E-News Spring 2012





Message from the Director

Dear Colleagues,

I would like to thank the teachers in the GVSU portfolio for their outstanding work with their students.  It has been my experience with our schools that if a student is struggling, there are multiple interventions in place to assist that child.  If a student does not learn in a particular way, our teachers work extremely hard to present information in a manner that will assist that student to comprehend the concepts required of that course.  Many of our teachers have taken the differentiated instruction workshop and many are highly proficient at presenting lessons differently to assist all students in the learning process.

This is particularly important, especially if we look at a the prospects for a student who has dropped out of school at age 16 - she/he has limited employability skills, a more limited job market, highly restricted earning potential, and a higher probability of becoming a ward of the State who is dependent upon the taxpayers for his/her existence.  This is not such a bright future. 

During former Governor John Engler’s administration, an economist for the state determined the number of jail cells required to house the state’s inmate population by determining the number of students not reading at grade level on the fourth grade MEAP Test. 

Yes, there are strong correlations between academic performance in school and success, or the lack there of, after leaving school. That is one compelling reason I agree on the importance of educating all of our students. Additionally, I believe strongly in the reading programs we have implemented in our schools for the reasons listed above. If you have not scheduled Wendy Miller or Jill Weber into your school to consult on your reading program, I strongly suggest you contact the GVSU Charter Schools Office to schedule them into your building.  They do exceptional work with the most important learning tool students must have to be successful – the ability to read and comprehend.

Continue your good work – Tim Wood

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Practice ACT: Explore & Plan

The Michigan Department of Education has instituted a pilot plan that will reimburse all Michigan students who take the Explore and Plan tests through ACT.  Some of your schools have already registered/paid to test in the spring. Schools in these situations are still able to take advantage of this pilot opportunity.  While the state will not reimburse schools who tested in the fall (up through December 31, 2011), the GVSU Charter Schools office will reimburse schools who have administered the tests from September 1, 2011-December 31, 2011.  If your school has an existing order and now wishes to take advantage of this state-funded opportunity, further instructions will be provided by Michigan Department of Education and ACT.  Click HERE for more information from the MDE.  

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Professional Development Workshops

The Charter Schools Office continues to offer numerous professional development opportunities to give teachers additional tools for educating their students. To the left, under upcoming events, are the workshops that will be offered beginning in February.

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New Application Cycle

Beginning February 2, 2012, the Grand Valley State University Charter Schools Office started accepting applications for new charter schools on a rolling basis. Previously, applications were accepted only between January 1 and February 1 of each year. 

The GVSU CSO will now accept "phase one" applications for new charter schools at any time and will competitively review them on a quarterly basis by a team of university experts and community stakeholders. Applications consider such factors as curriculum, resources available for the proposed school, population to be served, the applicant’s track record in organizing schools, the graduation rate of the district in which the proposed school is proposed to be located, the proximity of low achieving schools, and the number of students on waiting lists of schools in proximity to the proposed school. Successful "phase one" applicants will be invited to complete a more rigorous "phase two" application.

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Introducing Lissa Weier

After 6 years as a middle school math teacher and four years training teachers in the areas of technology and NWEA data, Lissa joined  the GVSU Charter Schools Office team this year as the new Assessment Specialist.  Lissa’s main role will be to help design, develop, and facilitate professional development focused on understanding NWEA data and applying it to classroom instruction.  She will also provide on-site NWEA support for GVSU authorized schools throughout the year.  Lissa received her undergraduate teaching degree from Alma College in the area of elementary education with a focus on Math and English, and her Master’s Degree from Michigan State University in the area of Educational Technology.  Outside of work, Lissa enjoys traveling, supporting her favorite athletic teams, browsing Pinterest for her next new creative project, and planning for her upcoming wedding.

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Legislative Updates

Governor Snyder signed Public Act 277 of 2011 into law on December 20, 2011, effectively amending the Charter School Code.  Highlights of the new law include a gradual lift on the number of charters universities may approve, a lift on the single site requirement, and new reporting requirements for management companies.  Our office is working to update all contracts so that they are compliant with the new law; contract amendments will be distributed in early May.

Matt’s Safe School Law was signed into law by Governor Snyder on December 6, 2011.  If your school’s anti-bullying policy meets the requirements of Matt’s Safe School Law, you must have submitted it to the MDE by February 6, 2012, through MEGS+.   If a new or updated policy will be adopted, the board of directors of the public school academy must hold at least one public hearing on the matter before its adoption.  The policy must be submitted to the MDE via MEGS+ no later than 30 days after adoption, or by June 6, 2012, whichever is earlier.  For a sample anti-bullying policy, please click HERE

For detailed requirements of Matt’s Safe School Law, please click HERE.  

If you have quesitons about either of  these laws, feel free to contact Alyson Poe at (616) 331-3656.

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Charter School Fine Arts Camp

The GVSU CSO is sponsoring the first 125 fifth through eighth grade students from GVSU authorized schools to attend the Michigan Fine Arts Camp scheduled for June 25-28, 2012.  Registration opens March 2012.  This camp is perfect for students who’ve never acted, never shown their drawings to anyone outside the family, nor heard first-hand the soft music of a flute.  It’s also perfect for more experienced students honing their styles and technique, hungering for more instruction and realizing their own talents.  For more information, visit the Fine Arts Camp website at www.charterschoolfinearts.org.  

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Stay Connected

"Like" the GVSU Charter Schools Office on Facebook to always stay up to date on news, events, and programs offered!

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Page last modified February 4, 2013