September 3, 2017

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 2017-2018 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, your children.  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 within our innovative learning community. Our collaborative culture at BCS truly sets us apart from others to be sure, but, more important, this collaborative partnership supports the success of each of the students we serve as they celebrate, struggle, develop and grow as young people.


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” and embrace together this year’s theme of Empathy!  With the recent events across our nation, most recently in Charlottesville, this theme of empathy, and nurturing and strengthening it within each of us, has never been more important.  These events have caused division, tension, and even violence across multiple lines to include economic status, gender, identity, political affiliation, race, and sexual orientation, which, in turn, has caused high levels of anxiety and concern for members of our community.  With our continued efforts to nurture our own culturally responsive efforts, our staff and I want to personally assure you that we will continue to embrace our wonderfully diverse school community and provide a safe, caring, and nurturing environment for each of us who find ourselves fortunate enough to be a part of this amazing school.  Additionally, our most immediate thoughts and prayers are going out those living in the southeastern Texas and gulf coast region who have been tragically impacted by Hurricane Harvey. At this time, we have a team of parents and staff who will be helping BCS lead a concerted charitable effort to benefit those individuals and families who have suffered so much from this natural disaster. Stay tuned for more information on how you can be of support. 


Indeed, I am proud to serve this wonderful community and I look forward to our best year yet!  A year where we 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 1) for 2017-18 (3/4 Systems; 5/6 Independence; 7/8 Individuality) will help us connect our daily learning across all disciplines. Our curriculum will integrate these interdisciplinary themes, and as the weeks unfold, we will be regularly referencing and infusing Our Moral Compass and the 3 E’s (education, environment, and each other) with our overarching theme of empathy. 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. Check out our refrigerator-worthy Moral Compass poster and description.) 


And finally, we will nurture creativity through the design thinking model whose process begins with empathy.  I hope your family and you have had the opportunity to enjoy our community read, Save Me a Seat, a book that gives us a literary experience of what it feels like to “put yourself in another person’s shoes” through the alternating voices of lead characters Joe and Ravi.  We have much planned with this book and our theme upon the students’ return and will be focusing each month on a different habit of empathy.  The nine habits we will highlight throughout the year come from the blueprint to helping children acquire “the Empathy Advantage” that Michelle Borba describes in her book, Unselfie: Why Empathetic Kids Succeed in Our All-About-Me World.  Check out the nine habits and the monthly rollout of each on the flyer also suitable for your refrigerator. J


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! As we finalize the preparation for an exciting new school year, Jason and I would like to remind you of the following staff changes:

·       With our 5/6 teacher Andrea Marks deciding not to return, we are excited to welcome Ryan Arbaugh to BCS coming most recently from teaching fifth grade at Bingham Farms. With his elementary experience, his middle school language arts and social studies certifications, and his love of middle level students from his 5th grade teaching experience at Bingham and student teaching at Berkshire Middle School in 2008, Ryan is thrilled to join our team at BCS.  Ryan holds a Bachelor of Science in Elementary Education May from Oakland University including middle level endorsements in Language Arts and Social Studies, and, most recently, earned a Masters of Education in Educational Technology from Marygrove College.

·       As our art teacher Amanda Husband will be on maternity leave through the first quarter, we welcome Charles Bugelli as long term art guest teacher during Amanda’s leave.  Charles is a recently retired art teacher from Oak Park who, with is over 30 years of experience in art education, will fill in wonderfully for our awesome BCS art program.

·       Our speech pathologist, Monica Boudreau is on maternity, and Carol Carnley, a certified speech pathologist, will be filling as she did in Monica’s maternity leave 2 years ago.  We are thankful of Carol’s support to be sure.

·       With Meg Cox shifting her responsibilities to district level support, we welcome Rachel Goutman as our new psychologist.  Rachel’s brings with her to BCS a Masters Degree in School and Community Psychology from Wayne State University and her experience as a school psychologist for the East Detroit Public Schools

·       And as a final note, with our counselor Karen Sivwright’s wedding last spring, please be aware that she is now, officially, Karen Kohler (  Congratulations and best wishes, Karen!

We are excited indeed to add Ryan, Charles, Carol and Rachel to our dynamic BCS community!  Please be sure to extend your heartfelt BCS welcome to each of them when you meet them.


BCS is a great place to be, and 2017-18 will be the best year yet!  We look forward to seeing all our parents and guardians at our Back-to-School Curriculum Nights on 9/7/17 for 5/6, 9/14/17 for 3/4 and on 9/28/17 for 7/8.  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 where we all lean in and lead with empathy celebrating what is right with the world through partnership and collective engagement on behalf of the children we support!


Thank you for reading,

Mark Morawski

Twitter: @mark_morawski #BCSLearns

Check out my blog:


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.

·       “You cannot do a kindness too soon, for you never know how soon it will be too late.” – Ralph Waldo Emerson

·       “Human kindness has never weakened the stamina or softened the fiber of a free people. A nation does not have to be cruel to be tough.”Franklin D. Roosevelt

·       “Guard well within yourself that treasure, kindness. Know how to give without hesitation, how to lose without regret, how to acquire without meanness.” -George Sand


WEEK AT A GLANCE – Week of September 4-September 10

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

Monday, September 4

·        Labor Day – Enjoy the last day of summer!

Tuesday, September 5

·        First Day of School – School Hours are 8:18 AM-3:20 PM with Choice Hour from 3:25-4:10 PM (learn more by clicking on BCS Daily Schedule)

·        3:20-4:10PM Cross Country Practice (During Choice Hour)

Wednesday, September 6

·        7-8AM Cross Country Practice

Thursday, September 7

·        9:15AM 3/4 Room Parent Meeting (Media Center)

·        6-8PM 5/6 Welcome Back Curriculum Night

·        3:20-4:10PM Cross Country Practice (During Choice Hour)

Friday, September 8

·        7-8AM Cross Country Practice

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

·        4PM Choice Hour Change Forms Available

Saturday, September 9

Sunday, September 10



Chartwells- BPS Food Service-click -WEEKLY MENU




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First Day of School – Tuesday, September 5

The first day is a full day of school, 8:18 AM-3:20 PM with Choice Hour from 3:25-4:10 PM.  All students start the day in their homeroom/academic lab at 8:18 AM.  7/8 student will receive their schedules in their academic lab.  For daily schedule and general class times, feel free to check out our schedule templates at BCSonline or click on 3/4 Schedule, 5/6 Schedule or 7/8 Schedule.  Buses will be ready for students at 4:10 PM and depart around 4:20 PM.  That said, the first week of school, the buses may run late as we all adjust to the schedule of the new school year.  We will send out a Remind text alerting you to any buses running late.  Sign up for Remind texts by texting @bcsf to the number 81010. 


2017-18 BCS Welcome Back Curriculum Nights

·        5/6 – Thursday, September 7

o   PTSA Reception at 6:00 PM in the main hallway

o   Program begins at 6:30 PM in classrooms

o   Welcome from Mark/Jason, Co-Curricular teachers and PTSA at 7:05 PM in the media center

·        3/4 – Thursday, September 14

o   PTSA Reception at 6:00 PM in the main hallway

o   Program begins at 6:30 PM in classrooms

o   Welcome from Mark/Jason, Co-Curricular teachers and PTSA at 7:05 PM in the media center

·        7/8 – Thursday, September 28

o   PTSA Reception at 6:00 PM in the main hallway

o   Welcome from Mark/Jason, Co-Curricular teachers and PTSA at 6:30 PM in the media center

o   Classroom Schedule as follows:

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

§  7:20 – 7:30 PM:  1st Hour

§  7:35 – 7:45 PM:  2nd Hour

§  7:50 – 8:00 PM:  3rd Hour

§  8:05 – 8:15 PM:  4th Hour

§  8:20 – 8:30 PM:  5th Hour

§  8:35 – 8:45 PM:  6th Hour


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):

o   From Berkshire Middle School – 7:55 AM

o   From Derby Middle School – 7:55 AM

o   From Greenfield Elementary School – 7:48 AM

o   From West Maple Elementary School – 7:48 AM

o   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)


Birthday Celebrations (no food based treats)

No need to buy those fancy cupcakes!

We want to continue to celebrate and recognize birthdays of our students as we know they are important events for children of all ages.  In an effort to recognize our students’ birthdays in a healthier and more lasting way, we are asking parents/guardians not to send in food treats as part of your child’s birthday celebration at school. Therefore, in the spirit of general health with celebration, if a family wants to recognize their child’s birthday at school, they can bring a non-food based treat that can be used and shared by everyone in the classroom that day and throughout the year.  Some examples of these birthday gifts for the classroom include: a favorite book for the classroom library, board games, fun pencils, erasers, decks of cards, bookmarks, stencils/rulers, rubber bracelets, pencil toppers or other classroom gift. Each teacher will continue to celebrate and recognize the students birthdays in the classroom as we have always done in the past.   We appreciate your support!


COUNSELOR’S CORNER ­– from Karen Kohler (formerly 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 Kohler 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.



We are pleased to let you know that our award winning chess club will reconvene this fall on September 27thEncourage your child to flex their mental muscle, make new friends and compete in a safe and fun arena. Players of all talent levels are encouraged to join in the excitement. For a flyer with practice information, costs and how to sign up click BCS 2017 Chess Club. It’s your move; spots will fill up fast so sign up today!



The BCS School Play is for grades 6-8 and runs during the second quarter (November 7 – January 26). The Play is looking for an interested parent or community member to take on an advisory role this year! Responsibilities would include producing, organizing, and promotion assistance. Please contact Courtney Bassett at if interested!



Our fall NWEA-MAP computer-based testing window will be from September 5th through October 5th. 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. 



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!



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.



Choice Hour begins on the first day of school. Updated choice hour placements can be found on the Choice Hour Board outside of the Choice Hour Office (located in the main hallway at the end of the 300 hall). Students Who Don't Have Choice Hour Must be Picked-up by 3:30 p.m.



·        Call 248-203-4625 to leave a message

·        You can send a note to the office with your child

·        Send an email to Courtney Bassett

·        You can stop in the office to sign them out

If your child does not have a Choice Hour class on any given day but needs to stay please contact Courtney Bassett so that proper arrangements can be made. There is a $5.00 fee for this service!

If you will be picking up your child during the choice hour period, please come into the building to sign them out in the front office. You will be given a pink sheet to take to the Choice Hour desk where the 7th and 8th grade Choice Hour assistants will be happy to locate your child. Students will not be released without the pink form. 



Change forms will be available Friday, September 8 at 4pm.

·        Children will have an opportunity to change a Choice Hour class after attending the first session

·        Pick-up, complete, and return a Choice Hour Change Request form - classes that have openings are listed on the back

·        The change request period is for one week only

·        The deadline date to turn in a change request will be listed on each quarter’s Choice Hour Change form

No Choice Hour drops, adds and/or changes will be accepted over the phone or via email. All Choice Hour change requests require a parent’s signature. Please pick up the proper paperwork at the front desk in the office.



If a student requests that a class be added to their schedule, the request will be processed once the choice hour fee is received, and the parent signs the Choice Hour Change Form. If there is an opening in the class requested, the student will be placed in that class.



If a student drops a class before the change period deadline, and a fee has already been paid, a refund will be processed.



The BCS Destination Imagination team has a limited number of spots available on the 2017-18 Team. These spots are for the Middle School Team only, grades 6-8. If your student is interested, please have them fill out a Destination Imagination Application and return it to the front office by Monday, September 11. Class Description: Where creativity meets STEM! Students work with a team to have fun, solve interesting challenges, build friendships, and unleash their imaginations. We have two teams – one for 3-5 grades and one for 6-8 grades. Students will compete at a tournament in February and may move on to a State level tournament and even the Global level. Students must fill out the application for the team. Selected students will be notified mid-June. There is a one-time “Pay to Play” fee: $75.  




The BCS Library Media Center is looking for parent volunteers.  We need your help with: assisting students at library centers, checking in and checking out books, helping students locate materials, shelving & organizing, and processing new books.  No experience necessary – training provided!  Sign up to help at:  (Sign Up Genius).  Volunteer Orientation will be held on Tuesday, September 12 from 9:30-10:30am.  Questions?  Email the librarian, Ann Truesdell, at atruesdell@birmingham.k12.mi.usThank you!




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

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.



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. Orange Slips for 2017 Fall Sports will be available in the front office on the first day of school for students who have completed all sports registration steps.



Coach: Josh Keilman & Mat Brown

Practice: Begins Monday, 9/11/17, 4:15pm – tryouts if necessary. Practices will be held on every non-game day. Mondays and Wednesdays practice is 3:25-5:30pm (Choice Hour replaced by soccer practice). Tuesday, Thursday, and Friday practice is 4:15-6:10pm (attend regular choice hour). Soccer Full Game Schedule.



Interested in playing Girl’s Basketball? Contact coaches Mr. Braisted or Mr. Mixon for more information! Basketball Full Game Schedule



Coach: Jennifer Wagner & Michelle D’Orazio

Practice: Begins Tuesday 9/5/17 (during Choice Hour) and will be held Monday, Wednesday, and Friday from 7-8AM. Cross Country Full Meet Schedule




View the 3/4 PE Schedule for 2017-18

Frishman, Seley, Maliszewski, and ParWall 3 will be in the GYM. Be sure 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.




Please join us for this kick off to the 2017-18 school year. The Department of Specialized Instruction will introduce their two new supervisors and present their departmental structure, roles, and vision for the upcoming year. View the FODL September Meeting Flyer.



Parents – get a group of friends together and join the Birmingham Education Foundation on Friday, September 22 from 6-10 pm for an Oktoberfest celebration, sponsored by Chemical Bank. Tickets are $65 each and include beverages from Griffin Claw and dinner from Woodpile BBQ Shack. You won’t want to miss this fun evening supporting our schools. Visit to get your tickets today! (21+ Only Please) View the Oktoberfest Flyer.


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


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