Wednesday, December 19, 2018

December / Holiday Greetings!

We are well into the second trimester and hope your holiday planning is going well.

We recently had Tom Thelen, a youth motivational speaker, address our secondary students grades 5-12 and staff, plus some parents, on bullying, respect, tolerance, diversity, and racial sensitivity. He provided strategies to be “victimproof” and to “Be the Change” to promote respect and tolerance. Some of our students have limited exposure to a larger, diverse population and have not yet gained the experience and maturity to accept and appreciate different ethnic and racial cultures. We live in, and our students will have careers in, a global economy. We must learn to work and act appropriately in a diverse society. We also ask that parents and our citizens partner with us to teach and model respect and tolerance toward all individuals.

Many school and winter season athletic events are now in full swing. These school events and activities may be seen on district website at, the district or individual schools’ Facebook pages, or our athletic website at

We are in the process of negotiating the 2019-2020 school calendar with our teachers. In case you were not aware, our Allegan County school districts received a waiver from the MI Department of Education this past summer to allow individual school districts in our county to begin the school year prior to Labor Day. The focus behind starting school before Labor Day is to reduce the long summer break from academics, what’s commonly referred to as the “summer slide” in learning. Many secondary programs and fall athletics begin in mid-August, so many families are already back into the swing of a new school year.

Although school may start sooner, the school year would still be the required 180 days of instruction, with more short breaks throughout the school year. Like many area schools in surrounding counties, several Allegan county school districts have already settled school calendars for next year starting either the third or fourth week of August, 2019. Currently, we are looking to start school the last week of August with a four day week, partially due to the transition of 6th grade to the Middle School following anticipated completion and permit of occupancy in early August. We will publicize the 2019-2020 school calendar once it is finalized and approved, likely in mid-January.

Strategic Plan Update: Our Strategic Plan Goals & Objectives are moving forward in the areas of Student Achievement, Finance, Facilities/Learning Environments, and Communication/Community Engagement. We held a Community Forum on Monday, November 5 to hear input on upgrading our goal objectives within all four primary Goals.

Academically, we continue to promote academic growth and continued proficiency for ALL of our students.

Financially, we have already surpassed our original 12% fund balance goal (!) with a current fund balance of 14.5%. After input and consultation with that committee, they are recommending to the Board that we adjust our goal to achieve a 16% fund balance by the summer of 2020. Achieving and maintaining a fund balance between 16-18% (about two months of operational expenses) would allow the district to not borrow funds over the summer when we do not get a state aid payment in September.

Facilities/Bond Projects – Our tennis courts are generally finished with some landscaping work to conclude this spring. They will be playable for our spring tennis season. Work continues on schedule with the new wing at our Middle School (progress photos are on our website). Renovations at Pine St. and the HS Media Center will begin as soon as school is out.

Communications – One area that was mentioned at our Strategic Plan Forum was the need to make sure parents are aware and informed how to access and use all of the online formats or opportunities we have available to them. We will work to get this new or refresher information out to parents and guardians. Please let us know if we may be of help in a specific area.

You are always welcome to contact Superintendent Norman Taylor at (269) 792-2181 (ext. 3010) or by email at with any construction or school questions.

We hope you will continue your excellent participation with our students during the school year. Please support and encourage them academically, athletically, and in their many displays of practical, performing, and fine arts. We have an extremely dedicated, experienced, and caring staff instructing many inquisitive students with a variety of interests, skills, and talents. These continually need to be guided and nurtured by the positive parental/adult role models and mentors in their lives – especially you. Remember to check out our app, our website at, including my periodic Superintendent’s Blog which may be viewed from the Administrative page of our website, plus school & district Facebook pages on a regular basis to stay current about all school events, athletics, student activities, and construction information.

I appreciate you taking the time to read this December edition of my Superintendent’s Blog. As a reminder, I am continuing with my twice weekly Community Office Hours. These are scheduled on school days for Monday afternoons from 1:30-2:30 PM and Wednesday mornings from 7:30-9:00 AM (except the week of January 7) for parents or community members to drop in and share any ideas, thoughts, or concerns with me in person.

Once again, Thank You so much for your continued support of educational excellence as we strive to enhance our Culture of Quality at Wayland Union Schools. Please contact us with any thoughts, concerns, or suggestions you may have to make Wayland Union Schools the best schools possible as we work to Challenge – Inspire – Contribute. As always, “It’s a great day to be a Wildcat!”

May your holiday season be filled with many blessings, a chance to read at least one good book, and an opportunity to spend quality time with family and friends. Happy Hanukkah, Merry Christmas, Happy Kwanzaa, and Happy New Year!

Yours in Wildcat Pride,

Norman L. Taylor