Any school can give its students an education, but it takes a special district to embrace each child and truly prepare them for what comes next.
And that’s exactly what West Bloomfield Schools does for its students.
This public school option in West Bloomfield, Keego Harbor, Sylvan Lake and Orchard Lake serves 5,500 students across 10 buildings, and provides their students with both a top-notch education and the skills that they need to be successful citizens beyond high school.
“We educate students to be their best in and for the world,” says Dan Durkin, the public relations marketing coordinator for West Bloomfield Schools. “We’re just trying to set kids up for the best possible path.”
One of the ways that the district succeeds in this mission is through their “Portrait of a Graduate” initiative, which allowed the district to develop an idea of what skills a West Bloomfield High School student should graduate with.
Through Portrait of a Graduate, they rolled out the “4Cs” performance areas, which aim to build students into Critical Thinkers, Collaborators, Communicators and Contributors. These traits are useful, regardless of the student’s chosen career path.
“There are so many post-high school educational opportunities for students in today’s day and age. We need to prepare students for as many of those possibilities as possible,” Durkin adds. “If kids are well-rounded, it doesn’t matter what they do, they’re going to be successful.”
Of course, the district’s focus on graduating students with a variety of valuable skills starts much earlier than high school. In fact, it starts as early as preschool through another of the district’s initiatives, Capturing Kids’ Hearts.
This initiative started in one of the district’s elementary schools but is now embraced by all classrooms from preschool to eighth grade and helps teachers connect with their kids as soon as the kids walk through the classroom door.
Teachers have conversations with their students to find out what is going on in each child’s personal life, which helps the teacher better tailor lessons to each student’s needs.
“They meet kids where they are and can say, ‘hey, I care about you,'” Durkin explains. “It’s a great way to bring staff and students together and make kids feel like they are part of the decision-making.”
Beyond these initiatives, the district offers plenty of extracurricular activities and courses designed to hone each child’s interests.
Among these options are 35 varsity sports teams, an award-winning DECA program, a student-run earth club, band, drama and plenty of STEAM programming through community partnerships.
And because students are involved in planning both during school hours and after, those who are interested in subject matter that is not already offered can create that programming.
“A lot of districts focus on doing things for grades and scores, and while that’s important, we want to make sure these students are more than a 36 on the ACT,” Durkin says.
For more information on West Bloomfield Schools, or to learn how you can enroll your student, visit them online at wbsd.org.
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