By Ashleigh Rogers
Holt Journal staff writer
The 2010 Census results showed Michigan to be the only state whose population decreased. However, within the state, several cities experienced a population increase. Holt’s population increased and is now at its record high. One of the reasons that the citizens of Holt believe this to be true is due to its excellent public school system. 7 out of 10 of Holt’s public schools received a letter grade of an “A” for their district school curriculum and student performance.
According to the Michigan Department of Education and the federal No Child Left Behind Act, Adequate Yearly Progress (AYP) must be calculated for all public schools and for each school district. Each individual school is then given an overall letter grade indicating whether the school meets federal requirements for AYP and the school’s accreditation status under the Revised School Code.
The success of Holt’s public schools is found to be in its competitive curriculum. Superintendent Dr. Johnny Scott explained that the district’s curriculum is designed in such a way that students are most likely to succeed academically. “I think our curriculum is an engaging curriculum that’s aligned to the content standards, and we deliver it in such a way that it’s meaningful to students, and our students appear to excel from the curriculum that we offer them.”
The district’s curriculum is based off of the Michigan content standards, which are a set of learning expectations determined and developed by parents, educators, business leaders and university professors. These standards are then used to assist schools in the development of local district curricula. The curriculum of Holt’s school district uses these standards as the basis for the curriculum. However, according to Superintendent Scott, the Holt school district’s curriculum is more broad than the common standards.
Executive Director of Curriculum and Staff Development Dean Manikas explained that the standards and the design of the district’s curriculum, students should be able to compete with other students in Holt, the state of Michigan and other states as well. “In a nutshell, Holt adopts the curriculum benchmarks set by the state,” Manikas explained. “So kids should be able to compete locally and globally.”
In addition to designing a suitable curriculum for students, teachers must be well-endowed in delivering instruction to each student. Do see to it that those teachers meet those standards, the district holds Professional Development Day every Wednesday. “The teachers get together for two hours and they talk about issues dealing with their craft,” explained Superintendent Scott. “That allows our teachers to stay abreast and be able to diagnose their craft and work with kids in real time, and I think that one of the features that makes sure our teachers stay current.”
In order to keep the current curriculum moving forward, the district will be considering some improvements to the curriculum. One of those improvements is called the Michigan Common Core Standards, which the state of Michigan is considering for the 2013 school year. Superintendent Scott stated that the new standards will be examined by the Holt school district to make sure that it aligns with the current district’s curriculum. “We’re looking at our current curriculum and we’re trying to make sense of the new common core standards and see how they are aligned, where are the gaps and whether we need to move topics or material around,” Scott said. “We want to make sure that our kids get the advantages of the common core curriculum.”
In addition to making sure that the students succeed inside the classroom, the entire Holt community takes pride in educating everyone regardless of age or area of study. For example, Holt Junior High School holds aquatic programs for senior citizens, expectant mothers, young children and families. There are also various adult enrichment programs, senior citizen programs and youth enrichment classes where people of all ages can be educated in just about anything. “We take great pride in not just our children and young people,” explained Superintendent Scott, “but just our community as a whole. Education in every way is important and extremely valuable.”
Information about Holt Public Schools can be found online.