Onekama Superintendent, Kevin Hughes

August 16, 2006

Parents of Onekama Students:

I would like to let you know how proud and excited I am to have the opportunity to serve as the Superintendent of Onekama Schools.  I plan to carry on the fine tradition that was started in 1895 with our first graduate, Stanley Harmer.

We have been adjusting to the current demographic switch in our district and have “downsized” our staff and facilities to reflect the current student enrollment.  In an effort to become more efficient we have consolidated our administrative staff so that I am employed ¾ time and Mrs. Hagen is now the K-12 principal.  Also, we have consolidated both the elementary and middle/high school offices into one K-12 student services office.  We have outsourced our business services to the Manistee County Business Cooperative.  Our payroll, payables, and financial services are managed by the coop saving the district valuable money and resources.

With the downsizing of the administrative staff, we have made reductions in teaching, custodial and clerical staff to reflect the reduction in students served.  Although we have cut staffing the children will benefit from the same diverse curriculum that Onekama students have enjoyed in the past.

During recent negotiations, the Onekama Education Association realized the need for additional course offerings with less staff and they facilitated this by adding one more class per teacher per day by going to a seven period day.  This cooperative agreement has allowed us to offer more core curriculum and elective classes.

With the passage of the Sinking Fund in 2002, the voters have allowed us to keep the facility current, functional and aesthetically appealing.  New roofs, windows, lighting, electrical updates, gym floor refinishing, security fencing, oil tank removal, new carpeting, new signage, and new baseball and softball fields have been completed.   These funds are “earmarked” for facility upgrades and cannot be used for day to day operations

As technology becomes a bigger part of your child’s educational experience, it has become critical to have a technology coordinator to facilitate the integration of technology into classroom learning.  I am happy to announce that Bruce Peabody is back as our Technology Coordinator.  Mr. Peabody coordinated the initial technology upgrade during the remodel in 1997 and then spent the last two years at Interlochen Academy in a technology capacity.  He has spent the summer getting the computers ready for the students and teachers.

Computer Education is integrated throughout the K-12 curriculum and our staff is consistently being trained to learn and utilize best practices in the education process.  Our purpose is to help children learn more effectively using the latest, most up-to-date technical tools and techniques by providing the following scheduled curriculum.

  • K-3 grade students weekly spend time in our early elementary computer lab.
  • 4-5 grade students have access to their own laptop lab where teachers integrate lessons across their curriculum on a daily basis.
  • 6-9 grade students work on their own laptop computer and are challenged daily to use this technology to enhance their learning experience.
  • 10-12 grade students are expected to utilize the high school and media center computer labs to complete and augment the more sophisticated research and reporting requirements of their education.

I am extremely proud of all the fine things that go on at Onekama Consolidated Schools and I would like to share a few things you might not know.

  • Onekama has the highest percentage of students taking dual enrollment classes at WSCC.  97% of our students made the Deans list in 2006 at West Shore Community College generating 108 college credits.
  • Onekama Schools are fully NCA (North Central Accredited).
  • We have the only Robotics team in the area and the West Michigan D League. 
  • Award winning Industrial Arts program where students win regional awards consistently.
  • Award winning Art students in both local and regional competition.
  • MEAP scores that rank in the top 5% of the State.
  • 97% graduation rate for 2006
  • Early adoption of the newly mandated Michigan High School Graduation Curriculum requirements.
  • In-house day care program serving infants through 12 year olds.
  • In-house 3 year old and 4 year old preschool programs.
  • 100% Highly Qualified staff in compliance with NCLB (No Child Left Behind).
  • Financially sound with the highest fund equity in the region.
  • Last year our boys won league championship in football, basketball, baseball, and track.

We are currently getting the grounds and facility, busses, classrooms, computers, and staff ready for the students return on Tuesday, September 5th.  Mrs. Hagen, Mr. McKenney and I are getting your child’s schedules and teacher assignments prepared for the upcoming school year.  We are happy to say that, math, music, art, physical education, Spanish, English, social studies, industrial arts, history, and reading will be part of their education experience.  Our goal is to have your child join the list of distinguished Onekama alumnus that has gone on to be leaders in our community and communities around the country.


Kevin Hughes