Flint, MI— Assistant Superintendent Kevelin Jones presented a district-wide update to the Flint Schools’ Board of Education during a Nov. 18, 2020 board meeting.

The presentation is required by the state for Flint Schools to receive additional COVID-19 relief funds as part of Governor Whitmer’s Return to Learn efforts.  

“We look at our Return to Learn plan in a holistic way encompassing enrollment, connectivity, participation and relationships,” Jones said. 

At present, enrollment numbers total 3,251 students with a daily attendance rate of 93%. Attendance rate is based on teachers and students engaging in a two-way interaction at least twice a week.

“It does not have anything to do with their actual grades. [Students] must show up for distance learning in order to get grades,” Jones said, noting that the district is no longer implementing a pass or fail policy and has resumed a traditional grading system. 

At the beginning of the semester, which began on Aug. 5, less than half the student population had connected with their teachers. Staff went door to door to find these students and provide them with technology and devices so they could attend online classes. 

Since then, Flint Schools has issued 949 student hot spots and 3,180 devices. 

With a recent $1 million donation from the Mott Foundation earlier this week, the district plans to purchase 600 iPads, 1,200 additional Chromebooks and 1,400 additional hot spots. 

The Wellness Team has been hard at work servicing Flint families and has made 8,633 support calls. They address things like food distribution, healthcare resources, contact information and student technology needs. 

The team has also made 550 home visits and distributed 288,444 meals thus far. 

Slideshow from Wednesday’s board meeting (Courtesy of Flint Schools)

Following the update, the board approved a $42,000 website update to be performed by Detroit-based public relations agency Lambert at Wednesday night’s meeting. The goal is to make the website more “parent and community friendly.” It will be paid for using the Superintendent Technical Assistance Grant Funds. 

 Lambert currently serves as the district’s outsourced communications team. 

The board also voted to pass a new budget that reflected the $8.2 million deficit. 

This year’s financial audit revealed that Flint School’s would be operating under a $8.2 million deficit. The board initially approved a 2020-2021 budget that projected a $12.8 million deficit. But due to the pandemic, they saved $4.7 million in operating costs. 

Jones also announced that staff would not be returning to buildings as previously expected.

Due to the “three week pause” issued by the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services, which temporarily closed down high schools, colleges, indoor dining and movie theaters, the administration building will be open to staff and parents by appointment only. 

Parents can call 810-760-1000 to make an appointment. 

“While our scholars have been learning remotely since the start of the school year, [MDHHS’] orders further affirms our decision to put safety first and we continue to prioritize the health and well being of the school community,” Jones said. 

Carmen Nesbitt is a journalist with diverse experience in news reporting and feature writing. She wrote for Hour Detroit and SEEN Magazine before joining the Flint Beat news team as an education and public...