ST. IGNACE AREA SCHOOLS
The St. Ignace Area Schools is composed of a campus located on Portage Road. The Elementary/Middle School complex sits on the south end of the property and is composed of two buildings joined by a common entrance. The Elementary portion houses our pre-kindergarten through fourth graders and was first opened in February of 1997. The Middle School was opened in February of 1991 and contains our fifth through eighth grade students. Both structures were built through bond proposals that passed on the first attempt. Several extra classrooms are available in this complex. There are separate gyms in this building as well as a separate art/science room in the elementary end. A common library and cafeteria supports students from all levels. The cafeteria also doubles as an auditorium for band and drama performances.
Our high school, LaSalle High, was opened in the early 1960’s and provides classroom space for all of the area’s 9 – 12 grade students. It contains its own library, cafeteria, gymnasium, wood shop, metal shop, and typical classrooms. Adjoining the high school is the city owned swimming pool, which is open to students seasonally. The High School boiler system was replaced this past summer and the lighting in all areas except the gymnasium will be replaced over the coming winter. Gymnasium lights were replaced a few years ago.
Each school has its own office space, with the Superintendent’s and business offices being located in the elementary building. The complex has ample parking space and also contains a full size track, two baseball/softball diamonds, two playgrounds, practice football fields, and a walking path around the Elementary/Middle school building. Each building has a full computer lab in its library and each classroom has at least one network computer. All district students have Internet accounts and we are fully connected to unlimited Internet access. The St. Ignace Area Schools official enrollment as of September 2002 is 800 students pre-K through grade 12.
ELEMENTARY ACADEMIC PROGRAMS
St. Ignace Area Schools offers a complete academic program, pre-school through 12th grade and also provides an alternative education program for young adults attempting to complete their education in a non-traditional setting. All of our pre-kindergarten through 12th grade students are offered school bus transportation to and from school each day.
Pre-school programs include a pre-primary impaired program and an early fives class that are options for students and parents. Our school staff screens and evaluates prospective students for these programs and collaborates with other area providers to develop these classes. In addition to the St. Ignace Area Schools pre-school programs, two entities offer Head Start pre-school programs: Sault Tribe and Community Action. The St. Ignace Co-operative Nursery School also accepts 3 and 4-year-old students.
Our kindergarten through eighth grade student numbers range from 36 in kindergarten to 75 in 7th grade. Student – teacher ratio for our kindergarten through 6th grades is 17 to 1. In addition to this staffing, we employ one full time and one half time reading teachers who are assigned to a Reading Recovery program and Literacy Groups for struggling 1st through 3RD grade readers. We also employ a full complement of special education teachers pre-k – 12 including a speech therapist and school psychologist. Our K – 8 students are served by a Student Family Advocate and a Librarian. Beginning with the 2000-01 school year, an elementary music teacher was added to our staff providing music instruction to all k – 4 students. This person also assists the District’s band instructor with 5th and 6th grade band programs. A Technology Co-ordinator was also added to our staff IN 2001-02. This person teaches keyboarding skills to our 5th and 6th graders and manages our technology system by providing maintenance and staff support.
Elementary/Middle School programs offer a multi-age option for students at grades 1 – 2. Teaming for students and teachers occurs at grades 5 – 8 and allows for teachers to specialize and co-ordinate activities for students. Qualifying 8th grade students may take, for credit, high school algebra. Numerous paraprofessional aides serve our K – 8 students. Students also have the opportunity to participate in physical education and art classes at the K – 8 level. Our band program at this level has three separate groups: 5th, 6th, and 7th-8th grades respectively.
The elementary and middle school grades have adopted the KC4 curriculum, developed by several hundred educators from the Grand Rapids area who are a part of the Kent County Intermediate School District. This curriculum provides learning objectives for the four core subjects of math, science, language arts, and social studies. This curriculum is aligned with the Michigan Curriculum Benchmarks and is updated on a regular basis.
Our academic program is intensely supported by our parents. Parent-teacher conferences are attended regularly at near a 90% rate and numerous parent volunteers are in attendance daily in our classrooms. Our P.T.O. is very active and has supported our school classrooms and facilities with in excess of $100,000 in supplies and materials over the past 10 years. The most recent PTO project was an addition to the elementary playground purchased by the PTO and assembled by parents and U.S. Coast Guard volunteers.
HIGH SCHOOL ACADEMICS
LaSalle High School offers a complete selection of courses for the college bound as well as the employment bound student. Our graduation rates are very high annually and a larger than average number of our students go on to higher education facilities. Students can also choose to participate in elective classes in woods, metals, weight training, computer applications, and publishing as well as the traditional courses in science, math, social studies, government, language arts, and foreign language. Six honors courses are available, currently French III, Chemistry II, Senior Math, Physics, Calculus, and Critical Analysis. Advanced Placement courses are available by registering on-line with the Michigan Virtual University. Computers have been specifically dedicated to this purpose. Our high school employs a full time guidance counselor and librarian. We have implemented a program of Career Pathways to assist students in planning for their future education and/or work environment. Our high school band program consists of a 9th – 12th grade concert band and a jazz band. There is also a pep band and a marching band that perform at extra curricular school and community activities. Several drama productions are conducted each school year.
High School required courses include 4 years of English, 4 years of Social Studies, 2 years of math, 2 years of science, 1 year of health, 1 year of physical education, and 1 year of computers. The remainder of the 24 credits required for graduation comes from elective courses. Students in grades seven through twelve attend on a "block schedule" whereby 4 sessions on alternating days are attended.
In 2001-02, a "home construction" class was added to the High School electives. Currently, students are involved in constructing a 24’ x 40’ home on school property, to be moved to a permanent site next summer. Local contractors assist school staff in teaching the basics of building this home.
St. Ignace Area Schools has school improvement teams in place who meet regularly to provide and develop improvement plans. A consultant is assisting staff over the current school year in revision and implementation of action toward improved student achievement. Our School Improvement teams have opted to work toward North Central Accreditation, as well as meeting the criteria recently set up by the State Department of Education’s accreditation system called Education Yes. Student and parent surveys, conducted during the past year, provide information relative to this process.
St. Ignace Area Schools has been offering summer schooling, with approved grant funding, for k – 4 grade students. These programs focus on reading and/or math deficiencies. We have also collaborated with MSU Extension to provide "Camp Bodne Bay", a summer program for 8 – 13 year olds. This camp, conducted on nearby Brevort Lake, focuses on outdoor education and safe, healthy lifestyles.
21st CENTURY COMMUNITY LEARNING CENTERS
St. Ignace Area Schools is part of a EUP consortium of districts to receive three year funding under the 21st Century program. This program primarily provides after school activities and tutoring for 3rd – 12th grade students, and also provides for a variety of extension activities. Offerings have included drama, choir, band tutoring, academic tutoring, art, computer lab activities, foreign language, and small engine repair. Additional activities are planned as student interest indicates. In addition to the student activities, adults are also able to participate in computer classes, painting, and cooking portions of this program. The St. Ignace Area Schools receives approximately $70,000 per year for the 21st Century grant. Local flexibility in activity opportunities is available. A committee determines the specifics and uses survey information in helping to determine activities. Currently, over 120 students and 20 community adults participate.
St. Ignace Area Schools has a long and proud history of successful athletic programs. Our most noteworthy success is two Girls’ Class C State Basketball Championships and one runner-up in the past 4 years. We pride ourselves on the opportunity that our students have to participate in multiple sports. We offer as many or more opportunities as any school our size. High school students have the opportunity to participate in football, basketball, volleyball, wrestling, track, cross-country, golf, softball, baseball, dance, and cheerleading. We have facilities to accommodate these sports and host many events and tournaments here.
Our junior high students can participate in basketball, volleyball, track, wrestling, cheerleading, or the community sponsored junior football program and/or the community hockey programs. We do not charge students to participate in any athletic events and they are usually well attended by parents and community members. Our philosophy on athletics is to provide for the greatest amount of student opportunities with an emphasis on quality programs.
The St. Ignace Area Schools is open to the public at all times. We welcome visitors to call or check in to any of our offices at the above numbers and we would be pleased to provide a tour of our facilities. Our school year starts the Tuesday after Labor Day and runs through early June. The Superintendent’s Office is open throughout the year.
The St. Ignace Area Schools district taxable property values have increased from $80.9 million in 1996 to $109.7 million in 2002, an increase of 35.6%. During this same time, our debt retirement millage, which pays for the bonds issued to build our two newest buildings, has been reduced from 7.1 mills to 5.6 mills. Tax collection rates over the past 4 years have been at or near 100%. State aid payment toward operations of district programs has increased from $3.6 million in 1996 to $4.5 million in 2002, or 25%. Our total operating expenditures have increased from $5.1 million to $6.2 million, or 21.6%, over this same period. The current year foundation allowance is $6,700 per student. Our audited general fund balance as of 6/30/02 was $676,481 vs. $293,971 on 6/30/01.
The community of St. Ignace has always supported the schools personally and financially. Evidence of this is in the two bond proposals passed in the last ten years to build new school buildings and the volunteer efforts to upgrade our supporting facilities. Over 50 active student groups of various types are, in part, supported through time and finances contributed by the community. We are very proud to have the school – community connection that exists in St. Ignace.
The District’s audited financial reports are available in the Central Office located in the Elementary/Middle School. Reports of the current year’s budget and financial statement are also available upon request. Questions on the District’s finances can be directed to the Superintendent or Business Manager at 643-8145.