The East Lansing Public Schools Board of Education unanimously approved a new curriculum for teaching about HIV and AIDS, a high school-led trip to Germany in 2023, and a new contract with the East Lansing Education Association at its April 25 meeting, the first in two years that did not include a Covid-19 update.
Superintendent Dori Leyko began her report with her plans to celebrate Staff Appreciation Week in May. Leyko and her administrative team are preparing to make breakfast for every building in East Lansing Public Schools over the next couple of weeks in honor of all ELPS staff.
ELPS is also planning a special going away party for Andrew Wells, who is retiring after 33 years as an educator. The celebration to wish him well is open to the community and will be held on May 20 at East Lansing High School from 4 p.m. to 7 p.m.
ELPS welcomes an array of diverse books for classrooms and an opportunity for high school students to study abroad next summer.
President Dane Sprecher and Vice President Julie Thomas-Beckett of the East Lansing Educational Foundation (ELEF) presented the School Board with a $15,000 check to assist the district in filling classrooms with books that represent more diverse perspectives and backgrounds, something Klaudia Burton, Director of Equity and Social Justice, has been working toward over the course of the past school year.
Burton plans to attend the Board’s next meeting on May 9, in order to present further details on the topic as she continues to move forward with this initiative.
Leyko expressed her gratitude for ELEF’s contribution and partnership. She commended the organization for being “so gracious and flexible by wanting to not just honor grants, but take some funds to allocate to classrooms to reach more students.”
World languages teacher Adam Orange also attended the meeting to express his excitement and gratitude for the approval of a high school-led trip to Germany, now planned for the summer of 2023.
In the program proposal, submitted by Orange and his colleague Robert Filter, the two wrote, “In short, the trip to Germany will allow students to explore and experience the German language and culture outside of the classroom setting. It is intended to provide a wide range of learning experiences for students.”
The Board is encouraging anyone interested, regardless of their financial situation, to reach out for support when applying to the program.
A curriculum change and a new collective bargaining agreement passed at the meeting on Monday evening.
The Board approved the replacement of HIV and AIDS lessons and videos for fifth, seventh, and eighth grade.
This new curriculum meets state and national standards for education on HIV and AIDS prevention and will go into effect this semester. Additional training on the updated curriculum is not required but optional for teachers as they prepare to present these new lessons to students in May.
The Board also voted to approve a new contract between the district and the East Lansing Education Association (ELEA), the union that represents teachers in the district, for the period beginning July 1, 2022, ending June 30, 2025.
The ELEA has been visible at Board meetings throughout the pandemic as various leaders and members have commented on the conditions teachers faced and advocated for various support and protection.
A few notable highlights included in this new three year agreement are class size reductions for fifth grade, increased recess duration, additional positions in areas such as Robotics and Science Olympiad, increased pay for substitutes, and several increases to stipends and payouts.
The complete contract can be viewed here.