Lansing School Board Approves Restructuring Plan

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In stark contrast with some previous Lansing School Board meetings, the one on Thursday night was filled with positive comments and applause.

The board voted to adopt the restructuring plan and that means students will soon see big changes.

"It was about a bold move, people were ready for a bold move, they were ready for a bold move that was smarter," said Interim Superintendent Yvonne Caamal Canul.

Part of the changes include shifting 7th and 8th graders into the district's three high schools. It's a move that Kristy Cooper, assistant professor in K-12 educational administration at MSU, found alarming.

"My immediate response was to worry about kids feeling safe and known in their new high school setting," Cooper said.

Cooper says mixing younger students into a high school setting could also cause another problem.

"9th grade is a year where a lot of students end up getting retained or drop out of school. I worry that adding 7th and 8th graders into that environment just brings the danger down."

However, the true impact of these changes on student retention is unknown until the time comes. According to Cooper, it's also possible student performance will improve from starting at the high school from a younger age.

Cooper also had recommendations that she says would make the transition smoother.

"Create a middle school environment within a high school. You use the same facilities and try to make it still feel like a separate education environment."

Interim Superintendent Caamal Canul says that is the administration's intention and eight out of nine school board members voted in favor of the restructuring plan, saying it's time for the district to move forward.

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