The Metro Bureau is a consortium of educational institutions dedicated to serving and improving  school management through unique support services, cooperative information exchange and administrative management training.
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March 2020
Sharing During This National Emergency

As I am writing this today, I cannot even imagine what you all, as school leaders, are going through. Please know we are thinking of you and the challenges of the unknown that you are facing moving forward.  We will be here for you, your students, families, and staff today, tomorrow and in the future. 

I am so impressed by the communications and opportunities for at home learning that you all are providing.  For examples, a shout out to Novi and their social network daily read alouds, Dearborn Public Schools and their detailed Q and A, and to Detroit Public TV providing educational programming. Keep up the positivity, the kindness and caring for others!  We will get through this and become even stronger together for the children of Michigan and our Nation.  Check out  #teachersareheroes for some inspiration.

This is a time for sharing and caring.  Please provide your best practices for learning and communications to us and we will blast those out to everyone.

A Focus on Educational Leaders
I have had the pleasure over the past two months to visit with many of our member districts and business partners.  My goal was to learn about your organizations and how the Metro Bureau team may serve you best.
In meeting with many I continued to hear a few common themes.  Metro Bureau serves as a service organization; a “think tank”; provides quality, timely, and valuable professional development and resources; and supports the development of educational leaders.  Staying current in educational best practices and supporting our member districts must remain our focus.

Consistent with the Metro Bureau’s mission of helping school and district leaders in the management of resources, we know that experience and advice from our business partners can offer great value to our member school districts. It also makes good business sense for our partners as it creates trusting relationships. All of our Metro Bureau business partners have been vetted and can provide you with qualified references from our region whom you know and trust. So whether you are thinking about a school bond, school safety, or are looking for assistance with your personal retirement planning, we have the right people available to you. Metro Bureau business partners offer services in maintenance and operations, learning and legal services, data and analytics, benefits, risk management, and finance. A list of our partners and contact information appears toward the end of this newsletter.  Also, please reach out to me at any time and I can help to support these conversations.

We have provided powerful and timely seminars over the past few months, with many more scheduled this spring as listed below.  (As a member service, reminder that all of our seminars are available on our website). If need be, we may also be providing staff development via online. One such seminar was Big Brother is Watching…But Should He Be? Addressing the legal implications associated with technology aimed at keeping schools safe.  This was presented by Kevin Sutton of Lusk Albertson, PLC and Mark Paliszewski of Recon Management.  The feedback was outstanding and also showed that more information and professional development is needed, including in the area of visitor management as a part of the total school security program.  Please see the document  included with this month’s newsletter authored by Mark Paliszewski of Recon Management addressing this very topic.


Council of Chief Negotiators

  by Greg Baracy, Associate Executive Director
Brian Sumner, CCN Chair, Garden City Public Schools

Preparing for Negotiations
Groundhog Day has come and gone, and old Phil didn’t see his shadow which, according to legend, means an early spring is just around the corner.  Once again, we find ourselves well into March wondering where the school year has gone.  Daylight Savings time began on March 8, and we sprang forward one hour leaving many of us trying to pick up the hour we lost.  With spring job fairs, layoff-placement, potential hiring and CBA’s expiring, where do we find the extra time?  I don’t think there is any good answer to that question.  One thing is for sure, we must keep things in perspective and proceed methodically.

Recently at one of our HR meetings it was said, “It seems like we just settled our teacher contract, and we’re gearing up for new contract negotiations again.”  Unfortunately, this has been the case with many of our bargaining units. Drawn-out negotiations, short-term contracts, and difficulty reaching settlements have put considerable pressure on our administrative teams.  Please remember, many of the circumstances leading to such frustrating bargaining is out of our control.  One seasoned HR administrator reminded us, “You can only control what you can control, and sometimes that’s not much.”  How real that can be.  Keep it in perspective!

When gearing up and preparing for negotiations remember:
  • Complete a thorough analysis of your existing contract
  • Survey your field administrators to determine where contract issues exist
  • Select your high-energy, competent and respected team members
  • Know your budget and financial projections
  • Know the cost of salary percentages, steps, insurance, days +/-, and language that impacts the budget--are there any unintended costs?
  • Share financial information and costs with union leadership
  • Make sure all prohibited subjects are out of the contract--they don’t have to be bargained out
  • Have clear goals and objectives set by the Board and Superintendent
  • Make sure your Superintendent and Board are inserviced on union pressure tactics and keep them updated (This is critically important especially if negotiations become contentious)
  • Have a positive communications strategy so all stakeholders get the same message
  • Know the surrounding settlements
  • Don’t hesitate to call a colleague for advice
  • Demonstrate calm, competency and consistency (the three C’s)
Job Fairs

Remember time is on your side--patience, patience, patience!

If that’s not enough for now, keep in mind the teacher job fairs are upon us.  The teacher shortages are real, and the competition is fierce.  Get creative and be prepared to incentivize potential offers.  The Spring 2020 schedule is as follows:

March 16    Eastern Michigan University (Canceled)
   April 16    University of Michigan
   April 20    Michigan State University
   April 21     Central Michigan University
   April 22    Western Michigan University
       May 1     Wayne State University

Lastly, keep in mind that the Metro Bureau services can help you in your endeavors.  Current regional enrollment trends are now available on our website, along with other relevant survey information at  Good luck with your hiring and negotiations.

Seminar Series

The following Metro Bureau seminars are being offered: 

Wed, April 15, 2020 READY Mathematics – Strategies for Facilitating Rich Conversations in the Discourse-Driven Mathematics Classroom (Breakfast & Learn-Free to attend RSVP required)
Presenters: Elizabeth Peyser of Curriculum Associates
Location: Wayne County Community College District – Ted Scott Center, Belleville, MI
Tues, April 28, 2020 Title IX: Regulations & Investigation Protocols
Presenters: Lorie Steinhauer, John Kava, and Jeremy Chisholm of Collins & Blaha, P.C.
Location: Schoolcraft College – VisTaTech Center, Livonia, MI
Stay tuned to the Metro Bureau Website— for additional information; and remember, don’t hesitate to let us know if you have any suggestions and/or ideas regarding future seminars. Wishing you all the best!


Council of Academic Leadership

  by Nancy Campbell, Associate Executive Director
Beatrice Benjamin, CAL Chair, Redford Union Schools
Monday Musings

Who would have dreamt we would be where we are today?  No school, no travel, no toilet paper?  I only know your plates are full in working with staff on e-learning and wondering when this quarantine will end.  I know we would all prefer to get things back to normal as soon as possible. 

I am wondering if you would like to share what you are doing to provide student lessons to parents as they work with their children.  I know my four grandchildren started “school” at 9:00 am on Monday, March 16th and my daughter is the new “lunch lady” at noon.  She says they are not going to have a great lunch if they aren’t able to show an appreciable amount of work.  (I am not kidding!)  If you would like to share how you are assisting parents, please send me an email by the end of this week and I will compile the information and send it your way early next week.
On another note, our March CAL Meeting is cancelled so we will look at rescheduling David Hales, Wayne RESA’s Social Studies Consultant, in April (or whenever we are back to work).  We also will have a discussion on the Kindergarten Readiness Assessment when next we meet.   For now, I want to thank Troy School District for the terrific February CAL Meeting they hosted at their Early Childhood Center.  What a facility and what great programs! 

Now I want to switch gears since I have had time to read some articles in Ed Week.  You may have seen this one too but it really touched me so I just want to share the essence of it.  The article is titled, “The Myth Fueling Math Anxiety,” by Sarah D. Sparks (January 7. 2020). 

“Emerging cognitive and neuroscience research finds that math anxiety is not just a response to poor math performance – in fact, 4 out of 5 students with math anxiety are average-to-high math performers.  Rather, math anxiety is linked to higher activity in areas of the brain that relate to fear of failure BEFORE a math task, not DURING it.  This fear takes up mental bandwidth during a math task – creating, for example, suddenly feeling blank and unable to think.  In turn, that discomfort tends to make those with math anxiety more reluctant to practice math, which then erodes confidence and skill.  In part for that reason, anxiety has been linked to worse long-term performance in math than in other academic subjects like reading.  But unlike reading, seen as a joy and necessity for all children, math too often has been ‘feared and revered’ as a frustrating, boring, mostly irrelevant subject for all but a few elite students with inborn talent.” 

I never considered myself a math person when I was in school but I honestly think I wasn’t willing to work through challenging lessons way back when.  I am different now.  I love a challenge (taking piano, learning how to play bridge, playing golf) and I believe in the “journey”. 

Oh well, enough ramblings for today.  You have your own challenges right now and I can bet you are trying your best not to be anxious about what the next several weeks and months may bring.  If I can do anything to help you, feel free to send me an email at


From Our Business Partners

Courtesy of George Butler
Legal FYI
2020 PA 37
Freedom of Information Act—amended to allow a state agency to make its publications available in electronic format (HB 4444; eff. 3/3/20).

2020 PA 38
Freedom of Information Act—amended to expand the scope of "nonpaper physical media" for the purpose of calculating a public body's fee for searching for and providing a public record (HB 4445; eff. 3/3/20).

2020 PA 45
Construction of School Buildings Act—amended to allow temporary door-barricade devices to be installed in school buildings (HB 4689; eff. 6/1/20).


Visit to register for an event or click on the link below to download registration information.

Non Members
Click on the link  below to download registration information.


April 15, 2020
READY Mathematics – Strategies for Facilitating Rich Conversations in the Discourse-Driven Mathematics Classroom (Breakfast & Learn-Free to attend RSVP required) featuring  Elizabeth Peyser of Curriculum Associates. This event is being held at the Ted Scott Center on the campus Wayne County Community College District in Belleville, MI

April 28, 2020
Title IX: Regulations & Investigation Protocols
featuring Lorie Steinhauer, John Kava, and Jeremy Chisholm of Collins & Blaha, P.C..  This seminar is being held at the  VisTaTech Center on the campus of Schoolcraft College in Livonia, MI

May 8, 2020
73rd Annual Meeting and Dinner (member districts only)
The dinner meeting will be held at the Detroit Athletic Club.  Invitations will be going out later this month!  This year’s special guest speaker will be the honorable Haley M. Stevens, United States House of Representatives from Michigan's 11th Congressional District.

If you have a topic that you would like the Metro Bureau to present a seminar on, please contact:
Melissa Baker at
Greg Baracy at

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Metro Bureau Business Partners are a valuable asset. Not only to they support the Metro Bureau financially, but each Metro Bureau business partner:
  • Has expertise within their field that school district leaders need and want
  • Enjoys a superior reputation in providing high quality service to school districts in our region
  • Is willing to consult with any Metro Bureau member for little or no cost
  • Supports public education in Michigan.

Operations:  Campus Safety - Construction - Cost Control - Energy - Facility Design-Restoration


Barton Malow has been in business for 95 years and we are privileged to serve many repeat educational clients. As your single source of contact for all your program related needs we provide outstanding service and go the extra mile to develop long-term partnerships with all of our clients. Please give us a call to find out how we can help your District. 
Michael E. Stobak, Vice President
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CenterPoint Energy's primary businesses include: electric transmission and distribution, natural gas distribution, and natural gas sales and services.

John Holdsworth, Account Executive
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French Associates Architects
French Associates-Architects, Educational Facility Planners, Campaign Strategists ... we're everything you need us to be.

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McCarthy & Smith, Inc. has built strong communities since 1965.  Specializing in the construction and renovation of facilities.
Deborah McCarthy
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Before you make a move, let us uncover every real estate opportunity
Paul  Wills
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Recon Management Group, LLC provides local, national, and international security services to virtually every type of organization, public and private, throughout the United States and abroad.
Mark Paliszewski, Director, Consulting & Investigative Group
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Oil & Gas:  Fueling Efficiency

Isaac Hawthorne, Client Service Manager
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We're in the Business of Keeping you in Business

Don Bluhm, Director of Operations, Michigan
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Learning Services

Making Classrooms Better Places for Teachers and Students

Jeff Tompkins, Education Sales Consultant-Michigan
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Your Partner in K-12 Online Learning Solutions

Amy Jarvis, Account Executive
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"The Effective Urban Educator: Reflective, Innovative and Committed to Diversity,"

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Specializing in education law

Gary Collins and William Blaha
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Dickinson Wright

Providing legal services to schools, colleges, and universities.

Analytics and Data
Eidex offers cloud-based software platforms that provides stunningly clear analytics to help school leaders solve problems.

Doug LeFleur
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Munetrix Educational Data Platform
Say hello to easy! Munetrix collects and aggregates the essential data a school district needs to share its impact on fiscal and academic outcomes.  We put the data at your fingertips so you can spend more time on what matters, educating kids. Munetrix = Easy.
Bob Kittle, President
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Benefits & Risk Management

Benefits & Risk Management
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Financial Services

We believe the strategic combination of Umbaugh and Baker Tilly has created one of the largest, most experienced independent municipal advisory teams available to governmental units. Together, we bring more capabilities and resources, and will continue providing the same level of service you’ve come to expect with a purpose to enhance and protect our client’s value, now and for tomorrow.

Jesse Nelson, Partner
Mark Rochford, Sr. Managing Consultant
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Supporting public education since 1969
One of the largest independent providers of retirement services for educators in the market place today.

Mike McEvilly
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HilltopSecurities’ established underwriting desk works with issuers across the country. Our nationwide underwriting, sales, and trading staff leverage the firm’s capital commitment, national distribution network, and the robust resources of Hilltop Holdings to help connect your issue with the right investors. Member: NYSE/FINRA/SIPC

Craig Kahler, Managing Director-Public Finance
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Assisting in creating solid retirement plans.

Michael Pesendorfer, CRC®, President
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PFM is the nation’s largest and most active financial advisor to public agencies, including k-12 schools, according to Refinitiv, in terms of par amount and number of issues as of December 31, 2018.  Our Ann Arbor office experienced professionals include 9 registered municipal advisory representatives that have over 170 years of combined Michigan municipal advisory expertise.
Kari L. Blanchett, Managing Director
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