Schools of choice option gains popularity in Michigan, benefits Meridian

By Katie Dudlets
The Meridian Times Staff Reporter

In Michigan, the number of students in schools of choice increased from 66,560 in 2005-06 to 115,209 in 2012-13, an upsurge of 73 percent. Schools of choice enrollment also made up a larger percentage of the state’s overall student population, rising from 3.7 percent of 1.8 million students in 2005-06, to 7.1 percent of 1.6 million students in 2012-13. Administrators in Meridian Township are seeing a similar trend. “We do have many students that are interested and go ahead and make applications for schools of choice for Haslett [High School], and not only Haslett, but for Haslett Public Schools,” said Haslett High School Principal Bart Wegenke. “I think we’re probably about 18 to 20 percent schools of choice [students] for this district.”

According to Joshua Cowen, an associate professor in the Department of Educational Administration at Michigan State University, this increase in the program’s popularity is not only a trend in Michigan, but in the nation as well.

Haslett Public Schools will miss Duda, but confident success will continue

By Kelly Sheridan
The Meridian Times Staff Reporter

HASLETT — Earlier this year, Mike Duda, the superintendent of Haslett Public Schools announced he would be retiring at the end of the school year. Duda has acted as superintendent for 12 years and has worked in Haslett Public Schools for 40.The Haslett Public School Board is currently in the process of hiring their next superintendent. “Haslett Public Schools doesn’t do this often,” President of the Haslett Public School Board Kristin Beltzer said. “Duda has been superintendent for 12 years and the superintendent before him held his position for 14 years.”

Beltzer said the process began as soon as Duda announced his retirement. “Mike Duda announced [his retirement] in September, so we spent a little time to figure out the process and what we wanted it to look like,” Beltzer said.

Multi-tiered system of supports at Haslett High School keeps students on track

By Katie Dudlets
The Meridian Times Staff Reporter

HASLETT — Haslett High School follows a unique framework for monitoring student activity that has led to continued academic success in an effort to minimize the number of students falling under state proficiency levels. Haslett High School’s Principal Bart Wegenke said that the school follows a framework called multi-tiered system of supports. This framework separates the student body into three different tiers. Tier one is the core group, in which 80 percent of the students are at or above grade level. Tier two consists of the students just outside the core, due to things like minor absences or not doing all of their homework.

In battle of Meridian schools, Okemos High School tops Haslett counterpart

By Chris Hung
The Meridian Times Staff Reporter

Statistics show Okemos High School tops Haslett High School in state and national ranking, despite their proximity. While the academic environment of Okemos High School outperforms Haslett High School, both schools remain better than both the state and national averages. According to U.S. News, Okemos High School maintains its position as the 10th best high school in the state of Michigan, while being 494th in the country. Haslett High School ranks 38th in the state and 1,176th in the nation. Both schools fall under the jurisdiction of Meridian Township as public schools and are just over five miles apart from each other.

Highly-rated teachers + hard-working students = high graduation rate at Haslett High

By Katie Dudlets
The Meridian Times Staff Reporter

HASLETT — Teachers at Haslett High School will go to any length to assure that the students in their classrooms are engaged and have the highest potential of meeting academic success. “I do a lot of pop culture references. I have Bart Simpson in the room for Simpson’s Rule in [calculus],” said Haslett High School teacher and Michigan Teacher of the Year recipient Kevin Tobe, pointing at a drawing of the popular cartoon character next to his math notes. “I’ve even convinced my classes that I love Kesha.”

With a graduation rate over 10 percent higher than the national average and a dropout rate of less than 5 percent, Haslett High School’s Principal Bart Wegenke accredits the school’s academic success to student engagement. “One of the expectations here is 100 percent engagement of students 100 percent of the time,” said Wegenke.

Mason High School Solo and Ensemble Concert goes on despite the weather

By Amanda Cowherd
Mason Times staff writer

On Wednesday, Feb. 5, Mason High School faculty cancelled all after-school activities. The band teacher, Beth Bousfield, had planned to have chamber music concerts at 6 p.m. and 8 p.m. to prepare her students for the Solo and Ensemble Festival on Saturday, Feb. 8. Bousfield emailed parents, offering students the opportunity to practice if they drove through the snow.