As we celebrate the beginning of a new year, many of us have in mind a variety of goals we wish to accomplish. Here at Flint Community Schools, we will continue to focus on improved student outcomes in the year to come.
In an effort to create a positive learning environment throughout the district, Flint Community Schools recently launched the districtwide Positive Behavior Intervention Support initiative. The evidence-based practice, which was piloted in a few of our schools before launching districtwide, has been found to improve behavioral and academic outcomes for students.
PBIS teams, made up of staff and administrators, continue to meet regularly to review hotspots and discuss curricula to engage the students in positive behavior. Many of you will have witnessed the model, known as the four B’s, first-hand: be safe, be respectful, be responsible and be mindful. These goals are reinforced with lessons tailored to the various school settings, including classrooms, hallways, the cafeteria and other parts of the school.
A positive and safe learning environment is the foundation on which education can flourish. As such, you may have seen recent news on the topic of water in the schools. As we shared at the time, the Flint Community Schools district is in full support of rigorous testing of the water in the schools. The district has not allowed, and will not allow students to drink water from the tap in the schools until the Flint School Board of Education, myself, and the health and medical professionals of this great city are satisfied with the safety of the water. Due to the fact that water quality can fluctuate, the district will require a long-term plan from the state, including multiple rounds of testing be conducted to the satisfaction of the medical community.
I said it before, and I’ll say it again: We will do whatever it takes, for as long as it takes, to continue to secure bottled water for our students until we have undoubted assurance the water from the tap is safe to drink.
Another primary focus for the district is continuing to improve literacy levels for all students. We recently launched a new program to supplement the rigorous curriculum in place at all grade levels. The CONNECT program pairs Flint Community Schools central office staff with first grade students to read together once per week for the remainder of the school year. This will allow each first-grade student to not only grow their reading skills, but also build close relationships with mentors, which are critical to student success. The children will also be able to keep their books to add to their home libraries.
Together, we are making great strides to start the year off strong. With the support of our community and dedicated staff and teachers, we will continue to put our students first.