Ypsilanti Citizen Education Sidetrack

Ypsilanti Schools accept transportation consolidation
By Adrienne Ziegler
Jun. 8, 2010   ·   3:07 p.m.

Connie Shelton, an East Middle School Teacher, speaks against the WISD transportation consolidation plan at Monday's special meeting of the Ypsilanti Board of Education. The board approved the motion to join the consolidation by a vote of 5 to 2.

"Shame on you" echoed through the audience Monday night after the Ypsilanti Public Schools Board of Education approved a plan to join a countywide consolidated...read more

Willow Run appoints new board member
By Adrienne Ziegler
Jun. 5, 2010   ·   8:16 a.m.

The Willow Run School Board looks on as Kristine Thomas, a district parent and previous board member, is sworn in as trustee on Thursday night. Thomas will take the position of Joi Jenson who resigned in early May.

The Willow Run School Board appointed a new, yet familiar trustee to the board of education during their regular meeting Thursday night.

Kristine Thomas, a Willow...read more

Willow Run approves county-wide transportation plan
By Adrienne Ziegler
May. 27, 2010   ·   2:09 p.m.

The Willow Run School District signed on to a countywide consolidated transportation plan at their regular board meeting last week.

The plan aims to save transportation...read more

Lincoln offers summer courses to area high-schoolers
By Mark Tower
May. 26, 2010   ·   7:49 p.m.

Students from Lincoln and other nearby districts are being invited to participate in Lincoln High School's Summer Academy this year, registration for which opened...read more

Willow Run terminates student services administrator
By Adrienne Ziegler
May. 26, 2010   ·   12:26 a.m.

Willow Run School Board President Sheri Washington said she didn't know if the district was going to press charges against former Student Services Administrator Laconda Hicks after the board fired Hicks during a special meeting Tuesday night.

The Willow Run Board of Education unanimously voted to terminate its contract with former Student Services Administrator Laconda Hicks Tuesday night during a special...read more

Willow Run handling crowded elementary classes


Enrollment may still be down for whole district

By Dan DuChene
Sep. 18, 2009    ·    10:53 a.m.

Parents in the audience voiced their concerns about classroom size to the Willow Run Board of Education Thursday night.

Four parents, all with children in Cheney Academy, spoke out at the end of the meeting, worried their children’s education might be neglected with two grades being taught by one teacher in a classroom.

“I don’t see how [my children] could properly be taught in a classroom that size,” said Rachel King, a parent with four children who attend Cheney.

Superintendent Doris Hope-Jackson explained there has been overcrowding at most elementary schools in the district since school started last week, but staff has been able to alleviate most of the problem in the lower grades.

In upper grades, she said there have been cases where a fifth-grade class and sixth-grade class in one building are both too small to justify two different teachers. She said these two grades can be combined with one teacher, called a split-class.

However, Jackson explained there are stipulations in the teachers’ collective bargaining agreement that set caps on class size for the different grades. However, she said the assignment of a para-educator to those classrooms can raise that cap.

Parents complained of class sizes with more than 30 students. Jackson said she did not recall the exact classroom size caps, but that she had been in discussion with the various bargaining groups.

Jackson said the district may work out different arraignments soon, such as moving children from one building to another, to ensure traditional classrooms with allowable class sizes.

“It’s a matter of student transition and mobility,” Jackson said. “We really don’t know the exact numbers yet.”

This year, Willow Run is housing sixth grade in elementary schools across the district. This leaves a seventh and eighth grade junior high in the secondary complex. The move was made to help with retention, as many students leave the district after elementary school.

Though numbers may be high at the elementary level, Jackson said current enrollment looks to be down across the district. She said staff is looking at approximately 146 students below what the district had budgeted. She said it could lead to more than a $1 million shortfall in the budget.

Discussion amongst board members was heated after hearing the concerns of these parents.

“This is kind of the stuff I like talking about, and that’s how we can improve our students here,” Vice President Harold Wimberly said. “That to me, is what’s important.”

Wimberly asked if the administration was planning to send out information letters to parents in the district to inform them of the situation. Jackson said building principals were instructed to do so for their own school.

Trustee Joi Jenson said she had already received a letter from Holmes Elementary.

“We’ve been talking about it in our e-mail all week,” Jenson said to Wimberly.

While Jenson said she agreed with Wimberly’s stance, she said, “This is not new.

“Read your e-mail,” Jenson said. “Chime in.”

Wimberly then said, “I have a job and I don’t have time to play all the e-mails.

“We’re in a board meeting,” Wimberly said “Where are issues being discussed?”

At this point, Wimberly’s voice was rising and other board members were trying to end the situation. Jenson was repeatedly saying “point of order” in to her microphone.

With the word ‘order’ on his mind, Wimberly said, “walking into classrooms, intimidating teachers and staff. Is that order?”

Jenson then asked Wimberly if he wanted to discuss the matter outside, which he interpreted as a threat.

Board President Sheri Washington, who had been attempting to quell the flare-up, was then able to regain control of the meeting, and move forward in the agenda.

Roots Jamboree
The Rocket

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