By Megan Kelley
LAKE ORION — During its meeting on Aug. 9, the Lake Orion Community Schools Board of Education heard about the district’s year two objectives and summer progress updates.
With school starting on Sept. 5, LOCS administration is gearing up for another year of continuing to implement their new strategic plan.
In April of 2022, the Board of Education approved the new strategic plan. Since then, the district has held several progress update meetings on the work they have done during the first year.
In the strategic plan, Lake Orion focuses on five main areas: Academics and Programs, Communications and Community Engagement, Operations, Learning Environment and Culture, and Personnel and Leadership.
1. Academics and Programs
Goal Statement: “Lake Orion Community Schools will increase opportunities and flexibility for all Dragons.”
This focus area includes: scheduling, curriculum, world skills and technology
Plans for year two include continuing to gauge student interest at the beginning of the year and continue to promote activities to students and families with the hopes of getting students involved in at least one extra curricular activity.
The district has been working to get information out to students and families regarding scheduling and program opportunities and will continue to do so during the upcoming school year.
The online lab for students to take classes online is now up and running.
Moving forward, they plan to look into potentially offering in-person summer school and credit recovery during the school year at the high school.
c) World Skills
Earlier this summer, the Board of Education approved the district’s first international travel trip to London, Paris and Normandy. According to Assistant Superintendent of Teaching and Learning, Heidi Mercer, the trip already has several families committed to the trip.
They will likely approve another international trip after the start of the school year and could potentially approve one more trip for a total of three international trips.
In July, LOCS switched to All Covered for their technology needs and hired Craig Schoon to fill the new position as Director of Technology.
2. Communication and Community Engagement
Goal Statement: “Lake Orion Community Schools will enhance district communications and increase community engagement in schools.”
This focus area includes: adult enrichment and community connections
a) Adult Enrichment
The district is working toward offering courses based on community interest.
b) Community Connections
Over the summer, LOCS created a Dragon Community Champions schedule and has continued their partnership with GMB and Meijer in Orion Township for beautification projects.
They have also made initial connection with alumni and are looking forward to strengthening the connection
Goal Statement: “Lake Orion Community Schools will maintain and enhance operations and facilities.”
This focus area includes: general fund operating millage, sinking fund millage, alternative revenue sources, manage district bond projects and future bond projects.
a) General Fund Operating millage and Sinking Fund millage
Lake Orion is expecting to finalize an election plan for bringing both a general fund operating and sinking fund millage to voters for the next election cycle.
During the meeting, the board and administration discussed potential levys, looking at 21 mills for the general fund millage and 1.8862 mills for the sinking fund millage.
Administration will likely bring the plan to the board for review and possible approval at the next meeting on Aug. 23.
b) Alternative Revenue Sources
Since May, the district has added three additional schools to the Shared Time Services.
d) Manage District Bond Projects
LOCS is continuing to provide oversight and provide financial management of bond projects.
e) Future Bond Projects
This summer, Blanche Sims Elementary is expected to wrap up construction and have new furniture installed in the new building.
In 2024, Paint Creek Elementary will have their renovation and Oakview and Waldon Middle Schools will be remodeled and have additional sitework.
In 2025, work on the CERC building will take place as will construction at Lake Orion High School along with the football stadium.
If funds are available in 2026, they will have work done to the administration building and Moose Tree Center.
4. Learning Environment and Culture
Goal Statement: “Lake Orion Community Schools will provide a learning environment where all students and staff feel safe, supported, honored and respected.”
This focus area includes individualized instruction. SEL, DEI, learning environment, professional development, mental health
a) Individualized Instruction
LOCS administration has begun meeting with the new Special Education Director about ongoing training and met with the High School principal about Multi Tiered Support Systems.
b) SEL (Social Emotional Learning)
Over the summer, the district has met with Navigate 360 to continue to provide additional threat assessment training for staff. End of the year SAEBRS data has also been presented.
c) DEI (Diversity, Equity and Inclusion)
District administration met with the Orion Township Public Library this summer to discuss joint programming around Martin Luther King Day.
d) Learning Environment
The district has introduced a parent resource book and is working with the North Oakland Community Coalition to put together a Parent University regarding Vaping and No Vape November.
e) Professional Development
LOCS has created their professional development calendar for the upcoming school year.
f) Mental Health
The Wellbeing Committee has been created and is set to meet on Sept. 26.
5. Personnel and Leadership
Goal Statement: “Lake Orion Community Schools will attract, retain and value exceptional staff.”
This focus area includes recruitment, negotiations, staff recognition and leadership development.
LOCS is continuing to work with Oakland University to establish field placements for student teachers and is preparing for a job fair.
The Board of Education has approved contracts with both LOEA and LOSA. Additional negotiations will continue with AFSCME and Child Care contracts throughout the next year with meetings taking place this summer.
c) Staff Recognition
The new Assistant Superintendent of Human Resources Adam Weldon is continuing to work with committees to bring forward new ways of staff recognition. A retirement banquet was also held earlier this summer.
d) Leadership Development
Over the summer, LOCS held a planning discussion regarding leadership capacity and plans to continue to explore options to create more leadership opportunities for those interested.
For more information about the district’s strategic plan visit the district website at www.lakeorionschools.org/district/strategic-plan.