ELPS Board Discusses Elementary Math Curriculum, Suicide Prevention Activities

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Tuesday, March 15, 2016, 8:16 am
Ann Nichols

At Monday night’s meeting of the Board of Education, topics included the ongoing process of adopting a new elementary math curriculum as well as recent activities at East Lansing High School focused on suicide prevention.

Early in the meeting, the Board recognized Marble Elementary gym teacher Casey Bain, who has been selected as a finalist for the Directors Champion of Health Award for the 2016 Governors Fitness Awards. The Board also commended MacDonald Middle School students who participated in the MathCounts competition on March 12 and who qualified for the state-level competition.

Dori Leyko, Director of Curriculum, Instruction, and Assessment for the District gave a presentation on the progress of the adoption of a new elementary math curriculum, indicating that the next steps would include pilots of the top two curricula in elementary classrooms. The pilots will replace current curriculum, and may last as long as a month in each classroom. Parents are invited to an Elementary Math Curriculum Open House on Wednesday, March 16.

Kris Chapman, Director of Special Education, presented the Board with information about recent programs aimed at suicide prevention at the High School in the wake of two student suicides earlier in the winter. Chapman stated that at the time of the suicides, the District’s “standard response was in place,” and that it had taken longer than some parents might like to move to concrete planning because she and other District professionals wanted to lay groundwork with experts in the community.

So far, there has been a February 18 educational session at ELHS involving at least 30 mental health professionals from the area who met with students in small groups to watch a presentation developed by a local psychiatrist, and a March 9 parent meeting sponsored by the ELHS Parent Council that included “lots of talk” and small group break-out sessions. A similar event for MacDonald Middle School is in the planning stages.

Chapman also noted that East Lansing parent and business owner Brian Bertsch had donated food for the Parent Council event and funding towards a “strength-based” anti-suicide curriculum to be purchased at a later date. Board member Kath Edsall reported that she had recently met someone who had commented to her on how well East Lansing had handled the impact of the two suicides.

Board member Kate Powers spoke on behalf of the Ingham School Officers Association Committee, saying that the Committee was exploring “early childhood options” for the District, possibly including “a tuition-based option in the future.” Members of the Board’s Policy Committee discussed a March 31 meeting at which they plan to take up policies to govern conflicts of interest, purchasing agreements, and fundraising in schools.


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