Using Routines to Make Progress

Stacy Bogard

By Stacy Bogard, CAE, MASB Assistant Director of Communications & PR

DashBoard, April 29, 2020

I don’t know about you, but I feel like I’m finally starting to settle into some sense of routine in our current “normal.” That isn’t to say that my emotions still aren’t all over the place—happy, sad; frustrated, satisfied; anxious, a little less anxious; guilty, validated—they run the gamut at any given moment. We’re not so much in a place where FOMO (fear of missing out) is occurring, but more so FONH (fear of not happening).

End-of-year activities, especially for high school seniors, have been canceled or are on hold. Summer plans like jobs, camps, vacations are all in flux. And what can school and all of its associated activities safely look like for next year?

While there aren’t yet ready answers or resolutions to some or any of these items depending on where you are at, I’m noticing more opportunities to be proactive and not solely reactive, which for me, helps in establishing a routine and being able to make progress. Districts are now fully into implementing Continuity of Learning plans and nimbly adjusting as necessary. There’s time to be forward thinking and look into where gaps exist and how they can be closed or at least narrowed.

And there is a lot of good news out in the world, which I’m trying to focus on more even to the point of limiting my time on social media each day. A couple of recently announced challenge and award winners are the recipients of the Governor’s FAFSA Challenge and the Michigan Department of Education’s Breaking Traditions Awards.

The three high schools with the largest annual growth in FAFSA completions in Michigan were:

  • Central Academy, Ann Arbor (small school size)
  • Hazel Park High School (medium)
  • Niles High School (large)

They will each receive a $10,000 cash award, as well as a visit from the Governor or Lieutenant Governor in the fall. The challenge was an initiative from the Michigan College Access Network that ran from Nov. 1, 2019 to March 1, 2020 and encouraged high school seniors to fill out the Free Application for Federal Student Aid. The completion rate is typically the measurement used to determine whether students will pursue college. Congratulations to the top three schools, as well as the 10 others that were recognized for the highest completion rate in their region.

MDE’s Breaking Traditions Awards are given to high school and college students who overcame obstacles and stereotypes to succeed in career and technical education programs. A total of 62 students were recognized with two receiving the Excellence Award, which includes a $250 scholarship from the Michigan Occupational Special Populations Association. A complete list of the winners can be found here.

The U.S. News and World Report released its annual ranking of the Best High Schools in the country. Four Michigan schools were in the top 100; you can view them and others here

We appreciate everything you and your districts are doing to spread the good news about the work you are doing and to help create routines and make progress for your students and staff. Keep it up and share your efforts with us at

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