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March 21, 2024

 

GLPS Families,

It is hard to believe that we have reached spring break already, but here we are! Whether you are traveling or staying home, spring break represents that time of year when we begin to look ahead to summer, while also looking forward to important spring events. When we return, our state testing window opens, and then we move into senior events and other spring celebrations. And, although we are supposed to get a snow storm tomorrow (it is Michigan, afterall), we can also look forward to more consistent nice weather.

As I have mentioned numerous times, many of my messages this year have been rooted in the survey I sent out last fall, and the suggestions that families made about pieces of our district that interest them. Our strategic plan and special education are both on that list, so given where we are in the calendar, I wanted to highlight a few things related to both in my message today.

Our strategic plan, which can be viewed here, emphasizes the fact that the following beliefs guide our work:

  • We believe all students can learn.
  • We believe it is the role of the school district to provide support and access for all students.
  • We believe in an inclusive learning environment where every person is valued.
  • We believe the GLPS staff are professionals who are vital to the health and future of the Grand Ledge community.
  • We believe in a safe, inclusive environment where students can explore their interests and learn the skills they need to thrive in their communities.
  • We believe in partnerships between the family, community, and education stakeholders for the success of GLPS.

When we say all students, we truly mean all students.  So we have the responsibility to provide the supports necessary to help students learn, regardless of their needs. Across our district, our special education team, which includes our administrators at the central office and building level, our teachers, our TA’s, and our Eaton RESA service providers, works tirelessly day in and day out to understand each student’s unique needs, and then build an individualized educational program to meet them where they are and help them move forward. With the support of and input from families, we are able to provide outstanding educational opportunities for all kids. Sometimes, it takes multiple tries, but our team continues to seek solutions until the needs of our students are met. To learn more about the supports we provide, visit our Student Services page, here.

The timing of my message today coincides with some important dates that both celebrate and raise awareness of the unique needs of students in our schools. Today is World Down Syndrome Day, which calls attention to the gifts of people with Down Syndrome, while also reminding us not to operate within the stereotypes that often follow them. Please click here to learn more about harmful stereotypes and how they impact people around the world, as well as what you can do to raise awareness and celebrate students and community members with Down Syndrome.

When we return from break, April 2nd is World Autism Awareness Day, but the entire month of April is designated as Autism Acceptance Month. These celebrations also ask us to learn about autism and our students, family members, and community members on the autism spectrum, in order to better understand and celebrate each individual and what they bring to our district and community. For more information about autism and Autism Acceptance Month, please click here to visit the CDC’s Autism Acceptance Month toolkit page.

I hope you are all able to find an opportunity for some rest and relaxation over the next week as we gear up for the sprint to the end of the school year that inevitably follows spring break. I appreciate your support, and I appreciate the fact that we get to work with your students every day. Thank you, and as always, I am #proudtobeacomet!

Dr. Bill Barnes
Superintendent of Schools

Its State Testing Season
Welcome Back from Spring Break
We Have Reached Spring Break