Vicksburg Superintendent Glaes Queried on “Focus School” designation for Sunset Elementary

Patricia Brown queries Superintendent Glaes and Dr. David Schriemer, school board member about the "focus" school designation at Sunset Elementary.
Patricia Brown queries Superintendent Glaes and Dr. David Schriemer, school board member about the “focus” school designation at Sunset Elementary.

By Sue Moore

Darla Cousins, custodian at Vicksburg High School, was named the school’s “Unsung Hero” by Superintendent Charlie Glaes at the September school board meeting. Each year, a person from the support staff is chosen for this honor, according to Glaes. Her customer service for all who use the Performing Arts Center (PAC) in particular, has warranted the recognition, he said. She makes sure that everyone using the PAC has smooth sailing for all of their needs while in attendance or performing.

It looks like student numbers will be slightly higher than those used for the budget projections, Glaes reported but it will likely be a net flat enrollment to base state aid upon. “We will still need to find ways to economize and reduce staff, still being sure to provide staff and support to achieve outstanding results. Balancing class sizes is remains a challenge,” he said.

A review of prior school year successes gave each one of the principals a chance to point out the many accomplishments in their buildings.

A member of the audience, Patricia Brown, asked Glaes to define “focus school” as she thought it was a bit vague when applied to Sunset Lake Elementary. He explained that the state looked at different things to arrive at this designation, surprising most every district in Michigan. In a nutshell, the state looked at the top 30 percent of student achievement on the MEAP test scores. Then at the bottom 30 percent and noticed what the gap was and ranked “focus schools” across the state if they deemed the gap to be too big, he said.

She felt it sounded more like a stigma and was concerned because her grandson was just enrolled in Sunset and she feels he has had a very good start there. “It’s a misunderstood label and we plan to rectify it in the coming year,” Glaes stated. Even the top three ranked schools in the state on the MEAP test were labeled “focus” schools, he continued.

In other board action, new policies were approved to come into compliance with new state laws, passed by the legislature in 2012.

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