August 22, 2008
Parents of Onekama Students:
I continue to enjoy my role as Superintendent of Onekama Consolidated Schools. We have accomplished a lot and plan on continuing to move the district forward.
One short year ago, I informed you about the plans to get a ballot initiative to renovate the 50’s and 60’s classrooms, demolition of the 30’s section and build a new cafetorium, gymnasium, art, band, and day care rooms. The community responded with the passage of a 14.1 million dollar bond issue last November.
This past summer the campus has been in a continual state of construction. Under the direction of Devere Construction Company and GMB Architects * Engineers, the 50’s and 60’s section have been updated with new windows, ADA doorways, cabinetry, lockers, carpeting, and air exchange systems. We have a new well, parking lot, and lights on the football field. The new bus garage is slated for completion this upcoming fall.
Ground breaking for the new cafetorium, gymnasium, and art, band, and day care rooms will take place in late August. When a community invests in its schools and infrastructure, it translates into long term stability. The new classrooms, gym and cafetorium are slated for community use with a walking track, cardio vascular workout rooms and a facility for performing arts, dinners and community events.
*See construction progress live via our webcam – type http://126.96.36.199 in a web browser and then click on “Enter”.
The sinking fund has allowed us to continually update the campus with our newest addition of the discus field, improved playground drainage, new roofs on the shop and gymnasium, and PA system on the football/track field.
Many new things have happened in the middle and high school classrooms over this summer. Technology updates have been be a significant undertaking. One of the purposes for our school bond was to upgrade the middle school and high school classrooms. In addition to furniture, ventilation, windows, and cabinetry each classroom will be fitted with a complete media projection system. This will allow teachers to project a large image to the front of the classroom from their computer, VCR, DVD, TV or a document camera. Teachers and students are very excited about walking into the classrooms of the future this fall, delivering a lot of new technology for students and teachers to utilize during the 2008-2009 school year.
Also, this fall Onekama School will be hosting presentations conducted by the State of Michigan Attorney Generals office on CYBER SAFETY. We will keep you informed as to when these meetings are so that parents can attend these very important seminars.
According to law all students need to have an updated Acceptable Use Policy form filled out and on file in order to use technology. The use forms will go home with students the first day of school. You will need to return the completed form promptly to assure that your student has access to school technology.
We would like to encourage all middle and high school parents to utilize the Power School grade book and attendance login. This is where you can see assignments, attendance and grades for your middle or high school student accessed in a secure internet environment. Simply call the student services office 889-5521 and ask for a login and password for Power School.
In the past year we have “reached out” to our neighboring districts and have found ways that we can add programming for Onekama students through cooperation. During the past year our students participated in a full scale musical production “Mulan”. We were able to offer adult education classes through Manistee County Community Education. Our band students were able to participate in a concert with band students from Bear Lake and Brethren high schools.
Our students were able to build a house from start to finish by being part of the newly formed Building Trades Coop between Frankfort High, Benzie Central, Bear Lake High, Brethren High, and Onekama High through the Traverse Bay Area ISD. Also, our students can participate in the A+ computer repair and programming and WEB design classes through Traverse Bay Area ISD along with health care courses at West Shore Medical Center offered by West Shore Community College.
In athletics, our students participated in cooperative sports with Bear Lake (Cross Country, Track, and Football), Brethren High School (Skiing), and Bear Lake and Manistee (Wrestling). The academic and athletic agreements allow expanded opportunity for Onekama students and also allowed them to receive the excellent education that a small school like Onekama can offer. The fact that Onekama had a 97% graduation rate and graduates who go on to technical careers, military, or college signifies what the Gates study found; small schools effectively educate students better than their larger counterparts.
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.
We are currently getting the grounds and facility, busses, classrooms, computers, and staff ready for the students return on Monday, September 8th. 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 have gone on to be leaders in our community and communities around the country.