August 18, 2009


Project ReImagine drives the ship of change in education in Michigan. State Superintendent Mike Flanagan proposed the "project" in late May, provided some guidelines, and asked schools to ReImagine education in Michigan. BE BOLD don't TINKER!

Last week, I enjoyed working on a team that looked at ways we could reform education in a small community with a high percentage of economically–disadvantaged families. We looked at data points, discussed possibilities, and had the opportunity to meet with Dr. Barbara Markle, the Assistant Dean of Educational Outreach at Michigan State University.

She shared some great ideas with us, looked over our "rough draft," and provided frequent collaboration with us as we put the final proposal together. She said we were on the right track, which provided inspiration to keep going when it seemed like we would never stop writing.

Our focus areas — the big ideas of the Project ReImagine proposal:

  1. Involve the community in the ReImagining of our school district. Work with community agencies, companies, and other entities to help our students and their families in the current economic climate. Our elementary free/reduced lunch counts were around 40% five years ago; they're 62–64% today. That's a huge increase caused by "the new poor," families who never experienced poverty and never expected to — jobs were shuttered to Mexico or eliminated completely. These families are different than the traditional multi–generational poverty that Ruby Payne has studied.
  2. Continue forth with our academic initiatives already in place. Continue to consult with November Learning, Dr. Michael Schmoker, and our intermediate school district to place rigorous academic programming in place, frequently monitor student achievement, and make appropriate changes in a timely, efficient fashion. The idea is not to make students mere numbers, but to put them in charge of their own learning. Student learning is more important that teachers teaching and the proverbial "did the student get it?" The reality is that we have to find a way for students to "get it."
  3. Bridge the gaps between educational levels, from lower elementary to upper elementary to middle school to high school to college/post–secondary learning. We do a great job for our students who do graduate and we do them a great service by sending them away and losing contact. Currently, we do no exit survey, no follow–up survey, and no outreach for students who leave and go to college. Those recent alumni can help us greatly. Furthermore, we need to highlight college and post–secondary options for kids beginning in the elementary school.
The deadline for the Project ReImagine proposal required the documentation and 10 copies to be postmarked by last Friday, August 14. We sent it off and hope to hear back soon. We worked with several agencies and consultants to create a project we believe will represent our school district.

1 comment:

steve said...

what a load of garbage