UPDATE: This story has been updated to include a comment from the Lansing School District, which originally chose not to comment.
LANSING, Mich. (WLNS) — More than half of the schools in the Lansing School District are considered “low achieving” by the state and are in line for more educational support.
That’s according to findings issued by the Michigan Department of Education.
Twelve of the district’s 23 schools made the list, as well as the Capital Area K-12 Online program which is run by the district.
The schools are designated as needing “Comprehensive Support and Improvement” (or “CSI”), which means they’re in the lowest performing 5% of schools or a high school with a four year graduation rate of 67% or less.
They include all three high schools: Eastern, Everett, and Sexton.
They also include:
- Attwood School
- Averill School
- Gardner International School
- Gier Park School
- Lyons School
- Mt. Hope School
- North School
- Reo School
- Wexford Montessori Magnet School
The 12 Lansing schools and the online program are among 255 schools on the CSI list from across the state.
“Since I arrived in Lansing 16 months ago, I was struck by the great people working for the school district,” said Lansing schools superintendent Ben Shuldiner in a press release. “All staff members I met wanted to do right by students. However, the Lansing School District had antiquated systems and structures, a lack of district-wide focus, and a history of low performance. Today, we acknowledge what the Michigan Department of Education has stated, that for far too long, the Lansing School District has underserved our children.”
“We must do more,” he continued. “We welcome this partnership with (the Michigan Department of Education) so that together the school district and (the department) can better serve our students and our community.”
District officials say they will tackle the topic of partnerships at a press conference on Wednesday.
School officials have put together a strategic plan. While still in draft form, it outlines goals the district would like to achieve in the next few years, including increasing the graduation rate to 85% by 2027.
The district is one of 54 across the state with at least one school on the low-achieving list.
They will all enter into partnership agreements with the state to help improve.
The Michigan Department of Education says many of the issues at those schools are due to the pandemic.
“What we’re experiencing is the consequence of underfunding Michigan public school students, educators, and education for many years, the resultant teacher shortage, and a once-in-a-century pandemic,” State Superintendent Dr. Michael Rice said in a press release. “Unfinished learning during the pandemic has resulted in generally lower, average student scores on the state’s M-STEP assessments, locally administered benchmark assessments, and national NAEP assessments.”
But Rice says he’s optimistic because of increased education funding to help hire teachers, expand pre-school, and improve students’ mental health.
“We are committed to providing help and support to schools that have struggled the most over the past two years,” Rice said in the release. “It will take extraordinary work at the local, regional, and state levels to get all students on positive educational paths as we come out of the pandemic. It is imperative that educators and non-educators alike act with the requisite urgency.”
We will have more coverage of this story tonight on 6 News at 6 and we will cover the district’s press conference on Wednesday.
Stay tuned to WLNS-TV for the latest on this story.