Schools switch to electronic report cards

By Tori Zackery
Entirely East Lansing

The East Lansing Public Schools district is beginning the use of an electronic school messenger to deliver important documents, such as report cards. The communication system was created in an effort to improve the exchange of news between parents and faculty and is available for free download in the iTunes app store. Its development was discussed at the district’s school board meeting on Monday, March 28. It was revealed that this past marking period, the messenger was used to distribute electronic report cards for elementary and secondary school students. “Now that we’ve kind of passed this hurdle, we’re looking at other things we can send out that same way,” said Director of Technology & Media Services Christian Palasty.

DeWitt Public Schools evolving to best connect with students

By Rachel Bidock
Clinton County Staff Reporter

DEWITT — Emily Macintire said that part of her reason for choosing to live in DeWitt was because of its public school system. “We had heard good things,” Macintire said. “We just moved here in August so we’ve only been here for a short period of time, but I can already tell that they are kind of ahead of the game.”

Having strong schools can be an important draw for residents. But what makes a school strong? According to Patricia Edwards at the College of Education at Michigan State University, what makes a school district successful is more than just being able to teach, it is about being able to reach a wide variety of students.

School counselor advocates continuing education advice before high school

By Diamond Henry
Bath-DeWitt Connection Staff Reporter

DEWITT — At the Nov. 9 DeWitt Public Schools Board of Trustees meeting, Herbison Woods Elementary School counselor Teri Severy discussed her attendance at the Strengthening School Counseling and College Advising conference, held in Florida. “It was one of the most exciting things I’ve done in my professional life,” said Severy, discussing her trip. The program’s goal is to try to prepare school counselors to help kids figure out different ways they can continue their education, be it a four-year university or a trade program. “I think many of us have changed careers or added into our careers, educators included, but we want to expose students to career and college opportunities,” said Severy.

Weather Keeping Kids Out of School

By Anthony Ferraro
Clinton County Chatter

DEWITT – In the state of Michigan the first three or four months of the year aren’t very forgiving. The temperatures get into the negatives and the wind chill makes it even more bone-chilling cold. Add snowfall into all this and this is “spring” in Michigan. DeWitt Public Schools have been very busy or lack thereof these last few months as the school closings have been piling up. According to DeWitt Public Schools Twitter feed the district has been closed four times since the beginning of the semester due to weather and rough driving conditions.

Dissolved districts may find way to get back in business

By NICK STANEK
Capital News Service
LANSING — School districts that were dissolved may have a chance to reestablish themselves under legislation designed to address potential dissolution of more districts. Rep. David Nathan, D-Detroit, who recently introduced the bill, said no mechanism exists for school districts to reestablish themselves. The bill would give intermediate school districts the power to elect a new school board for dissolved districts. Schools in low-income neighborhoods have been facing deficit issues as a result of cuts to education funding and declining enrollment. Ironically, many families moved to these neighborhoods because of their public school systems, Nathan said.

Proposal would toughen regulations for new charter schools

By JUSTINE McGUIRE
Capital New Service
LANSING – Making public school academies — charters — more accountable is on the minds of some legislators. A bill by Sen. Hoon-Yung Hopgood, D-Taylor, would prohibit new academies from having management agreements with for-profit organizations. It also would disallow authorizing bodies, such as universities, from creating new academies unless students at all of their existing academies perform at least 20 percent better than students in the nearest traditional school district. Weak laws have allowed a lot of charter schools to pop up and take students away from traditional schools, causing financial stress to public schools that lose state aid, Hopgood said. The charters create an uneven playing field, he said.

Lansing School District Braces for Possible Major Changes

March was a big month for education in Michigan, and April is poised to be even bigger. The Education Achievement Authority (EAA), currently in place at 15 Detroit schools, is a program that allows a state-run committee to take control of struggling schools. Once in place, the EAA can create a new curriculum and hire new faculty. The Michigan House of Representatives recently passed an expansion bill that would give the EAA control of the bottom five percent of schools in terms of achievement standards. The bill includes a limit of 50 schools.

Most schools lack dental sealant programs

By CORTNEY ERNDT
Capital News Service
LANSING – Only 25 percent of Michigan’s high schools provide dental sealant programs to prevent tooth decay, according to a new report. A Pew Charitable Trust study said school-based sealant programs reduce tooth decay by 60 percent at one-third the cost of a filling. Tooth decay affects nearly 60 percent of children, Pew reported. Dental sealants are clear plastic coatings applied to permanent molars. Sealants typically last five to 10 years.

More children eligible for free, reduced price lunches

By CELESTE BOTT
Capital News Service
LANSING – Almost half the state’s public school students were eligible for free or reduced price meals during the 2011-12 school year, according to a report by Kids Count in Michigan. Forty-eight percent of students participate in the free or reduced price lunch program, according to the report, “Health Matters.”
Kids Count is a project that advocates for the health and wellbeing of children. The Michigan League for Public Policy and Michigan’s Children are the project’s partners. The percentage receiving free or reduced lunches increased 2 percent from the 2010-11 school year. Those involved in the project attribute the high, rising percentage to poverty in the state.

'Food hubs' spur local produce sales

By WEI YU
Capital News Service
LANSING – Detroit schoolchildren are eating more fresh Michigan-grown vegetables and fruit. Betti Wiggins, director of operations for food service at the Detroit Public Schools, said she started working with a local food hub about two years ago. Now the school system serves meals to about 45,000 students a day, and they include at least half a cup of fresh fruit and half a cup of vegetables, she said. “Because I have 130 schools, it’s about supply chain management, and that’s how I started to work with Detroit’s Eastern Market,” said Wiggins. “Our school and the Eastern Market have developed a crop plan – planned production by local farmers.