Source: Sherman Publications

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Letter to the editor
A glimpse into our future

May 18, 2011

Dear Community,

Enough about budget reductions, declining revenues, increased expenses and school elections! I would like to set these aside for now and provide a glimpse of our future plans.

If you have had the opportunity to attend or view the Lake Orion School Board meetings on the cable channel, you know that we have many great things going on in the district and in our classrooms that positively impact our students. As a district, we continue to win state and even national accolades for our educational programs. Individual staff members and students win countless awards for excellence.

However, please know that we will not rest on our laurels. Now that I've been superintendent for almost six months, I'd like to share my vision of where we are headed.

And, let me say that we are not heading overseas; we're keeping our best practices and innovative ideas right here for Lake Orion children.

Simply stated, my vision of Lake Orion schools is a 21st century educational environment where all students, regardless of their abilities and talents, have multiple opportunities to be successful at whatever career they choose to pursue in their future.

As some of you may have heard me say in the past, we need to rethink our educational settings and structures to create an ideal environment to meet the needs of all of our students. To do this, we first need to get our "house" in order, starting at the top.

Recent Cabinet level resignations have opened up opportunities to streamline the way we "do business." We will be conducting a high level assessment of Central Office to redesign the leadership responsibilities of the district, specifically looking at ways to be more efficient and cost effective. An outside firm will be conducting this so there is an unbiased assessment of our future needs. And, while there is a slight cost for this, savings are anticipated.

Simultaneously, we will be examining creative approaches to provide programs for our students. We will begin this process by:

Studying alternative instructional delivery methods to include more 'anytime/anywhere' virtual opportunities for students.

Revisiting the modified block schedule at the high school to determine whether this structure is providing optimal educational opportunities for all students.

Recognizing the fact that we have long ago moved from an agrarian society where our children need to be working in the fields during the summer months, we will be investigating the possibility of creating the first year-round school district in Michigan.

I will be convening a task force comprised of parents, staff, community members, and students to conduct a study of the advantages and disadvantages of a year-round structure with a final recommendation to the Board.

In closing, I look forward to the support of our internal and external stakeholders as we move forward to realize the vision of a 21st century Lake Orion Community School District.