It always amazes me at how fast the school year goes! We are already into April, and the calendar is quickly filling up with end of the year activities. Where does the time go?
At the beginning of this year, we were working through the copper theft at the Middle School. (No, we still don’t know who did this, but our Buchanan Police Department is still actively working the case). Throughout the course of the year, we watched the new gymnasium get lined and varnished. We were amazed at the stripping and re-varnishing of the old gym/cafeteria. (Who knew that the old gym/cafeteria floor could be so beautiful?!) We held open houses and then continued to tweak our boilers, complete our media center doors, paint and repair some walls, etc. We are now purchasing the last of the equipment and should soon be finalizing the budget. This project took a team effort, lasted three years, and is almost complete! Yippee!
In the meantime, our staff has been working their way through professional development in writing, math, science, technology, etc. We have learned how to dig deeper into data, really question student learning, and we learned how to change our instructional practices to help all of our students succeed. Moccasin was taken off the Michigan Department of Education Focus School list a year early due to the hard work of the staff and the progress of the students. The Middle School is also making huge gains. The only reason they are still on the Focus School list is that they were identified a year and a half ago and the state won’t review the data for two years. Our hard work is paying off and students are progressing nicely! We will continue to move forward with a focus on instruction and continued professional development for staff.
What’s next? Earlier this year we “branded” the district. This means our buildings will start taking on our school colors. If you have been near Ottawa, you will notice new lettering on the side of the building, a refurbished front sign and newly painted lockers. Still to come is the painting of the outside. You will see the gold change to maroon sometime this spring. You will also see the student parking lot at Buchanan High School get resurfaced and the side drive at the Middle School get asphalted. As we continue to move forward, you will start seeing small changes to other buildings as the funding allows.
We are proud (and, yes, exhausted) by all of the changes we have made. Our next step is to revision the district so we have a plan for the next 3-5 years. If any of our community members are interested, we would love to have you join us in this discussion. Our meeting is set for June 14 from 8 – 3 at the high school. We will take that day to review the budget, our facilities, student achievement, etc. We will then set goals that will become part of our District Strategic Plan. The more input we have, the better the plan.
As we get closer to June 14, we will send out reminders to our community members for our Strategic Planning session. We hope to see you there!
Dr. van der Laan, Buchanan Community Schools Superintendent