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  • The 2016-2017 school year was a year for programs to establish their impact on student learning to have a positive impact on our district. Some of these programs are new or one-year initiatives and others are an established part of our daily practices. Buildings continue to learn what aspects of a program are being effective and which parts need adjustments. An improvement vision is framed at the district accreditation level, is tailored at the building school improvement level and is applied at the Professional Learning Community (PLC) level. This hierarchy has allowed ideas to flow through the district to push for best practices in all classrooms. A few of the programs and groups making an impact in 2016-2017 were:

    • Black Out Bullying (BOB) week   • PAES Program
    • Blue Pride/Knight Pride   • Positive Behavior Support
    • Building School Improvement   • Professional Learning Communities (PLC’s)
    • District Accreditation   • Read 180
    • Everyday Mathematics   • Response to Intervention (RTI)
    • Making Meaning   • Trenton Educational Foundation;

    After an exceptional year in student performance on standard test indicators in 2015-2016, the district found it a challenge to maintain those levels in 2016-2017. Even though the district maintained itself above the state average on 19 of 20 indicators, it did fall below our target of top 5 in Wayne County in 9 indicators. The trend lines for those indicators over the 2 years of the M-STEP and SAT assessments are positive. 


    • (TEF Partnership) The Trenton Educational Foundation (TEF) forged a process to make the “Big Idea” a reality. After an application process that included a presentation to a joint panel of representatives from the Trenton Educational Foundation and Trenton Public Schools a successful project was selected. The project was to place a dynamic sound field in every elementary classroom. The dynamic sound field provides amplification to both regular and hearing impaired students, they adjust automatically to the background noise in a classroom to project the teacher’s voice at a level of 15 decibels higher than the background noise, and easily interface with other standard pieces of district technology. The project impacts 1000 students in 55 classrooms every day of the school year.
    • (City of Trenton Partnership) Conversations occurred as far back as 2014 between the City of Trenton and Trenton Public Schools with regard to the benefits of a School Resource Officer (SRO) on our campuses. The enhancement millage helped make the SRO a reality. The Trenton SRO program will be using materials and training being offered by the National Association of School Resource Officers (NASRO).    2017-2018 is the first year of a three year pilot program for this partnership. The SRO will have a home office at both Trenton High School and Arthurs Middle School. Tasks, projects, and procedures will focus on training, awareness, and prevention to minimize the need for active enforcement.
    • (Online Opportunities) In February of 2017, the Downriver Career Technical Consortium’s (DCTC) Executive Council decided to close Downriver High School. Downriver High School was the alternative education option for students who struggled in a traditional educational setting. Closing DHS was facilitated by declining enrollment and the challenges of maintaining a viable staff. The impact on Trenton Public Schools was that the district was responsible for the education of an additional 12-15 students. The high school administration determined that simply moving them back to Trenton High School would not provide a successful environment. Through research and discussion the concept of an online learning center was created. In essence, the center provides three different strands for our students. The Trenton Core Pathway provides an online curriculum that meets the minimum 18 credits required by the State of Michigan. The E2020 classes provide credit recovery opportunities for a student to “catch up” to their classmates and be part of their graduation class. E2020 classes are assessed on a pass/fail standard. Students enrolling in classes as part of the 21f strand will receive a letter grade for their level of comprehension. Many 21f classes are advanced placement classes that are not offered as part of the regular curriculum at Trenton High School.  


    • (Aging Facilities) It has been nine years since the passing of the 2008 bond for facilities improvement. The bond passed in 2008 corrected many maintenance needs and some improvements such as –
      • Technology
        • servers, wiring, data projectors, and user devices
      • Building Security
        • entrances, cameras, doors, and windows
      • Building Climate
        • Heating, cooling, energy efficiency, and lighting

    Many of these improvements are reaching their normal life expectancy and will need upkeep in the near future. The district has been able to address this in many areas of technology since the bond. Staff end-user devices have been replaced at the elementary level, the middle school level, and, for 2017-2018, the high school level. Building labs have been replaced at the elementary level and the middle school level. The high school staff is scheduled for the 2018-2019 school year. Another area of technology going through the same process is the classroom data projectors. Students have benefited from this effort to keep technology current. Maintaining other district facilities and making program adjustments for best practices have not kept pace with the district’s efforts in technology. Our campuses were assessed over the summer by professionals in the areas of construction, architecture, and engineering. We are moving through the process to identify those priority items that will provide the best opportunities for our stakeholders and the costs associated with those improvements. 

    • (Enrollment Variabilities) Trenton Public Schools is predicted to have declining enrollment if you look at the measureable factors in the Detroit-Metro area. A simple calculation is incoming kindergarten (152) to 2017 graduates (218) would present a loss of 66 students. Our enrollment should be 2507 for the 2017-2018 school year and the district is at least 50 students above that mark. What the statistics fail to accurately predict is the reputation of the quality of education that is received by the students of our four buildings.Our enrollment has been maintained by the number of families that chose to move into the Trenton community and the use of a conservative and limited Schools of Choice (SOC) program offering. In 2016-2017, the district started the school year with a total of 96 SOC students, that number has increase to 136 for 2017-2018. The most SOC growth took place at the middle school (16 to 39) and high school (47to 64) levels. Due to the limited space at the elementary buildings most seats opened were limited to siblings of current SOC students.
    • (Limited State Funding) Funding for public schools has been relatively static for the past six years at the State level. Nominal increases in the foundation allowance have not kept pace with the increase in operating expenditures. A positive that can be applied to Trenton Public Schools is that 31a or “At Risk” fund have been allocated to the district for the first time. For my time as Superintendent, I have asked at the State and local levels why a Hold Harmless district like Trenton Public Schools does not qualify for “At Risk” funding. Due to the voters’ decision to support their district at the local level, they have been denied a funding source at the State level. 2017-2018 will be the first year that Trenton Public Schools will receive “At Risk” funds. As a district we are appreciative of those funds that can be used to target our most needy students.A positive at the local level was the passing of the Wayne County Enhancement Millage in November of 2016. The six year millage will bring in an anticipated five million dollars to Trenton Public Schools. Significant projects supported in the first year were the replacing of boilers at Arthurs Middle School, partnering with the City of Trenton for a School Resource Officer, increasing the number of social workers on staff, and upgrading our district policies from NEOLA. The millage revenue will help in completing projects that have been on hold during the past 2-3 years.

      Moving forwardThe directions chosen by Trenton Public Schools have served our students, staff, and community well.   In 2017-2018, the district will be reaching some crossroads and forks in the road. We need to trust in our goals and vision to make our choices in the best interest of our students. The striving for continuous improvement identified by both the AdvancEd and Schools to Watch teams will be a guiding principle. The 2016-2017 school year was a year gain momentum in our programs to provide a solid path to our future. The future is keep climbing towards our district goal of Educational Excellence: Preparing Students Today for Their Successful Tomorrow, and making each of our buildings, A Great School for Each and Every Child


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