Genesee Intermediate School District - Expanding Services to Genesee County Children:
From Cradle to College and Careers
Supporting educators with relevant, high-impact professional development and programming remains an essential component of the Genesee Intermediate School District (GISD)’s work. Two critical focus areas in which the GISD is supporting local educators across the county revolve around promoting positive school
climates and early literacy initiatives.
The GISD is a Michigan regional educational service agency that provides educational leadership impacting more than 70,000 students across Genesee County. Strong relationships and partnerships are the foundation of GISD’s services. It is through those partnerships that GISD is able to provide currentandhigh quality professional development to educators, establish consortia to leverage resources and efficiencies that provide significant cost savings for local school districts, and develop innovative programs that prepare Genesee County students for early learning, college and careers.
Impacting Children by Supporting Educators Across Genesee County
The mission of the “Promoting Positive School Climate” project is to develop, enhance and expand countywide systems of support for school districts and schools implementing an evidence-based, multi-tiered behavioral framework for improving behavioral outcomes and learning conditions for students. Implementation of these best practices spans from preschool to postsecondary students, including GISDcenter based programs.
Foundational practices help support behavioral needs for all students while addressing legislative requirements that include implementation of restorative practices, new seclusion and restraint legislation, and the installation of positive behavioral supports for students with special needs. Simply stated, this work helps educators to positively model and teach appropriate student behaviors to create positive learning environments at school.
A second major initiative focuses on preparing students to read. Although literacy has always been a significant focus for educators across Genesee County, recently passed legislation around ensuring students are proficient readers by third grade has provided additional focus and attention to this critical work. The GISD provides local school districts with early literacy support, including consultant and coaching services, resource guides and professional development opportunities.
Much of GISD’s recent early literacy initiatives focus on the implementation of ten research-supported instructional practices proven to positively impact early literacy. Those practices, along with focused alignment with early literacy initiatives in our early childhood programs will help us reach our goal of improving early literacy throughout Genesee County.
Expanding Services and Opportunities for Children Birth to 5 Years Old
The Flint Water Crisis has highlighted the need for focused investment in early intervention and early childhood programming for all children.
As Genesee County’s regional educational service agency, GISD has always provided “Early On” programming for children, birth to age three, with developmental delays. As a result of the Flint Water Crisis, Early On services have been significantly expanded for Flint children and families to include children birth to age 5.
When children are referred for Early On services, GISD service coordinators begin working with families in the child’s natural environment to assess and evaluate the child’s development. The evaluation determines if the child is eligible to receive Early On services, and if so, staff partner with families to develop an Individual Family Services Plan that outlines priorities and intervention services to meet the child and family’s needs.
Once a plan is in place, Early On Genesee County staff work with the families to ensure that priorities are met, services are provided, and the child is making progress. For many children in Flint and surrounding areas, these services transition seamlessly into GISD’s high-quality early childhood programs.
Children who attend a quality preschool program in the years before kindergarten are better prepared for school academically, socially and emotionally. GISD delivers free high-quality preschool programs to children throughout Genesee County. Programs utilize a research-based curriculum in a supportive learning environment to assist children with the development of the skills needed to be ready for school.
Great Start Readiness Programs (GSRP) are located in many school districts throughout the county, and GISD Early Head Start and Head Start preschool programs are available to residents in the Flint, Carman-Ainsworth and Beecher service areas.
The GISD is also proud to partner with the Charles Stewart Mott Foundation, the Community Foundation of Greater Flint, Flint Community Schools and the University of Michigan-Flint, providing preschool programming to over 200 children from birth to age 5 at Educare Flint.
The largest Educare center in the nation, Educare Flint, opened its doors to children and their families in December 2017 and will serve as a model of collaboration, community and family engagement, and early childhood programming for our community and across our state and nation.
Meeting the Needs of Special Populations
GISD, like most intermediate school districts, provides constituent districts with training, support, ancillary services and oversight of special education programming.
GISD also provides direct services to students who are most severely impacted by their disability at five specialized schools that serve children throughout Genesee County: Early Childhood Programs and Services for children with various disabilities from birth through age 7; Elmer A. Knopf Learning Center serves children 8-26 years of age identified as moderately cognitively impaired and autism spectrum disorder; Marion D. Crouse Instructional Center serves children ages 3-26 identified with severe cognitive and severe multiple impairments; the Transition Center serves postsecondary students with moderate cognitive impairments; and Day Treatment programs for elementary, middle and high school students with emotional impairments at three sites throughout the county.
As the number of English language learners continues to grow across Genesee County, GISD’s English as a Second/Other Language (ESOL) services continue to grow to meet these additional needs. Provided in collaboration with local school district supports, GISD serves approximately 1,100 Genesee County students in a variety of ways that help them become proficient in English.
The program provides flexible and rigorous direct and indirect services to students and schools, including English language development assistance, school district literacy interventions, individualized planning and class scheduling/placement, extended learning opportunities, socio-emotional supports, as well as ESOL services for parents.
Providing Students Amazing Opportunities to Prepare for College and Careers
Completing the educational continuum, GISD also provides Genesee County students opportunities to ensure they are college and career ready. GISD operates the Genesee Career Institute, a state-of-the-art Career Technical Education (CTE) center, for any high school student in Genesee County, as well as three early middle colleges.
Although becoming more commonplace across Michigan, the GISD partnered with Mott Community College over 25 years ago to create the very first early middle college in Michigan: Mott Middle College (MMC). Now a national early college lab school, MMC continues to provide Genesee County students with a five-year high school option in which students have the ability to earn both their high school diploma and associates degree simultaneously.
Located on Mott Community College’s campus, MMC encourages career preparation through required work internships, expects dual enrollment in high school and college classes, focuses instruction on individual student needs, and offers continual career and college counseling to help students achieve a successful future.
Similarly, GISD partners with the University of Michigan-Flint to provide another early college option to students: Genesee Early College (GEC). GEC is an intensive, five-year high school designed to prepare students for careers and advanced study in the medical and health-related professions, and Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) professions. GEC is a fully integrated part of the University of Michigan-Flint community and is located on its campus.
The third, and newest early middle college operated by GISD is Genesee County Career Technical Education Early Middle College (GCCTEEMC). This very special program is available to students countywide through a partnership of Genesee County public school districts and GISD. Students accepted into the program remain students of their home school district and take courses at the Genesee Career Institute as well as Baker College of Flint, Mott Community College, or the University of Michigan-Flint.
The program began with the 2017-2018 School Year and is currently providing five different programs of study. Like other early middle colleges, the GCCTEEMC provides students the opportunity to earn a high school diploma and an associate’s degree or certificate, but this program aligns student’s courses with their CTE program of study, providing a seamless transition into a career or additional training.
In 2013, GISD assumed operations of Genesee County’s CTE center: Genesee Career Institute (GCI). GCI provides instruction and experiential learning in relevant and innovative careers that prepare students for immediate entry into the workforce. As a result of a $12-million renovation, the award-winning center offers excellent opportunities for students to gain advanced exposure to knowledge and skills that will prepare them for employment and/or postsecondary training in their chosen field, all while in an environment that mimics business standards.
Consistent with the goal of creating a culture of postsecondary education and training, the GISD asked Genesee County voters to consider a 20-year millage that would provide a one-time jump start stipend to support the postsecondary goals and aspirations of Genesee County graduates. With the approval of voters in August 2016, the GISD established the Genesee Opportunity (GO) stipend. GO provides Genesee County high school graduates with money for college, career training or certification licensing fees. Currently valued at $650 for the Class of 2017, the stipend is structured to grow in value each year for the duration of the 20-year millage. The GO stipend provides students with a tangible example of how educators and our entire community is creating a post-secondary culture in Genesee County.
GISD is proud to support children and educators throughout Genesee County in various ways. Whether building on existing collaborations or developing new partnerships, supporting teachers in the critical teaching of positive behaviors and early literacy, or by expanding opportunities for children from early interventions to early college, GISD strives to live its mission—“Leadership—Service—Innovation: Partnering for Success.”