2018 Education Excellence Winners

 

AFTER-SCHOOL PANTHER LEARNING CLUB

IONIA PUBLIC SCHOOLS

Ionia Public Schools offers an after-school program for kindergarten through fifth grade students called the After-School Panther Learning Club. The club’s primary focus is to increase academic success by providing extra help with homework and reading. The goal is to build good habits for younger students to complete homework in the hopes they succeed in higher grades and beyond.

 

B.A.S.E. BISON AFTER SCHOOL ENRICHMENT

NEW BUFFALO AREA SCHOOLS

The Bison After School Enrichment program significantly improved academic achievement for students who stay after school. B.A.S.E. is a safe environment with enrichment courses and free play, where kids can receive extra homework help. Throughout the years, the program has cleared local nature trails, created reading and writing clubs, provided athletic opportunities and hosted both poetry readings and art shows for participating students.

 

BE TRUE 2 YOU

GREENVILLE PUBLIC SCHOOLS

The mission of Be True 2 You is to inspire girls to develop healthy relationships, create a keen sense of self and help them recognize the impact they can have on their community. The group began as an effort to increase the self-esteem of female students, improve academic success, and promote mental/physical health.

 

BLUFF VIEW POND PROJECT

BESSEMER AREA SCHOOL DISTRICT

Bluff View Pond Project creates an opportunity for students to learn math and science through ongoing experiments relating to the environmental well-being in the Bessemer community. Biology experiments and STEM curriculum help students estimate fish populations at a nearby park. The program has developed into a collaborative effort between Bessemer Area School District, the Michigan DNR, the City of Bessemer, Lake Superior State University and the Gogebic Conservation District. Their goal is to see if the pond can be excavated, improved and made into a community fishing pond and outdoor laboratory. Future plans include habitat restoration in the tributary stream.

 

BULLDOGS BOOKIN’ BUS

OTSEGO PUBLIC SCHOOLS

Otsego Public Schools created the Bulldogs Bookin' Bus mobile library to encourage students to read over the summer, combating the summer slide. In its first year, the Bulldogs Bookin' Bus made seven stops two days each week in key neighborhoods, that would benefit most from a bus stop. Monday stops were also coordinated with Otsego Public School’s free mobile lunch program to reach students. Volunteers drive the bus, check out books and read at the stops.

 

CHEMIC CHALLENGE

MIDLAND PUBLIC SCHOOLS

The Chemic Challenge is a Summer Enrichment Program designed for incoming at-risk freshmen to help strengthen the skills necessary for high school. The program emphasizes critical thinking, problem solving, perseverance and discovery learning through STEM based learning.  This month-long program is tailored to the most at-risk eighth graders, both economically and academically.

 

FAME: FATHERS AND MEN ENGAGED

Genesee isd

To enhance family engagement in early childhood programs, Genesee ISD developed FAME: Fathers and Men Engaged. FAME provides opportunities for men to become actively involved in their children’s education, improving the structure in their family and community. FAME helps men become nurturing fathers, active co-parents and positive role models by providing them with the education and resources they can use at home.

 

FRONT STREET WRITERS

TRAVERSE BAY AREA ISD

The Front Street Writers program was developed in partnership with the National Writers Series for students pursuing professions in journalism, marketing and social media platforms. Ninth and tenth grade students with a love and aptitude for writing, attend workshops taught by a professional writer and a Career-Tech Center instructor.

 

GATES TRAVELING LIBRARY

DAVISON COMMUNITY SCHOOLS

To enhance participation in the district’s annual Summer Reading Challenge, the Gates Literary Specialist at Davison Community Schools created the Gates Traveling Library. Gates Elementary packs a school bus with books, for local students to read at each stop. Any child in attendance, can pick a book of his or her choice and interact with the staff. 

 

INTRODUCING INTERNATIONAL CULTURE AND CUISINE: A PARTNERSHIP

DOLLAR BAY-TAMARACK CITY AREA SCHOOL DISTRICT

Through the International Culture and Cuisine Partnership at the Dollar Bay Tamarack School District, students are connected with international students and/or family members living in the community, to explore cultures on a global scale. By partnering with Michigan Technological University in Houghton and Finlandia University in Hancock, international students and families interact with Dollar Bay Tamarack students, conversing and learning about each other’s cultures and daily lives, even preparing and cooking the food a teenager in another country would typically eat. 

 

JOB OLYMPICS

CHARLEVOIX-EMMET ISD

Job Olympics began in 2010 as a way for students with disabilities to showcase skills they learned throughout the school year. Today, Job Olympics hosts over 225 students who participate in events such as comparison shopping, job interviews and laundry skills. Each event has a list of tasks and a rubric to evaluate the student’s performance. Feedback and awards are given to students upon completion.

 

KENDAL’S KIDS’ KINDNESS CLUB

HOLT PUBLIC SCHOOLS

This program was inspired by a special relationship between a teacher and a student who shared a vision of reaching beyond their own third-grade classroom to other students in their school. The program is driven by it’s mission of creating opportunities for students to deepen their understanding of civility and kindness. Ethics, community involvement and leadership are all attributes students learn to demonstrate through activities such as wearing “Kindness is Contagious” bracelets, making Valentine cards for Veterans, creating holiday placemats for senior citizens and collecting personal hygiene products for the local homeless shelter.

 

KREEGER POPCORN CREW

FOWLERVILLE COMMUNITY SCHOOLS

The Kreeger Popcorn Crew has general and special education students working side-by-side in a full assembly line process, taking orders, filling boxes, counting money, keeping inventory and handling the delivery of their product within the school. Their output of popcorn is currently more than 500 boxes per month. The Kreeger Popcorn Crew program builds work and life skills through socialization and team building. Because each crew member depends on the accuracy of the crew member’s job before him or her, quality control improves communication and cause/effect skills.

 

LOVE CLUBS

MARQUETTE AREA PUBLIC SCHOOLS

The high number of students who are at risk of dropping out of high school prompted Marquette Area Public Schools staff to create Love Clubs. The program encourages students to participate in activities, combining critical thinking, physical activity, problem solving and community outreach. These courses teach a variety of life skills that students can take beyond the classroom, like topics on inner wellness, hydroponics, physical movement and music and sound production.

 

MARCELLUS ELEMENTARY SWIM CAMP PROGRAM

MARCELLUS COMMUNITY SCHOOLS

In 2015, Marcellus established a program to teach children the importance of water safety. Marcellus Elementary Swim Camp is an intensive six-day water safety program where all third and fourth grade students learn essential swim skills. During the final weeks of school, students and their teachers are bused to local pools and lakefronts for six days for one-hour sessions. All swimming facilities and environments are donated for the camp, and instruction is provided by highly qualified YMCA aquatics instructors.

 

MARLETTE ART CLUB

MARLETTE COMMUNITY SCHOOLS

Marlette Art Club’s mission is to better themselves and their community through art. Third- through twelfth-grade students meet after school to work on various projects from painting fire hydrants and decorating windows downtown to assisting in the community wide Art & Auction to raise money for art scholarships. The younger students focus on the creation of art while the seventh though twelfth grade students focus on community involvement in the arts.

 

MYSCHOOL@KENT

KENT ISD

Kent ISD noticed a need for alternative education options in their district as some students were struggling to excel in a traditional school environment. Kent Intermediate School District developed a student-centered, teacher-driven program featuring online instruction with extensive support for students. MySchool@Kent provides an engaging, blended learning environment providing flexibility and support to all students – allowing each child to focus on learning in a way that works for him or her.

 

NATURE BEGINDERGARTEN

BENTLEY COMMUNITY SCHOOLS

Barhitte Elementary School needed a daycare for children who were old enough to attend traditional kindergarten but not developmentally ready. Nature Begindergarten began out of that need, providing more age-appropriate curriculum to these students. The program offers discovery-based learning through their partnership with the For-Mar Nature Preserve. Students can play and be creative, while using the nature preserve as a learning center.

 

OUTDOOR LEARNING LAB: STORYBOOK TRAIL IN THE WOODS

CLARKSTON COMMUNITY SCHOOLS

In 2015, students and teachers from Renaissance, the alternative high school in Clarkston, collaborated with teachers from the Early Childhood Center to create an outdoor biodiversity learning lab, spanning 26 acres of forest land owned by the school. Renaissance students welcome hundreds of Early Childhood learners to the ever-evolving natural space, providing tours and overseeing learning activities they design.

 

OWOSSO CARES FOOD BACKPACKS

OWOSSO PUBLIC SCHOOLS

The Owosso Cares Food Backpack Program began in 2011 through a partnership with Young Chevrolet Cadillac in Owosso, after a local non-profit discontinued its food backpack program which previously supported Owosso Public Schools’ students. Today, the program’s primary goal is to feed Owosso students who are hungry on the weekends. Throughout the years, students’ needs have steadily increased. The program, which previously used 100 backpacks, now provides 400 backpacks to students.

 

PHYSICAL EDUCATION PROGRAM

TUSCOLA ISD

Wolverine Education Center (WEC) is a residential treatment facility for adjudicated youth who are court placed for several reasons. WEC promotes and encourages a safe and supportive academic environment where students work on building confidence and developing skills to better their lifestyle. Students engage in games and activities that encourage them to play outside, interact with others and become more active. 

 

STEM CLASS

TRI COUNTY SCHOOLS

In an effort to provide engineering opportunities for students, Tri County Area Schools established a STEM program, for third, fourth and fifth graders. Their mission is to provide a project-based, authentic learning experience in which students incorporate science, technology, engineering and math into lesson plans. The students build critical thinking skills while staying involved in the community through field trips and partnering with other school districts in the region.

 

STUDENTS FOR WORLD AWARENESS (SWA) RECYCLING PROGRAM

GLEN LAKE COMMUNITY SCHOOLS

The students at Glen Lake High School developed the recycling program for the excess waste generated in their school cafeteria. The program, Students for World Awareness, campaigns for a “zero waste” school and for environmental action in their community. They began their initiative by using biodegradable eating utensils and now have expanded to recyclable paper plates, bowls, cups, stainless steel utensils and compostable juice boxes. Food scraps are composted and/or donated for chicken feed to area farms, and small compost receptacles are located throughout the school.

 

THE DREW HORTICULTURE PROGRAM

DETROIT PUBLIC SCHOOLS COMMUNITY DISTRICT

The Charles Drew Transition Center services young adults with various disabilities. It is the mission of the Drew Horticulture Program for all special-needs students to develop horticulture skills, leading students toward future employment opportunities. The program allows each student to gain independence and work experience in the production, sale and donation of locally-grown produce while giving back to families in the community.

 

VOCATIONAL SERVICES

LIVINGSTON ESA

Livingston ESA’s Vocational Services program hires students with disabilities to work on-campus jobs, so they can build skills for future employment. Students also travel to off-campus worksites for real-world work experience. Participating businesses like CVS Pharmacy, Baymont Hotels, VG's Supermarkets and First Impressions Printing allow students to demonstrate their ability to work independently.