27 schools: Dividing the spotlight

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LANSING – With numerous programs and resources, Lansing schools provide a unique educational experience for students. On Feb. 22, the district came together, spotlighting its expansive community reach.

The Lansing School District 2015 Showcase at Lansing Center featured representation from all 27 of the district’s schools. From on-site application and enrollment to student performances, the event embodied the district’s vision of furnishing caring, collaborative excellence.

Inside the Lansing Center at the Showcase.

Inside the Lansing Center at the Showcase.

“I love…being able to meet new people and share what we have to offer,” said Gier Park Principal Becky Stephens.

As a tremendously diverse district, schools can serve the needs of all populations, according to Stephens.

Becky Stephens, Gier Park principal, at her school's booth at the Showcase.

Becky Stephens, Gier Park principal, at her school’s booth at the Showcase.

Terry Baker, the principal at Lyons Elementary, agrees.

“Diversity lends itself to a wonderful, collaborative environment,” he said. “It’s like the real world.”

Lansing schools provide a plethora of in- and after-school programs, said Stephens. Many community organizations support these school programs, and several of the programs are shared among the schools.

Willow Elementary is an exception, however. When the school opens in fall 2015, it will debut a unique program called Watch D.O.G.S.

“Dads Of Great Students…is an opportunity for males to be more positively involved in the educational lives of their students,” said Willow Principal Steven Lonzo.

Willow Elementary’s Principal Steven Lonzo at Willow’s Showcase booth.

At Gier Park, there are after-school programs every day of the week. Lyons Elementary’s extra-curricular activities include a choir and drama club.

Special focuses also individualize each school, said Stephens.

“We are truly the multi-cultural school here in the district,” said Nanette Kuhlmann, the principal at North Elementary. “We have nine different languages spoken in this building alone.”

North Principal Nanette Kuhlmann and Vice Principal Ariel Rodriguez.

Fifty percent of the students at North are ESL students, or English as a Second Language, said Kuhlmann. These students must learn English first.

“That’s a big priority for us,” she said.

At North, students and staff also work in the community garden, and it is used across content and grade levels.

“It’s so large at this point that we contribute to the food banks around the state,” Kuhlmann said. “It’s a wonderful project for our students to be a part of.”

Forest View School has an environmental focus, and Willow will be an all-male academy, according to Lonzo.

“We’ll be the first of this kind,” he said.

Gier Elementary will kick-start its healthy communities focus next year, bringing even more programs to students.

“They’ve brought a lot of stuff into the building, which is great,” said Stephens. “They’ve also supported it with training and curriculum.”

The teachers and staff that belong to these schools are highly qualified, according to Kuhlmann. They too benefited from the showcase.

“It’s a great chance for us to…share ideas,” said Stephens. “It…has brought us together as a district family.”

The showcase certainly provided parents and families with information to learn about the Lansing school district as well.

“I just like all the displays, the live entertainment, everything’s pretty cool,” said Will McFadden, a Mt. Hope School parent. “They’re doing a good job.”

Lansing School District students perform at the Showcase.

Lansing School District students perform at the Showcase.

And school staff loved meeting with prospective parents and families.

“Just the communication…and being together is wonderful,” said Kuhlmann.

To Becky Stephens, it’s an ongoing commitment.

“The relationships that we build are hugely important,” she said. “It’s up to us to do what we need to do to keep our families connected and happy.”

To learn more about the Lansing school district and enrollment, visit lansingschools.net.

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