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Albion High School starts year by giving students a voice


By RJ Walters / For the Jackson Citizen Patriot

In a high school that has lost several hundred students the last four years and continues to fail to meet the state’s Adequate Yearly Progress requirements, first-year Albion High School Principal Derrick Crum revamped things to start the school year.

Students spent a half-hour one day doing a “career mixer” during which they tried to come up with professions they were interested in that corresponded with every letter of the alphabet. Also, all high school staff members wore shirts representing their alma mater to drive home the importance of a continuing education.

Teachers also spent time in open discussions about the mission and vision of Albion High School, but Crum let go of the reins when he let the students have their say.

Staff members asked students what they expected from teachers, administrators, their parents and even themselves — and Crum told the public at Tuesday’s school board meeting that his eyes were opened by listening to the students.

Common expectations of teachers included “don’t yell,” “be fair” and “be nice,” but they also talked about having high expectations, building relationships and being prepared.

Crum said the students seem to want support, fairness and consistent enforcement from administrators, but not everything the students wrote would be applicable.

“I saw one that said, ‘Don’t suspend for tardies’ — I don’t know about that one,” he joked.

Students admitted they needed to respect teachers more, pay more attention and follow the rules — things Crum sees as major building blocks to making progress.

“I want the community to realize how sharp these kids are, and let’s not forget these things as teachers and administrators,” he said.

“I’d like to print and laminate some posters of what the kids had to say and put them up on the walls to remind us of them.” 

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About rjwalters

I am what you think I am — a journalist. Actually when I was hired at my current job, which by the way is Sports Editor of the Hillsdale Daily News in Hillsdale, Mich., I applied for a position titled "Wordsmith", so at my best I'll call myself a writer attempting to be a wordsmith extraordinaire.

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