2017-08-27 / Insight

More opportunities for students in Imlay City

810-452-2616 • pfoley@mihomepaper.com

Suzy Khoury, a facilitator with the state Dept. of Education, sets up a program on Sheltered Instruction Observation Protocol (SIOP) for high school and middle school teachers in Imlay City. 
Photo by Phil Foley Suzy Khoury, a facilitator with the state Dept. of Education, sets up a program on Sheltered Instruction Observation Protocol (SIOP) for high school and middle school teachers in Imlay City. Photo by Phil Foley IMLAY CITY — While Lapeer County’s third largest school district budgeted for a drop of as many as 27 students this fall, Imlay City Community Schools Superintendent Stu Cameron said, “I’ve got a gut feeling we’re going to be holding our own.”

Still, despite a larger than expected kindergarten class, like everyone else in his position across the county, Cameron said, “It’ a little too early to tell.”

While a dip in fifth grade participation lead Imlay City last year, the district has increased its early learning offerings and that seems to have generated a lot of parental interest, Cameron said. He said that while the families who liked year-round school “really liked it,” when the district didn’t get enough fifth graders to have a section, things cascaded. He said families with children in other grades in the program didn’t want their kids on different schedules, so when the fifth grade class was cut, they moved their other kids back to the traditional program as well.

At the high school, Imlay City, along with Dryden, Almont and North Branch, will be able to expand its early college offerings through programs at the Lapeer County Education and Technology Center. He said that where before students had to make a choice, the new blended program will offer them more opportunities.

“Once again,” Cameron added, “we’ll be offering a free embedded college course for all of our sophomores — the college preparatory and exploration course is called ‘Running Start 101,’ and will generate a college credit from Baker College for all students who successfully complete the course.”

Cameron is “very excited” about the addition of the Advanced Placement Environmental Science course at the high school. Along with seed money and two grants, science teacher Jeff Gartrell will work this year to transform an unused acre portion of the athletic complex west of the high school into a living biological/ environmental lab.

Cameron noted “like all good programs, this was teacher generated,” He credited Gartrell with “thinking out of the box” to “give students a more tangible look at the environment.”

Imlay City, Cameron said, has expanded its AP and online offerings this year. He said that while student students can still do dual enrollment at Mott Community College, The University of Michigan- Flint and St. Clair County Community College, these offerings along with the blended program at Ed-Tech means students can spend less time traveling and more time learning.

Returning students will find a much improved campus in Imlay City due to the efforts of the district’s maintenance and grounds department, under the leadership of Dan Campbell.

“In addition to our routine maintenance work, a great deal of landscaping work has been conducted,” Cameron said. “Tree trimming, new planting and weed removal, has been ongoing.” The district completed an overhaul of the Borland parking lot last week.

“It looks great, and should now drain correctly, which will help with safety and the ongoing maintenance of the lot,” Cameron said. He added a number of curb projects have been completed along the back of Weston/ Middle School, and concrete leveling has been done in other areas — primarily for safety reasons, but also to guarantee the infrastructure of the district will be properly maintained and long lasting.

The middle school roof is being repaired, and existing leaks are being repaired on the shingled section that runs atop the office area on the front of the high school roof. After repairs, it will be re-roofed with a more efficient and durable metal roofing.

The district has been testing its fire systems, phones and technology to make sure that the facilities are safe and ready for instruction. Some boiler work is being conducted at the Educational Service Center.

There will also be several new faces in the district when school starts Monday.

Cameron is excited about the return of the vocal music program, which was a budget cut victim several years ago. The district has hired Alan Demski, an educator with more than two decades experience, as a music teacher to revive the program.

Demski comes to Imlay City from WIHI/WIMA in Ann Arbor where he taught middle and high school choir. Prior to working in Ann Arbor, Demski taught in Okemos, Muskegon and Chicago.

Cameron is equally excited about hiring Theresa Hribar as an interventionist at Borland Elementary. Hribar’s previous experience includes teaching in a first-grade classroom. She comes to Imlay City with a bachelor’s of science degree in elementary education from Oakland University, as well as a master’s degree in reading and language arts. She holds certification as a reading specialist (BR) K-12.

At Imlay City Middle School, the district has hired Christy Diamond and Michael Medley. Medley comes from Oakland University, where he graduated this year with a bachelor’s of arts degree with secondary teacher certification in English (BA) 6-12 and biology (DA) 6-12.

A 2012 graduate of The University of Michigan– Flint, with a bachelor’s of arts degree with secondary teacher certification in English (BA) 6-12, Diamond is a familiar face in Imlay City, where she’s been hired three times as a long time substitute for teachers on maternity leave.

At Weston Elementary School and Borland Elementary School the district has hired Jamie Delboy to teach first grade and Shelby Stoddard to teach third grade.

Stoddard completed her student teaching in Weston’s begindergarten after earning her bachelor’s of science degree in elementary education with a language arts endorsement at Oakland University last December.

Delboy joined the Imlay City staff in 2014 after earning a bachelor’s of science degree in elementary education with an early childhood endorsement from Eastern Michigan University. After starting in the district’s preschool program she moved to a lead teacher in a GSRP preschool classroom.

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