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Achieving Outcomes That Matter: What Now? Ep. 6 with Craig Carmoney

The interview we’re releasing today illustrates the critical differences that result from choosing different measures for educational success. Craig Carmoney, who was recently honored as the 2021 Superintendent of the Year by the Michigan Association of Superintendents and Administrators, has been the superintendent of Meridian Public Schools since 2011. During that time, he has led two major transformations in his district based on his decision to care about outcomes that matter–in addition, this year, to weathering the pandemic and a flood.

Through partnership with the New Tech Network, the entire district now uses project-based learning, for all learners. Craig estimates that by the time students graduate from Meridian, they will have given 100 presentations. In the older grades, some of those presentations will be to local executives and community leaders. In the interview, we talk about PBL, how it drives learning, and what it looks like at different grade levels.

Additionally, the high school is now an “early college,” which means that students have opportunities starting in 10th grade to take college classes, on a college campus, before they earn their high school diploma. On top of that, students can choose to complete a fifth year, during which they can receive high school support but earn college credits.

These changes were inspired by Craig’s observations of how education needed to evolve in a changing world. And by looking at the data and asking what outcomes mattered most. Particularly, Craig looked at college persistence data and found that, before these changes, despite high college enrollment, only one-third of students finished their first year of college.

That college persistence rate is not uncommon. What is uncommon is a high school deciding to take responsibility for it. 

There’s a lot of nuance in this interview about the choices Meridian has made. For instance, why they feel it’s important students learn on a college campus rather than taking college-level courses at their high school, and how they know students are ready for college-level work (hint: it’s not test scores). Enjoy.

Craig’s interview is a part of our What Now? video interview series on education.

What Now? asks: how should we navigate through this pandemic, and ensure a more prosperous Michigan in our recovery? Click the icon for other videos in this series.

We’re taking a short break over the holidays, but will be back in 2021 with more interviews on education transformation.

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Sarah Szurpicki

Sarah is the Vice President for Michigan Future Inc. and a partner at New Solutions Group, LLC, a consulting firm devoted to smart, collaborative, innovative approaches for organizations serving the public good.

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