Mosaica Education Inc http://michiganradio.org en Muskegon Heights schools has lots to do as charter company departs http://michiganradio.org/post/muskegon-heights-schools-has-lots-do-charter-company-departs <p>Mosaica Education, the charter company running Muskegon Heights schools, only has a few days left in its contract. But the district still has lots to do to get everything in place for the fall.</p><p>Last night the district hired its superintendent at a special board meeting. But it still has to finalize agreements with a staffing agency to hire all of its teachers and few other vendors by Monday.</p><p>This summer it has to finish building repairs, and rearrange all the grade levels because an elementary school building will close.</p> Thu, 26 Jun 2014 11:27:15 +0000 Lindsey Smith 18155 at http://michiganradio.org Muskegon Heights schools has lots to do as charter company departs Muskegon Heights schools rejects for-profit charter bids in favor of (some) local control http://michiganradio.org/post/muskegon-heights-schools-rejects-profit-charter-bids-favor-some-local-control <p><strong>Updated: <a href="http://michiganradio.org/post/emergency-manager-says-new-arrangement-muskegon-heights-schools-will-be-more-economical">Emergency manager says new arrangement will be more economical than charter school company</a></strong></p><p>Muskegon Heights schools will not hire another for-profit charter company to run the district. Instead, the district plans to hire its own superintendent, a staffing company and the intermediate school district in Muskegon County to run schools for the next three years.</p> Tue, 17 Jun 2014 12:03:19 +0000 Lindsey Smith 18030 at http://michiganradio.org Muskegon Heights schools rejects for-profit charter bids in favor of (some) local control Muskegon Heights ends contract with charter school company http://michiganradio.org/post/muskegon-heights-ends-contract-charter-school-company <p><strong>Updated 5:10 p.m.</strong></p><p>Mosaica Education and Muskegon Heights Public School Academy have come to a mutual agreement to end their working relationship.</p><p>“This was a difficult decision for us and our board,” Mosaica Chief Executive Officer Michael Connelly said in a written statement.</p><p>“We are very proud of the academic turnaround we were able to achieve under the leadership of Alena Zachery-Ross, our regional vice president and the superintendent for the system,” he said.</p> Sat, 26 Apr 2014 16:04:41 +0000 Lindsey Smith 17371 at http://michiganradio.org Muskegon Heights ends contract with charter school company Muskegon Heights charter board president: Schools will stay open, “That’s a promise.” http://michiganradio.org/post/muskegon-heights-charter-board-president-schools-will-stay-open-s-promise <p>Muskegon Heights' charter school board acknowledged at a meeting Monday night it doesn’t know how it’ll fund operations for the rest of this school year. But it is reassuring the community it’ll figure something out by next week at the latest.</p><p>“As soon as we have something I will share it with you. That’s a promise,” Muskegon Heights Academy’s school board president Arthur Scott said.</p> Tue, 22 Apr 2014 11:22:33 +0000 Lindsey Smith 17307 at http://michiganradio.org Muskegon Heights charter board president: Schools will stay open, “That’s a promise.” Charter school CEO says Muskegon Heights schools owes company $2 million http://michiganradio.org/post/charter-school-ceo-says-muskegon-heights-schools-owes-company-2-million <p>The Muskegon Heights charter school district owes the company that’s operating its schools a little more than $2 million. That’s according to Mosaica Education’s CEO.&nbsp;</p><p>The new charter district was created in Muskegon Heights when severe cash problems prompted a state takeover of the traditional school district by an emergency manager in 2012. Now the charter district is having cash flow problems of its own.</p> Mon, 21 Apr 2014 14:03:07 +0000 Lindsey Smith 17291 at http://michiganradio.org Charter school CEO says Muskegon Heights schools owes company $2 million Muskegon Heights school system continues its struggle to meet payroll, asks state for more money http://michiganradio.org/post/muskegon-heights-school-system-continues-its-struggle-meet-payroll-asks-state-more-money <p>Muskegon Heights Public School Academy System is asking the state to front $191,000 to cover paychecks that are set to go out this Tuesday.</p><p>It’s the <a href="http://michiganradio.org/post/officials-confident-muskegon-heights-schools-will-meet-payroll-no-solution-yet">second time this month</a> the district has asked for an advance.</p><p>The advance would come out of the district’s state aid payment April 20. Earlier this month the state advanced $231,000.</p><p>State treasury officials say the district typically gets roughly $455,000 a month after debt obligations.</p><p>School board officials have previously declined requests for comment from Michigan Radio. Reports out today say board members also declined to comment to reporters at the special board meeting today, which lasted approximately five minutes.</p><p>Charter company Mosaica Education is running the district. The company’s CEO has not returned repeated requests for comment this week.</p><p>Mosaica’s Regional VP of Operations Alena Zachery-Ross says advancements for struggling school districts aren’t completely uncommon. She says the district is working on a plan to meet payroll for the rest of the year but couldn’t comment on the details of those negotiations.</p><p> Thu, 10 Apr 2014 18:29:35 +0000 Lindsey Smith 17194 at http://michiganradio.org Muskegon Heights school system continues its struggle to meet payroll, asks state for more money Officials confident Muskegon Heights schools will meet payroll, but no solution yet http://michiganradio.org/post/officials-confident-muskegon-heights-schools-will-meet-payroll-no-solution-yet <p>State officials and the Muskegon Heights School&nbsp;Board are trying to figure out how they’ll be able to pay staff for the rest of this school year, although the district’s emergency manager is “confident” they’ll work something out.</p> Mon, 07 Apr 2014 10:00:00 +0000 Lindsey Smith 17118 at http://michiganradio.org Officials confident Muskegon Heights schools will meet payroll, but no solution yet Students making gains under first-of-a-kind charter; school leaders set bigger goals http://michiganradio.org/post/students-making-gains-under-first-kind-charter-school-leaders-set-bigger-goals <p>On average, students under the state’s first fully privatized public school district are learning at a faster rate than under the old system. That’s according to data released Monday night by the charter company running the Muskegon Heights district.</p><p>Muskegon Heights schools’ <a href="http://michiganradio.org/post/check-out-details-michigan-s-first-privatized-public-school-system">emergency manager set up the charter system </a>in the summer of 2012, when the existing district couldn’t afford to open. Highland Park Public Schools is under a similar arrangement.</p> Tue, 24 Sep 2013 08:35:39 +0000 Lindsey Smith 14557 at http://michiganradio.org Students making gains under first-of-a-kind charter; school leaders set bigger goals Muskegon Heights schools' emergency manager to update community tonight http://michiganradio.org/post/muskegon-heights-schools-emergency-manager-update-community-tonight <p>Muskegon Heights Public&nbsp; Schools had <a href="http://web1mdcs.state.mi.us/nxt/gateway.dll?f=templates&amp;fn=default.htm&amp;vid=mofa:fa">nearly a $12 million deficit </a>at the end of last school year. That's when the district’s newly appointed Emergency Manager Don Weatherspoon said the <a href="http://www.michiganradio.org/post/patience-please-muskegon-heights-school-leaders-building-airplane-we-fly-it">district couldn't afford to open school in the fall.</a> He laid off most all the staff and hired charter school company Mosaica Education to run the schools for five years.</p> Mon, 24 Jun 2013 13:12:17 +0000 Lindsey Smith 13192 at http://michiganradio.org Muskegon Heights schools' emergency manager to update community tonight State fines Muskegon Heights schools for hiring teachers without proper certification http://michiganradio.org/post/state-fines-muskegon-heights-schools-hiring-teachers-without-proper-certification-0 <p>The Muskegon Heights school system has been fined nearly $100,000 by the Michigan Department of Education. The department launched the investigation after Michigan Radio reported the new Muskegon Heights charter school district had about 10% of teachers working without a valid teaching certificate or permit. It’s against state law to do that.</p> Fri, 07 Jun 2013 14:21:30 +0000 Lindsey Smith 12938 at http://michiganradio.org Despite state takeover, special education problems linger for Muskegon Heights schools http://michiganradio.org/post/despite-state-takeover-special-education-problems-linger-muskegon-heights-schools <p>New reports show special education students in Muskegon Heights didn’t get all the services they should have this year. The company that runs the state’s first all-charter public school district is working to correct the problems.</p><p><strong>Problems with charter company’s handling of special ed&nbsp;services</strong></p><p><span style="line-height: 1.5;">Federal law and state regulations outline the rules that are supposed to make sure kids with special needs still get a fair education.</span></p><p>Michigan’s Department of Education found more than a dozen ways the new Muskegon Heights charter district violated those rules, affecting a couple hundred special education students.</p><p>“In my opinion this was probably the worst delivery of special education services I’ve seen in my career,” said Norm Kittleson, a former special education teacher at Muskegon Heights. He’s been teaching for 15 years.</p><p>Kittleson started teaching a small class of students with learning disabilities and emotional issues at Muskegon Heights last October. Thu, 23 May 2013 11:30:28 +0000 Lindsey Smith 12700 at http://michiganradio.org Despite state takeover, special education problems linger for Muskegon Heights schools After report, Muskegon Heights teachers get Michigan certificates, substitute permits http://michiganradio.org/post/after-report-muskegon-heights-teachers-get-michigan-certificates-substitute-permits <p>Teachers in the new charter school district in Muskegon Heights have now obtained certificates or permits that allow them to legally work in Michigan classrooms.</p><p>This week <a href="http://www.michiganradio.org/post/investigation-uncovers-non-certified-teachers-muskegon-heights-new-charter-school?nopop=1">Michigan Radio reported </a>the state's first all-charter public school district had at least eight teachers who worked, in some case for months, without a valid Michigan teaching certificate or permit. It’s against state law to do that.</p><p>Now, public records show those who were still teaching at Muskegon Heights without proper certificates managed to get them this week. Most obtained teacher certificates. Two others obtained substitute permits.</p><p> Thu, 14 Feb 2013 22:24:10 +0000 Lindsey Smith 11250 at http://michiganradio.org After report, Muskegon Heights teachers get Michigan certificates, substitute permits Investigation uncovers non-certified teachers at Muskegon Heights new charter school http://michiganradio.org/post/investigation-uncovers-non-certified-teachers-muskegon-heights-new-charter-school <p><strong>Update:</strong> As of February 14th, <a href="http://www.michiganradio.org/post/after-report-muskegon-heights-teachers-get-michigan-certificates-substitute-permits">these teachers have now obtained</a> valid Michigan teaching certificates or permits.</p> Tue, 12 Feb 2013 12:35:45 +0000 Lindsey Smith 11193 at http://michiganradio.org Investigation uncovers non-certified teachers at Muskegon Heights new charter school Muskegon Heights has high hopes for 3rd high school principal in 6 months http://michiganradio.org/post/muskegon-heights-has-high-hopes-3rd-high-school-principal-6-months <p>The new Muskegon Heights charter school district is welcoming yet another principal at its high school. Carla Turner-Laws is the third principal so far this school year. Technically, her title is Interim Head of School/Instructional Specialist.</p><p>A couple dozen people sharing cookies and pink fruit punch welcomed Turner-Laws at a reception Wednesday night. Most were fellow co-workers, friends and family members.</p><p>The MHPS district’s state-appointed emergency manager <a href="http://www.michiganradio.org/post/muskegon-heights-schools-handed-over-charter-school-company">turned the entire district over to a charter school </a>company last June. Thu, 07 Feb 2013 12:23:30 +0000 Lindsey Smith 11126 at http://michiganradio.org Muskegon Heights has high hopes for 3rd high school principal in 6 months Grading Michigan's first fully privatized public school district http://michiganradio.org/post/3-lessons-michigans-first-fully-privatized-public-school-district <p>Last summer, Muskegon Heights became the first school district in the state to completely privatize its public school system.</p><p>In December 2011, after running a budget deficit for six years in a row, the school board requested the appointment of an emergency manager under the now-defunct Public Act 4.</p><p>Soon after his appointment in April 2012, emergency manager Don Weatherspoon laid off all of the district’s employees, created a new charter district, and appointed a new school board to run it.</p> Tue, 08 Jan 2013 18:00:33 +0000 Michigan Radio Newsroom 10654 at http://michiganradio.org Grading Michigan's first fully privatized public school district Patience please, Muskegon Heights school leaders “building the airplane as we fly it” http://michiganradio.org/post/muskegon-heights-school-leaders-building-airplane-we-fly-it <p><em>This story is the fourth in a four-part series about how things are going so far in Michigan's first fully privatized public school district. Find part </em><a href="http://www.michiganradio.org/post/muskegon-heights-students-hope-less-chaos-they-return-class-today"><font color="#0c4ca2"><em>one here, </em></font></a><em>part</em><a href="http://www.michiganradio.org/post/i-couldnt-accept-why-muskegon-heights-teachers-quit-and-how-it-impacts-students?nopop=1"><font color="#0c4ca2"><em> two here</em></font></a>, <em>and part <a href="http://www.michiganradio.org/post/many-muskegon-heights-students-dig-charter-company-s-curriculum-it-s-fun">three here</a>.</em></p><p>Students in Muskegon Heights are <a href="http://www.michiganradio.org/post/muskegon-heights-students-hope-less-chaos-they-return-class-today">going through a lot of changes </a>this year, because the <a href="http://www.michiganradio.org/post/muskegon-heights-schools-handed-over-charter-school-company">entire school district was converted to a charter school system</a>. After tackling some tough issues in the first half of the school year, the operators of the charter school system want the public to give them a full school year to put the changes in place. Mon, 07 Jan 2013 13:00:00 +0000 Lindsey Smith 10633 at http://michiganradio.org Patience please, Muskegon Heights school leaders “building the airplane as we fly it” Many Muskegon Heights students dig the charter company’s curriculum: “It’s fun.” http://michiganradio.org/post/many-muskegon-heights-students-dig-charter-company-s-curriculum-it-s-fun <p><em>This story is the third in a four-part series about how things are going so far in Michigan's first fully privatized public school district. Find part <a href="http://www.michiganradio.org/post/muskegon-heights-students-hope-less-chaos-they-return-class-today">one here</a>, part<a href="http://www.michiganradio.org/post/i-couldnt-accept-why-muskegon-heights-teachers-quit-and-how-it-impacts-students?nopop=1"> two here</a>&nbsp;and part <a href="http://www.michiganradio.org/post/patience-please-muskegon-heights-school-leaders-building-airplane-we-fly-it">four here</a>. </em></p><p>The decision to convert the <a href="http://www.michiganradio.org/post/muskegon-heights-schools-handed-over-charter-school-company">Muskegon Heights Public School district into a charter school district </a>was a financial one. But the officials who run the new system hope to improve academics too.</p><p>From the outside, Edgewood Elementary School looks and sounds the same as any other year.</p><p>But this year, Mosaica Education, the charter company that’s running the school, hopes a new curriculum, longer school day and year round classes will improve student success. Fri, 04 Jan 2013 13:00:00 +0000 Lindsey Smith 10615 at http://michiganradio.org Many Muskegon Heights students dig the charter company’s curriculum: “It’s fun.” "I couldn't accept that." Why Muskegon Heights teachers quit and how it impacts students http://michiganradio.org/post/i-couldnt-accept-why-muskegon-heights-teachers-quit-and-how-it-impacts-students <p><em>This story is the second in a four-part series about how things are going so far in Michigan's first fully privatized public school district. Find <a href="http://www.michiganradio.org/post/muskegon-heights-students-hope-less-chaos-they-return-class-today">part one here</a>, part <a href="http://www.michiganradio.org/post/many-muskegon-heights-students-dig-charter-company-s-curriculum-it-s-fun">three here</a>, and part <a href="http://www.michiganradio.org/post/patience-please-muskegon-heights-school-leaders-building-airplane-we-fly-it">four here</a>. </em></p><p>At least&nbsp;one in four teachers at the new Muskegon Heights school district have already quit the charter school this year. That’s after an emergency manager laid off all the former public school teachers in Muskegon Heights because he didn’t have enough money to open school in the fall. That means there have been a lot of new, adult faces in the district.</p><p>Students say the high teacher turnover has affected them and top school administrators say it has held back academic achievement this school year. Thu, 03 Jan 2013 13:00:00 +0000 Lindsey Smith 10598 at http://michiganradio.org "I couldn't accept that." Why Muskegon Heights teachers quit and how it impacts students Muskegon Heights students hope for less "chaos" as they return to class today http://michiganradio.org/post/muskegon-heights-students-hope-less-chaos-they-return-class-today <p>Muskegon Heights students are heading back to class today to begin the second half of what’s been a very turbulent school year.</p><p><em>This story is the first in a four-part series about how things are going so far in Michigan's first fully privatized public school district. Find <a href="http://www.michiganradio.org/post/i-couldnt-accept-why-muskegon-heights-teachers-quit-and-how-it-impacts-students?nopop=1">part two here</a>,&nbsp;part <a href="http://www.michiganradio.org/post/many-muskegon-heights-students-dig-charter-company-s-curriculum-it-s-fun?nopop=1">three here</a>, and part <a href="http://www.michiganradio.org/post/patience-please-muskegon-heights-school-leaders-building-airplane-we-fly-it">four here.</a>&nbsp;<a href="http://www.michiganradio.org/post/muskegon-heights-students-hope-less-chaos-they-return-class-today"><font color="#0c4ca2">&nbsp;</font></a></em></p><p><strong>Old district “implodes” after years-long financial problems</strong></p><p>The school board in Muskegon Heights battled a budget deficit for at least six years in a row. They gave up the fight a year ago and asked the state to just take over.&nbsp;</p><p>“The system that was in place imploded,” said Don Weatherspoon, the guy the state eventually sent in late April to be the emergency manager.</p><p><span style='line-height: 115%; font-family: "Calibri","sans-serif"; font-size: 11pt; mso-ascii-theme-font: minor-latin; mso-fareast-font-family: Calibri; mso-fareast-theme-font: minor-latin; mso-hansi-theme-font: minor-latin; mso-bidi-font-family: "Times New Roman"; mso-bidi-theme-font: minor-bidi; mso-ansi-language: EN-US; mso-fareast-language: EN-US; mso-bidi-language: AR-SA;'>"Enrollment went down, costs went up, they borrowed more than they could pay back; you’re on a collision course with disaster and that’s what happened," Weatherspoon explained. Student enrollment is a big factor in how much money a school district receives from the state. </span></p><p>“Everything that you can think of basically broke down. Discipline, learning, record-keeping, financial accounting, etc,” Weatherspoon said.</p><p>By May, Weatherspoon discovered the district is more than $16 million dollars in debt; so much debt it couldn’t afford to open school in the fall. Wed, 02 Jan 2013 13:00:00 +0000 Lindsey Smith 10577 at http://michiganradio.org Muskegon Heights students hope for less "chaos" as they return to class today 1 in 4 teachers at Muskegon Heights schools quit during first 3 months of school year http://michiganradio.org/post/1-4-teachers-muskegon-heights-schools-quit-during-first-3-months-school-year <p>Over the summer Muskegon Heights schools’ then emergency manager <a href="http://www.michiganradio.org/post/muskegon-heights-schools-emergency-manager-send-out-158-pink-slips">laid off everybody </a>who worked at the district and <a href="http://www.michiganradio.org/post/check-out-details-michigan-s-first-privatized-public-school-system">hired Mosaica Education </a>to run operations for 5 years.</p><p>Muskegon Heights has some of the lowest performing schools in Michigan and is dealing with a multi-million dollar deficit. The state appointed manager says he had no other option but to privatize operations.</p><p>Three months in, one in four (20 of 80 total) of the newly hired teachers has quit.</p><p>“It’s confusing because I go from this learning process to this learning process to that learning process and it’s just ridiculous how some teachers leave and we have to start all over and learn something new,” Muskegon Heights High School senior Tony Harris said, “It’s just, it’s crazy.” Mon, 03 Dec 2012 11:30:00 +0000 Lindsey Smith 10169 at http://michiganradio.org 1 in 4 teachers at Muskegon Heights schools quit during first 3 months of school year