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Vicksburg School Board Hears Possible Graduation Plans

By Sue Moore

The Vicksburg school officials continue to ponder when safely to provide a graduation ceremony for seniors.

“We look forward to recognizing our seniors at this time of year,” said Adam Brush, Vicksburg high school principal. “We had 11 students, all girls, above a 4.0 grade point average in this graduating class of 173. Since the Covid-19 crisis that shut down all in-school activities, we have been working hard to find the best way to honor them,” he told the Vicksburg school board at its monthly meeting.

“Setting a date for an actual graduation ceremony is problematic,” said Superintendent Keevin O’Neill. “The first possible date would be July 9 at 7 p.m. If that doesn’t work, our second choice would be July 23 and the third would be August 6, all of them on Thursday.”

O’Neill thanked the community of Vicksburg for the strong support of the millage that was passed in the May 5 election.

Trustee Dave Schriemer questioned if online learning could take place over the summer months to take advantage of the virtual things the schools have been learning in the months of the Covid-19 stay at home, stay safe, edicts. “These extended learning opportunities could now be on the front burner.”

The finance report by Assistant Superintendent Steve Goss, was not quite as glowing. “The news out of the state of Michigan is pretty grim. Their budget shortfall will have a significant impact on our schools. Back in February the Governor’s budget proposal had the biggest increase in the history of the state for funding schools. Now it could go down anywhere from $200 to $1,000 foundation grant for each student. That would be daunting.”

At the same time, curriculum proposals were heard by the board, pending available funds. The English Language Arts (ELA) department proposal was approved to replace the assigned reading of “Huckleberry Finn” to be replaced by “Cat’s Cradle” by Kurt Vonnegut at a cost of $1,904. “Over the last five or six years, students and teachers have become uncomfortable with the racism in the book. Mark Twain was anti-racist and ahead of his times by turning the book into satire,” said Dan Ouellette, one of the senior class English teachers. “Cat’s Cradle is contemporary American literature and a little more relevant to the students.”

The freshmen biology students have been using an 18-year-old textbook, according to teacher Tina Porter. The board approved a new version that supports the state’s standards while empowering students to use science and engineering practices to address real-world issues, Porter noted. The cost is $29,974.

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