October 2014

Principal's Video Message

Dear Burr Bulldog Families,

Only one month into the school year and our students and teachers are back into their normal school routines. Our fifth annual Bulldog Day was a great way to kick-off the 2014 – 2015 school year. I was delighted to see the tremendous turnout. However, I think we’re all surprised how quickly September came and now we are about half way through the first marking period.

UCS voters to consider non-homestead millage renewal this fall

All voters in Utica Community Schools will be asked to reauthorize the district’s non-homestead millage at the general election on November 4, 2014. The proposal is a renewal of the district’s currently authorized non-homestead millage. The non-homestead millage is limited to rental, industrial and commercial properties. It has ZERO impact on owner-occupied homes. We will be sharing information about the renewal at our school’s upcoming Open House and over the next few months.


Quick Facts
The Non-Homestead Millage Renewal
· will help maintain current academic programs that support the district’s goal of high student achievement.
· is a reauthorization of an existing millage that is restricted to rental, commercial and industrial properties within Utica Community Schools.
· is not levied on owner-occupied homes and has ZERO impact on the homeowner’s property taxes.
· supports school operations, including teachers, basic school supplies and utilities such as heat and water.
· supports school operations, including teachers, basic school supplies and utilities such as heat and water.
-For more information, please visit
www.uticak12.org/renewal or call 586-797-2800

Our students and staff continue to work together to improve student achievement for all students. The district fall assessments and Northwest Evaluation Association (NWEA) online testing are almost complete and teachers are making informed decisions, using the data, to better meet the individual academic needs of all of our Bulldogs.

There will be no MEAP testing in the fall. However, in the spring of 2015, we will have Michigan State Assessments for our Bulldogs.

From the State of Michigan – Michigan Department of Education: The 2014-15 and 2015-16 school years will bring substantial change in state required summative assessments.


In June of 2014, legislation was passed requiring the Michigan Department of Education (MDE) to develop a new summative assessment for use in Spring 2015. Unlike the previous MEAP assessments, the new assessment will be aligned to Michigan standards, administered in the spring, and measure current year versus past year student knowledge. English language arts and mathematics will be assessed in grades 3-8 and 11. Science will be assessed in grades 4, 7, and 11; and social studies will be assessed in grades 5, 8, and 11.


Parents and guardians are partners in the learning process. I want to instill in our Bulldogs the daily habit of reading. Like brushing their teeth, reading is a responsibility that our Bulldogs are expected to do nightly. Time spent reading feeds more reading. The more students read, and grow into a school community of readers, the more they want to read. By springtime, students will celebrate the gift of the “habit of reading.”

You can track how many children are reading in your child’s classroom by going to Burrelementary.org and viewing our Sense of Urgency link. The first Bulldog Blog of the school year will be a reading blog for our Burr Learning Community.

For grades 3 – 6, parent and guardians also need to check agendas and make sure that schoolwork is completed and turned in on time. You can also track the progress of work completion (grades 3 – 6) in child’s classroom by going to Sense of Urgency.

I will be continuing my parent meetings again this year. This month, I will be hosting a Diet Coke with the Principal meeting with kindergarten parents to discuss a variety of topics, listen to suggestions, comments, and concerns on Tuesday, October 15, 2014 at 9:30 a. m. Please RSVP at michael.hardy@uticak12.org, if you plan to attend the Diet Coke with the Principal meeting. Remember, you are partners in the learning process. I look forward to spending time with our kindergarten parents.

We are completing our 2014 - 2015 Burr email distribution list. All the e-mail addresses that are on the emergency cards have been added. Some of the e-mail addresses were difficult to read. Our communication goal is 100% of our families receiving weekly electronic updates. If you didn't receive e-news in the form of the Electronic Bulldog Bulletin and Principal's Pictures, please e-mail me michael.hardy@uticak12.org and I will add you to the distribution list.


When I visit classrooms, I arrive during snack time. Many of our students are eating healthy snacks. Others are eating junk food which doesn’t improve brain power or learning. Last year, Burr Elementary partnered with the Henry Ford Health and our students were involved in the PE-nut program. This nutrition program used a whole-school approach to motivate students, parents, and educators to eat healthier within the elementary school setting. Snacks play a major and growing role in our children’s diets. Between 1977 and 1996, the number of calories that children consumed from snacks increased by 120 calories per day. For more information: http://www.fns.usda.gov/healthierschoolday/school-day-just-got-healthier-parents

Halloween will be here soon and I know that some children and parents make or purchase their costumes early for the Burr parties and parade. We are very proud of our Bulldogs and know that they can create some fabulous characters. Operation Kindness and PBIS (Positive Behavior and Interventions Support) are perfect examples of showing and teaching respect and kindness for one and other. We DO NOT want to see children dressed as perpetrators or victims of violence. Such costumes are unacceptable for school and our parade. Let’s think of others and make this a fun event for everyone.

Take Care,

Michael P. Hardy
Lead Learner and Principal