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Overcoming Challenges in West Michigan School

Despite the challenges of a deteriorating local economy, North Godwin Elementary, near Grand Rapids, continues to dispel the myththat low-income and minority students can’t achieve at the highest levels.

With 90 percent of its students considered low-income, North Godwin’s students are far outperforming the state and their district. In reading, for example, 92 percent of its fourth-graders are proficient, compared to 70 percent at the state level.

What’s the secret? Principal Mary Lang refers to the “it factor,” or the essential characteristics a transformational teacher must possess. By supporting teachers and developing novice teachers into excellent instructors, North Godwin recognizes that the classroom teacher is one of the most influential in-school factors to student success.

Lang also praises her staff for their commitment to do whatever is necessary to help their students; this capacity to build deep relationships with students, families, and the community contributes to the school’s effectiveness, she says.

North Godwin proves that equitable access to effective teaching and leadership, combined with rigor in curriculum and teacher support, can help all students achieve.


GRAPHIC: Join us – Making Michigan a Top Ten Education State

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Capital Update

BILL TO ADDRESS EARLY LITERACY NEEDS ANNOUNCED. Last week, Rep. Amanda Price (R – Park Township), chair of the House Education Committee, announced that House Bill 4822 will be formally introduced for consideration on August 18. The legislation will be cosponsored by Rep. Adam Zemke (D – Ann Arbor).

The legislation is expected to focus on interventions for struggling readers in grades K-3.


Click here for full update.

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