Baldwin Community Schools partners with state on blueprint project
BALDWIN — Baldwin Community Schools is partnering with the Michigan Department of Education to implement the MiExcel Blueprint system, to assess student achievement and work toward improving collaboration among district networks.
Last March, the school was named a partnership district by the state due to the status as an identified Comprehensive Support and Improvement district (CSI), which was determined by state assessment scores in the middle school and other factors, according to Superintendent Richard Heitmeyer.
Under the direction of previous superintendent Stiles Simmons, the school appealed the finding and is no longer identified as a CSI district. However, the school has agreed to identify as a partnership district, choosing the option of participating with MDE as a MiExcel Blueprint District.
“The MiExcel Blueprint process really got going in August with the formation of the District Network Team (DNT),” Heitmeyer said, adding the implementation began in June and is a three-year process. “The program is about putting school improvement in place with common sense.”
The DNT is a group of staff members, administrators, board members and other stakeholders who meet every Monday at 3:15 p.m. to work through the improvement process. The group works through many factors including culture, communication, curriculum, student emotional and social support, among others. There is local, regional and state involvement with the process.
“We have been spending a lot of time putting together plans and this is creating more awareness focused on curriculum work and school achievement,” Heitmeyer added. “With this process, we get to take a close look at what we have already have in place and make improvements in these areas.”
The MDE placed the school on a one-year probation period to determine if the process is being successfully implemented. Throughout the process there will be 18-month data checks to see if there is improvements on student scores on state assessments.
“With MiExcel Blueprint, we are developing a vision of Baldwin’s specific needs. Each school district is different from other districts in determining how the process is implemented,” said Bruce Mangum, facilitator of the program at the school.
Heitmeyer said the end goal with the blueprint process is to be the best school district in the area.
“The blueprint is a vehicle to help us get there,” he said. “The cool thing about the blueprint is we create planning documents in each area of focus, and it is not just a document which gets put on the shelf, but we are constantly checking in to make sure the processes are working.
“Not one month goes by we don’t check progress on areas such as the communication driver system, which looks at the flow of communication with stakeholders in and out of the district; economic indicators; problem solving and all other information flowing throughout the system to move achievement forward.”