Wednesday, October 30, 2013
Sunday, June 16, 2013
Good evening, - Board of Education, Administrators, faculty, guests, very proud parents and family members and especially the Lake Orion graduating class of 2013.
|LO High School Graduation|
As your superintendent, I’m supposed to provide you with profound advice as you leave the confines of the 4 walls of high school and begin a new journey and adventure in the world.
I’ll be honest with you – I thought about doing something like that but, knowing many of you, I figured you’d have your cell phones underneath your gowns and would be texting and tweeting each other during the high points of my presentation.
So, rather than offer you advice which I’m sure you will get from family and friends, I want to say that you have quite a distinction as you graduate as the class of THIRTEEN.
That number seems to resonate with me and I’ve always considered the number 13 to be a lucky number - Maybe it’s because my birthday is on the 13th….
|LO Adult Education/Learning Options Graduation|
But seriously, think about it, you became a teenager at 13. The US flag has 13 stripes on it symbolizing the 13 original colonies that formed our great United States. There are 13 major joints in our body, 13 lunar cycles in a solar year, and the moon travels 13 degrees across the sky everyday. And, if you go to Dunkin Donuts and order a dozen, you get 13 instead of 12 doughnuts, which is considered a baker’s dozen.
Coincidentally, you’ve been in school for 13 years – with the distinction of being the first class to start kindergarten in the new – 21st century!
But, here’s what I find most relevant to this class about the number 13. 13 is a prime number, which means it cannot be divided by any number other than one and itself.
So, despite the fact that I said I wasn’t going to offer you advice, I changed my mind…. And, you know, being the superintendent, I can do that… So here’s what I would like to say to you…
|LO IMAGE Program Graduation|
The person you are with most in your life is yourself. You decide whether you will be your own person – Like the number 13 in this year as you graduate, you decide whether you will be undivided and uninfluenced by others around you. It’s up to you and only you to choose how you will live your life – what you are going to do and become. It is your own choices that will determine how your future will be played out. And your future is NOT determined by chance or by having lucky numbers, it is determined by the choices you make.
So, Class of 2013 - may you always be blessed with good health and happiness and may you always make good and smart choices so that your future is filled with wonder, excitement, and some very pleasant surprises. CONGRATULATIONS!
Sunday, June 9, 2013
It is our intent to be sure that all parents, staff and community members have accurate and up-to-date information about the August 6th Bond Election. To that end, we have posted complete information on our District Website which includes the list of Projects, a PPT presentation, individual building specific information and "Frequently Asked Questions".
You can directly access the information by clicking the image below.
You can directly access the information by clicking the image below.
Thursday, May 23, 2013
I am very pleased to inform you that the LO Board of Education unanimously approved a resolution to proceed with a bond proposal to secure funding for critical building improvements, safety and security systems, instructional equipment and technology infrastructure expenditures. School district residents will vote during a special election on Tuesday, August 6, 2013.
The bond is necessary because, in today’s competitive public education environment, many of the proposed expenditures have been delayed too long and must be made now to keep the district among the best in Michigan. The state mandates specific times when bond elections can be held and the August date was selected because, if the bond passes, work on district buildings can begin immediately. New state-directed rules related to the school bond loan fund and election law reforms also influenced the decision to conduct the bond election this year.
Our schools have been one of the shining cornerstones of the Lake Orion community for many years, helping attract families, strengthen home values, lure businesses to locate here and, most importantly, educate our young people. This bond is critical to the long-term success of the district in attracting and retaining great families who want their children to benefit from a safe, sound and challenging learning environment.
Voters will have two bond options to consider. The first option covers projects deemed “essential” based on a careful evaluation of the district’s needs and is valued at $28.7 million over a 19 ½-year bond term. The second option includes additional projects considered “enhancements”, and is valued at $4.5 million over the 19 ½ -year bond term.
All of the district’s students will benefit from the bond. The improvements range from a variety of academic and fine arts program enhancements, to building and athletic field renovations, to technology and communications infrastructure upgrades, among others.
Whether your child is just starting kindergarten or is in high school, there’s something for everyone in this bond proposal. We’re very confident that, managed properly, these projects will have a positive impact on the district and the ability of our educators to deliver superior educational opportunities for many, many years.
The proposal includes significant capital investments to several school buildings:
• Enhanced safety and security systems in all school district buildings based on recommendations from the Oakland County Sheriff’s Office;
• Advanced classroom instructional equipment, proven to enhance learning and used by educators throughout the state. The goal is to outfit more Lake Orion classrooms with this equipment so all students can benefit from it;
• Roof renovations; heating and cooling, as well as electrical system updates; window and door replacements and other needs that will assure their top operational shape and significant, sustainable energy savings; much of this work will be done at several aging elementary schools built in the 1970s; and,
• Technology and communications infrastructure upgrades to support our instructional and curricular programs.
The bond proposal also features replacement of computing hardware at several of the elementary and middle schools, much of which has been in place for 10-12 years, far exceeding the useful life of such assets, The bond repayment schedule is structured to pay for new technology assets and systems early in the bond term, with funds allocated for future technology purchases to help avoid obsolescence issues.
This is so important so that we can continue to diligently update our technology assets and systems to not only be on par with other leading districts but, more importantly, help all of our students take advantage of technology to learn in new ways. This not only includes hardware, but the infrastructure systems needed to link computers and share information throughout all of the 13 district buildings.
It is important to note that the bond funds can only be used for capital expenditures, rather than operational needs, such as payroll and other day-to-day expenses used to run the school district. In recent years, the district resorted to using general fund dollars to make short-term improvements to school buildings and purchase instructional equipment. Passing the bond will relieve significant pressure to tap into the general fund for such needs.
During the past decade, Lake Orion Community Schools has taken a number of steps to avoid, reduce and/or eliminate nearly $19 million in operational costs - $6 million over the past two years alone. These savings have been generated through staff reductions, restructured benefit programs, privatization of services, shared services/functions with other districts, the restructuring of debt and improved operational efficiencies.
Voters who may be out-of-town on August 6 for the bond election are encouraged to apply for an absentee ballot at the Orion Township offices on Joslyn Road.
More detailed information on the district’s needs and proposed expenditures can be found on the Lake Orion Community Schools website, www.lakeorion.k12.mi.us. Informational meetings also will be held at the Lake Orion Community Schools administrative offices and other locations in the community this summer.
Monday, April 1, 2013
I want to emphasize this is not a public policy position in support of Schools of Choice. As it is, Lake Orion will be one of the last of the 28 Oakland County school districts to agree to participate in the program. However, given the current pressures facing the district we really had no choice but to move in this direction. Like many decisions being made today, it focused on money.
Michigan’s economy, loss of state aid revenue, increased expenses and declining enrollment have taken their toll on the district’s school budget. This year, enrollment has declined by more than 160 students from 2011-12 and is expected to decline by at least another 60 students next year. This translates to a loss of over $1.8 million in revenue to Lake Orion Community Schools.
The district and School Board have spent long hours evaluating ways to address the situation. In addition to a number of current and future reductions in expenses, accepting a limited number of students from outside district boundaries on a very restricted basis will increase the district’s revenue.
The Lake Orion Schools of Choice program will be open to approximately 175 students in kindergarten through second grade at elementary schools where there is identified space available. We also will be expanding our Learning Options program to accept some students from other districts. I regret that while we had hoped to be able to make this option available to former resident students at any grade level who have attended our schools but whose families have had to move out of the school district, we have been informed by the State that this is not allowable under Schools of Choice.
Like other districts in our region, students participating in this program must provide their own transportation to/from school and those who have been expelled or suspended from their previous districts are not eligible. The Schools of Choice program is in place for one year only, with future authorizations by the Board of Education to be made on an annual basis. Children who are admitted into the program this first year can remain in the district for the remainder of their school years if desired.
Thursday, February 7, 2013
|Lake Orion High School SOS team|
Given the continued high rates of “teens in crisis” and suicide among adolescents and young adults (15-24 years of age), the Lake Orion Community Schools has initiated a promising and innovative program of student-to-student support. A key to addressing these issues is getting students involved in a unified and ongoing approach to helping each other.
Based on their desire to help their peers, 100 student volunteers have been empowered as the first SOS (Students Offering Support) team to create a culture of awareness about teen crises and break down the barriers and stigmas surrounding mental health issues and youth suicide.
In an all-day session, the SOS team was trained to recognize signs of mental health distress in key areas (e.g. depression, anxiety, suicidal ideation, and substance abuse) and how and where to seek help if an individual needs it or if they have reason to believe their peers are showing signs of crisis. The training included how to effectively present this information to others so that over the next two months the SOS team will be going from class to class to educate their peers about crisis warning signs and provide information and resources about how and where to seek help.
This first phase of the SOS program includes a unique activity, “GOto5”, that will result in each LOHS student having identified five personal resources/people to go to if she/he needs help or support. The SOS team will lead this activity with the outcome that all students will create a small card with the names and contact information of their personal resources that they can carry with them at all times as a reminder that they have others in their life that love, care, and are there for them if they need help or just someone to talk to.The goal of the SOS program is to have an ongoing student-to-student system of support in place to provide help to anyone in crisis. It's clear that our students want to be part of the solution and if we don't involve them, we are underutilizing a valuable resource.
For further information about the SOS program, contact Superintendent Marion Ginopolis (248-693-5414) or LOHS Counselor Michele Novak (248-693-5638)
Saturday, January 12, 2013
Lake Orion Schools rank in the state's top 20% for helping students succeed beyond expected achievement!
This week Bridge Magazine, in collaboration with the Lansing-based research firm of Public Sector Consultants, created a ranking system measuring a school’s test scores adjusted for student family income, which is often a predictor of academic achievement. In essence, it is a ranking not of achievement, but overachievement. In other words, the analysis shows which Michigan schools do the best job in adding value – helping students succeed beyond expected achievement.
According to the analysis, a Value-Added Matrix (VAM) score of 100 indicates students are achieving at expected levels for their income level. The higher a school's score, the better their students are performing on standardized tests. Scores below 100 indicate that students are not achieving at expected levels for their income level.
With a VAM of 105.5, Lake Orion ranks in the state’s top 20%; 109th overall out of 560 school districts. In Oakland County, Lake Orion ranks 7th out of the 28 school districts. (see chart above for Oakland County rankings)This study’s data is only one tool we use to evaluate our yearly progress and shows positive results for Lake Orion Schools. While this is only one indicator of our ongoing efforts for academic improvement, it does show that Lake Orion Schools are providing value greater than what is expected.