Page 16 - Scene Magazine 43-03 March 2018
P. 16

                                                               Battle Creek Public Schools: Community Investment in Success
Battle Creek Public Schools (BCPS) is undergoing a trans- formation and its long-term goals are ambitious. Increase graduation rates. Improve aca- demic achievement. Reduce the number of behavior incidents and increase engagement with parents and the community.
BCPS Superintendent Kim Carter and Anita Harvey, director of district transformation, explain that the goals are exactly what the community is asking for.
“We are working hard to ensure that every student in our district gets the quality education they deserve,” Superintendent Carter says. “We are proud to be taking bold action that will help make our children successful in college, career, and life.”
The 2017–18 school year is the first full academic year of the effort and it kicked off with new programs and opportunities for students. BCPS students returned from the summer break to find a new math curriculum with text- books for every grade, an expan- sion of the REACH enriched and
accelerated program, elementary classroom libraries stocked with books and classrooms well sup- plied with educational materials thanks to a small grants supply fund for teachers. Throughout the year, BCPS students are using additional arts and music sup- plies, taking part in enrichment field trips and participating in pro- grams at the Outdoor Education Center at camp Clear Lake.
Changes like these are part of a five-year grant-funded pro- cess. But the ownership and commitment to transformation are coming from deep within the Battle Creek community.
In every school throughout the district, more adults are now ready to help students one-on- one, whether guiding them in reading, offering behavior sup- port or serving as a mentor. In fact, BCPS added more than 90 new staff positions this school year.
While changes like these are already making a mark inside school buildings, many in Battle Creek believe the impact will transcend school walls.
“The transformation for me means that we’re breathing life back into our community. The children are our future, and we want to be doing everything we can to make Battle Creek the place they want to stay after they are educated through the school system,” says City Manager Rebecca Fleury.
Although a grant for $51 mil- lion over five years comes from the W.K. Kellogg Foundation, orga- nizations across Battle Creek are getting involved. Superintendent Carter believes that real change is possible because of an invest- ment from the entire community.
“When we see the invest- ment from the W.K Kellogg Foundation, the efforts from the City of Battle Creek, and so many other agencies and nonprofits, it shows that the community is really coming together,” she says. “We all share the same goals: pre- pare our children for the future, so that Battle Creek can thrive.”

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