A child growing up in Berrien Co. Michigan has a 55 percent chance of not reading at grade level by the third grade. Children not reading well by the end of third grade quickly get left behind academically, impacting their future success in school, career and life.
This is just one of the daunting challenges facing educators in northern Indiana and southwestern Michigan. WNIT launched Education Counts Michiana in 2016 to help strengthen education and improve outcomes for students. We do so by providing educators the chance to learn from other schools in the region, share their successes and challenges with our local community, find potential partners to create solutions to challenges and increase community support of education.
Education Counts is a weekly television program that brings together rotating groups of teachers, students, parents and business, government and nonprofit leaders who share their successful education programs and challenges. The program covers education at all stages of life: early childhood, K-12, college, career and life-long learning.
Representatives from over 125 school systems, businesses or community organizations working on education issues serve on the Education Counts Advisory Council. They help develop the topics to ensure Education Counts is relevant and impactful, identify story ideas and share Education Counts within their own schools and communities and with students and their families to start important conversations about education.
Since launching the program four years ago, members of the Advisory Council have shared stories of how Education Counts is helping support students and communities.
– A Head Start program serving 850 families revised their curriculum to better meet the social and emotional need of students based on several episodes of Education Counts.
– Wawasee Community Schools formed a partnership with Jobs for America’s Graduates which resulted in a JAG counselor being placed in the high school to work with students and local employers on job preparedness, job placement and advanced educational options.
– The Mishawaka public school district is exploring career pathways seriously and developing relationships that will hopefully result in partnerships within the community.
– Indiana University South Bend School for Education reconsidered their role in the region as providers of training for educators and changed how they interact with the community.