December 8, 2019

Mid-Michigan ISDs to collaborate, combine resources

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BAY CITY — A new collaborative between area independent schools districts will have a positive effect on area schools according to Michael Dewey, superintendent of the Bay-Arenac Intermediate School District.

The newly formed Great Lakes Bay Region Instructional Services Department will combine curriculum and professional development efforts from the Bay-Arenac ISD, Midland County Educational Service Agency and Saginaw Intermediate School District.

Dewey said the new collaborative will have a positive effect on students at school districts in the Arenac County area.

“Because of this collaborative, we will have access to a lot more resources,” he said. “Before, we may have had six or seven contact specialists at the ISD who could educate students on subjects like math and science. Now we have access to 18 contact specialists from across the region.”

The new collaborative will also help districts who have had to make administrative cuts recently, Dewey said. He used Standish-Sterling Community Schools as an example:

“SSCS no longer has a curriculum director and that is a pretty important position,” he said. “Now the district will be able to contact the collaborative and receive guidance on issues that the curriculum director would have done in the past. We can help with things like staff development and teacher training.”

Dewey said the Bay-Arenac, Saginaw, and Midland school organizations have already begun sharing services, funding, and personnel, combining into one department under Regional Director Deborah Dunbar, who was the director of Instructional Services for Bay-Arenac ISD before the regional collaboration.

“Midland and Saginaw had their instructional services directors retire or take other positions, and approached us with the idea,” Dewey said. “This is really a credit to Deborah, that they came to us to ask for her services.”

Dewey said the regional collaborative includes a function called the Great Lakes Bay Region Educational Collaborative with Saginaw Valley State University’s College of Education.

“We will now be able to use facilities at SVSU for teacher training,” he said. “The collaborative is working on a strategic plan to support local district efforts to improve student achievement in reading, writing, math and science.”

Dewey said combining services is what the State of Michigan wants to see happen.

“Everyone that I have talked to is ecstatic that we are doing this,” he said.

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