ISD superintendent to assist chamber on leadership program

The Manistee ISD Board of Education heard details on  a new innovative program to help educate the community leaders of the future.

The Manistee ISD Board of Education heard details on a new innovative program to help educate the community leaders of the future.

MANISTEE — The Manistee Intermediate School District helps to educate the students of this area through a variety of programs, but now it may also include adults.

On Tuesday the ISD board of directors heard from Jeff Jennette that he will assisting in a new Manistee County Leadership Program sponsored by the Manistee Area Chamber of Commerce. The idea of the program is to identify and motivate current and potential leaders by introducing them to a series of weekly programs over several months to gain a better understanding of Manistee County.

Jennette said a presentation on the program was given that morning to the MCOE2020 group by chamber director Stacey Bytwork. The ISD coordinates MCOE2020 committee.

Jennette told the board there are eight segments to the program and he is in charge of education day. Other segments of the leadership program are manufacturers day, tribal day, history day, government/justice day, health care day, service day and natural resources day.

“Stacie Bytwork told us that many other communities have this leadership class through the chamber,” he said. “Education is going to be the first group focused. What I like about the Manistee program is that it’s going to be countywide and I am putting together an agenda that will start in Onekama Schools with the one-to-one program and a presentation from Launch Manistee with Mary Ann Behm.”

Jennette said they will also get a presentation from Baker College at that time and then move on to the Little River Casino and Resort for a presentation on the early childhood program they are putting on.

“Then we will go to the hospital where West Shore Community College can talk about the classes that they offer there and somewhere we can talk about the ISD. (CASMAN Alternative Academy director) Shelly (VanVoorst) is going to talk about alternative education,” he said. “We are going to have (KND/Bear Lake superintendent) Marlen (Cordes) talk about the shared superintendent position.”

Board president Mary Becker-Witt asked if Cordes was going to come in for the presentation or if the group would be going to Brethren schools.

“We don’t have a lot of time of time to move around the county, so we were trying to hit as much as we could,” said Jennette.

Becker-Witt said she thought it wouldn’t give those taking the program a good depiction of the whole county.

“You are only doing half the county that people are familiar with and you have to do KND because they need to see it;  it’s half of the county for population of students, so if you are truly doing a county program that is the one you don’t want to leave out,” she said.

Jennette said he would check with the chamber to see the amount of time that was available to him and would try to work it in.

Another item that came out of the MCOE2020 meeting that Jennette did touched on was a request from Onekama Consolidated Schools board president Sally Koon that it might be nice to have a meeting of all the school boards and to have a dialogue instead of just getting together to listen to a speaker.

“We are going to work on that and maybe have two joint meetings a year with one being informational and the other being dialogue,” said Jennette.

Becker-Witt said that she favored the idea that in future meetings they don’t just sit with their respective boards.

“People should be scattered, as we have got in a habit of just going with our board,” she said.

Another item that came before the board was a report from Jennette on a truancy meeting he had with Bill Zimmerman from child protective services, Michigan State Police trooper Steve Arendt and Manistee Area Public Schools truancy officer. Jennette serves as truancy officer for all the schools and under a new policy all of them adopted where parents can be prosecuted if their child is truant.

“In that meeting we basically talked about our roles, and how we keep kids in school,” he said. ” I will report to you that we had our second parent who was prosecuted for contributing to the delinquency of a minor. Word on that travels fast when people are thrown in jail for a night or two. I can tell that when I call the parent and tell them they could spend some time in jail for their child for being truant, they quickly know.”

ISD director of special education Jim Scranton told the board that the MAPS Peer-to-Peer program students are now getting credit for helping kids with autism.

“That is going well, and I am hoping we will be able to get that going with all the schools in the ISD districts,” he said. “It has been very positive. The students have a great experience as do the ones with autism.”

Scranton also reported on the moderately cognitive impaired program called “Transition Community Living Experience.”

“It will focus on setting  personal transition goals, help students better understand  their personal needs and increase their level of independence to become more fully engaged members of their communities,” he said.

Scranton also informed the board that the Michigan Great Lakes Virtual Academy that is chartered by the Manistee Area Public Schools was selected for an an on-site review related to the provision of special education services for students with an individual education program (IEP).

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Posted by Ken Grabowski

Ken is News Advocate’s education reporter. He coordinates coverage for all Manistee County schools and West Shore Community College. He can be reached by phone at (231) 398-3125 or by email at kgrabowski@pioneergroup.com.

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