With state partnership, Muskegon Heights school facing closure stays open

The Muskegon Heights Public School Academy System will remain open for at least the next few years.

MUSKEGON HEIGHTS, MICH. - A relief for many, Muskegon Heights Public School Academy System will remain open for at least the next few years.

The Michigan Department of Education will work with the district to help more students succeed. Muskegon Heights is one of eight Michigan school districts to establish this new sort of partnership with the state.

"I think the Michigan Department of Education wanted to do this model as they saw that local control is important," Superintendent Alena Zachery-Ross said.

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Under this partnership agreement, the district remains in total controls of its schools with the support from the state and its partners.

"The expectation is that the state is a partner, the Michigan Department of Education, our intermediate school district, for example the Boys and Girls Club is one of our partners, Coalition for Community Development will be a partner, United Way," Zachery-Ross said.

Muskegon Heights Public School Academy System now has a state liaison to help align the schools' five major goals.

"We have a goal of rigorous learning, partnerships, leaderships, systems and Tiger pride," Zachery-Ross said.

This partnership model also aids in accountability.

"We'll have dates in which we'll come back to review to see how we're doing, to progress monitor," Zachery-Ross said. "In 18 months, it's expected that we're reaching and meeting our goals and then at the end of three years, that's when we'll be able to say if we've met our goals or if not."

While this partnership directly impacts Muskegon Heights Academy, Zachery-Ross said the model will line-up with the other two schools in the district.

"We believe that working together with our partners only strengthen our students identity and it gives them a breath of knowledge and it gives us some opportunities that we won't have alone as a school district," Zachery-Ross said.

Moving forward with the opportunity will delay any possible closures temporarily, to give the partnership model an opportunity for success.

"They know that this is a beacon in our community, this school," Zachery-Ross said. "We have breakfast, lunch and dinner for them, we have our boys and girls that is open everyday until 7 p.m., we have a healthcare facility on site.

"So, we're more than just a school, it's important that this school remains open."

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