Sunday, February 28, 2010

Special Education Resources

The New York Times has had a series of articles related to how parents can access necessary special education resources for children who need them.

What to Do if You Suspect Learning Disability
Excerpt: If your child is having difficulty in school, don’t delay in arranging a meeting with your child’s teacher and the school principal. At this meeting, explain your concerns about your child’s uneven academic performance. ...If the school seems to be dragging its feet, make a written request to the school’s director of special education saying that you would like a comprehensive assessment. And provide reasonable evidence to support your request.

Resources for Parents of Students with Learning Disabilities
Excerpt: A directory of the [state parent information] centers is on the Technical Assistance Alliance for Parent Centers’ Web site. The staff at these federally financed programs can help parents navigate the entire special ed process. More specifics of the law are at

Nudging Schools to Help Students with Learning Disabilities
Excerpt: More than 6 percent of school-age children — almost three million students — are receiving special education services because of learning disabilities, according to the Learning Disabilities Association of America. The cost of such special services can easily total thousands of dollars a year per child. But the Learning Disabilities Association suggests that when learning disabilities are left untreated, the overall cost to society may be far higher.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Privatization, Take II: The Bids Are In

Well, AAPS has received the transportation and custodial privatization bids. You can read a summary of the board discussion on here. Surprise, surprise--rather than having the board talk about what they think of the bids (or about privatization in general) in public, which is what Susan Baskett wanted to do (thank you, Susan!) the board president wants to do that in closed session.

Also no surprise--the savings basically come from the fact that, although wages and benefits were supposed to be comparable, there would be no retirement funds for those staff.

Steve Norton from Michigan Parents for Schools (MIPFS) writes very cogently in the comments of the article:
Not quite spelled out in the story is the fact that, while the base bids were required to offer current employees the same pay and "comparable" medical benefits, the district has not completed a review to see if the health benefits are truly "comparable." The presentation on custodial and maintenance privatization made it clear that bidders were including benefits packages that had a huge range of costs - these can't all be comparable. The bidders' costs minus benefits were quite similar. Unfortunately, the current AAPS costs were not broken out into benefits vs. other costs, so it was hard to compare the bids to our current costs.
I, too, hear a lot of anger at unions - and also some unfortunate disdain for custodians and bus drivers, the blue collar workers in our district. Remember that our kids are not encapsulated in classrooms, and that the educational experience has to be put together by a large team, which is not limited to teachers.

Moreover, unions are not the main problem here. Nearly all the savings in the base bids comes from moving these employees out of the state retirement system (MPSERS). Mandatory contributions to that system currently stand at 17%, and are set to climb. These are the district's costs; employees must also contribute.

MPSERS is administered by the state under rules set by the state legislature....
Employees who are not close enough to "buy" enough years to vest in the system will lose everything if privatized. MPSERS benefits are not portable if you leave public school employment. (Emphases added.)
So, there you have it. I don't think I could have said it better myself.
Except for the why: WHY does anyone think it is ok to take away retirement benefits from some of the lowest-paid staff in the district? I don't think that is okay.
Michigan Parents for Schools can be found at, and is an organization for parents concerned about the future of our public schools and working for a better way to fund education.
One more thing: did you know that you can write to the entire Board of Education, in one fell swoop, by sending an email to (When I did this, I only heard back from one board member--the secretary--who assured me that everyone else is reading my email--I have no confirmation of that, but I sure hope he is correct!)

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Looking for Best Practice Models: Michigan Parks Planning

It shouldn't surprise anyone that our state parks are facing many of the same challenges as our state schools--limited funding, concerns about infrastructure--at the same time that they are, in fact, some of our greatest assets (as are our kids). After all, If you seek a pleasant peninsula, look about you.

Ron Olson, the person currently in charge of Michigan state parks (whom I mention by name because he was formerly in charge of Ann Arbor's parks), Michigan state parks staff, and the Citizen's Committee for State Parks, together decided to examine funding models from other states and identify the best models. They did. They actually found a model that a) appears to be more stable, b) would keep funding separate from the general fund, c) was voluntary, and d) had bipartisan support. 

You would think that would make it a slam dunk, but no. It got tangled up in the idea that the state needs a comprehensive budget solution. Instead, the state parks, and all of us who live in the state, are left Waiting for Godot.

In any case: kudos to the state parks staff and volunteers who did the legwork. When people ask me, what should we tell the state government we want done around funding schools, my partial answer is: let's do exactly what the state parks people did. Let's start by looking at funding models and education outcomes in other states. Let's find the best practices. I think, but I'm not sure, that they will be found in the mid-Atlantic or northeast states (that is where the best outcomes can be found). And I could be surprised. Guess where the parks model came from?


Monday, February 15, 2010

Trimesters: Can We End the Experiment Now?

With a child at Skyline, I've now had nearly two years "trying out" the trimester system. I also have experience with block scheduling (the way Community High does it, which is essentially a semester system with every class three times a week) and with a traditional schedule (7 classes a day, every day). In Ann Arbor, currently, Skyline has a trimester system; Pioneer and Huron have a traditional semester schedule; and Community High has a semester-long block schedule.

It seems to me that we sometimes have a herd mentality in education. And so it goes in Washtenaw County, where a majority of high schools have switched over to the trimester--pushed, primarily, by the algebra problem and new state standards I describe here. (The state standards, by the way, are also proof of that herd mentality, as is high-stakes testing.)

So, I've tried the trimester, and here are its good points:
*There are only five classes in any day, so there is less homework due each day. [This is even better in an alternate-day block scheduling program, however, with homework only due every other day.]
*The length of the class is slightly longer, making it slightly more likely that teachers will use interactive teaching methods. [Some do, some don't.]
*If you don't like a class, it will be over in just a few short weeks.
*The schedule could be organized (at Skyline it is for science, but no other subjects) so that you essentially cover three years of a subject in two years.

Down sides:
*For languages, and for math if you are in a two-trimester level, you could go 8 months between levels. Yes, that's right--you could finish two trimesters of Spanish 1 in the middle of March, and not start Spanish 2 until the end of November the next year.
*The classes are slightly longer, but not all that much longer for project-based learning.
*Some subjects may move too quickly--for instance, AP classes are often set up with two trimesters of the class, and then a third trimester for review--which therefore takes up additional electives. So in fact, the same AP class that at Pioneer would take up 2 classes, ends up taking 3 at Skyline.
*It seems relatively likely that a student can end up with 5 academic classes in any given trimester, and no non-academic electives (i.e. art, personal fitness).
*Fitting in classes that really should go year-round--like orchestra--take up extra elective space. This is actually a disincentive to these classes. My child is not the only one who declined to sign up for band because it would take up three elective periods.
*It seems to me that it makes scheduling slightly more difficult, and it makes it slightly less likely that you won't have the same teacher for the next class in the sequence. (Of course, if you didn't like the teacher, that could be a good thing.)
*In the AAPS system, it makes it really difficult for students to dual enroll at Community High School because the hours do not match, and the terms do not match.

At the budget forum, I asked if the trimester system cost more (it seems like, with 15 classes available vs. 14 at the other schools, it should)--and the staff person at my table didn't know the answer. I still don't know the answer.

In any case, even if it doesn't cost more, it seems that if the schools had matching schedules, it would be possible to do more integrated/dual enrollment (once the schools are at their planned sizes). For instance, if a student wanted to take Chinese, and it is only offered at Skyline, maybe a Pioneer student could "dual enroll" and take afternoon classes at Skyline. Perhaps the only time for dual enrollment "switches" would be at lunchtime.

My first choice would be for all of the schools to be on the same block schedule that Community has. My second choice would be for all of the schools to be on a traditional semester system.
Can we end the experiment?

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Trimesters and Algebra

New state standards have pushed many districts into a trimester system. (The majority of Washtenaw County districts have switched over. In Ann Arbor, only Skyline has switched.) A key section of the new standards focuses on ensuring that all kids have more math.
According to the new curriculum law:
Students must complete at least Algebra I, Geometry, and Algebra II, or an integrated sequence of this course content that consists of 3 credits, and an additional mathematics credit, such as Trigonometry, Statistics, Pre-calculus, Calculus, Applied Math, Accounting, Business Math, or a retake of Algebra II. Each pupil must successfully complete at least 1 mathematics course during his or her final year of high school enrollment. (Emphasis added.)
Math, you might say, is frequently privileged in schools. It is the driving force in Ann Arbor in middle school scheduling (your math class often determines most of your other classes). Want to see the achievement gap in action? See who is placed in which math classes in eighth grade.

And now it is the driving force in high school as well. Since math is often the subject that students have trouble with, one idea was that you could teach a standard year of math in two trimesters, and if a student was having trouble, they could repeat a class in a third trimester. And--since with trimesters there are 15 classes in the year (3 trimesters x 5 classes) instead of 14 with the semester system (2x7), this wouldn't disadvantage kids who were having trouble with math. At the same time, kids who didn't have trouble with math would get an extra elective. Prior to these standards, many (many!) kids did not take Algebra II.

At least at Skyline, that experiment has been less than successful. So many kids were having difficulty learning the math in two trimesters, in the school's second year they changed the "standard" math option to a three trimester option.

Today in my inbox, I got a link from Education Week that says that the Algebra-For-All Push Is Yielding Poor Results.

This is really a very interesting article, with a summary of a lot of different research studies, and I encourage you to read it (you might need to register at the site).  Some of the salient points:
*Misclassification of kids matters (who goes in which class)
*When you eliminate tracking, the top students don't learn as much
*However, the bottom students seem to learn more
*Simply taking algebra doesn't seem to affect the likelihood of attending college (and that is a very complicated issue--I'm sure there are lots of confounding factors there).

Side note: Is college the desired outcome here? Or learning math?

Obviously, learning math is important, but it's often not clear why, as I discuss here.
It's not just about math, though. I think we also need to ask whether the trimester system works.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

It Makes Me Appreciate James Hawkins

The times they are a'changing. Last year, Ypsilanti Public Schools Superintendent James Hawkins retired (for the second time), and now there are thunderstorms brewing.

Superintendent Hawkins had a lot of experience with the district, and while I'm sure nobody would say he was perfect, he did manage to facilitate the closing of two schools without a whole lot of fuss, and he did get a great deal of cooperation from the staff.

This year, YPSD has a new superintendent, Dedrick Martin, who got a big increase in salary compared to the last superintendent. This, I should point out, is not his fault. The school board negotiated his salary. Nonetheless, it doesn't sit well with teachers who have been asked to take pay cuts, and while the district is considering closing two more schools--along with a major reorganization of the schools.

It's not like I get a vote or anything, but if they do reorganize grades, I think they are likely to lose more families than they would if they can manage not to reorganize grades. The reorganization, though, I think is largely a way to reduce teachers.

YPSD-related people (students, staff, parents, district residents), you can take the district survey here. [I didn't take the survey, but I did look at it, and the choices are depressing--would you rather increase class size by x, or cut all non-mandated transporation? Etcetera.]

Read also these updates: reports this description of school closing options.
Opposition to the school closings is increasing. Read about Save Ypsi Schools here.
And WEMU reports on the trouble brewing between the district and the teachers union.
Did I mention that Dedrick Martin is completely new to the district? And that the assistant superintendent, who was a finalist for the superintendent job, is interviewing for other positions?


Count Day, Round Two

As soon as I heard that today was supposed to be Count Day, I knew that all of the county schools would close. How could they risk kids not making it into school because of snow when the stakes are so high?

So: Thinking out loud here...There are a lot of problems with being so reliant on per-pupil funding, but it seems that a few modifications in the weighting of count day could make a difference for schools, particularly as far as planning goes. For instance, what if the per-pupil funding was an average of the last three years' counts.

So, if a district had 1000 students in year 1, 950 students in year 2, they would be able to do the math and whether their per-pupil count in year 3 was 900 students or 1000 students, it wouldn't make that much difference. Even though some districts might lose slightly if their numbers went up, the majority of districts in the state are losing kids every year. And stability leads to better planning. I certainly see a lot of panic and poor planning on the part of school districts in the county, but I'm not primarily blaming them--school starts in September, and in January (the January after the September, not before the September) they get a final per-pupil funding number. How can districts plan that way?

Tuesday, February 9, 2010


Based on the title, you might think this post is about Bo Schembechler, former University of Michigan football coach.
Sorry, no. This post is about Bo, an ancient language from India's Andaman Islands. Unfortunately, the last native speaker of Bo just died recently. (If you click on the link and scroll down, you can listen to a recording of Boa Sr speaking the language Bo.) You can read more about endangered languages here and here.
My grandparents, who grew up in Europe and immigrated to the United States, spoke at least four or five languages. Living where they did, where the land changed hands between countries fairly frequently, and where different ethnic groups lived close to each other, that was a necessity. Here in the U.S., there is a tendency to see people as geniuses if they even speak one language other than English fairly well.
The main Ann Arbor high schools teach three Romance languages: Spanish, French, and Latin; and one Germanic language, German (plus English, which is also a Germanic language). And at Skyline now they are teaching Chinese. I have felt it is too little. Why isn't the rest of the world represented?
I just got a glimpse of the Skyline class scheduling options for next year. All of the AAPS high schools are now offering the possibility of taking online classes in Math (algebra, geometry) and English (ninth grade and tenth grade English).
So here is what I don't understand. If we are offering online classes for subjects where we already have perfectly good local teachers, why on earth can't we offer online classes for languages where we don't already have local teachers? Why can't we offer Arabic, Japanese, Hindu, and even Ojibway on line? Isn't that the point of this kind of technology?

The Long Winter

I read on a different blog (one complaining about the winter in Baltimore, ha ha--they think they are having a long winter?) that Laura Ingalls Wilder's birthday was February 7th. Laura Ingalls Wilder has a special place in my heart. Little House in the Big Woods was the first "really long" book that I read growing up. I was seven. I read it for three days straight, and when I finished I was very proud of myself.
I really wanted to meet Laura (the author), and I used think, well she died in 1957, and I was born in the 1960s, so if she had lived just a little bit longer, or I had been born a little bit earlier, we might have overlapped! Close--but no cigar. (Laura Ingalls Wilder actually lived just past her 90th birthday.)

We think of these books as memoir/autobiography, but in reality they are fiction. Which is to say that, although the bones of the story are likely true, they were likely embellished. Which is perhaps a good thing, when it comes to the book The Long Winter.  I've lived in South Dakota in the winter, and I am quite sure that the winter she writes about was long! (And they didn't have central heat, either.) But my friend pointed out to me a couple of years ago that (despite the fun depicted in the cover illustration) The Long Winter is essentially a tale of near-starvation. I went back to the story and re-read it, and when read that way, it is breathtakingly scary.

Update: I just took a look at the Wikipedia entry for The Long Winter (should have done that first!) and it says:
The Long Winter runs from the fall of 1880 to the spring of 1881; a season of such frequent blizzards that it went down in history as "The Snow Winter"[1]. Accurate details in Wilder's novel include the names of the townspeople (with only minor exceptions), the length of the winter, the Chicago and North Western Railway closing down business until the Spring thaw, the near-starvation of the townspeople, the severe cold, the terrible danger of getting caught in a blizzard, and the courage of Almanzo Wilder and Cap Garland, who ventured out on the open prairie in search of a cache of wheat that no one was even sure existed.
The fictionalized material includes the "Indian warning" in an early chapter and the nonstop procession of blizzards lasting on average three days each, with only two to two-and-a-half days between them from late October until early April. 

Monday, February 8, 2010

Commentary by District--Including the WISD!

Listed in order of school district

Ann Arbor
Adam Hollier, AAPS school board member (the one who tried to withdraw, got elected anyway, so therefore decided to serve) has now decided to step down. I guess his first instincts were the best ones.  You can apply to be on the AAPS school board. There were a lot of good candidates when Simone Lightfoot was chosen just a couple of months ago. Perhaps some of them will apply? It's an interesting question to me--why do we get more candidates for a nominations process where you (as candidate) can't control the outcome, than we did for the school board elections, where presumably you can influence some votes? Do you think it's the process, or just the timing of this set of nominations? The deadline for applications is February 19th at 4 p.m.
The first round of Space Available In-District Transfer Applications (could we possibly pick a more understandable name????) runs February 1-26. Basically, say that you live in one part of the AAPS district and you decide you would prefer to be at another school, if it is on the list, you can apply and if space is available, you can switch schools. There are lots of reasons people choose to switch, including the fact that some of the child care programs have better space than others, and some of the schools have different atmospheres. The good news: ten elementary schools have space at all levels, and three more have space at one grade; and four out of five of the regular middle schools are on the list. The bad news: no high schools are on the list, there is a different application process for Ann Arbor Open, and yes, you need to live in the Ann Arbor School District. (Oh, yes--and the Ann Arbor Open, Community High School, and Skyline High School application processes are all going on now. Community and Skyline deadlines are this Friday, February 12th. The Ann Arbor Open deadline is sometime in March.)
Updated 2/8/10 at 10:00 a.m.: There is an excellent summary of the AAPS board meeting, including Adam Hollier's resignation and extensive public commentary, in the Ann Arbor Chronicle today.

A school board filing deadline is February 9th. And there was good news at the last board meeting for non-union employees. From the Chelsea Standard:
Board member Steve Olsen motioned to rescind the wage and insurance reduction imposed on non-union employees for now, given that the original decision was made based upon the expectation of a second and third cut in state funding for this school year. Killips said that as a matter of integrity, he would contact the district’s Transportation Department as well, since it had voluntarily taken a reduction in pay.
Et tu, Brute? Dexter High School and Creekside Middle School are getting security cameras. Really? I didn't think they were necessary for Pioneer, and I certainly don't think they are necessary in Dexter. It's the kind of expense (all the security upgrades together are nearly half-a-million dollars) that makes me less willing to support school millages. It also highlights the stupidity of a system where we have money for construction and things, but no money for people. Education should be all about people.

Dexter is also having a budget meeting Monday February 8th, and studying its transportation setup and having a series of meetings this coming week about it. Read all about it here.

Aaaahhh, Lincoln. Lincoln Schools have taken a lot of flak for paying to be called one of the top schools in Michigan.  I understand why. They're not one of the top schools in Michigan by any measure (nor are they one of the bottom), so why make that up? On the other hand--they paid $25,000 for an ad, and if they pull in an additional 5-10 students because they get noticed, they will have made up their money. What you see in action here is the law of unintended consequences. Base school revenues solely on per-pupil counts, and you get some unfortunate decisions. This decision was not stupid if your primary goal is increasing per-pupil counts; but it looks kind of desperate. Well, that's because they are desperate.

Manchester schools did very well in the Spring 2009 Michigan Merit Exams. Is small beautiful?

I've got nothing--is no news good news?

It's nice to see the front page article on the Saline web site be devoted to early intervention services in Saline. In the Superintendent's blog, Scot Graden recently wrote a post, If communication is key, who are the key communicators? Given the changing way that news gets shared, and the fact that people don't necessarily live and work in the same town anymore, it's an interesting post. BURIED in the comments is this nugget, though. (Scot Graden writing in response to a question.)
The next steps in dealing with the budget deficit for this year involve wage and benefit concessions from our administrative staff. Unfortunately, we will be recommending mid-year staff reductions as well. Both will occur at the next Board of Education meeting on Tuesday, February 9th. (Emphasis added.)
Well, as far as I'm concerned, that should have been front and center. That's what we mean when we ask for transparency.

Washtenaw ISD
Oh, and while Dexter is having transportation meetings, and Ann Arbor is busy considering privatization, the WISD is planning on consolidating transportation--lock, stock, and barrel--by the fall. Hmmm. What does that mean for all the various unions and districts? I could see it saving money in a few areas--primarily in bus maintenance. Or is it just another union-busting move? The WISD has done well with consolidating some services, but those have not involved nearly as many permanent employees. And will individual districts want to give up their buses? A lot of the sketchiness of this is due to the fact that WISD, while technically public, doesn't seem to want to be too public about anything. You won't find this on their web site. And you also won't find the different school district superintendents talking much about this publicly, even though they should be. So many thanks to David Jesse from for breaking this story.

Whitmore Lake
Whitmore Lake School Board is also meeting on Monday, February 8th. Kudos to Whitmore Lake for posting, on the front page of their web site, their Regular Meeting Board Book. Scroll down to find it just after the agenda for the board meeting. It looks to me like it contains the background materials that the board gets. (Correct me if I am wrong.)

Willow Run
Willow Run still has a long way to go, but they have started updating their web site. And there is a College Goal Sunday event  on Sunday, February 14, where families can get help with college financial aid forms. 

Ypsilanti is considering closing two schools (again--they closed a couple a few years ago).  And Ypsilanti parents are organizing against that idea. In the comments on a while ago, Steve Norton of Michigan Parents for Schools pointed out that the savings from closing a school can by wiped out by the kids that leave the district for other schools. In Ypsilanti, kids could go to Lincoln, Willow Run, South Lyon, Whitmore Lake, or Van Buren schools (not to mention many charters). So if closing a school saves a district $250,000, that savings could be eroded if just 35 or 40 students leave the district (which seems totally plausible). In tic tac toe, we call that a cat's game.

Sunday, February 7, 2010


A social worker friend of mine who works with low-income families wrote recently on Facebook,
Today was a bad day. There is so much despair out there. I think I need a new career.

Another social worker commented to her,
I know what you mean. This is the worst I've seen it in 30 years. 

And a friend who is a principal of a school in southeastern Michigan, a school with a high number of children living in poverty, told me,
The economic stresses on these families are unbelievable. Their instability in housing and jobs keeps them moving all the time. We enroll new kids in the school, and have kids leave the school, every week because of the instability.
And if a school has 30% turnover from the beginning to the end of the year, is it fair to measure kids' progress the way that we do in a school with 5% turnover?

When I was teaching, I remember kids coming up to me and saying, "There is too much chaos in my house (housing issues, immigration fears, lack of employment, etc.) and I just can't do my homework." For some kids, just making it to school is the miracle.

I know a lot of people are worried about those families. We think less often about the front-line workers--by which I mean, in this case, social workers and school staff--who confront increasing need and decreasing resources. I worry about the front-line staff. It is really hard to hear the public discussions around education and social services, to hear that teachers or social workers "get paid too much," to have pay and benefits rolled back, and not to acknowledge that it is hard to be the social worker or teacher working with the kids or families who need so much more, who deserve so much more, and who don't get what they need.

Sure, in our area there is a surfeit of teachers and social workers--so maybe they are replaceable, but is it a good thing to set up a system where teachers and social workers get burned out because there is so much need for their services and so little value placed upon them?

My friend was writing about the despair among her clients, but what I hear from her is the despair that things will get better. We alone cannot control the economy (of course, we can each do our small part), but when we value the work of front-line staff, we can improve their feelings about their work.

Tuesday, February 2, 2010


Over at Electric Educator (linked to on the right), blogger and teacher John Sowash had a post recently about the advantages of using iGoogle to replace school planners.

It makes me feel queasy.

Full disclosure: Blogspot (the platform for this blog) is Google-owned and yes, I have a gmail account. Sharing documents on googledocs can make life easy. I "google" questions several times a day. Google creates a lot of wonderful products.

But. Google is also a huge corporation, trading today at $531 per share.

I have no problem with individuals using Google, but that seems different to me from having teachers require students to put their work into systems that are owned by a huge, for-profit corporation. Are we in danger of Googlewashing?

What do you think? What are the benefits? What are the issues? If we had to pay for it, what would it be worth?

Let's Talk About Food And Health

David Jesse's recent article at about a Mitchell Elementary School program to provide weekend "food backpacks," made me think it is time to say something more about food, and health.
Different schools and school districts have different feelings about how much they should help provide a safety net for students. Some schools have stepped up to the plate--for instance, Bryant/Pattengill in Ann Arbor runs a clothes closet, and the Ypsilanti Public Schools run one for the whole district. Other schools have been reluctant to jump into providing services, because the need is so great, and they don't want to be seen as a giant social service agency.

On the other hand--kids who are hungry, cold, or sick don't do very well in school. I think that those schools that try to support students' other needs are doing the right things. But remember, knowledge is power, and a lot of people who are eligible for programs don't know they are eligible. So here are a few resources. Please share them!

1. Free and Reduced Price Lunch Program (which includes breakfast): you can register for this at any time during the school year. If, for instance, you had work at the beginning of the year and wouldn't qualify, you might find that you qualify now. Ask for an application at the front office of the school your child attends. Some schools use this as a way to identify kids who qualify for other benefits/scholarships. (I've written about school lunch here.)

2. The Food Stamp application is now online. This is new, and it is great news. Spread the word. A lot of people are surprised to find out that they qualify. If you want an estimate as to whether your family will qualify, here is the link to a food stamp calculator. And here is the link to the application.

3. Similarly, you can now enroll your kids in the MIChild/Healthy Kids program with an online application. (Women 19-44 can be enrolled in the Plan First family planning program through the same application.)

4. The Regional Alliance for Healthy Schools has clinics in several local schools, including schools in Ann Arbor, Ypsilanti, and Willow Run. Check them out here.

5. Pregnant women and kids up to age 5 can be served by WIC (Women, Infants, and Children)--and that can help stretch the overall food budget. WIC also has some satellite clinics, which is helpful for people living on the edges of the county.