Michigan schools work to address low performance

Published: Nov. 30, 2022 at 6:25 PM EST
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LANSING, Mich. (WILX) - A new report from the Michigan Department of Education said some Mid-Michigan schools aren’t making the grade.

Low test scores, low attendance rates, and low graduation rates are getting the attention of local and state school leaders.

Background: State identifies 13 Lansing schools as underperforming, in need of assistance

The state is partnering with 54 districts state-wide to help schools better serve their students. Among them, three Mid-Michigan school districts are on the state list of underachieving schools. That includes the Lansing School District where the state is partnering with 10 schools.

Lewis Elementary in Jackson and Bellevue Junior-Senior High School also made the list.

“We all know last year was a difficult year. It was the first year we came out from being online,” said Ben Shuldiner, Lansing School District Superintendent.

Shuldiner said he expected to have to partner with the state to help students succeed. Those partnerships are for schools scoring in the bottom 5% on Michigan’s accountability system or a graduation rate lower than 67%.

Shuldiner said this year, he’s already making changes by hiring more teachers and keeping track of attendance on a wall in his office.

“Attendance is that daily barometer of how kids are doing because if kids are in the building, they are going to learn more than if they are not in the building,” said Shuldiner.

He said this isn’t a new problem, Lansing’s graduation rate has been in the 60-percentile for several years. Graduation rates are also what’s putting Bellevue on this year’s partnership list.

Bellevue’s superintendent Mark McGarry said they are partnering with a company called graduation alliance which helps kids by offering different paths to graduation, whether that’s in-person or online.

“As we find students who weren’t able to graduate on time or are in danger of not graduating on time they can help us along to make sure they do graduate on time,” said McGarry.

Shuldiner said he hopes a new strategic plan will get Lansing’s graduation rate get up to 85% by 2025.

“How are our kids actually succeeding? How are they moving forward? and holding everybody accountable,” said Shuldiner.

The Lansing School District board plans to approve that strategic plan during its meeting Thursday. That’s at 6 p.m. in the administration building on Kalamazoo Street.

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