Wednesday, March 23, 2011

There's Lots Going On Locally

Ann Arbor Public Schools are deciding if they should be open for schools of choice. Here's the proposal, the decision comes next week. [Don't get too excited, it would only be for K-6 students.]

Meanwhile, Saline has schools of choice for the high school. [Updated: See the comment that explains this is only true for the alternative high school, which I did not realize. I wonder if there are concerns about "who" would opt in to Saline and if that is really code for concerns about African-American students from Ypsilanti coming in to largely white Saline?] Saline is now considering extending it to the middle school.  The Saline Superintendent described the motivation as "largely financial." I think that's true for every district in the county!

Student applications are still being accepted for the Washtenaw International High School (the new International Baccalaureate program which will be located in Ypsilanti at the former East Middle School). It is open only to 9th graders. There is another parent information session scheduled for March 28th at 7 p.m. (but the web site doesn't say where!). The following districts are in the consortium, which means students from those districts can apply: Ann Arbor, Lincoln, Milan, Saline, Whitmore Lake, Willow Run, Ypsilanti.

Look for Dexter to set up its own IB setup next year, and it won't surprise me if the districts on the west side of the county (Chelsea and Manchester) work out some agreement with Dexter. It is, after all, a pretty far drive from Manchester to Ypsilanti.

Washtenaw Community College has reopened the search for a new president.

The Washtenaw Intermediate School District board continues to interview candidates for superintendent. One candidate, however, Thomas Langdon, has removed his name from consideration because he took another position. And then there were five...

There's a big College and Career Fair next Wednesday March 30th at Pioneer High School from 6-8 p.m. There will be lots of colleges and businesses attending. See the list here.

And according to, the Scarlett-Mitchell Lab School is still planning a fall 2011 opening. Parents in the area have until Friday to take a survey. I wish they would ask the rest of us to take a (possibly different) survey, and I really hope they don't move forward until they answer these questions:

1. Can people opt out of the school if they prefer a different school?
2. Can people opt in if they are at a different school but want the lab school?
3. How is this going to be paid for? I'd like to know about both the short-term funding and the long-term funding. We've had lots of trials that haven't lasted, and in this financial environment I'm feeling rather nervous. . . especially about the idea of "intersession" being paid for by grants. . . did we notice the report that Ann Arbor Public Schools are expecting a $15 million dollar deficit next year?

The district is already saying that the budget cuts will affect class size, mostly at the high school level. Well, at this point 4/5 of my daughter's high school classes have 32 students or more. So. . . let's have that conversation too. How big were you thinking?

And on May 3d, we will have the opportunity to vote on a special education millage. I'll write about that another day, but if you want to start reading up on it now, try here and here.


  1. Here's what the Onion (satirical news source) has to say about class size:,19404/?results

  2. About Saline, high school "school of choice" is only limited to the "alternative high school."