Governor Whitmer Makes Her Way To Lake Shore


Hailey Magasark

On March 21, 2023, Governor Gretchen Whitmer came to Roger’s Elementary School to meet with Lake Shore Stakeholders to discuss education and changes with students after Covid. Governor Whitmer takes the time to listen to the concerns with the education system and how students act after Covid in school.

Coming out of Covid, it was a struggle for everyone to return, and Lake Shore was trying to redefine the means of a classroom. Teachers have noticed that it’s more difficult to motivate students and make them excited to learn. After not socializing and constantly being online because of Covid, it’s hard to make the adjustment back and minimize the addiction to technology that many students have.

“We want the best for our kids. We care for them deeply. We’re going to push them to do the best that they possibly can here,” said Dr. Joe DiPonio, superintendent of Lake Shore Public Schools.

Social and emotional learning is a great concept and having the students learn and practice it is a good idea. Many students have withdrawn socially as well as educationally from school, and many don’t have the motivation to do anything.

Typically, people remember the social aspects of school first before even the educational aspects. Students missed out on the emotional advancements, not knowing how to cope with their emotions and behaving differently because of it. The students don’t communicate as much, not knowing how to reach out and talk to an adult or even reach out to each other.

Teaching has become an increasingly hard job with students having a bigger struggle with mental health including heightened anxiety and depression. Teachers have become parents to the students by becoming an adult that is there for them to talk to and understand what they’re going through. Teachers give up a lot of time for their students, and they need to be compensated accordingly.

Due to this shift, teaching positions that used to obtain many applicants are now left with very few.

“These are jobs that would draw 50, 75, 100 people. So, it’s clear that people are not pursuing this,” Dr. DiPonio said.

“When there’s that level of trust that exists between the home and the school, then everything’s possible. But when that trust is nonexistent, then you start to see people that might say, well maybe that job is for someone else,” Dr. Diponio said.

In every classroom, there is a larger learning gap and it’s much worse than how it was pre-Covid. It’s becoming increasingly hard to encourage students and make them confident with the things they do.

Intervention specialists are a big help by allowing the students the materials they need to succeed and taking into account their emotions and behaviors.

Having smaller classroom sizes has a bigger learning impact, and the atmosphere can feel more comfortable for the students to be themselves and interact more with the content. Building relationships as well as just getting to know the students and staff is important to making the environment more comfortable.

“It’s [the arts] very important to students, for me it’s a good break in my day. I can enjoy and laugh in this class, I don’t have to cram in notes in a notebook or write down simple little facts that I have to memorize. It’s an amazing experience to have as an elective and to just enjoy the class and have friends.” Lauren Maciejewski, said Lake Shore Sophomore Class President.

The arts are very important in schools because they can allow students to relax and enjoy what they’re doing or learning. Many students don’t like school because of the lack of creativity they can express in their work. Art can come in many forms like music, painting, photography, etc. Having all kinds of creative electives can help motivate the students especially since they can express themselves with their art.

This was an amazing experience and opportunity for Lake Shore as a district. Allowing Governor Whitmer to hear about the concerns and problems with education as a whole, can help fix the issues and make school a better place for anyone in the state of Michigan. Whitmer took into account everything the Lake Shore representatives had to say and can help treat the issues especially after some of the issues were magnified by Covid.