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.

Coach Steve Finamore, from Brooklyn to East Lansing High School

Finamore’s road to coaching has been long and a bit different than most coaches’ paths. The Brooklyn, New York native came to Michigan in 1996 and ironically served on Tom Izzo’s staff at Michigan State from 1999-2001.

Since then he’s coached at Jackson Community College, St. Peter’s University in New Jersey and has worked one-on-one with numerous college and professional players from all over Michigan.

Illustration with white lesson plan and green, polka dot background.

Veteran teachers in Michigan express angst over standardized test prep

For the past two decades, David Atkins has pursued his passion for teaching with excitement. As an Advanced Placement and eleventh-grade English teacher at Dearborn High School in Dearborn, Mich., he has looked forward to coming to work each day and playing a part in educating the nation’s youth. Lately, however, he’s noticed something has changed. Over the past few years, the literature, poetry and humanities lessons that once held the spotlight in his classroom are increasingly being cast aside to make room for a new star – standardized test prep. As American classics such as “In Cold Blood” and “The Grapes of Wrath” gave way to article analysis and college readiness practice exams, he says school days have become less progressive, less interesting and ultimately, less satisfying. “Twenty-five years I’ve been teaching, and in the last couple of years, it’s just reached this point where I ask, ‘What the hell am I doing?’ It’s not really teaching anymore,” Atkins said.

White pennant banner with a capital letter "U" against a blue, polka dot background.

Assemble U offers community-based learning for the Michigan music industry

Crabs in a barrel. That’s how Nicole Churchill, one of the three founding members of Assemble Sound, describes Detroit’s music industry. “When you think about crabs in a literal barrel, when one or two start to crawl to the top, the other crabs try to pinch at them and pull at their legs and drag them back down,” Churchill said. “It’s a metaphor for what support has commonly been like in the industry. Detroit’s the birthplace of a ton of different music genres, but a lot of people don’t realize that the talent never went anywhere.

Graphic of book with dollar sign on the cover against a red, polka dot background.

Economic barriers to book fairs inspire teachers to take charge

Scrolling through the feed of a millennial Twitter user, it’s hard to deny the trendiness of nostalgia. One account titled “90s Girl Problems” reaches over half of a million followers, with the popularity of other “throwback” themed accounts and posts following closely behind. Yet amidst all of the tweetable references to hair scrunchies, Nirvana and Lisa Frank, the remembrance of one educational event seems to repeatedly evoke fond memories from today’s young adults – Scholastic Book Fairs. “When the revolution comes I hope they let us keep the Scholastic Book Fair,” one tweet reads. “Marry someone who makes you feel the way you felt during Scholastic Book Fair week in grade school,” says another.

Karl Gude draws on a table covered in colorful sketches.

MSU on frontlines of creativity in classrooms

The emphasis on assignment grades and test scores has stifled creativity in the classroom. According to an international study by Adobe, educators and parents feel the education system itself has become a barrier to creative learning. But MSU professors are finding ways to keep creativity alive in their classrooms.

Teacher+coach = an 80-hour week

A large percentage of teachers have to have second jobs and many tend to take up coaching, but how does it affect them? What are the perks of coaching?

Beyond diversity, the need for equity in academia

In the fall of 2014, the percentage of white students enrolled in public elementary and secondary schools was less than 50 percent for the first time in history. According to the National Center for Education Statistics, racial and ethnic distributions within public schools have shifted, adding greater diversity to the education system.