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Here it comes…

August 16, 2008

A new school year is just two weeks away. As summer comes to an end, we are busy putting the final touches on the new programs and planning for the 2008-2009 school year.

We are training staff on PowerSchool, our new student management software. The new product includes a component called, PowerTeacher. This is where staff will input attendance and grades and ultimately where parents will go to check on their child’s progress. We will be sending home log in and password information for parents in mid-September.

This Friday we have training on the NWEA assessment. As I have mentioned before on the blog, it will provide us with needed norm referenced data to aid us in making instructional decisions. There are also parent reports that will give families information on where their children are achieving as related to national averages. I had the chance to talk with Naomi Norman from the Washtenaw Intermediate School District at a recent meeting. As of this year there will be seven local districts using the NWEA tool. We shared ideas on using our collective county data to target future professional development.

The trimester at Saline High School will be an adjustment for all of us. By reducing the number of lunch periods from four to three, increasing the passing time, and scheduling final exams at Thanksgiving… the whole rhythm of the day and year will change. Staff has been working all summer to adjust curriculum, developing pacing guides and common assessments.

We are implementing the AlertNow automated dialer system. This product was used at the high school last year and now we are going district-wide. To test the system and introduce it to the Saline Area Schools families, expect a call from me soon and then one from your building principal. If we have any snow days this year – you’ll get a call from school!

There are several other new programs this year including expanded foreign language at the middle school, the Young Adult program, grade looping at Pleasant Ridge, a Smartboard pilot program at Harvest and more. I will let you know how these are going as the year progresses.

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