By Rachael Daniel
Living In The Ledge Staff Reporter
High school student Megan Koren loves her teachers at Grand Ledge Public Schools. She always feels supported in her academic journey and applauds their unyielding hard work, but more than anything, she believes they deserve to be treated better by the district.
In her opinion, the well-being of her teachers should be a priority in the district’s new strategic plan that focuses on school improvement. The new version of the plan is updated every three years and the 2016 version will be released in June.
Assistant Superintendent Andrew George said the strategic plan gives the district the opportunity to ensure its focus is always in the right direction.
“We have to continue to look at ourselves,” George said. “Change is constant, so we have to stay on top of it.”
George also stressed the value of parent feedback from the parent survey that is available now online.
“Parent input is critical. We take any opportunity we can get to push them a little more to tell us how we are doing,” George said.
Dr. Kristy Cooper, a Michigan State University professor of educational administration, agreed that parent feedback is an important tool that all school districts should be utilizing.
“Parents are the constituents of schools as are their kids and so finding out from parents what they would like to see, what’s important to them is really what schools should be doing,” said Cooper.
However, parents are not the only Grand Ledge residents who are talking about the updated plan and the need for school improvement.
Koren said that Grand Ledge Public Schools needs to better recognize the efforts of its teachers or the mass exodus of teachers that occurred in 2015 will continue.
“They put so much effort into us and a lot of that effort has to be put in on their own time and their planning periods, since we had so many teachers leave,” Koren said.
In addition, Koren hopes Grand Ledge Public Schools will turn some of its focus on improving student facilities.
“Our soccer fields are really crappy,” she said.
Koren is not the only student who believes the district’s facilities could use improvement.
“We can’t even use our swimming pool scoreboard anymore. We are constantly having to get a janitor to come and fix it,” said Robyn Clinkscales, another Grand Ledge High School student.
Grand Ledge High School senior Cameron Collins also sees areas the district needs to update.
“We’ve had the same weight room since 1920,” said Collins.
According to Clinkscales, transportation is another area of concern for Grand Ledge students.
“My bus stop is a 20-minute walk from my house and the bus gets so full that I have had to sit on the floor.”
Despite the desired improvements, George is confident in the district’s mission.
“We have to remind ourselves why we are here,” George said. “We are a school and ultimately we are here for the students.”