Schickler Elementary named Reward School for ‘Beating the Odds’

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Rachael Fisher with second grader Star Hampton at Schickler Elementary.

In our popular culture, we root for underdogs. We cheered when Buster Douglas knocked out Mike Tyson, when Villanova shocked the world against Georgetown. If experience has taught us anything, it’s that anyone dedicated to their craft, and focused on growth, can beat the odds.

At our core, we believe that effort inevitably leads to excellence; but, what does it mean to “beat the odds” in education?

Ask any teacher at Schickler Elementary in Lapeer.

Last month, Schickler was honored by the Michigan Department of Education (MDE) as a Reward School for doing just that. Schickler, along with Murphy Elementary, were the only two Reward Schools in Lapeer County in the 2015-16 school year.

“Beating the Odds” schools overcome traditional barriers to student achievement and are outperforming schools with similar risk factors and demographic makeup. Only 219 of the more than 3,000 schools in the state were recognized as Reward Schools.

Beating the odds requires staff collaboration, differentiation, engagement, data-driven decision making and high expectations; it starts with the fundamental belief that all students can learn.

“There isn’t a magic formula to improving student achievement,” said Scott Warren, Schickler’s principal since 2013. “We acknowledged our current reality, created a solid vision that made sense for our building and the population we serve.”

Rachael Fisher, a second grade teacher at Schickler, believes education is a team sport. For Fisher, collaboration among the entire staff is a major factor leading to better outcomes for students.

“Everyone here engages in collaboration to succeed,” said Fisher, who has three of her own children at Schickler. “We know we can try new teaching techniques and be creative with how we reach all learners.”

The sign that greets every visitor to the school sums up the the culture Fisher describes quite succinctly: “You, Me, Us, We, Schickler Family.”

“We don’t look at culture and academics as two different things,” said Karen Allmen, a learning coach at Schickler. “Instead, we’re trying to approach our work with the idea that the feel, environment and attitude of our school can set the stage for learning.”

Allmen sees a recognition in the staff that for students and teachers to do their best, there must be a “whatever it takes” approach to teaching and learning.

 

“Whether or not a child is in your class, or on your caseload, we help each other get kids what they need,” she said.

Andrea Rezanka, a fifth grade teacher at Schickler, pointed to the staff’s commitment to differentiation – the process of tailoring instructional techniques to reach different types of learners.

“We’ve focused on differentiating our instruction and assessments to create independent learners,” she said. “Focusing on what we can change within our building and classrooms, as well as making sure that our students ‘buy in’ to their education, has also contributed to our success.”

Another focus of the staff is student engagement. There is ample research that points to the connection between student engagement and student achievement. Harnessing the innate curiosity of students while fostering their creativity can transform a classroom.

“(Teachers) need to design purposeful lessons, tie classroom learning to the real-world, affirm, challenge and encourage students to learn,” Rezanka said. “When students are excited, curious, and intrigued, they put forth more effort.”

Allmen believes that high expectations, of students and staff, can change the game.

“There’s research that shows that the expectation level of a teacher has a big impact on how successful a student can be,” Allmen said. “For me, trying to keep expectations high for all the students I interact with, and then thinking about what kind of support each child might need to reach that expectation, is a continuous goal.”

Allmen, who has spent the last four years as a learning coach, says she has witnessed a greater demand for professional development every year.

“(The demand) goes far above and beyond what is required by the District and the State,” she said. “This reflects our shared belief that we are all here to serve all our students, and we want to maximize the time they have with us.”

Michelle Bradford, the District’s Executive Director for Curriculum and Instruction, credits the staff’s consistent adherence to a growth mindset for improving student outcomes.

“It’s leading a culture of transformation for students,” she said. “The staff is comfortable breaking down the four walls of the classroom and collaborating on shared strategies to improve their skills for teaching and learning.”

And it didn’t happen overnight. The Schickler staff has spent the bulk of the last four years working as a team, building up trust and confidence in each other. It was a long overdue recognition for a staff truly dedicated to meeting the needs of all students.

“It was wonderful to see the relentless efforts of our students and staff come to fruition,” Fisher said. “I’m very proud to be a part of such a great family … I wouldn’t want my kids anywhere else.”

 

Schedule of evening activities for February 13

ACTIVITIES
Monday, February 13, 2017
You are reminded that attendance at any practice/event that continues to run on a day that school is cancelled is considered  non-mandatory.
LAPEER HIGH SCHOOL
Dance Practice CANCELLED
Drama Club Rehearsal CANCELLED
Maier Driver’s Education CANCELLED
Freshman Boys’ Basketball Game Away @ Goodrich HS As Scheduled
Girls’ Basketball Practice As Scheduled
CFI-WEST CAMPUS
Lapeer Youth Wrestling As Scheduled
Football (QB Practice – Throwing Agility) As Scheduled
Cheerleading Practice As Scheduled
LaCrosse Parent Meeting As Scheduled
Walking Program CANCELLED
Boys’ Basketball Practice As Scheduled
Wrestling Practice As Scheduled
ROLLAND-WARNER MIDDLE SCHOOL
Lapeer Boys’ Basketball Game @ Fenton As Scheduled
Lightning Boys’ Basketball Game @ Zemmer As Scheduled
Archery Club Practice CANCELLED
Competitive Cheerleading Practice CANCELLED
ZEMMER MIDDLE SCHOOL
Lapeer Boys’ Basketball Game @ Fenton As Scheduled
Lightning Boys’ Basketball Game @ Zemmer As Scheduled
Archery Club Practice CANCELLED
8th Grade Competitive Cheerleading Practice CANCELLED
LYNCH ELEMENTARY SCHOOL
City Rec Basketball CANCELLED
PTC Meeting CANCELLED
MAYFIELD ELEMENTARY SCHOOL
City Rec Basketball CANCELLED
Boy Scout Troop #144 CANCELLED
PTC Board Meeting CANCELLED
MURPHY ELEMENTARY SCHOOL
City Rec Basketball CANCELLED
PTC Board Meeting CANCELLED
SCHICKLER ELEMENTARY SCHOOL
City Rec Basketball CANCELLED
TURRILL ELEMENTARY SCHOOL
City Rec Basketball CANCELLED

Letter to parents: Make-up days

LPS_v2_CMYKWe are in the midst of another tough winter on our roads, and with Monday’s cancellation we need to alert you to a change in the traditional calendar. As you may know, the State of  Michigan allows school districts six cancelled days per school year, typically for inclement weather, before mandating make-up days. Because of this, we built two days into our calendars in the event that we lost more than six. Unfortunately, we are now at seven lost days for the school year. Because of this, Monday, April 17, will be a regular school day for students and staff on the traditional calendar.

This make-up day does not apply to students and staff on the year-round calendar.

In the event that we have to cancel an additional day, the second make-up date would be May 26.

We recognize that this may be an inconvenience for some families, but the safety of our students and staff will always be our top priority.

All the best,

Jared Field

Director of Communications
Lapeer Community Schools

 

 

Tentative agreement reached on two-year contract between Lapeer Board of Education and LEA

LPS_v2_CMYKLAPEER, Michigan – The Lapeer Community Schools Board of Education is pleased to announce it has reached a tentative agreement on a two-year contract with the Lapeer Education Association (LEA), the union representing the District’s more than 270 teachers. The bargaining teams from the District and the LEA met on Thursday to finalize the terms of the agreement.

In order for the agreement to be in effect, it must be ratified by the LEA membership and approved by the Board of Education. Consideration of ratification will occur next week. When approved, the contract will be posted on the District website.

For more information, please contact Jared Field at jfield@lapeerschools.org.

Two LCS elementary schools achieve Reward School designation from Michigan Department of Education

LPS_v2_CMYKLAPEER, Michigan — Lapeer Community Schools (LCS) is proud to announce that Schickler Elementary and Murphy Elementary achieved the Reward School designation from the Michigan Department of Education (MDE) for the 2015-16 school year.

“We are very proud of the students and staff members at these schools for their hard work and dedication,” said LCS Superintendent Matt Wandrie. “This is a great honor for both schools and we look forward to celebrating this achievement with them.”

In order to be designated as a Reward School, a school must have achieved one or more of the following benchmarks:

  • top 5% of schools on the Overall School Rankings
  • top 5% of schools making the greatest gains in achievement (improvement metric) or
  • “Beating the Odds” by outperforming the school’s predicted ranking and/or similar schools.

Murphy Elementary was listed among the top 5% of schools making greatest gains in achievement. Schickler Elementary was recognized for both “Beating the Odds” and for the improvement metric.

“Beating the Odds” schools overcome traditional barriers to student achievement and are outperforming schools with similar risk factors and demographic makeup.

Only 219 of the more than 3,000 schools in the state were recognized as Reward Schools in 2015-16.

For more information, please contact Jared Field at jfield@lapeerschools.org.

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LCS Board of Education approves contract with Lapeer Educational Support Personnel

Lapeer Community Schools is pleased to announce ratification of a new contract with the Lapeer Educational Support Personnel (LESP) union. The LESP represents the District’s paraprofessionals and the majority of our secretarial staff. Last month, members of the District’s bargaining team met with the leadership of the LESP to finalize the terms of a two-year contract. The contract includes several modifications to working requirements and compensation structures. The LCS Board of Education unanimously approved the contract at a special meeting on Thursday night.

“We are pleased to have come to an agreement that is amenable to both parties, and we look forward to maintaining a strong working relationship into the future,” said LCS Superintendent Matt Wandrie. “As a district, we remain committed to the process, bargaining in good faith and always seeking new and innovative ways to compensate our employees, even in the midst of hard times.”

To date, the District has ratified contracts with six of seven bargaining units without wage or salary schedule reductions. Each unit bargains independently with the District on the terms of their contract.

For more information, please contact Jared Field at jfield@lapeerschools.org.

Evening activities for Wednesday, January 18, 2017

ACTIVITIES
Wednesday, January 18, 2017
You are reminded that attendance at any practice/event that continues to run on a day that school is cancelled is considered  non-mandatory.
LAPEER HIGH SCHOOL
Varsity Wrestling Away @ Davison @ 6:00 pm As Scheduled
Basketball Practice As Scheduled
Dance (mezz @ 3:30 pm) As Scheduled
Bowling Away @ Sanford @ 5:30 pm As Scheduled
Jazz Band Rehearsal in Auditorium @ 2-4 pm As Scheduled
Hockey Away @ Midland Dow High School @ 7:15 pm As Scheduled
CFI-WEST CAMPUS
Boys’ Basketball Practice As Scheduled
Wrestling Practice As Scheduled
LaCrosse Parent Meeting As Scheduled
Cheerleading/Gymnastics Practice As Scheduled
Walking Program CANCELLED
ROLLAND-WARNER MIDDLE SCHOOL
Archery Club CANCELLED
City Rec Basketball CANCELLED
Competitive Cheerleading Practice  (3 – 7 pm) As Scheduled
7th Grade Boys’ Basketball Practice (4:30 – 6 pm) As Scheduled
Yearbook Club CANCELLED
7th Grade Boys’ Lightning Basketball Practice (6-8 pm) As Scheduled
ZEMMER MIDDLE SCHOOL
Boys’ 8th Grade Basketball Practice As Scheduled
8th Grade Competitive Cheerleading Practice As Scheduled
City Rec Basketball CANCELLED
Archery Club CANCELLED
French Club Meeting CANCELLED
LYNCH ELEMENTARY SCHOOL
City Rec Basketball CANCELLED
MAYFIELD ELEMENTARY SCHOOL
City Rec Basketball CANCELLED
PTC Meeting CANCELLED
Mayfield Coding Club CANCELLED
MURPHY ELEMENTARY SCHOOL
City Rec Basketball CANCELLED
PTC Meeting CANCELLED
SCHICKLER ELEMENTARY SCHOOL
Lapeer Outlaws Baseball Practice CANCELLED
TURRILL ELEMENTARY SCHOOL
City Rec Basketball CANCELLED
PAC Meeting CANCELLED