Volume 6 No. 11

Good news has come from State Street Academy! Located in Bay City, they are expanding their charter into 9th grade and expect to fully expand into high school by the fall of 2025! Their goal is to provide a structure for graduating students to achieve success in college, career, and life.

Expanding from a K-8 school to high school curriculum is a major step. To achieve this goal, State Street Academy (SSA) is hiring additional staff, including: a Family Engagement Coordinator and a Community Outreach and Student Engagement Coordinator. SSA is also having two of their teachers go through instructor training so that they can offer drivers’ ed to their students. Teaching students to drive will help the students, foster children, and at-risk youth gain the skills to access transportation. According to Trenton Gonyaw, the Community Outreach and Student Engagement Coordinator for the school, “We are setting the bar even higher with the goal of graduating a well-rounded student who, in some instances, has been given up on at other schools.” 

SSA has observed the unique hardships with learning at home, whether it be through technological issues with remote learning, or the fact that a difficult home life can impact student performance. The SSA Family Engagement Coordinator will be the liaison between families and the school, always on-call to help steer families to helpful resources. SSA is adamant that good relationships with parents and guardians are necessary for any school that wants to make a difference in the lives of their students. The trust to be gained is worth the extra time spent dedicated to these relationships. 

Gonyaw adds, “The Family Engagement Coordinator works synonymous with the Community Outreach Coordinator with other tasks such as community meetings, event coordinating, grant preparation and submission, project and program development, measuring the effectiveness of our programming through tangible data, and so on.”  A list of tasks for Gonyaw looks like this:

  • Coordinate Community/SSA volunteer activities like community food distributions, fall/spring clean-up, spending time with senior citizens, assisting disabled veterans, helping abandoned animals, etc.
  • Work-based programs that connect students to local businesses throughout and after high school. Not only does this help our students learn principles of finance, but also helps them think through career choices.
  • Trades and apprenticeships which SSA does in partnership with the Michigan Trade Council. This avenue affords students to learn of the trades most needed in their area and with the coordinator’s help, students can pursue these career options.

SSA’s goal is for every student to have a plan of what to do after they graduate. Through these new positions, they are confident they will be able to fill in important gaps in after-school readiness. 

Great job, State Street Academy! 

From the airwaves of Be-Moor Radio to the halls of Detroit Community Schools, opportunity is often a few invested administrators and students away from a reality. This past year at Detroit Community Schools (DCS), administrators like Ms. Lashel Conway, the High School Administrative and Purchasing Assistant, have worked to make a student radio station a possibility. 

DCS is working in partnership to bring a broadcast and media class to its students with Be-Moor Institute, an organization which has trained and introduced over 250 students to the world of broadcasting since 2016. Organized by the Institute, Be-Moor Radio is a self-described young adult-operated internet radio station currently heard in over 200 countries around the world with special emphasis on the African Diaspora. From curriculum development to college preparations, Be-Moor Radio seeks to equip students to enter the broadcasting field. The institute models its teaching in a “hands-on” format, with access to a 12-month course where students can build a broadcast, communications, and journalism portfolio.

The DCS vision for their student radio station was to start small – a radio station that would play during school. As Ms. Conway said, “You know, maybe during one of the seminars they would cover different highlights that feature DCS culture, sports, recognition of teachers and things like that. Eventually we would venture out to the community where the parents could listen on the way to work. They could even hear if the school will be closed the next day.” Though the students ran out of time to launch the radio station this past spring, they are excited to continue their progress this fall.

During the 2021-2022 school year, DCS had four students in the class, and more interest is expected from underclassmen this fall. This will serve to replicate the classroom model that Be-Moor Radio recommends: 11th and 12th graders passing down knowledge to the 9th and 10th graders. The school budgets for and pays the $500 registration fee for each student interested, which helps eliminate any financial barriers on the students’ behalf in pursuing this opportunity. “The students loved the idea. They were fully involved in it,” Ms. Conway said. 

Nice work, Detroit Community Schools!

About Bay Mills Community College Charter Schools
Bay Mills Community College began authorizing charter schools in the year 2000 and now authorizes 46 schools serving approximately 23,660 students.
Our Mission: To ensure a quality education for urban, minority, and/or poor children by improving and expanding educational opportunities through innovative oversight methods. To provide academy boards with the necessary support and training so that they may make educated decisions that are in the best interest of the students that attend their academies.