September 2014

Principal's Video Message

Dear Burr Bulldog Families,

It is my pleasure to extend a warm welcome to both new and returning members of our Burr Elementary family. The 2014-15 school year promises to be challenging and exciting, as we continue our work to improve student achievement. We are an exceptional learning community with great parents/guardians, a wonderful staff, and incredible students.

I am very happy to report that we are no longer a State of Michigan Focus School. Burr Elementary joins Messmore and Duncan Elementary Schools with a Reward School designation. The Reward School designation is part of Michigan’s comprehensive, new accountability system authorized by the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA) approved by the U.S. Department of Education. In addition to being publicly recognized for our achievement, Reward Schools have opportunities to highlight their promising practices at state and local events for educators. The Michigan Department of Education also seeks other supports for Reward Schools such as increased flexibility in the use of federal funds and corporate or philanthropic support.

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.

I am very proud of the Bulldogs that made summer learning a priority and participated in either our summer school program or Summer Learning at Later this month, we will be celebrating their efforts with a fabulous Summer Learning Ice Cream Social.

I just started a new book call The Book Whisper by Donalyn Miller. The book is about instilling life-long love of reading in children. The book is written by a teacher for teachers, but I think parents would benefit from reading this book as well. This would make a great book for a parent book club. If interested, please contact me. Below is a synopsis of the book.

Synopsis: Donalyn Miller is a dedicated teacher who says she has yet to meet a child she couldn't turn into a reader. In The Book Whisperer, Miller takes us inside her 6th grade classroom to reveal the secrets of her powerful but unusual instructional approach. Rejecting book reports, comprehension worksheets, and other aspects of conventional instruction, Miller embraces giving students an individual choice in what they read combined with a program for independent reading. She also focuses on building a classroom library of high-interest books, and above all in modeling appropriate and authentic reading behaviors. Her zeal for reading is infectious and inspiring, and the results speak for themselves. No matter how far behind Miller's students may be when they start out, they end up reading an average of 40 books per year, achieve high scores on standardized tests, and internalize a love for reading that lasts long after they've left her class.

As a requirement of the Title I Parent Involvement Policy or Plan, the Title I Home School Compact establishes a partnership between educators, parents, and students. For each partner, the compact identifies specific actions that will support students in reaching state proficiency levels. Although federal law, the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA), requires that all schools receiving Title I funds develop and implement a home school compact, non-Title I schools are also encouraged to use this structure to develop a partnership for student learning that can be implemented throughout the school community.

We ask you to sign the Title One Burr Home/School Compact. Download it here. Your signature reaffirms that you are dedicated to your child’s academic success. This means that you will read with your child at home every night, make sure school work is completed and turned in on time, and make sure that your child is at school and on time every day. As your child’s best teacher, learning must be a priority in all of our households. Children follow the lead of their parents.

As the principal, I will be visiting each classroom on a more 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.

Curriculum Night is Tuesday, September 9th at 6:30 p.m. This is a great opportunity for parents to spend time with our teaching staff and learn about the curriculum and expectations.

Thank you Burr Community for coming out in “full force” to do the “Ice Bucket Challenge for ALS.” We raised $900.00+ for ALS of Michigan and for my wife’s sister, Pam.

When we are consistent and accountable both at home and at school, students achieve and reach their full potential. We appreciate your support as your child enters the classroom, learns and grows throughout the year. I extend a warm welcome to all of our Bulldog families.

Take Care,

Michael P. Hardy
Lead Learner and Principal