Okemos Public Schools serve school of choice students, but focus locally

Alena Zachery-Ross is the Superintendent of Okemos Public Schools, hired just this year. She explains that Okemos Public Schools, while serving school of choice students, primarily focuses on serving the Okemos community. School of choice is a district optional program that allows students from one school district to chose another. This allows students and their families the option to choose what education they’re receiving, regardless of residency. “Our philosophy regarding school of choice is that there will be limited seating opportunities for non resident students,” Zachery-Ross said.

Williamston Board of Education approves 8011 Policy

WILLIAMSTON- Williamston public school parent Sandy Dufrin walked up to the microphone. Nearly 200 people crowded in the Williamston Middle School cafeteria. All eyes are on Dufrin as her hands shake beneath the paper that declares her opposition to the 8011 policy, a topic that has catalyzed conflict in the school district. Tension fills the room as she asks, “If this policy is approved are you seriously going to look at an elementary student who can barely tie their shoes and affirm that he has the capacity to choose what gender he wants to be?”

Through months of deliberation, emotional unrest and controversial debates between opposing sides, the Williamston Board of Education has approved the 8011 Equal Protection of Transgender and Non-Conforming Students Policy at their meeting on Nov. 6.

Williamston school board approves gender identity policies

On Nov. 2, the seven members of the Williamston Community Schools Board of Education approved two policies related to gender identity and access to gender-segregated facilities

After several months of current and former students, as well as Williamston community members meeting at the local middle school, the school board reached a decision as to how they will assess their transgender students and gender identity concerns. The decision came after months of meetings and public comment after the school board took on the issue of gender identity in its schools. “Over the summer, the seven board members decided to draft some proposals for how the district should handle or deal with the needs of a number of gender-identity type issues,” Williamston High School Principal Jeffrey Thoenes said. “The school board went through their normal process of discussing and then voting on what is placed on their board agenda.”

Thoenes said the transgender issues were handled the same way that any other school board issue is.

Talking with Teachers, Episode 3. Guest: Jeff Thomas

On the third episode of “Talking with Teachers,” I’ve gone outside MSU to interview Jeff Thomas, Sweet Home High School’s business education teacher. Thomas has been at Sweet Home High School in Amherst, NY (a suburb of Buffalo) for over 20 years and has taught a number of different business and media courses. In the interview, Thomas talks about how he got into teaching, and the differences between business courses and typical core high school classes. He highlights the importance of business education in high school, how it can help kids going into college, and what business classes are offered at Sweet Home now. Thomas also touches on his personal struggles of teaching an elective course in high school.

Amid racial tensions, black students find refuge in religious groups

Q&A: Student organization doubles as a safe haven for minority students at MSU

The Black Lives Matter movement was born out of the outpouring of grief and frustration following the death of Trayvon Martin in 2012 – a young, unarmed black man who was shot while walking in a gated neighborhood – and the subsequent acquittal of the man who killed him. In the five years since Martin’s death, the Black Lives Matter movement has gained momentum, driven by the killings of Sandra Bland, Mike Brown, Eric Garner, Philando Castile and other black people at the hands of the police. The movement has grown into an international network of more than 30 chapters. College campuses across the country have used various platforms to respond to and/or participate in efforts led by Black Lives Matter. At Michigan State University, a student-run Christian organization encourages students to use religious faith as a tool to combat racial tension.

Professor of practice: More than a title?

While the term ‘professor of practice’ is popping up in universities all around the country, few know what this title actually means. While MSU doesn’t technically recognize ‘professor of practice’ as an official title, this phrase can certainly be found on faculty bios in colleges and departments within the university.

Entrance to Lansing Catholic High School.

Four local high school students Skype with Colin Kaepernick

Back in October, four high school football players at Lansing Catholic Central High School kneeled during the national anthem. The players say head football coach Jim Ahern benched Michael Lynn III, Matthew Abdullah, Kabbash Richards and Roje Williams for their actions. But these students never thought taking a stance would end with a Skype from one of their idols. “I just got off a Skype with Colin Kaepernick, any negative comments that are thrown at me, literally, it couldn’t affect me,” Lynn III said. The video chat was on Dec.

Talking with Teachers, Episode 2. Guest: MSU Instructor David Watson

On the second episode of “Talking with Teachers,” I am joined by another Michigan State University employee, College of Arts and Letters faculty member, Dave Watson. Not only does Watson teach at Michigan State, he also has classes at Jackson College and is in a program known as the PEI (Prison Education Initiative), where he teaches inmates at Cooper St. Correctional Facility in Jackson. In the interview Watson talks about how he got into teaching, what his courses can offer and what it’s like teaching in a prison.

Graphic depicting a "no peanuts" sign against an orange, polka dot background.

Teachers face the pressure of student allergies

Early education instructor Dayle McLeod was prepped this fall to begin her new position as Head Start’s lead teacher at Potterville Elementary School in Potterville, Mich. With six years of professional experience under her belt, she knew just how to ready her classroom for her newest batch of preschool students: Her lesson plans were organized, her classroom supplies purchased, her bulletin boards constructed. She was prepared for everything — or so she thought. Not long before the first day of class, McLeod was informed she would be responsible for a student with maple syrup urine disease, a rare genetic disorder in which the body cannot break down certain proteins. “At first, it was really stressful,” McLeod said.