Michigan Association of School Administrators

Service | Leadership | Collaboration | Excellence

2011 Winners' Circle Inductees

The following administrators were inducted into the MASA Winners' Circle in January of 2011 at the Midwitner Conference in Kalamazoo.

Oscoda Merit Pay Model

- Christine Beardsley, Oscoda Area Schools

Christine Beardsley, superintendent of Oscoda Area Schools, along with the Oscoda Area Schools Board of Education, was inducted into the MASA Winners’ Circle on January 27, 2011.  The Winners’ Circle is MASA’s way of recognizing members whose leadership has launched or adapted an effective program or practice, that achieves results, and that could be replicated in other districts. Beardsley received the award at an Awards and Recognition luncheon during MASA’s Midwinter Conference in Kalamazoo.

Beardsley is being recognized for the Oscoda Merit Pay Model. The revised Oscoda Merit Pay Model, implemented early in 2010, is made up of several components that serve as indicators of "Instructional Professionalism." The Board sets a total budget for merit pay each year (this year $25,000). This amount is then divided among the teachers who choose to participate in instructional practices included as components in the model.

Teachers earn points for each component in which they engage,  and each point is worth a dollar value. On the last day in May,  all points earned during the year by all teachers are tallied and the $25,000 is divided by the total points earned. Each teacher receives the value of their individual points multiplied by the dollar value of each point in the final pay for the year.

The Oscoda Model of merit pay is voluntary and not in any way punitive, and therefore not tied to the teacher salary schedule. Behavior has changed due to the merit pay plan, and student achievement and communication with parents about their children’s educational experience has increased. The board also adopted Merit Pay Plans for Support Staff (dietary, custodian, paraprofessionals, bus drivers), and the Superintendent in October 2010.


Helping Alternative Learners Excel (HALE) Program 

- Rhonda Provoast, Hale Area Schools

Rhonda Provoast is being recognized for the The Helping Alternative Learners Excel (HALE) Program. The HALE Program was implemented in September 2010 as a project-based learning program, as part of the Widening Advancements for Youth (WAY) Program at Hale Area Schools. The HALE WAY Program is a personalized learning experience for students who struggle with traditional high school, offering an alternative approach to education - one that encourages self-esteem, independence, and the development of 21st century skills that will facilitate a college education and subsequent career paths.

Each student is equipped with an iMac workstation and internet connectivity within his or her home. A highly-qualified HALE WAY teacher will then assess and align all projects according to state content standards, ensuring that each student completes the program with a high school diploma. HALE WAY combines personalized, project-based, online learning experiences with face-to-face interaction.

Staff members invest in the success of each student, providing support 7 days a week, 24 hours a day, all year round. This dedication allows students to excel at their own pace, developing customized learning plans on topics that truly appeal to them. Students seem to be highly motivated because they can work at their own pace and do their school work anytime and anywhere. 


High School Leadership Academy 

-Thomas TenBrink, Jenison Public Schools

Thomas TenBrink is being recognized for the High School Leadership Academy. As superintendent of Jenison Public Schools, TenBrink was responsible for formally training students who demonstrated potential leadership skills to prepare them to be future leaders in our schools and their community. This responsibility translated into an articulated vision bringing about the formation of a Leadership Academy at Jenison High School beginning with the 2008-2009 school-year.

The High School Leadership Academy is now in its third year of existence with more than 46 ninth through twelfth graders involved in a yearly leadership training led by the Superintendent, with assistance from nine mentors from the high school administration and staff. Students are selected through an application process with recommendations from their administrators, teachers, coaches, youth pastors, and other significant adults in their lives. Thus far, 40 students have graduated from the Leadership Academy, and all 40 are in colleges and universities across the United States ranging from the Ivy League to the Big Ten, as well as smaller liberal arts colleges.

In addition to the High School Leadership Academy, Superintendent TenBrink facilitated the creation of a leadership class at Jenison Junior High School at the start of the 2009-2010 school-year. Thirty students are afforded the opportunity to learn about leadership through the teaching of a formal curriculum, as well as weekly guest speakers during a semester-long class meeting for an hour every day.


Student-built LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) Certified Home 

 -Dr. Susan Meston, Muskegon Area ISD

This past year Dr. Meston and the staff and students from the Muskegon Area Career Tech Center took home construction to a new level when they completed the first-ever, student-built LEED Certified Home in Muskegon County. With the help of local LEED certified contractors, and the Alliance for Environmental Sustainability, the project was a success! The students who built the award-winning home were enrolled in the Construction Trades LEED, Electrical/Electronic Technologies, and Heating, Ventilation, Air Conditioning/Refrigeration courses. The LEED Silver Certificate was issued by the US Green Building Council (USGBC) for achievement in green homebuilding and design, and the home also received a 5 STAR PLUS Energy Star Rating. The home has attracted much interest, and its sale will fund future LEED home construction projects.


L3 (Language, Literacy, and Learning)

- Dr. Susan Meston, Muskegon Area ISD

In 2008 the Muskegon Area ISD began a project called L3 to target curriculum access for all students and improve learning in the Wesley School, which serves students from age 2 to 26 with moderate to severe disabilities. L3 provides Wesley teachers with intensive and sustained training incorporating the core standards (Reading, Writing, Mathematics, Science, and Social Studies) with the Unique Learning System, assessment tools and technology. Teams of teachers and their instructional assistants are learning how to better design instruction, and how to embed assistive technology in all classroom routines and learning activities to support the participation and achievement of all students. Students can now participate in lessons they couldn’t previously access, and they are excited and eager to interact, revealing their full potential as previously hidden by impairments.


SKIP to a Great Start (Successful Kids = Involved Parents) 

- Lisa Hagel, Genesee ISD

Hagel is being recognized for the SKIP to a Great Start (Successful Kids = Involved Parents) program. SKIP to a Great Start is an equal access program for all parents of children ages birth to five residing in Genesee County. The program aims to help parents support their child entering kindergarten ready to learn and equipped with the skills to be successful. It provides services to guide parents in being their child’s first teacher through educational and experiential opportunities.

There are no income guidelines for enrollment, as  parents of any socio-economic background can benefit from support to make the most of their child’s early years. Parents in SKIP are able to choose what services they wish to participate in to meet the needs of their child, and there are no minimum service requirements to maintain enrollment. Services include Parents as Teachers® home visitation; parent-child playgroups; parent education (nutrition, child development, physical activity, health, and safety); screenings (developmental, hearing, vision, and dental), and educational field trips.

Parents who participate in SKIP are less likely to be at risk for being abusive or neglectful. Children who participate in SKIP are less likely to have significant behavioral problems and more likely to be ready for school. The SKIP program serves over 900 children with home visitation and over 2,600 attend parent child playgroups.


Summer Long Breakfast/Lunch Program 

-William DeFrance, Eaton Rapids Public Schools with Al Widner, Kim Estes, and Linda Vainner

William DeFrance and the other administrators are being recognized for the Summer Long Breakfast/Lunch Program. Eaton Rapids Public Schools ran a 10-week summer long breakfast/lunch program that was free to 5-18 year olds, serving 250 meals at each setting.

Four weeks into the program, the district combined a six-week summer literacy program sponsored by the Eaton ISD for over 230 K-6 students with the meals. The academic portion of the literacy program was scheduled in between the two meals. Eaton Rapids provided bus transportation for students to and from the two school sites and all facets of the program were free to students.

Teachers hand-picked students who were reading below grade level to be in the program, and students took pre- and post-tests to determine improvement. Training and curriculum development were done by Eaton ISD staff, and the program started after July 4th to minimize the time between the end of the program and the start of school. Staff noticed as students ate meals that many were in need of a nutritional program like this, and teachers noticed huge attention gains from the food program compare to last year’s literacy camp when food wasn’t offered. 


Innovative Recycling Program 

-Jeff Mills, Van Buren ISD with Ginny Wippel

Mills and Wippel are being recognized for the Innovative Recycling Program. In 1989 the Bert Goens Learning Center, which serves students with moderate to severe cognitive impairments, began an innovative recycling program that helps train special education students. Students pick up paper from all campus buildings at the ISD and transport the paper to the shipping and receiving building. Paper from the Lawrence Post office, Lawrence Public School and Gobles Public School is also collected and recycled.

The district partners with various companies to support and assist in efforts to recycle and help students learn job skills. All the paper is sorted by color and dumped into the appropriate ‘gaylord’, a large cardboard box that holds approximately 750 pounds of paper. Since 1989 this program has "recycled" 1,012 gaylords or 759,000 pounds of paper. Each day the students learn valuable lessons in recycling efforts, and they’ve expanded into recycling printer cartridges, cell phones, batteries, CD's, Floppy discs, video tapes and other electronic items through the Green Disc company.

The students who participate in these programs are challenged, but this gives each of them an opportunity to help the environment and learn many skills in the process. For both the 2008-2009 and 2009-2010 school years the Bert Goens Learning Center was designated as the first school district in Van Buren County to achieve the Green School Designation.


Guided Highlighted Reading

-Michael DeVault, Macomb ISD

Michael DeVault is being recognized for the Guided Highlighted Reading program. Guided Highlighted Reading is a strategy to improve reading fluency, reading focus, scanning skills and attention to details. It was initially created to help students focus on the important aspects of a text with regard to the purpose for reading the text.

The strategy was created to insure that students can read and summarize text as a first step in the protocol for close and critical reading. Upon implementing this first step, students were immediately better able to write a summary of the text and remember relevant information for answering questions and participating in discussions about the text. The success of the first step led to the creation of Guided Highlighted Reading for Analyzing text, which is used to determine how the text is written. It focuses on the author’s craft, language, genre, organization and author’s purpose. This step gave students the language of analysis and support in finding the craft aspects of the text.

Guided Highlighted Reading was applied to ACT-like passages in order to prepare students for the actual reading portion of the ACT assessment. Students were pre- and post-assessed with an ACT-like reading assessment. The results were significant as students averaged 2 points higher on the post-assessment and maintained that momentum during the MME ACT assessment. High schools in the county using the strategy improved their reading scores over similar schools who did not engage in the activity. The strategy was found to be equally successful with both high and low functioning high schools.