the intervention time.  If students have met the targets, they are given opportunities to further apply their learning, create a product, participate in leadership opportunities, and even learn about something totally new and engaging. Whatever your student calls it, GO Time, WINN Time, or Smart time - it is a great example of doing “whatever it takes” for student learning.

Your partner in education,

Ann M. Cardon

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