Voters in the West Bloomfield School District approved a bond proposal on Tuesday, May 2, 2017 with 3,321 "Yes" votes and 1,514 "No" votes.
- WBHS/LTU debut Tech Hub
- WBHS Aux Gym
- Transportation Construction
- Fall 2018 Ribbon Cuttings and Open Houses
- WBHS iCenter
- Instruments at Roosevelt
- Flexible Furniture
- New Pianos
- Doherty Instruments
- New Chromebooks
- Flexible Furniture Pilot
- New Buses
West Bloomfield High School recently a ribbon-cutting ceremony for the school’s new Lawrence Technological University (LTU) Tech Hub in January 2019.
The high school and LTU have a six-year history of collaboration in several capacities, including dual-enrollment classes, internships, summer training sessions for West Bloomfield High School teachers, and special programs for West Bloomfield students interested in engineering.
The 653-square-foot Tech Hub will provide distance learning opportunities – classes taught by Lawrence Tech professors and West Bloomfield teachers, both via videoconferencing and in person – as well as with mathematics tutoring, special classes and events, and admissions counseling.
Pat Watson, WBHS principal said, "The goal is to create as much opportunity as possible for students to consider multiple career pathways, including some they may not have considered before. Our partnership with LTU allows students to participate in exceptional, real-world learning, and further differentiate their learning experiences, all while still in high school."
Significant renovations have taken place at WBHS, Sheiko and Doherty this summer. Planning for the projects began in earnest in May 2017 with staff and community focus groups. After months of planning, the projects were launched in May 2018. Our architects, French and Associates, and our construction management company, George W. Auch, listened to our needs and designed innovative learning environments in all three schools. The construction is on schedule and we look forward to welcoming staff back into the buildings the week of August 27.
All three buildings have enhanced safety and security features with secure entrances and cameras. Classrooms have new HVAC units, flooring and paint as well as new interactive whiteboards and flexible furniture. The transformations are incredible! Plans for Summer 2019 projects, including renovations at Scotch and Gretchko and the addition of an auxiliary gym and fitness center at WBHS, are already underway.
Demonstration furniture, thanks to May 2017 Bond Dollars, has been located across the district in classrooms and various areas to test with our staff and students. Teaching methods are evolving, trending toward active learning and increased use of technology. Learning spaces are now designed with space for focus and study, which is critical for individual learning.
On December 4, 2018, the iCenter at West Bloomfield High School revealed its new furniture to staff and to the delight of students!
Roosevelt Elementary School, as part of the May 2017 Bond Issue, has received new musical instruments. New instruments include Orff Diatonic Xylophones, a Sabian Chinese Gong, and Remo African Tubano Drums. Roosevlet music teacher, Tracey Michalak, joined the West Bloomfield School District this Fall, and Orff is one of the strategies that she uses in the classroom. Mrs. Michalak is Level 3 Orff certified, having attended the Orff Institute in Salzburg, Austria, and these instruments will allow her to integrate these strategies into the classroom. "In Orff Schulwerk classrooms, children begin with what they do instinctively: play! Imitation, experimentation, and personal expression occur naturally as students become confident, life-long musicians and creative problem solvers. The Orff approach to teaching is a model for optimal learning in 21st Century classrooms" (Retrieved from 2017 American Orff-Schuwerk Association at aosa.org).
One of the classrooms piloting flexible furniture, thanks to the May 2017 Bond, is Mervet Ismail’s science lab at West Bloomfield High School. The new flexible furniture allows students to configure themselves in a way that best matches the learning activity that they are engaged in. Seating configurations can quickly adjust to support presentations, lectures, testing, group work, and students working in pairs.
The featured seating solution in Mrs. Ismail’s classroom is the Steelcase Node. Students appreciate that the desks are mobile, adjustable, feature backpack storage, and are more comfortable to sit in. The students, as part of the pilot, are also providing feedback that will inform future purchases. For example, students discussed the pros and cons of having desks on casters featuring a smaller writing surface. Based on this feedback, teachers can reevaluate how to best engage students in 21st century learning. Mrs. Ismail’s lab will also be piloting lab tables and a variety of stools from Steelcase.
New pianos purchased as part of the May 2017 Bond Issue, have begun to show up in music classrooms across the district. The digital pianos, delivered by Steinway, started arriving in classrooms today. They include; one digital Roland grand piano for Orchard Lake Middle School and two digital Roland upright pianos for Abbott Middle School. The middle school purchases meet the needs of both our current and future consolidated middle school configurations. Additionally, three digital Roland upright pianos for West Bloomfield High School and one digital Roland upright piano for each elementary school were purchased.
The acoustic pianos, delivered by Evola Music, will start arriving in classrooms on Thursday. All of the acoustic pianos are upright Yamaha 300s, and they will be placed in buildings throughout the district. The acoustic pianos will be tuned and voiced to our specifications, and all pianos will have dollies and covers to protect our investment in music education. Furthermore, the pit area of the high school auditorium will receive a hybrid Yamaha piano.
The West Bloomfield School District has begun to receive musical instruments that will support both instructional and co-curricular programs. The purchase of these musical instruments was included in the 2017 Bond issue, because music education is important to our community, and the instruments require periodic replacement due to normal wear and tear.
The school district plans to replenish musical instruments and equipment across the district in grades K-12. Above: Doherty Kindergarten students are playing on their newly received Remo Tubano drums. A Tubano is a modern version of the traditional Afro-Cuban Congadrum. It features unique cut-outs at the bottom of the drum which allow more of the sound to escape while also making the drum more stable when played on the floor. This percussion instrument is especially useful for world music drumming ensembles and drum circles. Through active engagement during drumming activities and lessons, students will focus, listen, watch, complement, and discover community-based instruction to achieve music learning benchmarks and experience creativity in exciting ways!
The West Bloomfield School District has refreshed student Chromebooks for our 1:1 6th through 12th grade initiative using May 2017 Bond dollars (1:1 represents one device for every student). The previous 11 inch Samsung Chromebook S3 model was upgraded to the 11 inch Dell Chromebook 3180 for 7th through 12th grade students. 6th grade students received the 11 inch Asus Chromebook C202S model which were purchased last year and used in 5th grade classrooms. The 11 inch Samsung Chromebook S3 model reached its auto update expiration or AUE meaning that they will soon not receive automatic updates which enhance the device itself and the software on the device.
Bond expenditure planning included preparing for contingencies such as our 1:1 take home device initiative for grades 6 through 12. The silver Samsungs will continue to be used across the district in various capacities until they are no longer functional. 1:1 student Chromebooks combined with GSuite for Education (Google Apps) allows for a personalized learning experience for students any time, any place, any way and at any pace.
Pilot of Flexible Furniture in Classrooms
Included in the 2017 Bond was an endeavor to re-imagine learning spaces in building classrooms, iCenters and common areas. The goal is to create flexible learning environments compatible with 21st-century expectations.
Furniture upgrades will be selected to focus on promoting creative learning layouts for students that encourage multiple modes of instruction, flexible seating and collaboration. Demonstration classrooms have been designated throughout the district.
We received 30 Stand Desks as part of our flexible furniture pilot program.The Stand Desks have been distributed as follows:
• ACS – 1 desk
• Roosevelt Elementary – 3 desks
• Scotch Elementary – 3 desks
• Sheiko Elementary – 3 desks
• Abbott Middle School – 5 desks
• Orchard Lake Middle School – 5 desks
• West Bloomfield High School – 10 desks
Staff have been invited to experience these furniture options prior to making district-wide purchases.
Select classrooms will receive flexible furniture as part of our pilot program. The following classrooms are the first to have the furniture delivered:
• Sheiko, Room 42 (Teresa Maurer)
• WBHS, Room 507 (Mervet Ismail)
If you happen to be in these buildings, feel free to stop in and enjoy the look and feel of these flexible furnishings.
There are several other spaces on target to receive furniture between mid-October to mid-November.
Photos at right show students in Teresa Maurer's classroom at Sheiko Elementary. Students are able to collaborate on work assignments more easily as desks on castors lend mobility for quick, easy transitions between learning modes. Table heights are adjustable, and seats encompass a tri-pod base for easy storage. Desks in Teresa Maurer's classroom were set up in Lecture Mode with the back row utilizing high top tables. The configuration is easily converted in seconds to Project or Group Mode. When asked how they felt about the furniture, students reacted with a positive response, commenting that they were far more comfortable, and they liked the fact that they could rotate the seats easily.
In May 2017, voters in the West Bloomfield School District approved a $120 million bond issue that includes purchasing buses in two series. The first series of replacement buses includes the purchase of 30 buses this fall.
Special features of the new buses include, but are not limited to:
• High resolution interior cameras; 4 on each full size bus and 3 on special needs models
• Block heaters to be able to avoid starting diesel engines two hours early on very cold mornings and avoid excessive idling time
• Enhanced 2-way radio system
• GPS-enabled and include the ability to run vehicle diagnostics with alerts over Wi-Fi.
The new school buses will, for the first time, include four 77-passenger buses (65-passenger is the standard large-sized bus).
The four new 77-passenger buses will benefit the district in several ways:
• On large daily school transportation routes where we experience occasional overcrowding, we can alleviate this problem without adding an additional bus run because of the larger size of these four buses.
• Same concept for field trips applies to athletic and band events – we will be able to use only one bus where formerly we had to use two.
• The under-carriage storage space on the 77-passenger model provides needed space for athletic/band equipment that we currently do not have on any other buses. Storing the equipment below will enhance efficiency as well as safety.