Lansing Schools Take New Approach To Improvement

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As students gear up for the first day, the Lansing School district is starting the year with a new look. It's all part of helping the struggling district make a turnaround.

"Status quo is not working in the district and we're finding ways to reinvent what we do," said President of the Lansing School Board Peter Spadafore.

The new logo features a globe with the Lansing skyline inside. On top of the globe is a graduation cap to show the district's focus on graduation rates.

"We've got a lot of positive energy going in and the logo is just one more step in a process of trying to change the image of the Lansing school district for the better," Spadafore added.

Starting with a strategic plan focused on five areas, from student achievement to improving learning environments. It's areas the district hopes will translate to higher student performance and graduation rates.

"I have committed and as has the rest of the board to making sure this strategic plan is a living breathing document that we use day to day," Spadafore said.

The district is getting there with some help from both the Michigan Department of Education and an outreach program through Michigan State's School of Education.

"There's no simple response to to really turning a school around," Barbara Markle, Assistant Dean of the K-12 Outreach program at MSU College of Education.

MSU's team has a specialist assigned to the district, creating improvement plans for schools in the bottom 5 percent statewide.
Work that's already made a difference, helping three Lansing Schools school improve off the state watch list.

"That energy and that ability to to understand what changes are needed to stay focused on those changes is whats really going to make a difference in Lansing," Markle said.

Change they hope will make a difference in the long-run.

"I think if we all work together we can get Lansing to where we all know it has potential to be," Spadafore said.