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Seeking Feedback

November 6, 2014

At times, our community seems small. Small enough that I feel I could spend 10 minutes at Benny’s or Tim Hortons on a Friday morning and hear the true opinion of our school district. Then, with the Internet bringing the world to our fingertips and busy schedules rushing us past each other, there are times it can seem large. I feel I could never know what people are really thinking.

Every day I am charged with creating an environment that ensures every student’s success while also ensuring that I responsibly oversee our citizens’ investment. I am committed to this work, but I know it will take more than me as an individual and my ideas to make Saline Area Schools the best it can be. And how can I be sure my actions match the community’s priorities?

That is why we’re launching our 2014 Community Survey this month. I want to hear from every person in the Saline community. It doesn’t matter if you have a student in our school system or not. It doesn’t matter if you have lived here for less than a year or your entire life. Your voice matters.

Every person has an important role to play in our district. Every perspective can help shape our future. And it will take all of us coming together to ensure we have prepared our students to succeed after they graduate from our schools.

I hope you will join the conversation and partner with us in a dialogue that will support our students.

Please take the survey now by visiting and clicking on the “Community Survey” button on the lefthand side.

The Focus of Strategic Planning

October 23, 2014

At this time of the year, I typically review the District Strategic Plan – or the Strategic Framework – to assess progress on each of the identified action steps and goals. An article from the Harvard Business Review came to mind as I reflected on this process. The article, The Big Lie of Strategic Planning, notes inherent flaws along the path toward expected outcomes. One identified flaw is that organizations do not clearly define what they do and why. The idea is to limit risks while maximizing the odds of success.

Of particular interest in the Harvard Business Review article the guidance to avoid traps typically associated with strategic planning. Keeping the focus on the customer (the student) is critical when identifying intended outcomes. Over the next few months, a student profile will be developed. Essentially, what knowledge, skills and capabilities should a Saline Area Schools graduate possess when they exit the school system? Is the mission statement for the District the roadmap for this work?

“We, the Saline Area Schools, will equip all students with the knowledge, technological proficiency, and personal skills necessary to succeed in an increasingly complex society.  We expect that our students, staff, and the Saline community  will share in these responsibilities.
Our ultimate goal is to instill in our students a desire for lifelong learning.”

Beginning with that end in mind will guide the work of the District in the months to come.

Let’s Talk…..

September 30, 2014

In the Internet age — with Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, blogs, forums and email compounded by chatter at the bus stop, at the grocery store and in the hallways — it can be difficult for any superintendent to feel confident about hearing the full story from his or her community. I feel like I am visible in Saline, but am I getting the full story? That’s where Let’s Talk! comes in.

This month, we launched Let’s Talk!, a 24/7 technology platform that will give everyone — parents, students, teachers and community members — an outlet for questions, comments, compliments or concerns. Our goal is to always be listening to you and for you to feel heard.  If you lose the link, a Let’s Talk! button is located on our main district website.

As we start working with Let’s Talk!, I would like to ask you to share your thoughts about the opening of the school year. Were there particular successes you want to point out? Are there areas we should work to improve for next year? Are there changes we can make now?

Submissions through Let’s Talk! will be automatically directed to the appropriate staff member for follow up. In addition to the school opening topic, there are links to connect you to several key district departments and my office. If you provide contact information, we promise to respond within a day of your submission. If you choose to submit anonymously, your feedback will still be reviewed and taken under consideration.

It will take support from our community to reach our goal of inspiring our students to become lifelong learners, and so I encourage you to join the conversation. I do know that we grow stronger as a community when we work together to ensure success for every student.

Information for Families regarding EV-D68

September 11, 2014
This message was sent to all Saline Area Schools Families on September 10th:
Saline Families,

You may be aware of recent news reports regarding a strain of enterovirus (EV-D68) causing widespread illness in parts of the United States. As of September 9th, we have had no confirmed cases of this particular virus strain in Washtenaw County however, we are working closely with the Washtenaw County Health Department to monitor this situation. In the school setting, we are taking extra precautions to monitor for illness among our students and to increase hand washing efforts. Hand washing is the single most important strategy we can use to prevent the spread of illness in general.

What is Enterovirus D68 (EV-D68)?
Enteroviruses are very common viruses. There are more than 100 types of enteroviruses. It is estimated that 10 to 15 million enterovirus infections occur in the United States each year. Most enterovirus infections in the U.S. occur seasonally during the summer and fall. In fact, enteroviruses are the second most frequent cause of “the common cold.” Unlike the majority of enteroviruses that cause a variety of symptoms, EV-D68 has been associated almost exclusively with respiratory disease and causes mild to unusually severe respiratory illness. EV-D68 infections occur much less often than other enterovirus strains, but like other strains, EV-D68 spreads through close contact with infected people.

What are the symptoms to watch for?
People who are infected with EV-D68 can have a range of symptoms, from mild to severe illness requiring hospitalization.

Symptoms may include:
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Cough
  • New onset wheezing
  • Fever
  • Tachycardia (fast heartbeat)

For more information about EV-D68 and links to other sources, please visit the Washtenaw County Public Health site at:

As always, please feel free to contact Karan Hervey, District Nurse at (734)429-8000, extension 4160 or at hervekar@salineschools.orgwith any questions or concerns.
Thank you,
Scot Graden

Does anyone really know what time it is?

July 30, 2014
The 2014/15 Saline Area Schools Calendar and school start & end times are set. The calendar is also be posted in PDF format (to make it easier to print) on the District website.
A note about the starting and ending times for each building in the district for 2014/15. In order to meet the appropriate number of instructional hours (1098 hours) as required by the Michigan Department of Education, we have added 9 minutes on to each school day.  The hour requirement and how it relates to teacher professional development is new for Michigan public schools in 2014/15.  While the time may seem small each day, it’s 30 additional hours over the course of the school year.  This is valuable time for us as we work through the curriculum.
Our building start and end times are as follows for the 2014/15 school year:
Kindergarten – 5th Grade 
(Harvest, Pleasant Ridge, Woodland Meadows, Heritage) - 8:50 AM  - 3:44 PM
Middle School - 8:00 AM – 2:54 PM
High School  - 7:50 AM – 2:44 PM
Alternative High School - 7:45 AM – 2:39 PM

Summer Reading List…..

June 19, 2014

Summer is here and  I am looking at my summer reading options….

First, I plan to read  for enjoyment this summer.  One book I plan to read is Brown Dog by Jim Harrison.  The book follows a character who rescues a preserved body of an Indian from Lake Superior’s cold waters; overindulges in food and drink while just scraping by in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula.

The second book is A Team of Leaders by Paul Gustavson and Stewart Liff.  The book looks at ways to approach the team experience and improve performance.

Another book that I have wanted to read but have not found time yet is Just Middle Manager, Next Great Leader by David J. Hulings.  David is a Michigan resident who has worked with many of the administrators within Saline Area Schools and works with many districts across the State. The book is a leadership fable.

I also have The New American High School by Theodore R. Sizer that I hope to read.

Any other books I should consider?

Saline High School – Class of 2014

May 30, 2014

Saline High School
2014 Senior Class Survey

On Wednesday, May 14, the members of the Class of 2014 completed transcript cards where each student indicated where they would be sending their final transcript. The results for the 441 responses are below:

Michigan Colleges (333) 76%

Out of State Colleges (74) 17%

Michigan Public Colleges (315) 71%

Michigan Private Colleges (18) 4%

All Four Year Colleges (324) 73%

All Two Year Colleges (81) 18%

Military (6) 1%

Undecided (9) 2%

Working Full Time (6) 1%

Exchange Students returning (6) 1%

Young Adult Program (4) <1%

Interesting Numbers:

Michigan Private Schools

Adrian College 2
Albion College 1
Calvin College 1
Cornerstone University 1

Hope College 4

Kalamazoo College 2

Kettering University 2
Lawrence Technological University 1
Olivet College 1
Siena Heights University 2
Spring Arbor 1

Michigan Public Schools                                     

Central Michigan University 22
Eastern Michigan University 33
Ferris State University 6
Grand Valley State University 35
Michigan Career and Technical Institute 2
Michigan State University 42
Michigan Technological University 2
Northern Michigan University 2
Saginaw Valley State University 6
University of Michigan 61
Wayne State University 2
Western Michigan University 20

Michigan Community Colleges

Jackson Community College 2
Schoolcraft College 1
Southwestern Michigan College 2
Washtenaw Community College 74                                                                            

Public Out of State College 

Arizona State University 1
Ball State University 1
Bowling Green State University 1
California State University San Marcos 1
George Mason University 1
Hillsborough Community College 1
Indiana University 2
Iowa State University 2
Miami University 4
Ohio State University 1
Oregon State University 1
Purdue University 3
University of Alabama 3
University of Arkansas 1
University of Cincinnati Blue Ash College 1
University of Illinois at Chicago 1
University of Kentucky 1
University of Louisville 1
University of Tennessee 1
University of Toledo 2

Private Out of State Colleges                                

Bard College 
Baylor University 1
Brigham Young University 3
Butler University 1
Catholic University of America 1
Champlain College 1
Clark University 1
Columbia College Chicago 1
Davis and Elkins College 1
Defiance College 1
Denison University 1
DePaul University 2
Elmhurst College 2
Endicott College 1
Harvard College 1
Heidelberg University 2
Huntington University 1
Judson University 1
Lake Erie College 1
Lehigh University 1
Lourdes University 1
Loyola University Chicago 1
Marquette University 1
Massachusetts Institute of Technology 1
Miami International Univ. of Art and Design 1
New York University 1
Pennsylvania State University 1
Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology 1
Southeastern University 1
Southern Virginia University 1
Towson University 1
University of Dayton 2
University of Findlay 1
University of Notre Dame 1
Valparaiso University 2
Westminster College 1
Yale University 1

Other interesting facts about the Class of 2014:

10  National Merit Semi-Finalists

10  National Merit Finalists

  5  National Merit Commended Scholars

  5  Students having a cumulative unweighted grade point average of 4.0

74  Students having a cumulative weighted grade point average of 4.0 or higher

111 Students having a cumulative unweighted grade point average of 3.667 – 3.999

80  Students having a cumulative weighted grade point average of 3.667 – 3.999


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