L’Anse Creuse Public Schools fall report card

By: Alex Szwarc | C&G Newspapers | Published November 10, 2020

 A look inside Melissa Scapini’s classroom at L’Anse Creuse High School-North in Macomb Township.

A look inside Melissa Scapini’s classroom at L’Anse Creuse High School-North in Macomb Township.

Photo provided by Melissa Scapini

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MACOMB TOWNSHIP/HARRISON TOWNSHIP — A couple months into the school year, L’Anse Creuse officials agree that in-person learning has gone fairly well, considering various obstacles.

In August, the L’Anse Creuse Public Schools Board of Education voted to begin the school year with face-to-face and virtual learning options.

When asked how he would assess how the school year has gone thus far, L’Anse Creuse Public Schools Superintendent Erik Edoff said the district is having a lot of success with traditional schooling and face-to-face learning.

“We had a big response of parents who want face-to-face and we’ve accommodated those parents,” he said. “I think we’ve done a good job of getting our safety practices in place and refining them.”

Edoff said now it’s a matter of habit what is done on a regular basis to keep students and teachers as safe as possible.

Roughly 70% of the district’s student population are attending in-person daily. The remaining students are at home in a virtual learning environment.

Melissa Scapini, an English teacher at L’Anse Creuse High School-North in Macomb Township, believes there isn’t a perfect solution to returning this school year.

“I’m happy there are options given,” she said. “A lot of my students really were craving that socialization piece. Being face-to-face helps me be a more effective teacher and helps them be more effective in their learning.”

In the summer, the board agreed that its COVID-19 preparedness and response plan would be a fluid and working document, with corrections made as necessary.

“Right before school started, we decided to go with masks for all students at all times, except for eating,” Edoff said. “We had K-5 in the classroom where that wasn’t going to be the case, then we went to all students wearing masks in classrooms, hallways and buses, all day.”

Looking at the technology rollout for students operating remotely, Edoff indicated everyone wants more devices than they have.

He said the board approved the expenditure of some CARES Act money to purchase more devices, to the tune of several hundred thousand dollars.

With plenty of opinions being shared on how schools should operate amid a pandemic, Edoff said parents are invested in the details of education like they have never been before.

“Some of that’s very good because we want informed parents about how schools work. People have a lot of passion for their kids’ education,” he said.

Edoff said a difficult aspect of educating in a pandemic is making virtual instruction as high quality as in-person instruction.

Scapini noted that her students have been very cooperative in adapting to necessary changes.

“A lot of them have jobs and have been out in public with mask wearing and are used to that being a rule,” she said.

Between her classes, there are a dozen virtual learners in English 11, and 18 virtual students for Advanced Placement language and composition.

“We see three classes a day, rather than six class periods,” she said. “Our class periods are longer, which has been a good thing.”

In her AP courses, Scapini connects with students via Schoology, creating content and meeting with students twice a week to go over information.

“I really don’t think it’s been that bad,” Scapini said. “The kids for the most part have been great about wearing masks.”

As of press time Nov. 2, one district building — Tenniswood Elementary in Clinton Township — appeared on the state’s school-related COVID-19 outbreak site.

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