Marc Grassi watches his daughter, Franca, eat breakfast before her first day of school at St. Clare of Montefalco in Grosse Point Park, Michigan.
Zak Rosen / Michigan Radio

On her first day of school, Franca Grassi woke up, ate a bowl of oatmeal with diced nectarines and maple syrup. She brushed her teeth with the help of a Mickey Mouse iPhone app. Then her parents, Nikki Rittenour and Marc Grassi, drove her to school in their station wagon.

Unlike traditional playgrounds like the one pictured, playscapes aim to incorporate more of a landscape-based design.
flickr user Takuma Kimura /

Instead of letting the adults decide how to overhaul a school playground, why not go to the consumers?

Why not ask the kids who will be using it?

That’s the idea behind the design and upcoming construction of a new playscape at Ann Arbor’s STEAM at Northside school, and the organizers think what they’ve learned can help other schools.


Colleges are now legally required to train new students about sexual assault prevention and awareness.

That’s part of the Violence Against Women Reauthorization Act.  

And it turns out the training at Central Michigan University has been pretty popular for a while now.  

A lot of other colleges have hired CMU’s training group. The Navy even brought them to instruct groups of sailors and Marines.

So we thought, what better time to check it out?  

Michigan House Republicans

Lt. Gov. Brian Calley is pushing for changes in Michigan’s special education system.

He outlined findings of his special education listening tour and survey on Tuesday to the state Board of Education.

Of almost 2,000 parents surveyed, 24% said their child had been subjected to restraints or seclusion.

Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

It’s the first day of school in much of Michigan.   

Dozens of men stood in the rain at the entrance to Flint’s Northwestern High School greeting students as they stepped off the bus.

From politicians to pastors, the men shook the students’ hands and wished them “good morning”.  

user Wonderlane / Flickr

Students heading back to class this week will play a more important role in teacher evaluations this year.

Last school year, state law mandated student growth had to be a “significant” factor in K-12 teacher evaluations. But local leaders got to decide what “significant” meant in their districts.

user alkruse24 / Flickr

Tuesday marks the first time the city of Highland Park will not offer high school classes.

The district’s emergency manager Don Weatherspoon closed the city’s only high school due to low enrollment.

School Bus
Nicolae Gerasim / Flickr

Michigan prisoners have raised more than $53,000 to help buy children school uniforms and supplies. The program, Dress for Success, is part of the Pathways to Potential project of the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services. 

moare / MorgueFile

Michigan expects there will be a shortage of teachers in certain subjects this school year. Early childhood, special education, foreign language and a variety of occupational teachers are facing a “critical” shortage.

Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

Flint’s new school superintendent wants to do something with the district’s unused buildings.

Superintendent Bilal Tawwab says he’s forming a task force to figure out what’s the best thing to do with nearly two dozen empty school buildings, many of which have sat unused for years.


Forty-three Michigan school districts will start this school year with a lower credit rating.

The Detroit News reports that Moody’s Investors Service downgraded the districts over the past year.


Right now, college freshman around the state are getting training about sexual assault on campus.

At Central Michigan University, that even means going into the profile of perpetrators who commit acquaintance rape.

wikimedia commons

Oakland Community College, Michigan’s largest community college system, will sharply cut back its online course offerings next year.

OCC has offered online courses for years.

More recently, it sought accreditation as a “virtual campus” that’s authorized to grant online-learning based degrees as well.

Friends School Detroit / via Facebook

Michigan’s only Quaker-run school is closing its doors—at least for now.

Detroit’s Friends School told parents the news this week.

Parents and board members say it’s a huge blow to the school and larger Detroit communities.

Ann Arbor Public Schools

The one-year contract gives all teachers a small pay bump, and the union and the district agree that teachers have now gotten most of the back pay they were promised when they took previous wage cuts. 

The school district says the new contract also officially puts the district in compliance with recent state laws, which say that the union can’t bargain over certain “prohibited” subjects, including:

A youth reporter takes you inside the huddle

Aug 27, 2015
Reporter and Detroit Community High Student, Jai'shaun Isom.
Nicholas Williams

As summer fades into fall, another season of high school football is set to begin.

Jai'Shaun Isom is a Junior at Detroit Community High in Brightmoor.

He's spent most of the summer practicing with his team in northwest Detroit.

When he wasn't on the football field, he was in school, learning how to make this radio story:


Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

This year, freshman at the University of Michigan face a new consequence if they violate the school’s drug and alcohol policy: Mom and Dad.

Michigan announced today it’s piloting a new policy, alerting parents of first-year students under the age of 21 if:


More than 70% of Michigan school districts used a private contractor for busing, custodial, or food service in 2015, according to the Mackinac Center for Public Policy.

James Hohman of the Center says privatizing helps districts trim their payroll. Districts must pay about 25% of payroll into the state's severely underfunded pension plan.

Cooley Law School enrollment declines sharply

Aug 17, 2015
Cooley Law School

Law schools across the country have been experiencing enrollment declines for the past few years, but not like Thomas M. Cooley Law School.

In 2010, Cooley Law School had about 4,000 students. This past academic school year, the law school had 1,880 students.

Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

Lansing schoolchildren can sleep in on Wednesdays starting this fall.

Classes will start two hours later than the rest of the week. The one-day-a-week late start will give teachers time for training, eliminating the need for sporadic half days and full days used for that purpose now. 

Feds renew Michigan's No Child Left Behind waiver

Aug 14, 2015
Taking a multiple choice test
Alberto G. / Creative Commons

The federal government has renewed a waiver that gives Michigan some wiggle room when it comes to school improvement requirements under No Child Left Behind.

Under the renewal, the state won't have to identify additional struggling schools until 2017.

Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

A Michigan congressman is proposing legislation to help people struggling with student loan debt.

U.S. Rep. Dan Kildee’s package of bills includes a proposal to make it easier for people filing for bankruptcy to include their student loan debt.

“Only under rare circumstances can student debt be discharged in a bankruptcy. So ... it creates a disincentives for people to try to go to college,” says Kildee.

Eastern Michigan University Eagle
Kenneth Bailey / Wikimedia Commons

Eastern Michigan University officials say a controversial logo depicting a Native American will be removed from the school's marching band uniforms.

The decision comes more than 20 years after the EMU Board of Regents voted unanimously to drop the Huron as the school's mascot. 

Brian Whiston, Michigan's new school superintendent.
Michigan Department of Education

The new head of the Michigan Department of Education says he’ll act on his own to improve teacher evaluations if lawmakers fail to do so.

The state Senate approved a bill in May meant to improve teacher evaluations and make them more uniform across the state. Senate Bill 103 has since stalled in the state House.

When summer school became cool

Aug 10, 2015
User Motown31 / Creative Commons

Every June, kids and teachers across Michigan get a new lease on life.

This is the month they've looked forward to all school year - a sort of beacon of hope amidst dark seasons of state testing and parent-teacher conferences. Cue any number of movie scenes with kids exploding out of schools while Alice Cooper’s “School’s Out for Summer” blares in the background.

User Motown31 / Creative Commons

 Lincoln Consolidated Schools will resolve its budget deficit in part by cutting about 50 teaching jobs, says Superintendent Ellen Bonter. About ten teachers have accepted buyout offers, and another 24 have been laid off by the Ypsilanti-area school district.

"We’re hoping that number could increase, hoping that we could return some of our laid off teachers to full employment," Bonter says.

A reduction of $4.7 to $5 million will come from the teacher's unit alone, with another million to 1.5 million from other areas of the budget. 

Sarah Cwiek / Michigan Radio

The Detroit Public Schools’ elected board has filed a federal civil rights complaint against Governor Rick Snyder.

The Title VI complaint — the portion of the 1964 Civil Rights Act which deals with discrimination claims against institutions that receive federal funds — asks the U.S. Department of Justice to investigate a number of allegations against the district and its state-appointed officials.

Life Remodeled

Some 9,000 volunteers are remodeling Osborn High School in Detroit this week.

Last year, the same group – called Life Remodeled – focused on Cody High School, on the other side of the city. The non-profit even raised $1 million to build Cody a new football field.

Lindsey Smith / Michigan Radio

A tiny public school district in northwest Michigan has found an unusual way to raise big money.

Manistee Area Public Schools has had its share of budget problems. 

“Several years ago we were very, very low on our fund balance,” Kenn Cott, the assistant principal of Manistee High School/Middle School explained.

Sarah Cwiek / Michigan Radio

An unspecified “technical glitch” in the Detroit Public Schools’ payroll system has left teachers in the lurch this week.

Some teachers were shorted hundreds of dollars in the last pay period, while others weren’t paid at all, according to Detroit Federation of Teachers President Steve Conn.