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SUPO Newsletter Red

December 2023


“During December, the winter solstice tips the Northern Hemisphere to its furthest distance from the sun. Through most of the month, its inhabitants lose about 2 minutes of sunlight per day until the winter solstice. The winter solstice marks the start of winter and the shortest day on the calendar. However, from that day forward, the days will slowly lengthen. They may not be warmer, but the Earth is tilting on its axis back toward the sun.” - Excerpt from National Day Calendar - December

When it feels cold and the distance between you and your source of inspiration and strength seems diminished, remember that feelings inform truth; they don’t define it. You may feel like you are not making a difference. Data may even support challenges with academics or interventions for your students, but that doesn’t define you.

Decreased sunshine, cold days, and challenging moments can lead to diminished energy and motivation. The truth is you are important. Your presence matters. The same is true for your staff and students. Make sure they understand the difference between their value and the evaluations or assessments that they may pass or fail. When my son was in third grade, I found him at the water fountain with his head down, droopy shoulders, and close to tears. I asked, “What’s wrong?” He looked up with a sense of shame and said, “I didn’t meet my goal for NWEA; I failed; I’m a failure.” Let that sit with you for a moment.

...Click here if you would like to know how I responded and what that response has to do with you and your staff!


In a refreshing and heartening turn of events, Faxon Academy has taken a bold step in addressing the prevalent issue of bullying by organizing a Stop Bullying walk in honor of Bullying Awareness Month. The initiative comes as a beacon of hope, especially at a time when conversations around bullying seem to have taken a backseat. Faxon Academy has not only broken the silence but has actively engaged with the community, fostering a collaborative spirit in the fight against bullying.

The school's commitment to creating a safe space for its students is evident in the call for participants to wear royal blue, symbolizing solidarity in the campaign against bullying. This move resonates strongly with the School/University Partnership Office’s core values of continuous improvement and collaborative innovation with stakeholders.

By involving the community in this impactful event, Faxon Academy is not only raising awareness but also fostering a sense of shared responsibility for the well-being of its students. This thoughtful initiative not only aligns with the school's organizational goals but also sets a commendable example for other educational institutions, highlighting the importance of addressing social issues collectively.

Resources to support anti-bullying:

by Jordan McCloud


Based on the feedback from the November school leader meeting, we are excited to announce that we are in the second phase of crafting the professional development for the winter semester. Please fill out the survey below to see the options that were suggested by school leaders.



Website Contact Information

In order to facilitate direct and unfiltered communication between the public and school board members, a dedicated email address should be established specifically for this purpose. This email address should bypass any filtration through academy personnel, allowing community members to express their thoughts, concerns, and feedback directly to the school board. This direct line of communication enhances transparency and ensures that the board receives unfiltered perspectives from the public, fostering a more inclusive and responsive educational governance system.

December 1 is the due date that school budget transparency websites must be updated with 2022-23 fiscal information. SUPO as well as MDE will be checking websites for compliance. MDE Budget Transparency Guidance and sample forms can be found here. This is a good time to ensure that the website contact information for your academy board goes directly to board members only.


Sara Holding serves in the role of Special Education Compliance Specialist for the School/University Partnership Office.  She brings her expansive knowledge of student services to this position with a special focus on our marginalized student populations. Sara began her service to others as a Speech/Language Pathologist after graduating from Central Michigan University. Recently she completed a 30+ year career within public education. Sara continues to further her own knowledge by currently working to complete her Ed.D. from Gwynedd Mercy University with a research focus on how race-match between teachers and students effects student outcomes.  

Sara Holding can be reached at 989-964-2574 or


Thrun Law: Considering Student Non Curricular Accommodations

This is an excellent source of quick do's and don'ts.  Of course, every situation is unique and individualized, but this short article gives some great advice on starting points when thinking about student inclusion with activities outside of the classroom. 

It is that time of year - time to think about Pre-ID for our state testing. Below is the link to the November 2023 Spotlight filled with great information.  College Board Test Coordinator training is December 5, registration is open and there is a link on page 16 of the newsletter. MDE Spotlight November 2023


It is best practice to: 

When discussing any evaluation data at an IEP, data should be provided to a child's team (parents/guardians) with a written copy a minimum of 48 hours prior to the meeting via phone call or in person with an opportunity to discuss and ask initial questions. This allows everyone to have a base understanding of the information to be discussed providing an opportunity to work together to build the best programming for a student.


Henry Ford PD video

“As adults, we forget the empathy side of invention.” That’s just one of the nuggets I’m taking from The Henry Ford professional development courses I recently completed. They really got me thinking about how we as teachers can empower students as the next generation of innovators.

There are four courses currently available:

  • Activating Your Innovative Mindset
  • Becoming a Culturally Responsive Educator
  • Engaging Students With Place-Based Learning
  • Bringing Invention Education to Your Classroom

Each self-paced course takes about three hours to complete. Two of the courses are available at no cost (and if you’re a Michigan educator, you can get all of them for free!). You also get a certificate of completion that you may be able to use for clock hours or whatever the equivalent is where you work. That’s all great, but I’m recommending The Henry Ford professional development for bigger reasons:

Click the link to learn more -


Cornerstone - My PSA Journey
by Jenna Rowe

In 2018, I was awarded the Public School Academy Scholar Program (PSA) scholarship at Saginaw Valley State University (SVSU). Little did I know that this scholarship would not only fund my education but also become the cornerstone of an overwhelmingly supportive and empowering college experience. 

The PSA not only provided financial support but also opened doors to opportunities for personal and professional growth. During my initial years in college, I was more of an observer, keeping to myself and navigating the academic landscape. I worked whenever I could, so most of my time was spent either working or learning. At the beginning of my third year, I was offered the PSA Graphic Design Intern position. This marked the beginning of a dynamic and hands-on engagement with my education and community. As the graphic design intern, I discovered a passion for visual communication and learned to translate ideas into compelling designs. The experience was not just about work; it was a spark for my personal and professional development. 

Upon completing my Bachelor of Business Administration (BBA) in May 2022, I found myself at a crossroads and I honestly did not know what I wanted to do. So, I ended up applying to the MBA program at SVSU. Once I was accepted, I was offered the role of Marketing and Outreach Graduate Assistant, a position that allowed me to apply the knowledge gained during my undergraduate studies and supervise an amazingly creative and talented team.  

One of the remarkable aspects of my journey with PSA was the consistent support I received. Whether through job opportunities, book scholarships, or volunteer engagements, I found avenues for both academic success and the development of meaningful connections. What made PSA truly special for me was the sense of belonging it offered. In this community, I wasn't just a student; I was a valued member encouraged to explore, innovate, and strive for excellence. The environment created by PSA was one where I felt rooted for, supported, and challenged to be the best version of myself. 

As I approach the end of my academic journey, I reflect on the incredible impact PSA has truly had on my life. It's not just about the scholarship; it's about the relationships forged, the skills developed, and the confidence instilled. PSA has been more than a scholarship program for me; it has been a guiding force, a community, and a safe place where I could go and be myself. 

In conclusion, my experience with the Public School Academy Scholar Program has been nothing short of transformative. From a reserved student finding their way to a confident graduate ready to take on new challenges, PSA has been the catalyst for my growth. As I prepare to graduate with my MBA this December, I carry with me the invaluable lessons, support, and sense of community that PSA has provided. I could not have made it this far without the Public School Academy Scholar Program. I could not be more grateful for all the opportunities this program has opened for me. 

So, what’s next for me? Currently, I am actively engaged in interviews for full-time positions, eagerly exploring opportunities that align with my skills and aspirations. At the same time, the idea of launching my own business or maybe writing a book are projects that excite me. My overarching goal is to steadily embrace opportunities for growth and learning, creating a path that connects professional development with personal fulfillment. With many possibilities and unknowns before me, I find peace in knowing that God guides my path and blesses each step with divine purpose. 


Each year the Saginaw Valley State University (SVSU) School/University Partnership Office (SUPO) is pleased to welcome 8th grade and 11th grade students from the charter schools it authorizes to SVSU's main campus. SVSU SUPO tours usually last longer than typical campus tours because they take a deep exploration into what is happening at the University. We strongly believe that students that step foot on campus can better envision themselves attending college. Register for a visit.

8th Grade Contact Form

This form is for 8th grade students from an SVSU authorized Public School Academy or the parents/guardians of the student to fill out if interested in the Public School Academy Scholar Program and want more information.

MAPSA Symposium

The Michigan charter school movement is comprised of diverse leaders, innovators, and pioneers - including you. We're giving you a platform to discover and network with the brightest minds in public education reform, featuring dynamic speakers, engaging sessions, and a fearless atmosphere. Join us at the Detroit Troy Marriott this year!


School/University Partnership Office
Office Location: Gilbertson Hall
Phone: (989) 964-4623