July 8, 2013
Albion College stands ready to play a strong supporting role as the Albion and Marshall school districts collaborate in educating their high school students. This past May, faced with declining enrollment and an accompanying loss of per-pupil state funding, Albion Public Schools (APS) voted to close Albion High School at the end of the academic year. The school board presented this decision as an opportunity to reduce the district's operating deficit and to strengthen its K-8 program.
"Albion College staff members have been in discussion with Albion and Marshall's superintendents to determine how we can be of help," said Albion College Interim President Mike Frandsen, father of two Albion High School alumnae. "We have offered our facilities to ensure a smooth transition. We are ready and willing to support the superintendents’ requests."
Albion High School students will enroll in Marshall Public Schools (MPS), and the College may, in fact, host a "common ground" event before school even starts. The two districts are working with the College to bring some 300 Albion and Marshall students and parents together in July for a weekend of team-building and dialogue.
"Both our districts have a lot at stake to make this work," said APS Superintendent Jerri-Lynn Williams-Harper. "I'm excited to work with Marshall Public Schools and Albion College to prepare all students for college and careers. Albion College is a fantastic place right in our own backyard and we'd like to see more Albion and Marshall students go there."
"Albion College was one of the first community partners we reached out to when we began to envision the transitioning of Albion students to Marshall," commented MPS Superintendent Randall Davis. "The President's Office has been outstanding to work with and has pledged support in our efforts to form a cooperative between the two districts."
The collaboration may also bring more Marshall students to Albion College. "This past year, we've allowed Marshall High School students to dual-enroll along with Albion High School students," noted Associate Dean and Registrar Drew Dunham, father of a current AHS student. "Taking college courses together is a great shared experience for Marshall and Albion students. It's nice, too, that some of their education will be in Albion."
Frandsen added, “We hope that more and more of these Marshall and Albion students choose to continue their education at Albion College. Dual enrollment can be just the beginning.”
One thing that won't change is the strong presence of Albion College's Education department in APS. "We appreciate the opportunity to work in new ways with both school districts," said Kyle Shanton, associate professor and department chair, noting that joint Albion College/APS programs such as Maymester and practicum teaching involve more than 30 Albion College students each year. "We very much look forward to continuing our collaborations with these districts, which have served our prospective teachers in meaningful and rewarding ways."