State of the Schools address focuses on student strengths, successes

By: Victoria Mitchell | Royal Oak Review | Published March 22, 2017

 Clawson school board President Andrea Hodges discusses student successes during the annual Clawson State of the City, School, Chamber and Volunteer Awards ceremony and address March 15 at Clawson City Hall.

Clawson school board President Andrea Hodges discusses student successes during the annual Clawson State of the City, School, Chamber and Volunteer Awards ceremony and address March 15 at Clawson City Hall.

Photo by Deb Jacques

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CLAWSON — Focusing on students’ needs is one of the strengths that school board President Andrea Hodges listed while discussing the district last week during Clawson’s State of the Schools address.

“Our schools are made up of a tight-knit community of our administrators, teachers and staff, where our students aren’t just a number in a sea of many, but  a member of a community where they are known and cared for,” she said. “This is what sets Clawson schools apart from other districts.”

Hodges spoke before a crowd of about 45 people during the annual Clawson State of the City address, State of the Schools address, and the Chamber and Volunteer Awards March 15 at Clawson City Hall.

Hodges said Clawson students are thriving, as demonstrated by the 127 higher-level classes taken by middle school students.

She said there are 56 opportunities for middle-schoolers to receive high school credit, and there are even four elementary school students who are taking higher-level classes in the middle school.

“Clawson may be a small district, but that does not limit the opportunities for our students,” she said.

Other student successes that Hodges detailed during the address included 84 high-school students taking classes at Oakland Schools Technical Campuses; 39 students attending the Center for Advanced Studies and the Arts; and 21 students attending Oakland Community College for dual enrollment, with their books and tuition paid for. She added that the district also offers two on-campus Advanced Placement classes.

Enrichment opportunities offered to Clawson students include a weeklong camp; trips to Washington, D.C., and Chicago; and a successful athletic program that begins in sixth grade.

“Sports provide an excellent outlet for kids, as well as giving students a well-rounded education,” Hodges said.

In addition to many decorated athletes and athletic opportunities, Hodges said the district offers many clubs including Junior Optimist, gardening, Students Against Destructive Decisions, National Honor Society, Interact, student council, Girls on the Run and robotics.

“The middle school robotics club — the Robostangs — qualified for the state championship for the third year in a row,” Hodges said.

The school board president said the arts are equally important in Clawson, including band, orchestra, show choir, musical productions and art.

“We have the ability to focus on our students’ individual needs and ensure those needs are met so that they have the ability to succeed,” she said.

Hodges said she is a firm believer that strong schools with successful students contribute a great deal to the city and business community.

Mayor Penny Luebs said she agrees that the role the district plays in the community is important.

“Collaboration between the city and the school is essential to providing good services in a city,” Luebs said. “When we work together, everyone benefits.

“A good school system means people will remain in their homes for an extended period of time, bringing stability to the community.”

Hodges said the district will continue building positive relationships within the schools and the greater community moving forward.

“We look forward to continuing relationships and creating more partnerships between the Clawson schools, the city and the businesses for the benefit of the city of Clawson as a whole,” she said.

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