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2019-20 - Welcome to an Exciting Year! - September 2019

2019-20 - Welcome to an Exciting Year! - September 2019

Welcome to what will prove to be an exciting and dynamic year of learning,
developing and achieving for all students in the West Bloomfield School District.

As we continue implementing the 4Cs (collaborator, communicator, critical thinker, contributor) comprising our Portrait of a Graduate, we are enthusiastic about the possibilities that another year of teaching and learning brings for each child. Our overarching goal is for all students to demonstrate these characteristics throughout their time in the West Bloomfield School District and to be able to utilize them after graduation.

Teaching &  Learning/Talent & Leadership Development

If you’ve ever wondered what dedicated educators do over the summer, or on early release days, the answer is clear, - they refuel, recharge and increase their
professional capacity in order to enable students to achieve at their utmost capacity.

In preparation for meeting this goal, teachers and administrators have worked hard over the summer months to increase our collective capacities as teachers, learners, leaders and student advocates. Teachers at all levels participated in professional development activities in the areas of literacy, science, math, as well as other curricular areas.

This fall, all schools will be using the practices of Capturing Kids Hearts, a program designed to enhance positive, respectful and caring relationships
between and among students, teachers, support staff and principals. In the important area of mental health, we’ve scheduled noted researcher, Jessica Minihan, author of The Behavior Code: A Practical Guide to Understanding and Teaching the Most Challenging Students to assist us in developing effective strategies for reducing student anxiety and defiant behaviors.

Additionally, the administrative leadership team, composed of central office
administrators, curriculum facilitators/coaches, principals and assistant principals had the great opportunity to experience “Back to School – The Menlo Way” a full-day leadership workshop provided by Menlo CEO, Rich Sheridan and his capable staff at Menlo Innovations ( The keynote address, “Joy in Our Schools, What Our Students Need” set the tone for the workshop that presented tools for project-based learning, planning and tips on building a safe, collaborative and positive culture. At Menlo, they are passionate about spreading their message of JOY. That message is consistent with our emphasis on building positive, joyful learning cultures within the West Bloomfield School District.

Resources for Learning: Finances and Facilities

It goes without saying that to achieve our goals and build positive learning cultures, we need adequate financial resources and modern, safe and up-to-date school facilities. I have great news to report on both fronts. Our financial health continues to improve. Just a few years ago, we struggled because of fund equity balances below 5% and so we constantly looked for ways to balance the budget in order to avoid crippling deficits. Difficult financial choices often jeopardized optimal teaching and learning conditions. Those tough decisions are now paying off. For the third consecutive year, we will meet our School Board’s target of having at least a 10% General Fund balance. We’re entering the 2019-20 school year with an estimated 16.9% General Fund balance. This level of financial health increases our ability to attract and retain high-quality employees, which ultimately, attracts and retains families in our school district, thus leading to greater financial security. By design, we are in a positive cycle of financial health and enrollment stability.

Thanks to taxpayers approving a $120 million bond proposal a few years ago, we continue, on the facilities front, to make much-needed improvements to our school buildings. Following last summer’s extensive projects at WBHS, Sheiko and Doherty, this summer, the bond funds enabled us to remodel and redesign several more schools, including the following:

  • West Bloomfield High School (Phase 2 of 3) – added an auxiliary gym, renovated the pool area, redesigned the weight room and dance room, resurfaced the main gym and added new bleachers, installed new roofing and fire alarm systems, purchased new Smart Interactive Flat Panels for the classrooms, added 800 new Chromebooks as well new classroom charging lockers for those computers
  • Scotch &Gretchko Elementary Schools – added security card access and security cameras, HVAC improvements, total building refresh including floors, paint, doors, new auxiliary gym at Gretchko, new fire alarm systems, new Smart Interactive Flat Panels in classrooms, new classroom charging lockers and new classroom audio systems
  • Sheiko Elementary – new playground structure and new classroom charging lockers
  • Roosevelt Elementary – new classroom charging lockers and redistribution of Interactive Flat Panels in classrooms and new flooring on stairs
  • OLMS & Abbott Middle School – new charging lockers and 500 new Chromebooks for each school

Thank you. Your tax dollars are having a major impact on the teaching and learning environments at each of our schools. I invite you to see for yourself the exciting things happening in our schools on a daily basis. Please contact any school principal to arrange a tour and stay informed of school district news by visiting our newly redesigned website: (

Wishing everyone a great school year!