COVID-19, flood disrupt curriculum for Midland Public Schools

In the city of Midland, Midland Public Schools is the only public school option for students within city limits. K-12 schools converted to online learning due to COVID-19, and the district devised a plan to move forward into the possibility of returning to in person classes. 

MPS Curriculum Specialist Steve Poole said that this change was sudden for the school, and they only were informed just when Gov. (Gretchen) Whitmer announced that schools were closed on March 12th.  Poole said they were talking about the possibility of going online, but did not have any concrete plans when the governor began this shutdown. This school systems, in midland, and nationwide, to have to adapt to what is being described as the new normal. 

“The first week of shutdown really allowed us to be prepared,” said Poole.  “There was a lot of communication at all levels at MPS. The principals worked with the curriculum office to establish the Continuity of Learning Plan. Teachers had to concentrate on essential standards that were needed for the rest of the semester.” 

Source: Midland Public Schools

The Continuity of Learning Plan released by MPS directly stated what was required of teachers to do for students to replace a normal class, and the policies MPS would use to finish out the year.  

According to the section of the document pertaining to high school classes, students had two classes a day, for around an hour each.  Teachers were able to schedule office hours at some point in the week to have meetings with students to discuss progress, and help them continue learning, according to the document.  Finally, the document states that final grading for the semester would be credit/no credit, instead of traditional grading. 

Source: Midland Public Schools

Students like Midland Dow High senior Aiden Moneypenny said students in the district faced a massive challenge when it came to finishing out the year.  Moneypenny said students really had to stay on top of new info relayed out by the administration in the week between classes being cancelled and online work beginning, so they could not miss out on work and risk not graduating. 

“The senior project is the biggest thing we do in second semester senior English,” said Moneypenny.  “For my class at least we were expected to still do some of it but the majority was canceled, which made our total assignments for English be very small.”

Moneypenny said MPS was eventually able to establish a system resembling some sense of normality.  While not perfect, they were able to get assignments out to all students, something that Poole was quite proud of.

Lansing prom shop is determined to have something for the seniors

High school proms all over the state have been canceled because of COVID-19, meaning seniors are missing out on one of the last special nights they had left with all of their childhood friends. But a Lansing business is making it their priority to give them that night back — eventually. Pierre’s Bridal, Prom and Tuxedo is used to seeing its upstairs prom section full of high school girls looking for that special dress from March to June. But now the store is empty and temporarily shut down. Co-owner Sarah Samson got the idea to still hold a prom somewhere, just a little later than most high schools had originally scheduled, for seniors in the Mid-Michigan area.

Lansing Art Gallery gives students opportunity to win scholarship through art

By Eve Kucharski
Listen Up Lansing Staff Reporter

The Lansing Art Gallery & Education Center is located in downtown Lansing, and has been a part of the Lansing community for 50 years. Throughout that time, it has changed locations and staff, but one of its most long-standing traditions has been going on for over three decades. This tradition is known as the Art Scholarship Alert, or ASA. It is a juried competition that exhibits the work of high school students from nine counties across Michigan, and awards winners financial assistance as well as recognition for their achievements in the arts. According to the art gallery’s website it has awarded collectively $106,000 to young artists in the area.

Okemos High School guiding students to college through its guidance department

By Kelly Sheridan
The Meridian Times Staff Reporter

OKEMOS — Every year, thousands of students apply to colleges with the assistance of numerous people. Okemos High School has instituted an assistance program that allows students to have all the tools necessary for applying to their colleges, as well as finding the colleges that fit for them. Hedlun Walton, the director of guidance services at Okemos High School, said the process begins in the spring of a student’s junior year. The school hosts an evening presentation, where they invite an admissions representative from Michigan State University or the University of Michigan to come and give general advice on completing applications and writing essays. “Our assistance begins with helping students position themselves to have a competitive application and to do the appropriate amount of college exploration to make sure they are selecting schools that would be a good fit for them,” Walton said.

What are Meridian schools doing to keep student obesity at bay?

By Lauren Captain
The Meridian Times Staff Writer

It can be quite alarming to hear the statistics with obesity in the United States, but Michigan is one state to be especially worried about. From the year 1990 to 2014, the obesity rate in Michigan jumped from 13 percent of overweight people to an alarming 32.6 percent. What is most concerning about this last number is that the age group of 10 to 17 years old occupies almost half of this number. This number is 14.8 percent, which happens to almost the same number of obese people of all ages in Hawaii. This is something to notice and not ignore.

Holt has more high school grads than the national average

By Stevie Pipis
Holt Journal Staff Reporter

Kerry Pahl said her daughter attended Holt schools for a year before moving back to the Lansing School District. “She liked the teachers, and had to work harder because of the higher academic standards. Holt schools have a pretty good reputation,” she said. The numbers bear that out. The U.S. Census website says that 94.5 percent of the population of Holt ages 25 and over are a graduate of high school.

Holt rallies around high school athletics

By Roya Burton
Holt Journal Staff Reporter

High school athletics are a great reminder about the love the of the game, and the reason why sports are played in the first place. It’s about the athletes, fans and the student body, but also the surrounding community. According to the U.S Census Bureau the city of Holt, Mich. holds a population of just under 24,000, and supporting local high school sports is a way of life. No matter what season, on just about any game day expect the stands to be filled with not only students and parents, but local supporters.

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.