KPS Keeps Busy in the Summer
Summer school, conferences, construction and more happen in the summer.
By Dr. Michael F. Rice
Summers have always been busy in Kalamazoo Public Schools. They provide a valuable opportunity to prepare for the next school year. The summer of 2017 has been no exception.
First, we have had our annual summer activities: the cleaning of our buildings; summer school for 1,300 students; the hiring and orientation of new teachers, support staff, and administrators; the ordering, receipt, and preparation of materials, supplies, and equipment; capital projects, large and small, in our schools; the rewriting of curriculum guides aligned to changes in state grade-level content expectations and any new district instructional materials; staff professional development; and the registration and scheduling of students.
Second, we held events associated with particular efforts or directions of the district. On July 31, KPS hosted area barbers for a presentation by Alvin Irby regarding barbershop literacy. On Aug. 1, with the Michigan Department of Education, Michigan Association of School Administrators, M i c h i g a n Association of School Boards, Middle Cities Education Association, Michigan Association of Secondary School Principals, the Reading Now Network, and Kalamazoo Regional Education Service Agency, KPS cosponsored, and staff attended, a statewide conference at Western Michigan University on diversity in literacy.
The conference, entitled “Mirrors of Me: Children Seeing Themselves in Their Literature,” was headlined by Dr. Alfred Tatum, noted University of Illinois at Chicago literacy professor, dean, and researcher on efforts to improve African-American male reading achievement. A week earlier, KPS staff participated in Safe and Civil Schools training by Dr. Randy Sprick in partnership with KRESA and some of its staff.
We in KPS are excited about the coming school year, about new math materials for students and staff in grades K-3; new writing materials for students and staff in grades 4-5; new high school social studies materials; an expansion of the more than 400 mentors supporting more than 1,700 students last year; a deepening of our culturally responsive education professional development; an expansion of the Kalamazoo Innovative Learning Program (KILP), our predominantly online alternative high school, to 100 students in its second year; the beginning of a three-year rotation for all of our Advanced Placement (AP) teachers to accelerate the improvement of results in our AP program; and trauma informed care training for a number of our staff.
The myth is that summers are down time in school districts. The reality is that a busy summer sets the stage for a successful school year. We look forward to just such a school year, beginning — for our children — on Sept. 5.
Best wishes to all of our students, staff, and families for a great school year!
Lincoln International Studies School Principal Linda Howard greets students and parents during the ice cream social before the start of the new school year.