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Winter 2019

Kindergarten Roundup is
Coming Soon
With March just around the corner, Concord is gearing up to welcome a whole new group
of incoming kindergarteners for a year of learning, development and fun. Unfortunately,
the transition into a kindergarten classroom can be daunting for many young students.
Each year, the school kicks off enrollment by hosting the annual Kindergarten Roundup.
This event is the perfect opportunity for incoming kindergarteners to dip their toes in the
water and get an idea of what school is going to be like. It’s also a great way for teachers to
meet parents and students.

“That first day of kindergarten can be really scary,” Principal Rebecca Hutchinson says.
The Roundup is a great way for parents to introduce kids to the school and talk with them
about what to experience. It serves as a way for children and parents to make that first,
initial contact together. Especially when the first day of kindergarten can be a scary,
overwhelming day, Kindergarten Roundup is a great way to help ease those nerves.

The Roundup is also an essential opportunity for teachers to meet students for the very
first time. This initial meeting gives them the opportunity to assess students’ abilities and
begin making class lists. At Concord, there are three kindergarten classrooms which are
crafted to match students’ strengths and learning needs.

For kids who need an extra year to prepare for the academic, social, and emotional
demands of being in school, Concord has a tailored developmental classroom. This class is
smaller in size and allows for more individualized attention. It also moves at a slower pace,
allowing for more social and emotional development. “Kindergarten requires a lot of self-
regulation,” Hutchinson states. Sometimes, students who have not attended preschool or
are younger need just a little bit more time to prepare for a full day of kindergarten.

Those wishing to attend Concord’s Kindergarten Roundup should mark the school’s
parent meeting on their calendars. The meeting will occur at 6:00 pm on March 20th, and
will take place in the kindergarten classrooms. During the event, parents will be informed
of what exactly to expect from the Roundup as well as which forms and information they
will need to bring along with them.
The actual days of the Roundup are scheduled for April 17th and April 18th, though
attendance is only required for one of the two dates. Parents wishing to attend will be
given the opportunity at the meeting in March to pick and sign up for whichever day best
fits their schedules.

While attendance to the


Roundup isn’t necessarily
mandatory to enroll in
Concord’s Kindergarten, it is
highly recommended. It’s
the best way to make sure
students are placed in a class
which fits them. For that
reason, parents who cannot
THE SCOOP
attend the event must
contact the school to FOREIGN LINKS AROUND THE GLOBE HIGHLIGHT
schedule an entry-level
assessment. ALU NI S OTLIGHT A HOT HKIN
Superintendent’s
Message
In the fall of 2016, our school board worked to
create a strategic plan that would guide our
efforts for the next three school years. We are
reflective, now that we are in the middle of our
third year, of all that we have accomplished while
we are gearing up for the next three years. Our
ultimate goal has been to make sure our kids have
big opportunities when they leave us. Through
strategic planning, we made commitments to
emphasize literacy, improve test scores, provide a
robust curriculum, provide our students with
21st-century technology, and improve our German foreign exchange students [ ]
facilities. Almost at the end of our three-year , decided to participate in
plan, the district has made significant progress. cheerleading, a sport not normally offered in their home country.
We have seen 70 additional students reach
proficiency on M-STEP from the spring of 2016.
We’ve seen an additional 50 students reach their
grade level in literacy during the same period. In
addition, we’ve been able to provide every
6th-12th grade student with a laptop while
increasing access to devices in the elementary
Concord Partners with Foreign
school. Lastly, the passage of our 2017 bond has
allowed us to begin making considerable Links Around the Globe
renovations to both of our buildings while also
providing for new furniture that will be more
conducive to the ways our students learn today. Concord is excited to announce that this year they will be teaming up again with
Foreign Links Around the Globe (FLAG) International, a nonprofit, US-based foreign
exchange program. The program allows international students from over 51 different
While our community should feel good about our countries the opportunity to study at an American school. It also gives American
progress, we believe it is only the beginning. If schools like Concord the chance to diversify their classroom and give their students
you would like to be a part of our upcoming the priceless opportunity for a cultural experience.
strategic planning efforts, please call our district
office at 524-8850. Local FLAG coordinator and Concord art teacher Brian Couling has hosted
five exchange students himself over the years. The most recent is a student from
Germany. Couling cites the personal and cultural exchange that happens between
Go Jackets, families as one of the most rewarding aspects of the experience. “It feels like we just
Mr. Dan Funston have extended our family overseas now,” Couling says.
Superintendent
Especially in modern times, with technological advancements and the increased use of
social media, it’s easy for families and exchange students to stay in contact for many
years. For Couling, one of the biggest highlights of the program is that it doesn’t just
provide a temporary cultural exchange; it also gives students and families the
opportunity to make a lifelong friendship.

Couling finds the program especially important because it gives students, who may not
have had the opportunity to travel or even leave the Michigan area, the chance to
engage with another culture. “Programs like FLAG make the world a smaller place,”
Couling says.

Though Concord’s cooperation with the FLAG exchange program has been in place for
6 years, the concept of student exchange programs was created just after World War
II in an effort to promote world peace. “These students are our future leaders,” Couling
says, “They’re learning compassion; they’re learning that people are people all over.”

While attending Concord, exchange students are strongly encouraged to participate in


sports and other extracurricular activities. In most European countries, high school
athletic teams don’t exist. For the German girls that Couling has hosted, getting to be a
part of activities like the cheer team has been a great way for them to experience
American culture and form life-long friendships with their American peers.
@DanFunston
For families interested in hosting a foreign exchange student, the requirements are
simple: you must provide a suitable place to sleep, three meals a day, transportation to
school, and a loving home for the student. “You don’t have to be rich to host an
exchange student,” Couling points out. Hosting a student is a fun, enriching experience
which can be an opportunity for almost anyone.

Programs run from January to December, or for the duration of the school year. The
students are interviewed multiple times and host families are vetted so that kids are
matched to homes where they will fit well. During the selection process, coordinators
at FLAG do their best to match families with a student who has similar hobbies and is
from a country they are interested in. This year, Couling is looking to find homes for 10
students.

To start the application process to bring an exchange student into your home, or just to
Alumni Spotlight:
Max Hotchkin

New Developments at
ABC Academy
Hotchkin and his family exploring the natural As Concord’s
wonders of Yosemite National Park. preschool springs
into a new calendar
year, director Cody
Max Hotchkin’s academic career started at Concord, Blair is excited to
where he graduated in 1997. After a year and a half at announce both the
Jackson Community College, he transferred to launch of this year’s
Michigan State, where he went on to receive a BA in ABC Academy’s
Finance. After graduating in 2002 with a Bachelor’s Summer Camp as
Degree, he eventually went on to receive a Masters of well as the unveiling
Business Administration from Grand Valley State of the Tadpoles SOURCE: www.tadpoles.com
University. Through his academic and career success, Electronic
Hotchkin credits a big part to his roots in the Concord Communications
community. system.

Now, Hotchkin works at Hilltop Securities, a public


finance group. As the Vice President of the company, Tadpoles Electronic Communication System
he helps facilitate public finance projects through
investment banking. Just this last year through his Referred to simply as “Tadpoles” for short, this innovation is an electronic
work at Hilltop Securities, Hotchkin worked with communication system that’s changing how teachers and parents interact.
Concord Community Schools to acquire the funds Each day, a report of your child’s school day is sent to you via email or the
necessary for building renovations. The renovations, Tadpoles app, which is available for both Android and Apple phones.
which are in the construction phase now, were made During the school day, teachers log information about your child’s activities,
possible by a bond that Hotchkin’s company helped the such as what they ate, how much of it was consumed, how often they went to
school secure. the bathroom, and if they took a nap.

Raised on his family’s farm in the Concord area, As the day progresses, teachers also have the ability to snap photos of your
Hotchkin reports he was responsible for many of the child interacting and participating in classroom activities. These photos are
day-to-day tasks such as feeding the animals, grinding then sent to parents through the app, so they never have to miss a minute of
the feed, and bailing hay. “I did a little bit of just about what’s happening at school.
everything,” he says. It was here that Hotchkin first
started learning the value of hard work and importance Director Blair says the new app and system is an excellent way for teachers to
of community. “Concord is a great community,” he communicate to parents they might not otherwise see. “Open communication
states. “It’s a small community, and it taught me how to really helps to make each child's preschool experience a positive one,” Blair
be community-driven and prioritize relationships.” says. He reports that parent feedback is consistently positive. “They are able
to stay connected with their child even when they are at school,” he says,
Hotchkin finds himself practicing these values and something that involves parents in the school day and helps them feel
skills even today in his current job. Now, as the Vice connected.
President of Hilltop Securities, he reports that a lot of
his duties involve communicating with superintendents ABC Academy Summer Camp Enrollment
and finance directors in order to make projects
successful. Doing that takes interpersonal skills and an On top of the integration of the Tadpoles System into the classroom, Blair is
understanding of relationships. “Building relationships also excited to announce that this March, those wishing to sign up for the
is a huge part of my role,” Hotchkin says. He credits his school’s ABC Academy Summer camp will have the opportunity to have
ability to successfully form and maintain relationships enrollment fees waived.
partially to Concord’s small community, and the way it
impacted him growing up. Located in the Elementary School’s room 307, the summer camp starts on
June 10th and runs Monday through Friday, 6 AM to 6 PM. It gives children
Although he has been in his field for a whopping 14 ages 5 to 12 the opportunity to stay engaged and active through the summer.
years, when asked about a position that influenced him, Field trips are age-based and vary, but some of the many activities include
he mentions his high school job working at the commu- kayaking, rock climbing, and zip lining. During the activities, children work on
nity’s own Concord Hills golf course. Here, he started all areas of development, from social-emotional, to math, science, literacy and
off in the cart barn washing off golf carts, and eventua- physical health.
lly moved up to working at the pro shop. He worked at
Concord Hills for nearly seven years: through high This year, programming will include drone workshops, in which children will
school as well as his first two years studying at Jackson master basic drone-flying skills, as well as claymation film making and many
Community College. “I learned a lot there,” Hotchkin field trips. Other activities include virtual interactive playgrounds, art and
says. He reports it’s where he started building the music, overnight camp-outs, and special guests.
foundation for the work ethic which would eventually
help him develop his career. The summer camp is run by the school’s own certified elementary teachers,
who design and plan the activities with learning in mind. “It’s a great
Hotchkin now lives with his family in Grand Rapids, MI. opportunity to allow kids to continue building on what they learned during the
Although he no longer resides in Concord, he reports school year, while having a ton of fun,” Blair says. Keeping kids active and
Board of Education
Concord Communtiy School District
405 S Main St, PO Box 338 Non-Profit Org.
Concord, MI 49237
US Postage
PAID
Aaron Strouss......................................................................President Fort Wayne, IN
Chriss Adams..............................................................Vice President Permit No. 649

Steve Sinden.........................................................................Treasurer
Candy McCorkle.................................................................Secretary
William Brigham.....................................................................Trustee
Jean Dobbins-Miller...............................................................Trustee
ECRWSS
Tony Brooks.............................................................................Trustee
POSTAL CUSTOMER

Contact Us
Administration Building...........................................517.524.8850
Food Service...............................................................517.990.3603
High School Office....................................................517.524.8384 Concord’s Robotics Program is
Middle School Office................................................517.524.8854
Elementary Office.....................................................517.524.6650 Wired for Success
The students
involved in
Concord
UPCOMING EVENTS Community
School’s robotics
Feb. 15..................................................1/2 Day - 11:05 AM Dismissal program are
wiring more than
Feb. 18......................................................No School - President's Day just machines
Mar. 8...................................................1/2 Day - 11:05 AM Dismissal this year; they’re
Mar. 11.......................................................................................No School learning valuable
life skills and
Mar. 15 ......................................................End of 3rd Marking Period setting
Mar. 20............................Kindergarten Parent Meeting – 6:00 PM themselves up
Mar. 29 – Apr. ........................................No School – Spring Break for success.
Apr. 17-18.........................................................Kindergarten Roundup
Apr. 19............................................................No School – Good Friday
May 4...........................................................................High School Prom
May 27........................................................No School – Memorial Day k
June 2.......................................Class of 2019 Graduation – 1:00 PM
June 3..........................................................End of 4th Marking Period k
June 6..............................Last Day of School – 11:05 AM Dismissal
k

Competitions are day-long events occurring on Saturdays, and they take place
in the fall and early winter of each year. If a team qualifies, they move on to the
state competitions that take place in mid-December. This is an achievement
that Concord’s program has achieved more than once.

Last year, Concord High School’s Full Metal Jackets robotics team conquered
competitors and moved on to participate in the FIRST Robotic World
Championship, an international high school robotics event. As a part of the
Counseling Services competition, students, mentors and coaches work diligently for a six-week
period to build game-playing robots that weigh as much as 125 lbs. The
competition took the team all the way to Detroit, where they went head-to-
head against 700 other teams and approximately 35,000 other students.

e ic l Services “Each competition has its memorable moments,” middle school robotics coach
Aimee Hawes says. “When students first start in Robotics, there’s always a lot
of trepidation and concern. They have no idea what to expect.” Hawes reports
that by the third week, the anxiety has melted away. “You can really see the
students starting to feel more confident and excited. So seeing them out there
Cin gness S C C competing on the field and doing well is really satisfying.”

Besides the real-world skills that kids in the program have the opportunity to
develop (such as CAD, programming, and engineering), they also practice
teamwork, planning, and perseverance. Together, the students must design
and then build a competitive robot that performs a specific function by a firm
deadline—a task not easily accomplished.

Like high school coach Lance Veydt says: Robotics is so much more than just an
opportunity for kids to develop their engineering and design skills; it’s also a
community-building experience. It takes a lot of imagination, communication
and teamwork to create a competitive robot. In practicing these three things,
HAVE FEEDBACK? students have the opportunity to form new friendships and sharpen their
interpersonal skills. In short, at Concord, Robotics is about community. “Our
program is a family,” Veydt says.
We welcome our readers’ letters, comments When asked if there’s anything he’d like the community to know about
ideas, or suggestions. Write to us at Editor, Concord’s robotics program, Veydt replies, “We want to thank them.” Because
of continuing community support, the robotics programs at Concord