January 10, 2016

Hello BCS!


It was another great week at BCS!  Smiles, energy and a passion to learn remained evident. Please be sure to check out some pictures from the week on the Birmingham Covington School Facebook page.  Congratulations to our January Student Spotlight, Eloise W! Please click here to read all about Eloise.  If your child is interested in being the February Student Spotlight, please click Student Spotlight, complete the form and submit it by Friday, January 29, 2016.


Our BCS Middle School Science Olympiad Team had a great showing yesterday in Indiana.  Following are the preliminary results from the competition held at Valparaiso University.  We’ll share the complete results, along with how BCS finished, next week.

1st Place Finishes

  • Food Science - Ania & Vivian
  • Experimental Design - Dhravid , Zoe & Shin Be
  • Invasive Species - Vivian & Ania
  • Mission Possible - Kate & Phillip
  • Road Scholar - Toland
  • Scrambler - Nadim & Anthony

2nd Place Finishes

  • Crime Busters - Kate & Vivian
  • Dynamic Planet - Nick H & Phillip

3rd Place Finishes

  • Anatomy - Kate & Nick C
  • Disease Detectives - Madeline & Nick C
  • Road Scholar - Nick H & Shin Be
  • Crave the Wave - Ania & Madeline

Congratulations students, coaches and parent volunteers!


Spring 2015 M-STEP Student Results are coming home soon! The Michigan Student Test of Educational Progress (M-STEP) was administered to students in grades 3-8 and grade 11 in the spring of 2015. Your child’s test results will be mailed to you on January 15. In that packet you will find a document from the Michigan Department of Education that explains the new M-STEP and answers some key questions about test administration. This assessment will not be used for any accountability as this is a new testing system. The spring 2015 data will serve as baseline data, and results will not be used for accountability until 2017.


The M-STEP replaced the long-standing Michigan Educational Assessment Program tests (MEAP tests) and included online testing at grades 3-8 and 11. The results of the 2015 M-STEP should not be compared to the results of the MEAP that your child may have taken during the 2013-14 school year. The M-STEP measures a higher set of academic standards and uses new question types that better reflect real world skills, like critical thinking and problem solving. As a result of these differences, M-STEP and MEAP scores are not comparable.


M-STEP tests were designed around the current Michigan State Standards, including the Common Core State Standards for English Language Arts and Mathematics, as well as the grade level content expectations for science and social studies. Depending on the grade of your child, he or she may have participated in the following assessments:

Grade 3:          English Language Arts, Math

Grade 4:          English Language Arts, Math, Science

Grade 5:          English Language Arts, Math, Social Studies

Grade 6:          English Language Arts, Math

Grade 7:          English Language Arts, Math, Science

Grade 8:          English Language Arts, Math, Social Studies

Grade 11:        English Language Arts, Math, Science, Social Studies


Scores of 4, 3, 2, or 1 reflect your child’s level of proficiency in each test he or she took last spring. These scores are called Performance Levels:

            Advanced                    4

            Proficient                    3

            Partially Proficient      2

            Not Proficient              1

When you receive your child’s report after January 15, you will notice in English language arts and mathematics, Claims are used to organize groups of assessment targets. Levels of proficiency on Claims are indicated as a green check if the student is near/at or above proficiency in that Claim, and as a red X if the student is below proficiency in that Claim. Please note that the overall Performance Level for English language arts or mathematics cannot be calculated using the checkmarks or X’s associated with each Claim within those tests.


Birmingham Public Schools uses a variety of tests to measure student progress and to monitor growth in each subject. The M-STEP from spring 2015 is just one of those measures. Other district measures include Northwest Evaluation Association (NWEA) Measure of Academic Progress (MAP) for reading and mathematics in grades 3-8 and reading in grade 9, and Fountas and Pinnell Benchmark Assessment for reading in grades K-5. Classroom assessments may include projects, unit assessments, and daily work. Our teachers use a variety of measures to monitor performance on a daily basis to determine the best way to support and enrich their students’ learning experiences. Combined with a focus on high quality instruction, this assessment program provides a challenging learning environment for our students.


As you examine your child’s M-STEP scores, it is important to keep in mind that this is a single data point for your child on a new state test. As we continue to focus our teaching and learning around meeting state standards for academic achievement, it is important that you provide encouragement for your child to continue reflecting on the progress he or she is making in all the work he or she is doing in the classroom.


Overall, our BCS students continue to perform very well in comparison to other schools and districts across the state. We are proud of the achievement our students demonstrate on a daily basis. Through the commitment of our staff and the continuous improvement we strive to make in curriculum, professional learning for teachers, and ongoing growth for all learners, we are meeting the needs of every child.


I invite any questions you may have about the new M-STEP and the level of proficiency your child has achieved. Please do not hesitate to contact your child’s classroom teacher, Tamra Nast, Karen Sivwright, Jason Hill or me with questions.


BCS is a great place to be!  We’re looking forward to another great week of learning at BCS!


Wishing you well,

Mark Morawski


@mark_morawski #BCSLearns



Like BCS on Facebook!

Like BCS 20 Year Celebration on Facebook!


Character Connections Word of the week: CARING

Infuse this word into your conversations/lessons with your family as a character education focus.  Talk about the quotes.  There will be a new word every two weeks.

·         “Too often we underestimate the power of a touch, a smile, a kind word, a listening ear, an honest compliment, or the smallest act of caring, all of which have the potential to turn a life around.” Leo Buscaglia

·         “Never believe that a few caring people can't change the world. For, indeed, that's all who ever have.”Margaret Mead

·         “A smile is the light in your window that tells others that there is a caring, sharing person inside.”Denis Waitley


5/6 Grade Disability Awareness Workshop


“This is an amazing learning and empathy-building experience for our students, and we cannot do it without your help.  Please click here to sign up to volunteer for this incredible experience for our students.  You’ll love it!”

- Mark Morawski, principal

The Disability Awareness Workshop will be presented to all BCS 5/6 grade students on Wednesday, January 27th (Brown/Leach, Burdick/Burns) and Thursday, January 28th (Cook/Lowery, Joseph/Warner).  This program is a hands-on, activity-based workshop to help students understand how difficult and complex daily living can be for individuals with disabilities.  The program includes activities centered on an empathetic understanding of physical, speech, hearing, vision and learning impairments.  The students participate in a wheelchair obstacle course, wear glasses that give them momentary vision impairments, experience speaking with an electric larynx and experience several reading disabilities.  The goal is for the students to learn through this hands-on experience that people should be respected no matter how they may look, act, walk or talk.  Please consider volunteering to help with the workshop.  We need to fill 30 short volunteer shifts each day, so please sign up for more than one shift if you are able.  It is a fun and meaningful experience for volunteers as well as for the students.  To sign up http://www.signupgenius.com/go/10c0f4baead2ea13-disabilities .  Please contact Nicole Corum at nikkifu@aol.com for more information.



CECAC, a community school advisory group, is conducting a community survey to help inform the BPS Board of Education. Please take a moment to take the community survey linked here or on our website. You’ll have an opportunity to expand on your answers and help us improve our district work. The survey can be found here.  The survey will close on Monday, Feb. 1, 2016.


WEEK AT A GLANCE – Week of January 11-17

To submit an item for next week’s “WAG”, email cbassett@birmingham.k12.mi.us by WEDNESDAY at 5PM

Monday, January 11

§  BLAST Prize Collection Begins (Front Office, see below for more information)

·         7-8AM 7th Grade Boys Basketball Practice

·         3:25PM National Geographic Spelling Bee

·         4:15PM Girls Swim Meet – Home vs. East Hills MS

·         4:15PM 8th Grade Boys Basketball Practice

Tuesday, January 12

·         3:30-8:20PM BCS Snow Club (Pine Knob)

·         4PM Boys Basketball Game – Home vs. Berkshire

·         4:15-5:30PM Girls Swim Practice

·         7:30PM Blast Meeting (Media Center)

Wednesday, January 13

·         7-8AM 7/8 Boys Basketball Practice

·         4:15PM Girls Swim Meet – Away @ Berkshire

·         6PM Public Lottery for 2016-17 School Year (Cafeteria)

Thursday, January 14

·         4PM Boys Basketball Game – Away @ West Hills MS

·         4:15-5:30PM Girls Swim Practice

·         7PM Seaholm 8th Grade Parent Curriculum Night @ Seaholm

Friday, January 15

·         7-8AM 7/8 Boys Basketball Practice

·         4:15PM Girls Swim Meet – Away @ Berkshire

Saturday, January 16

Sunday, January 17



Chartwells- BPS Food Service-click -WEEKLY MENU  - for updates click NEWSLETTER or BREAKFAST MESSAGE



Congratulations to our January Student Spotlight, Eloise W.!! Please click here to read all about Eloise. If your child is interested in being the February Student Spotlight, please click Student Spotlight, complete the form and submit it by Friday, January 29, 2016.



This is a unique time to donate prizes for our very own school carnival.  A bin will be placed in the office for *new, *unopened, *unused toys, games, books, crafts, gift cards and prizes on January 11.  Suggested values to be between $1 to $35 for the Blast Prize Room.  Age appropriate would be elementary through teen.  Any donations remaining after the Blast will be donated to The Bottomless Toy Chest.  Contact Stephanie Co at tylerandgavinsmom@gmail.com or 248.416.7447 with any donation-related questions or for early contributions.  Thanks for your support!



Tickets go on sale Thursday, January 14. More information can be found here. Questions?  Email bcs.aladdinjr@gmail.com.



The BCS National Junior Honor Society is helping to coordinate a district wide community service project for Disaster Relief at Work, or DRAW.  DRAW is an organization created to help victims of natural disasters.  To do this, they collect supplies and donate them to these families.  They meet the needs of the victims of natural disasters across the United States as quickly and efficiently as possible, by showing up, bringing buckets filled with necessary supplies, and working hand in hand with the survivors. They’ve helped clean up after storms in Little Rock, Arkansas, Jean Lafitte, Louisiana, Moore, Oklahoma, and even here in Oakland County during the summer of 2014.  This organization is completely dependent on the contributions of thousands of people, including us!  BCS will be donating towels, wash cloths, nail clippers and tooth brushes to DRAW to help provide relief for these people.  Hopefully, these donations will bring these survivors one step closer to living a normal life.  Collection will take place January 4-15, 2016. Collection bins will be located outside the front office. After collections take place, BPS families will be encouraged to help assemble the disaster relief buckets on January 18, 1:00-3:00pm at Berkshire Middle School. Sign up to be part of this wonderful service project and earn community service hours, just follow the Signup Genius:  http://www.bit.ly/bpsdraw.  Thank you, and don't forget to bring in towels, wash cloths, nail clippers and tooth brushes!


Please consider volunteering at this worthwhile hands-on disability workshop for all 5th and 6th grader. Sign up here



As a reminder, the only way to ensure your student gets a yearbook is to preorder one! Now through February 5, a BCS yearbook is $40. Purchase one online here. Ad space for proud parents is available in the BCS yearbook as well! Purchase and design your ad directly from Jostens using a credit or debit card. The deadline to place a personal ad in the 2015-16 yearbook is January 31, 2016.



We are just coming back from a festive season, but it is also a cold and flu season.   Please help us stop the spreading of illness by keeping sick kids home.  Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (MDHHS) recommends all individuals stay home until they are fever free for at least 24 hours (without fever reducing medicines).  The following statement comes from the MDHHS:

Symptoms of influenza can include fever, cough, sore throat, body aches, headache, runny nose, tiredness and   occasionally diarrhea and vomiting.  MDHHS urges people who become ill to stay home from work or school until they are fever free for at least 24 hours without using fever-reducing medications.

The first line of defense is to keep the illness out of the building.  Your support to keep your children’s classmates from getting in contact with a sick child is appreciated by staff, students and parents!



For your personal reference please review the attendance policies and procedures bulleted below.

·         ALL students who will be absent or tardy must be reported by parent/guardian to the attendance office by 8:45 a.m. each day.

·         Absences or tardies not reported to the BCS attendance office will be recorded as unexcused (please note that sending a note to your child’s teacher does not excuse your child. Always contact the attendance office first in the event of a student absence).

·         In the event of an absence please send a detailed email to bcsattendance@birmingham.k12.mi.us with the following information:

o   Student name and homeroom/academic lab teacher

o   Will the student be absent or tardy?

o   How long will the student be absent?

o   Reason for absence or tardiness:

§  Appointment (a doctor’s note is necessary for your child to be considered Excused Exempt if at ortho, dentist, pediatrician, etc.)

§  Bereavement

§  Religious Holiday

§  Vacation

§  Illness, please be as specific as possible

·         If Email is unavailable, please call 248-203-4444, press 2, follow the phone prompts, and provide the information above. The phone system does not accept text messages.

·         Extended Absence Requests: Students who have planned absences of more than 2 days need to submit an Extended Absence Request Form to the office to be signed.

Thank you for following these procedures, as it ensures your student’s absence or tardy will be recorded properly. To review the districts entire attendance policy and to see an explanation of what qualifies an absence to be Excused Exempt please click here.


7/8 NEWS


The deadline to recognize your student with a message in the 2016 yearbook is quickly approaching!  We have partnered with Jostens to make it easy for you to create a custom ad to recognize your student.  The deadline to complete and purchase your recognition ad is January 31.  Please click on the link below to upload photos, add your personal message and purchase your recognition ad.  Please contact ADD YOUR CONTACT INFO HERE if you have any questions.  Again-the deadline to complete and purchase your recognition ad is January 31. Click here to create your parent ad.



Please plan to attend the 8th Grade Parent Night at Groves High School on Wednesday, January 20th from 7:00 to 9:15 pm in the Groves Auditorium. Parents will have the opportunity to learn about the high school scheduling process and the courses available for freshman. Department Heads from each subject area will explain freshman class offerings and give an overview of four year academic plans. Please review the 9th grade course catalogue and bring it with you for reference.  8th grade students will meet high school counselors prior to this meeting and receive scheduling information. Excel 9 is a cross disciplinary team taught Social Studies/English class offered in 9th grade.  A presentation and question and answer session will be held beginning at 6:15 for parents interested in knowing more about this program.



You are invited to attend a very important presentation about the curriculum at Seaholm.  Please join us for the 8th Grade Parent Curriculum Night on January 14 at 7:00 PM. There will be a presentation preceding the general meeting on FLEX and English/Social Studies options from 6:00 – 6:45 PM.



The Birmingham Unified Kings announce Middle School Week with 2 great events: All prospective players currently in grades 7 & 8 are invited to practice with the BU JV team on Tuesday, January 19, 3:40 pm at the Troy Sports Center. All levels of players are welcome, from House to AAA.  On Saturday, Jan 23, come to the BU double-header as the JV team plays Grosse Pointe South at 6:40 and the Varsity team battles Royal Oak at 8:30, both at the Birmingham Ice Arena. All students are admitted free and there will be fun events and giveaways for all middle schoolers. Go to www.buvarsity.com for more details.



If your son is interested in playing soccer at Seaholm High School next Fall (2016), please send your contact information toSeaholmBoysSoccer@gmail.com to be added to the soccer distribution list. In the coming months, we will have information about pre-season Captains practices, summer soccer camp and other details about the Seaholm Boys Soccer program. In addition, in January, we will host pizza lunches at Derby and BCS to let the 8th graders meet some of the varsity players for a Q&A session.



The 8th Grade Celebration committee is looking for volunteers interested in helping with the 8th grade graduation ceremony and dance.  If you’re interested in serving on a committee, please email Julie Karmanos at juliekarmanos@gmail.com.   It would be great to have a few 7th grade parents participate who are interested in taking the lead next year.




Frishman, Seley, Maliszewski, and ParWall 3 will SWIM.

Butzin, Davis, Harvath, and ParWall 4 will be in the GYM.




Thursday, Jan. 28th, 6-8 pm at Oakland Schools - Dr. Marc Brackett, Director of the Yale Center for Emotional Intelligence, is coming back to Oakland Schools, and this time he’s putting on a two-hour program in the evening for all parents.  This is not warm-and-fuzzy, touchy-feely stuff.  It’s sensible and grounded in research. And, it’s free. Registration link.



Learn what YAB teens have to say to PARENTS on talking to your teens about drugs and alcohol: visit BBCC’s Q&A section at: http://tinyurl.com/onmcpo7 

BBCC is featured in Crain’s Detroit Giving Guide 2015… Check out the article here… http://tinyurl.com/prp2tnm

Teen Talent Palooza & FUNdraiser… Friday, January 15, 7:30 – 10:30 p.m. at the “new” Bloomfield Hills High School. Wanted: high school teens with a talent to perform AND families to attend. Something for everyone this evening. For more info visit www.bbcoalition.org.  

For more info on substance abuse prevention focused on our youth visit www.bbcoalition.org 



The highly acclaimed and ever-popular Blackthorn will perform on Saturday, January 16, 2016 at 7:30 p.m. in the Groves Little Theater. The group, featuring Belfast native and lead vocalist Richard McMullan, treats audiences to a rich blend of traditional and contemporary Irish music, as well as Blue Grass and American folk songs. McMullan, World Language Department Head and teacher at Groves High School, returns with his group to play at Groves for the 16th year with proceeds benefiting the Senior All Night Party. Tickets are $25 and available for purchase in the Groves High School Main Office (248.203.3500) or by emailing blackthorntickets@gmail.com. See flyer here.



The Muslim Unity Center in Bloomfield Hills is inviting you, their friends and neighbors, to join them every third Thursday for a coffee and chat. This is an opportunity to socialize and learn more about one another on a personal level. Coffees will be held at the Unity Café at 1830 W. Square Lake Rd, Bloomfield Hills, MI 48322 from 6-7pm every third Thursday of the month (next meeting is January 21). See the flyer here.



Birmingham Community Education offers a series of day camps throughout Mid-Winter Break for grades K-5 at Berkshire Middle School. See the flyer here.



The Michigan Snowsports Industries Association (MSIA) is proud to present a program that helps kids “get out, have fun, get healthy!” this winter on Michigan ski slopes and trails. MSIA’s “Cold is Cool” program is dedicated to improving the health of Michigan’s children by offering low cost and FREE skiing and snowboarding activities. See more information here.


For additional District and Event News, Athletics Community Sports Groups Information click BPS District eNews


To review the District’s Non-Discrimination policy, click here