BEDFORD PUBLIC SCHOOLS:
SUPERINTENDENT


Dr. Carl Shultz

 

SUPERINTENDENT OF BEDFORD PUBLIC SCHOOLS
Dr. Carl Shultz
734-850-6001

Administrative Assistant to Superintendent:
Annette Pertz
734-850-6002

NOTES FROM THE SUPERINTENDENT


INTERNET SAFETY LETTER FROM SUPERINTENDENT

February 28, 2019

Dear Parents:

A recent social media challenge targeting children and young adults called the "Momo Challenge," has created concern throughout the country due to its disturbing nature. The purpose of this letter is to make you aware of this challenge, provide you with information about it, and urge you to monitor your children's use of social media and the Internet. The "Momo Challenge," a game reportedly found on Facebook, YouTube, Kids Tube, WhatsApp, and various other games and apps features a frightening avatar who asks its viewers to perform various tasks and provide photos as proof. The "Momo" threatens those who do not perform the tasks. Technology companies have released statements pointing out that there is no evidence supporting claims that the challenge actually exists within their sites. These companies believe that the word of mouth and viral images being passed around are perpetuating the concerns across the nation. Nevertheless, we are taking a proactive approach by asking parents to please be vigilant in monitoring your child's social media and internet interactions.

It's important that children know that they should not be trying to contact strangers online, regardless of the method. Setting privacy systems on devices with your child is a great way to have this conversation and agree on automatic precautions. Fostering an atmosphere of openness and transparency about online activity ensures that children can thrive. If you do notice them switching screens on their devices when approached or new numbers or email addresses on their devices, it's worth checking in with them.

We send this letter with caution because talking about the Challenge can cause alarm and fear in more students than those actually exposed. However, because many students are aware and discussing this at school, we wanted to address the issue. Thank you and we appreciate your continued partnership in ensuring a safe and protected learning experience. There are several prominent media sources that have completed reports on the topic of "Momo" and can easily be found by parents looking for further information on the topic. Please reach out to your child's principal if you have any questions or information to share.

Sincerely,
Dr. Carl Shultz
Superintendent
Bedford Public Schools


UPDATE ON INCLEMENT WEATHER DAYS FROM SUPERINTENDENT

POSTED: February 20, 2019

Dear Bedford Public Schools Community Members,

I know that many of you (as am I) are concerned about the number of inclement weather days that the district has utilized this winter. I can only share with you that this winter has been very unique in the weather patterns that we have experienced in our area. The extreme temperature conditions along with the high levels of ice on our roadways have made my job as superintendent much more difficult over the past month or so. In addition, instances such as today when forecasts show a wide array of dangerous conditions landing at various times throughout the day make the decisions even more difficult. As I have stated in previous communications, our district goal is to hold school every day that we are scheduled. We absolutely understand the burden that changes to the schedule place on families and also our ability to teach effectively. With this in mind, we will continue to make the best decisions with the information that we have at our disposal. I can assure everyone that it is much easier and safer for the district to cancel classes for the day than it is for us to be forced into potentially dangerous dismissals if the weather lands as predicted throughout the day.

As of today, Bedford Public Schools has utilized eleven inclement weather days. The State of Michigan provides six days up front and allows for an appeal for up to three additional days if needed. In addition, Bedford Public Schools has one additional day built-in to our 2018-2019 school calendar. In total, if the district receives our appeal, we would have ten available days bringing our current situation to needing one make-up day at the end of the year (as of today). There is currently legislation in both chambers of the State of Michigan Legislature that would make any missed days of school during a State-level emergency period such as this month's polar vortex automatically forgiven and not counted toward the required number of days/hours. If this legislation passes, BPS would not need to make up the current one-day deficit. This is a long and detailed letter but should help to answer any questions that may exist. I will keep the community posted on any further information as it becomes available. The accompanying graphic shows the district's current position in regards to inclement weather.

Bar chart depiction of snow day totals as explained in accompanying article text

Sincerely,

Dr. Carl Shultz
Carl Shultz, PhD
Bedford Public Schools


LETTER FROM SUPERINTENDENT ON CLOSINGS & SRE REOPENING RECOMMENDATION

POSTED: February 1, 2019

Dear Bedford Public Schools Community Members,

I hope that everyone has enjoyed this unplanned, but necessary, week long winter break. I wanted to thank each of you for the patience and understanding that you have shown over the past two weeks with the cancellations that have occurred. In my many years as an educator, I have not experienced a week long extended break due extreme weather and I am not sure that I will again. The extended cancellations have exhausted our district's available state provided six emergency related "forgiven days." There is a process in place where districts that go over the allotted amount of emergency days are eligible to apply for up to an additional three days through an appeal. I will be completing this process as needed and will hope for approval through the Michigan Department of Education. I was forced to apply for additional days of forgiveness last year and we were awarded the waiver. In the event that we are forced to make up additional days at the end of the year, BPS will communicate this as early as possible for scheduling purposes.

In other news, I would like to update our community on the districts ongoing review of re-opening Smith Road Elementary. From the start of our process, we have tried to look at as many factors as possible to make a decision that will benefit our students and community. In order to generate a final recommendation, district administration reviewed an updated cost analysis for the proposal, current and forecasted student enrollment information, and logistical information based on potential timelines as well as community input. The analysis of these different variables were presented at last evening's Board of Education Committee of the Whole workshop. The presentation included a final recommendation from district administration to not move forward at this time with re-opening SRE as an Early Childhood Center as proposed. The main determining factors were: declining enrollment projections over the next five years, budgetary constraints due to state and federal educational funding levels, and not being able to solidify answers to some of the logistical concerns. I want to stress as your superintendent that we have been able to use some creativity this year to keep our class sizes at a respectable number. We will continue to look for creative ways to provide flexibility within our existing spaces to meet the needs of our students and staff. I want to thank all parents and staff members that have put in the time to assist us as we have gone through this very thorough process.

Thank you and I hope that everyone has a wonderful and safe weekend!

Sincerely,

Dr. Carl Shultz
Superintendent, Bedford Public Schools

Posted: February 1, 2019


LETTER FROM THE SUPERINTENDENT ON WEATHER, CLOSINGS & DELAYS

POSTED: January 25, 2019

Bedford Public Schools Community,

It is once again that time of year when everyone becomes anxious about the wintry weather. Bedford Public Schools recognizes that our decision to alter our posted school schedule can have a major impact on our families and that our preference is to always have students in school and learning. However, in this great state of ours, it is always a possibility that conditions simply are not safe for travel or long-term exposure for students, staff, and parents. These types of conditions often require tough decisions to be made. While the decision to start, delay, close or release students early from school ultimately rests on myself as the Superintendent, I work closely with department administrators, local authorities and neighboring districts to make the best informed decision possible. The typical protocol involves collecting multiple data points that include, but are not limited to, multiple individuals driving the community roads before 5:00 am, constant updates from neighboring school districts, and the reliance on the National Weather Service to arrive at the final decision.

My goal is to always make an educated decision between 5:30-6:00 am, however, there are situations where we need additional time before making that announcement. In addition, there are also times that a decision needs to be altered based on changing conditions or new information. There is no set guideline that I can share that would help parents predict our decisions because no two days are identical. The factors that impact specific decisions are wind, ice, visibility, previous snow accumulation and forecast for rapid temperature changes. Although my staff and I do our absolute best in this process, I know that often no perfect decision exists. If, based on current weather conditions, parents/guardians do not feel as though it is safe for your child(ren) to attend school, use your best judgment on whether your student(s) should attend. Please discourage new teenage drivers from driving in bad conditions and offer them alternatives if weather conditions worsen.

Now that I have shared the process and rationale behind making necessary weather related decisions, I would like to share some thoughts on next week's forecast. I know that it is very early, but according to Weather Underground's© 10 Day Forecast, our area is in for some possibly extreme low temperatures and snow fall. The Monroe County Superintendents have agreed that -15 degrees wind chill (real feel) is our threshold to either delay or cancel school. Based on the early forecast we are going to be testing this boundary on several occasions next week. As a reminder, Monroe County is large in actual ground coverage making it possible for one district to be affected by this standard while another is not. I will keep everyone as updated as possible utilizing my twitter account @BedfordSupt and my Superintendent Facebook account. I typically am able to report any changes on these accounts slightly before the actual Honeywell Alert is sent due to the system delay. I take communication very seriously and try to give updated information as it is available. Finally, for those of you that have asked, I am a very poor singer and will be unable to meet requests that have been made for me to create a singing school cancellation video (Trust me it is for the best!).

Thank you and have a wonderful and safe weekend,

Dr. Carl Shultz
Superintendent


Bedford Public Schools Statement
Regarding BHS Football Coach

POSTED DECEMBER 10, 2018

Various media outlets have reported that the District's football coach for the past 11 years, is no longer the coach. As the Superintendent of Bedford Public Schools, I can confirm that he is no longer affiliated in any way with the Bedford football program. The District holds all of its staff to the highest standards of professionalism, as personal and professional integrity is the core of our service to our community. The District recently received allegations that those standards may not have been met by the coach. Therefore, we are in the process of thoroughly investigating those allegations. The District will take appropriate, firm, corrective action if the allegations are substantiated. To protect the rights of all involved parties, I cannot offer further comment regarding ongoing personnel matters.

Dr. Carl Shultz
Superintendent
Bedford Public Schools


Letter from the Superintendent and Related Resources

POSTED DECEMBER 7, 2018

Dear Bedford Public Schools Parents,

As you may or may not be aware, our district has recently experienced the loss of a recent graduate which has deeply impacted us as a community. We have implemented our school's Emergency Response Plan in an effort to provide appropriate support to staff and students within our buildings. Students and staff will react in different ways to crises of this nature, so it will be important to continue to have support available to assist individuals in need. Counselors and mental health professionals, along with building administration, are available in the school setting to assist students as they express their feelings related to loss. In addition, we have worked with the Monroe County Intermediate School District (MCISD) to provide additional on-site social workers for Bedford High School as needed.

The Bedford Public Schools plan is also designed to provide assistance to our students and their families when deemed necessary outside of the traditional school day. Please observe your child closely over the next several days and weeks to watch for signs of distress, which may indicate a need for additional support and guidance. I have included a list of references for available resources to help you recognize possible reactions you may observe in your child. Children that have advanced stages of grief or who suffer from severe depression may already be exhibiting warning signs for potential self-risk including withdrawal, substance abuse, or suicidal thoughts. If you feel your child is in need of special assistance or is having a great deal of difficulty coping with their emotions, please do not hesitate to call or reach out to district staff or one of the professional resources listed. While it is important to deal with grief, loss, anger and fear reactions, we believe it is essential to resume as normal a routine as possible regarding home and school activities. Also, utilize frequent and honest conversations with your child to let them know that we all need assistance at some point. Please feel free to contact one of our district staff members or myself if you have any concerns or questions regarding your child, or the steps being taken by the school. I cannot stress enough the importance of working collaboratively to ensure the safety and proper care of our families and students.

Resources:

1) National Association of School Psychologists (NASP): Addressing Grief - http://tinyw.in/dvZ3
2) National Alliance for Grieving Children: About Childhood Grief - http://tinyw.in/oYsF
3) Oakland County Health Department (Parent Toolkit) - http://tinyw.in/9Dx2
4) Monroe County Mental Health Resources Guide (Promedica Health) - http://tinyw.in/t4jD

Sincerely,
Dr. Carl Shultz

Warning Signs Presentation

Posted: December 11, 2018

This is a link to the Warning Signs Presentation given to each of the high school classes in an assembly on Tuesday, December 11, 2018. It discusses various risk factors to be aware of, how to respond, and where to seek help. At school, counselors, teachers, administrators, or any adult, are people you can reach out to for help. The important part is that someone makes the effort to reach out for help. It may save a life. Here are the additional resources included in the presentation:

     In an emergency: call 911.

     National Suicide Prevention Lifeline: 1-800-273-TALK (8255)

      DoSomething.org Crisis Text Line: 741741

      OK2SAY (School Bullying/Crisis): Call: 1-855-565-2729, Text 652729 (OK2SAY)


HAPPY THANKSGIVING

POSTED NOVEMBER 21, 2018

Dear BPS Parent/Guardian,

As we approach the holiday season, I wanted to take this opportunity to thank each and every one of you for the wonderful start to the school year. A special thank you goes out to all of the individuals that helped to make the passing of the bond a reality. Bedford Public Schools will be a safer, more efficient, and enhanced learning environment because of all of the support. The changes will, of course, not take place over night, but I can assure you that we are hard at work in preparing for the work to begin. As we move further through the process of planning and setting timelines, we will be sending out updated information to all of the community.

It appears that, in the state of Michigan, we are skipping over the Fall season this year, and we are now forced to start preparing for potential severe weather in the area. As a reminder, please make sure to contact the building secretary for your child's school if you have not signed up for, or are not receiving, the district's Honeywell Emergency Alerts. This is the best way to keep up to date on any delays or cancelations due to inclement weather. The district always takes our students and staff members safety very seriously. We will use the best information possible when making any changes due to existing or predicted weather conditions. The process for making weather related delay or closing calls is contingent upon many factors and is rarely ever going to make sense to everyone. I will simply remind everyone that not all families have 4x4 vehicles, live on easily passable roads, or are completely comfortable driving/walking in severe conditions. Keeping these factors in mind, we do the best that we can with the always changing weather forecasts and conditions in the area. We will try to make decisions in a timely manner, but much like last week, there will be times when a late call is made.

Finally, I hope that everyone has an incredibly safe and happy Thanksgiving Holiday! I myself am thankful for our strong community of students and families, dedicated staff, and for successfully passing our much needed bond! Thank you all and have a great weekend.

Sincerely,

Dr. Carl Shultz,
Superintendent of Schools
Bedford Public Schools


LETTER FROM SUPERINTENDENT ON ELECTRONIC DELIVERY DEVICES FOR NICOTINE...

POSTED: OCTOBER 4, 2018

Dear Bedford Public Schools Parents,

In recent years there has been an emerging trend in the use of various nicotine and cannabis/THC based products and electronic delivery devices among school age children. As a parent and educator, I have witnessed countless incidents that have resulted in ill students or law enforcement intervention related to these types of products. Bedford Public Schools, like every other district in the country, is affected by this epidemic and we continue to search for better ways to keep our students safe both while in school and out in the community. The first step in ensuring our students safety is to educate and inform our community on the existence and dangers of nicotine and cannabis/THC related products and devices. National and regional authorities are also working to intensify the education and prevention programs associated with electronic nicotine devices by addressing the root source. Recently, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) sent out warnings to producers and retailers regarding the penalties for targeting minors through advertising and retail displays. One of the true dangers with these products is the packaging and design which are made to resemble everyday objects, such as USB flash drives, credit cards, and writing pens. Device designs can make it very difficult for school leaders and parents to easily identify prohibited devices.

As a district, we have addressed the possession, use, and distribution of these types of products in our Board of Education Bylaws and Polices (5512) and our student handbook. The consequences for violating the policy can be severe and include up to, and including, expulsion from school. In accordance with State of Michigan Law, BPS follows restorative practices when determining student consequences and works to ensure that students have an opportunity to participate in county-wide assistance programs to help families better understand the dangers of recreational and additive use. We have been able to accomplish this goal, while maintaining the necessary privacy for students and their families as required by state law, and, more importantly, do the right thing to ensure assistance programs are followed.

The best way for Bedford Public Schools to combat this rising epidemic is to partner with our parents and community resource providers to ensure a well-rounded prevention model. BPS will continue to present information regarding trends and available resources. Informed parents know what to look for and can be prepared to take appropriate action if the need arises. Parents can be the eyes and ears when our students are outside of our buildings. Together, we can keep our students safe. Please, take the time to speak to your children about the dangers of electronic nicotine and cannabis/THC use. Share the available resources with them and keep an eye out for possession of the types of devices that are becoming increasingly popular. Below are some links to available resources that parents can use to become better educated on this topic: including facts on JUUL, the most popular product currently being sold in the country; and images of some examples of electronic nicotine/THC devices.

Michigan Department of Health and Human Services: A Primer on Emerging Tobacco Products

10 Things to Know About JUUL

Google Images of Examples of Electronic Nicotine Devices

Carl Shultz, PhD
Dr. Carl Shultz
Bedford Public Superintendent


September Update Letter from Superintendent Dr. Carl Shultz

POSTED: SEPTEMBER 28, 2018

Dear Bedford Public Schools Parents,

As we wrap up our fourth week of the new school year, I wanted to reach out and share some information and upcoming events. I would like to first report that the start of the school year has been a success. Our staff and students have endured some warm weather which always makes the teaching and learning environment more challenging. However, the weather has appeared to break and now we can all enjoy the comforting Michigan Fall temperatures.

Sticking with the topic of weather, I would like to remind everyone that you can review your parent contact information for your child(ren) by logging into the Home Access Center (HAC) under Quick Links on the our website.( If you cannot remember your personalized login information, or have trouble, you can contact the HelpDesk at 734-850-6095.) Any needed revisions can be made by contacting the individual school buildings directly. This is an important step to insure that you receive our district alerts regarding emergencies and inclement weather. The topic of weather delays and cancellations is always a popular debate across all school districts. The only promises that I can make as your superintendent is to make decisions as early as possible using the information that I receive and to always place student and staff safety first in the process.

I hope that a sense of strong communication is being felt across the district by our central and building administrative offices. It is always my goal to keep our community informed regarding highlights and any concerns that we are facing. The incorporation of academic and social media programs within the district has increased our ability as a district to keep in touch with our parents and community. There seems to be no shortage of potential outlets for our communication. I myself have relied on the use of parents letters, my district twitter account (@BedfordSupt), and my newly created Superintendent Carl Shultz Facebook account. As a reminder, in a time when communication is so quick to spread through various forums, the most important messages are those that come directly from the primary source. Myself, and our district team, will continue to do our best to answer specific questions regarding topics of interest. Also, there are many times that I would like to inform, discuss, or share particular pieces of information to help dispel rumors but simply cannot due to privacy laws. This does not mean that the district is not working on the concern or that we will not work diligently to stay ahead of any community concerns regarding our students.

Last but not least, I would like to remind all parents that Bedford Public Schools has a bond proposal on the November 6th Election Ballot. This bond preserves our existing school buildings by addressing critical exterior and interior needs to ensure appropriate learning environments for all current and future students. On average, BPS school buildings are over fifty years old and systems are in desperate need of updating. In addition, the bond includes state-of-the-art security upgrades that would make Bedford Public Schools one of the safest districts in the nation. Please take the time to review the detailed information on our district website or to contact myself, or someone from our administrative team, for further information.

Sincerely,

Dr. Carl Shultz
Carl Shultz, PhD
Bedford Public Schools
(734) 850-6002