BENTON HARBOR – School leaders said they had a real problem on their hands: Limited resources, low parental involvement and students not performing at grade level.
Today, Superintendent Dr. Leonard Seawood said Benton Harbor area schools are working to change things with the help of tutors and technology.
Seawood acknowledged Benton Harbor schools’ reputation and struggles to overcome deficits, declining enrollment and students failing to make the grade.
He said parents, teachers, staff and the board of education all worked have spent 24 months to overcome those problems.
Seawood say the district is making progress.
"We have a lot of work to do, but we have stopped that massive over spending that we've have been doing for the last 10 years," said Seawood.
Right now, Benton Harbor schools are under a deficit elimination plan, but that's not stopping their efforts to increase student achievement and increase parental involvement.
So how will that happen? Tutors and technology.
"Benton Harbor is like many of your other urban districts when you look at a traditional approach to education always have had a difficult time in urban centers," said Seawood. "This will be an opportunity to address those changes and it will make a difference in Benton Harbor because many of our students our grade levels behind and need that support."
Students at the Martin Luther King Academy will get refurbished desktops to take home; district-wide family coaches will help guide parents and help students.
"We have a dire need for parental involvement," said varsity baseball coach Danny Jennings. "It's evident at events and in schools; parents are missing in action."
"If you miss extracurricular, I know you're not that involved in academics," said Jennings. "That means there are things not going on at home, we have to make sure that happens."