2017-08-27 / Insight

Dryden rolls out new programs aimed at personalized education

BY PHIL FOLEY
810-452-2616 • pfoley@mihomepaper.com


Jennifer Cronkright, an office aide at Dryden Junior/Senior High School, welcomes parents and students to Cardinal Day at the school. 
Photo by Phil Foley Jennifer Cronkright, an office aide at Dryden Junior/Senior High School, welcomes parents and students to Cardinal Day at the school. Photo by Phil Foley DRYDEN — Students and their parents flocked to Dryden Junior/Senior High School Tuesday (Aug. 22) for Cardinal Day to pick up schedules, tour the building, meet teachers, get school pictures taken, and get information on the school’s sports and club offerings at Lapeer County’s smallest school district.

Mary Finnegan, the district’s superintendent and high school principal, said she’s hoping the district’s enrollment will be stable this year, but won’t know until the all-important Fourth Wednesday Count.

Last year Dryden saw its enrollment drop 35 students to 557 students.

“The big thing for us as a district,” Finnegan said, “is our focus on personalized learning.”


Dryden High School Senior Delaney Hull loads up her locker in preparation for the first day of school Monday. 
Photo by Phil Foley Dryden High School Senior Delaney Hull loads up her locker in preparation for the first day of school Monday. Photo by Phil Foley The district, she said, is rolling out a pilot program through Summit Learning. Summit Learning is the foundation of Summit Public Schools, a charter management and school partnership organization that operates 11 Summit schools in California and Washington states, and supports more than 100 schools in 27 states.

Summit Schools has ranked among the top public schools in the nation in US News & World Report’s annual report; named to the Washington Post’s America’s Most Challenging High Schools List, and is ranked among the Top 10 most transformative schools in the nation by Newsweek.

“It’s a really great program,” Finnegan said.

Dryden will be adding one new teacher this year.

Finnegan said Imlay City resident Lorraine Brinker will be teaching math and social studies, as well as running the robotics program, after 15 years teaching at Flint’s International Academy.

At Dryden Elementary, which is a multi-age school combining first and second grades, as well as third and fourth-grade classrooms, the district has added a Montessori program for pre-school and kindergarten students.

“Our belief in educational research indicating the potential for increased academic and social/emotional benefits for students in multi-age classrooms, Finnegan said, “translates into targeting instruction to a student’s ability level as much as possible.”

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