Local Schools Offer Unique Programs to Nurture Student Development

Local schools are ensuring the quality of education they offer by providing their own, unique programs to students and families.

Okemos, Haslett and East Lansing schools all appear to agree that the education of students is the most vital point of a school and make efforts to provide special programs for their own students.

“We focus more on collaborating with other schools than competing,” said Kellie Terry, Director of Educational Services at East Lansing Public Schools.

East Lansing schools, which offer multiple options for each schooling level, make available a wide variety of programs available to its students.

According to Terry, East Lansing schools take a great deal of pride in their English teaching program. Because of a high international student population, East Lansing has developed a refined English teaching system. The high number of international students stems from non-native professors at Michigan State who decide to live in East Lansing and bring their children with them.

Terry also said that the school was currently considering adding a World Language program to East Lansing’s elementary schools following a recent survey conducted by the school. Terry said the program is only being discussed right now and nothing is definite yet.

East Lansing also offers a unique program for the arts called Early Morning Strings, in which fifth and sixth-grade students are given string instrument lessons in small groups by the East Lansing Public Schools Orchestra. Students however are required to have at least a year experience with the instruments and must have their own method of transportation. A fee of either $200 per a semester or $300 per a year must also be paid for students to participate.

Okemos schools, located in north-central Ingham County, also provide several opportunities to students. According to their 2006-2007 District Annual Report, Okemos schools place a large emphasis on their offered curriculum, using test results to monitor the learning levels of students and adapting the curriculum to it.

“With federal-mandated testing directives and demands for increased accountability through No Child Left Behind, coherent school improvement planning is more important than ever,” says the Annual Report while discussing its plans for school improvement.

Catherine Ash, Okemos Schools’ Deputy Superintendent, says Okemos is particularly proud of the fine arts programs it provides, such as band, orchestra and other artistic programs. The schools also place an emphasis on community, providing traditional youth sports programs as well as offering activities to senior members of the community.

Okemos also offers Montessori schooling for kindergarten through sixth-grade. Based on Marie Montessori’s teaching methods of helping children learn by interacting with their surroundings. Montessori noticed her students learning more efficiently when her lessons involved the students using their senses.

“Okemos’ Montessori program is unique in that most Montessori schools are private, while Okemos is public,” Ash said.

Haslett as well makes an effort to ensure its students receive extra consideration in their education. Through the Haslett Center of Community Education, located at 1590 Franklin St., Haslett schools reach out not only to the student body, but also to the community’s adult members. Haslett’s unique learning opportunities, including kayaking, cinematography, fencing and ballroom dancing, offer an eclectic selection capable of involving all age groups in the community.

To view more comprehensive lists of the programs and activities each school offers, readers can go to each schools respective Web site.

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