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School is only a few days away… We want your feedback!

August 31, 2016

Welcome back to another exciting year in Saline Area Schools!

Whether you’re a parent whose child is entering our schools for the first time or the veteran parents of a soon-to-graduate senior, I want you to be involved and help make this year our best one yet.

But I also know how busy you are — and, as the school year continues, there are going to be even more demands on your time and attention.

That’s why we offer Let’s Talk!  It is a great way for you to ask questions or submit comments about the issues that matter most to you, whenever it’s convenient — 24 hours a day, seven days a week.  Many of you used the system last fall during our successful bond campaign.

I hope to repeat that successful community engagement this year.

Questions about a district program? Have something to share about your child’s school?  Want to weigh in on our district budget or school safety? Whatever’s on your mind, we want to hear it!

Simply open the Let’s Talk! tab at, or click here to start a conversation. You may remain anonymous, but if you leave your contact information you’re guaranteed a personal response.

We want to help all of our students find success and realize their potential. And we can do it by working together — one conversation at a time!

Summer Reading…

July 16, 2016

Summer is well underway and, while my intentions are sincere, I have yet to get very far with my list of books!  

This summer I am reading Team of Teams by General Stanley McChrystal. McChrystal is a retired 4-star General, who devoted thirty-four years in government service with the US Army. As commander of all US forces in Afghanistan, he managed teams under the most severe of conditions. The book uses examples from recent military missions to highlight the need for organizations to be agile and adaptable.  Much of what McChrystal learned from his military experience is portrayed in the book as solid leadership for any organization.  It points out how old rules no longer apply. Old principles of leadership do not keep pace with the rapid flow of information and the lifestyle of a digital generation.

I am also looking to finish  Brown Dog by Jim Harrison.  Harrison passed away last year and it reminded me that the book follows a character named Brown Dog who rescues a preserved body of an Indian from Lake Superior’s cold waters. He lives a simple life, but overindulges in food and drink while just scraping by in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula’s summer. It’s a novel that is intense and well written, and brings home my love of the UP and the simple things in life.   

The two books that I have chosen to read this summer are in stark contrast to one another, but each has something of great interest to me, first as an organizational leader, and second, as a man that loves the out-of doors and being close to nature. That is the beauty of reading. There is no end to the journeys that we can takeReading through the written word and the mind’s imagination. Summer is a wonderful time for students (and adults!) to read.  The Saline District Library is an incredible community asset – stop by and check out their collection! A young adult fiction section shelves titles that will interest even the most reluctant reader. The District Library has a vast collection of eBooks and downlo
adable titles for those that prefer to listen to good literature. A library card is one of the best investments that you can make in your child’s future.


Everyday is a day to learn something new. Reading gives everyone that opportunity.


Good news & Areas of Focus from our School Quality and Climate Survey

July 14, 2016

Sometimes you just need to take a moment to celebrate good news.  

When we asked students, parents, and employees for feedback on the quality of Saline Area Schools, we knew we would identify areas where we could improve next school year.

What we learned is that our community is overwhelmingly pleased with our schools.

Of the almost 3,000 people who took our School Quality and Climate Survey, 96 percent of parents, 90 percent of staff members, and 90 percent of students rated their school as excellent or good. And 65 percent of parents said their child’s school is excellent!

We also learned that parents and students are overwhelmingly positive about the technology access in our schools, that students and employees have strong relationships, and that employees believe we set high learning standards for all students.

But those findings don’t mean we don’t have work to do.

Only slightly more than half of participating students said their teachers successfully show them how their lessons relate to life outside of school. We want our curriculum to come alive for our students, so we’ll continue to work to make these connections.

We also saw the fewest number of positive responses to questions about safety and behavior. Notably, a large number of participants said they didn’t know about our safety procedures or our bullying prevention and response programs.

That tells me we need to be doing more to make you aware of how we’re ensuring that our schools are a safe place for students.

Thank you to everyone who participated in this process. You’re helping us turn our students into lifelong learners who graduate with the skills they need to succeed — no matter their chosen path.

I will be sharing the formal results at the August 9th Board of Education meeting, but I wanted to share these insights now with the community.

If you didn’t have a chance to participate in this survey, or you have additional thoughts to share, we’re always listening with Let’s Talk! I’d love to hear what you have to say. Click here to start a conversation today!

Saline High School – Class of 2016

May 30, 2016

Saline High School
2016 Senior Class Survey

On Wednesday, May 18, the members of the Class of 2016 completed transcript cards where each student indicated where they would be sending their final transcript. The results for the 477:

Michigan Colleges (338) 71%
Out of State Colleges (104) 22%
Michigan Public Colleges (304) 64%
Michigan Private Colleges (34) 7%
All Four Year Colleges (355) 74%
All Two Year Colleges (85) 18%
Military (5) 1%
Americorps (1) >1%
Working Full Time (13) 3%
Exchange Students returning (4)>%
Young Adult Program (2) >1%

Interesting Numbers:

Michigan Private Schools 

Adrian College 1
Alma College 1
Aquinas College 1
Calvin College 1
Concordia University – Ann Arbor 1
Davenport University 1
Hope College 9
Kalamazoo College 1
Kettering University 3
Lawrence Technological University 4
Madonna University 1
Northwood University 1
Siena Heights University 1
University of Detroit Mercy 3

Michigan Public Schools Numbers

Central Michigan University 17
Eastern Michigan University 41
Ferris State University 6
Grand Valley State University 26
Michigan State University 49
Michigan Technological University 3
Northern Michigan University 2
Oakland University 3
Saginaw Valley State University 1
University of Michigan – Ann Arbor 47
University of Michigan – Dearborn 5
Wayne State University 2
Western Michigan University 17

Michigan Career and Technical Schools
Aveda Institute 2
Michigan Career and Technical Institute 3

Michigan Community Colleges
Jackson Community College 1
Lansing Community College 1
Washtenaw Community College 79

Public Out of State Colleges 
Arizona State University 1
Ball State University 2
Bowling Green State University 3
Coastal Carolina University 1
Florida Southwestern University 1
Indiana University 2
McGill University 1
Miami University 6
New Mexico State University 1
North Carolina State University 1
Ohio State University 1
Potomac State College 1
Purdue University 3
South Dakota State University 1
Temple University 1
United States Military Academy 1
United States Naval Academy 1
University of Alabama 3
University of California – Berkley 1
University of California – Los Angeles 1
University of Florida 3
University of Hawaii 1
University of Iowa 2
University of Kentucky 2
University of Louisville 1
University of Minnesota 1
University of Mississippi 1
University of Pittsburgh 2
University of Toledo 6
University of Wisconsin – Concordia 2
University of Wisconsin –Madison 1
University of Wisconsin – Superior 1
Utah Valley University 1
Virginia Military Institute 1
Virginia Tech 5

Private Out of State Colleges
American University 1
Aurora University 1
Belmont University 1
Brigham Young University 5
Brown University 1
Butler University 1
Carlton College 1
Case Western Reserve University 1
Chapman University 1
Columbia College Chicago 1
Concordia University – Wisconsin 1
Cornell University 1
Culinary Institute of America 1
Denison University 2
Florida Institute of Technology 1
Harvard College 1
Heidelberg University 1
Johns Hopkins University 1
Loyola University Chicago 1
Mercer University 1
Missouri Valley College 1
Oral Roberts University 1
Penn Foster College 1
Ringling College of Art and Design 1
Stautzenberger College 1
University of Dayton 1
University of Findlay 1
University of Northwestern Ohio 3
University of Sioux Falls 1
University of St. Francis-Illinois 1
Washington University in St. Louis 1
Villanova University 1
Xavier University 1

Other interesting facts about the Class of 2016:

11 National Merit Semi-Finalists
11 National Merit Finalists
7 National Merit Commended Scholars
7 Students having a cumulative unweighted grade point average of 4.0
83 Students having a cumulative weighted grade point average of 4.0 or higher
135 Students having a cumulative unweighted grade point average of 3.6667 – 3.999
108 Students having a cumulative weighted grade point average of 3.6667 – 3.999

Tech in the Classroom – Purpose vs. Screen Time

May 12, 2016

At a recent meeting with several teachers, the discussion centered around community perceptions of the ‘Next Generation” classrooms.  A few of the teachers reported they have heard concerns from parents about “too much screen time” when they discuss the use of technology in classrooms.  As we explored this line of thinking, it became apparent that many parents and community members are not fully cognizant of how technology enhances the classroom experience rather than detract from it.

The time that the students are productively using devices vs. just having access to devices in the classrooms is a point that needs clarification.  Additionally, the way in which technology functions in the school setting often differs dramatically from the way in which students use technology in social situations or home environments. For example, I allow my children to watch Netflix and play FIFA for recreation.  This type of use is not an activity that occurs at school. The use of technology at school (during class time) is purposeful, and aligned with curricular goals.

The other underlying bias is that technology is distracting.  Frank Furedi, in “Focus Fracus” (Chronicle of Higher Education, Dec. 2015) notes the parallel between today’s perceived technology-induced distraction and the fear felt when Socrates warned that writing would weaken students’ memory capacity.  Similarly, panic ensued in the 1700’s over mass-market publications that led to “book madness” and “reading mania” that somehow the lust for reading fiction would cause readers to lose control of their lives.  Furedi concludes,  “In the end, what motivates students is not the availability of fancy gadgets, but the quality of the content included in the lessons. Instead of blaming the supposed Age of Distraction or turning the classroom into a digital playpen, we should think harder about how we can earn the attention of our students.”  Gaining the attention of the students begins with well-designed lessons. The delivery of that content is facilitated through strong pedagogy and the use of instructional technology.

In the Next Generation classrooms, students have access to endless information at the touch of a button. The classroom extends far beyond the school room walls in these 21st Century learning spaces. Making global connections, becoming more culturally aware, and discovering new ideas are explored through authentic and project-based lessons. Ultimately, the intent is to prepare students to live, work, and play in an increasingly more complex society.  Technology is the vehicle by which these experiences flourish.


We want to know… what you want to know…

January 4, 2016

Dear SAS Community,

These are exciting times for the Saline Area Schools. Voters recently passed a new $67.5 million bond that will help fund district improvements for at least the next decade. Now that the bond has passed, we need your input. Specifically, we want to know how you’d prefer to receive information about bond-related projects.

To learn more about your preferences, we will conduct focus groups on Jan. 25 and 26. The information collected will help us understand how you’d prefer to receive information about the new bond, including the types of projects we’ll be working on and how they stand to impact the district.

If you are interested in participating in these focus groups, please sign up online from January 5 to January 19.

All Saline Area Schools parents will receive a personal survey invitation via email. Community members can sign up for the focus groups at

This bond measure stands to transform teaching and learning at the Saline Area Schools for years to come. Thanks in advance for your candid feedback.

I look forward to sharing our progress with you.


Scot Graden


Saline Area Schools

Holiday Gift Ideas

December 17, 2015


Since many families in our community are giving gifts to their children (our students) over the next fews weeks – here is my shameless plug to consider items that support our learning targets.

  • Books – You can never go wrong with books. Consider non-fiction titles like biographies, autobiographies, travel/geography, how-to, and science/technology options. (Magazine subscriptions can also be a good fit for non-fiction reading.)
  • e-Readers – Same as above but in Kindle, iPad, iPad Mini or Surface format.
  • Legos – Always popular and great for creativity.  They can also help build dexterity and develop math and pattern skills.  They also have a product called “Chain Reactions” that involve design and build activities.
  • Technology – This area can be pricey, however, we are encouraging our students at many grade levels to bring their laptop, tablets, and smartphones to class to use as a learning tool. Google Chromebooks are a relatively inexpensive option for laptop and they work well on our network.

Feel free to comment with other educational gift ideas.

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