State Superintendent’s Hazel Park Visit Focused on Students

helaine-zack-candidate-ad-topschmidt-top-in-progressState Superintendent’s Hazel Park Visit Focused on Students

(Crystal A. Proxmire, Oct. 5, 2016)

Hazel Park, MI – State Superintendent Brian Whiston has been on the job for just over a year.  And though hbaby modern natural 01 ade has a lot of administrative work to do, he takes time to visit students across the state to hear from them directly about what their needs are.

When he came to Oakland County Wednesday, Superintendent Whiston visited Hazel Park Schools and Berkley Schools.

Whiston said he visits 50 districts a year.  When asked why, he said “It’s about staying connected.  I want to know the good things and share successes.  If a district is doing something good, I can take that and share with other districts so we can all learn from each other.  I want students to know that we’re all celebrating their successes, and I want to know what the issues are, and if there are any issues from the Superintendents with any of our offices they may have to interact with.  Are we doing all we can to help them when they work with our offices?”

Jacks AdHazel Park Schools Superintendent Amy Kruppe and members of the administration joined Superintendent Whiston for a discussion with student at Hazel Park High School, a tour of the technologically-updated classrooms at Hazel Park Middle School, and he even read a book about a hedgehog and a hungry goat to Ms.  Platt’s kindergarten class.

To start the day there was a handful of students sitting around tables laid out in a square to talk with Superintendent Whiston about their experiences at Hazel Park School High School.

CHARLES BRAY talked about having the opportunity to participate in a program with Chrysler where students go to the GM Tech Center and learn from employees on the job.  Bray, who plays JV Football, said he hopes to go into underground welding.  “I want to have a skill, something I can take with me wherever I go or wherever I work,” Bray said.  He added that the program taught him about setting goals and using “I Statements” to help with Red Door Realty Ad _own_your_dreamlearning accountability.  “They are teaching us about talking in front of big crowds.  Some of us get nervous, so they’re teaching us how not to be.”

MANDY WARDROP talked about going to CASA (Center for Advanced Studies and the Arts) and her involvement in student Board of Directors, JV soccer, drum-line and drama club.  “Last year we did Sherlock Homes, but a girl played Sherlock Homes,” Wardrop said.  “We got a new director last year who was nice and made it exciting.  He tried to make it more like Broadway.”  She was referring to Director Frank Polito, who is a Viking who went on to success in the theatre, who is now giving back through the Hazel Park Drama Club.

BRITTNEY PERAULT got real world experience over the summer interning with Superintendent Kruppe, and she talked about touring colleges all over the state.  Other garden16_tom_selmanstudents talked about athletics, Advanced Placement classes, and National Honor Society.

CASA

One of the programs that interested Superintendent Whiston was the CASA program, which is a collaboration among several school districts where students go to a building in Oak Park for special classes that the districts might not be able to offer otherwise. This includes art, technology, science and AP classes.

Brian Carter is aiming for a career in chemistry, and goes to CASA for the science and AP courses.  “Nobody is there who doesn’t want to be there,” he said.  “So there’s no disruption, no behavior issues.  It’s a true working environment.”

Neily Bevard splits her days between HPHS and CASA.  “I like it because it breaks up the day.  It adds an extra 50 minutes to the day, but it’s worth it to keep it interesting,” she said.royal_services

PASS PROGRAM

Another program students praised was the Pass Program.  This after school clinic is for students who hit 60% in their grades.  There various teachers are there to work with the kids and help get them back up in their scores.

Bevard said she’s seen PASS work.  “Students won’t take help if they don’t need to. They’d rather fail ask for help.”

CELL PHONE PRIVACY

One issue raised by the students was whether or not schools should allow cell phones.  Superintendent Whiston asked why they liked it and didn’t like it.  One of the students said “I feel like when we don’t have them we pay attention more and have conversations with each level_one_ad01other.”

THE BIG QUESTION

“I have a question for you,” said DACORIONA COOPER who is planning on going to the University of the District of Columbia to study political science.  “What are you doing for the students of Hazel Park?”

While her boldness surprised some of her classmates, Superintendent Whiston seemed happy for the unexpected question.

“I plan on working with the Superintendent and the School Board.  I want to create a partnership between the District and the State.  We use to be about compliance.  We would regulate the districts and that was the relationship we had.  Instead of our role being about compliance, we want it to be a partnership. What can we do?  These are the conversations we garden16_andy_lecreauxare having,” he said.

When he is not visiting students and districts, Superintendent Whiston has a pretty long “to do” list.  Here is the official job description from the State of Michigan website:  “The State Superintendent has an advisory and administrative position that is limited by the State Legislature.  The Michigan Dept. of Education website describes his role in the decision-making process “The State Superintendent is appointed by and responsible to the State Board of Education, which is elected at-large on a partisan basis.  As the principal executive officer of the Department of Education, the Superintendent sits on Governor’s Cabinet, the State Administrative Board, and acts as chair and a non-voting member of the State Board of Education.  The Superintendent advises the Legislature on education policy GT ad 04and funding needs, as defined by the State Board of Education. The Superintendent is responsible for the implementation of bills passed by the Legislature and policies established by the State Board of Education. The Superintendent is a major spokesperson for education in the state. The Superintendent also is the primary liaison to the United States Department of Education and other federal agencies, and also provides efficient and effective management of the Department’s considerable state and federal resources.”

Learn more about Superintendent Whiston at http://www.michigan.gov/mde/0,4615,7-140-6530_6526—,00.html.

Learn more about Hazel Park Schools at http://www.hazelpark.k12.mi.us/.

Learn more about CASA at http://www.casa-online.org/

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