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Albion officials and parents working on strategy to improve performance at high school


By RJ Walters / For the Jackson Citizen Patriot

Albion High School Principal Derrick Crum is confident and enthusiastic about turning around the academic achievement and behavior of his students following three community input meetings.

In an effort to help craft an improvement strategy after the high school was named one of 92 Persistently Low Achieving Schools statewide, Crum gathered ideas to be implemented into the district’s “transformation redesign plan” that is due to the state by Nov. 16.

The district must have the plan approved and then adequately meet state achievement standards in the next several years or be in jeopardy of a state takeover.

A meeting Thursday helped determine what issues the public deemed most critical and the School Improvement Committee will take that feedback and construct a plan to present to the community.

Those in attendance voiced concern about everything from consistent discipline to how the curriculum was evolving with a distressed school budget, but a recurring theme was behavioral expectations.

One parent who works with juvenile delinquents in the area and has a daughter at the high school said students should be forced to sign “a performance, behavioral and conduct contract” with clear implications if expectations are not met. She said she was disgusted to see students at recent athletic practices “wearing less than strippers wear,” and in the past some teachers have not presented themselves much better.

Crum said he regularly talks to students and staff about high expectations in regards to language, proper attire, and how they handle conflict. There are plenty of good examples to learn from, he said.

“When people talk about the negative they are talking about a very small percentage of the population. … I mean we have kids like Garrett Brown who graduated from Princeton,” he said. “It’s really all about developing relationships and helping kids to understand why what their doing is important not only to their futures, but our entire learning environment and community.”

The transformation plan will focus on increasing teacher and leader effectiveness, enacting comprehensive instructional reform, increasing learning time and providing flexible, sustained support.

The district has already started several new initiatives, such as “exit tickets” that teachers pass out after each class to gather input on what students learned and what they are struggling to grasp.

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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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