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Community Conversation – February 3rd

January 28, 2020

We will be hosting “Community Conversation” meeting on Monday, February 3rd. Over the last twelve years I have had the opportunity to host numerous “Community Conversation” events to learn more about what interested community members see as the strengths of Saline Area Schools, and what areas they felt we needed to focus attention on for improvement. Through these conversations and other opportunities, I have learned a great deal about how many of you see our district and it has helped guide me, along with the Board of Education, as we move forward.

There are a lot of issues we can discuss, however, based on recent events I would like talk about the issue of diversity, equity & inclusion as it relates to our community and Saline Area Schools.  What role do we play as a school district?  What role should we play?

In an effort to continue this dialogue, I will be making time available on Monday, February 3rd from 9:30am- 11:00am at Liberty School, 7265 N. Ann Arbor St. Please stop by, say hello and bring any thoughts about the district you feel I should know.

If you can’t make it, feel free to use “Let’s Talk” and let me know your thoughts.

Thank you,
Scot Graden

Statement Regarding Racial Incident on Social Media by SHS Students

January 27, 2020

January 27, 2020

Dear Saline Area Schools Community,

On Monday, January 27th it was brought to the attention of our staff and administration that offensive and inappropriate racist comments using derogatory terms about African Americans were posted on social media by Saline High School students. Administrators at Saline High School conducted a thorough investigation of the situation and determined that the incident represents an act of racism that created harm to all of our students, especially students of color. Hate, prejudice, and racism have no place in our schools or our community. 

Our School and our District find the words used in these posts to be deplorable and we strongly denounce the actions and words of these students. The Saline Board of Education and administration take these issues seriously as we strive to ensure a welcoming, inclusive, and safe environment for all students, regardless of their race, ethnicity, socioeconomic status, gender identity, or any other identity. This is an opportunity for us – the staff, students, and community of Saline Area Schools – to stand for anti-racism, respect, and inclusion of all students.

In addition, we recognize that harm has been done to students of color in Saline who saw the post. Additional efforts must be made to repair the damage from this situation. Saline Area Schools, along with many districts across the nation, use a process known as restorative practices (or restorative justice), where in conjunction with clear discipline for infraction of school rules, we work with those who created the harm as well as those who were harmed to repair the damage. 

Saline Area Schools is committed to creating and sustaining a culturally proficient and inclusive learning environment where EVERY member of the community is valued and respected. In addition to the above noted measures, our Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Committee will continue to work on methods to help educate all students and staff regarding the ways that language and behavior can harm groups of people who have been historically marginalized.

The District will continue working to ensure that our schools provide a safe and inviting environment void of these types of despicable words and actions. Our staff will work diligently to ensure that this is the case for ALL of our students.  For information about how to talk to your child(ren) about issues of race follow this link – http://bit.ly/BeyondGoldenRule

Sincerely,

Scot Graden

Superintendent

Saline Area Schools

Saline Board of Education – Thank You

January 14, 2020
Back (l to r) Tim Austin, Paul Hynek, Dennis Valenti, Michael McVey
Front (l to r) Susan Estep, Heidi Pfannes, Jennifer Steben, Evan Thomas (Student Representative)

The key to a brighter future for Michigan’s children is a strong public education system.  Every day, our students count on Saline Area Schools to help prepare them for a successful future. Whether our students understand it or not, they count on the adults in our community to ensure that they have access to resources to help them learn, keep their buildings safe and have qualified teachers to guide them.  It requires focus and an unwavering commitment to Saline Area Schools to make this all possible.

At the end of the day, the true heroes contributing to the success of our students are just ordinary citizens with extraordinary dedication to public education: our School Board Members. They are Tim Austin, Susan Estep, Paul Hynek, Michael McVey, Heidi Pfannes, Jennifer Steben, and Dennis Valenti. These individuals approach their school board service like it is a full-time job.

Their job is to pursue the Saline Area Schools vision for education.  They ensure our schools are accountable to the community and strongly advocate continuous improvement in student learning.  The job of a School Board Member is tough, the hours long and the thanks few and far between. Too often we’re quick to criticize School Board Members without really understanding the complex nature of their decisions.  We have to remember to take time to thank them for their untiring efforts.

The month of January marks the observance of School Board Recognition Month.  This is an opportunity to show our year-round appreciation for these servant leaders and begin to better understand how local trustees work together to prepare today’s students to be tomorrow’s leaders.  We encourage you to join with others throughout our community, state, and nation to salute the individuals who provide grassroots governance of public schools.

Education Friendly Gift Ideas for the Holiday Season

December 13, 2019

I have posted this before. Since many families in the greater Saline community are giving gifts to their children (our students) over the next couple weeks, here is my shameless plug to consider items that support the Saline Area Schools’ 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 – This is the same as above, but in Kindle, iPad, iPad Mini, or Surface format.

Saline Community Education Gift Certificates – You can use these to gift classes. Yoga, Cooking, Painting, Rec Sports, Robotics, and a lot more!

STE(A)M Toys – These types of toys are always popular and excellent for promoting and encouraging creativity. They can also help build dexterity and develop mathematics and patterning skills. The list is endless, but here is a start: Legos, Chain Reactions, Magnetic Block Tiles, Magna Tiles, and K’Nex. Don’t overlook the importance of the ‘A’ in the acronym. Passing along the gift of music or art instills a lifelong love of the arts. Plus, research shows that students who study music consistently score higher on the SAT. 

Osmos – These are fun games that go with an iPad and support learning in critical areas such as creative problem solving, art, and STE(A)M (science, technology, engineering, (art) and mathematics).

Technology – This area can be pricey. However, we are encouraging students at many grade levels to bring their laptops, tablets, and smartphones to class to use as a learning tool. Google Chromebooks are a relatively inexpensive option for laptops, and they work well on the school’s wifi network.

Hornet Gear – Okay, not educational – but kids and adults alike look good in Saline Hornet apparel. Stop by Saline High School at the Edge (school store) – the store is open from 5:00 pm to 7:00 pm on December 18th. If you can’t make it there – check out Junga’s ACE Hardware or www.salinespirit.com.

Some “Old School” gifts worth considering… science kit, art supplies, erector set, and telescope.

Feel free to comment if you have other educational gift ideas.

Emergency Communications Update

December 8, 2019

Click here to download the PDF.

So many “Good Catches” in November!

December 2, 2019

With the season of gratefulness upon us, we set out to try to capture some of the wonderful acts of service done by our staff. Throughout the month of November, we recognized and celebrated staff members who were “caught” performing strong acts of customer service throughout our district. 

We asked staff to take a moment to “catch” a co-worker doing a good deed or act of kindness that is a reflection of Saline Area Schools and share it will us so we could recognize them.

We were overwhelmed with the response. In only 18 school days we received 95 responses. I am proud of the staff for their focus on providing great service to our students and each other. I am also grateful for the staff’s willingness (and eagerness!) to share these acts.

Click here to read all 95!

Strategic Framework – First Meeting

November 19, 2019

We kicked off the process of reviewing, revising, and updating the current Strategic Framework. In sharing the history of how the framework came to be – that stretches back to December, 2008 – and the iterations of it along the way, I was reminded of a quote that I have taken to using at the start of each school year. It is one that I always want to ring true for me personally and for our community.

Saline Area Schools has a strong tradition and a bright future…. And we all can look with pride and confidence in both directions. 

Here is a look at the current Strategic Framework. It will be interesting to see what it looks like in 6 months.

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