Charter Central Podcast

  1. Episode 16: Special Education – A Discussion with Kathy Barker

    On our first episode of season three, we talk with Kathy Barker. She is our team’s special education consultant and walks us through a diverse range of topics related to special education. We explore the continuum of services, collaboration in serving students, and the impact of the pandemic.

  2. Episode 15: Inclusive Schools – A Discussion with Jess Stone

    On this episode we hear from Jess Stone, a teacher at River Heights Academy that serves as an advocate for LGBTQ+ students and staff. They share why it is important to have inclusive and safe classrooms, including specific examples that teachers can implement to provide a supportive environment for their students. Jess also shares insights on what should be considered to ensure staff members are supported through an inclusive environment. Beyond serving as a teacher, Jess is also a member of the Distinctive Schools Michigan Regional Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Curriculum Committee and shares about the work that this group of educators is doing in this crucial space.

  3. Episode 14: Celebrating Innovation – A Discussion with Renaissance Public School Academy

    Tune in for this episode as we are joined by Renaissance Public School Academy, the winners of the Center’s second annual Innovation and Vision Award contest. We discuss what makes the school unique, including the evolution of the school, project-based learning and a recent school expansion.

  4. Episode 13: The Pandemic’s Impact on Student Performance – A Discussion with the Center’s Research and Data Analytics Team

    In this episode, we hear from our Research and Data Analytics team on the comprehensive research they have done throughout the last school year on the impact of the pandemic on student performance. We cover many topics related to this research, including the history of our use of benchmark assessments, findings of the research done so far in the pandemic, and what the research will look at in the future when spring assessments are completed.

  5. Episode 12: Health and Safety Insights for In-Person Learning – A Discussion with Recon Management Group and Ivywood Classical Academy

    As schools continue to return to in-person learning, we explore the topics of health and safety with a partner school that has been learning in person since the fall as well as a school facility expert. Dan DiBardino from Recon Management Group shares his advice on what schools should be looking at from a health and safety perspective. The topics we discuss with Dan include ventilation, cleaning protocols and ideas for keeping students socially distanced. To conclude our episode, we hear from Ivywood Classical Academy. They share with us some of the innovative technologies and policies they utilized this year to keep their students and staff safe.

  6. Episode 11: Social-Emotional Learning – A Discussion with Distinctive Schools

    The team from Distinctive Schools joins us this month to discuss the importance of social-emotional learning. They share insights on their innovative approach, including their use of curriculum and assessments to ensure they are supporting their teachers and students in all of their schools. We also discuss what unique needs students have for social-emotional learning in the pandemic and how to navigate the return to in-person learning during this challenging time.

  7. Episode 10: Celebrating Board Service – A Discussion with Two School Board Presidents

    In this episode we celebrate School Board Recognition Month by discussing board service with board presidents from two CMU partner schools. Heather Gardner from Trillium Academy and Ehrlich Crain from Detroit Innovation Academy share insights with us on many topics ranging from their motivation to serve in this role to the impact of the pandemic on their schools.

  8. Episode 9: Teacher Recruitment and Retention – A Discussion with Leah Breen, MDE’s Office of Educator Excellence

    Bringing her perspective serving in leadership roles at the state and national levels, Leah Breen shares with us her insights on two important topics for schools – teacher recruitment and teacher retention. Her insights include observations on innovative retention efforts, ideas for growing your recruitment and the impact of the pandemic on teachers.

  9. Episode 8: College Access – A Discussion with Ryan Fewins-Bliss, Michigan College Access Network

    On this episode we talk with Ryan Fewins-Bliss, the executive director of the Michigan College Access Network. He shares important insights on the programming and initiatives their organization provides for schools and students. While we discuss the supports needed to ensure students have access to opportunities in postsecondary education, Ryan also shares about how his college experience impacted his life.

  10. Episode 7: Blended Learning – A Discussion with Dan McMinn, NexTech High School

    Kicking off our second season we talk with Dan McMinn, the school leader from NexTech High School in Grand Rapids. As the education world transitions to many new and different forms of instruction, Dan shares with us what a blended model of learning looks like at their school. Open since 2012, his school has utilized the blended learning model for many years. He provides important insights on what makes them unique and what others can learn from their approach.

  11. Episode 6: Insights from Award-Winning Educators

    In this episode we talk with Jennifer Melero, the 2020 Michigan Charter School Teacher of the Year and Jeremy Brown, the 2020 Michigan Charter School Administrator of the Year. They share their insights on all things education from what their students have taught them, to what they have learned during the COVID-19 pandemic. Their messages are inspiring and show the passion they have for teaching. The legacy they will leave will certainly go on to impact future generations.

  12. Episode 5: Innovative Schools – A Discussion with FlexTech High Schools

    Tune in for this episode of Charter Central where we are joined by our friends from the FlexTech High Schools in Brighton and Novi, the winners of the Center’s inaugural Innovation and Vision Award contest. We discuss at length with our guests Sarah, Nick, and Kim about what makes their schools so innovative, including their approach to project-based learning, community partnerships and culture of collaboration. We also share some details about our next Innovation and Vision Award contest so stay tuned.

  13. Episode 4: Trauma-Informed Schools with Dr. Alison Arnold

    On this episode, we discuss the important topic of adverse childhood experiences (ACEs) and what it means to be a trauma-informed school. Our guest is Dr. Alison Arnold, the director of the Interdisciplinary Center for Community Health & Wellness at Central Michigan University. She is also a Master Trainer for the Michigan ACE Initiative. Our discussion includes numerous topics related to ACEs including resources for schools.

  14. Episode 3: School Safety with Dan DiBardino

    On this episode, we sit down to talk all things school safety with Dan DiBardino, managing director of Recon Management Group and the president and CEO of Crime Stoppers of Michigan. During our interview, Dan draws on his many years of security experience to educate us on this incredibly interesting and important topic. Tune in as we learn about the importance of school security, how schools can make sure they are prepared in an emergency situation, as well as the details of some new state requirements for schools coming in January.

  15. Episode 2: Dan Quisenberry

    Dan Quisenberry, president of the Michigan Association of Public School Academies, has been at the forefront of the charter school movement for over 20 years. In this episode, we learn more from Dan about the important resources MAPSA offers schools and the impact of some key legislative items. We discuss numerous topics with Dan from the state budget to the importance of storytelling, and even a teacher that had an impact on Dan’s life.

  16. Episode 1: Dr. Jim Goenner

    In our kick off episode we hear from Corey Northrop, the Center’s executive director who shares his insights on CMU’s role in supporting charter schools and what listeners can expect from the new podcast. We also welcome our first guest, Dr. Jim Goenner, who is a true pioneer of the charter school movement. He shares his perspective on some of the historic milestones during the first 25 years of charter schools in Michigan and walks us through what it was like to be a part of the transformation of public education here in our state. Dr. Goenner is the current president and CEO of the National Charter Schools Institute.