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Top goal: Market Brandywine name

Published 9:41am Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Niles Daily Star

It’s a tough time for schools in Michigan.

Schools within the state remain without a solid budget approved by Lansing though the cuts, which have been estimated at around $165 less per student, approximately $200,000 less for a district such as Brandywine, seem more reliable now than numbers that were floating around in recent months.

Money woes have dominated the focus of many school officials.

But as Brandywine superintendent John Jarpe planned Monday night to address the district’s board of education, the budget wasn’t the only item on his list of goals for Brandywine in the coming year.

First on his list, Jarpe said Monday afternoon to “get the name of Brandywine out there.”
In what he called a type of “district marketing venture,” Jarpe said he hopes that more potential residents and students see Brandywine as a strong school district and a good place to live.

Though he didn’t provide specific numbers, Jarpe said enrollment had been down a bit from the previous year but, he added, “it’s about where we expected” due to various differences in class sizes and the area’s loss in population.

But the superintendent said he’d like to see an increase and a hopes that through the efforts outlined in his goals he’ll see “that we’re keeping the students we have,” while attracting new ones.

Also on Jarpe’s list of goals, an “improvement of curriculum and instruction.”

Departments from kindergarten through 12th grade will meet and look at what they are teaching compared to what the state asks of its educators, Jarpe said.

Each year a different subject is focused on and this year as part of a way to “implement a whole new curriculum review process.”

This year the focus would be science.

Jarpe said teachers pull together related data and take a look at the effectiveness of instruction, “it’s not only what you’re teaching but how you teach it.”

Budget matters were also on his list.

The $165 per student, $200,000 overall decrease in state funding were estimated numbers Jarpe said he’s expecting for the already in progress school year.

“We’ve got to be looking at that real carefully,” he said.

As officials in school districts throughout the state suffer through late coming cuts, they will be forced to face a possibly tighter budget next year.

Jarpe said it is important for Brandywine to “work within our means. That is a big concern for Michigan schools right now.”

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