August/September 2015

Principal's Video Message

Dear Bulldog Families,

Welcome to Burr Elementary, a Michigan Department of Education Reward School. As we begin the start of the 2015-16 school year, I am filled with “academic optimism” and am eager to begin a new year of learning and leading.

Like many of you, my summer was spent catching up on things I enjoy, with reading being at the top of my list. Not only did I read about Abraham Lincoln and the Wright Brothers, my summer learning also included educational books to become a better leader and learner. I reached my goal of 1000+ minutes this summer.

I am very proud of the Bulldogs that made learning a priority this summer. Many Bulldogs were selected to participate in our Summer Learning (School) program. “You don’t want to stop learning,” said Brianna Kopp, who is on her way to Davis Junior High. “You still need to make sure you are not losing what you gained through the school year.” Great advice!

Thank You Burr staff members Barb Churray, Vicky Carlin, Shalyn Weemaes, Stephanie Talan, Rachele Sutter, Alicia Peila, Christine Henry, Christine Sandison and Melissa Gronzo for helping to prevent the “Summer Slide.”

Bulldogs could also access online learning resources at under the link Summer Learning. I am looking forward to seeing how many of our children met or exceeded the Summer Reading Challenge. In September, we will be celebrating their efforts with a fabulous Summer Learning Ice Cream Social.

Bulldog Day will be Thursday, September 3rd from 4:00 p.m. – 7:00 p.m. This is a great way to ease into school, pick up your back to school packets, and visit with PTO officers, students, parents, and some of our teachers.

Our theme this year in alignment with the district’s vision is Continuing Our Quest for Excellence for Every Child. Burr Elementary is a school-wide Tile One school with 65% of our students receiving free or reduced breakfast and lunch. Enough said! We will continue to expect our Bulldogs to set goals, achieve them at the highest levels, and believe that they can do it!

Your expectations for your children must be high and know that they will achieve because they are part of Utica Community Schools and more importantly are students at Burr Elementary. Children follow the lead of their parents. Working together our students will be inspired to soar high!

As we continue our quest for excellence, we must all be accountable. As partners in the educational process, parents/guardians should value learning by making sure your child gets a good night’s sleep, arrives at school on time, work is completed, and that your child is reading 20 minutes a night.

The staff will be a positive role model for our Bulldogs and show their passion for learning. They will also build positive relationships and respect with each of their students. Parents/guardians can expect quality instruction that incorporates research based instructional strategies.

This will build a strong Home/School Connection and give our school a sense of families working together for our children.

Students are also stakeholders in the learning process and they need to know that we believe in them and expect them to do their “Bulldog Best.” Students will continue to have their own student data folders. This will help them measure their successes, create a plan, and set goals to improve their learning. Third – sixth grade students will also have their own Bulldog organizational binders. All their work will be in one place.

Each year, students are surveyed at the beginning of the school year to get their view on our school and their learning. I will share with you the results in upcoming Electronic Bulldog Bulletins.

As the principal, I will be visiting each classroom on a regular basis which will give me the opportunity to talk directly to students and observe their learning. I will be continuing our monthly grade level “Diet Coke with the Principal” meetings for parents to come in, visit with me, and share their thoughts, comments, and concerns. In order for more parents to attend “Diet Coke with the Principal” meetings, I am thinking about doing one during the day and one before the monthly Burr Parent volunteer meeting.

Our Burr Curriculum Night is Tuesday, September 15th at 6:30 p.m. This is a great opportunity for parents/guardians to spend time with our teaching staff and learn about the curriculum and expectations.

As always, we encourage our school community to support Burr’s “Go Green” efforts by using our digital resources. Our school website is Burr also tweets, so please follow us (@BurrBulldogs, @Bulldogscan, @BurrTeachers or @UCSArtTeacher) to learn about the goings-on at school. We work very hard to make sure that the school website is updated weekly. Please make sure that your email addresses are up-to-date with the school office so that you are receiving our weekly Electronic Bulldog Bulletin. You may also be interested in joining our Facebook at

I believe the new school year will present opportunities for our school community to grow closer together to continue our Quest for Excellence for Every Child.

Take Care,

Michael P. Hardy
Principal and Lead Learner