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Excellence and Innovation at Cedar Springs Public Schools

Superintendent Ron McDermed

From Ron McDermed, Superintendent

It is hard to believe that our school year is two-thirds over and we are already entering the final stretch of the 2010-11 school year. It has been a great year for Cedar Springs Public Schools.
We had a great fall highlighted by our October NCA Accreditation visit. A team of six educators from around the county visited our district from November 7th through the 10th.  They reviewed all 7 buildings in the district and interviewed 229 stakeholders in the district including Students, Parents, Teachers, Administrators, Support Staff, Community Members, Business Partners and Board Members.
As a result of the visit, all seven buildings have been recommended for accreditation by the North Central Association Commission. Additionally, the district received the “highly functional” or “operational” in all categories. The two highest ratings possible on all seven standards reviewed.
Standard One. Vision and Purpose
*  Exemplary high impact early childhood programming
*  Collaborative “can do” culture
*  District resources aligned to vision
*  Clear understanding of vision by district stakeholders
Standard Two. Governance and Leadership
* Real partnerships between the school and community
* Data Analysis sessions (PLC’s) throughout the year
* A warm and welcoming environment throughout the district
* Research based Teacher evaluation system
* Maximization of expertise and leadership skills
* True commitment for the instructional process
Standard Three. Teaching and Learning
*  An emphasis on opportunity for all students
*  Passionate, supportive and flexible teachers
*  Individual attention for advanced, average and at risk students
*  Cognitive Coaching modeled and practiced at all levels
*  Data discussions at the center of PLC meetings
*  Successful transitions of students from one building to the next
*  Strong focus on district instructional model to improve student achievement
*  Exemplary supportive programs beginning at birth
Standard Four.  Documenting and Using Results
*  Established and Implemented comprehensive assessment system
*  Timely communication of information to students and parents
*  Regularly scheduled time to collaborate around student achievement
*  System of quality information that supports effective teaching and learning
*  Polices and practices that foster and sustain improvement throughout the system
*  Continuing development of formative assessments aligned to curriculum objectives
Standard Five. Resource and Support Systems
*  Low teacher attrition because teachers feel valued, appreciated and supported
*  At all levels students feel very safe within their schools
*  Sound financial practices resulting in a 15 % fund balance in difficult economic times
*  collaborative culture supported by internal and external support systems designed to educate the whole child
*  Core focus on professional growth
*  Welcoming safe and positive environment conducive to learning
Standard Six. Stakeholder Communications & Relationships
*  Parents share in the district vision
*  Community support of the schools and their numerous partnerships
*  Special recognition for partners:  KSSN, Rotary, En Gedi, Ministerial Association Spectrum Health, Red Hawks Kids Club, Independent Bank and Amway partners
Standard Seven.  Commitment to Continuous Improvement
*  Successful allocation of time to focus on school improvement
*  Collaborative Culture that furthers improvement efforts.
*  Successful implementation of Coaching Model to support continuous improvement
* Numerous forms of data collection to monitor progress.
This is an outstanding report.  It represents the efforts and accomplishments that are possible when school and community come together in the common goal of quality education for all kids.
Additional highlights this year include:
*Two National Merit Semi-Finalists: Charles Hyde and Brittany Bellamy have been named semi-finalists in the National Merit Scholarship competition.
*The Red hawk Kids Club was implemented by High School Athletes to help build a stronger school community. High School students model and mentor elementary students.
*The Freshman Project Based learning Academy was implemented to provide alterative programming at the High school level.
*We implemented a Middle School Jazz Band Program.
*School community Partnerships were expanded with the Kent School Services Network, En-Gedi, the Red Flannel Festival, and the Amway Cooperation.
All of these things would not be possible without the outstanding support we receive daily from parents and community.  We are grateful for these strong partnerships and need your continued support as we face the challenges ahead.
We need your support to continue our work too ensure that all of our children have a world class education.  Two critical financial challenges are facing our district. The tough financial times have forced cuts in the district for the past six years. The current budget proposal at the State level would cut Cedar Springs Public Schools an additional 2.5 million dollars the 2011-12 school year.  These cuts are drastic and include a transfer of almost 900 million dollars from the School Aide Fund to Community Colleges and Universities. Many of you were instrumental in the passage of Proposal A, including our own Sue Wolfe. Proposal A was designed to properly and more equitably fund K-12 education. Please write or email you legislators to let them know how you feel about these issues.
Representative Peter MacGregor
P.O. Box 30014, Lansing, MI  48909
Phone:  Toll Free: (855) 347-8073
Email:  petermacgregor@house.mi.gov
Senator Mark Jansen
P.O. Box 30036, Lansing, MI 48909-7536
Phone:  (517) 373-0797
Email:  senmjansen@senate.mi.gov
Together, we can ensure our children receive the best education possible in a safe and secure learning environment.  Thank you for your continued support.

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