Flint, MI—Flint Community Schools (FCS) officials are working on an agreement with state and local partners to improve student outcomes across the district, following a state evaluation.

The evaluation was done through the Michigan School Index System, which identified seven low-performing schools in FCS to be covered by a partnership agreement between the district, the Michigan Department of Education (MDE) and the Genesee Intermediate School District (GISD). 

The partnership model aims to help Michigan districts with the lowest-performing schools improve students’ academic achievement by providing local and state resources. Overall, MDE announced in November 2022 a total of 54 school districts in Michigan that are required to enter partnership agreements.

For Flint Schools, officials are currently crafting strategies and benchmarks to reach their district-wide goals for the agreement.

“The key word is partnership,” said Dr. William Pearson, the director of MDE’s Office of Partnership Districts, during a FCS community forum on Thursday, Feb. 9, 2023. “We’re here to provide assistance, come up with a plan that will move the Flint scholars forward.” 

Dr. William Pearson, director of the Office of Partnership Districts at the Michigan Department of Education, speaks about the partnership agreement during a Flint Community Schools forum at the Accelerated Learning Academy in Flint, Mich. on Thursday, Feb. 9, 2023. (Michael Indriolo | Flint Beat)

According to Kevelin Jones, FCS superintendent, the goals outlined so far for Flint Schools include increasing literacy and math scores by 3% for the Michigan Student Test of Educational Progress, or M-STEP, by the end of the 3-year partnership agreement.

Another is to improve the district’s systems, he said.

“We want to work on Flint Community Schools’ systems, systems as it pertains to how one department speaks to another [and] the software,” Jones told the audience at the forum. “We want to get to the place where we’re not pushing a lot of paper. We want to get to the place where our Board has the opportunities for really good training.” 

Flint Community Schools (FCS) Superintendent Kevelin Jones speaks during an FCS community forum at the Accelerated Learning Academy in Flint, Mich. on Thursday, Feb. 9, 2023. (Michael Indriolo | Flint Beat)

When it comes to financing Flint Schools’ goals, the MDE Office of Partnership Districts does have some funding to support individual district’s efforts, which will be allotted in spring 2023.

“My office is fortunate that we have $6 million that we can distribute to partnership districts,” Pearson said at the forum, later adding that his office “has money to help Flint meet the partnership agreement outcomes and benchmarks.”

The dollar amount provided by the state to meet Flint Schools’ goals won’t be known until after all parties sign the partnership agreement, Jones said. The deadline to sign is April 17.

When asked by an audience member about the district’s plans for schools that are not covered by the agreement, Jones emphasized that FCS is focused on making improvements across the district.

“We’re going to be working with all 11 of our schools,” he said.

Nicholas is Flint Beat’s public health and education reporter. He joins the team as he graduates from Santa Clara University, Calif. Nicholas has previously reported on dementia and brain health, as...

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