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GLPS Families,

As we head into the last weekend before our winter break, I want to take a moment to acknowledge that we have many December celebrations in our community, including Hanukkah, which is celebrated through today. So, Happy Hanukkah to our families who celebrate! I also encourage you to take a look at our website, where we recognize as many of the important dates and celebrations in our community as we can. 

Last week, I shared information about what we want our students to learn, and I mentioned that this week, I would share some information about how we help our students learn. To illustrate our philosophy, we utilize an instructional framework, or a guide, to make sure we are all on the same page when it comes to teaching and learning. 

This framework can be seen here:

On the left, we are illustrating that we need to create a safe and supportive environment, so that teachers can collaborate in order to make sure that our essential learnings (what we want students to know) are aligned to our curriculum (the tools we use to help them learn). Both need to be aligned to our instruction (the methods we use in the classroom), and they all need to be aligned to our assessments (how we know if students have learned). Finally, our grades and reporting need to communicate what students have learned throughout the process. For deeper explanations of these elements, please visit our Academic Services page. 

On the right, you can see our description of instruction, or the way in which we define the best methods to use in our classrooms, broken down by what teachers, and students, are expected to do every day. As a staff, we are still working through these and learning how to do them well, but many teachers across the district are experts in some or all of these areas. Each month, we focus on one piece of the framework, and we learn about it, together, through our district and building school improvement teams, as well as teacher and principal professional learning sessions. The more we learn and grow in the framework, the more our students will learn! 

Here are a couple of quick definitions that may be helpful as you read through it:

  1. Essential Learnings - See my message from last week!
  1. Norms and Routines for Learning - The things we do in the classroom every day, and the daily tasks that our teachers ask our students to complete.
  1. Formative Assessments - Checking in with students while they are learning a topic, followed by real time feedback to help them fix mistakes and or misunderstanding.
  1. Summative Assessments - Checking to see what students have learned after learning is done.
  1. Differentiated Instruction - Rather than one size fits all, tailoring teaching and activities to meet students where they are and move them forward in their learning.
  1. Cognitive Tasks - Classroom activities that make students think and examine their understanding of a concept.

Hopefully, you see elements of this framework in your child’s experience here at Grand Ledge Public Schools. One of the most important pieces to remember about this, though, is that our staff, teachers, and administrators are all learners as well, continuing to grow in their skills and their understanding of the framework in order to provide a better learning experience for your kids. We take our own learning seriously, so that we can better support your child’s learning. 

As I wrap up this week, the last thing I want to share, unrelated to our instructional framework, is the newest set of updated pictures from the Wacousta construction site. Please click here to see the progress. We are still on schedule to open next fall, and we are excited to see the building coming together!

Thank you, as always, for allowing us to have the opportunity to work with your children every day. GLPS is an outstanding place to learn and grow, and we appreciate our partnerships with you and with our community. 

Please reach out with questions or concerns, and have a wonderful weekend. I am  #proudtobeacomet! 

Dr. Bill Barnes
Superintendent of Schools