Exciting news in Escanaba schools

ESCANABA — The 2018-2019 school year promises to be a great one in Escanaba. Buses are plying the streets, fall sports are heating up, school hallways are humming with students, and teachers are working hard in the classroom to help children prepare for bright futures. We are thrilled to be back in action.

These are exciting times for the Escanaba Area Public Schools. The Webster Kindergarten Center hit the ground running. In fact, we’re beginning the school year with more students than expected, which is especially exciting. With a new playground, building improvements, and a fantastic staff, the opening of this center demonstrates the district’s commitment to getting our youngest children off to a great start. The small class sizes, focused resources, and staff collaboration taking place there will pay dividends throughout the remainder of students’ time in the public schools.

This year, the district is also introducing a new program, The Leader in Me, to all students in grades K-6. This highly-regarded curriculum is based on Stephen Covey’s well-known book The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People. Those who have read it or been through Seven Habits training know how truly life-changing the habits are, and the district is eager to teach them to children at their level. Elementary staff received two days of training in the Seven Habits before the school year started, and everyone looks forward to working together with students to practice these important principles of personal effectiveness.

If you have questions about the Seven Habits or The Leader in Me, including how you can use the habits at home, please feel free to talk to your child’s teacher or principal. And, if you have a student at the junior high or high school, don’t worry. The program will be phased up to grades 7-12 next year.

At the high school level, the district’s Early/Middle College is off to a booming start, with over 60 students from the class of 2018 already taking advantage of a free year at Bay College. Soon, students currently at the high school will receive information on how to enroll in the Early/Middle College, which means they can begin taking free college coursework as early as their junior year. Motivated students will be able to complete an Associate’s Degree, earn up to 60 credit hours, get any of the certifications Bay offers, or simply acquire credits to transfer to a university — all at no cost to families.

If you’re interested in knowing more about the Early/Middle College program at Escanaba High School, the Student Services office will gladly answer your questions.

Finally, the district has taken advantage of the Community Eligibility Provision, a federal program that allows us to provide free breakfast and lunch to every student in grades K-8, at the Learning Center, and at the Escanaba Student Success Center. Many of these schools are even going the extra mile by having breakfast in the classroom, since regular, daily nutrition is important for growing children and developing minds. At the same time, we trust this program will also alleviate some of the financial burden families with school-age children face.

All in all, this is a great time to be a part of the schools. As a dynamic district, we’re thrilled to introduce so many new, high-quality initiatives that will directly benefit our students both now and in the future. We hope you feel the difference as the year goes by.

Go Eskymos!

— — —

Dr. Coby Fletcher is the superintendent of the Escanaba Area Public Schools.