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Letters from LOCS Administration

2019-20 school year

Oakland County Health warning re: mosquitos (Sept. 18, 2019)

Dear LOCS Families-

As we near the end of summer, mosquitos are particularly intense and the Oakland County Health Department has issued a warning to protect citizens against the Eastern Equine Encephalitis (EEE) virus.

According to the Department: “Seven were recently confirmed in Southwest Michigan. Three of the cases were fatal. No cases of EEE have been reported in Oakland County; however, five mosquito pools and a blood donor have tested positive for West Nile Virus (WNV). Mosquito-borne diseases, such as EEE and WNV are seasonal and flare up in the warm summer months and continue into the fall.”

Lake Orion Community Schools is in the process of treating all facilities for mosquitos and would also like to spread awareness within the community.

The shared prevention tips from the health department are:

  • Use Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)-registered insect repellent. All EPA-registered insect repellents are evaluated for safety and effectiveness, and will contain DEET, picaridin, IR3535, Oil of Lemon Eucalyptus or para-menthane-diol as the active ingredient. Repellents containing a higher percentage of the active ingredient typically provide longer-lasting protection. Always follow the product label instructions.
  • Be careful using repellent on the hands of children as it may irritate the eyes and mouth.
  • Wear protective clothing such as long-sleeved shirts and pants.
  • Limit outdoor activity from dusk to dawn when mosquitoes are most active.
  • Maintain window and door screens to keep mosquitoes outside. Do not prop open doors.
  • Empty water from mosquito breeding sites around the home, such as buckets, unused kiddie pools, old tires or similar sites where mosquitoes may lay eggs.
  • Use nets and/or fans over outdoor eating areas.

 

Thank you,

LOCS Administration

2018-19 school year

June 14, 2019 -- School year wrap-up from Supt. Ginopolis

June 14, 2019

Dear LOCS Families:

As we conclude another wonderful school year — without a snowflake in sight — I want to thank you for your support.

With over 1,000 staff members working from the early morning late into the night, we always keep our focus where it should be: on the students.

Every day in every school, we work diligently to provide the best education and opportunities for your children.

We know your tears when the kindergarteners cautiously enter on September’s first day and again 13 years later when those graduates walk across the stage. The years in between are our chance to help guide them.

Seeing young readers beam after solving a tricky word, middle school students bask in a statewide music showcase or a high school group hoist a trophy, perform a musical or ace a test allows all of us to celebrate together.

We’re thankful you’ve trusted us with your most precious gift and we hope they’ve come back each day and each year a little taller, a little wiser and a lot more confident about the road ahead. 

The future of Lake Orion Community Schools is boundless. With the school bond you helped us pass last fall, the district will race into the next decade as one of the state’s best.

Thanks for your support and we look forward to seeing your children back in our schools next fall.

 

Marion Ginopolis 

Superintendent, Lake Orion Community Schools

May 17, 2019 -- Year-end Calendar Update

May 17, 2019

Dear LOCS Families:

Thank you for your patience over the past few months.

Following the run of snow days in January and February to the lengthy legislative process of March, April and May, we’ve emerged with wonderful news:

The Lake Orion Community Schools 2018-19 calendar will return to its original concluding date of June 14.

(The only exception is Carpenter Elementary, whose families will be notified separately when its final date is determined.)

  • Lake Orion High School and Learning Options High School will return to half days on June 13 and June 14, with final exams on each of those mornings.
  • Pine Tree Center, Scripps, Waldon and Oakview middle schools, along with the six elementary schools (Blanche Sims, Carpenter, Orion Oaks, Paint Creek, Stadium Drive, Webber) will also have a half day on June 14.

The final resolution took time but the LOCS Administration wanted to make sure there was an official decision, approved by the Michigan Department of Education, before sharing definitive word of the final date of school.

MDE’s approval of the three-day waiver application and the recent legislation waiving the emergency days, allowed the 11 closed days to be forgiven.

Thank you again for your patience and we look forward to celebrating the next month with all of our graduates and preparing the rest of our students with a strong finish to the school year.

 

Sincerely,

Marion Ginopolis

Superintendent, Lake Orion Community Schools

LOCS End of Year Calendar

April 26, 2019 -- Calendar Update

April 26, 2019

Dear LOCS Families –

As we approach May, I wanted to share an update to the Lake Orion Community Schools’ district calendar.

After the multiple snow days, the district applied for, and was granted, a calendar waiver from the Michigan Department of Education. The waiver forgave three more snow days.

Combined with the six that are offered yearly to all schools in the state, LOCS was left with two days that remained necessary to make up due to district-wide school weather closures.

That puts our current school end date at June 18 (and June 21 for Carpenter Elementary, due to its additional missed days for building problems.)

That date is our district plan at this point. But as legislation moves through the state senate, there is a possibility that those two days (June 17-18) could be waived if the current bill passes and is signed by the governor.

Unfortunately we have no control or understanding whether that will happen in time for us to make a definitive calendar change.

So, for now, we are asking our community to operate under the plan that the final two days of the school year will be June 17-18.

Those days are as important for the district as any others in the school year, because student school attendance helps determine the district funding from the state. LOCS needs to have a minimum of 75% of its students in school every day – including those two – to receive credit and the anticipated funding.

If LOCS does not reach the 75% threshold, the state will penalize the district by withholding the funds for those days.

When we shared the previous calendar update two months ago, we hoped to have a resolution by now. We ask that you anticipate your students being in school through June 18 and hopefully we will get some more relief in the near future.

As always, we will share with you as soon as we have anything definitive.

Thank you,

Marion Ginopolis

LOCS Superintendent

Feb. 28, 2019 -- Internet Safety

February 28, 2019

LOCS Families-

Periodically, we remind about parents monitoring students’ online activity. A new challenge, known as the “Momo Challenge,” has drawn recent media attention. As this enters the nationwide students’ online profiles, it is a good time to check in with your children about their social media presence and activities.

The challenge and more information is available in an article this week from Forbes magazine.

LOCS does not have any specific knowledge of students involved in the challenge, but by sharing information in advance, we hope to give parents an opportunity to open a discussion with their children.

A parent guide to Momo is available from the National Online Safety organization, as is an overall look at children’s online safety.

Thank you for your understanding as we try to keep families informed of issues that are of concern for our children.

Sincerely,

Heidi Mercer

Assistant Superintendent of Teaching and Learning

Feb. 25, 2019 -- Calendar Update

February 25, 2019

Dear Lake Orion Community Schools Families:

I wanted to share an update about the district calendar and our necessary adjustments, given the excessive amount of snow days so far.

Currently, the district has called off 11 days for various inclement weather situations.

As I have communicated, each decision came after thorough discussions and on-site evaluation by our operations and transportation staff. The safety of our students and staff remains LOCS’ top priority.

Due to the abundance of canceled days, LOCS faces a challenging calendar. The Michigan Department of Education allows each district to forgive six days of the mandated minimum of 180 each school year.

That leaves LOCS with five days to make up for our students to reach the state-mandated level.

To do that, we are currently planning to have school the full week of June 17-21, the five days following the previously scheduled end of the school year.

(For Carpenter Elementary, which lost two days to building flooding and one to today’s power outage, the final date would come the following week after three additional days for those students, on June 24-26.)

That plan would reach the state requirements. But the final end date of the school year will not be official until a few more criteria are defined over the next few months.

1 – The June 21 (June 26 for Carpenter) date is assuming there are no more cancellations the rest of the year.

2 – The date is also assuming no other days are forgiven by the Michigan Department of Education or by the state legislature.

  • LOCS has submitted a waiver to forgive three more days. Those waivers are evaluated on a case-by-case basis by the MDE so there is no guarantee it will be approved. The district has made a substantial case requesting the days be waived.
  • There are multiple bills being proposed in the state legislature to forgive snow days for public schools across the state. But the timeline and process is undetermined.

As a district, our focus remains to educate our students every day in the most effective way possible. That means having the students in school and learning every day that we can.

Navigating this winter is challenging for our families and our staff and we appreciate your understanding as we try to make the best decisions possible.

Sincerely,

Marion Ginopolis, Superintendent

Feb. 7, 2019 -- Snow Days information

February 7, 2019

Dear LOCS Families:

Following another school cancellation this morning, I would like to share our process with the community and the care placed into these decisions.

Our primary goal every day is to have school open and all students attending. That’s our mission and purpose and one we take seriously, trying to provide the best educational experience.

The only issue that takes precedence is student and staff safety. This is where the school closing decisions enter.

The process begins as soon as inclement weather enters the forecast. A meteorologist briefs Metro Detroit superintendents, including myself, leading up to the weather event, so we have all the pertinent information. The next step involves me consulting with our Operations and Transportation staff, who travel the roads the evening before school and in the early morning of the potential school day to assess the conditions for our buses to travel safely.

Our district is in a unique position, with an array of different neighborhoods. Our buses travel paved, heavily traveled roads, like M-24, Joslyn and Baldwin. They also pick up on a number of unpaved roads such as Indian Lake, East Clarkston or West Indianwood, where the weather has a much more serious effect, as with the ice in recent days. Without control over the roads, we rely on the Oakland County Road Commission for their treatment.

Even on days we’ve had school in recent weeks, LOCS buses encountered trouble in some of these areas, so those circumstances inform our decisions as well.

I would also like to share information on the LOCS school year calendar status.

Currently with 10 days of the district classes canceled due to weather, LOCS has exceeded the six allowed under state law. The state allows for three days (beyond the six) to be waived after an application process. LOCS plans to submit that application, but those are determined and approved on a case-by-case basis.

The state of Michigan requires that school districts meet two primary requirements: 180 days and at least 1,098 hours of instruction during that time.

Unfortunately, due to the extreme weather, LOCS is unlikely to meet those in 2018-19 with the current calendar.

As a result, the end of our school year will likely be extended. How long and by how much is a determination the LOCS Administration will make at the conclusion of the winter weather season. As soon as it is decided, it will be shared publicly, allowing families to plan.

All of these issues are challenging and often out of our control.

We can promise we will approach every day the same way, trying to provide the highest quality -- and safest – education possible for our students.

Thank you,

Marion Ginopolis, Superintendent

Jan. 25, 2019 -- Winter Weather reminders

LOCS Families-

As the weather forecast is predicting adverse conditions for next week, we would like to inform families that we intend to have school open every day, unless unsafe conditions arise.

Important reminders:

  1. Buses may be delayed for pick up/drop off.
  2. Students should be dressed appropriately for the weather with heavy coats, pants, hats and gloves.
  3. Schools will keep students inside for recess and allow entrance prior to the first bell when the weather dictates it necessary.
  4. High school parents: Please review safe winter driving conditions with your teenage driver, including a reduced speed, leaving a safe distance between cars and keeping eyes off their phones and on the road.

When school is canceled, please check our Delays and Closings page for updates on the status of scheduled programs and events.

Thank you for helping and supporting us through the Michigan winter.

Thank you,

LOCS Administration

Dec. 13, 2018 -- Holiday Message

Dear LOCS Staff, Parents and Community Members:

It is the time of year that a number of different religious and multicultural holidays are celebrated: Christmas, Hanukkah, and Kwanzaa, to name a few. Each of these is observed with different traditions and ceremonies.

In Lake Orion Community Schools, our students and staff have a tradition of giving to others. This is shown in countless ways, such as collecting canned goods to donate to those in need, distributing food baskets, “star” wishes and “giving trees,” visiting and caroling at senior citizens’ homes, and making blankets for cancer patients at children’s hospitals.

While holiday traditions may differ, they have one thing in common: Wishes for happiness, peace, love, laughter, joy, and good health. I wish the very same to you and your family and hope this wonderful time of the year touches your heart in a special way, as you enjoy the season with those you love.

As I ask each year, regardless of your religious affiliation or belief, please join me in prayer. For the safety and good health of all our children, their families, and for all Lake Orion Community Schools staff members who educate, love, care for and keep our children safe every day.

Sincerely,

Marion Ginopolis

#AlwaysLakeOrion

Nov. 6, 2018 -- School Bond proposal passes

Lake Orion Community Schools’ School Bond Proposal was approved by voters on Nov. 6, 2018.

According to the Oakland County Elections Division, of the 21,923 votes cast in the Bond Proposal election, 12,137 voters (55.36%) voted in favor of the $160 million Bond Proposal.

The turnout was significantly higher than the 8,482 who voted on the last LOCS Bond Proposal in 2013.

Tuesday’s election was the district’s first successful bond election since 2002. Voters also approved a sinking fund proposal in 2016.

“A huge and sincere thank you on behalf of all students and staff members for recognizing the importance of the Bond Proposal,” said Marion Ginopolis, Lake Orion Community Schools Superintendent. “We look forward to sharing the projects as they unfold.”

This Bond Proposal is a 10-year plan to be sold in three series, covering nearly all aspects and facilities in the district.

Significant portions of the proposal are scheduled for technology ($31 million) and safety and security ($25 million), major issues that will touch every school.

The larger individual projects are a reconstruction of Blanche Sims Elementary ($26 million), a new stand-alone Early Childhood Center ($17.9 million) and significant renovations at Webber Elementary ($15.5 million) and the Community Education Resource Center, which will be downsized to aid the traffic flow through the entire Scripps Complex.

Thanks to voter approval, the district can move forward with the projects outlined in the proposal, all which will be audited and monitored by the State of Michigan Department of Treasury.

For more information about the Bond Proposal and continued updates, please visit LOCSBond.org.

Thank you video: https://youtu.be/CnMUGU0FGIs