April/May 2015

Principal's Video Message

Dear Bulldog Families,

It seems cliché to say that this school year has absolutely flown by. However, it is now April and we only have 2 1/2 months left of the 2014/2015 school year. Even though there is only a short time left in the school year, we still need to remain focused on our continuous effort to improve student achievement.

I have some wonderful news to share. Burr Elementary teacher, Mrs. Sandison, has been selected as the Utica Community Schools Elementary Teacher of the Year. She is representative of all the great teachers at our school that work with your children throughout the school year. Congratulations Mrs. Sandison. We are all proud of you.

Her name will be submitted for the Macomb County Outstanding Teacher of the Year award which is presented annually to honor and reward Macomb County teachers at the elementary, middle, and high school levels who have achieved, through their efforts and example, the highest standards of excellence in their profession.

April 13th – May 1st, our fifth grade Bulldogs will be involved in M-Step (Michigan Student Test of Educational Progress). Each student will do a classroom activity, a performance test, and a computer adaptive test. Grade 4 Bulldogs start their M-Step testing in late April to mid-May and grades 3 & 6 are tested from mid-May to early June. M-Step replaces MEAP testing.

Congratulations Burr Elementary! We will be awarded a MI HEARTSafe School for the 2014/2015 academic year. This designation is valid for 3 years. Burr Elementary has met the following MI HEART Safe criteria:

A written medical emergency response plan (ERP), reviewed with Burr staff.
A medical emergency response team (MERT) with current CPR/AED certification. Ten staff members had CPR training and are now CPR/AED certified and are our school’s response team.
We have two AEDs in the building. One is located by the kitchen in the main hallway and the other AED in the lower elementary wing.
The performance of at least one cardiac emergency response drill* per year.
*Including recognizing signs of sudden cardiac arrest and using the American Heart Association's Chain of Survival: calling 9-1-1 and use of bystander CPR and AED until EMS arrive to provide advanced life support.
Lunchroom Supervisors have been trained to recognize a child that is choking and unable to breath. Plans are also in the works to offer an AHA CPR/AED class to PTO officers.

On April 1st, Burr Elementary will be recognized at the MISD (Macomb Intermediate School District for being a Macomb County Green School for the past two years. A “green school” is an energy efficient, higher performing school that can be environmentally beneficial, economical to build and operate, and offer improved learning environments. The topic of green schools is increasing in importance, driven by greater environmental awareness and rising energy and operation costs.

The following article by Tom Burns talks about the importance of Dads reading at home with their children.

The statement “It’s important for dads to read with their kids” sounds painfully obvious, but, even though I’m a dad myself, I find myself saying that phrase more often than I’d like, and in more ways than you’d think.

Sometimes I say it as a mantra, like when I’m at the library or at my daughter’s school and I see significantly more moms reading with their kids than dads. And I say it to remind myself to make reading a priority, get off my butt, and sign up to go read with the kids in my daughter’s class.

Sometimes I say it as a defensive statement, like when I see a story in the news that argues that only 13% of polled fathers said they were the “main household reader” and only 19% of younger dads said, “They actually enjoyed reading at bedtime with their kids.” Which is ridiculous. Even if those statistics are true – and it’s super depressing to think that they are – those numbers don’t take into account all of the truly, truly amazing dad readers I’ve met over the years, dads who shouldn’t be overshadowed by any headline-grabbing piece of sociological research.

And sometimes I say it as a sales pitch. I’ll tell a dad who might seem apathetic about reading that “It’s important for dads to read with their kids,” and I’m hoping, just hoping they turn around and ask me “WHY?”

Why should dads read with their kids?

Because, while, yes, dads are supposed to protect, feed, and defend their children, they’re also responsible for introducing their kids to the world around them. Books are remarkable tools for doing just that.

And the people reading those books make all the difference.

This is where dads come in.

It doesn’t matter if you’re a particularly confident reader or if you do silly voices for all of the characters. What actually matters is that you’re helping your children understand what they’re reading.

When you read with your kid, you’re seeing if they’re grasping key concepts, you’re answering questions, you’re starting discussions if they’re too hesitant to ask questions on their own. You’re helping them filter all of this crazy knowledge that the book is sharing through a perspective, YOUR unique perspective, and that helps make all that new information much more human and relatable.

And, personally, I think the perspective of a dad has a whole lot of value.

Granted, it’s important for ALL types of caregivers to do this, but, all too often, I see dads opt out of reading because they’d rather handle some other parenting duty and I think they’re missing the point. You’re not just reading them a story. You’re holding their hand, opening a door, and showing them what the world is like.

If that introduction is too big, scary, or confusing, you’re the one there with them, trying to explain what everything means. And, even if you don’t know what everything means, you’re there as their partner, saying, “Jeez, I don’t know. Let’s find out together.”

That’s a big deal. And, as a dad, that’s something that I want to be there for.

So, yes, it is important for dads to read with the kids. Duh. But it’s not because it’s something we HAVE to do. It’s because, when we read with our kids, we have the chance to share some small part of ourselves with our children and that’s an opportunity that no dad should miss. Click here to visit Tom Burns' site.

This month’s, Diet Coke with the Principal meeting will be with fifth grade parents and guardians to discuss a variety of topics, listen to suggestions, comments, and concerns on Monday, April 13, 2015 at 9:30 a.m. Please RSVP to Michael Hardy if you plan to attend the Diet Coke with the Principal meeting. Remember, you are partners in the learning process. I look forward to sharing time with our fifth grade parents and guardians.

We are nearing the end of the school year and gearing up for our “Summer Learning” with Summer School by invitation only and our new No More Summer Reading Loss folders for all our Bulldogs. Learning never ends even during the fun filled months of summer. More to follow in the May/June principal’s message. Please look for updates in the EBB (Electronic Bulldog Bulletin) or at Burrelementary.org.

Take Care,

Michael P. Hardy
Principal and Lead Learner