New Year for Michigan Schools Could Mean Smaller Class Sizes, More Tech

“Without schools, the economy cannot recover,” says Gerald Hill, superintendent of West Bloomfield Public Schools.

Empty classroom

Photo Credit: Laura Herberg, WDET

For many students across the country the school year is wrapping up much differently than once expected.

“Any plan has to make sure that students have access to technology.” — Tim Bearden, Detroit Country Day School

Remote instruction has taken the place of in-person classrooms since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic. As summer provides a brief pause on school for students, teachers and parents, school districts are beginning to draw up plans for the fall. What will the new school year look like and what additional resources are needed to adapt? 

Listen: Michigan school districts start planning for a new school year.

Tim Bearden, chief academic officer and upper school director at Detroit Country Day School, says he and school officials are currently examining safe and innovative reforms for instruction in the fall.

“We have a task force tasked with exploring and researching all the different models trying to creatively come up with one that best serves our students, our hope is that we’ll be face-to-face in the fall,” says Bearden. He says the school’s small class sizes make in-person instruction a more attainable and safe goal.

Bearden adds that technology has been essential in the school’s pivot to remote education and will be imperative for any curriculum going forward.

“Any plan has to make sure that students have access to technology,” says Bearden.

Gerald Hill, superintendent of West Bloomfield Public Schools, says that in preparation for the new school year, school officials have come up with a plan to alternate days of in-person and remote instruction to provide an opportunity for proper social distancing. He adds that the district is working to allow families flexibility and choice, especially for those who are immunocompromised or don’t feel comfortable resuming in-person instruction. This extension of pliability, Hill says, is important for teacher safety as well.

“Different pathways give teachers choice and flexibility, the equity piece of this is huge and that goes for students and teachers,” says Hill. 

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