Thursday Financial Aid Twitter Chat

Join The Education Trust-Midwest and partner organizations on Thursday, Feburary 27 at 7:00 p.m. EST for a twitter chat on financial aid using #StudentsCantWaitChat. Together with other Education Trust offices, the National College Access Network and Reach Higher, we will discuss best practices and resources for increasing financial aid awareness.

Deadlines for State of Michigan financial aid for postsecondary is on March 1. Join us this Thursday and learn more!

Join us on Thursday, February 27 for a twitter chat about best practices and resources for increasing financial aid awareness! #StudentsCantWaitChat

A Focus on Research-Based Practice to Improve Literacy Education

As Michigan’s third grade reading law has taken effect, significant focus has been placed on improving literacy instruction. This effort make sense, as over the past decade, significant advances have been made in the science of teaching reading. Too often, educators lack access and support to be familiar with this critical information and the tools to support their students with current research-based practices.

With the goal of bringing this research-based focus and support to West Michigan schools, Kelloggsville Elementary teachers gathered last month for professional development geared to grow around demystifying reading for all students. Educators also learned and prepared to explicitly teach students to interact with increasingly complex text, led by the schools’ Teacher Leadership teams.

Throughout the year, these teams of strong educators in the buildings have worked with the Education Trust-Midwest’s Center for Excellence in Teaching and Learning to improve classroom instruction through ongoing feedback, and create a professional network of leadership and support within the buildings.

The Center for Excellence in Teaching and Learning has been working in West Michigan schools for several years, shoulder-to-shoulder with teachers and administrators, helping to improve instruction and student outcomes. Last school year, Stocking Elementary School in Grand Rapids Public School ranked among the top 20 percent of schools for third- and fourth-grade English language arts improvement for all students among elementary schools. In some grades and subject areas, low-income students and Latino students showed particularly strong results. This K-5 school has been supported by ETM’s Center for Excellence in Teaching and learning for four school years.

Leading up to the literacy-focused professional learning, Kelloggsville Elementary educators thoughtfully prepared for the day of learning, with the support and guidance of their Teacher Leadership team. This included studying and considering American Public Media Report’s Educate podcast episode, “At a Loss for words: How a Flawed Idea is Teaching Millions of Kids to be Poor Readers.”

Ahead of this targeted professional development and throughout the day, Kelloggsville teachers examined unsupported reading practices as well as current research and practice around literacy education. They also refocused on their underutilized phonics program and reviewed and refreshed instructional materials for alignment with expectations and best-practice. Significant time was also used to help teachers examine and build tools to support improvements in classroom literacy instruction.

Working together, the Teacher Leadership team, Kellogsville teachers and ETM’s Center for Excellence in Teaching and Learning collaborated to learn, grow and jump start efforts to improve literacy education and outcomes for Kelloggsville students.

Join the Ed Trust-Midwest Team

The Ed Trust-Midwest team is growing and we are looking for talented, dedicated and equity-minded future colleagues! Are you or someone you know interested? Find all open positions and apply online at

Open positions include:

Capital Update

HOUSE EDUCATION COMMITTEE meets today, February 25, at 9:00 a.m. in room 521 of the House Office Building. Agenda:

  • Senate Bill 171 (Stamas, R), eliminating the sunset in the foreign language, arts or CTE requirement under the Michigan Merit Curriculum.
  • House Bill 4483 (B. Carter, D), requiring the Department of Education to create or adopt a model cursive writing curriculum, which school could elect to use.
  • HB 5257 (Johnson, R), extending the sunset and making certain changes for some public school retirees to return to work without loosing retirement benefits.
  • HB 5470 (Miller, R), eliminating quarterly, in-person presentations on financially distressed school districts to relevant legislative committees.

HOUSE REGULATORY REFORM COMMITTEE will meet today, February 25 at 10:30 a.m. in room 521 of the House Office Building. The agenda includes HBs 55025503 (VanSingel, R), allowing temporary locking mechanisms to be used to secure doors in schools, without violating fire code.

SENATE EDUCATION AND CAREER READINESS COMMITTEE will meet today, February 25 at noon in Room 1300 of the Binsfeld Office Building. AgendaSB 657 (Theis, R), permitting interim teaching certificates for special education, in addition to other students, as currently allowed.

HOUSE SCHOOL AID AND DEPARTMENT OF EDUCATION APPROPRIATIONS SUBCOMMITTEE will meet Wednesday, February 26 at noon in the House Appropriations Room in the Capitol Building. Agenda: Overview of the Department of Education executive budget proposal and presentations on early literacy programs.

SENATE UNIVERSITIES AND COMMUNITY COLLEGES APPROPRIATIONS SUBCOMMITTEE will meet on Thursday, February 27 at 3:00 p.m. in the Gast Appropriations Room, 3rd Floor of the Capitol Building. Agenda: Update on Michigan community colleges; presentation on community college affordability, adaptability and dual enrollment; and testimony from Michigan Center for Student Success on the Michigan Transfer Network.

Tweet of the Week

@NCANetwork: Join us on 2/27 for the #StudentsCantWaitChat! We invite practitioners to connect and share best practices & resources to help ensure every student has the opportunity to complete a #FinancialAid application. CC: @edtrustwest @edtrust @edtrustmidwest @edtrustny @reachhigher