Lake Linden-Hubbell schools boost services to students

Garrett Neese/Daily Mining Gazette Shannen Majhor, Lake Linden-Hubbell Schools’ new social worker, talks with students during a field day at the district’s school forest Thursday. A social worker is just one of the additions the district has made over the past year.

LAKE LINDEN — In just the past year, Lake Linden-Hubbell Public Schools have seen a number of positive additions to the district.

New programs at the district include a new preschool classroom, school-based clinic, school resource officer, a social worker, after-school child care and a new math teacher and tutoring for struggling students.

“If we can get a support system in place for a lot of different fronts, the better off we’re going to consistently be,” Superintendent Brad Codere said. “So these opportunities presented themselves, and we just jumped in. We didn’t sit down and have a list and all these were on there. As they came up, it was a matter of ‘Does this fit in with what we’re trying to accomplish? Is this something that will be a benefit to our students?'”

During COVID, some after-school initiatives had fallen by the wayside due to staffing. As a result, the district began taking on more of the responsibilities itself.

Using its child care license, the district obtained a $108,000 Child CARE stabilization grant. It also expanded its license, giving it more classroom space and the ability to serve children as young as 3 years and 9 months.

In February 2022, the district opened a Great Start to Readiness classroom, which now serves 17 families in the district.

“You want to meet the students and families where they are,” said Elementary School Principal Jack Johnson. “…I think the whole Houghton-Keweenaw population right now, they need child care. That is a huge need.”

Meeting students where they are also extended to the area of mental and physical health. This fall, the district launched a partnership with Upper Great Lakes Family Health, adding a school-based clinic within the building.

Through a federal grant, they were able to remodel classroom space for the clinic, and bring on staff. The addition makes it one of the few schools in the area to offer school nurse and clinical counseling and therapy in-house. Upper Great Lakes will also be adding a part-time physicians assistant in the district.

Johnson said parents will benefit from the new clinic, which will enable everything from well-child visits to sports physicals to be done in-house.

“If you need something, it’s here,” Codere said. “You don’t need to take half a day off of school to go to an appointment.”

The district will also be upgrading its elementary school playground with all new school-age and early-childhood equipment in June.

The district also brought on a social worker, Shannen Majhor, who Johnson said has been an advocate for students.

Having a social worker has enabled the district to be proactive about addressing student issues, and also provide resources after the fact to make sure a child can come back to school, Johnson said. Majhor has also connected with students to make sure they can get gas cards for their families, or athletic equipment.

“She can maintain that relationship with parents and students, even in times where there are discipline issues,” Johnson said. “And that relationship is built in such a way that parents have felt really at ease to reach out to her at any point in time.”

While some social worker positions take a person from place to place, Majhor enjoys being able to be integrated into one community.

“When a lot of kids have inconsistency for whatever reason, I’m really a constant support for them, whether that’s therapy support, outside resource referrals, or helping families with different needs,” Majhor said.

Majhor is helping the district implement a number of new programs. Through SAT (Student Assistance Team), five or six staff members meet weekly to go over student needs and what kind of supports can be provided.

They’ve done connectedness surveys, where students list the staff members to whom they feel most connected.

“We had a situation the other day where a student have having a little bit of a rough time,” Johnson said. “He feels really connected to one of our custodians. It was the cutest little thing.”

“He was basically running the floor scrubber in the lobby, having the time of his life,” Codere said.

The district also added Amy Jo Maki as a Title I math teacher in the elementary school, helping to offer remediation for struggling students. The district also expanded its after-school tutoring to include four half-hour sessions in the elementary, and three in the middle school.

Last month, the district also finalized the addition of a school resource officer, Tom Rosemurgy. It is the first local district to start the program; three others plan to launch a program in the next school year.

Rosemurgy, most recently Lake Linden’s police chief, said the position is a way to bring his law enforcement career full circle and focus on what he thinks is most important — the safety and education of kids.

“So many kids of all ages, the only interaction they have with police sometimes is when something bad happens or something sad happens,” he said. “So you know, this is an opportunity for us to get to know them, for them to know us, and realize that we’re there to help them, to protect them, and hopefully offer them some good advice and guidance.”

Rosemurgy is also working on education programs for students, on topics including driving education, social media safety, substance abuse, and bullying.

The SRO positions have become more prominent after recent school violence incidents, including shootings in Oxford, Michigan and at Michigan State University. In larger schools, the position is 100% security-focused, Rosemurgy said. While that’s part of his job, he enjoys being able to add the educational component.

“I’d rather work with kids and educate them when they’re young on the things not to do than to have to deal with them when they’re older, doing things that they shouldn’t be doing,” he said. “So it’s nice that you’re able to talk to these kids and hopefully make an impact so that they make better decisions.”


Today's breaking news and more in your inbox

I'm interested in (please check all that apply)
Are you a paying subscriber to the newspaper? *

Starting at $4.62/week.

Subscribe Today