School focus

BY JESSICA STEELEY
Clarkston News Staff Writer
Superintendent Rod Rock plans to focus primarily on social, emotional and physical wellbeing of students in 2017.
The community wellbeing initiative aims to help parents and principals become more aware of these important aspects of students’ wellbeing, Rock said.
The district will complete a book study and screen a documentary in February, “Resilience,” to help get a better understanding of the importance of social, emotional and physical wellbeing and learn how to support it as a community. He also hopes to have the author of “The Resilience Factor” visit from the University of Pennsylvania.
The district wants to create more opportunities for students through the career technical education initiative, Rock said.
“We’re looking at expanding career technical education programming for middle school, junior high students,” Rock said, “where they can have access and information to different kinds of careers, such as construction and trades, and how we can get them information on that and have pathways for them to get into those careers.”
They’re looking to expand educational opportunities to help high school students get more college credit as well, through early or middle college with University of Michigan – Flint and the Dual Enrollment Educational Partnership program, which includes liberal arts and health studies.
“We know students have different needs and they have different motivators and they have different ways to show us what they know,” Rock said, “so, the board wants to discuss definitions of success for students and how we measure those and the research behind them.”
Connecting with Clarkston alumni is another area Rock wants to work on in 2017. About 90 Clarkston alumni from the last four or five years attended a lunch at the end of 2016 to give the district feedback on their preparedness for college, careers, and how the district can do a better job.
This information will encourage them to give information to current students and eventually be able to help Clarkston students with internships and mentorships even beyond college.
Some initial bond projects will also be started in 2017, Rock said. Safe and secure entrances are slotted for Andersonville and Bailey Lake elementary schools, and Springfield Plains Elementary is getting a new playground. Technology infrastructure is being updated to support wireless connections and increasing bandwidth.
“I look forward to a great year and continuing the positive things happening here, both in our community and as a school system,” Rock said.