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February 2024


This Black History Month, we would like to honor the memory of Phyllis C. Hunter. Phyllis is widely known for coining the phrase “reading is the new civil right.”

“Reading is an issue of social justice that tops the list of 10 fundamental human rights, according to the International Literacy Association (ILA). The right to read means giving each student the capability to access information that can allow them to reach their fullest potential.” -

Equip your staff to support readers this month by having ALL non-certified instructional staff (substitutes, paraprofessionals, interventionists, volunteers, liaisons, etc.) complete the Early Literacy modules by the MDE through Michigan Virtual. Having a substitute for a teacher is NOT an excuse for allowing a child to be denied a quality education. That is not the child’s problem, but being illiterate is.

Participants that complete all the literacy online modules (in their selected age group) will be invited to receive special recognition at SVSU and will qualify to apply for literacy grants through SUPO. We need you! The students need you!


During January, the SUPO team challenged PSA leaders to complete a Michigan Virtual course that could positively impact their academy staff and students.

Congratulations to:
Adam Hoskins, Principal at Landmark Academy Elementary, for completing Mindful Practices: SEL for Administrators
Debby Wilton, Superintendent of Landmark Academy, for completing Social-Emotional Learning: Creating a Professional Culture Based on SEL

by Adam Hoskins
As an elementary principal, I recently completed the SEL for Administrators professional development through Michigan Virtual Learning, and I must say it was an incredibly insightful experience. The training shed light on the significant social emotional challenges that our students bring to the classroom and emphasizes the importance of mindful practices when engaging with our learners. However, the most impactful takeaway for me was the recognition of the critical support our staff requires in addressing their own social emotional needs within the increasingly stressful field of education. At Landmark Academy, we take great pride in fostering a positive and supportive environment for our educators and are always looking for ways to improve. From monthly bingo games and our monthly recognizing of outstanding staff members along with providing after-school workouts through partnerships with the local YMCA, we are dedicated to promoting the well-being of our team.

This professional development has reaffirmed the importance of prioritizing social emotional support for both our students and staff. Our commitment to implementing mindful practices and providing a nurturing environment at Landmark Academy will continue to be a top priority, ensuring that our entire school community thrives in a positive and supportive atmosphere. I look forward to further implementing the strategies and insights gained from this training to continually enhance the social emotional well-being of our students and staff.


The Traits of Positive Discipline
by Jordan J. McCloud, PSA Intern

This month, Waterford Montessori Academy takes the spotlight, and I'm excited to share something truly extraordinary. Picture this: a Parent workshop at the school named, "The Traits of Positive Discipline." It's a game-changer because, let's be honest, schools don't usually dive into these topics. The purpose behind this event is golden—to educate parents on alternative ways to connect with their kids without resorting to harmful tactics.

Parenting is tough, and with everyone having their own upbringing, figuring out what's "right" or "wrong," especially in terms of discipline, can be a puzzle. This program doesn't just cater to a specific age group of parents; it's a gem for parents across the board. Why? Because learning constructive ways to handle your child can create a ripple effect. It's not just about the parents; it's about creating an environment where kids feel safe.

The impact of programs like this is like a full-circle moment—it can be the difference between a child slipping through the cracks or realizing their full potential. Opening the event to the public was a wonderful way to support the community and showcase the support that charter schools provide for families. This aligns with the SUPO core values of collaboration, innovation, and continuous improvement. I believe everyone would agree that ensuring a safe emotional and physical space for our students is an initiative that deserves continuous attention and improvement. Waterford Montessori Academy’s mission is to assist its students to reach their full potential in all areas of life, while promoting academic rigor, moral leadership, and personal responsibility.


AI Workshop - 10 Ways to Use AI to Support Teaching and Learning

**NEW DATE** - February 9, 2024 - 9:00-11:30 am

Textbook - AI for Educators - Learning Strategies, Teacher Efficiencies, and a Vision for an Artificial Intelligence Future by Matt Miller

Zoom Link to AI Workshop

Participants will learn about and practice using 10 different ways to support students and teachers using artificial intelligence in the classroom.

Meeting Agenda

9:00-10:30 am     Using AI to Support Teaching and Learning
10:30-11:30 am   SVSU Student Teacher Placements
                            Professional Development Options
                            Outstanding Employee Awards
                            Creative Student Showcase Opportunity
                            Photo Contest


We would like to introduce you to Carl Sztucko, the Director of Clinical Experiences at Saginaw Valley State University. Please review the video and handout below regarding Student Teaching in SVSU Public School Academies

Student Teaching Placements Video

Student Teaching Placements in SVSU PSAs (234KB) pdf document



Join the NSTA on Thursday, February 8, 2024, from 7:00 PM to 8:15 PM ET for an edition of NSTA’s Science Update about the April 8 total solar eclipse.

For More information and to register click here.

The last total solar eclipse to cross the United States until 2045 occurs in April 2024. Everyone in North America will experience at least a partial eclipse, so you will want your students to be ready to enjoy and appreciate this rare celestial event.

All individuals receive a certificate of participation and 100 NSTA activity points for attending the live seminar and completing the end-of-program survey. A certificate of participation is not awarded for watching the recorded version of the program.

Solar Eclipse Resources


2023-2024 Outstanding Employee Award Nomination Information

These guidelines aim to capture the unique contributions of school support staff while allowing nominators to provide specific and detailed information about each nominee's achievements.

One school support staff person per school building in the following areas can be nominated: Security, Custodial, Transportation, Food Service. Visit our website to view example videos in each category.

Nomination Guidelines:

  • Nomination submissions should be concise and focus on specific achievements in their field or contributions to the school community.
  • Supporting documentation, such as photos, videos, or additional testimonials can be included to strengthen the nomination.
  • Nominations should be submitted by a staff member or administrator familiar with the nominee's work.
  • Nominees must have a least one year of service in the school.

Employee of the Year Nomination Form

Nominations due by March 1, 2024


Digital Portfolio Contest for 8th - 10th Grade Students (please share with your teachers)

For details, view this video: Creative Opportunities Showcase Contest Video

Entry Form (to be completed by parent or guardian)

To enter the contest, complete and submit the Entry Form. The Presentation document should be submitted to Dawn Gillespie at If you have questions, don't hesitate to contact the office at (989) 964-4623.

First Prize - Apple iPad
Honorable Mention - Android Tablet

DEADLINE: March 29, 2024


Stakeholders from SVSU charter schools (school leaders, teachers, staff) can win a cash prize for their school for submitting photos of student learning, experiences, and activities that illustrate the theme of the year. Each photo must include a caption (1-3 sentences that links the photo to the theme).

2024 Theme – Seek and Ye Shall Find

At the School/University Partnership Office (SUPO) we believe that a quality education welcomes all, fosters creativity, and entitles learners to grow into their most authentic selves. As every difference is an asset, education should always be a celebration of diverse views and people. Seek out photos that illustrate students discovering their talents, abilities, opportunities for enrichment, service, and personal development.

To enter the contest, submit the Photo Contest Terms & Rules form, photos, and Media Release Forms to Dawn Gillespie (  Deadline April 1, 2024.

For additional information and forms see the SUPO website.



Student Service Updates – Recommended by Sara Holding

Thrun Law: Skipping or School Avoidance? How Must A School Respond To A Special Education Student's Excessive Absences
How important is documentation of support given to a student when considering excessive absences. 

MDE State Testing

Two fantastic resources within the January 18, 2024, Spotlight are linked below. Both documents can be helpful when considering accommodations for students throughout the state testing windows.  State testing training is also listed in this Spotlight edition, and I would encourage everyone to take a moment and review these training options.

Supports and Accommodations Guidance Document
Recording and Tracking Resources web page

Best Practice Corner

IDEA requires public agencies to provide Procedural Safeguards to parents of eligible students with disabilities at least once annually. Typically, this is done with a copy of the procedural safeguards sent home with the invitation to any IDEA meeting. However, there can be a language barrier for some of our families. The Michigan Department of Education Office of Special Education (MDE OSE) has made Procedural Safeguards available in 42 different languages, Including American Sign Language.  

Procedural Safeguards Notice in Other Languages
Family Matters Procedural Safeguards provides families with a one-page document explaining why the procedural safeguards are important and highlights a few of the key areas. 


SVSU Cardinal-on-the-Go

Cardinal-on-the-Go professional development sessions are FREE to all SVSU Public School Academies. They are designed to provide coaching, leader support, and/or staff development crafted for and with academy staff.

  1.  Click the link below.
  2.  Preview the workshops/presentations.
  3.  Complete the questions and submit.
  4.  You will receive a follow-up email to confirm dates, time, and instructional delivery.
  5.  A survey will be sent to the requestor to share with staff. The workshop will be tailored based on the results of the survey.

Cardinal-on-the-Go PD Registration Form

GVSU Free Professional Development

The following workshops and webinars were designed to assist educators as they continue to teach and learn. While some may be suited for specific teachers, administrators, or support staff, all offerings are free to all educators. 

Professional Education Offerings (FREE)


My name is Lily and I am so excited to share that I will be attending the Disney College Program (DCP) for the winter semester. The DCP is a paid-internship program that provides education and on the job training for students. I was thrilled to find that I would be stationed in Magic Kingdom right at the entrance. The title of my role is Park-Arrival Merchandise, and I am so excited to call Disney my home for these next few months. Since I was a young girl, I have always dreamed of working for Disney, the most magical place on earth. I remember the warm kindness Disney brought to my heart as a child and now I have the chance to become part of the magic for other little children. I am beyond excited to chase this dream and make some magic, see you all real soon. 

Lily is a sophomore at SVSU and a PSA Scholar. To find out more about the PSA Scholar and other Cardinal Partnership Opportunities – go to


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