Grantee Corner  |  Lansing School District

Three students pose in lab coats in front of their project boards
Attwood New Tech fourth grade students pose after winning the school's 2019 Science Fair

Two students add balloons to cardboard skateboards
Attwood New Tech students engage in project work in the STEM lab

Students build fences and buildings out of popsicle sticks
Attwood New Tech students work on a construction project in the STEM lab

Two female students use cotton balls to clean up a mess in a plastic container
Eastern Biotechnical eighth grade students learn about applied chemistry as they try to clean up an oil spill

Two female students in period costume sit on stage
Dwight Rich School of the Arts students perform in a stage production of the children’s book “Harlem’s Little Blackbird: The Story of Florence Mills”

Five students dance on stage
Dwight Rich School of the Arts perform song and dance

Five students stand on stage
Gardner International Magnet students are recognized as place winners of the new English Learners Writing category

Two female students work on iPads with headphones
Pattengill Biotechnical second grade students explore computer coding

A group of students dance on stage and a teacher with a microphone leads them
Dwight Rich School of the Arts students engage in artful dancing

Mitchell Foster, MSAP Project Director

The Lansing School District (LSD) serves more than 10,000 students in 25 schools in Michigan’s capital. Lansing’s diversity reflects the world’s cultures: the student body is 39.3 percent African American, 24.5 percent White, 19.5 percent Hispanic/Latino, 10.1 percent Two or More Races, and 6.1 percent Asian. LSD students represent 76 countries and speak 68 languages; 18 percent are English learners. A majority of students (71.6 percent) are eligible for free and reduced-price meals, and 15.5 percent receive special education services.

Lansing’s Magnet Schools Assistance Program (MSAP) grant supports development of vertical magnet theme and career pathways in Biotechnology, the New Tech Network, the Arts, and STEM (science, technology, engineering, mathematics). The grant helps LSD extend magnet programming by launching five new whole-school magnet programs and one school-within-a-school program. Programs offer specialized curricula to attract a diverse population of students and increase academic performance in underserved schools. Each program uses powerful partnerships, project-based learning, and enriched learning experiences. Combined, the six schools serve more than 3,100 students.

Attwood New Tech Magnet School (grades 4-6) believes in building 21st century skills to prepare students for future opportunities. Attwood uses the New Tech Network approach to teaching and learning; it employs student-centered, project-based learning to solve real-world problems in collaboration with peers. Using 1:1 technology, students can achieve the critical tasks they need to perform and publish their work to a real-world audience.  Attwood also integrates a STEM theme in its curriculum.

Dwight Rich School of the Arts (grades K-6) engages students with the Artful Learning model of arts integration, and aligns it to Michigan learning standards. Dwight Rich’s unique learning experiences include technology and arts labs, along with dance and music studio spaces. Core content is integrated with visual, performing, music, media, and communications arts. Students benefit from powerful arts partners that include Michigan State University, United Arts Council, and Living Rhythms. 

Eastern Biotechnical Academy is a school-within-a-school magnet program; it serves grades 7 and 8, with a phased implementation that will soon include grades 7 to 12. While all Eastern students are International Baccalaureate (IB) students, Eastern Biotechnical adds its thematic focus through Project Lead the Way courses, in which topics include biology, medicine, technology, robotics, and engineering. Courses are taught through activity, project-based, and problem-based learning. 

Gardner International Magnet (grades K-8) has a mission to provide students with excellent instruction in a caring and collaborative environment that empowers them to be global citizens. Through global education and project-based learning, the curriculum helps students to be innovative, independent, confident, compassionate, and collaborative learners. Gardner offers opportunities for enrichment and support from English as a second language immersion classrooms, and strong partnerships with One World, Project Unify, the Lansing Refugee Development Center, and Michigan State University, among others.

Pattengill Biotechnical (grades PreK-6) engages students in STEM curriculum through project-based learning, Project Lead the Way, and Engineering is Elementary. State-of-the-art instructional technology helps to deliver core curriculum in newly renovated STEM learning labs to give students the skills and knowledge necessary to become problem solvers of the future. Many enrichment programs include robotics, math, science, healthy kids clubs, and YMCA offerings. 

Sexton STEM2 Early College serves grades 7 to 12 with a variety of opportunities from advanced engineering Project Lead the Way courses and career and technical education, to early college and dual enrollment courses through Lansing Community College, Ferris State University, and Olivet College. Through project-based learning and partnerships that include Emergent BioSolutions and Michigan State University Federal Credit Union, students are empowered for the future. 

As the Executive Director for Student Learning, Mitchell Foster leads the 2017 MSAP grant as Project Director. Previously, Mr. Foster served as Lansing’s Assistant Director of Magnet Programs and as coordinator of Everett New Tech High, a 7th through 12th grade magnet school-within-a-school as part of LSD’s FY 2013 MSAP project. Mr. Foster has 25 years of experience in education. He has also served as a secondary science, computer networking teacher and department chair, Project-Based Learning coach, Pathway Navigator, and as adjunct faculty at Michigan State University and Lansing Community College. Mr. Foster holds a master’s in educational technology from Michigan State University and a bachelor’s degree in physics and mathematics from Grand Valley State University. He lives in Lansing, Michigan with his wife and 3 children.