Intermediate school districts are helping build a better Michigan

Now, more than ever before, Michigan's intermediate school districts are ensuring high quality, equitable education. For 50 years, from the day the Legislature created them, in 1962, Michigan's ISD's continue to:

• Save money and resources for K-12 districts by providing consolidated support services.

• Train teachers in the latest research-based methods.

• Pilot innovative programs that districts couldn't afford on their own.

• Coordinate special education and vocational education across their region.

ISDs - which sometimes go by the name Regional Educational Service Agency (RESA) or Educational Service Agency (ESA) - work with local school districts and the Michigan Department of Education. They support student achievement and leverage limited resources in seven areas mandated by federal and/or state law:

1. Teaching and Learning: ISDs offer literally thousands of training sessions each year to educators, keeping them up on the latest research and teaching methods.

ISDs help member districts follow often-complex state and federal educational standards. ISDs are a tool the state uses to help its lowest-performing schools.

2. Specialized Student Services: Local school districts depend on ISDs to meet ever-growing needs in Special Education, Career and Technical Education, Tech Prep, Science Centers, Extended Day and Alternative Education programs, and Court-Involved Youth and Homeless Education programs.

3. Early Childhood/Great Start: ISDs are taking the lead in early childhood education to better ensure every child is safe, healthy and eager to succeed in school and in life. ISDs build local partnerships, share research and advocate for services for our youngest citizens.

4. Administrative Services: Quality, efficiency, and cost containment are the hallmark of ISDs. ISDs help districts share services in such areas as instruction, technology, transportation, business services, teacher training and purchasing.

5. Developing Partnerships: ISDs often are key partners in local economic development through their community ties with human service agencies, businesses, industry and colleges and universities. Those partnerships benefit our schools and students by readying them for 21st Century careers.

6. Technology Services: ISDs are technology leaders in their regions. ISDs often manage the area's fiber network, provide Internet access, subsidize the cost of student assessment and management tools, obtain lower costs for computer software, provide Internet safety filters, purchase digital collections, promote online and digital learning options, and provide technical support.

7. Customized Services: Each ISD customizes services to meet unique needs. Each ISD works with its local school districts to develop the mix of products and programs to maximize benefits for that area.

 

These are only a few examples of how today's ISDs serve urban, suburban and rural K-12 districts, enabling event he most challenged school to offer otherwise unavailable educational opportunities to its students. And, ISDs are being asked to do more for students, schools and communities every day. To learn more about the integral role of ISDs in education, visit www.isd50.org , www.gomaisa.org or contact the Michigan Association of Intermediate School Administrators at (517) 327-5910.