Metro Bureau 2020 Annual Meeting
This year on May 8th our Annual Meeting looked a bit different from years past. Who knew that “Zooming” would become a common household, workplace and educational word? However, even in these times, we were still able to network, share about the past year and look toward the future together. The Metro Bureau hosted K-12, community college and university leaders; school board members; business partners; business sponsors; and guests.
We were honored to have as our keynote speaker, Congresswoman Haley Stevens, a true advocate for Michigan’s children. The Congresswoman shared her sincere gratitude for your work in public education. Joining us also was Sheila Alles, the Chief Deputy Superintendent for the Michigan Department of Education, who shared a few words regarding the department and the state of education in Michigan. Ms. Alles reminded us to “stay steady and resilient” as we address the “whole child” and the ongoing issues of the digital, racial and economic divide.
Metro Bureau Executive Board Members
Our Annual Meeting provides an opportunity for Metro Bureau member districts to elect our executive board members, and we are grateful that the following elected school leaders will serve again with us through 2022:
Mary Beth Fitzpatrick, Royal Oak Public Schools
Julie Everly, Monroe Public Schools
Paul Salah, Huron Valley Schools
Robert Shaner, Rochester Community Schools
Robert Livernois, Warren Consolidated
Gary Niehaus, Grosse Pointe Schools
Russell Pickell, Riverview Community Schools
Glenn Maleyko, Dearborn Public Schools
Gerald Hill, West Bloomfield Schools
Amy Conway, Gibraltar School District
The Executive Board has 25 members representing small and large school district members in Macomb, Monroe, Oakland, Wayne and Genesee Counties. This includes district and ISD superintendents, university deans and community college presidents. Our Executive Board meets ten times each year.
Thank you to our officers who remain in their leadership roles during the 2020-2021 school year:
- President Karl Paulson, Superintendent of the Lakeview Public Schools.
- Vice President Mark Greathead, Superintendent of Woodhaven-Brownstown Schools.
- Secretary Dr. Catherine Cost, Superintendent of Wyandotte Public Schools.
- Past President Stacey Denewith-Fici, Superintendent of the Warren Woods Public Schools.
- Treasurer Dale Steen, Superintendent Lamphere Public Schools
Special thanks to Metro Bureau Business Partners & Event Sponsors for their support throughout the 2019-2020 school year!
Wayne State University Virtual Job Fair
We were excited to partner with Wayne State University and member districts who participated in the Wayne State University Virtual Job Fair on May 1st. Metro Bureau also provided a professional development for teacher candidates called Schooling, Zooming and Interviewing in Today’s Virtual World. Topics included -What to do before the interview, Preparing for virtual interviewing, What does interviewing look like now, Questions to anticipate- big picture, Lesson design for an interview, What do we look for in our candidates, Online teaching experiences, Comments from district professionals, and so much more. Metro Bureau will continue to support teacher candidates to network with districts to fill your needed vacancies.
COVID 19 Support from French Associates
Dale Jerome of French Associates shared that they are available to the Metro Bureau and member districts as a resource as we all collectively try to navigate the response to COVID-19.
For instance, French Associates has already begun to offer social distancing maps of facilities for some of their clients to help them understand what the capacity of their buildings would be if students were required to maintain the six foot distance within classroom areas. They can provide valuable insight on facility related concerns as the districts across Michigan are struggling to develop ways to continue to provide a quality educational environment to their students.
Metro Bureau Energy Consortium:
Let us Give You a Quote
Many of you are aware that the Metro Bureau has operated a small school energy consortium over the past 26 years. This consortium, Metro Bureau Group Services (MBGS), provides natural gas and electricity for many of our member school districts at prices that are competitive with other school energy consortia in our region. To assist school districts with energy management, the Metro Bureau works with two entities: ABM Facility Services and Siemens Energy Procurement. Both companies work with school districts across the country to provide the best natural gas and electric power pricing and to reduce energy consumption by using high efficiency equipment and/or changing behavior.
This has been a very unique time for energy usage, so whether you are ready to change service providers or just want to seek quotes from multiple sources, we are always happy to provide pricing and expertise.
The Metro Bureau: Always a Great Return on Your Membership Investment
At the Metro Bureau, we help school leaders become successful by equipping your professionals with the knowledge, skills and wisdom necessary for leadership and sound decision-making. We are proud of the services we provide. The 2019-2020 school year marked another year of steady growth.
- The Bureau provides reliable information for school leaders through benchmarking surveys, seminars, workshops and bulletins.
- We believe that in order to find out what school leaders think, we must bring them together and provide ample opportunities for the expression of ideas and discourse between leaders of varying opinions.
- We give our school leaders many opportunities to lead and excel through our seminars, programs and meetings.
- Our Metro Bureau Business Partners have become valued resources to our member districts through the years, providing expertise with legal challenges, technology, energy and employee benefit purchases and keeping our school campuses safe and secure.
- Each year, graduating seniors from member school districts receive scholarships from the Metro Bureau to assist with the cost of post-secondary education. This year the Metro Bureau awarded fourteen one thousand dollar scholarships and six five hundred dollar scholarships to deserving seniors from our member districts.
- The Metro Bureau supports school boards by facilitating goal setting and planning workshops. Each workshop is customized to meet the needs of your district. We also provide a comprehensive Superintendent Search service to member school districts. Our search process is thorough and effective, utilizing networks across the state. Metro Bureau member school districts receive these services at a cost that is significantly lower than current market rates.
- Our affiliation with local community colleges and universities continues to grow. The Metro Bureau is unique among Michigan Public Education Entities in its linkage of K-12 with two of Michigan’s leading producers of school and district leaders. Our members can look forward to the benefits of firsthand information and grant opportunities from our resources in higher education.
- And finally, please remember that the Metro Bureau recognizes the difficulty of our current economy. We hope that you will permit the Metro Bureau to continue our work on your behalf by committing to a membership for the 2020-21 school year for your organization.
Council of Chief Negotiators
by Greg Baracy, Associate Executive Director
Brian Sumner, CCN Chair, Garden City Public Schools
The COVID 19 Zone
Who could have imagined that the Spring of 2020 would have been so disruptive and life-changing for the educational community and the entire country? Our order of business has been turned upside down and has left all of us frustrated--feeling a sense of emptiness and scrambling for answers.
The Coronavirus pandemic has forced us to adapt to unprecedented employment practices and the delivery of instructional methodology. The abnormal has become the new normal. The new normal is webinars, videoconferencing, zoom meetings, volumes of emails and phone calls, drive-thru food distributions for students and teachers delivering instruction by sending home learning packets, delivering on-line and distant learning lessons, and many other innovative and creative activities.
As of this writing, the Governor has enacted an unprecedented 50+ Executive Orders, including the closure of many non-essential businesses, mitigation practices, stay-at-home orders, and no large-group meetings through May 15. Only a few restrictions were relaxed on April 24. In-school person-to-person instruction has been suspended, and school buildings have shuttered for the remaining of the 2019-20 school year. This has created numerous hardships and anxiety for staff, students, and parents.
Virtual Job Fairs
March and April are typically devoted to teacher evaluations, layoff placement, teacher job fairs, hiring and the kick-off of potential bargaining with your respective EA’s. Much of this has been put on hold while we comply with the Governor’s Executive Orders. Instead, we are dealing with MOU’s, CLP’s, essential staffing criteria, distance learning stipends, and other EA demands that pertain to the COVID-19 crisis and executive orders. Additionally, the traditional person-to-person job fairs have been cancelled and have been expeditiously transitioned into virtual platforms.
Wayne State University held its virtual job fair May 1 from 9 a.m. to 11 a.m. The Metro Bureau provided all our member districts with registration information and covered the registration fee of $50 per organization. It is the Bureau’s hope to provide member districts with seamless access to the hiring of potential candidates. Over 20 member districts participated in the event. It was the Bureau’s hope during these unprecedented times to provide member districts with seamless access to the hiring of potential candidates. The Bureau extends a heartfelt thank you to the leadership team of the Wayne State College of Education for this important partnership.
Michigan State Career Services is hosted the 2020 Virtual Teacher and Administrator Career Fair in collaboration with all public universities in Michigan. This online virtual career fair was held on Monday, May 11 from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. The event provided a safe online platform that allowed candidates to connect with various employers throughout the state.
What We've Been Doing During the COVID-19 Crisis
In another effort to provide support to our member districts, the Metro Bureau partnered with the law firm of Lusk Albertson to co-host our first virtual webinar during this stay-at-home order on April 9. The webinar was “Effectively Navigating Executive Order 2020-35-District Planning, Special Education, and Labor Issues.” Over 350 professionals participated in the webinar. We extend our appreciation to Kevin Sutton and the LA Team for a job well done.
On Friday, April 24, the Bureau hosted a joint CCN-CAL zoom meeting at 9:00 a.m. This virtual meeting was also a first for our group and was facilitated by Melissa Baker, our Executive Director and Brian Sumner, our CCN chairperson. Over 85 professionals participated in the meeting. The format and agenda items were tailored to COVID-19, the Governors Executive Orders, and other issues and challenges we are all facing at this time. Along with the agenda, a pre-meeting questionnaire was sent to member districts seeking their most pressing questions. Our business partners provided guidance related to those questions submitted. Materials and Q&A’s related to the virtual meeting will be posted on the Metro Bureau website (metrobureau.org) under Resources. We thank all our member districts that submitted questions and participated in this meaningful event.
Our Last Seminar for the School Year
On May 20, 2020, the Bureau has scheduled our last regular seminar of the school year, “Challenges Associated with Attracting and Retaining Employees.” The presenters are Raymond M. Davis and Timothy T. Gardner from the Thrun Law Firm, P.C. The seminar will be held virtually. For registration materials and other valuable resources, including COVID-19 and virtual presentations, please visit our website at www.metrobureau.org on a regular basis.
The Metro Bureau team extends a deep appreciation to all our member districts, business partners and sponsors for their relentless focus, dedication, and extraordinary hard work in providing a meaningful environment of support and continuity of instruction during these unprecedented times. Until we see each other in person again, take care of yourself and family and stay safe! This too will pass.
Council of Academic Leadership
by Nancy Campbell, Associate Executive Director
Beatrice Benjamin, CAL Chair, Redford Union Schools
April/May CAL News
How are you doing? No, really, how ARE you doing? Isn’t that the question we ask every time we call someone, ZOOM, FaceTime, etc.? I know it is the first thing I say when I communicate with my family and friends. I try to imagine how you would answer that question with all the things you have on your plate right now and I bet your answers would startle me. This I know for sure – you are doing everything you can to support your teachers, your superintendent, and your students and their parents as we all transition to remote learning. You must be sleeping well after a long day of being everything to everybody but such is the job of the curriculum person in every district in America these days. At least…I hope you are sleeping well!
Wasn’t the April 24th Joint CAL/CCN Meeting great? I learned so much! When I heard everything you and your human resources person are dealing with, it made me proud of the school leaders in our MB districts. You can never get the pay or recognition you deserve but believe me, there are some people who truly appreciate your work.
I asked our Chair, Bea Benjamin, about our topic for our May 15th CAL Meeting. Bea thought it would be good to “get away” from the pandemic for even a little while and think “normally”. (I liked her word choices so much I put them in quotes.) To that end, we went back to David Hales, who was supposed to meet with us two months ago on the Social Studies Framework. Bea made a good point. No matter what school looks like in the fall, we will still be responsible for following the Michigan Standards.
David is able to be our presenter on May 15th at 9:00 a.m. so we will have a ZOOM meeting invitation go out to you several days before that. I wanted you to know now so you could put that date and time on your calendars. Feel free to prepare some questions for David.
We will have a Round Robin after the Social Studies Framework Presentation and you can share information about what is happening in your district with remote learning, as well as, seek advice from your colleagues. We are really in this unprecedented time together and although I already feel we have bonded well these past several years, I know we need to tap each other’s expertise now more than ever.
I look forward to Zooming with you on the 15th. Until then, stay home, stay safe, and stay connected.
From Our Business Partners