Kyle Griffith leaving Morenci schools 02.03.10

Written by David Green.

By DAVID GREEN

A new alternative high school program through the Lenawee Intermediate School District (LISD) has consequences for the Morenci school district.

Superintendent of Schools Kyle Griffith announced Monday in a closed session of the board of education that he’s leaving his job here to become principal of the new school, the JCC/LISD High School Academy.

The collaboration between Jackson Community College and the LISD will open in September. Completion of the five-year program—blending high school and college courses—leads to an associate’s degree from the JCC.

Griffith will work as the program director until the fall when he’ll assume the duties of principal. He will even teach a few classes at the new school, as he did here in the first seven years of his 18-year career.

The Morenci Board of Education discussed the issue Monday night after Griffith’s announcement and decided to sever ties immediately. Tuesday was Griffith’s final day with the Morenci school district.

LISD superintendent Steve Krusich said Monday afternoon there is an enormous amount of planning ahead and he was looking for Griffith to begin as soon as possible.

The county’s superintendents have discussed the program during recent months, Krusich said, and he noted Griffith’s interest in the development of the school.

Once the principal position was advertised, a large number of applications arrived and Griffith’s was among them.

“We reviewed the applications and spoke only to Kyle,” Krusich said. The hiring committee decided it would be “wasting its time” to interview others.

The academy

Griffith describes the academy as a place to address the needs of many under-served students.

“It’s been an unmet need for a long time,” Krusich added.

He said many teachers have success at predicting whether or not an eighth grade student is going to be successful in high school.

It’s not a matter of intelligence, Krusich said. Some students are capable learners but not able to engage in a typical high school setting.

Those students may become moderate achievers, at best, he said, or in the worst case they’ll drop out of school. Success in the academy will lead to a high school diploma plus a two-year associate’s degree

“During the school day, students will be attending the academy on the Adrian campus of JCC,” Griffith said. “Having the program on the campus will be a key variable and has been one of the top priorities of other successful similar ‘middle college’ models nationwide.”

While attending the academy, students will be registered with their home district and will have the option of participating in any after-school activities such as athletics. Students are also able to graduate with their local high school.

Forty students will be admitted to the program this fall as freshmen, then another 40 freshmen will join the following year. Eventually, 200 students will be enrolled in the five-year program.

The program starts with all high school course for freshmen and gradually mixes in college work to become all college courses for the fifth year.

Life management skills will also be taught, Krusich said, such as responsibility, making decisions, being a good listener and financial management.

Prospective students should expect a rigorous entry process, he said, to assess whether or not a student really has the will and ability to be successful.

“I expect a high percentage to achieve their degree,” Krusich said.

For Griffith, the decision to take the job didn’t come easily.

“Although I am excited and honored to be selected to build the program, it also has been a difficult decision to make,” he said. “My entire educational career has been devoted to Morenci and I will truly miss many aspects of this school community.”

  • Front.sculpta
    SCULPTORS—Morenci third grade students Emersyn Thompson (left) and Marissa Lawrence turn spaghetti sticks into mini sculptures Friday during a class visit to Stair District Library. All Morenci Elementary School classes recently visited the library to experience the creative construction toys purchased through the “Sculptamania!” project, funded by a Disney Curiosity Creates grant. The grant is administered by the Association for Library Services to Children, a division of the American Library Association.
  • Funcolor
    LEONIE LEAHY was one of three local hair stylists who volunteered time Friday at the Morenci PTO Fun Night. Her customer, Aubrey Sandusky, looks up at her mother while her hair takes on a perfect match to her outfit. Leahy said she had a great time at the event—nothing but happy clients.
  • Shadow.salon
    LEARNING THE ROPES—Kristy Castillo (left), co-owner of Mane Street Salon, works with Kendal Kuhn as Sierra Orner takes a phone call. The two Morenci Area High School juniors spent Friday at the salon as part of a job shadowing experience.
  • KayseInField
    IN THE FIELD—2004 Morenci graduate Kayse Onweller works in a test plot of wheat in Texas. She’s part of Bayer CropScience’s North American wheat breeding program based in Nebraska, where she completed post-graduate work in plant breeding and genetics.
  • Front.winner
    REFEREE Camden Miller raises the hand of Morenci Jr. Dawgs wrestler Ryder Ryan as his opponent leaves the mat in disappointment. Morenci’s youth wrestling program served as host for a tournament Saturday morning to raise money for the club. Additional photos are on the back page.
  • Front.bank.2
    SHERWOOD STATE Bank opened its Fayette office at a grand opening Friday morning, drawing a large crowd to view the renovated building. Above, Burt Blue talks to teller Cindy Funk, while his wife, Jackie, looks around the new office. The Blues missed the opening and took a quick tour on Tuesday. Few traces remain of the former grocery store and theater, however, part of the original brick wall still shows in the hallway leading to the back of the building. The drive-through window should be ready for customers later in the month.
  • Front.carry.casket
    CARRYING—Riley Terry (blue jacket) and Mason Vaughn lead the way, carrying an empty casket outside to the hearse waiting at the curb. Morenci juniors and seniors visited Eagle Funeral Home last week to learn about the role of a funeral director and to understand the process of arranging for a funeral.
  • Front.make.three
    FROM THE LEFT, Landon Wilkins, Ryan White and Logan Blaker try out their artistic skills Saturday afternoon at the Morenci PTO’s first Date to Create event. More than 50 people showed up to create decorated planks of wood to hang from rope. The event served as a fund-raiser for miscellaneous PTO projects. Additional photos are on the back of this week’s Observer.

Weekly newspaper serving SE Michigan and NW Ohio - State Line Observer ©2006-2016