Lansing School Board announces new grant spending plan

The Lansing School District Board of Education discussed its spending plan for two grants that the district applied for. The Lansing School Board meets on the first and third Thursdays of each month. Meetings take place at the  Shirley M. Rodgers Administration Building. The grant presentation panel included Curt Barnum, Director of State and Federal grants, Heather Guerra, Assistant Director of Instruction, Yvonne Thomas, Director of Instruction, and Jessica Benavides, Deputy Superintendent of Schools. 

The first grant, Section 35a, will help ensure that students are reading at grade level by the end of 3rd grade. The grant will implement an instructional delivery model based on the frequent use of formative, screening, and diagnostic tools to determine individual progress for students in grades Pre-K to 3rd grade. 

Professional learning is also one of the grants’ initiatives.

Lansing Economic Development Corp. approves brownfield plan

Denver Williams on the Brownfield development plan. The Lansing Economic Development Corporation board of directors approved a new Brownfield development plan in Lansing on Friday, October 7, 2022. Brownfield properties are ones in which the redevelopment may be difficult due to chemical contamination. Redeveloping these properties reduces urban sprawl, protects the environment and produces new economic opportunities. Conner Zook and Dave Vanhaaren from Triterra, a Michigan-based environmental consulting firm, were present at the board meeting and gave a presentation on the environmental hazards  affecting this Brownfield site.

A paper banner in the school says "Farewell."

Lansing School Board votes to demolish, build new Mt. Hope

A $130 million bond was approved by voters in May to begin the demolition and rebuilding of four schools in the Lansing School District. One of these schools is the Mt. Hope STEAM school.

Mt. Hope STEAM school opened in 1949. There are now plenty of irreparable building issues, including no air conditioning, a malfunctioning boiler room, inoperative bathrooms, as well as other structural problems.

Small businesses met, survived challenges during pandemic

Cara Nadar, the owner of Strange Matter Coffee, is no stranger to the challenges that came with navigating the pandemic while simultaneously operating a business. Millions of businesses were forced to close for months. Due to the economic challenges brought on by the pandemic, some businesses closed indefinitely. Strange Matter Coffee co, located on Lansing’s east side, opened in 2014. 

On Monday, March 16, 2020, Strange Matter Coffee closed its doors due to rising COVID-19 cases in the state of Michigan. “At that time we had 23 employees and I didn’t know if we would ever open again or what would happen.

J.W. Sexton enters final stage of mascot rebranding process

Lansing’s J.W. Sexton High School is selecting its new mascot and will no longer be known as the Big Reds. The Lansing School District received a $87,500 grant from the Native American Heritage Fund to help with the costs of replacing the mascot and designing a new logo. The fund’s goal is to promote positive relationships between public and private K-12 grade schools, colleges, universities, local units of government, and Michigan’s federally recognized Native American Tribes. “We know that this mascot is culturally insensitive, and I know that it’s not the way of the Sexton family to exclude people, so we’re going to move boldly forward,” Lansing School District Board President Gabrielle Lawrence said. 

Sexton is not the first school in the Capital Area to change its mascot. Okemos High School recently changed its mascot from the “Chiefs” to the “Wolves.” Riddle Elementary School also changed its mascot from the “Little reds” to the “Rhinos.”

“We’ve been offending a culture for the past 80 years,” Principal Daniel Boggan said.