STANTON TOWNSHIP - In the face of cuts from the state and an economy still struggling to rebound from a recession, E.B. Holman Elementary School - one of the few pre-K-8 schools left - has continued to survive and flourish.
For that achievement and others, E.B. Holman has been named a National Title I Distinguished School. Chosen by Michigan as its representative, four E.B. Holman staff members - Principal Mary Durocher, second-grade teacher Susan DeKeyser, middle school teacher Jean Dunstan and fourth-grade teacher Janet Larson - will go to Seattle to receive recognition for a job well done. The school will also receive a banner to display for the achievement.
"It's a great honor, to be chosen by the state to represent the state," Durocher said. "Our students are doing a great job."
As a small school, surviving recent cuts to education by Michigan took some perseverance and imagination. The ingenuity of finding different sources for money in tough times is one of the reasons E.B. Holman was recognized, according to Durocher.
"Part of (the reason we got this recognition) is that with the funding cuts we've used grant sources to help supplement us and used the grant money to help keep up with education and trends," Durocher said. "We've gotten the Learn and Serve grant and the Lake Superior Stewardship Initiative, and some other, smaller ones. It helps tie education to things outside the classroom."
Title I is the largest federally funded program for pre-college education, and provides more than $15 billion a year to schools and districts for supplemental programs to aid economically disadvantaged students, according to a press release from the National Title I Association. The National Distinguished School Program is a project of the National Title I Association and helps to recognize schools for their achievements. Schools are recognized based on state-determined criteria, such as use of research-based instructional strategies, implementation of sustained research-based professional development or established partnerships with parents, families and the community, according to the press release.
E.B. Holman also recently received an award from Beating the Odds, a foundation dedicated to helping America's youth. Matt Huuki, R-Atlantic Mine, presented the award to Durocher, which helped cap off a nice year for the school.
"It's been kind of an unusual year for us," Durocher said. "We've received a lot of recognition from the state."