September 11, 2016

Hello BCS!


As I eagerly await the first day of school on Tuesday and finish completing our first WAG (week-at-a-glance) of the year, I find myself growing increasingly excited to welcome our students and families back to the 2016-2017 school year! When referring to our dynamic school community, you may hear me regularly use the word “partner”.  Generally defined, partner is a person who takes part in an undertaking with another or others.  We are indeed partners in supporting the learning and development, together, for our students.  Each year I am energized to partner with our faculty, staff, community and you to further support our BCS vision, mission, values and beliefs serving our students with our innovative learning community. Our collaborative culture at BCS sets us apart from others to be sure, but, more important, this collaborative partnership supports the success of each of the students we serve.


A new school year allows us another opportunity to reconnect to our vision and inspire those students we serve “to lead in the global community through a passion for learning, innovating, and inquiry & design.” To that end, let’s embrace together this year’s theme: At BCS We Value the 3E’s!


Aligned with this theme, we will continue living into our vision through our focus in the areas of inquiry-based interdisciplinary learning, leveraging technology purposefully, and building global competencies.  Additionally, our BCS Interdisciplinary Themes (Cycle 2) for 2016-17 (3/4 Patterns; 5/6 Interdependence; 7/8 Diversity: A Matter of Perspective) will help us connect our daily learning across all disciplines. Project-based learning is a key strategy to support interdisciplinary learning and build global competencies by connecting our learning with partners locally here in metropolitan Detroit or globally with Project COPE (Chilupula) Zambia, The Olympia Schools (Hanoi, Vietnam) or beyond.  These are ways we begin to live into our BCS vision of creating leadership in a global world through inquiry and design (project/service-based learning) – a sustained, focused, long-term relationship with communities near and abroad.


Finally, as the weeks unfold, we will be regularly referencing and infusing Our Moral Compass and the 3 E’s (education, environment, and each other) into the building at all levels. Our students working together as leaders, learners, and collaborators with a positive attitude, honesty & integrity, respect & kindness, and responsibility & accountability is a key foundation of BCS.  This type of work and self-discipline will continue to guide our students on the path to being global citizens who move forward with both intention and purpose. (Moral Compass poster and description)


We are ready indeed for a great year of learning and our faculty and staff is just about set. Check out our Birmingham Covington School Facebook page to see just how excited we are! Following are the staffing changes to our team since my early august letter to families (see later in the WAG for more details on these two individuals): 

·       Terry Bulgarelli – long-term guest teacher for Mandy Pantuso through early October

·       Megan Cox – psychologist

·       Rhonda Ernst – technology operations assistant

We are adding these two fantastic people to our dynamic BCS community! Please be sure to extend your heartfelt BCS welcome to them if you have not yet had the opportunity. 


Heavy Traffic Daily at Arrival and Dismissal – Like all schools, arrival and dismissal time bring heavy traffic and congestion around our campus. If you will be dropping off or picking up your child…

·       Please be PATIENT & KIND and drive with the utmost caution (invoke your inner penguin from the film Madagascar, Just smile and wave, boys, smiles and wave.

·       BOTH drop-off loops are available – the one accessed from Quarton and the one accessed from Covington.  Feel free to use either one.

·       Allow for EXTRA time in the mornings and afternoons as traffic will be heavy.  Be patient and consider dropping off your child earlier than normal in the mornings.  Remember, students can arrive after 7:30 AM and go to the cafeteria until 8:00 AM at which time they can head to their lockers. The start of the school day is 8:18 AM. Students arriving after this time need to stop in the office and they are considered tardy. Please park in designated areas if you wish to walk in or extend your morning goodbyes.  The first day, in particular will be particularly busy as we welcome families to a great new year.

·       If your child will be taking the bus in the mornings, shuttle bus departure schedules are as follows (all students must be on time; these buses cannot wait for late students/parents):

1.     From Berkshire Middle School – 7:55 AM

2.     From Derby Middle School – 7:55 AM

3.     From Greenfield Elementary School – 7:48 AM

4.     From West Maple Elementary School – 7:48 AM

5.     From Midvale Center – 7:55 AM

Below are links to additional information you will find helpful.  Thank you in advance for taking precautions at these busy times of day for the safety of our students.

Drop-off/Pick-up Procedures

Daily Schedule (and more)


BCS is a great place to be, and 2016-17 will be the best year yet!  We look forward to seeing all our parents and guardians at our Back-to-School Curriculum Nights on 9/8/16 for 5/6, 9/15/16 for 3/4 and on 9/22/16 for 7/8.  These events begin at 6:00 PM (5:30 for 5/6) with a PTSA reception in the main hallway outside the media center.  Let’s make it a year where we all continue to Value the 3E’s celebrating what is right with the world through partnership and collective engagement!


Wishing you well,

Mark Morawski

Twitter: @mark_morawski #BCSLearns



P.S.  Be sure to stay connected with BCS-related information:


Character Connections Word of the week: KINDNESS

Infuse this word into your conversations and share these quotes with your children as a character education focus.  There will be a new word every two weeks.

·       Kindness begets kindness. – Greek Proverb

·       I expect to pass through this world but once. Any good therefore that I can do, or any kindness that I can show to any fellow creature, let me do it now. Let me not defer or neglect it, for I shall not pass this way again. – William Penn

·       Kind words can be short and easy to speak, but their echoes are truly endless. – Mother Teresa


2016-17 BCS Welcome Back Curriculum Nights

·       5/6 – Thursday, September 8

o   5:30 PM PTSA Reception in the main hallway

o   6:00 PM 5/6 Teacher Presentations in classrooms

o   6:30 PM All parents in media center

§  Mark/Jason/Math Teachers/Co-curricular teachers/PTSA

o   7:05 PM 5/6 Camp parent meeting in media center

o   7:30 PM 5/6 Camp Parent Volunteer training in media center

·       3/4 – Thursday, September 15

o   6:00 PM PTSA Reception in the main hallway

o   6:30 PM Program begins in classrooms

o   7:05 PM Welcome from Mark/Jason, Co-Curricular teachers and PTSA

·       7/8 – Thursday, September 22

o   Click here for the letter and schedule from the 7/8 team.

o   6:00 PM PTSA Reception in the main hallway

o   6:30 PM Welcome from Mark/Jason, Co-Curricular teachers and PTSA

o   Classroom Schedule as follows:

§  7:05 – 7:15 PM:  Academic Lab/ILD (Goal Setting Sign-ups)

§  7:20 – 7:30 PM:  C-1 class

§  7:35 – 7:45 PM:  C-2 class

§  7:50 – 8:00 PM:  C-3 class

§  8:05 – 8:15 PM:  C-4 class

§  8:20 – 8:30 PM:  C-5 class

§  8:35 – 8:45 PM:  C-6 class


Welcome to our three newest staff members!

Welcome Rhonda Ernst – Although we continue to experience sadness and disbelief over the untimely passing of Paula Jackson, we welcome Rhonda Ernst, current BPS Technology Operations Assistant and longtime friend of Paula, as our new TOA as we continue to keep our thoughts and prayers with Paula’s family.  Rhonda comes to BCS from Beverly and Quarton where she has served as TOA for those communities the past 3 years.  For over 25 years, Rhonda has worked in the technology field in one way or another.  She served as a technician for Waterford Schools for 13 years and, prior to that, she worked for Oakland and Washtenaw counties in computer services.  Rhonda and her wonderful husband have been married for 34 years, have two amazing and kind sons and one daughter-in-law.  She loves animals and her rescue dog, Scout.  In her spare times Rhonda loves Genealogy research, the outdoors, and playing cards and board games.  Rhonda is excited to join the BCS community and serve the staff, students and parents of our great school.  We are excited to welcome Rhonda to our dynamic BCS community!  Please be sure to extend your heartfelt BCS welcome when you meet her.

Welcome Megan Cox – We welcome Megan Cox as our new psychologist at BCS.  Megan is moving to Birmingham Public Schools from Northville Schools where she has worked as the consulting psychologist for students with Autism Spectrum Disorders for the last 8 years.   She has been in education for 17 years and has also worked for the Brandon School District and the Needham Public School District in Massachusetts as a school psychologist.  Megan is also a Board Certified Behavior Analyst (BCBA) and a Nationally Certified School Psychologist.  Megan has a master’s degree in counseling psychology from Boston College, an advanced graduate degree in school psychology from University of Massachusetts Boston, and completed her coursework in Applied Behavior Analysis through Florida Institute of Technology.  And, most importantly, is an enthusiastic Spartan fan and alumni!  Football Saturdays throughout the fall are typically spent tailgaiting at MSU.  Megan lives in Plymouth with her husband and daughters Ava and Ella and their dog Cooper.  They like to camp (In an actual tent!) and spend time outdoors.  They also enjoy spending as much time on their boat as possible during the summer.   She is passionate about traveling and is most happy when planning the next adventure!  We are excited to welcome Megan to our dynamic BCS community!  Please be sure to extend your heartfelt BCS welcome when you meet her.

Wecome Terry Bulgarelli – We welcome Terry Bulgarelli, as our long-term guest teacher in the LRC through early October while Mandy Pantuso in on Maternity leave.  Terry comes to BCS with special education experience with long-term positions in Utica Schools and the Macomb Intermediate School District.  Terry is a graduate of Wayne State University with a degree in special education and elementary education.  He is currently working on a masters degree in Autism Spectrum Disorder.  In his spare time, Terry enjoys running marathons and half marathons, as well as providing homecare support to people with special needs.  Terry looks forward to supporting the LRC and the students during Mandy’s leave.  Please be sure to extend your heartfelt BCS welcome when you meet him.


COUNSELOR’S CORNER ­– from Karen Sivwright & Jennifer Wagner

Here are some tips to help your child with the transition to BCS, particularly if they are new to us:

·       Invite students from class/team over to your house or meet students at an event to spend time together outside of school.

·       Our schedule at BCS is very full.  We often hear students fatigue easily at home in the evening.  For a little while, you may need to have your child go to bed a little earlier.

·       Have your child keep a journal of his/her feelings both positive and negative.

·       Some students may grieve the losses from their former school as so many things are new this year.  Students think they will never see people at their school again.

o   They could see last year’s teacher in the hallway at their former school.  At an appropriate time, stop and visit the teacher.

o   Have play dates with students at BCS who came from your other school along with friends from the former school.

o   Keep Cub Scout or Girl Scout troops from former school.

o   See your friends from former school on athletic teams.

·       Be a parent volunteer to help your child be more comfortable knowing you are nearby.

·       Do not over-react to your child’s emotions.  They may not remember what it was like when they began kindergarten and were a bit nervous or anxious in their new school.  This is so foreign to them.  They need support and knowing they are OK and will continue to be OK.

·       Help your child to name the safe people they know at BCS if they need anything.

·       Maintain a normal home routine that provides your child with sufficient sleep and allows for healthy eating habits.

·       We have a team of people ready to help support you and your child (teachers, counselors, administrators, etc.).

·       Know Karen Sivwright and Jennifer Wagner, our BCS Counselors are available to help in any way if your child needs anything.

For more information to contact us, check out our Counseling page at BCSonline.



Mr. McCloud is in need of empty tissue and paper towel rolls for a roller coaster design project.

We will need about 500.  Please send/bring them into the school office.  Attention: Roy McCloud.


Note Some of the Room Changes for this Year

·       Kids Club (after school care, 4:20-6:00 PM) room 108

·       Kim Davis, 3/4, room 103

·       Tom Seley, 3/4, room 101

·       Melissa De Simone, Spanish, room 203

·       Joe Leibson, Spanish, room 201


WEEK AT A GLANCE – Week of September 5-11

To submit an item for next week’s “WAG”, email by WEDNESDAY at 5PM

Monday, September 5

    Labor Day - Enjoy the Last Day of Summer!

Tuesday, September 6

    First Day of School - Begins at 8:18AM (for details about the BCS daily schedule, click here)

    3:25-4:10PM Choice Hour - If you are uncertain which days your child is signed up for choice hour, please stop in and check the choice hour board in person. It is located to the right of the Media Center (300Hall) for his/her choice hour schedule. This is the best way to ensure you have the information that you need

    8PM BPS Board Meeting (Education & Administration Building)

Wednesday, September 7

Thursday, September 8

    9:15AM 5/6 Room Parent Meeting (Media Center)

    5:30-7:30PM 5/6 Curriculum Night

Friday, September 9

    9:30AM 3/4 Room Parent Meeting (Media Center)

Saturday, September 10

Sunday, September 11

    Patriot Day

    Eid al-Adha



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




FOLLOW US on twitter (@bcs_cobras) and LIKE Birmingham Covington School” on FACEBOOK



Please review the district price update here.



Please review the district calendar for 2016-17 here. Filming at BCS

We have some exciting news to announce as we prepare for another great year of learning at BCS.  Last school year, we were contacted and interviewed by with their interest in featuring BCS in their Schools that Work series; their “flagship series [that] highlights practices and case studies from K-12 schools and districts that are improving the way students learn.”  After extensive interviews, we learned that, in fact, Edutopia will be spotlighting BCS in their series.  They will be visiting this fall (dates TBD) with their production crew to capture footage for their series highlighting what we do at BCS.  To that end, Edutopia is seeking parent permission in case they choose to use footage that includes your child.  Click here for the letter from Edutopia with further details regarding permission.  Please read the letter which provides directions on granting permission through an online form, as well as what to do if you decide not to grant permission. If you have any questions, feel free to contact our CSO, Cindy Balicki ( or principal, Mark Morawski (  Thank you for your attention to this exciting opportunity to highlight our innovative school!



Our BCS students have big hearts and are always eager to take the lead in community service initiatives.  In order to guide the students with the planning and implementing of these initiatives, the BCS Service Learning Team has put together a Community Service/Service Learning Proposal form.  Students interested in taking the lead on a service initiative should complete the proposal form.  The students should work with their parents and/or teachers to complete the form, keeping in mind the focus of the effort.  When an adult signs the proposal form with a student or students, that person is committing to help guide the students throughout the entire project.  Once the form is complete, it should be turned into Mr. Morawski or Mr. Hill.  The proposal will then be presented to the Service Learning Team for consideration of approval.  Click here to access the form to print.



Our fall NWEA-MAP computer-based testing will begin on Wednesday, Sept 19th.  The testing window will end on October 7th. All BCS students will be taking the NWEA test is both reading and math sometime during this window. Students will take the test during their Language Arts and Math Classes. MAP tests are unique in that they are adaptive tests your child takes on a computer. That means that the test becomes more difficult the more questions your child answers correctly. When your child incorrectly answers a question, the test becomes easier. Therefore, the student takes a test specifically created for his or her learning level. In addition, the tests are aligned with the Common Core State Standards that are part of the Birmingham Public Schools curriculum. MAP testing is one way teachers and parents can monitor student growth over time. 



Cub Scout Pack 1032 will be hosting a Join Scouting Night for all 3rd, 4th & 5th grades Wednesday, September 14 at 7:30 pm at Birmingham First United Methodist Church at 1589 W. Maple Rd, Birmingham, MI 48009 (enter Pleasant St. off of Lincoln St.).  If you cannot make the meeting on the 7th, please join us for our first Pack meeting on Wed., Sept 14th from 7-8:30 pm.  For more information contact Kim Bowyer at 586-321-8342 or



We look forward to seeing all our parents and guardians at our Back-to-School Curriculum Nights. These events begin at 6:00 PM with a PTSA reception in the main hallway outside the media center.  Let’s make it a year were we all continue to Value the 3E’s celebrating what is right with the world through partnership and collective engagement!

   Grades 5 & 6 will be on September 8th - will begin at 5:30 p.m.

   Grades 3 & 4 will be on September 15th

   Grades 7 & 8 will be on September 22nd (Click here for the 7/8 letter and schedule.)



Birmingham Public Schools strives every day to offer a world-class education in your backyard. But we can’t do it alone. So, we’ve made it easier than ever for every parent, employee, student, and community member to get involved in our district. Click here to see the flyer and learn more.



Please be sure to practice safety precautions during the busy times of student arrival and dismissal at BCS.  We do understand that we all are often busy and in a hurry, but PLEASE, for the safety of our children, slow down, be safe, and cautious of the traffic and children around you.  We truly do appreciate each of you following basic traffic safety guidelines as well as following the arrival and dismissal procedure in place at school for the safety of our students and your children. Click here for complete arrival and dismissal procedures. Thank you!



New for our district families this school year, Durham is introducing the Durham Bus Tracker© app. This program is online or an easy download at the Apple Store or Google Play will allow parents to know the location of the school bus on their students’ bus route. This will help families be out and ready for the bus and provide them with the bus location / ETA when we have weather challenges through the winter. The Durham Bus Tracker© app is available ONLY to district parents & students who login to the system with current BPS student information.  The information presented is not available to the general public. If you have any questions about the app, please contact Transportation at 248-203-3940.  Click here for directions on how to access. 



BPS Specialized Instruction and Student Services Vision & Focus 2016-2017

September 8, 2016, 9:00 AM at Birmingham Covington School (BCS)

The meeting will focus on what we can expect from specialized instruction in the Birmingham Public School district for 2016—2017 and how we can work together to help our children succeed in school. There will be time for questions and a chance to renew past acquaintances and meet new Friends. Guest Speakers include Dr. Daniel Nerad, Superintendent, and Katie Shirk, Director of Specialized Instruction and Student Services. See the flyer here.



This year’s 7/8 students will have the opportunity to participate in two optional field trips: For a summary of both trips, click 2016-2017 Optional 7/8 Trips.

   San Juan, Puerto Rico (Spanish exposure and community service) – January 11-16, 2017 The San Juan, Puerto Rico trip is currently full but a wait list has been started.  Click the link above and follow the directions to be placed on the wait list.

   Washington DC/Inauguration (Social studies enrichment) – January 18-22, 2017 – Four spots have open for the DC trip.  Click the link above and follow the directions to register.

Deposits are required to secure a spot on the trip and are due at the time of registration.



The 1st Quarter Choice Hour program is in place for the first day of school. There are still a number of students who have not submitted Choice Hour Selection Sheets. The Choice Hour Change forms will be available on Friday 9/9 at 4PM. These forms will be due by Thursday 9/15 at 4PM. There will not be any changes to any Choice Hour schedules until then. Choice Hour student selections are posted on the Choice Hour board in the main hallway and in each homeroom. Questions regarding the Choice Hour program should be directed to Linda Stone at 248-203-4625 or  Questions regarding Choice Hour schedules should be directed to Kathy Juriga at 248-203-4426 or




Please note the new times (below) prepare your child a snack if you foresee this altered schedule leading to digestive discomfort later in the day.

   3/4 Lunch 11:05 to 11:45 AM

   5/6 Lunch 11:45 to 12: 25 AM




Please note the new times (below) prepare your child a snack if you foresee this altered schedule leading to digestive discomfort later in the day.

   3/4 Lunch 11:05 to 11:45 AM

   5/6 Lunch 11:45 to 12: 25 AM



5/6 Camp will take place September 14-16, 2016. We will be traveling to Camp Michindoh again this year. This trip is for all 5th and 6th graders. Click HERE for forms and more information. Informational meeting at Curriculum Night on Thursday, Sept. 8 from 6-8pm in BCS Media Center.




Please note the new times (below) prepare your child a snack if you foresee this altered schedule leading to digestive discomfort later in the day.

   3/4 Lunch 11:05 to 11:45 AM

   5/6 Lunch 11:45 to 12: 25 AM




   Frishman, Seley, Maliszewski, and ParWall 3 will be in the GYM. Be sure that your child wears appropriate shoes-NO FLIP FLOPS

   Butzin, Davis, Harvath, and ParWall 4 will SWIM. Remember to bring a bag for suits and towels

For the complete year schedule, click here.




Starting next fall 2016, 6th graders will be allowed to be full members of any team or individual sport at BCS.  Sixth grade students may be on the roster, but no 7th or 8th grade student will be cut to make room for a 6th grade student.



Before students may try-out or participate in any practice sessions for a sport at BCS, they must have the following:

1. Physical Pre-Participation Physical Evaluation form on file dated on or after April 15, 2015.

2. Athletic Participation Fee ($135 per sport) must be paid via online registration.

3. Concussion Awareness Educational Material Acknowledgement Form must be on file to participate.

The Physical Evaluation and Concussion Awareness Acknowledgement forms paperwork can be picked up in the front office or downloaded above. Once all paperwork is complete and the fee is paid, the student will be issued a slip of eligibility, referred to as the orange slip” through the main office. It is the responsibility of the student to give the orange slip” to the coach at the first practice attended. The slip is essentially an admission ticket to the student’s first practice. The student will not be allowed to practice without an eligibility slip. Please allow for a 24-hour turnaround time from when you have completed online registration or turned in the physical for an "orange slip" to be provided.



Coach: Jennifer Wagner

Assistant Coach: Michelle D’Orazio

Tryouts: There are no try-outs for the Cross Country team

Practice: Begins 9/6/16 (during Choice Hour) and will be held from 7-8 AM Monday, Wednesday, Thursday and Friday, and Tuesday during Choice Hour. Tuesday practice will not be held if there is a meet scheduled.

Pictures: TBD

Parent Meeting: TBD

Meet Schedule: Click here



Coach: Josh Keilman

Practice: Begins Monday, 9/12/16, 4:15pm - tryouts if necessary 

Practice: Will be held on every non-game day. Mondays and Wednesdays 3:25pm to 5:30pm (Choice Hour replaced by soccer practice). Tuesday, Thursday and Friday 4:15 - 6:10PM (Attend regular choice hour)

Parent Meeting: Wednesday, 9/14/16 at 5:25pm on the Soccer Field. Players will have practice before the brief parent meeting.

Pictures: TBD

Games: 4:00 PM

Game Schedule: Click here



Coach (7th): Mr. Braisted

Coach (8th): Mr. Mixon

Tryouts: TBD

Parent Meeting: TBD

Pictures: TBD

Practice: Begins Tuesday, 9/6 during Choice Hour till 4:45pm.

Regularly scheduled for Monday-Friday from 6:45-8:00 AM unless there is a game scheduled.

Games: Tentative, will be at 4:00pm for 7th graders and a little after 5:00pm for 8th graders.

Game Schedule: Click here




Rochester Hills Museum at Van Hoosen Farm

1005 Van Hoosen Rd, Rochester Hills, MI 48307

Patriot Week’s 7th Annual Patriot Festival will be at a new location this year!  Featuring patriotic activities and centered around a great local historic cite, the Patriot Festival will include speeches and presentations from dignitaries, schools, students, and others.  There will also be music and food available for purchase! Admission is free and open to the public! For more information: or view event flyers 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


Ask questions, submit comments or share stories anytime, anywhere through Let’s Talk!