In March, WKKF and BCPS announced a commitment to improve educational equity and quality in the district — which, according to a study commissioned by BC Vision, had been weakened by structural bias and years of racial, socioeconomic, and residential segregation in Battle Creek, resulting in unequal access to opportunities, a decline in student enrollment, and budget and program cuts.
The details of the initiative announced on Friday include support for new programs and enrichment opportunities and top-to-bottom changes aimed at assisting students, parents, teachers, and school staff, including recruitment and retention incentives as well as professional development for teachers; a full-day pre-kindergarten summer transition program; an extended pre-kindergarten school year; implementation of an intermediate STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) academy; a high school college pathways program; enhanced academic program supports for all learners; a comprehensive behavior education plan focused on alternatives to suspension; investments in the arts and athletics; early literacy support personnel; and the implementation of innovative curriculum aligned at all grade levels. According to BCPS superintendent Kim Carter, the changes in curriculum and supports to teachers and staff will help increase student achievement in math and reading, graduation rates, and teacher retention, as well as decrease student absenteeism, suspensions, and dropout rates.
"Every child in Battle Creek has tremendous potential, and it's incumbent on this community to make each child's educational journey a success. Together we can support all our children to the fullest so they can realize their dreams," said WKKF president and CEO La June Montgomery Tabron. "We believe transformational change is needed and can only happen with the bold vision and commitment that the Kellogg Foundation and Battle Creek Public Schools are announcing today."