With the first half of the academic school year behind us and most classes on hold until the New Year, we take a look at what's happening in one local school district.
If you ask Ypsilanti Community Schools Superintendent Dr. Benjamin Edmondson, he will tell you things are trending positively in his district.
"From enrollment gains or, you know, not predicting as many lost to leasing buildings for profit or for selling buildings, we owed more money than it was worth. We ended up selling buildings for profit. I have a good team. I have a good team of people with me. I'm always trying to raise the bar."
In his second year leading what some would call a troubled school district, Dr. Edmondson says there have been lots of positive changes since he became superintendent a year and a half ago.
"I want kids to love their school, I want parents to love and have faith in their school district, and that's what we're seeing. That's coming back. That's coming back. People are seeing movement in the district when you see new instruments being purchased. You see that we moved our start time back for high school. You're seeing some decisions that should be made, and they're made in the best interest of kids."
But the Ypsilanti school chief says there's always room for improvement.
"I'm never sitting here just comfortable, like 'Yeah, I'm smelling my business cards. We've made it!' Not at all. It's on to the next thing. And the next thing is stabilizing wages and giving it to not just teachers because I hear all the time--teachers, teacher pay, teacher pay! No! Everyone here is equally underpaid."
Dr. Edmondson says he focuses on three areas in particular--finances, enrollment, and achievement--to gauge whether the school district is moving forward or behind.
"There is always danger when you compare yourself to someone else, whether it's comparing yourself to someone else's marriage, comparing yourself to someone else's home--your neighbor's home. You take yourself, and you look for growth. I do it personally. I look to see where was I last year. Am I a better man than I was last year? Are there aspects to show that? I look at the district the same way. Where were we last year? Where are we this year? I look at finances. I look at enrollment. I look at achievement. Those three in particular. When I look, there's a lot of positives, but there are some things that are glaring to me that need to be addressed and addressed now."
Dr. Edmondson shares his holiday greeting.
"Happy Holidays to you, Lisa, and to the staff at WEMU and our community. And to those who don't celebrate the holiday, have a great year and have a peaceful, peaceful next few days."