Schools of choice option gains popularity in Michigan, benefits Meridian

By Katie Dudlets
The Meridian Times Staff Reporter

In Michigan, the number of students in schools of choice increased from 66,560 in 2005-06 to 115,209 in 2012-13, an upsurge of 73 percent. Schools of choice enrollment also made up a larger percentage of the state’s overall student population, rising from 3.7 percent of 1.8 million students in 2005-06, to 7.1 percent of 1.6 million students in 2012-13. Administrators in Meridian Township are seeing a similar trend. “We do have many students that are interested and go ahead and make applications for schools of choice for Haslett [High School], and not only Haslett, but for Haslett Public Schools,” said Haslett High School Principal Bart Wegenke. “I think we’re probably about 18 to 20 percent schools of choice [students] for this district.”

According to Joshua Cowen, an associate professor in the Department of Educational Administration at Michigan State University, this increase in the program’s popularity is not only a trend in Michigan, but in the nation as well.

Haslett Public Schools will miss Duda, but confident success will continue

By Kelly Sheridan
The Meridian Times Staff Reporter

HASLETT — Earlier this year, Mike Duda, the superintendent of Haslett Public Schools announced he would be retiring at the end of the school year. Duda has acted as superintendent for 12 years and has worked in Haslett Public Schools for 40.The Haslett Public School Board is currently in the process of hiring their next superintendent. “Haslett Public Schools doesn’t do this often,” President of the Haslett Public School Board Kristin Beltzer said. “Duda has been superintendent for 12 years and the superintendent before him held his position for 14 years.”

Beltzer said the process began as soon as Duda announced his retirement. “Mike Duda announced [his retirement] in September, so we spent a little time to figure out the process and what we wanted it to look like,” Beltzer said.

In battle of Meridian schools, Okemos High School tops Haslett counterpart

By Chris Hung
The Meridian Times Staff Reporter

Statistics show Okemos High School tops Haslett High School in state and national ranking, despite their proximity. While the academic environment of Okemos High School outperforms Haslett High School, both schools remain better than both the state and national averages. According to U.S. News, Okemos High School maintains its position as the 10th best high school in the state of Michigan, while being 494th in the country. Haslett High School ranks 38th in the state and 1,176th in the nation. Both schools fall under the jurisdiction of Meridian Township as public schools and are just over five miles apart from each other.

Haslett School Board discusses new software at meeting

By Ryan Hodges
Meridian Times staff writer

HASLETT– A software program could change the way teachers and administrators are able to view progress in the classroom. Created 10 years ago by educators in California, Illuminate Education is a data management system that is used by educational institutions. With 50 percent of all teacher evaluations in the district now based upon how a student is progressing, administrators are expecting that these programs will provide some of this information. The Haslett School Board discussed the software on Feb. 24.

Haslett Robotics ignite student innovation

By Madeline Carino
Meridian Times staff writer

Four years ago, the Haslett Robotics Club consisted of one LEGO robotics team. Today, there are four LEGO teams plus three VEX teams. The robotics club is considered a science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) program. LEGO participants are typically between ages 9 to 14, and these students work with graphical programming. LEGO teams compete in two or three tournaments throughout the year. For the tournaments, they must program their robots and make a presentation that analyzes how a social issue can be solved using technology.

Meridian awarded safety grant

By Justin Polk
Meridian Times staff writer

School safety has been a very important topic in government. Meridian township has taken that a step further. In a press release by Meridian Township the state of Michigan awarded Meridian more than $19,000 for school safety. One way safety can be attained is by reducing response times of emergency officials. According to the press release, that is where the money of this grant will go.

Haslett Public Schools Consolidation of Technology Services Agreement

Haslett Public Schools and Williamston Community Schools have agreed on a consolidation technology agreement. Haslett will provide technology services for Williamston. The agreement comes as a result from rising education costs and a lack of federal resources. Williamston has never been in the position of having to cut programs from their school curriculum. Students will not be impacted in any manner from this agreement.