Must reads


A federal grant will allow Michigan to improve access to early childhood programs for families: Michigan is getting a boost of federal funding to help improve preschool programs in the state. That’s coming via a three-year, $40.2 million preschool development grant from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. The Michigan Department of Education announced the award this week. It will fund a number of initiatives. A key proposal would help families navigate what can often be a confusing system of early childhood programs. “Parents will be better informed to make choices and access high-quality early childhood programs and services for their children to transition successfully into elementary school,” state Superintendent Michael Rice said in a statement. Chalkbeat


Michigan charter schools got millions in taxpayer money for schools that never opened: A federal program awarded $7.7 million to charter schools in Michigan that never opened. That's according to a report from the Network for Public Education. A total of 257 charter schools in Michigan received money from the federal program. 72 of them never opened. No other state had that many unopened charter schools that received money from the Charter Schools Program. Another 40 charter schools in Michigan that received money have since closed. In total, 44% of the schools that won grants are no longer open. Michigan Radio


Metro Detroit


Program to Bring Mental Health Resources to Detroit Schools: The Detroit Public Schools Community District announced it's teaming up with a University of Michigan program aimed at helping students effectively manage symptoms of anxiety, depression and post-traumatic stress. TRAILS — Transforming Research into Action to Improve the Lives of Students — will make mental health resources available to 50,000 students and 4,000 staff members throughout the district. The program has trained more than 400 school mental health professionals in 64 counties. District officials in Detroit said they expected the collaboration with TRAILS to help improve social and academic outcomes across all grade levels. US News


UCS theatre students earn $3 million in scholarship offers: Utica Community Schools students earned more than $3 million in scholarship offers and 80 top awards at the 2019 Michigan Thespian Festival. In addition, a Henry Ford II High School senior earned recognition as the state's best representative of the spirit of high school theatre. Toni Gjerkaj received the prestigious Tom Suda Spirit Scholarship. It goes to one student in Michigan for best demonstrating the collaborative nature of theatre, recognizing people matter, striving for excellence, and being the type of person others want to work with. Macomb Daily




Michigan's poorest school districts, based on median family income: Highland Park is Michigan's least-affluent school district, according to new Census data, while Detroit -- the state's largest district -- ranks No. 9. That's based on median income for families with children under age 18, using the Census Bureau's five-year average for 2014-18. The median is $16,847 for families living in the Highland Park school district, compared to a state median of $69,790. This post looks at Census data for Michigan's 70 least-affluent school districts. MLive


Several education bills advancing in Michigan legislature: A handful of bills that would impact learning across the state are moving through the Michigan House of Representatives. Five bills — House Bills 4269, 4271, 4282, 4826 and 4856 — are currently at varying stages and would make changes to the revised school code. House Bills 4269, 4271 and 4826 would amend the Michigan Merit Curriculum, thus updating graduation requirements for students. Holland Sentinel


Bill would ban lunch shaming: A Southeast Michigan lawmaker is renewing an effort to prohibit schools from stigmatizing students who owe lunch money or can’t afford to buy a school meal. The practice, known as lunch shaming, sometimes involves kitchen staff throwing away students’ hot lunches and offering them cold sandwiches instead. While the purpose is to push parents to settle their children’s debts, it also embarrasses the students because they’re identified and sometimes picked on by their peers. To curb lunch shaming in school districts, Senate Minority Leader Jim Ananich, D–Flint, has reintroduced what he called the “Hunger Free Students Bill of Rights. “ CityPulse


Superintendent of Richmond Community Schools accused of mistreating employees: Concerned Richmond Community Schools administrators have accused the superintendent of verbal abuse at the same time that the small Macomb County district is facing a high-profile cyberattack. The two situations are unrelated, officials said, but the coincidental timing has shined an unwanted spotlight on problems in the 1,400-student district. Monday, the district reopened after being shut down two days last week because cyber pirates — using the email — hacked several electronic systems during the winter holiday break, holding them hostage for about $10,000. Detroit Free Press

• Macomb Daily: School board: Richmond boss Walmsley not guilty of harassment


Michigan Lottery surpassed $1B in earnings for schools for first time in 2019: Lottery players in Michigan turned up in record numbers in 2019 and in turn may feel a little better about their losing sessions as the Michigan State Lottery reported Wednesday a record $1.07 billion was generated for Michigan schools last year. That money will now be given to the state school aid fund.“This vital funding for our schools would not be possible without the support of our players and retailers, which we greatly appreciate,” said Commissioner Brian O. Neill. “Every Lottery purchase helps raise revenue for schools in our state.” MLive


College and university


How International Education’s Golden Age Lost Its Sheen: On a Sunday in May 2014, 140 students from 49 countries, some in hijabs, some with hair tinted purple to match their graduation robes, walked across the stage to collect the first diplomas awarded at New York University Abu Dhabi. Former President Bill Clinton was the keynote speaker. But the day really belonged to John E. Sexton, NYU’s president. He greeted every student – many of whom he knew from the 14,000-mile round trip he made from New York every other week to teach – with a fist bump or a hug. Chronicle of Higher Education


Is Early Decision Reaching Its Limits? Harvard University in December admitted 895 students who applied early -- or 13.9 percent of the 6,424 who applied. Last December, Harvard admitted 935 students, or 13.4 percent of the 6,958 students who applied. Both news releases hailed the numbers for women -- 51.7 percent this year. And both releases made clear how hard it is to be admitted to Harvard -- the regular decision admit rate is around 5 percent. Harvard is different from many early programs in that it is "early action" not "early decision" -- meaning that admitted students are not obliged to enroll. Inside Higher Ed


Free College With Grants for Basic Needs: Advocates for increasing college attainment and equity say that free college programs need to cover more than just the cost of tuition. The Commonwealth of Virginia has a proposal that would do just that, although some are criticizing the proposal’s eligibility restrictions. The Get Skilled, Get a Job, Give Back, or G3 program, was included in Democratic governor Ralph Northam’s $138 billion biennial budget proposal. The $145 million program would make community college tuition-free for low- and middle-income students, as well as provide grants for other costs like transportation and food. Inside Higher Ed




This Flu Season May Be Among the Worst of Past Decade and It's Not Peaked Yet: With this flu season on track to be among the worst in the past decade, schools need to be vigilant in messaging that students wash their hands and get vaccinated. The severity of the outbreak for 2019-20 is paralleling the trajectory of flu cases from previous bad years: 2014-15 and 2017-18, according to the head of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases at the National Institutes of Health. Although there's a chance the season could fizzle out, the number of flu cases will likely continue to rise. The flu usually hits its peak in mid- to late-January. Education Week


The made-up crisis behind the state takeover of Houston's public schools: If the state of Texas had its way, the state would be in the process of taking over the Houston Independent School District. But a judge temporarily blocked the takeover on Jan. 8, with the issue now set to be decided at a trial in June. The ruling temporarily spares Houston’s public school system from joining a list of over 100 school districts in the nation that have experienced similar state takeovers during the past 30 years. The list includes New York City, Chicago, Boston, Philadelphia, Detroit, New Orleans, Baltimore, Oakland and Newark. Houston is the largest school district in Texas and the seventh largest in the U.S. Yahoo


At a time when states and school districts are trying to increase vaccination rates, an aggressive strategy in Seattle appears to be paying off. After a measles outbreak sickened dozens of unvaccinated children in southwestern Washington State last year, school health administrators around the state went into crisis mode, intent on confronting the relatively low vaccination rates in the region. First, they got an assist from the State Legislature, which passed a law in May tightening exemption rules for the measles, mumps and rubella vaccine. Then school districts — including Seattle’s — sent letters asking thousands of families who did not have compliant vaccine records to get them in order. New York Times



University of Detroit Jesuit, Detroit, Michigan
Brother Rice High School, Bloomfield Hills, Michigan.
Charyl Stockwell Preparatory Academy, Brighton, Michigan
Notre Dame Preparatory, Pontiac, Michigan
Birmingham Public Schools, Birmingham, Michigan
Westwood Community School District, Dearborn, Dearborn Heights, Inkster, Michigan
The Roeper School, Birmingham and Bloomfield Hills, Michigan
Cranbrook Schools, Bloomfield Hills, Michigan
Marian High School, Bloomfield Hills, Michigan
St. Catherine of Siena Academy, Wixom, Michigan
Academy of the Sacred Heart, Bloomfield Hills, Michigan
Mercy High School, Farmington Hills, Michigan
Regina High School, Warren, Michigan
Grosse Pointe Public School System, Grosse Pointe, Michigan
Bloomfield Hills Schools, Bloomfield Hills, Michigan. Comprehensive education at its finest.
Everest Collegiate High School and Academy. Clarkston, Michigan. An Authentic Catholic School of Distinction.
Lincoln Consolidated Schools, Ypsilanti, Michigan
Loyola High School, Detroit, Michigan.
Oakland Christian School, Auburn Hills, Michigan. Oakland Christian School engages students in a rigorous and relevant education
Greenhills School, Ann Arbor, Michigan. Academic foundation for success.
Utica Community Schools, Image the Potential.
Lake Orion Community Schools, Lake Orion, Michigan. Providing an exemplary education for all learners
Shrine Catholic Schools, Royal Oak, Michigan. Faith. Family. Future.
West Bloomfield School District: Educating Students to be Their Best IN and FOR the World!
Livonia Public Schools, Livonia, Michigan. Purpose, Passion, Pride
Plymouth Christian, Canton, Michigan. A non-denominational, college preparatory Christian school
Parkway Christian School, Sterling Heights, Michigan. Challenging Minds. Capturing Hearts. Cultivating Gifts.
Berkley School District, Berkley, Huntington Woods, Oak Park, Michigan. Engage. Inspire. Achieve.