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DashBoard, Jan. 9, 2019

In the most recent MI SoundBoard podcast, Executive Director Don Wotruba sat down with Wendy Larvick, Chief of Staff to the State Superintendent for Public Instruction at the Michigan Department of Education, to talk about the Marshall Plan for Talent and the grant process.

The State Board of Education kicked off its first meeting of 2019 by swearing in new members Judy Pritchett (D-Washington Township) and Tiffany Tilley (D-Southfield). Gov. Gretchen Whitmer also stopped by during her first full week on the job to share a few remarks and meet members of the board.

With the overwhelming amount of bills that were reviewed during the end of the 2017-2018 legislative session, there were a great number that didn’t pass. Following are the bills MASB was watching that did not make it to the Governor’s desk.

The last four weeks of the legislative session saw a record-setting number of bills debated and passed. In 2018, 690 bills were signed into law by then-Gov. Rick Snyder. Almost half (342) of those new laws were passed by the Legislature between the November election and the end of the year. Overall, the Legislature passed 398 bills in the final 14 days of the 2017-2018 session.

DashBoard, Jan. 16, 2019

As an adult that went back to school to complete my undergrad in my 30s, I reached a point of terrific frustration in managing the workload of family, work and school. I was interviewing a person who I greatly respected for a school assignment over lunch when I lamented my frustration. He chuckled and suggested the following, “I’ve known you for quite a while and I think you should manage your own expectations better. After all Donna, C’s get degrees.”

For districts with labor contracts expiring this summer, now is the time to begin preparing for your labor group negotiations. Although recent legislation has created a new class of prohibited subjects of bargaining and therefore eliminated some topics from the table, this does not mean that the negotiation process has become easier. Indeed, with many Michigan districts dealing with falling enrollment and decreasing revenues, it is often more difficult than ever to reach an agreement that is fiscally responsible for your district while also satisfying the labor groups.

 

The 100th Michigan Legislature was sworn in last Tuesday, Jan. 8, 2019, so what better opportunity to call your legislator, introduce yourself as a board member, and start building those personal relationships?! What could be better than a brand-new board member, building relationships with their legislators, who themselves may be new to their position?

The importance of an effective working relationship between the school board and superintendent cannot be stressed enough. Each have very distinct and separate roles and there must be a mutual understanding of these in order to develop, grow and maintain a strong vision as the leadership team that will move your district forward.

DashBoard, Jan. 23, 2019

Last week, MASB’s Donna Oser shared her thoughts on the most recent report on the state of public education in Michigan. As with most in recent years, it wasn’t overwhelmingly positive, but what does the 2019 Quality Counts from Education Week really tell us? Let’s take a look at the data and summaries from the first of three installments evaluating all 50 states and the District of Columbia.

In the most recent MI SoundBoard podcast, Executive Director Don Wotruba sat down with Scott Little, Executive Director and Richard Browder, President from the School Nutrition Association of Michigan, to talk about lunch programs, regulations and the expertise now needed when it comes to school nutrition.

MASB’s Government Relations Team held 10 regional meetings in September and October 2018 across the state to gather input from board members and superintendents on what your Association’s focus should be for the 2019-2020 legislative session. More than 235 people attended the meetings to brainstorm and share ideas. The largest meeting this year was in Region 1, followed by Region 6.

DashBoard, Jan. 30, 2019

The Michigan Department of Education issued two key announcements last week—the application window for the State Superintendent of Public Instruction position has been opened and Phase II of the Parent Dashboard for School Transparency was released.

MASB has created a FREE Grassroots Advocacy Program to encourage our members and their communities to utilize their voices to become an influential part of the legislative advocacy process! A huge part of MASB’s mission is to have our members actively engage and advocate as a governing body on behalf of their districts and as a voice for their students.

Eighty board members and superintendents attended the National School Boards Association’s 2019 Advocacy Institute in Washington D.C., this past week. This was the largest delegation we’ve had in at least six years and the largest of any state! In all, more than 775 school board members from across the country came to our nation’s Capitol to stand up for public education.

Directors are elected by MASB member districts to serve up to three-year terms. Ballots for four Regions (3, 6, 7 and 8) and Group V recently were distributed via email to superintendent secretaries for each district to cast its vote in this year’s elections, which are due by Wednesday, March 6 at 1 p.m.

DashBoard, Feb. 6, 2019

Ever wonder why some school boards can be really effective while others are not? Research compiled by the Center for Public Education indicates that there are eight common characteristics for effective school boards, i.e., boards that positively impact their district’s student achievement.

In the most recent MI SoundBoard podcast, Executive Director Don Wotruba sat down with MASB Director of Government Relations Jennifer Smith and MASB Assistant Director of Government Relations Mitch Albers to talk about the 2018 Lame Duck session and where does public education stand now with new leadership in Lansing.

Michigan State University researchers recently released a study that outlines what many in the education community have been saying for a while—Michigan is not adequately funding its public schools. Specifically, the study states that Michigan ranks last among states in total education revenue growth following the passage of Proposal A. According to the report, total revenue for Michigan schools has declined by 30% since 2002 when adjusted for inflation.

A recent amendment to the Open Meetings Act, Public Act 485 of 2018, requires school boards to establish procedures that accommodate a school board member’s absence due to military duty.

DashBoard, Feb. 13, 2019

Last night, Gov. Gretchen Whitmer delivered her first State of the State Address. Overall, her speech did not include a lot of specific details, but was more of an overview of issues she wants to address. She will deliver her first budget in about two weeks and that will include more details on her priorities.

As part of MASB’s 2019 Winter Institute this past weekend, we joined together on Friday, Feb. 8 with the Michigan Association of Superintendents & Administrators for a collaborative learning opportunity focused on One Vision—Working, Leading and Succeeding Together.

ISD boards of education that hold elections under Section 614 of the Revised School Code were not affected by Public Act 233 of 2011, which moved popular school elections to even years in November. Section 614 elections for ISD school boards are still held biennially on the first Monday in June at a meeting of representatives from constituent boards of education. This year, the elections will be held on June 3.

DashBoard, Feb. 20, 2019

The Open Meetings Act was recently amended by Public Act 467 of 2018 to allow school boards to meet in a closed session “to consider security planning to address existing threats or prevent potential threats to the safety of the students and staff.” The effective date for the amendment is March 27, 2019.

There’s the saying that “winning is everything.” But it’s pretty rare, especially when it comes to instances such as contract negotiations, that everyone is going to walk out with everything they want, exactly how they want it. Compromise is going to come into play at some point, sometimes successfully and other times not so much. So, what can be done to reach a more ideal solution for all parties involved?

In the most recent MI SoundBoard podcast, Executive Director Don Wotruba sat down with Senior Capitol Correspondent Tim Skubick and discussed a wide-range of issues including his 50 years in the media industry, the Michigan political arena and more.

DashBoard, Feb. 27, 2019

Directors are elected by MASB member districts to serve up to three-year terms. Ballots for four Regions (3, 6, 7 and 8) and Group V were distributed via email to superintendent secretaries for each district to cast its vote in this year’s elections, which are due by next Wednesday, March 6 at 1 p.m.

For the last 26 years, the SET SEG Foundation and MASB have partnered to give Education Excellence Awards to programs that show leadership in public education and a positive impact on the lives of students. The 10 recipients being recognized in 2019 were recently announced.

DashBoard, March 6, 2019

In the most recent MI SoundBoard podcast, Executive Director Don Wotruba sat down with Kim Marshall, author of the subscription-based Marshall Memo and keynote speaker at the MASB/MASA Joint Conference in early 2019. With 32 years of experience as an educator, he now is a "designated reader" culling the top education newson a weekly basis from various resources produced across the nation.

Gov. Gretchen Whitmer released her budget plan yesterday and included the largest investment in K-12 education that we’ve seen in quite some time. MASB joined with MASA, MAISA and MASSP in support of the proposal.

Now that marijuana is legal for recreational use in Michigan school districts have begun raising questions regarding their current drug enforcement policies and whether those policies must now be updated or modified. The answer is that your prior policies should require very little, if any, changes.

DashBoard, March 13, 2019

We gave an overview of the School Aid Budget in the last issue; this week, we break it down by sections and focus on what you need to know. As always, keep in mind this is the first step in a long process and we have yet to get any indication about what the Legislature will do with this budget. The funding in her proposal is predicated on moving universities out of the School Aid budget and reinvesting that $500 million in K-12 programs. If you’d like to read the details of the sections you can find them by the listed page number within the executive budget proposal.

The 10 recipients of the 2019 MASB/SET SEG Foundation Education Excellence Awards are some of the greatest examples of unique and innovative public school programs in the state of Michigan. Over the next few months, MASB will share the details of each program from their applications, presented in alphabetical order by district. This week we highlight the Peer Mediation Team at Capac Community Schools.

The State Board of Education had a full agenda for its March meeting yesterday, starting with an award recognition and ending with the adoption of a resolution on dignity in schools.

DashBoard, March 20, 2019

School House Rock taught us how a bill becomes a law, but where is the catchy tune to tell us how to effectively respond to legislation that could impact—positively or negatively—our communities?

The 10 recipients of the 2019 MASB/SET SEG Foundation Education Excellence Awards are some of the greatest examples of unique and innovative public school programs in the state of Michigan. Over the next few months, MASB will share the details of each program from their applications, presented in alphabetical order by district. This week we highlight The Education Project at Livingston Educational Service Agency.

Michigan’s new Paid Medical Leave Act will take effect on March 29, 2019. It requires employers to pay eligible employees for earned medical leave time, which may be used for personal and family medical and health needs. The leave must accrue at a rate of at least one hour for every 35 actual hours worked, but employees need not be permitted to accrue more than one hour in a calendar week or 40 hours in a benefit year.

Job satisfaction among Michigan teachers is middling, they don’t feel supported or respected, and the majority of them would not recommend it as a career path to others. While this is not necessarily new information, we now have data to back up these statements courtesy of the Launch Michigan coalition.

In the most recent MI SoundBoard podcast, Executive Director Don Wotruba sat down with two of the three Launch Michigan cochairs, Paula Herbart, President of the Michigan Education Association and Doug Rothwell, President and CEO of Business Leaders for Michigan.

DashBoard, March 27, 2019

Are you looking for a way to be more involved in your Association? Do you want to share your expertise and perspective statewide? Do you want to network and connect with your peers on important discussions that impact education? Serving on one of MASB’s committees may be the right opportunity for you.

The 10 recipients of the 2019 MASB/SET SEG Foundation Education Excellence Awards are some of the greatest examples of unique and innovative public school programs in the state of Michigan. Over the next few months, MASB will share the details of each program from their applications, presented in alphabetical order by district. This week we highlight the M-PACKS Backpack Program at Munising Public Schools.

The release of last week’s educator survey results from Launch Michigan confirmed that a number of concerns raised about the state of public education in Michigan were being felt by those in the classroom. The next steps associated with that feedback are for the coalition, which MASB is part of, to make recommendations about how to resolve the issues to the legislative and executive state government branches later this spring.

Many of the laws passed during lame duck were signed with a 90-day effective date from when they were signed. Those laws will be going into effect this week and next. Here’s a refresher of what new laws could affect your district.

Congratulations to the more than 185 board members across the state who participated in the MASB Board Member Awards program in 2018.

DashBoard, April 3, 2019

My parents are in the process of selling my childhood home, which backs up to the elementary school I attended from kindergarten through fifth grade, followed by sixth through eighth grades at the closest middle school and ninth to 12th at the city’s only high school. This education path has become more of an anomaly especially following the passage of Proposal A in 1994. So how have districts adjusted to being more than the neighborhood schools?

 

The 10 recipients of the 2019 MASB/SET SEG Foundation Education Excellence Awards are some of the greatest examples of unique and innovative public school programs in the state of Michigan. Over the next few months, MASB will share the details of each program from their applications, presented in alphabetical order by district. This week we highlight the Core Word/4-Block Literacy Program at Muskegon Area ISD.

Now that bargaining season is upon us, it is time to start looking at where your district stands financially. It goes without saying that your bargaining team should have a handle on revenue, expense and fund balance projections for the coming school year, but are you paying close attention to your trends?

DashBoard, April 10, 2019

In the most recent MI SoundBoard podcast, Executive Director Don Wotruba sat down with Emily Laidlaw, Policy Director for Gov. Gretchen Whitmer.

The 10 recipients of the 2019 MASB/SET SEG Foundation Education Excellence Awards are some of the greatest examples of unique and innovative public school programs in the state of Michigan. Over the next few months, MASB will share the details of each program from their applications, presented in alphabetical order by district. This week we highlight the Miner Broadcasting program at Negaunee Public Schools.

I had the honor, as your President, of representing our organization at the National School Boards Association’s Delegate Assembly and 2019 Conference for Public Education Leaders in Philadelphia, Pa., March 29 – April 1.

Five years, more than 30,000 hours and 363+ individuals—that has been the investment in updating the K-12 social studies standards, which were last revised and approved in 2007. The latest draft was presented by the Michigan Department of Education to the State Board of Education yesterday before they are sent out again for public comment.

Effective school boards commit to a vision of high expectations for student achievement and quality instruction and define clear goals toward that vision. Strategic use and understanding of assessments can inform the school board’s work as it relates to fostering quality instruction, improving student achievement and performance monitoring.

DashBoard, April 17, 2019

The 10 recipients of the 2019 MASB/SET SEG Foundation Education Excellence Awards are some of the greatest examples of unique and innovative public school programs in the state of Michigan. Over the next few months, MASB will share the details of each program from their applications, presented in alphabetical order by district. This week we highlight Smiles for Students at Northville Public Schools.

A new-on-the-job police officer befriending a bullied 9-year-old. Thirteen at-risk students transitioned back to their local district over the course of a year. These are only a couple of the success stories from individuals who have participated in the programs offered by Ottawa Area ISD through its Careerline Tech Center, Sheldon Pines School and Thompson M-TEC.

Rocky and Bullwinkle. Bert and Ernie. Bonnie and Clyde? Sometimes relationships can be complicated.

This school year has seen a significant number of closures due to wintry conditions and questions about state policies on snow days have continued to come in. Following are a few of the inquiries the MASB Legal Team has received the most with answers provided.

DashBoard, April 24, 2019

Two recent reports address how Michigan students are doing in terms of their well-being and their enrollment in postsecondary education institutions. The Michigan League for Public Policy released the 2019 Kids Count Data Book yesterday, which analyzes and evaluates the well-being of children in the state and identifies policy recommendations to improve outcomes for kids. Last week, Bridge Magazine released its eighth annual Academic State Champs list, which is based on the percentage of graduates who enrolled in a two- or four-year colleges.

The 10 recipients of the 2019 MASB/SET SEG Foundation Education Excellence Awards are some of the greatest examples of unique and innovative public school programs in the state of Michigan. Over the next few months, MASB will share the details of each program from their applications, presented in alphabetical order by district. This week we highlight The Mindful Middle School at Public Schools of Calumet-Laurium-Keweenaw.

In the most recent MI SoundBoard podcast, Executive Director Don Wotruba sat down with De'Shondria Bedenfield, MASB Policy Analyst and Grassroots Coordinator to discuss growing grassroots advocacy in our communities.

Last year, the School Finance Research Collaborative released a comprehensive report on adequate and equitable school funding. Since then, educators, board members, superintendents and their respective organizations have been talking to legislators about the merits of the study and the need to put proper resources in our schools.

DashBoard, May 1, 2019

As the budget process grinds through the Legislature, we will do our best to keep you updated on the specific differences in each of the proposals. Last week’s News From the Capitol outlined the Senate proposal. This week, we compare the Senate K-12 subcommittee recommendation with Gov. Gretchen Whitmer’s executive budget proposal.

Strong communication skills are universal to any interactions we have with other people. Be it at the board table, with coworkers, clients or vendors, or even with our family members and friends. To that end, MASB is holding a Communications & Marketing Conference on May 15, 2019 in Lansing to help build up your communications toolkit.

One of the questions regularly posed by Paul Salah, Ed.D., Superintendent at Huron Valley Schools, is: “what’s the why?” He raised this up to attendees of MASB’s Spring Institute this past Friday, April 26, in Grand Rapids, regarding assessments. While not an ideal answer, he noted that, in Michigan’s current environment, fear + accountability = increased assessment.

The 10 recipients of the 2019 MASB/SET SEG Foundation Education Excellence Awards are some of the greatest examples of unique and innovative public school programs in the state of Michigan. Over the next few months, MASB will share the details of each program from their applications, presented in alphabetical order by district. This week we highlight Education for Employment Horticulture at Vicksburg Community Schools.

The State Board of Education has selected three candidates to continue the process to become Michigan’s next State Superintendent.

DashBoard, May 8, 2019

The 10 recipients of the 2019 MASB/SET SEG Foundation Education Excellence Awards are some of the greatest examples of unique and innovative public school programs in the state of Michigan. Over the next few months, MASB will share the details of each program from their applications, presented in alphabetical order by district. This week we highlight the Sweet Reads literacy program in the Waterford School District.

Last week was a crazy one for the snow day legislation. On Tuesday, April 30, 2019, the Senate unexpectedly brought up House Bill 4206 and changed it to match Senate Bill 113 which, for this school year only, would automatically forgive any day that school was canceled during the State of Emergency, specifically listed as Jan. 29 through Feb. 2, 2019. However, during debate, amendments to make that permissive instead of automatic, as well as to make sure hourly employees were compensated were defeated. Due to those defeats, the bill was passed, but did not get enough votes to get immediate effect. This meant that the forgiveness would not go into effect until March 2020.

A clear vision and education experience outside of the state of Michigan—those were the deciding factors in the State Board of Education voting 5-3 to offer the State Superintendent of Public Instruction position to Kalamazoo Public Schools Superintendent Michael Rice, Ph.D.

Under Michigan law (MCL 722.623), individuals who are considered to be mandatory reporters are required to report any and all suspected child abuse and/or neglect that they encounter to Children’s Protective Services. The list of mandatory reporters consists of certain professionals who have a greater likelihood of establishing relationships with children, and therefore, a greater likelihood of encountering instances of possible abuse, such as physicians, social workers, therapists and so on.

In the most recent MI SoundBoard podcast, Executive Director Don Wotruba sat down with Paul Salah, Ed.D., Superintendent of Huron Valley Schools and "testing expert" to discuss assessments.

DashBoard, May 15, 2019

Stoney Creek High School’s Cara Lougheed has taught thousands of students; mentored numerous future teachers; and inspired her colleagues for more than two decades throughout Rochester Community Schools and Oakland County.

If your school district is in the process of negotiating new collective bargaining agreements, it will soon be time for the board to consider ratifying the newly bargained agreements. Typically, once the board and union bargaining teams reach a tentative agreement, the board will vote on ratification at the next scheduled board meeting. But some board members should not vote on those agreements because they have a conflict of interest.

The 10 recipients of the 2019 MASB/SET SEG Foundation Education Excellence Awards are some of the greatest examples of unique and innovative public school programs in the state of Michigan. MASB has been sharing the details of each program from their applications, presented in alphabetical order by district for the last few months. This week we highlight the final 2019 awardee, the STEAM Laboratory in Williamston Community Schools.

A week after recommending the next State Superintendent of Public Instruction, the State Board of Education was back at it for their monthly meeting with a packed agenda, including a school finance presentation, update on accountability systems, K-12 computer science standards and a moratorium on educator preparation programs.

DashBoard, May 22, 2019

In the most recent MI SoundBoard podcast, Executive Director Don Wotruba spoke with Adam Fletcher, Founder of SoundOut.org about the importance of student voice, particularly at the the board table.

Does a graduation ceremony have to be posted as a “meeting” if all school board members attend it together?

How do I keep the plates spinning?

That’s the question I often ask myself when it comes to balancing everything on my to-do lists, both personally and professionally. That’s also the question that we often hear education leaders asking themselves when it comes to strategically thinking about school district communications and marketing. It’s easy to prioritize this area of work last, but at what cost? If we’re not telling our school district’s story, someone else may take the liberty of doing so—true or not; and people will listen, and believe them.

The Senate passed Senate Bill 146, which contains its 2019-2020 School Aid budget proposal last week by a vote of 21-17. Despite multiple amendments offered on the original proposal, the bill passed without any significant changes.

The Michigan Association of School Boards is excited to share recent staff additions and changes.

DashBoard, May 29, 2019

With little movement on anything else while the Michigan Legislature and Gov. Gretchen Whitmer worked out changes to the no-fault auto insurance laws over the last couple of weeks, here’s a status update on where items related to public education stand.

We are now about five weeks away from June 30, a common expiration date for teacher contracts across the state. Here are some things that happen if the calendar turns over to July before the board and the union agree on a new contract:

“Back in my day. . .” Is a potential adult response when a child or young adult brings up an issue they’re experiencing at home, in school or out in society. The adult is trying to provide a solution or commiserate based on their own experience at the same age. But as it has evolved with every generation, the context isn’t quite the same making it more challenging to adapt that solution to their situation. Technology in particular has made a significant impact on how kids react and respond to what is around them.

DashBoard, June 5, 2019

An ambitious effort to reverse Michigan’s two-decade educational decline was pitched to Michigan’s policy elite [last] week with a show of broad-based political clout.

The four top lawmakers of Michigan’s legislature, Republicans and Democrats, spoke at a press conference touting the initiative, called Launch Michigan. To education experts, their joint presence was a sign that the group will be able to change Michigan’s education law where others have failed.

A number of professions have them, particularly in the areas of medicine, law and divinity. MASB even has them in the form of the Board of Education Governance Standards. But are you aware of the Michigan Code of Educational Ethics and that they have recently been updated after 16 years with the intent of making them easier to put into policy?

In the most recent MI SoundBoard podcast, Executive Director Don Wotruba spoke with Rep. Pamela Hornberger (R-Chesterfield), who was an art teacher in the East China School District and member of the L'Anse Creuse Public Schools Board of Education, before becoming a state representative. She is Chair of the House Education Committee and Vice Chair of the Appropriations Subcommittee on School Aid and the Department of Education.