The Midland County Health and Human Services Council recently had the opportunity to hear from local superintendents regarding the challenges they face, and to hear their points of pride.
Common district challenges expressed included the focus on test score achievement as the main predictor of student success, and the impact of poverty and socio-economic diversity on said success. Additionally, they said that variable enrollment rates cause uncertainty in budgetary planning and in establishing numbers of students allotted per classroom.
Mike Sharrow, Midland Public schools superintendent, stated, “schools are a reflection of society and currently our society is at a crossroads.” He continued, “although this is true, we are educating our kids better today than ever, and with more rigor and intentionality.”
Jennifer McCormick, the new superintendent for Coleman, shared accomplishments from the last school year which included a doubling of attendance for the Agro Science Program; development of a new program to reward teens for driving safely and making good life choices called Project 111 (for late Midland Police Officer Chad Schieber’s badge number), along with the start of a grant funded agriculture-kindergarten program to help students gain early science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) skills.
In the Meridian School District, Superintendent Craig Carmoney stated that many positive changes have occurred within his six year tenure, including the new Tech School and the early college program. He noted that the number of graduating seniors has increased in the district, in addition to higher student GPA’s.
Mike Sharrow added that “these are exciting times. Our kids are achieving at higher levels that than in the past. However, the bar is higher due to standards of other countries.” He highlighted steady enrollment over the last two years, student achievement is outstanding, and MPS is a top 10 school in the state. Sharrow went on to share that there are many programing opportunities for the students right now, including the International Baccalaureate Primary Years Program throughout the elementary schools, and the STEM five-year plan launching within Central Park Elementary School.
Superintendent Shawn Hale of Bullock Creek provided a report to the council outlining achievements such as the early college program, support services available to help identify needs, the Robotics program, the Technology and Building Trades programs, and the mobile computer labs.
John Searles, Midland County Education Services Agency Superintendent, noted, “There is cooperation between the districts within Midland County with the career and technical educational programs. We see greater collaboration today than ever between the school districts.”
The superintendents concluded their time by thanking the council for the invitation and for the dedication demonstrated by the number of attending agencies. “We are fortunate in Midland County to have such tremendous support from parents and the community,” Sharrow said.
The Health and Human Services Council appreciated the opportunity to receive this update from each district and will continue to explore future collaborations.
Ann Fillmore is the executive director of United Way of Midland County and a member of the Midland County Health & Human Services Council. The HHSC promotes excellence in the delivery of health and human services through the collective efforts of 27 key community leaders with a shared vision for solving community challenges. Its membership fosters collaboration and cooperation among social service agencies, education, health care, business, the faith-based community, the courts, law enforcement and local government. More information about the council can be found at www.healthymidland.org