MEAP results released. How are they and why is it now gone?

Results

According to the official Michigan school data website, both Bath Township and DeWitt schools performed average on their scores. Students were very proficient in reading and writing, but then struggled on mathematics.

“I feel like this happened because math takes a lot more years of schooling to get good at, while students’ writing improves year after year because they start that at such a young age.” said Lori Webb, the Scott Elementary school principal in DeWitt.

Origins

The MEAP test, which started in the 1970s by governor William Milliken, was created to test current elementary and middle schools students’ skills. The skills tested were mathematics, reading, science, and social studies. This test also involved high school students until 2007 when they decided to change their test to the Michigan Merit Exam.

 

Scott Elementary was one of many schools to take the MEAP this year. Photo Taken by Mike Moffat

Scott Elementary was one of many schools to take the MEAP this year.
Photo Taken by Mike Moffat

Closure

It was announced that the MEAP test will close and the school board is going to try a new type of testing for students next year. The type of testing will be on computers and they will have an adaptive system for the students.

Since the goal of these tests is to have students get more than half of them correct, the adaptive system will adjust to when the student gets a question wrong, the next question will be easier, but if they get the question correct, then the next question will be harder. They are using this new test called the Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortium (SBAC).

“I like this new idea of testing,” said DeWitt schools Superintendent John Dieter, “It’ll really be beneficial to the students to see where they are at in certain subjects depending on the difficulty of questions.”

Others don’t think highly of this change though, because since the MEAP dates back so far, that they wonder why change now?

“I personally liked the MEAP testing,” said Sally Fizzell, fourth grade teacher at Scott Elementary, “I was around teaching when these tests were first released, and even though they weren’t popular with the students, it really gave us a sense of how we are doing as teachers too.”

Here are the results from DeWitt Junior High School in mathematics. Graph provided by Michiganschooldata.org

Here are the results from DeWitt Junior High School in mathematics.
Graph provided by Michiganschooldata.org

The Future

Now that this change is occurring, teachers and students are going to have to make the necessary adjustments to the new testing system.

Mentioned in this transitional document, the Michigan school district feels that this transition will result in faster results as well as a more simple scoring system. Also mentioned in the document were other benefits, which will include more relevant lesson plans, and featuring more measures of seeing student’s growth in topics.

“After looking at all the pros and cons of this situation, I can’t help but see more pros,” said Keith Cravotta, DeWitt Junior High School principal, “With the advances in technology over the years, why wouldn’t you want to make this process easier to get scores and make the test easier to take?”

About the SBAC

This new test is meant for children in grades third through eighth as well as juniors in high school. It questions their skills in English, math, and reading, with the purpose of meeting each state’s common core standards. According to their website, this test is the best preparation for kids getting ready for college as well as starting a career in whatever field they prosper in. Not only beneficial for the students, educators will be able to compare their students’ score and adjust accordingly with the pace and material that they teach.

“I feel that this new testing system will be tough to adjust to,” said Cammie Jones, a fourth grade teacher at Scott Elementary, “But once we all finally get used to it, it really will help us look at what we need to do to become better teachers as well as making sure the kids are getting the best education they can get.”

Overall, changes have been made and the whole school system of Michigan has to get used to it. This new test system has a four-year, $175 million grant from the United States Department of Education, so it looks like it has national support and is ready to be taken on in Michigan come spring of 2014.

 

http://www.magisto.com/video/OQRANUIXByo9XA1pYw

https://storify.com/mgmoffat13/meap-results-released-how-are-they-and-why-is-it-n

 

For questions or comments, contact Mike Moffat at moffatm2@msu.edu

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Confusion brings resolution

Budget review

Bath Township’s board members were caught by surprise during their board meeting March 17 when Aaron Stevens, CPA for Abraham and Gaffney accounting firm, presented the 2013 unaudited budget to the board revealing the township’s budget was $720,822 “in the red.”

Stevens mentioned that certain revenue and expenditure line items would be adjusted during the actual audit, although the budget will “probably not” end in the black.

Trustee Ryan Fewins-Bliss believes final audited numbers will be “pretty darn close” to the unaudited ones.

It was evident during the board meeting that it was unclear why the budget was $700,000 over or who should be held responsible. “No one was keeping track of the checkbook,” said trustee Cindy Cronk. “No one wants to answer why this happened.”

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The revenue and expenditure report for 2013 had several pages with information yet to be entered in.
Photo by Brendan Smoker.

The confusion and passing of blame had some local citizens concerned about how the township’s budget was being handled.

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Discover Bath highlights Bath Township

The event

Bath Township is hosting their first ever “Discover Bath” Thursday, April 26 from 1-4 p.m. at Bath Middle School. The intent of the event is to make citizens from Bath Township and surrounding communities aware of what defines Bath and why it is a great community, said event coordinator Deborah Mercer.

Discover Bath will be hosting approximately 50 different businesses, schools, artists, churches, organizations and clubs that are all based in Bath Township.

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Discover Bath will show everything the township has to offer.
Source: Facebook.

Some Lansing-based businesses interested in participating in the event, however Mercer felt this year should only include Bath-based organizations. “Bath has seen such growth the past several years that many people may not be aware of all the terrific things available in the community,” said Mercer.

What’s happening

Discover Bath will have activities for the entire family including a petting zoo, musical performances, a potter wheel demonstration, food vendors, drawings, a fire truck for children to walk through and motorhomes on display from Gillette’s Interstate RV.

“It’s not just a little arts and crafts fair,” said Mercer. “(It’s) definitely going to be for the whole family.”

Local artists including Pamela Timmons, Jonathon Washington and other artists from The Greater Lansing Potters Guild will be displaying their works, ranging from woodworking, water coloring, and couture. Continue reading

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Community forum hosted by Supervisor Clark

By Mike Moffat

Bath-DeWitt Reporter

Overview

A community conversation was held last Saturday at Jo’s Diner on Main Street in Bath. to discuss issues and ideas with Bath Township Supervisor Paula Clark.

Jo's Diner is where the forum took place Photo taken by Mike Moffat

Jo’s Diner is where the forum took place.
Photo taken by Mike Moffat.

Attendance

This wasn’t the first time that Clark hosted this get-together. These conversations have been going on since 2009 and her attendance had ranged from 18 people, to just one person, but this time there were seven residents.

“I do this because it really gives the citizens a chance to know what is going on in our community,” said Clark. “It lets them know that we care and nothing is more important than what is on their mind.”

New Superintendent

One issue brought up between the people was the new superintendent, Daniel Wietecha. Questions that got brought up were how do they know he was the right choice? How long does he plan on holding this position? What are some of his plans for the future?

“I have no idea why people are worried about that,” said Brenda Butler-Challender, Deputy Clerk. “He just got voted in, I feel like the residents need to give him some time before having concerns.”

Other Issues

On the other hand, another popular topic was the programs parks and recreation department.

All departments are located here Photo taken by Mike Moffat

All departments are located at the township offices.
Photo taken by Mike Moffat.

“Another issue that has been on the citizens mind was the situation with that,” said Kathleen Mcqueen, Bath Township clerk. “We wanted to let the residents know our plans for the department and the success that will come with it.”

“One of the biggest events coming up is our Easter event,” said Karen Hildebrant, Bath Township Administrative Services Coordinator. “Since the event is free and open to the public, we expect a great turnout and for everyone involved to have a great time.”

Along with those, they also have plans for Zumba classes, a bake sale, and a soccer league starting up. Overall, the residents of Bath Township got answers on their issues and ideas and expect this to keep occurring in Bath.

For questions or comments, contact Mike Moffat at moffatm2@msu.edu

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Bath Supervisor Clark wears many hats

By Brendan Smoker
Bath-DeWitt Reporter

Bath growth

Clark became a Bath trustee in 2008 and witnessed growth in Bath ever since. She said big progress that has been made has been a growing library and farmers’ market; all the needed property for the Park Lake project has been purchased; and workers have begun raising Park Lake’s water level by two feet.

Supporting the township’s growth, Treasurer Jeff Garrity said Bath “grew 54 percent” last decade, the second fastest growing town in Michigan during that period.

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Trustee Leon Puttler, Treasurer Jeff Garrity and Supervisor Paula Clark prepare for their board meeting. Photo by Brendan Smoker

New Role 

Following the death of Supervisor Tom Schneider in November 2011, Clark was appointed to fill the position. The following year, Clark was elected to supervisor. Then in September 2013, Superintendent Troy Feltman left his position due to differences in his contract renewal.

“I did not know, nor do I think any of us did, that by law (when the superintendent seat opens up) the supervisor becomes responsible for that position until it is filled,” explained Clark. Clark began filling Feltman’s shoes shortly after his vacancy.

Clark was happy to reveal that the board did approve a recommendation that would allow Planning Consultant Jim Foulds to deal with economic development and the sewer system. “This is very important because I didn’t have the technical skills that I felt the township needed,” Clark explained.

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Planning Commissioner Jim Foulds discusses future plans for Bath’s sewer system. Photo by Brendan Smoker

The Bath Board is interviewing candidates for superintendent. “We had three great candidates,” said trustee Cindy Crook about the finalists. The new superintendent will begin within the next six weeks.

“I’m looking forward to working with the new superintendent,” said board member Leon Puttler. “Hopefully the board and community will reach out to him.”

Many different hats

Clark’s role as superintendent and supervisor do not sum up all the different hats that she wears. She also is an active member of the Lansing Area Economic Partnership board, a regional economic development group trying to enhance the development of Ingham and Clinton County areas. Clark’s steering position on this board was recently renewed for another year this March.

Clark also is a part of MSU Downtown Coaches Club , the Clinton/Shiawassee County Family Independence Agency and State Employee Retiree Association for over 28 years. Clark also has served over 30 years as a faculty member at Lansing Community College, over 28 years working with Michigan’s Department of Human Services and more than 40 years in social work.

In addition to all this, Clark also is a very active member in her community, volunteering at Michigan State University and her hometown church. When asked how she manages everything she does Clark responds, “What I’ve done is all just a part of the role.”

For questions please contact Brendan Smoker at smokerbr@msu.edu.

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DeWitt District Library in trouble

By Mike Moffat

Bath-DeWitt reporter

Breakdown

Things aren’t looking good for the DeWitt library, as they are in panic mode and on the verge of being closed. They have tried many things such as cutting the staff and hours, but those measures haven’t solved their current state.

“We are underfunded and undersized,” said Jenifer Balcom, the DeWitt Library director. “The average budget for a library is $1.6 million, and ours is at only half of a million.”

More Problems

The size of the library is also a problem. The average size of a library is 26,000 square feet, while the DeWitt library is only 6,400 square feet.

As you can see, the size is much smaller than the average library Photo taken by Mike Moffat

As you can see, the size is much smaller than the average library
Photo taken by Mike Moffat

“A lot of people are worried about economic times,” said Helen Davis, the reference manager for the DeWitt Library. “It also doesn’t help when there aren’t a lot of young children in the area.”

Last Chance

The only hope left for this library is a millage proposal later in 2014. This is the third one they have asked for since 2008, with this the second time asking for an increase in mils toward operation.

“We plan on proposing another millage asking for $500,000 this August,” said Paul Perpich, DeWitt Library Board president. “But, if that doesn’t pass, it looks like we’ll be closing by the end of 2014.”

Citizens Contribute

Even though the library is gets funds from taxes, these have decreased, which doesn’t help the library’s case to get more money. But, before this millage proposal happens, the library wants to get input from residents.

Citizens can also visit their website Photo Taken by Mike Moffat

Citizens can also visit their website
Photo Taken by Mike Moffat

“The only way the citizens could help us is help answer the survey we gave them so we can figure out what they want out of us,” said Youth Services Librarian Mindy Schafer. “Hopefully they can see this library as more than just a place to go for books.”

 

For questions or comments, contact Mike Moffat at moffatm2@msu.edu

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RESA Program helps students prep for college

By: Mike Moffat

Bath-DeWitt Reporter

Program Overview

Imagine being able to get hands on experience as a junior in high school and gain credits toward college. Clinton County’s Regional Education Service Agency program has 11 different courses for credit at Lansing Community College.

This program is available to all the schools in Clinton County, and runs during the whole school year. Students from DeWitt High School, Bath High School, Fowler High School, and others job shadow potential courses.

DeWitt High School is one of many that takes part in the program Photo taken by Mike Moffat

DeWitt High School is one of many that takes part in the program
Photo taken by Mike Moffat

Health Popularity

“Our most popular course being taken in this program has got to be allied health,” said Margo Hazelman, Clear Education coordinator. “It allows a wide variety of different options from students to choose from in the health field, from working with children, to working with the elders.”

The more popular topic in allied health is child development. The students travel to the Fuerstenau Early Childhood Center and host special events such as reading hours, or giving them the experience of teaching a child.

Early Childhood Center Photo taken by Mike Moffat

Early Childhood Center
Photo taken by Mike Moffat

“I really like seeing the students’ reactions when they get a first hand experience like this,” said Kathi Senita, principal at Fuerstenau Early Childhood Center. “It really helps them determine whether they are right going into this age group, or if they want to move up to higher education.”

“My favorite part about teaching this course is seeing the students make the connections with the real world,” said Karen Stutzman, allied health professor at Lansing Community College. “Their actions now can help reflect their future, and they really get a sense of why this program helps them prepare.”

Real Hands-On Experience

On the other hand, another popular course in this program is the construction trades class. This course gives the students an overall of the career building structure.

“We go to sites that are currently in progress and see what their layout is going to look like in the end,” said Ross Pope, construction professor at Lansing Community College. “The students can get a really good look at what goes into building the project such as the materials needed, the floor blueprints, the number of hours needed for the project, etc.”

Overall, these students get credit for participating in this program toward Lansing Community College and it gives them a nice head start going into college. Whether it is criminal justice, sports medicine, or emergency services, the RESA program has a spot for these students’ future.

 

For questions or comments, please contact Mike Moffat at moffatm2@msu.edu

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