2018-07-11 / News

North Branch Board adopts district improvement plan

BY NICHOLAS PUGLIESE
810-452-2601 • npugliese@mihomepaper.com

NORTH BRANCH — As part of their education, students set goals they’d like to achieve, and like the students they foster, North Branch Area Schools (NBAS) has their own goals.

As part of Monday evening’s regular Board of Education meeting, members approved the adoption of the District Improvement Plan for the coming school year. NBAS Director of Curriculum Amber White presented to the board an overview of the plan she said is another step in the right direction.

Schools are required by the State of Michigan to submit a District Improvement Plan each year, and White said that when building the plan, the key is to parse through the mounds of “raw data” available to build the district’s goals. “When we build a plan we look at a variety of things, data, demographics, students and staff, leadership,” she said. “Right now schools are getting raw data but it’s under embargo so we can’t publicly talk about our results.” White said that the data embargo, which includes scores from tests like the MSTEP, are estimated to be made public sometime in September. “But we’re looking all over these different data points to build a plan,” she said. “It’s not the work of one person in a bottle, it’s what’s needed moving forward.”

According to White, the district’s plan must include how various federal and state funds are allocated to maximize each student’s education. “Those monies have a lot of responsibilities attached to them, and they’re all put to very good use,” she said. “Is the program moving us closer to what we want to achieve? To get our kids to where we want to be, for college and career readiness?”

White said that while math and reading goals are set by the state, through the data analyzed, a plan was constructed. “We had to look at our own personal data to set rigorous goals for science and social studies,” she said. “It’s really important that we’re meeting the letter of the law, and we’re heading in the right direction.”

According to NBAS Board of Education Vice-President Daniel Deshetsky, the board is “very confident” in the District Improvement Plan. “It’s very solid and it could probably be a model for others,” he said.

In other business:

• While three board members — President Cory Mabery, Treasurer Cheryl Howell and Trustee Lori Lane — were not in attendance, the remaining board members unanimously passed a School Bond Loan Application Resolution, that will see the district continue to borrow through the 2023-24 school year before beginning repayment. According to district business director Melissa Montgomery, the district is “heading in a good trajectory,” and are borrowing less than originally estimated.

• The Board of Education designated secretary to the superintendent Rhoda Lucia as school election assistant and recording secretary for 2018-19.

• The Board set the designation of financial institutions as depositories for the coming year. No changes were made over the prior year. “We’ve had great relationships with them,” said Superintendent Jim Fish. The designated institutions are Independent Bank, PNC Bank, Lakestone Bank & Trust, Tri- County Bank and The Michigan Liquid Asset Fund Plus.

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