Language instruction, literacy, contracts and charitable donations were all discussed Monday night at the regular meeting of the Dearborn Public Schools Board of Education.
Eddie Fakhoury, executive director of the Dearborn Education Foundation, was first up to the plate at the meeting when he presented a one-of-a-kind glass bowl to Michael Schmidt, the director of Education and Community Development at Ford Motor Company, in appreciation for a $25,000 donation to improve the computer laboratory at the Michael Berry Career Center. Fakoury presented the award with Dearborn Mayor Jack O’Reilly.
“We’re pleased to present this award to Mike Schmidt,” said Fakhoury, who added that career programs like those at the Berry Center benefit greatly from real-world input from corporations.
The donation from Ford was used to pay for equipment and upgrades at the school, which prepares students for high-tech careers in engineering, design and manufacturing. The work was completed this summer, before students filed back into the classroom for the 2011-12 school year.
Trustee Mary Lane said the donation provided relief during what is a precarious time for public schools.
“At a time when you don’t hear too much good news about corporations, we’re lucky to have a corporation right here in Dearborn that’s willing to donate to us,” she said.
The board also recognized four donations from the Dearborn Education Foundation, including a $600 donation to be used toward the purchase of Real Life Linear Functions materials, $1,200 to be used at the Michael Berry Career Center for a culinary arts safety monitoring system, $1,500 to be used for cameras at and $500 for musical instrument fees at .
Another program that came up Monday was the district’s language programs.
Jill Chockol, the assistant superintendent for primary education, said pilot programs that are underway at the district are helping students at the right time.
“Our students are ready to learn,” she said. “Learning a new language also helps in other learning areas.”
Currently, students at , , and elementary schools can learn Arabic in an enrichment format. Chockol said that the district also has an opportunity to participate in a pilot program at , and schools that would provide after-school enrichment instruction.
District officials and board members hope to expand the program, especially to offer Mandarin Chinese, said Superintendent Brian Whiston.
“We want to focus on languages that there is grant funding for,” he said.
New Hires, Contracts
The board also hired two mid-level managers in the finance and special education milieus.
The board unanimously voted to hire Clayton Burch as the coordinator of special education to replace Kathleen Stone, and Angela Black as the manager of finances and accounting, to replace Tamara Dust. Both Stone and Dust resigned.
Two contracts were also approved, the first of which will allow the district to replace two lawn tractors with mower decks and snow blowers at and . The equipment will be purchased from the John Deere Company, which offers equipment at a 23 percent discount through a state contract. The mowers will cost $58,923.46.
The second contract involves replacing the dust collection system in the wood shop at Dearborn High School. The existing collector is in excess of 53 years old. The contract was given to K & V Construction for $49,400, the lowest of two bids.
The board also issued a resolution to accept $100 per student in state funding under the “best practices” provision outline by Gov. Rick Snyder. If the funds are awarded, up to $2 million in additional funding could be awarded to the schools.
To obtain the funds, a board resolution must be approved indicating the desire to receive the funds and that the board certifies the district has met the required best practice criteria.
Correction: This article originally stated that a donation of $12,000 was given to the Michael Berry Career Center by the Dearborn Education Foundation. That was incorrect. The actual amount was $1,200.