Lansing, MI—A much-used yet little-known education resource is turning 50 this year. And, whether they’re called ISDs, RESAs or ESDs, Michigan’s intermediate school districts are an important part of the fabric of Michigan’s rich history. To illustrate this, the Michigan Association of Intermediate School Administrators (MAISA) has released an historical timeline.
The timeline contains key dates throughout the history of the state and ISDs. It begins in 1835 and chronicles the early 1900s when there were 6,386 public schools in Michigan. The timeline continues through the 1980s when the Michigan Department of Education had more than 2,300 employees and concludes with current events.
It graphically represents the role of ISDs as they have supported student achievement and leveraged limited resources by helping consolidate school districts (851 public schools today), operating special education programs, training educators in the new Common Core State Standards, and taking on many roles formerly performed by the state department of education (which now has 695 staff members – 70% fewer employees than in the 1980s).
“The timeline demonstrates how ISDs, established by law in 1962, have been – and continue to be – an integral part of Michigan education,” according to Dr. William C. Miller, MAISA Executive Director. “The milestones of our 50-year history show how ISDs have continued to evolve to meet the changing needs of our educational system.”
Today ISDs are deeply involved with their local schools, Miller notes. “They are taking on more and more administrative services like accounting and payroll. Plus, ISDs serve as key links between local school districts and both the state and federal departments of education.”
As they mark half a century of service Miller says, “Michigan’s ISDs will continue to employ their skills in leadership, innovation and collaboration to get results for students and schools.”
He explains that ISDs offer thousands of training sessions each year to keep teachers up to date on the latest research and methods. They often lead technology initiatives within and beyond their geographic regions. And, recent action by the state department of education has put them in charge of the Great Start Readiness (early childhood) Program.
ISDs also certify student counts so schools can get State Aid payments on time, and facilitate group purchasing to save money on everything from computers and paper to parking lot asphalt.
To view the timeline or learn more about Michigan’s intermediate school districts, go to: www.isd50.org.
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