Vassar Public Schools head back to school today

“It’s great to be a Vulcan. Nothing is boring, everything is exciting,” Dorothy Blackwell, Superintendent, said.
Published: Aug. 14, 2023 at 7:29 AM EDT
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VASSAR, Mich. (WNEM) - Vassar Public Schools students are headed back to class on Monday, Aug. 14, and the school’s superintendent is more than ready.

“It’s great to be a Vulcan. Nothing is boring, everything is exciting,” Superintendent Dorothy Blackwell said.

This is the district’s second year following a balanced calendar. It is beneficial to students, staff and Vassar families, according to Blackwell.

“What it means to be a balanced calendar is that we take those 180 days and spread them out differently,” Blackwell explained. “The one thing that we found out, too, is that it’s been really beneficial for families because they’re able to do vacationing at different times. It gives us time, so people don’t really get that burnout stress period.”

This year, there’s a major focus on mental health support. The balanced calendar partially helps with students’ mental health, as well as the district’s CEP program, its school nurse and more.

“We have pop up pantries, as well as clothing, we have a laundry facility for families that may need that. We make sure we ensure that those families, their needs are being met in the best way we can,” Blackwell said. “We also have a school nurse. I tell you, she is awesome! She has been a wonderful bridge to make sure that our mental health support has been connected to all the right people.”

Blackwell said the free meal program was put into place before Michigan lawmakers passed the historic $23.4 billion education budget, which includes free breakfast and lunch for all. That rolls out in October.

When it comes to safety and security, Vassar Public Schools seemingly have the edge. The district is once again using ZeroEyes Inc. AI gun detection technology. The software was implemented after the 2021 Oxford High School shooting. With Vassar being about 45 minutes from Oxford, the incident hit close to home.

“It’s on our cameras. We have an existing camera system and ZeroEyes is an AI artificial software system that lays on top of our cameras and is able to monitor and detect anything that looks like a weapon,” Blackwell explained. “When we were doing all of our testing you can see where the cameras detect that and that’s sent directly to me on my phone.”

With ZeroEyes Inc., there’s confidence the district is doing everything it can to keep everyone safe.

While the nation continues to work through a teacher shortage, Blackwell said all teacher positions in the district are full, though a few support staff positions remain available. These are all decisions guided by the needs of every child in the district.

Vassar Public Schools students are headed back to class on Monday, Aug. 14, and the school’s superintendent is more than ready.

Vassar Public Schools also touted its dual enrollment program. It allows students to earn credits for an associate degree. Vassar students can also get career training by using the Caro Tech Center. The school is also undergoing several infrastructure upgrades.

“Our tech is beyond one-to-one. We have Google Chromebooks, but we also have gigantic interactive TVs like I’m talking to you over the computer right now,” Blackwell said. “Our teachers are well versed. We use Planbook, we use Illuminate, we use IXL, a lot of systems we utilize.”

The district also engages in grant writing, bringing quality programs to the district, like Vassar Fun and Fit. Vassar athletics are joining a brand-new conference this year and Blackwell said she is looking forward to seeing what the robotics team accomplishes this year. There’s hopes for another world title.

For more, visit Vassar Public Schools! Have a great first day!

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