A $15 million grant has been awarded to the Lansing School District, which will help fund essential departments and increase opportunities for area students.
The Board of Education shared the news of its federal grant and COVID-19 updates with the public at its last meeting.
Federal Grant Approval
The grant will allow the district to target three main areas; career and technical programs, environmental education, and the Montessori school development.
Superintendent Ben Shuldiner announced the federal grant approval.
“We need to create a school system that allows for children to learn in a multiplicity of ways,” Superintendent Ben Shuldiner said. “We’ve been planning to have a four-year academic high school program for CTE, and with this grant, we are going to get a lot of start-up money.”
High school students will now have a chance to pursue and receive hands-on training in multiple fields. This will be beneficial in helping students decide what career path will best fit their strengths and interests.
The second part of the grant offers K-12 students an environmental education program. The Lansing school district already operates Ebersole Center, an environmental education and retreat center located in Wayland, Michigan.
The grant will now allow students to engage in environmental education at their schools.
“There’s nothing better than learning biology by seeing how plants actually grow,” Shuldiner said.
The board feels that seeing the changes and progression in nature will make the knowledge
feel more accessible to students.
The third part of the approved grant will go toward Montessori school development. Lansing School District has one Montessori school that allows students to learn through their natural interests, not formal education.
“There are some specific professional developments in those classes, and this grant allows us to kick start that again,” Shuldiner said.
Since COVID continues to be prominent, the Board of Education incorporates a COVID update into their monthly meetings led by nurse Sue Wheeler.
Wheeler reported that COVID cases have declined in the last two weeks. “We had 300 positive cases in students in the month of September,” Wheeler said. “We are still mindful because 300 students and 100 staff members is a lot of covid, so we keep track of that.”
The amount of student COVID cases throughout the Lansing School District.
The amount of staff COVID cases in the Lansing School District.
The district has been following mitigation strategies to help fight COVID-19, such as optional masks, social distancing, and good hygiene practices. These strategies have been effective in fighting off more than just the coronavirus.
“The mitigation strategies that are not only successful in fighting off the COVID-19 virus but also strep, flu, and general viral illnesses,” Wheeler said.
When asked about wearing masks when a student has a cough, Wheeler encouraged using three-ply masks over cloth masks. Wheeler was supported by medical doctor and board member, Dr. Farahan Bhatti, emphasizing that three-ply masks are more effective when slowing the spread.
“Cloth masks do some good in preventing the spread of less contagious virus like Influenza, but the Omicron variant is so contagious that the cloth masks amount to not much more than a show,” Bhatti said.