Recommendations Presented to GP School Board

A committee created to review and analyze learning opportunities that would help Grosse Pointe Public Schools continue to compete with other like districts presented several recommendations Monday to the school board for their consideration.

The 21st Century High School Review committee suggested Monday to the Grosse Pointe Public School Board a variety of changes that they believe could enhance the learning opportunities of students to ensure they are competitive with students from like districts post graduation.

The committee was created in the fall and tasked with evaluating areas the district could grow, change or adapt to ensure the district's high schoolers are competitive beyond the district and the program is benefitting all students. They were specifically not considering finances, adult needs or to seek change simply to make change--points highlighted Monday night.

The need for the review comes in light of state and federal mandate changes, the evolving expectations of parents and the heightened requriements of post-secondary institutions, according to a powerpoint presentation shown Monday.

Headed up by Jon Dean, the district's assistant superintendent of educational services and human resources, the committee included five additional administrators, seven parents or community members, 20 teachers and four students. 

Dean and other administrators presented the recommendations the group has reached thus far in the review process.

The recommendations include:

  • infusing consistent classroom technology across the district/curriculum
  • infusing consistent and more experiential learning into the curriculum
  • piloting hybrid course options in the 2013/14 school year with seat time
  • create dual enrollment opportunities where students may earn college credits during high school
  • increase the minimum credits required for graduation from 21 to 23 for the graduating class of 2016/17
  • implement an additional option for seniors who need to recover credits through offering make up courses online within the district versus the external resources currently available

The committee has been working at a quick pace to do a variety of research related to like districts, their policies, schedules and learning opportunities. Monday's presentation of preliminary recommendations was the first given since the group was formed in September. It was intended to inform the school board about the group's progress as well as the ideas that are being discussed.

The committee is set to continue the behind-the-scenes work and will review high school schedules and the most optimal option for students next. Meanwhile, the powerpoint presentation will be posted on the district's website, distributed throughout the district to staff and to parents for feedback.

School board members provided some questions and feedback Monday to Dean and the other administrators with the goal of narrowing the focus or considering alternative options for some of the suggestions.

Christopher Profeta January 29, 2013 at 03:25 PM
Last year, the state government proposed a series of reforms to improve public education. Those reforms were soundly rejected by citizens and education professionals. Last night, the school board heard teachers weigh in on what they thought could be done to improve the quality of education our students receive by modernizing how information is delivered. The board received some fascinating forward thinking recommendations on which they should quickly act. If we are to truly improve the quality of education our children are getting in this district, we need to listen to what professionals in the field are saying.
Allison Baker January 29, 2013 at 04:45 PM
I was confused last night by Mr. Walsh's comment (and Mr. Dean's remark as well) that we do not currently fund a seven period day for our High School students. That is just not correct, my daughter is currently enrolled in 7 classes at GP South. Perhaps he meant that many of our High School students currently take tutorials as part of their class schedule, that of course is the students and their families choice. Tutorials serve an important purpose for many students. All of our students in both high schools have the choice to take 7 classes and that choice is very important. Without that choice many students would not be able to be involved in band, orchestra and choir. Important classes like art, journalism, and even commercial foods would be difficult to fit in if 7 classes were not offered and many students would miss an opportunity to explore possible future career opportunities. I will be listening very carefully to the recommendations of the 21st Century High School Review Committee in the upcoming reports in regards to class day schedule, I certainly hope they are not putting the 7 period day schedule back up for debate AGAIN!!
Allison Baker January 29, 2013 at 04:53 PM
I am also interested in knowing what the additional 2 credits for high school graduation would be in. Would it just be 2 credits of the students choice, or perhaps two targeted credits (i.e. gym, foreign language, english, arts, etc.) and how/why would those additional credits be chosen. If you are making additional requirements, just to make requirements and keep us in line with other light house districts I would have to ask why? If you feel our students are lacking an important part of their education I would have to ask what is the data behind that? Changing graduation requirements is a big deal, let's make sure we are doing it for the right reasons.
Diane Smith January 29, 2013 at 05:16 PM
The potential class schedule change component is the the Dean & Walsh Show exclusively. They are best buddies! I was also a little confused during the meeting last night but is was mostly by the leftover school board member digs and infighting. I certainly would have preferred Judy Gafa to stay on as President.
Mike A. January 29, 2013 at 05:33 PM
I remember a few years ago a big push was made to move GP's high schools to a trimester schedule. I remember reading in the GP News that several districts had trimesters and seeing the list cited by the proponents of the trimester plan. When I saw the list of districts I laughed at most of them because they are not in the same discussion as GP. Elitist on my part but still laughable. This article states the committee is looking into "like" districts. I don't want to see a few of the "like" districts listed with a lot of struggling ones to justify change. I also don't want to see changes made for the sake of change so that some adminstrator(s) can have something to talk about in an interview when they try to move on to another district. To me, technology is often overrated in schools. It is very expensive to implement, update, and train for. Technology changes so quickly it becomes outdated far too quickly. And it is no subsitute for what has made the district so respected for so long.
Allison Baker January 29, 2013 at 11:56 PM
FYI... I have been told by a parent on the committee that the recommended additional 2 credits would be any two credits the student would like to choose. They would not be new requirements in a specific discipline.
Hasta January 30, 2013 at 02:30 AM
All discussion about innovation and creativity will grind to a halt when the board slaps yet another paycut on teachers next fall. The teachers who are leaders, risk takers, who are adaptable and proactive, will be looking for a different line of work. The board thinks its teachers are captive, but the very teachers who are curriculum leaders will find positions in administration in other districts, will become consultants, or will translate their skills to the private sector. They will not continue to be helpless victims while the board projects paycuts every year into the foreseeable future.
Christopher Profeta January 30, 2013 at 03:42 AM
Hasta, I couldn't have said it better. Teachers across the country don't get nearly enough respect for the work they do. We need a local board of education here in Grosse Pointe that understands something about education. We need a board that truly believes that if teachers aren't among its top priorities, our students and families will not be served as well as they deserve to be. http://facebook.com/ProfetaForFamilies
John January 30, 2013 at 01:32 PM
Caring about teachers is not simply reflected through their pay and benefits, but how they are treated and regarded by their administrators and community. I can say from experience that the teachers in this district that my children have been exposed to are some of the best in the business. My children benefit from them, I benefit from them, and the community benefits from them. Not only should the Board of Education and district administrators listen to the teachers, but the community should, as well. It is the community who should hold the district responsible for the quality of education our students receive. Regarding technology, I agree with Mike A. - it is overrated in many cases. It certainly cannot replace a good teacher!
Marjorie Parsons February 01, 2013 at 01:20 AM
Inherent in the desire to remain competitive as a leading school system is the wisdom and energy to explore the road less traveled. It is not to add more of the same to the status quo. Competitive schools are asking about such things as foreign languages, Advanced Placement, media development, aesthetics, practical living issues, environmental futures, biological engineering, legal thought, etc. In Grosse Pointe, emphasis on great writing is an obvious and compelling strength to further optimize. None of these need to be limited to courses or credits; they need to be tailored to the personal needs and aspirations of the community and its imagination.


More »
Got a question? Something on your mind? Talk to your community, directly.
Note Article
Just a short thought to get the word out quickly about anything in your neighborhood.
Share something with your neighbors.What's on your mind?What's on your mind?Make an announcement, speak your mind, or sell somethingPost something
See more »