Myra Ford, policy committee chair for the Lansing School District Board of Education called the policy committee meeting to order on Oct. 29 at 1:30 p.m. Then all talk turned to drugs – drug tests in Lansing schools that is. One of the biggest items on the meeting agenda was the policy of drug tests for student-athletes in the Lansing School District. There are two options to the policy, according to the board. Option one is that students enrolled in a sport have to take a drug test prior to their season and this drug test is the responsibility of the parents to administer.
While constant debates surround the finances and tested measurements that contribute to student success, the teachers and students themselves sat down to talk about what actually goes on inside school walls. Everett High School senior Matthew Mercado said that any education, despite a lack of resources or new technology, is successful because of teachers. Mercado said success is based on student aspiration which, he said, is the result of receiving an equal education in resources and teacher efforts. Mercado said, “I don’t think students value education because of the distribution of the resources. If we’re getting raggedy books and the teacher is not really engaging us, of course I’m going to have an attitude.
Sparrow Health System has the go-ahead to build a new cancer center and parking structure, the Lansing City Council decided on Feb. 23, 2015. The new additions will be located on the south side of East Michigan Avenue, west of the current Sparrow Professional Building. This project is estimated to cost $64 million and will consist of a five-story professional building with a four-story parking structure in a total of 132,000 sq. feet, according to Sparrow’s rezoning application.
The Lansing Board of Education is considering an increase in funding for beginning music programs at Otto Middle School, which serves Old Town, and other elementary and middle schools. There currently are no band, string or orchestra programs at the elementary level in Lansing Public Schools, explained Deputy Superintendent James Davis. Every elementary building has put in a request to re-instate the programs, he said. “We had orchestra and band in elementary until this year,” said Davis. “It was cut as part of our budget cuts at the end of the semester.”
Davis explained that in the current system, there is a general music teacher for each elementary school. This teacher has a 45 minutes class in each grade level that meets twice a week. The band, string and orchestra programs are pull-out programs (program that ‘pulls-out’ students from their regularly-scheduled academic class) that operate independently from this general music course. Davis stressed that some middle school bands were still in great shape, namely Pattengill Middle School which has received high rankings in solo and ensemble festivals for the last few years. “We used to have an amazing music program, and Pattengill and Everett still have amazing music programs,” said Myra Ford, secretary of the Lansing Board of Education. “When I look at Pattengill, which is our smallest middle school, and I see what they are offering, and then I look at Gardner and I look at Otto, I’m really disheartened at the fact that we have what we have there.”
Otto Middle School serves much of the North Lansing Area, including the Old Town Community.
The main topic of disscussion was a lack of music education in Lansing’s middle and elementary schools, including Otto Middle School which serves Old Town, when the Lansing Board of Education met Thursday, Oct. 20. The Lansing School District’s music program has been on the decline, explained James Davis, the district’s deputy superintendent. Davis and other board members cited lack of fifth grade and elementary music programs as well as mediocre middle school music classes as the root of the problem that stems into smaller high school bands and orchestras. “We need to revisit the issue of band and strings at the elementary level,” said Myra
Ford, secretary of the Lansing Board of Education. Because of past cuts, Lansing Public Schools currently do not have any band, strings or orchestra programs at the elementary level, only generic music classes that are
primarily vocal music oriented, explained the Deputy Superintendent James