Ingham County board meeting: small room with big enthusiasm

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The Ingham County Intermediate School District held its third board meeting this year to address services offered to the district. Three groups were acknowledged: Student Instructional Services, the Spec. Ed. Parent Advisory Committee and summer camps.

Shelly Proebstle from the instructional team explained that its goals for schools are reading proficiency and an increase in high school graduation. Proebstle said these new methods fit all grades and “all learners.”

Tammy Shorna speaks to the board.

“What we implement is a continuum of learning, from kindergarten through 12th grade,” Proebstle said. “This is bigger than just schools, this is about families and communities.” Student Instructional Services made a calendar for schools which is translated in seven languages. A Vietnamese family in the district sends these calendars back home so their schools can use them.

Tammy Shorna, an instructional services coach, said this school improvement plan has to “invade” the culture of the schools. “If it’s not impacting student learning, we’re missing something,” Shorna said.

Lonnie Thomas spoke about the Kids’ College program, where 4th and 5th grade students can advance their literary skills in science over two weeks in the summer. Lonnie explained last year’s curriculum about energy and forces. The event for this summer was proposed.

Josh Eathouse, a middle school math teacher who helps organize MASCOT (an analytic math camp program for 7th and 8th graders), was pushing the event for another summer term.

Eathouse said this program brought a 23 percent learning improvement in two weeks last summer.

“This … group consensus is different than our classrooms,” Eathouse said. “We’ve realized that rote memorization doesn’t transfer well to standardized testing.”

Instructional Services literacy program.

On action items, an amendment to the intermediate district’s Appropriation Act for General Education funding passed, as well as continued Powerschool support through March 2020. New machining lathes in the Wilson Talent Center were also discussed and a budget was passed to foresee purchases and implementation. The board also adopted The Reading Now Network.

Helen McNamara, assistant superintendent, reviewed student enrollment and Schools of Choice. She said the county has seen a 9 percent reduction in students over the past 10 years. In the 2018 school year the percentage of cyber students in the district was more than half of those attending brick-and-mortar schools.

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