Ingham Intermediate School District makes changes

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A county playground that had a “catastrophic failure” is being entirely replaced.

Andrew Rable, executive director of student support services for the Ingham Intermediate School District, said Heartwood secondary school’s new playground will be ready by the end of the school year. He made the announcement at the school board’s April 9 meeting.

Heartwood is for students with moderate to severe cognitive impairments, learning disabilities or autism spectrum. The playground is constructed differently to ensure safety.

“The old playground was built in 2000, but had a catastrophic failure and we are replacing it with new equipment, installation and rubber surfacing,” said Rable.

Rable said the Hearts of Fun playground project will be different from the old design, and he is excited for it to be put into action.

The school board discussed that as well as technology, renovations and educational plans.

Temperatures at the Thorburn Education Center and Wilson Talent Center at Ingham Intermediate have been upgraded and are digitally controlled, but Heartwood isn’t. This concerned employees at Ingham Intermediate due to Heartwood being the school that needs the most attention.

“The temperature in the building cannot be digitally altered quick enough for students who need it most. Temperature can alter behavior, so ISD is getting a new upgraded system for the upcoming school year,” Rable said.

As for educational plans, the Michigan Legislature is conducting a new kindergarten readiness assessment in the fall. The purpose of the test is for teachers to collect data to help with understanding students’ strengths and where they need to grow.

Susan Tinney, assistant superintendent and human resources, said it is Ingham Intermediate’s job to make sure local districts have the materials needed in the kindergarten classrooms.

Th Legislature wants Michigan to be a top 10 performing state in 10 years and needs to adopt, implement and sustain a coherent and cohesive strategy.

Because of the educational changes, the board has recommended eliminating some positions and adding others for the 2019-2020 school year.

“We want more administrative support such as an associate principal at Heartwood, so we are looking to fill positions like these,” said Tinney.

Corrie Mervyn, director of preschool instruction, said, “Our teachers are constantly being pulled in many directions and have to keep everything we ask of them up. If we have these new positions we can help assist them and lift them up.”

Jamie Engel, executive director at the Wilson Talent Center, said the culinary kitchen in Wilson Talent Center is also being replaced and a new program is being offered.

“The floor was put down in 2013, but is bubbling up and breaking apart. We have continuously fixed it, but now it is going to be replaced with a new seal surface on top that should last five years. It will be polished, too,” he said.

Engel said a therapeutic services programs is being added in the health program at Wilson and new equipment has been ordered.

Ingham Intermediate plans to pave new roads for the buses outside Wilson and a new parking lot near Thorburn, upgrade the phone systems and do emergency mass notifications.

Ingham students take trip with Close Up Washington, D.C.

By Keighen Morley
One month ago, 10 students from schools around Ingham County went to Washington, D.C., to learn about socioeconomics of neighborhoods there.

Four high school students at Wilson Talent Center stand in front of the ISD school board talking about their trip to D.C.

Lea Mitchell

High school students at Wilson Talent Center talk about their off campus trip to Washington D.C.

Four of the 10 went to the Ingham Intermediate School District Board of Education meeting to speak about their experiences and to thank the members who made the trip possible. A payment of $60 per person paid for the students’ travels. According to Lyhnae Cross, a senior at Holt High School, the school funded most of the trip.

The students are in the business and risk management program at the Wilson Talent Center. The program allows them to earn high school or college credit while focusing on careers and technical education. Through this, their teachers helped them to go on the trip through a program called Close Up Washington, D.C.

“I signed up for it and I said ‘that sounds amazing,’” said Robert Estill, a senior at Waverly High School.

During the seven-day trip, the students learned about socioeconomics through multiple workshops.

“My favorite part was that I was there in eighth grade, so me going again and learning a different perspective, I like that,” said D’Nasia Pierce, senior at Waverly High School.

“Eighth grade I just learned like the basics and went to go just look at the memorials, but when we went and learned a political perspective,” said Pierce.

Along with that, they worked on public speaking and understanding how to work in a group setting. Douglas Jueckstock, a junior at Nextech High School of Lansing, said one of his favorite parts was being able to see what other people had to bring to conversations that he was not able to.

The students had exciting experiences outside the realm of school. Some saw meeting people from around the country as a very valuable part of the trip.

“Two of my roommates were from Washington state and they actually invited me to stay with them this summer and like hang out and go swimming and all of that,” said Jueckstock.

The students are taking their skills to college next year and pursuing degrees in business.

The board’s next meeting is on May 21.

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